A Quick Wrap-up of January’s PBC

PBC BitstripYesterday saw an awesome beginning to the 2014 season of the Progressive Book Club! For more information on the club, click on the tabs up top.

In case you missed them, here are the links to those who participated:

  • Julie Luek. Julie read The Death of Santini,  a memoir by the writer of The Great Santini, and posed the questions, “How personal should a writer be in their work? How much is too much, especially when it involves the lives of others?” That’s the $64,000 question that’s been on this writer’s lips oh-so-many times.
  • Julie Flanders. Julie reviewed Susan Oloier’s, Haunted, a YA work about illness, life, and love in the afterlife. Julie is the author of Polar Night and The Ghosts of Aquinnah. It’s great to have her on board!
  • Gus Sanchez. Gus never fails with his reading choices and insights. This month, he discussed Drinking With Men, a memoir by Rosie Shaap, writer of Drink, a column in New York Times Magazine.
  • Rebecca Douglas. Rebecca is THE Ninja Librarian, not to be confused with all the other ninja librarian wannabes. An MG writer, Rebecca reviews many children’s books on her blog, but for the PBC, she discussed Chuck Wendig’s, The Kick-Ass Writer. She has confided in me she will be reviewing many other writing craft books for us this season.

And one other person…hmm…who could that be? Oh yeah, me. For a look at my thoughts on Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors, click this link.

We had three memoirs, one YA fiction, and a writing craft book; what does February have in store? Sign-ups have opened and will continue through the day of discussion (February 19th). Be sure to add the permalink of your PBC post when signing up.

Here’s a helpful hint: When you’ve decided on the book you’d like to discuss, open a draft of your post, write the title, schedule and save the draft. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WRITE A POST YET, just the title. As long as you don’t change the title, the link will remain the same. Add the permalink of that post to the list, then write your thoughts at your leisure, but finish and post by 8:00 a.m. EST on the day of discussion (the sign-up list will actually remain open through the end of discussion day).

For instance, I knew I’d be discussing Running With Scissors, so I opened a draft and put the title so I could add my permalink to the list, however, I didn’t write my post until the night before our meeting. For February, I’ll be discussing Proof of Heaven. I haven’t even finished the book yet, but have already added my name and permalink to the link list. Feel free to do the same.

February 2014

And if you need to make changes afterward, just let me know. I can do that for you.

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. It’s already shaping up to be a marked improvement over 2013 (not the club, the year). Thanks everybody!


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.


36 thoughts on “A Quick Wrap-up of January’s PBC

  1. Hey Mr. Bus Driver, can you drop me off at the 7-11 so I can get some Slim Jims, Coco Puffs and a Slushy?

    I got no books to read but I do need a ride.

    Ha ha, keep up the great work!


      1. Swifty,

        All I did was send a laugh back at you. Your bus driver picture put a smile on my face. Thanks for the inspiration.

        Unless the next book has pictures to color, I will have to pass for the moment.

        Life is still busy.

    1. There was indeed some great stuff yesterday!

      Yes, your blog covers the most up-to-date news and I refer to your headlines before coming over so I know what’s happening. Thanks for trying to fit us in…it’s a busy season, isn’t it?

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I still have to get over to your place to see what you’re up to…yesterday got away from me. I’m not the best at reviews—I do them from a “how it made me feel” POV instead of what the book was about. I say, be inventive. Write ’em as you feel ’em. I’d love to have your input! Thanks again for coming by. 😀

  2. Another tip: after you add the permalink, be sure that you actually do publish your post on time. If you are revising it the night before, do not go to bed without hitting “save” and “publish.”

    Just a word to the wise 😀

    1. YAY! Melissa is coming out of winter hibernation! I’ve been a busy, busy boy myself, and getting busier with every passing day. But it’s a good busy…hectic, but good. Getting much accomplished.

      I know there’s good news upon your return. I look forward to it (good news or not!). 😉

  3. Mike, you know I was hesitant.. time… theme.. but I really enjoyed participating and reading other blogs. They were all, as you indicated, very thoughtful. I am already putting on my thinking cap for next month.

    1. It was fun, wasn’t it? I had a blast reading the different books and what people took away from them. The variety of titles makes this much more appealing than discussing the same book, in my opinion. Makes me want to add on an addition for a library! Oh, wouldn’t that be grand?

      Julie, it was great to have you. I love your selections, what they inspire in you, and your willingness to share it. Thank you so much for your participation! You’re an asset to any group.

  4. This is a fantastic idea! I found out about the Progressive Book Club thanks to Julie Flanders. And I’m so very glad that I did! I’ll be hanging the badge out on my book blogs front door 🙂 Happy to meet you and take part in the Club.


    1. Jen,

      So very glad to meet you. Sorry for my delayed response; I was out of town for the weekend with limited time and internet.

      I’ll have to check out your blog later this afternoon. Right now I’m trying to get caught up, but we did have a wonderful time with January’s posting. It will be great to have you on board!

      Thanks for following over from Julie’s!

    1. Oh, and by the way, been meaning to tell you I like your new photo—very handsome. Finally, we get a clear, upclose shot of you. I’ve been meaning to tell you that in all my past comments but it kept entering my brain as an after thought after hitting the “comment submit” button. Like I just did again on the above comment.

      1. 🙂 Thanks. You flatter me.

        I’m glad you think he looks like me; I created him through an app called “Bitstrips” on FB. Lots of choices to really hone in on getting your character to look like you: skin tone, eye color (although mine are more grey/blue/green), eyebrows, eye shape, nose shape, mouth, ears, facial hair, glasses, make-up for the ladies, and (gulp!) wrinkles.

  5. This looks like such a good idea, but I don’t think I have it in me to discuss a book just yet– I read, I absorb, I move on. I read about 4 books a week– I might need to slow down a bit. I did try reviewing a few books earlier, but that didn’t work out so well.

    1. Although I appreciate and gain from every one of my writing buddies—some becoming what I know to be lifelong friends—I’m trying to branch beyond that demo. Reading is universal to all people, all occupations, all walks of life and is so beneficial. I guess that’s what I’m trying to promote: reading books (and eventually, my books).

      Reviews…hmm…I’m not the greatest at them. Instead of coming from an objective view, I write more subjectively and how it made me feel. I usually only write about books I enjoy, too. It’s not my place to bad-mouth another’s work.

      Thanks for coming by! Good to see you again. 🙂

  6. Thanks for making this easy, Mike 🙂 I need it!! I’m with Alex – I’ll probably post on the list the night before. As long as my sieve-brain doesn’t forget to. Maybe I should do it sooner…ah, boy. I’m not even old. This is sad!

    1. I already have to change my book and link…I loaned Proof of Heaven out and won’t get a replacement in time, so I’m going with another. It’ll be good to have you take part, Liz—even if it’s sharing your favorite recipe from a cookbook! I’m serious when I say that. This book club has no bounds!

    1. Oh, Lee! I’m sorry it took me five days to respond. I’ve been blogging a lot less, as you can see, and I thoroughly understand “buried.” Hey…whenever you’ve read a book and want to talk about it, we’re here the third Wednesday every month. Thanks. 🙂

  7. You know, I’m waaaaaaiting for you to change your profile pic to one where you’re wearing yellow pants… you know, the pants that are the color of your bus??? 😉

    For the record, those pants rock! (All teasing aside) annnnnd… (I did wear leggings again yesterday so I’m not one to talk!)

    Love what you’re doing here, Swift. So glad for all of this. 🙂

    1. My point exactly, Elizabeth. And I love your Charlie’s Scribes venture. You, Tammy, and Mark are three peas in a pod. Great folks.

      Oh…and how did you end up commenting about the Cover Reveal post down here in the Wrap Up post? 🙂

      Thanks for coming over.

  8. I’ve dropped a lot of my social media so I could finish my book. The distraction of fb, twitter and blogging is so great that I was spinning my writerly wheels. Hope your writing goes well.

    1. Thanks, Lee.

      The ebb and flow of “free” time does make us constantly readjust our priorities, doesn’t it? For now, decreasing my blogging seems to be the move I should make. Thanks for the well-wishes!

  9. Well, how cool is this? First of all, the banner on the blog looks POW! Wonderful. I like. Secondly, this statement of purpose sounds brimming with vital energy. It doesn’t sound to me like the blog will be about nothing. Although, like Seinfeld discovered, nothing can sometimes hold a whole lotta somethin’.

    I think it was also a neat time to announce your intention during an IWSG post. All worked out pretty well, yes?

    1. Thanks, Suze!

      It was time for a change all around, and yes, things worked out just right for this announcement…like Goldilocks’ porridge.

      The only thing I dislike about this blog design is that (unless you’re in the permalink), you have to go back up top to hit the comment link. You and others have seen the comment link to the post under this, so naturally, it looks like it belongs to the IWSG post. I may just have to have one (the current) post showing, and I hate that. I tried to truncate them…ah, the joys of blogging. But I do like everything else about this theme.

      Thanks for the comment about the banner. It’s from a site of usable public domain art from old books. As a matter of fact, the website is called Fromoldbooks.org. Liam runs it and is very helpful. I’m actually going to print out the letters and decoupage my old bookcase with them during my office remodel. Of course, with the new direction of the blog, it will be photographed and documented and posted under a DIY post. Yay! I love stuff like that.

      It would be nice to have a run like Seinfeld. 🙂 Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting.

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