Marie’s Quest for Balance – September 2019

Something you may not know – I used to keep a running blog. There was a time (only about a 2 month stretch, but it was A TIME) when I was keeping my book blog and my running blog up to date and posting multiple times a week. That was not sustainable. But one of the last things I wrote about on that blog was my Quest for Balance… which I totally let slide as the year went on. But I liked the idea of it, and I think it would be helpful for me (and maybe for you, readers?) to be fairly transparent about where I’m at in life, reading, and writing. So while it’s not the same Quest for Balance that I laid out at the beginning of the year on my other (now defunct) blog, it’s going to be a space where I check in with y’all.

So here we go. I’m going to break my updates into four categories – reading, writing, blogging, and life.


This is the update I was most focused on getting out there. I have loved being back to reading on the reg. I took almost a year off, and it was miserable. I didn’t have my wind-down at night, because reading legit helps me sleep. So my sleep was off. But my whole life has been off for a while (I’ll get to that), so I had to find myself slowly. I think I’m back. So here’s my update – because of life things that I’m going to talk about later in this update, I’m scaling my reading back a bit. I was trying to read upwards of 8 books each month, and it’s not sustainable. So I’m dropping that to a new book each week, and I’ll be peppering in some reviews of backlist titles that I’ve been meaning to review for AGES and haven’t gotten around to. So expect more Beat the Backlist reviews and less ARC reviews, although I’ll still be doing some. I’ve built a good relationship with the Fantastic Flying Book Club ladies and am going to continue to review for tours for them, but I’m being a little pickier about which books I choose. I’m striving for balance. But this blog isn’t going away, by any means. I’m just trying to balance rather than go on hiatus (again – I won’t do it!).


As you may remember from my announcement post, I signed a two-book deal with Magnolia Press for a contemporary fiction and a contemporary YA. So you hopefully already know I’m a writer! Writing brings me a lot of joy, and that was another thing that totally fell off my radar last year. But I’m rebuilding my life, and I want writing to be part of it. What’s up next? I’ve got 3 WIPs right now, and I’m hoping to start querying one of them soon! I’ve got a contemporary romance (so fun to write!), a contemporary women’s fiction/thriller (also fun!), and a witchy YA fantasy (the funnest!) all in progress, and I’m really having a good time writing them all. So hopefully you’ll hear more from me soon.

*Note: I’m never going to be specific about plotlines or querying, because these are business ventures I’m exploring. But the fact that I’m writing is fun, and that’s what I like sharing with you! If you have any personal questions, you are welcome to email me: mariepatlanwrites (at) gmail (dot) com.


Okay, the main thing I want to say is that the blog is staying where it is! Nothing is changing other than I’m probably not always going to be able to do two book reviews each week. I’m going to try, but it will be at least one per week as my life gets a little more hectic. This blog is my escape from the world, and I really love it. So I’m not going anywhere!


This is where things have gotten a little messy! Insert bullet points:

  • I’m working on defining my identity as I figure it out. As I said in this essay, I have learned some things about myself in the last year, since my husband and I decided to divorce. Those things are defining my writing, for sure, but also my reading and reviewing, which is why I bring them up. I want to read diversely so I can write diversely because I live diversely. I read something on Laura Zats and Erik Hanes’ new literary agency website where they said they’re never going to make anyone self-identify, and they’re never going to police how people choose to identify themselves. I’ve struggled with this a lot, and I’m not going to get into details here today. But this is something I’ve been thinking about – I released a book under a different name (which is going to be republished under this name with Magnolia) where a character identified as sexually fluid. And I read a bad review of the book (AUTHORS, DON’T DO THIS) saying that I didn’t have any authority to write that story because I was straight. But I wasn’t straight – I never have been, but I hadn’t found the courage to acknowledge that yet. That review really hurt me, and it set me on the course I’m on today. I’m trying to figure out my own identity, but I’m also trying to learn to take the words on the page, not the author and the words. Does that make sense? It’s all part of this process of healing and exploring and growing.
  • I still run long distances, and am currently training for a 50k next month, followed by a marathon in November. So that keeps me busy (although if I’m in the mood, I can knock out some audiobooks during training!).
  • I started a PhD program. In criminology/criminal justice! So if I start reading and reviewing more crime books… that’s why.

What do these words say about me?

I’m a busy mess. But I’m doing okay.

How is everyone else doing? Have you checked in with yourselves lately? I highly recommend doing so, if you haven’t. 🙂

Happy reading!

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