7 Things I Learned from 7 years of Blogging

7 Things I Learned from 7 years of Blogging

It’s been seven years. Seven years since the PJV crawled out of my brain and exposed itself all over the internet. Seven years since I had one review and the only person that followed me was my mother. This has been quite a journey.

I had thought to post originally about 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Blogging, but as I began to write the article I realized I didn’t have 7 things. In fact, I didn’t regret very much about blogging, even though blogging has changed my life—and sometimes not in a positive way. But, all of those changes have led me here. I love blogging…and wouldn’t change a thing.

Here are 7 Things I Learned from 7 years of Blogging

Top Ten Book Review

It taught me to write on a schedule. I always wanted to be a writer, even though I didn’t admit it to anyone in the blogging community. Blogging taught me to write on a schedule and have a timeline. I think without blogging I wouldn’t have tried to publish.

Top Ten Book Review

Blogging taught me that things change. Roll with it. My blogging endeavor has changed my life drastically. I’ve gone from corporate drone to work-from-home freelance, to author. Blogging has taught me that you need a plan, but you also need to be able to change that plan.

Top Ten Book Review

Blogging has taught me confidence. Confidence in my opinion, to back up my opinion with solid evidence and how to speak my mind without backing down. I’ve learned that once I put it out there, I can’t take it back – so it’s challenged me to be ready to stand behind them.

Top Ten Book Review

Doing what I love, doesn’t seem like hard work, but it is. I can work hours and hours and come out of that madness a little sweaty but all kinds of satisfied. I like what I do, it’s hard, but it’s rewarding.

Top Ten Book Review
Blogging has taught me it’s okay to take risks. That life shouldn’t be a task, it should be an adventure. It’s silly to think that blogging has done this for me, but before blogging I was a go to work, come home, do chores type of girl. Blogging has pushed me out of the box I had locked myself in – and showed me that you can do all these other things that I didn’t think were possible before.
Top Ten Book Review
Blogging has taught me that you can make more meaningful relationships with a person across the world that shares your same passion, than you can with the person you went to school with, or a coworker etc.
Top Ten Book Review
Helping others makes me feel good. I’ve learned through blogging that helping others in their own blogging endeavors, or helping them publish is probably the most rewarding aspects of blogging and online life. That through this I feel I have a voice and knowledge and that it’s a commodity that other’s value. Having value as a person is probably the best feeling in the world. Seeing the product of your knowledge manifest in other’s accomplishments makes all of this worthwhile.
The PJVs New Look

The PJVs New Look

It’s been a really long time – but the PJV finally has a new theme. The new theme is Extra from Elegant Themes. There are a lot of new features in this theme you can see on the outside and a few more in the inside. The biggest “outside” feature is that I’m now using a magazine layout. You can also now rate each of my posts. It is a good way to say “nice post” without having to comment, kind of like a little cheat.

I’m still working on everything – there are a ton of features. I’m also using this as an excuse to change things up on parajunkee.com. With this writing thing, I haven’t been able to read as much as I would like, so reviews have gone way down. So, I’m going to try and integrate more fun things on the blog and stop stressing myself out with reviews. There will still be reviews, just not two a week which was the norm. If you see something crazy – and you like it, let me know what you think. I don’t even think I’m restricting myself with literary. And now all you have to do is hit a star rating. Don’t like it 1-star me, love it 5-star it. I can take 1-stars, I’ve been dishing them out for years, if I can’t take it, right?



And, by the way, I have a developer’s license with Elegant themes – so if you need a new WordPress theme I can get it for you. Just email me.

New Features of Parajunkee.com:

  • Posts sorted by highest rated in front page layout
  • New review scoring by percentages, we can now rate the books by any category we choose and it tallies it up for an overall percentage rate
  • Rate PJV posts by star ratings
  • Easy to search product area
  • New Featured images
  • Better related posts
  • Easier to find old posts
  • More blogging prompts, challenges etc.
  • More craziness
  • Not just literary posts!
  • More posts about writing
  • More tutorials

Let me know what you think!

Rate me or comment, I'll take 'em both.
Book Bloggers Are Failed Writers

Book Bloggers Are Failed Writers

Book Bloggers Are Failed Writers Who Resent the Success of “Actual” Writers

Did I get your attention? It’s a terrible statement, but I was told this. It was the “big thing” about the time I started this blog…waaay back in 2009. One of my first negative reviews that I wrote, that was the response I got from the author. I was told, I was a “pretty” writer that could use big words–so why was I wasting my time blogging about books? Obviously, to this author, I had tried to write and failed and I was jealous of her success. She went into great detail about my supposed lack of talent and drive–among other things.


No. Not really.

Her book was a bad book IMHO, other people liked it, I was surprised I finished it. But those words she retaliated with hurt, as I’m sure my review did the same fo her. Live by the sword…err. But, really her words were meant to hurt my feelings. And they succeeded and stuck with me. And it happened again. This time it was directed not at me, but as a general post from an author about book bloggers and how they must all want to be writers…why else would they be doing this? So, they were firmly in the “wanna be” category of lesser forms of humans (not in those words exactly).

Those two instances merged together and kind of stuck with me, even though I knew they shouldn’t. Because the fact was, I did want to be a writer. I had wanted to write since I could remember. I had toyed with going all the way and getting a Masters in English but chose an art major instead–who has time for more school? I had a few short stories published in college and I had written and finished four books and countless other half-finished monstrosities that I hadn’t worked up the nerve to query. And then Katrina hit. Fifteen feet of water later and my computer was nothing more than a boat anchor…bye-bye five years of writing. I had published a few non-fiction books through a company I worked for though…if that counted. They were published, even if they were about businessy stuff. That counted right?

But, then the storm hit, I lost those books and then I had a kid which sort of put everything at the back burner. I guess this is where the Failed Writer comes into play. Guess I was technically a failed writer by the time I started Book Blogging. Maybe that is why those statements rang true. People can only hurt you if you let them.

People can only

My goal hadn’t been to get into Book Blogging so I could sell a book though, it had purely been a marketing experiment, to see if I could do it.

Even with those intentions, I kept my writing a secret, I never told anyone that I wanted to write. If they asked, I would say “no” and look away. A few people knew I “dabbled” and I had even sent a few pages to friends. But, I kept anything I put together a secret.

Until I finally finished something that I thought was viable. And then I was stuck. What do I do? Do I use my blog as a platform to promote it? Do I publish under my name? Do I admit that I was a “failed writer” and hopefully now I’m not? What if it sucks? What if it fails? What if no one buys it and they write terrible reviews about it–and then they look at me, the blogger–as a failed writer and now a failed blogger because it’s all tied together.

Oh, did I stay up late at night and toss and turn.

At about this time I published my Grandmother’s book, under Parajunkee Publishing. Bought software, saw how easy it was to upload to Amazon and Smashwords; held a book in my hand that I had produced. Because I did, produce it…that is. GMa’s book was a word document with no editing, words and dates wrong, hand drawings where pictures should be and phrases like, ‘get a picture of jacks and put it somewhere in this area,’ and I took that thing, researched images at Tulane University, did the layout, did the cover, bought the ISBNs and rolled with it. Then, I did the layout again when it got kicked back via Smashwords, promoted it when it was finally done, set-up books signings, sold said books at the signings and even sat with her as she signed 100 of them for friends. And after all of this, thought–damn I can do this too!

But, I was still scared. Once I did it there was no going back. If I came out with a book and it tanked I would be known for tanking. Here goes that FAILED WRITER phrase again. If you live for a dream and then fail, what is left? The obvious conclusion was an “experiment”. It was my little experiment; if it failed, it was an experiment if it succeed…well I didn’t even want to think about that. It was a test. How did I do this? A pen name. I market tons of books for other people, why not do it for myself? Just, another me, writer me.


Same quandary, just I could hide behind my pen name. I wasn’t ALL IN. But, I’ve never been good with a secret and I’m a terrible liar, even if I really never lied, or so I told myself. I just sort of went AROUND the truth. Bull-shit meters are going off right now. So, I apologize to anyone that I went AROUND with, I did it because I didn’t feel comfortable with using my blog to sell books. I did it because I was afraid to put myself out there and I did it because I didn’t want to be a “failed writer.” And I also did it, to see if I could do it. Another experiment, which is my life’s road map. 

So, if you figured it out, which a few of you did. Yup, I wrote it. I’m a writer. I wrote a book. Two actually. And at this moment in time when I’m writing this post, just today, over a 150 people have read them. Just today. Which is surreal (love that Kindle Unlimited page tracker). So, I maybe can say, I’m not a failed writer anymore. And hopefully with this post I won’t be replacing it with “failed blogger.” I hope I didn’t mislead anyone, I never promoted them like I was reviewing them, just all promotional copy. If you think I did act skeevy and dishonest. I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to be skeevy. Please accept my humblest of apologies. 

XOXO – Rachel aka Gillian Zane

For transparency purposes, yes there is a giveaway going on via the blog, it’s a promo blitz. No, my alter-ego is not Zoey too. What does this mean for the blog? Personally, I have no idea. I would like to continue on the same path. I might review a lot less, maybe do a few tutorials geared toward writing. But, I still love blogging. And hopefully you guys love what I write, whether it’s a blog post or a book.

PJV News: Changing Things up on Parajunkee.com

PJV News: Changing Things up on Parajunkee.com

Things are changing at the PJV! I have some very exciting but sad news.

This isn’t the first time you are hearing it from me, my review views are just WAAAY down. No one reads my reviews. No one. I’m lucky if I get one view. One. And a comment – what are those?? On reviews anyway. My readers don’t like my reviews, they like my other stuff.

Take a look at these horrible stats! This just proves my point:



So, I’ve decided to stop beating around the bush. Why even bother with book reviews?

Parajunkee.com will still promote books and authors, but we will also open it up to tech, products and things that will help us in our everyday lives. We’ve even accepted a few tentative sponsors for our  new foray, including one from Google – to beta test and review their new eInk reader that they will be launching to go hand in hand with the new Google Play features.

New Product from Google

For the last 3 years I have been reviewing products on Amazon exclusively, but now I believe I shall bring those reviews to this blog – which will allow me to give away these gadgets and open up the site to sponsors. Which will mean – more giveaways! Come on, don’t you want to win this fancy new air filter that I just got in this morning and have slated for review??

Aire Purifier


But, that is just a drop in the bucket! Along with product reviews we have a whole load of new features coming to the blog!

  1. Blog Tech Reviews
  2. More tutorials! Including DIY projects and recipes
  3. Movie and DVD reviews and releases
  4. Daily blog hops!
  5. Funny picture days
  6. Cute Kitty Features
  7. Book hoarding self-help guides

And that is to just name a few!!! We can’t wait to get started on this new Parajunkee’s View. Big, plans, big plans I say!

What do you think of the changes? 

And by the way — April Fools! <3

The PJV Does November

The PJV Does November

Can you believe November has already come and gone? I can’t. I’m still reeling from October. But, November is done and it is now the start of the “holidays”. Lights are up on the outside of my house, thanks to the DH in his infinite, house lighting abilities and now I have to actually clean my house so we can get a Christmas Tree. Hope everyone had a great month. I’m trying out a new “end of month” close, email, which will be (hopefully) a regular feature with the PJV.

Monthly Highlights

New Blogs / BookTubers Discovered This Month:

A Day in Bookland 

Jesse the Reader

New Plugins Being Used:

Email Subscriber


The Best Book Read This Month:

Burn for Me

This month we had a bunch of great tutorials:


We also had a few book reviews:


And our Snark got a lot of attention:


What was the best book you read this month?




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