Month: March 2023

186 – Get Focused! Part 4

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Get Focused! Part 4 Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young

Many writers are sabotaging their ability to focus without even knowing it. They continue in one certain habit—a habit that almost everyone has—that derails and obstructs their ability to focus. What habit is that? Allowing distractions to steal your focus and direct it away from where you want it! What can we do to steel ourselves against the habit of being distracted? Join us to find out!

But first, thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

In our previous episodes in this focus series, we talked about focus on a life scale, a career scale, and on a day-to-day scale. Today we want to get all the way down to the moment-by-moment scale. 

Some of us, and we’re including ourselves here, have every intention of being focused in our thoughts and activities, but our brains don’t always cooperate. Our minds skitter from thing to thing to thing to thing. Erin and Karen have had more than one meeting where one of us is talking and the other is like, “Oh look! A butterfly!”

That’s not a picture of great focus. We recognize the challenges. We live them. 

It’s not just us. We as a society seem to be getting more and more distractible—the internet and phone apps daily encourage it with their constant flashing of ads and notifications. We have trouble keeping our attention on what we truly want to focus on. 

That becomes a question of attention span. There was an article in Newsweek about this. The article defined attention span as “the amount of time we can stay focused on something.” 

It goes on to make the case that technology is making us accustomed to distraction, to the point where distraction becomes a habit. Because it’s a habit that is continually reinforced, it becomes a very strong habit.

Then, once we’ve developed a habit of distraction, our attention span decreases, and that leads to impatience. A short attention span combined with impatience leads us to feeling like anything that requires time and thought is unpleasant. So we tend to want to do quick easy tasks rather than dive into those bigger tasks which we think will be more difficult, because we assume they’ll be unpleasant. 

But that’s not necessarily reality. That’s our “habit” speaking. Many times completing a difficult task creates the opposite feeling. It might be a hard task, but we feel a great sense of accomplishment when we finish, and that feels great, not unpleasant. 

But habits are strong, so it’s no wonder we’re struggling with having short attention spans. And we’ll likely continue to struggle. The Newsweek article goes on to say, “Society now supports this downward spiral. Expectations of constant availability and the pressure to participate in social media and a variety of other communication channels keep us tethered to our devices.”

What can we do to change things? We’ve done some research and found some ideas to help increase our attention span and encourage moment-by-moment focus. 

Recognize the bAD habit

The first thing the Newsweek article suggests is to “recognize that distraction is a bad habit.” In other words, it’s not a good thing. It’s something we should work to change. 

Stop Multitasking

The next thing we can do is to stop multitasking. We talked about this at length in the last episode on focus, so you can check that out for more of the research. But the bottom line is that our brains are not designed to multitask. They’re designed to do one cognitive task at a time. What we’re really doing when we think we’re multitasking is switching back and forth between cognitive tasks and that is scientifically proven to be inefficient and slower.

Practice Mindfulness

Another idea to help increase our  attention spa, is to practice mindfulness. An article on the George Washington University website defined mindfulness as “basic, intentional focus on the present moment.” 

The article goes on to say, “[Mindfulness] can be a powerful tool in training your mind to settle on the immediate tasks at hand.” 

You can practice mindfulness by doing something like taking a walk while keeping your phone and other technology distractions out of sight and sound, and focus on your senses. Use your powers of observation and pay attention to what you can see, hear, touch, smell. Focus on only that.

Another way to practice mindfulness might be to pay attention to only whatever small task you’re doing at that moment. For example, maybe you’re making your bed. Don’t let your mind skitter around or think about the next task. Focus only on those blankets you’re putting in order. Tucking the sheet in or whatever. Practice being in the now. You can use little chores—doing the dishes, folding laundry, whatever—as an opportunity to practice and hone your ability to focus. 

Active LIstening

Another idea the Newsweek article mentions to help increase attention span is to practice active listening. 

This is surely something we all need anyway, whether we think we have focus issues or not. When you’re having a conversation with someone, stop whatever else you’re doing, or whatever you’re tempted to do, and focus solely on listening. Put down your phone, close your laptop, turn off the TV or your music or whatever. Focus on what other people are saying, on where they’re coming from, rather than on what you want to say next or on what that ding on your phone just meant.

Be curious about other people and their point of view. Listen to learn. Don’t interrupt. This is much harder than it sounds.

Another idea related to listening is to choose one thing to listen to, maybe a selection of music or a podcast. Listen without your tv on, without scrolling on your phone or tablet. The idea is to ONLY listen. A lot of us like to do other tasks while we listen to a podcast or something. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that. We’re only saying that you can also use that podcast or musical selection as a chance to increase your attention span.


Another practice that can increase attention span is meditation. The Newsweek article quoted Dr Susan Albers, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. She said that meditation “taps right into the skill needed to increase attention span.”

She goes on to say that the reason why meditation can help is that it “requires you to quiet your mind and focus on what is happening in the moment.”

Basically you’re training your focus. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center say that “meditation can change the structure and function of the brain through relaxation, which can improve memory and attention span, in addition to offering other health benefits.”

Even people new to the practice of meditation can see a benefit, so you don’t have to be some seasoned veteran at it or anything.

There are many different ways to practice mediation. A few are:

Mindfulness Meditation

We talked about mindfulness meditation earlier when we suggested taking a walk and paying attention to your sensory input. But mindfulness meditation can also be just sitting and focusing on breathing, or focusing on your thoughts, paying attention to them as they go through your mind.

Scripture Meditation

Scripture meditation is a concentrative type of meditation. There are lots of ways to meditate on Scripture, but one way is that you might read a verse through a few times to get the flow, and then slow down and focus on it word by word, contemplating the meaning of each word and the implications of each word, then taking time to listen to what God may be saying to you through all that.

Movement Meditation

Movement meditation is another type of meditation. It might be through something like walking or gardening or practicing yoga. It typically involves doing slow repetitive movements, focusing on your body, your breathing, and staying connected to the present moment to help you relax your mind and body.


Another activity that can improve your attention span is getting some exercise! The University of New Hampshire mentioned a study on their website that linked participating in a physical activity with longer attention spans.

Pomodoro Technique

Another way to help foster focus is to use the pomodoro technique throughout your workday. This article gives a full description of this, but basically in the pomodoro technique, you alternate between sprints of focused work and short breaks. 

For example, you set your timer for twenty minutes, then you work solidly for that time, then you get a five minute break. Or you could start with a fifteen minute work session, or thirty minutes, or whatever works for you. The goal is to encourage yourself to focus by knowing you have that break coming as a reward. The breaks serve as both reward and rest after the fatigue of focusing.

One of the nice things about the pomodoro technique is that it helps you break the habit of multitasking. Which again, increases attention span.


Another way to grow your attention span is to be sure you’re getting the sleep you need. Lack of sleep can hinder your ability to focus. Erin suffers from chronic insomnia and can testify that this is true! But even if you do get enough sleep at night, you still want to be sure you also take breaks throughout your day and your week. You need rest. You can’t focus 24/7 so don’t try. You need off time. Rest is actually necessary for productivity. 

Fasting from technology

We also encourage you to consider an occasional fast from screens: phones, computers, TV, whatever. You could try doing this one day a week, or maybe it’s an hour every day, or whatever. It’s an opportunity to unplug from the constant noise and distraction. To let your brain have a break from incessant flashing and pinging and the decision-making that every notification forces you to make. Take a break from constant input.

Monitor mind wandering

Another way you can foster better moment by moment focus is to Monitor Your Mind Wandering.

An article on said:

“We spend nearly fifty percent of our waking time thinking about something other than what we’re supposed to be doing, according to one Harvard study. We are on autopilot, and our mind is wandering, in part to avoid the effort of focusing on something. The key to heightened productivity is to notice when your mind is distracted and bring your attention back on task.”

The article goes on to say:

“This means paying attention to your thoughts and recognizing when your mind starts drifting. This allows you to manage what you focus on and redirect your thoughts when you slip up. Instead of allowing yourself to keep meandering over to social media to check out your newsfeed, you actively put the brakes on this distraction.”

This is an area we all can be praying about: that God would help us pay attention to our mind wandering. Not all mind wandering is bad—in fact, sometimes it’s necessary and good. It helps with creativity, for one thing. As writers, we need that. 

However, mind wandering can cross the line to being problematic if it derails our ability to focus. It can also become sinful if our mind wandering becomes fantasizing. Protecting our minds is something God cares deeply about, and we can trust him to answer earnest prayer and help us.

Create a Distraction Free Environment

The next idea to help encourage focus is to create a distraction free environment in your workspace. How do you do that?  

  1. Avoid clutter. A Psychology Today article says clutter can distract us, bombard our mind with too much stimuli, inhibit our creativity, cause anxiety, cause guilt, and make it difficult to relax.
  2. Make sure whatever you need to do your work is readily available—research materials, notes, supplies, or whatever. Then make sure what you don’t need is put away.
  3. Don’t have your workspace in your tv room if that will distract you. If there isn’t a good distraction free space in your home, consider going elsewhere for your writing time, such as a coffee shop or whatever.
  4. Create a distraction free computer screen (if you work on a computer). Don’t let your email or social media apps ding at you. Take advantage of full screen apps that immerse you in just that app and nothing else. 
  5. Eliminate interruptions other from people. Close your door, work when the kids are sleeping or not home. Use noise canceling headphones. 
Create a Ritual

Another idea to encourage better focus is to create a ritual that helps your mind settle, a ritual that signals your brain that it’s time to focus. Creating a routine will help set your body and mind’s expectation of what comes next. It’s like creating a habit. Your ritual might be just one minute or it might be much longer. It needs to be tailored to what works for you. 

As you’re thinking about creating a ritual, some things to consider including are: prayer, deep breathing, meditating on a Scripture verse, sitting in a favorite chair, Bible reading, doing a short set of exercises, drinking a cup of coffee, playing a worship song or some other specific type of music, taking a walk. Experiment to find what works best for you. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Repetition and consistency is the key. Do the same ritual every time.

Seek professional help

One last thing we want to mention. There are situations where a short attention span can be caused by physical and psychological conditions. For example, the article in Newsweek listed: ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, depression, learning disabilities, and head injuries as a few of the things that can affect our ability to focus.

Medication, therapy, and other treatments may be appropriate for people who deal with those types of conditions. If that might be you, it’s definitely worth having a conversation with your doctor about. 

The habit that controls our day

Giving in to the habit of distraction ruins our ability to focus. In Scripture, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Start there. Start with a habit of focusing on God. Start with prayer, even though it’s hard not to let our minds wander. But there’s no better way to establish a longer attention span and gain focus that will help us in every aspect of our lives.

Many writers sabotage their ability to focus without even knowing it. We’ll show you how and why! You CAN achieve better moment-by-moment focus! #amwriting #christianwriter Share on X

What distractions tempt you most and what helps you fight them?


Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

A big thank you to our March sponsor of the month, Tammy Partlow! She’s a speaker at women’s retreats, and her debut novel Blood Beneath the Pines, a suspense set in the deep South, is now available. She’s hard at work on the second book of the series!

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast P.S. for their fabulous sound editing!


Want the latest news from Karen and Erin? Click here to join our newsletter and get an exclusive audio download.

185 – Get Focused! Part 3

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Get Focused Part 3 Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungOne of the biggest challenges writers face is a blizzard of busyness and distraction, which can keep us from accomplishing what we need to do in the course of the day. We need tools to help us focus on what’s most important. In our previous podcasts on focus, we’ve explored ways to focus on the big picture. Now it’s time to tackle the day-to-day!

But first, thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

One of the biggest challenges we face in this world of busyness, technology, and relentless stimulation is maintaining focus on what truly matters to us. In the two previous episodes in this series on focus (episode 177 and 178) we discussed some ways to focus your life and career around your values and to prune your activities and commitments accordingly.

Today we want to discuss focus on a smaller scale. A daily, and even a moment-by-moment scale. When push comes to shove, we still need to be able to focus on our tasks today or they won’t get done. And we want those tasks to be the right tasks to keep us on track with our career and life focus.

Since we’ve talked so much about how creating focus is, in essence, making a decision about what we will and won’t spend time on, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that focus on a smaller scale also requires a decision. On a daily basis, we have to choose what to say yes to and what to say no to. How do we do that? How do we prioritize the best activity for each day? Remember the goal isn’t just to get stuff done, it’s to get the right stuff done.

First, and most important, this is a question that needs to be bathed in prayer. Not only can you be praying about this, but when we interviewed Shadia Hrichi in episodes 181 & 182, we talked about how to build a prayer team. A simple yet critical thing that you can be asking a prayer team to pray for is a sensitivity to God’s leading as you order your tasks for each day, as you consider what needs to happen each day.

There’s also some practical business wisdom we can use.

The Lee Ivy Method

James Clear, the author of the book Atomic Habits, which we’ve discussed in the past, wrote an interesting article that helps address the question of prioritizing tasks. His article is about the Lee Ivy method for achieving peak productivity—which is not just getting things done, but getting the right things done.

The steps of the Lee Ivy method, as he lists them in his article, are:

1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow.

Do not write down more than six tasks.

You could just as easily choose five or four, or whatever number works best for you. There’s nothing magical about six items. You don’t want to have so many things on the list that it’s stressful and unrealistic, or so few things on the list that you finish everything and waste productive time because you don’t know what to do next.

If you have too few items, another danger is that the tasks expand to take up the time allotted. You end up taking far longer than necessary on any given task. Also realize that this method is about daily goals. So if, for example, you’re in the middle of writing or editing your manuscript, obviously that can’t be done in one day. The solution is to break that big project down into daily goals. A daily goal could be to write 1000 words, or maybe a time goal works better for you. So the task might be to write for one hour.

2. Prioritize those six items (or the number that works for you) in order of their true importance.

How do you do that? Prayer can help you discern the order.

Another idea that can help you determine order of importance is a question we discussed in part 2 of our focus series. It’s from a book by Gary Keller called The One Thing. Ask yourself, “What is the one thing I can do, that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Or, it might be easier to phrase it: “What’s the best thing I can do to make everything else easier or unnecessary.”

What comes out of this question might surprise you. For example, I suffer from fibromyalgia, which is now affecting my ribs. My hubby and I have a golden retriever who sheds a lot, creating a need for vacuuming, lest we be kicking up dog hair with every step we take. Vacuuming needs to happen for life to be functional.

However, vacuuming inflames my ribs, which affects my ability to write and edit. That makes my work harder. I ask myself, “What’s the one thing I can do to make my work less painful and therefore easier?”

The answer turns out to be that I need to find a vacuuming solution such that vacuuming will be easier or unnecessary. I think we can all agree that the dog stays, so that’s not a solution. Having my hubby vacuum has been a short term solution, but he doesn’t always have the time, and frankly he’s not great at it.

The next idea? Get a robot vacuum like a Roomba or whatever. Putting off this task of finding a robot vacuum, or making this task less important, ultimately makes all my work harder. Prioritizing this task makes my work going forward easier and more efficient. 

3. When you start work tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task.

You work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task. Now if this first task happens to be a three hour project, we’re not saying you can’t take a bathroom break, or stand up and stretch, or get a second cup of coffee, or take a ten-minute break to play with your dog, or whatever to freshen your mind. Those things are good and often necessary.

What we are saying is that if this is what you’ve identified as the most important task of the day, stick with it. The temptation will be to skip to another project when this one gets difficult or tiring or boring. Instead, that’s the time for a short little break.

As soon as we give in to the temptation to switch tasks, we’re in danger of not finishing the most important thing on our agenda for the day, because we don’t know what will come up that will end our work day. It could be a health issue that rears its ugly head, or an emergency with your family, or even some type of fantastic opportunity you don’t want to miss out on. So, finish that first and most important task of the day before moving on to the second task on the list.

4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion.

At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.

5. Repeat this process every working day.

Sounds simple, right? But few people actually do this, let alone adhere to it strictly or do it consistently. But this method has proven highly effective for several reasons, which James Clear also discusses in his article.

Why Is the Lee Ivy Method Affective?

First, it’s not complicated: Do what’s most important first. 

Sometimes we overcomplicate our lives and our decisions, when we often just need to pray about it and move on. We need to trust that God is guiding us. When life happens, when our day gets messed up, an emergency happens, or whatever, we can’t beat ourselves up. We can simply deal with those situations as best we can and then get back to the tasks we listed.

Second, the Lee Ivy method forces us to make difficult decisions and commit to them. 

Remember what we’ve been saying over and over: focus is about making decisions. Waffling back and forth wastes time—time we could spend getting important tasks done. 

Third, we can start our day with no friction over having to decide what to do. We already know what we need to do, so there’s no reason not to plunge in. That said, getting started on anything requires that we overcome inertia: the tendency to do nothing. If we’re naturally a slow starter, or not a morning person, or whatever, overcoming inertia can be more of a challenge. Knowing what the plan is can help push us forward into motion.

It’s also nice that we don’t have to be thinking or worrying the night before about what we need to get done the next day. It’s already written down, there’s already a plan. That frees our minds for relaxation.

Fourth, the Lee Ivy method forbids multitasking. 

While our modern culture may idolize this ability to multitask, the truth is that busyness—doing many things—is not the same as doing the right thing well. Furthermore, our brains aren’t physically wired to multitask. Here’s a great quote from an article on Psychology Today’s website:

“The research shows that people can attend to only one cognitive task at a time. You can only be thinking about one thing at a time. You can only be conducting one mental activity at a time.”

Because we can’t actually multitask, what we’re really doing is switching between tasks rather than performing them simultaneously. Sadly, we don’t even do that well. Worse, research has also shown that we think we do it better than we do. We aren’t capable of realizing just how inefficient we are. So if you’re out there thinking, “That can’t be true. I’m great at multitasking,” well, you’ve just proven the point of that research result.

Bottom line? Our. Brains. Can’t. Do. It. God did not make us that way.

Why is switching back and forth between tasks a problem? There’s a mental cost to it. Research shows that it creates a reduction of accuracy and speed. While we may think we’re doing so well at “multitasking” or switching back and forth, really we’re going more slowly than we would if we focus on one thing at a time, and we’re making more mistakes. 

We didn’t even mention the time loss involved in diving back into each task after a switch, nor the brain energy all this eats up. Bottom line, don’t do it.

Drawbacks to the Lee Ivy Method

We’ve listed several reasons why the Lee Ivy method is often successful, but it does have at least one possible drawback: If the key to the method is to do the most important task first everyday, what happens if writing is your most important task, but your creative brain doesn’t wake up until noon? That would mean you’re trying to do your most important task in the morning, at a time that’s least suitable for that task, which doesn’t exactly set you up for quality focus. 

Now, some people can, over time, train their creativity to happen whenever they need it to. That’s great. But if that’s not you, then the solution is to adjust the Lee Ivy system, or any other system that you want to use, to suit who you are. Maybe you need to coordinate your most important tasks with your highest level of mental or creative energy instead.

The goal is still to figure out how to structure your day in a way that allows you to successfully accomplish your most important tasks each day. Accomplishing those tasks means your day has been focused on what matters most to you.

Complete or Kill

One other thing we want to say about the Lee Ivy method, or any other strategy that utilizes a task list, is that if a task keeps showing up as number five or six on your list of important tasks for the day, and you never get to it— it just keeps showing up on the next day’s tasks and never seems to move higher than five or six on that list either, it may be a sign that it shouldn’t be on the list at all. A “complete or kill” mentality might be helpful for you. 

If it truly needs to be completed, make yourself get it done. 

It might be hanging around on the list because you’re simply procrastinating. Maybe it’s a difficult or tedious task. We all have tasks like that, and we need a “just do it” mentality. It can be helpful to plan a nice reward for ourselves when we do get it done. 

Or maybe the problem with trying to get that pesky task done is that it’s overwhelming because it’s too big. We can help ourselves by breaking it down into smaller tasks that we can then put on our list in order of importance.

Or maybe how to do that task needs to be researched first, so we should put that on our list.

If none of those things apply, it’s possible that this task simply doesn’t need to get done at all, and we just haven’t recognized it or haven’t admitted it or haven’t wanted to let it go. If we want to achieve focus in our days, we need to make those tough choices. Face the fact that we’re not going to complete it, and kill it instead. Just delete it. Or perhaps we can put it on a “not now” list so we’ll stop being distracted by it today

Goal Setting to the Now

Another tactic we can use to help us create focus on a daily, and even moment-by-moment basis is something Gary Keller talks about in his book The One Thing.

Gary Keller describes a process he calls Goal Setting to the Now. I loved this idea because it’s another way to connect our large scale goals with small scale focus. To put this in practice, you ask yourself:

What is the big goal I want to achieve?

Gary Keller phrases the question as, “What’s the one thing I want to do someday.” We’re modifying it because when I hear, “What do I want to do someday?” I always think, “I want to take a cruise to Alaska and see whales.” But that doesn’t mean my whole life or career is focused on that. Everyone needs to feel free to phrase the question in whatever way works for them. 

This big goal, or this “someday thing,” can be an overall career goal such as, “I want to be able to quit my day job and be a full time writer.” Or it can be a goal you want to achieve this year or whatever. If it’s a lifetime goal, then go to this question next:

What’s the ONE thing I can do in the next five years to be on track to achieve that lifetime goal?

Once you have that answer, then you ask:

What’s the ONE thing I can do this year to be on track to achieve that five-year goal, so that I’m on track to achieve my big lifetime goal?

That answer gives you a one year goal. Then you ask:

What’s the ONE thing I can do this month to be on track to meet my one-year goal, to be on track to achieve that five-year goal, so that I’m on track to achieve my big lifetime goal?

Then you move on to the next question:

What’s the ONE thing I can do this week to be on track to meet my goal for the month, so that I can meet my goal for the year…and so on

Then once you know your weekly goal, ask:

What’s the ONE thing I can do today to be on track to meet my weekly goal, so that I can be on track to meet my monthly goal, so that I can meet my goal for the year…and so on.

Lastly, and hopefully you’ve been hanging in there with us on this, when you know your daily goal, you would ask:

What’s the ONE thing I can do right now to be on track to meet my daily goal, so that I can be on track to meet my weekly goal, so that I can be on track to meet my monthly goal, so that I can be on track to meet my one-year goal, so that I can be on track to meet my five-year goal, so that I can be on track to meet my lifetime goal?

That’s a lot to go through, but for some of us, the power of connecting what we’re doing right now, in this moment, to what we want in our lifetime is a powerful motivator, as well as a source of clarification for what matters to us. This can help us justify why we’re making the choice we are, and it can create focus on a daily scale as well as a moment-by-moment scale.

One more thing we want to clarify. While Gary Keller’s system of questioning can work brilliantly for many folks, that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Some people may feel overwhelmed just trying to get through it all. That’s okay! If it’s overwhelming or too complicated for you, don’t use it. We’re all made in God’s image, but we’re all unique as well. Find the system that works for you.

Erin loves Gary Keller’s system, and the Lee Ivy method, and her Omnifocus to-do list program. She has lots of obligations and tasks to manage, and using those tools prayerfully works for her.

Karen prefers a very different and simple system. She prays at the beginning of each day, “Okay, God, what do you want me to do today?” That’s how she prioritizes. She takes it to him and simply does what he impresses on her to do that day, trusting that God is guiding her. It’s a no frills method that works for her.

There are many different systems and many different types of people, but there’s only one God. He knows us inside and out, and he knows exactly what we need in order to accomplish the tasks he’s given us in the timeframe he wants us to accomplish them. Trust him, honor him, and be obedient. That’s success!


The One Thing by Gary Keller

The One Thing by Gary Keller a book to help you find Focus

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Atomic Habits book by James Clear


What helps you decide what to focus on each day?


Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

A big thank you to our March sponsor of the month, Tammy Partlow! She’s a speaker at women’s retreats, and her debut novel Blood Beneath the Pines, a suspense set in the deep South, is now available. She’s hard at work on the second book of the series!

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast P.S. for their fabulous sound editing!


Want the latest news from Karen and Erin? Click here to join our newsletter and get an exclusive audio download.