November 07, 2011

Out There with Blogs and Book Reviews – Ramona Heikel

This past year of writing has definitely been an experiment and an education. To ease my problems at work with tendonitis brought on by non-stop computer work all day, I started taking 2 days a week off in January of this year. Then I dug out my pen and paper and pursued two of the writing projects I’d dreamed of doing for years.

I’ve been curious about making a webpage, but put off by the belief that I had to learn HTML. And I’d been wondering if I had enough to say to consistently write posts for a blog. So I finally took the plunge and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and inexpensive it was to create a website.

WordPress guided me through each step and their built-in formatting and graphics made me look like a pro. I haven’t succeeding in writing as many blogs as I’d intended, though, partly because I’m trying to keep my topics focused on only a few areas. But I am “out there” and that is a success for me.

For almost twenty years whenever books excite me, I’ve been writing my own personal book reviews, and most of the time it’s a novel that stirs up my emotions. I think it’s my way of preserving the experience of meeting fascinating characters, entering into their world, living through their trials and reaping their inner rewards of revelation and transformation. Sometimes an extraordinary non-fiction book may inspire me to take notes, and I’ll record some valuable insights and perspectives on the Christian faith or various other topics in a review.

I’ve wanted to share that excitement with others, especially because I don’t normally read what everyone else is reviewing. When I find a great book I want to say, “Hey, everybody, look at this gem I just dug up! It’s worth reading!” So when I started my own blog in February, I started posting my reviews of favorite books. I call them “book responses” because they are literally my reactions and aren’t necessarily in the proper format of a review. Sharing these has been a thrill for me.

Then, because I finally had a blog, I signed up to be a reviewer for two publishers and a website. Now I am actually reading hot-off-the-press books and children’s books. One of the genres I am focusing on writing at this time is children’s stories and articles, and reviewing children’s books not only helps get the word out about my favorites, but it also keeps me up to date on what is being published. I have even been sent a book by a children’s author who saw my reviews and asked me to review his new book!

Since I am attempting to write an educational “learning is fun” fiction story for middle grades, I am also reading other books of that type, and I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun. Can I just recommend one? If you are at all inclined toward science or history, pick up Benjamin Franklinstein Lives by Matthew McElligott. It’s a delight from start to finish.

Blogging and reviewing have made this writing year a successful one. My audience has expanded as well as my enjoyment!

Posted by Ramona


  1. Thanks for sharing, Ramona. I can see the smile on your face :) One suggestion: enter your website address as a link on this blog so readers can click on it and enjoy what you're sharing.

  2. Oh I'm so glad you shared your journey with us, Ramona!

    I like your take on book 'reviews'... sharing the books you read in a way that's meaningful to you...

  3. A great way to share and recommend great books to others through your postings. Keep going!

  4. Sounds like you have had a busy and productive year!

  5. Ramona, you're doing so many things right! I love your idea of writing reviews for yourself. I need to pull up my socks in that department. Since I customarily post reviews on at least one website that uses an editor, I probably have put my review bar too high so that the job of writing them feels big.

    All the best in your writing for kids. It can be a very fun kind of writing to do!

  6. Oh, you're all wonderful with your kind words and suggestions!


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