19 June 2019

Increase Your Writing Output with these Three Simple Steps



As the plumber replaced the water heater last week, (an appliance that decided to quit working in the middle of the night, but no one noticed until the following morning. Ugh...I'm not a fan of ice-cold showers!) he asked one of the questions I frequently get: How I manage to write as many books as I do!? Within the last seven months the second and third installment of my Country Girl Empress series, A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROWN and THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER, were published, as well as my recipe book 'TIS THE SEASON FOR CHRISTMAS COOKIES. Now, I’m on track to have another historical fiction piece release next year as well. If all I needed to do was write the first draft and send it off, two to three books a year would be a fairly easy task. But we all know that an author has more responsibilities than just writing the initial draft.

First, there's the research. Can't write historical fiction or anything else for that matter without thoroughly researching the subject matter. Then, I generally do at least six sets of edits per book, plus incorporating my editor's finds and suggestions, and a final read-through to catch any overlooked typos and mistakes. With three books published within a less than a year, that means a total of twenty-four rounds of editing.

In addition to the research, writing, and editing, there’s, of course, marketing said books. Because no matter if you're self-published or going the traditional publishing route, we all have to do our share of marketing our writings. And let's not forget the countless other tasks that writers must attend to on a daily basis: social media, communications with readers and industry professionals, writing blog posts and magazine articles, etc. Not to mention other projects, perhaps a daytime job, and just life in general.

With all this going on, how in the world can an author like me possibly produce a book a year much less three of them? As I thought about what I do to remain productive in the midst of all these responsibilities, I realized that these three things help me keep on track:

- Self-Discipline


I can be extremely self-disciplined when I put my mind to it. No matter if the world around me is coming to an end or not, I make myself write every day, whether I'm healthy or feeling a bit under the weather. Well-rested or exhausted, joyful or depressed, it doesn't matter. When it comes to writing that first draft, I will write without fail.

I've also become quite adept at ignoring the internet. It does take some self-discipline not to respond to social media messages or emails the instant they are received. I’ve learned long ago that those messages and emails will still be there when I’m done with my writing for the day. Writing has to be my priority because it’s my stories that my readers are interested in, not social media posts about cute kittens or puppies - no matter how much I love puppies and kittens!

- Adherence to Set Goals


For most of my writing, I determine how much time I have available based on deadlines, even self-imposed ones. If I have projects that require editing, need a book cover, or require some visual aids to be added, while I’m in the middle of writing a book, I will work on those things after I have reached my daily word count goals.

- Intense Writing Sessions


When I sit down to write, I like to begin my writing process by reading the last couple of pages that from the day before. I might edit a bit if I happen to find a glaring error but the primary goal is to simply get my mind on the story flow. Once I've immersed myself in my story, I like to set interim deadlines for what I like to call intense writing sessions. I just write myself a note with today's word count goal and attach a time deadline to it.  Once I've reached said deadline, I establish a new one.

I find that these writing sessions help me ignore my inner editor and just focus on writing. Some days I'm better at it than on others, but overall I like to think that such writing sessions force me to focus on my stories rather than get side-tracked by minutia that often just slows me down.

So, how do you maintain a steady writing output? What helps you to keep on writing? I would love to hear what works for you!


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added four historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, and The Perpetual Traveler. When she isn't busy typing on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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12 June 2019

#WritersLife: How to Develop an Effective Writing Habit


As long as I can remember I’ve always admired writers who can crank out thousands of words per day. When writing was merely my hobby, I often struggled to carve out time to write in between my day job, family, and life in general. But since writing has developed into something more I've learned that developing a daily writing habit helps to 1) make more money with your writing, 2) consistently produce quality content, and ultimately 3) achieve your writing goals.

So, what is a habit? It is a learned behavior pattern which is regularly followed until it has almost become a reflex. Over the years everyone acquires daily habits which are performed without much forethought, such as brushing your teeth, putting on sunscreen, or washing our face in the morning. In the beginning, these habits took more than likely a concerted effort, since someone such as a parent had to remind us of them frequently.

But eventually, these desired actions somehow worked their way into the subconscious mind, and are now performed as easily as breathing. So, just imagine how incredible it will be to sit down to write every single day because it is a habit! It would certainly remove a lot of guesswork and ensure you achieve your daily word count with relative ease. While there is no simple path to writing success, there are definitely several things you can do to develop a good writing habit.

It all starts in your mind. 


We become what we repeatedly tell ourselves, so take a moment and tell yourself a personal writing affirmation, even if you have to look in the mirror in the morning to do so. I know it sounds silly, but science has proven long ago that if you say something to yourself long enough, you will act by those words because you cannot hold a personal belief and then move in an opposing fashion.

Ask yourself why. 


The "why" is almost more important than how, when, or what you are writing. I write every day even if it's just for a few minutes so I can consistently publish, to include blog posts and articles that are helpful to others. If I don't write for a while, I just don't feel like myself. A strong "why" will encourage a consistent writing habit, even when you are ill, tired, or stressed out.

Set goals. 


Developing a new habit doesn't mean you are going to decide to write every day and just do it. You might want to start out writing for three hours every day, but that might just be an unrealistic goal. By doing so, you more than likely just set yourself up for failure, and ultimately reinforce the belief that your goal is unattainable. Instead, begin with baby steps by setting an easy-to-achieve objective, such as writing for a quarter of an hour every other day this week. Once you've found your groove, you can slowly increase the time you spend on writing from there.

Set a daily writing time and add it to your schedule. 


I'm very much a morning person, and I like to write every morning from 6 to 8 am, while sipping my first cup of coffee. Many times I write more, but then there are days when I just can't seem to focus. But, getting my writing done early in the day provides me with a sense of accomplishment and reinforces my daily writing habit.

Say 'Goodbye' to distractions. 


Your schedule says it’s time to write, but you haven’t been on (insert favourite social media) yet. Write first, then catch up with your friends and followers. FB, Instagram, and Co. will still be there after you've finished writing for the day. If necessary, close all other windows on your computer so you can focus. Turn off the TV, Radio, etc. if you are one of those people who can't concentrate on a task properly when there's excessive background noise. Sometimes I even turn off my phone or at least put it in airplane mode.

Keep it professional! 


Don’t feel like writing today? Think about this....when you work outside the home you find yourself going to work even when you are ill, exhausted, busy, or dealing with personal issues. Well, treat your writing like a profession, and you quickly find yourself writing more. When you view your writing seriously, then the productivity will follow soon, even when you're not in the mood for writing.

Always be prepared...


to write! This motto doesn't just work for the boy scouts. I usually carry a tablet computer or at least an old-fashioned notebook with a pen around in my handbag in case I think of something to add to one of my current writing projects and find myself with a little extra time to write while I'm out and about.

Don't forget to keep it fun! 


Writing is an incredible and rewarding journey, and it should be fun, not just mind numbing work! It's true, writing takes a lot of effort, and it can be stressful when faced with deadlines, but it can also be loads of fun. So, do what you must to keep it that way. You’ll be more inclined to write often if you actually enjoy the process. I find writing more enjoyable when it's a subject matter that's important to me.

Developing a daily writing habit will take some time, effort, and patience on your part, but it is so worth it!



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added four historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, and The Perpetual Traveler. When she isn't busy typing on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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05 June 2019

Month in Review - May 2019



Hello June! I still cannot believe that the month of May has come and gone already. Summertime is here, and the outdoor fun has just begun. But, before I get sidetracked by my newest gardening projects, it's time to recap last month. So, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for May 2019, chosen by you, the readers:

It's Time to Party...A Book Launch Celebration



Today I celebrate another significant milestone!

Today the third book in my Country Girl Empress series THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER hits virtual bookshelves! I still can't quite believe it myself...this is so exciting. The book is centered around real historical figures such as Empress Elisabeth of Austria, her husband Emperor Franz Joseph I, and their children. Come join them as their story continues...


Sneak Peek of THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER - A Country Girl Empress Novel


As most of my readers know by now, I've been diligently working on my next historical fiction piece, THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER for some time, and the third book of my Country Girl Empress series is nearly ready to hit a bookshelf near you. I can also well imagine that many of you wouldn't mind a sneak peek. Well, you won't have to wait any longer. Here it is....


Book Publishing: How to Review Your Proof Copy in Three Steps




When publishing a book, the moment of truth is simply inevitable. After all, it is the moment that you have anxiously awaited and probably even dreamed about. The printed proof copy of your book has finally arrived on your doorstep! That just happened to me…my newest historical fiction novel THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER showed up on my door step just a couple of days ago. I'm just giddy with excitement...




With Memorial Day weekend and the official start of summer right around the corner, I decided to write another article about a subject matter near and dear to my heart. As most of my readers know, I am a devoted pet owner, and I just adore my furry children. Summertime means lots of fun in the sun for us and our four-legged family members….




Writing a book takes many hours and dedication. Often it takes an author away from their loved ones. Most writers get paid much less than you might think; most of them write because they love to tell a story. The one or two dollars they make in royalties per book barely buys that next cup of coffee that fuels the next chapter. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme...

Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to come by often to catch up on my latest endeavours and Happy Reading!



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added four historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, and The Perpetual Traveler. When she isn't busy typing on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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29 May 2019

It's Time to Party....A Book Launch Celebration


Today I celebrate another significant milestone!

Today the third book in my Country Girl Empress series THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER hits virtual bookshelves! I still can't quite believe it myself...this is so exciting. The book is centered around real historical figures such as Empress Elisabeth of Austria, her husband Emperor Franz Joseph I, and their children. Come join them as their story continues! Naturally, I fictionalized the story and filled it with page-turning adventures, some danger, and a hint of romance. 

If you enjoyed the first two parts of this series, THE COUNTRY GIRL EMPRESS and A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROWN, then I have no doubt that you will love this installment. But, no matter if this sort of book is your cup of tea or not, there might be someone in your life who does enjoy historical fiction, and I love to encourage my readers to give books as gifts, as they make great presents for any occasion.  

To all my readers who have been following my writing journey, thank you for all your support, encouragement, and enthusiasm! You make the hard work worthwhile, and I could not have done it without you. If I have not "met" you yet, make sure you head over to one of my social media outlets on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Goodreads, and introduce yourself. Thank you for celebrating this book launch with me! 

About the book:

The great monarchies of Europe begin to crumble. From within, they face rebellions and revolutions, while outside forces cause further instability. But somehow the Austro-Hungarian Empire is spared thanks to one woman – Sisi! To escape the constant pressures of stringent court life, Sisi turns into a perpetual traveler and is seldom seen in the capital city. The Emperor, despite his deep love for Sisi, is still unable to break the chains of the strict court protocol, even though it continuously puts their relationship to the test. 

Just like the late Archduchess Sophie before her, Sisi begins to arrange suitable marriages for her older children to further the Empire's interests and ensure its continuance. The first to fall victim to her schemes is Archduchess Gisela. Then, Crown Prince Rudolph travels with his mother to Belgium to meet fifteen-year-old Princess Stephanie. But will this potential child-bride enflame the Crown Prince's heart, and more importantly, will Stephanie gain the Emperor's approval? 

And things are also not what they ought to be in Sisi's beloved Bavaria. After repeatedly postponing his wedding with Sisi's younger sister Sophie, King Ludwig finally cancels their nuptials altogether. Rumor has it that his bride has fallen in love with the court photographer. But what is really going on in Munich, and what's the matter with Ludwig? 

In mid-19th century Vienna, palace staterooms and bedrooms are not only filled with splendor but also with enticements, opponents and merciless conspiracies. Sisi now faces a new set of challenges. Can the beautiful Country Girl Empress weather these storms, or will she become the latest sacrificial lamb on the altar of the all-powerful Danube Monarchy?

by A. Piper Burgi

Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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22 May 2019

Canine Summer Safety Tips



With Memorial Day weekend and the official start of summer right around the corner, I decided to write another article about a subject matter near and dear to my heart. As most of my readers know, I am a devoted pet owner, and I just adore my furry children.

Summertime means lots of fun in the sun for us and our four-legged family members….well, that is when the weather plays along. While long days are spent frolicking outdoors creates many priceless memories, it can also pose hidden dangers to your fur babies. However, when you follow common sense, you can ensure everyone, including your pet(s), enjoy summer safely.

Please, do not leave your pet in the car!



I have read the heart-breaking story too many times. Someone’s beloved pet was found dead in a vehicle, even though the pet parent was only gone for a short period. Even with the windows cracked, the inside of a car can heat up in a matter of minutes. Leaving the A/C running also does not guarantee your furry companion’s safety. If you are planning on running errands to places that do not allow pets on their premises, consider keeping them at home. You would not leave a human baby in the car with the windows cracked open! Then why would you do that to a furry baby? 

Hydration is key! 



Pets that spend time outdoors in the heat require plenty of water. To avoid dehydration, always bring fresh water with you and offer it to your pet at least every half hour. There are many styles of portable dog bowls available that are convenient to carry in a small handbag; some dogs even learn how to drink from a bottle and water packs.  

Pets can get sunburned, too!



Dogs and cats are susceptible to the same damage from ultraviolet rays just like we are. This is especially so for white or light-colored pets and areas of the body with thin hair, such as the nose, ears, and bellies. It might look a bit silly, but a light T-Shirt can help protect them, along with some pet-safe sunscreen. 

It's time to chill out!



The amount of time a dog can exercise in the warm weather depends on several factors: How long and often has the animal been exposed to hot temperatures, the animal's current health and fitness level, and hydration status.

In general, once it gets above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, dog owners should be cautious when exercising their dog outdoors. For most of them, moderate activity for thirty minutes is safe. When the temperature exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit, it is probably best for pet and pet parent to skip the outdoor workout until it cools down.

If your dog displays rapid or labored breathing, starts to resist walking or acts depressed, your dog may be overheating. In these cases, stop, rest, and re-hydrate. This does not mean you need to cease exercising because your dog is panting, just be mindful of your dog's behavior. Watch him/her carefully to determine if the panting is excessive or abnormal. When in doubt, take a break!

Water safety


Many pet owners enjoy taking their animal companions to the beach for a dip or a boat ride. Such activities are great ways to bond with your furry children. I love to include my pets in outdoor fun whenever possible, but not every animal is a strong swimmer. When you plan to take your pet in the water or on a boat, please consider the use of a pet flotation vest.  The ones with a sturdy, convenient handle will allow you to safely retrieve your companion should he/she get tuckered out from swimming or fall overboard. Fun in the sun can get hot, so remember to provide plenty of shade and lots of drinking water during your outings.

After an enjoyable day in the water, you might want to give your dog's coat a quick rinse with plenty of clean, fresh water and some pet shampoo. Don't forget to clean and dry the ears (especially the floppy ones) with an ear cleaning solution! Ear infections are often caused by allowing moisture to remain in the ears after swimming or bathing.

Summertime is a great time of the year for people and their pets. The activities you share with your furry companions this season will last a lifetime. Be smart, and stay safe!

by A. Piper Burgi

Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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