PBC News and Year-end Adieus

As the year comes to a close and kids hatch plans to catch Santa in the act, it’s also time to wrap up this blog for a long winter’s nap, celebrate the remaining days of 2013, and wait for Baby New Year to arrive. But before all that, I need to address the nagging question on everybody’s lips: What is going on with the Progressive Book Club?

The Progressive Book Club 2014

PBC 3DFirst off, apologies to all those involved in PBC 2013 for dropping the ball during The Artist’s Way. When my mother passed, I simply had to shut down for awhile. I hope you understand and will join in for some of this year’s discussions. I’m sure it will run much more smoothly, as I only had one mother.

The biggest obstacle the PBC had to overcome was getting the same book in everybody’s hands on the same month. With Save the Cat, I heard many people say, “I want to read that, but don’t have the money,” or “I own that, but don’t have the time.” Well, I’ve made it 100% easier.

Read and Discuss Whatever Book You Want

Yes, you read that correctly. With the PBC 2014, you can discuss any book you’ve read during the past month. I’ve seen a few other online book clubs operate this way, and it makes sense. Or at least it makes me feel a little more relieved.

You see, I have tons of books on writing that I’d like to read, as well as memoirs, a bit of juicy fiction, and a couple of enlightening non-fiction titles, but never felt quite right saying, “Buy this book.” If you’re like me, your wallet is skinnier than one of the Olsen twins. The last thing I need is yet another $10-$20 book on the craft when there are several on my shelves still calling my name.

Now I can get through them without feeling guilty that I’m breaking your bank. And the book you discuss may be one I’ll want to run out and buy after all!

This will allow anybody who has read a book to join in, not merely those who have read this month’s book. Hopefully, we’ll get a lot more participants in the process, too.

Simple, yes? The revamped guidelines are located at the top of the blog, and January’s list opens bright and early on the first day of the year!

One caveat: please have your article written and scheduled before signing up, so you can use the article’s permalink to direct other participants to your blog.

A Big Thank You

Even though I wrote a whole post on gratitude, I want to thank all of you once again for…well, for being there. It was a year that saw more than its fair share of difficulties, and the easiest course of action would have been to throw in the towel on all of it. You didn’t let me do that. Thanks.

I plan a few other changes, too. For an undetermined period, I’ve decided to regularly post only two times a month: the first and third Wednesdays (IWSG and PBC days). I simply have too much other writing to do, and must cut back somewhere. Of course, I’ll make additional posts if there is something about which I can’t keep my mouth shut (it happens more often than not—I already have ten drafts in the works), but for the most part, I’ll stick to the odd Wednesdays.

With that, I’ll bid adieu until January 8th, when the IWSG posts. Yes, that’s the second Wednesday of the month, since the first one falls on the first, but who wants to spend New Year’s Day scooting around online with a hangover? Then we’ll meet again the following Wednesday for the PBC. I already know which book I’ll be discussing, and hope you’ll join me.

Many blessings to you and yours for a safe and happy holiday season.


ML Swift

MikeBeachML Swift is a writer of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult fiction, although he dabbles in many genres.

An Alzheimer’s caregiver for the past ten years, he has published several articles on The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, the largest online website catering to that community, and plans to write a novel about his experience in caregiving.

He resides in Florida with his dogs, Rameses and Buster, attempting to reclaim his side of the bed.


37 thoughts on “PBC News and Year-end Adieus

  1. Here’s praying 2014 is a much better year for you, Mike.
    Any book? Now that I can do.
    Have a blessed Christmas. I have just two more posts – Monday and then Fifty States of Pray – and then I am shut down until next year.

  2. This sounds like a great idea for the PBC. Looking forward to it.
    I hope 2014 is a much better year for you, Michael. Best wishes to you and your family for the holidays.
    See you in January!

  3. Swift! I’ve missed you!!!!

    I hope you are healthy and in good spirits. Seems like you have some wonderful things going on here—the PBC is a fabulous idea. And smart to limit your blogging. I’ve done the same thing as of late. You have it in you, Michael. I don’t doubt you or your ability. You CAN do this. And I think you’re taking all the right steps to move forward, get your priorities aligned, and really make your goals come to fruition. I’m excited for you. I love New Year energy. So keep pushing–I’m expecting great things from you!!!!

    Huge Merry Christmas to you, Swift!

    1. Anything’s possible on New Year’s Day. Ooo…that has the makings of a fantasy story.

      There will be great things from us both…we’ll meet for lunch in NYC (because that’s the hub of pubbing) one day when we’re both passing through for TV shows and meetings with our agents…you know, the usual rigmarole of the rich and famous.

      Merry Christmas to you and Aaron!

    1. Hope you’ll be joining in for a book or two, Melissa. And the happiest of Christmases for you and yours. See you in 2014! That sounds like an election slogan. 🙂

  4. Mike, you clevah man, I like this idea! Book clubs always feel restrictive because I have so many books to read or am reading (never one to just read ONE book at a time!). I am looking forward to it and also to your posts, no matter how frequent or infrequent. Sipping a hot toddy in a toast to you and wishing you a blessed holiday.

    1. I know, Julie…it just seemed bettah this way. I have tons of books that I want to get through, and also have many going at once.

      Cheers to you and yours this holiday season. Your friendship and support have been invaluable. Now pass me a toddy. 😉

    2. I agree, Mike, you’re a clevah man. Kudos to you for the PBC revamp. I might just be a participant this time in the more free-flowing format. But I make no promises my brain can’t keep, so I’ll just play it by ear.

      I love the idea of taking a cold winter’s nap. I’d love to take one too, but I just returned from a long blog break less than two months ago. So going on another so soon seems rather………..indulgent. I guess my always wanting breaks from my blog must be a sign of something. I’m wondering if my blogging days are numbered.

      Anyhoo, I’ll join you and Julie with a toast of hot toddy. Love the new Christmas decor around here. Very festive. I wish you and yours the merriest of merry. Enjoy the holidays. See you next year. 🙂

      1. Perhaps a reduction in the blogging department and an emphasis on why you started this process in the first place. That’s where I’m taking it.

        Yes, I understand how it is to commit to anything online…it’s a month-to-month thing, though, so sign up when you feel like talking about a book you recently read. Heck, anytime a book moves you enough to write a review or do something creative (make and photograph a diorama of a scene from the book or something), do it—at anytime of the month—and just schedule it to post on the third Wednesday. You can do that, can’t you? 😉 Would love to have you whenever.

        And a merriest of merries back to you.

  5. OK, get ready… I’ve always wanted to do this….


    (And, then in a Italian/New Jersey accent, he said)

    “Yo, Mikey! Mikey! Wassup, my bruddah.”

    (Bows and waves to the crowd…. thank you, thank you.)

    Seriously, I know you’ve had a long, tough year, so have a safe, fun-filled and/or relaxed Christmas.

    Raise a glass for your dear Mom and I wish you only the very best for 2014, my friend.

    Cheers 🙂

    1. (Waiting for applause to die down)

      (Still waiting)

      (STILL waiting)…

      Okay. They really liked your Italian New Jersey impersonation, Mark. Just like Jersey Shore. M-Woww.

      Thanks for the well-wishes, and may the same be sent your way. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you.

  6. Looking forward to seeing you again in the New Year, Mike. In the meantime, enjoy a beautiful holiday with your loved ones! Thanks for your friendship in 2013.

    1. Suze! I’ve missed you. Good to see you before the holidays—I thought you may be out until after the new year. Hopefully, this means you’ve written a new post…I’ll be over to check. Nothing on my reader just yet. Trying to wish everyone a happy holiday and was going to put a greeting on your Nov. IWSG post. If not, Merry Christmas!

  7. It sounds like a good idea for your book club. This must have been a difficult year for you, and I hope that you get rest during your hiatus and that 2014 is much happier. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. Greetings Michael,

    And after the trials and tribulations, the challenges, the moments of positivity that were also embraced, may you and your loved ones have a peaceful Christmas and an encouraging 2014.

    Enjoy your respite and your reflection, my friend.

    In kindness and goodwill,


  9. You’re very smart to realize what can and cannot be done. More and more of my best blogging buddies (why yes, you’re in that category – I think cuz we share Christ it just happened faster) are devoting time to their writing, which is why we’re here anyway. Love the idea of your bookclub, and will be joining. Any book is an AWESOME idea and I think will encourage people to read more of the posts. Not that I know anything about how things used to work because I didn’t meet you until right around your mom’s passing away.
    Oh, and I have to tell you a very funny thing that has happened. I (stupidly, I admit, downloaded, on purpose, Windows 8.1) and I kid you not, every blogger email, like someone commented on my blog, or someone added a comment to a blog whose comments I subscribed to, shows it as coming from you. And when I hit reply, it goes to you. Even though the email itself has the links to who sent it and what blog it was about, apparently you wrote them all. I just want to thank you for taking the time to help blogger out. Apparently they are in some war with Windows, because if I use the google gmail web interface, all is well, but if I use the Windows mail app, every google email is from the very busy M.L Swift. Just thought you might enjoy being famous 😉
    Tina @ Life is Good

    1. ROFL. I told you I stay very busy! Goodness, I wonder what that’s all about? I have heard bad things about Windows 8 though. Glad I didn’t insist on getting it with this laptop (It was just being released, but not on this computer). Seems like every other version Windows puts out is a dud. Vista…8. My first version was Millenium (ME).

      The book club used to be a book on writing for two months, then a fiction/memoir on the third. And it was specific. Like, everybody read the same book at the same time. I think we’ll get many more participants this way. And it’s not necessarily reviews. Get creative. I made a video of pics with quotes from one of the craft books (Bird by Bird). It’ll be so cool to have you on board.

      And I’m honored to be one of your best blogging buddies. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  10. I think this is a great idea, and it makes participating a lot easier. I’m in! And I’m really glad you’re picking it back up – it sounded like such a cool idea. It was – and is – absolutely understandable that it needed to take a visit to the back burner for a while.

    Have a wonderful, healthy, happy, peaceful holiday, Mike. You so much deserve it. I’ll be sending you wishes for a lot of joy in the coming year.

    1. Yes, it was going okay, but this will go much smoother and get many more participants because people will already have the book—one they personally chose, and not one “assigned”—and we’ll be able to visit the books and blogs that interest us.

      Many joyful wishes right back to you, Liz. Hope you and wifey have a spectacular season.

  11. Hah! My post today is on the difficulties we’ve all had too. 🙂

    I love the idea of whatever book for PBC! It’s hard, money and time-wise, to grab one particular book. You could even have a 2014 Reading List going on in the sidebar, too, with recommendations if you wanted.

    Hugs to you, Mike, and best wishes for a better year to come with less stress and more words!

    1. Yeah, I have many books that I’d like to read and don’t want to put anybody out money-wise (plus, I’d like for many to participate), so I think this will work much better.

      Hugs back to you, River.

  12. Hmmm!.. PBC for new year quite impressive Mr. Swift. Finally I am learning about blogging, I want to give to a big thank (actually a deep hug, but it’s not possible). Jeff Sir, River Ma’am, Luke Ma’am and you really inspired me. Today I put the badge of IWSG on my blog, but I don’t know what to post on wednesday of 2014 and I am upset that I have very little visitors, I joined IWSG that will me help me or not please tell me..

    1. Hey Sakib…

      Hmmm. Let’s see. First off, don’t be discouraged by a lack of followers. It takes a great deal of time to build up a loyal group interested in what you have to offer. My first month I had THREE followers. My second month, FIVE. My third, EIGHT. And it grew steadily from there.

      I have some suggestions for you; some things that I did when starting. Try this link for an introduction to blogging:


      Go through WordPress’s codex and read all about everything.

      Your blog seems to be directed towards college students and STUDY TIPS. Also, how one can go about maneuvering around in this new world of social media. That’s a very good subject and a good start.

      Unfortunately, the IWSG doesn’t seem to be the group (in my opinion) for this demographic. Most of the members are writers who’ve already completed those college years. Some of us are starting second careers.

      My suggestion is to go to your student union and get in touch with local groups, then start blogging about that. See what online groups are offered in the area of study and social media. Join them.
      Followers will only come when they know you’re there. This will take a LOT of visiting on your part to let others know you exist. However, once they know about you, you need to give them something in return, in the form of subject matter. I’m afraid you won’t get many regular followers with the IWSG.

      Hook into your schools online resources and local study groups. Check with your school paper about writing a tips column, then put a reference to your blog. Things like that. But you need to tap into the niche that is best suited for your subject matter.

      I’ll be offline until January 8th. You are more than welcome to stay with the IWSG—don’t get me wrong—I just don’t think it’s the group that you are looking for. I’m always here, though, for further questions. I hope this helps and finds you well.

      Have a blessed New Year, Sakib.

  13. When I lost my mom this year, I really had to reevaluate my priorities. She’d been my number one for several years. Now I didn’t have a number one anymore. Then my son was in a terrible accident the day before my mom’s service. Believe me, I considered staying home, locking the doors and maybe even hiding under the bed. I didn’t want to think what might happen next.

    I’ve cut back on a lot things and I’m still wondering what I’ll do to set my life back in some order. Taking time away from blogging will be one step, so I’m right there with you on that.

    In spite of all that’s happened this year, here’s to sharing the spirit of Christmas with those you love.

    1. Goodness, Lee! When it rains, it pours, doesn’t it? Your story sounds so similar to mine. I took care of Mom for years…priority one, even before she lived with me. When my dad was unable to care for her anymore, I moved her in with me for the past six years (took care of her before then, too). Shortly after she passed (two months), Dad moved in with me and my sister (who also lives with me) was diagnosed with breast cancer. Quite a storm. The only thing I know to do is stop and be still for awhile. Reassess. Everything will work out as it is meant to be.

      But the spirit of Christmas lives in this house. I see Mom in many things. She is the angel on the tree…well, if I had a tree up. Never got to it. Instead I have a big angel (two feet tall) in the middle of the table. It was a “night light” we used for Mom…very beautiful…and we have the presents around the base of her.

      You have a blessed season, Lee. Thanks for stopping by. Many hugs and much love to you this holiday.

  14. Awesome! I’m usually in the “I don’t have time” category, but opening up my options makes things a lot easier for me.

    I might join in soon, if I can get my ducks in a row. (A tricky thing when your writing schedule looks like mine. ;-))

    Have a blessed 2014!


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