Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


Welcome Book Blogger Book Club Mom

Today I’m excited to welcome a fellow blogger whom many of you know. I can’t recall if we met through Word Press or Twitter, but she is definitely one of my favorite people. I’ve invited her to talk about her journey as a book blogger. Please welcome Barbara Vitelli, whom many of you know as Book Club Mom!

Book Club Mom – one book blogger’s evolution

My WordPress blog turns 6 years old this summer, but I started writing book reviews much earlier than that. I’ve been in a book club for 18 years and, after a few rounds of books, I wanted to find a way to keep track of not just those books, but everything I read. I was a lot younger then and had a better memory, but I was also raising little boys and I knew I’d never remember if I didn’t write something down. I also didn’t want to be caught in a conversation and have to say, “Oh yeah, I think I read that. Was it good?”

So I began posting reviews on Amazon. I liked seeing where I fit in Amazon’s rating system and wanted to be a top reviewer. Of course, my initial ranking was somewhere in the millions, but why not aim high? I soon discovered, however, that book reviews are mixed in with everything else Amazon sells, so there’s nothing meaningful about the reviewers ranking.

I was clueless when I started my blog.

At the time, my son had just started a WordPress blog and he encouraged me to start a book blog. I had no idea how to blog and I made many embarrassing mistakes. But I learned. There’s a limit to how many books I can read, however, so I try to fill in with other bookish posts. Of course, there continue to be some clunkers, but you cringe a little and then move on.

I learned that honest book reviews are important, but they have to be fair.

My book review style has changed over time and I’ve since deleted many early reviews because I didn’t think they were good enough. My goal now is to express my opinion fairly but also maintain a brand so that readers can trust my opinion as being true. A certain responsibility goes with writing book reviews, however. Just because I don’t love a book might just mean it isn’t for me, so I always try to see the bigger picture. I also pay close attention to how other bloggers handle reviews of books that were not their favorites and learn from them.

In addition, I have special admiration for indie and self-published authors. I know how much work goes into getting a book out there, so I read indie and self-published books with the respect they deserve.

Then I got a job after 20 years.

Three years ago, after 20 years as a stay-at-home mom, I decided to return to the work force. I set my sights on our local library and spent a lot of time during my interview talking about my book blog. I got the job and I’m sure my experience as a book blogger helped me. Working with people who love to read and helping our customers find the right books is the perfect job for me!

Blogging is a balancing act.

I have made great friends on WordPress and interacting with them has become an important part of my life. It’s a wonderful way to connect with people. I now have friends all over the world and we visit each other’s blogs like we’re stopping in for a chat. Of course, there’s always the issue of time. But I don’t worry if I have to step away from blogging for a bit because I know my friends are doing the same balancing act and we always find a way to catch up!

Through blogging, I have found a way to express my ideas and keep a record of my books, but what’s the best part? My blogging buddies!

Thanks so much for visiting! Barbara will be around to answer any questions you might have.

In addition to blogging, Barbara has published 2 books with her father, Fred H. Rohn, a collection of short fiction and a memoir. Check out Rohn’s books here:

Encounters – Relationships in Conflict
A Fortunate Life

You can learn more about Barbara on her WordPress blog, Book Club Mom. And be sure to catch up with her on Twitter @BookClubMom and Facebook @BookClubMom



Welcome Author Jacqui Murray #NewRelease

Today I’m thrilled to host Jacqui Murray from WordDreams as she launches her latest book Survival of the Fittest.

I met Jacqui several years ago and I must say, she is one of the hardest working writers and teachers I know. As some of you may not know, she has a wealth of information on her blog, so I hope you’ll check it out.

Congratulations on your latest release, Jacqui! We are all so happy for you.

Now…about the book!

Short Blurb:

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home.


Short Summary:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands but an escape path laid out years before by her father as a final desperate means to survival. She is joined by other homeless tribes–from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant—all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that this enemy doesn’t want her People’s land. He wants to destroy her.


What popular books are in the prehistoric fiction genre?

The most famous prehistoric fiction novel is certainly Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear. My book is like this in that my main character is a female who struggles to survive in a male dominated world and ultimately thrives.


Book information:

Title and author: Survival of the Fittest

Series: Book 1 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Cover by: Damonza 

Available at: Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU


Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Summer 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning



Social Media contacts:







Jacqui Murray

K-18 Technology

Master Teacher

Adjunct Professor, CSU, UCSD

Amazon Vine Voice

TeachHUB columnist

NEA columnist

Webmaster, Ask a Tech Teacher

Freelance journalist