Category: Blogging-Social Media

Starting A New Chapter in My Life

After exactly 15 months in Lesotho, I decided after several months of reflection, to start a new chapter in my life. I’m returning to the U.S., and looking forward to seeing my sons more often, and being with so many supportive friends.
Before I get into the reasons why I decided to start a new chapter, I want to thank the Peace Corps for giving me the opportunity to experience work and life in rural Lesotho, and to especially thank the Peace Corps Lesotho staff, including the wonderful Country Director, Wendy VanDamme.

Sonia with Country Director, Wendy VanDamme.

I loved practicing my French with, Dr. Olga and Dr. Alex, and of course I wish to thank all the other wonderful staff members I haven’t mentioned, who helped me during my service.

I was so lonely in my rondavel and had moments where I yearned for family and friends, and someone to have an interesting and stimulating conversation with. After teaching, my legs and hips were getting achy and stiff from sitting on my bed for hours with my laptop, or a book to keep me going. I did walk in the mountains on a daily basis, talk to my “host” mother, and her family, but what I missed more than I realized were family and friends, my gym in California, and the sharing of interesting conversations. I am a “people” person and thrive on meeting and listening to others, not sitting alone for hours a day with a laptop as my best friend.
I am grateful to everyone who helped and supported me with my fundraising and the completion of my school renovation project. (only 17 days to get the roof repaired and wiring of 11 classrooms!)
I feel I’ve given, and done everything I could possibly do for my school, the children, and my community. Thanks to all the books, DVDs, clothing donations, shoes and school supplies that all of you were so kind to send to my school.
(Please note this is my personal experience and not that of the Peace Corps or other Peace Corps Volunteers.)
I’ve learned so much about myself, have grown so much stronger and way more assertive. I have no trouble saying “no” to things I don’t believe in or don’t want to do. There was so much I didn’t mention in my posts about the village gossip and jealousy, and problems at my school that I won’t get into here. One thing that I never expected, and I know I may be generalizing here, was the lack of gratitude I experienced. Many continue to expect everything to be given to them, without lifting a finger. It’s quite sad, and I’m reading an eye-opening book recommended by two friends who worked in different parts of Africa. It was written by an African author: Dead Aid. Why Aid is not working, and how there is a better way for Africa. Her name is Dambisa Moyo.
I think we are all geared to help others, but after being asked on a daily basis, “Give me money,” by children and adults, and being shoved by two people in a supermarket line in Maseru and told that I’m the one who should be grateful for helping the Basotho, not the other way around, I’ve become quite cynical about aid to Africa. I think the book explains the background, although I haven’t finished reading it. (I want to emphasize that this is my own experience, and may not be that of other Peace Corps Volunteers.)
I was also upset that after one year of teaching English and reading and computer skills, the children could not answer a simple question in Grade 7. Only one of my students out of 36, got a “first class” in the final exam. This means 60% or above. The rest got 30%-59% which is still considered a pass here. So in my opinion, the education is not improving in the rural areas, and I wanted them to do well. I’m not sure what the problem is; a lack of good nutrition? a lack of parental or grandparental involvement? a lack of interest? a lack of the basics in education? a lack of motivation? poverty and having to stay and help in the village after grade 7?
Anyway, I have no regrets, and after 15 months, I know so much more than I did before about life in the poor parts of Africa. I’ve changed, and I did make a small difference with a few of my students, so that’s why I’m ready to start the next chapter in my life.
I’m returning to Orange County, California, on January 17th, meanwhile I’m in South Africa, and then off to see my wonderful Dad and Jill in Paris. Here’s a glass of wine to celebrate my service in Lesotho.

Note, I’m still wearing the “Take a Risk” shirt I bought in Maseru. That’s what I’m doing with the next chapter in my life.

I would like to continue blogging and am asking you for ideas.
What do you want me to write about on my blog now?
  • Specific topics from my experiences in Lesotho?
  • My search for a new job?
  • My online dating experiences as a middle-aged woman?
  • Any other ideas?
  • Nothing?
Blogging-Social Media, Peace Corps, People  |  Tags:

Check Out My New “Gutsy” Website For the Peace Corps


My “Au Revoir” party and see you when I return from the Peace Corps.


Hello Friends,

How do you like the new header and video on my blog?


The round hut is called a rondavel, from the Afrikaans word rondawel. It’s the westernized version of an African-style hut.

I love the one I selected as it has a turquoise door. I might live in a rondavel in Lesotho, while I serve as a primary education teacher in Southern Africa. In case you didn’t know, I‘m heading off to the Peace Corps.

I want my new “look” to fit the changes in my life, and my casual video, and natural curly hair, are part of that change, and the new me.

Did you watch my video?

Here’s what’s happening over the next two weeks, and how the Peace Corps is  sending us off to Lesotho, Africa.

  • On October 4th, I fly from California to Philadelphia.
  • October 5th, I meet the 29 or so, other volunteers, who are serving as primary education teachers, or secondary math teachers, in Lesotho.
  • On October 6th, we leave our hotel at 2 a.m. (Yes! we’re learning to adapt,) and then catch a bus to JFK, airport. Our flight to Johannesburg departs around noon.
  • The flight lasts 15.5 hours
  • We board a bus from Johannesburg to Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, which takes about 6 hours.
  • After our first night in a hotel in Lesotho, we start PST (pre-service training.)
  • We have morning classes, then meet our Basotho host families where we shall live for the first three months.
  • Classes start at 7:30 a.m., and end at 5 p.m. Learning Sesotho, the language of Lesotho, is an important partof our PST. We also cover safety and the culture of Lesotho.
  • Our host family teaches us how to bathe in a bucket, cook local foods, wash our clothes, as help us practice Sesotho.

Water is scarce and here’s what a Peace Corps volunteer wrote about his experience on the PC website.  (Read more on daily water usage in Lesotho.) —Peter Yurich, Ha Khayensti, Lesotho

“There isn’t much water available because we had a very dry winter and no rain this spring. I usually try to use only one to one and a half liters of water a day. This includes bathing, cooking, and cleaning dishes. Once a week I wash clothes, but try to use as little water as possible.

My day starts by boiling two liters of water. I use less than one liter to bathe; I drink two cups of coffee; and then I save the rest for cooking and cleaning dishes. If the tap is working, I may indulge myself by using a little more for bathing.

My host family uses a little more than I do because there are more people in the family. They use a wheelbarrow to carry two 10-liter buckets of water. Right now they use more water because they are making dung smear for the floor and walls of a new building. The building was constructed from rock and held together with a mud mixture that dried and became hard.”

I realize that I have to get used to changing my lifestyle, but when my family lived in Belize, in 2004-2005, water was also a problem. We had a cistern,and due to the lack of rain, we had to sponge bathe.

If you don’t want to miss my “gutsy updates,” please subscribe underneath the hut on my landing page.



Any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask.

Blogging-Social Media, My Gutsy Story, People, Travel & Adventure, volunteering  |  Tags: ,

My First Experience Having Google Banned


I experienced first-hand what it’s like to have Google and FaceBook banned. I was not able to logon to either at the airport in Shanghai, and asked a young Chinese woman working at the airport lounge why I couldn’t access to Google or g-mail. She blushed and in a hushed voice said, “No Google.” It felt like my freedom had been taken away, and apparently Twitter and social media aren’t allowed at all. I’d heard about this on the news in the U.S. several months ago, but thought it was temporary.

I sat next to a German man who lives in Shanghai, and asked him what expats do in China in order to get e-mail. Apparently they open a yahoo account. Yahoo is allowed.

While at Shanghai airport, I noticed that I didn’t have access to several websites and blogs that belong to my author friends in the U.S., as well as bloggers around the world. It was a really strange sensation, especially when one of these websites from a close memoir friend stated, “Access Denied.”

All I could think about was, “How does an expat indie author promote his/her work?” and then, my second thought was, “How nice not to have to compete and constantly promote your books, when you have no choice.”

I realize that we are fortunate to have access to social media, something we take for granted. Here in Bangkok, I have the best Internet. I’m staying in a small, basic hotel, about ten-minutes from Bangkok airport, and the Internet speed is phenomenal.

I’m glad I got to experience seven hours without Google at Shanghai airport, as this will be training for me when I move to Lesotho with the Peace Corps. There, I shall probably only have Internet access a few days a month.

Has this happened to you? If so, how did you feel about it? How would you feel about it, if you didn’t have social media access?


Blogging-Social Media, Travel & Adventure, Writing & Work  |  

Tips To Make Your Blog More Popular


It seems that everyone (over 35) has a blog these days, so how can you make yours stand out from all the others.

Well apart from doing something super gutsy like posting nude photos, (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist,) being controversial or airing your dirty laundry, another way is to write as if you’re having a conversation with a friend.

Tip # 7:

“Keep your writing voice simple, cheery and a reflection of the way you speak.” —Little Tips to Boost Your Blog’s Popularity.  

So this morning I decided to experiment. I drove to my favorite park, pulled out my cell phone and recorded a pretend conversation with my fake friend. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a one-sided conversation.

  • Just a little background. I’m a divorced woman who refuses to dwell on the past, and is in the midst of planning her next gutsy adventure. My new goal is to encourage both men and women to take action and make the second part of their life, even more exciting than the first.

Here’s my pretend conversation with my fake friend Samantha

“This is the first time in my life I can do what the hell I please. I feel free. 

Now I can go to the pool at seven, then to Barnes & Noble, and buy a latte and read books until they close.

I don’t have to worry about being home at five to cook dinner for (John)-fake husband, and what’s really weird is that I no longer feel lonely.

The crazy part is I have no idea where I shall be living this time next year, or what I shall be doing. My life is in limbo.

“So what do you think you’ll do if the Peace Corps turns you down?” my fake friend asks.

I really don’t know. I did take a look at the TEFL/TESOL brochure last night and was kind of amazed by how many opportunities there are all over the world to teach English as a second language. It made me start thinking about just picking a country and moving there. I would get paid to teach, and if I like it, I could pick another country after that. 

Some countries pay your airfare and accommodation. I think Hong Kong, is one of them. I would love to live in several countries and teach English; it would be such an adventure to live for 6 months to a year in each country. The strange thing is many people who have done this seem to get addicted to it. They say it’s a life changing experience just like the Peace Corps.”

What do you think? Does it sound conversational? Have you tried writing conversational posts? 

There are several other tips which I found helpful on Career Girl’s Post called: “Little Tips to Boost Your Blog’s Popularity.”

I think we can all find something worth improving in order to stand out and, hopefully, become more popular bloggers.

I know that finding your #1 Target audience, is critical, and for me, this is shifting as I reinvent myself. I’m gradually moving away from the overly competitive field of authors/coaches/book promoters to my brand: Gutsy Living®.

So #1 Target audience means:

You need to know who reads your blog and why. Knowing this will help you direct your content better, so give a little bit of thought to it. Who do you want to read this blog and what kind of content will they come back for? –“Little Tips to Boost Your Blog’s Popularity.”

Here is the list of topics covered in Beth’s blog.

#1 Target audience

#2 Be objective

#3 Create 

#4 About page

#5 Social Media

#6 Freebies

#7 Writing

#8 Be human

Which topic do you feel you need to work on to make your blog more popular?

Blogging-Social Media, People, Writing & Work  |  

Time to be Honest…I’m Fed Up



I have to be honest with my readers and let them know what I think about writing, social media, and publishing.

You may not agree with me, but that’s OK since I’m shifting gears and direction. I just hope you keep reading my blog, especially as I’m starting a mid-life gap year, jam-packed with new adventures. I’m going against blogging protocol, and writing when I want to, rather than when I have to. Besides, I’ve never been incarcerated by the blogging police.


I’m Fed Up

  • I don’t have time to read blogs and write comments.
  • I want time to read what I want to read, and not feel “guilty” or “forced to read” books that don’t interest me.
  • I’m fed-up with reading books and writing reviews, especially if I’m not interested in the book.
  • How many times can I write about the same topic, and still make it sound fresh?
  • Writers keep supporting writers, but “Where are OUR READERS?” (Please don’t lecture me on signing up for another course for $999, that guarantees I’ll find new readers.)
  • I’m tired of being bombarded with sales pitches from people I respect in the industry who are now becoming “used car salesmen.”
  • I’m fed up with receiving offers to sign up for courses on “how to increase my book sales” when I’ve become cynical about this process (Read Do You Want the Truth below)  or another honest post I wrote. “Do Authors Make Money: Here’s the Truth.”
  • I’ve done my best to follow all the rules writers keep hearing about regarding blogging, social media and marketing from the “gurus.”
  • I’m tired of coming up with the perfect SEO friendly headline for my blog post. Now titles are supposed to appeal to readers first. What a concept!
  • I’m fed up with requesting people to submit a “My Gutsy Story®” each week. I don’t like begging or bugging.
  • I missed my 1st blog post in 7 years last Thursday. Will I be forgiven by Google, search engines, and more importantly, by my “billions” of fans? 🙂
  • I’ve promoted so many book events, library events, indie book signings, Costco appearances, Webinars, Workshops, public speaking, radio, local TV, given freebies, reviews, contacted movie producers etc…BUT…

Do You Want the Truth

Most authors, especially non-fiction authors, who want to make money, turn towards writing, coaching, presenting, and selling books about “The Dream.” 

They sell books on:

  • How to write
  • How to market and promote your book
  • How to become a best selling author by following these steps.

They also take classes, hire a business coach, team up with their peers, start promoting one other, offer free webinars laden with sales pitches to sign-up for their “expensive workshops,” to sell “The Dream.”  How do I know?  Because I did that myself. 


Selling the Dream

Here’s what I call, “Selling The Dream.” All the promises and offers that “fall” into my inbox daily. For example:

  • “In less than a year I’ve made over $150,000 from self-published books.”
  • Sign-up for my 6-week course on how to make it to the Bestseller list for only $999
  • Pitch your book to producers from “Good Morning America,” and other major TV producers for only $5,000.

Are Today’s Online Strategies Changing?

I believe things have changed.  There is TOO MUCH COMPETITION and too many people offering the same services. The market is saturated with indie books. There were over 450,000 indie published books in 2013.

Authors are getting fed up with blogging, overwhelmed with social media, and most ask themselves WHY? I’m making less than $100/month in royalties. Is it worth it? (Please don’t lecture me on signing up for another course for $999, that guarantees I’ll make $150,000 in one year. Maybe you’ll make that much with all of us DREAMERS signing up for your course, but not us: the writers.)

My Conclusion

Write with no expectations. Do what you want, take classes to improve your writing skills, sign-up for Webinars if you’d like to, but be realistic. I’ve tried many different approaches since 2009, and I don’t want to sell “The Dream.” I  am happy, because I believe “The Dream” is not about money. 


 What Next?

I hope you keep reading my blog, as I embark on a divorced woman’s mid-life gap year, jam-packed with new adventures. My focus will be on:

  • Gutsy Living®
  • Exciting opportunities for women
  • What’s it like to be a divorced woman after 28-years of marriage
  • Re-inventing yourself as a woman over 55
  • Travel in Europe and anywhere else I go
  • Learning new skills
  • Teaching abroad
  • How to save money
  • Gutsy dating

Any suggestions as to other topics you’d like me to write about during my GAP YEAR(s)

Blogging-Social Media, Book Promotion, People, Writing & Work  |  

Do Authors Make Money? Here’s The Truth


I’m in the mood to write something controversial that may get me in trouble, but as you know, my theme is being “Gutsy” so I’ve decided to be honest and say what’s on my mind.

Before I do, let me tell you that I’ve been re-evaluating my goals; where I’m heading with “Gutsy Living” and my coaching business.

As many of you have told me, I’m all over the place trying to promote not only my stuff, but also other people’s books, posts, videos, articles. It takes time, and for me, it’s a 7-day-a-week job. If I were doing this for a successful company, I should be making a six-figure income, easily,  BUT NO!

As an indie author, I choose to spend money on book covers, formatting, hiring a business coach, subscriptions to magazines and organizations, applying for book Awards, attending conferences, flights, hotels (when I cannot stay for free at a friend’s house) printing, business cards, posters, once in a while on a local PR person (for the “My Gutsy Story®” Anthology, book launch)

Now perhaps I’m taking the wrong approach. I cannot sacrifice the quality of my product (books) for a cheaper version of DIY. So far, I have hired professional editors (4 of them) book designers (1106 Design), a film company to film the book launch (perhaps a BIG mistake),  rented a movie theater with a keynote speaker and a panel to of indie authors to entertain our audience.

It’s time for a reality check 

My recent presentation at the #SBWC2014 Santa Barbara Writers Conference

As I’ve heard over and over at conferences:

  • Don’t quit your day job

We can’t all be like Elizabeth Gilbert who sold 9 million copies of her book, Eat, Pray, Love,  worldwide, generating an estimated $135 million in sales, nor like John Grisham who sold 645,000 copies of one of his books.

Amy Collins, with New Shelves distribution, mentioned during her presentation at PWSD (Publishers Writers San Diego) that published authors selling 25,000 copies, need to keep their day job.

I don’t know of any indie author friends of mine who have sold 25,000 copies in one year. If you have, please e-mail me at: sonia@soniamarsh.

In fact, many indie authors claim they don’t receive Amazon royalty checks each month.

According to  (The Book Industry Study Group)

  • 78% of all books are sold online
  • 98% of all books sold online are through Amazon  
  • Less than 4% of Americans visited a bookstore in the last year.
  • (These are my notes from the lecture, so as far as I know they are accurate.)

When I make presentations to writers’ groups and at writers’ conferences, I explain how:

  • This is the best time to be an author, but it is also the worst time. WHY?

It’s the best time because authors have so many options today to market themselves online. If we have a great idea for Oprah’s audience, heck, we can even Tweet @Oprah, and maybe, just maybe, one of her producers will read our Tweet, you never know. Oprah has 5 great summer reads which her Oprah magazine book editor, Leigh Haber, recommends. Why not our books? There are all genres.

It’s also the worst time as there is so much competition today. In 2013, Bowker announced that 391,000 books were self-published in 2012. A 59% increase from 2011.

I started my own publishing company in 2012, called, “Gutsy Publications.” I did this after studying the pros and cons of using CreateSpace as my POD printer, vs. being a publisher and the benefits of using LSI (Lightning Source Ingram) as a printer and Ingram as a wholesaler. If you want to get a local book signing at Costco, or B&N, then starting your own publishing company is the way to go. My author friend, Linda Austin, explains the pros and cons of CreateSpace and LSI, which is now called Ingram Spark, on her site.

Hopefully we all know by now the importance of seeing ourselves as a brand, and our books as a product, but truthfully, why do you think most indie authors need to start a coaching business or a speaking career, in order to hopefully make a living?

Because most authors cannot make a living from book sales alone. That’s the honest truth my dear friends. You have 7 choices:

  • You keep your day job
  • You’re independently wealthy and have enough funds to support your hobby (Oops! Did I use the H word?)
  • You keep writing more books and hope that by the 6th one you can make a full-time living
  • You start a successful coaching-editing-writing coach or other related business to your writing
  • You get paid $100,000,000 as a public speaker like Anthony Robbins
  • You get your book turned into a movie and Hollywood makes you famous
  • You’re happy being an underpaid author who has a book out in the world


So as I wrap up my post where I tell you the truth, I am forced to charge $79/writer who wants to get published in our 3rd Award-winning Anthology.

Please see what you get for this fee, and I hope you agree that you’re getting a wonderful opportunity for publication and promotion by agreeing to join our Gutsy Indie Tribe .

Please note that it’s free to submit to my website and get promoted. To get published in our print version will now have a $79 fee.

Accepting story submissions now.  READ MORE HERE

So please let me know if you’re making a full-time living with your book sales. I’d like to share some successful ““My Gutsy Story®” book stories.



Blogging-Social Media, Book Promotion, People, Writing & Work  |  

The Author Entrepreneur

Sonia Marsh, Kathy Pooler and Susan Weidener

Sonia Marsh, Kathy Pooler and Susan Weidener



I’ve been invited to speak at the Women’s Writing Circle on “The Author Entrpreneur.”

I am thrilled to finally meet my East Coast memoir writer friends including Susan Weidener, founder of the Women’s Writing Circle, Kathy Pooler, and Jerry Waxler. Susan Weidener invited me to present to her group of writers.


Author Entrepreneur Workshop


How to Sell Books and Build a Platform


Presented by Sonia Marsh

Date: Thursday, May 8
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Fairfield Inn, Exton PA 19341

Cost: $25  To Reserve Your Space: Contact Susan Weidener:; 610-304-5370

Sponsored by the Women’s Writing Circle, this workshop is open to men and women who want to publish or who already have.

There are many options available for you to become a successful indie author. Want to get your books in COSTCO, land a front page story in the newspaper, get a radio interview, create your own Google+ hangout to chat with other authors and readers?  During this two-hour workshop, Sonia Marsh will guide you through that and more.


Topics include:

• Building your platform to sell your books
• Creating your brand
• Pros and cons of various publishing options
• How to get endorsements from best-selling authors
• How to get reviews on publication day
• Creating a successful book launch party
• How to sell your book
• Mistakes to avoid

Sonia Marsh is an award-winning author who knows how to market books both online and in person. She continues to promote her own books at Costco, REI, and other retail stores and is committed to helping authors avoid common mistakes. Sonia understands that most authors cannot afford to hire an expensive publicist, so her goal is to help authors develop their own plan to sell books. Contact her at: or visit her website:

It’s wonderful to finally meet friends you’ve met online, and in a way, thanks to Google+ Hangout interviews, it seems like you already know each other.

Here is my recent interview with Kathy Pooler on “How to Do Everything Right Before You Get Published.”


After my presentation this evening, I shall fly to Madrid, Spain, to volunteer with Vaughan Volunteers. More photos about El Rancho, the village where I shall be speaking English to Spanish business people for one week.

Blogging-Social Media, People  |  

Don’t Get Stuck in the Web – Avoiding Website Pitfalls



If you want to become a professional author, you need to invest in your website. This is your own piece of “online real estate,” which showcases your brand, your writing, and helps you build an audience of fans.

At the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) Publishing University conference in San Francisco, presenters talk about the need for writers to develop their brand, and build an audience of fans and followers. They all mentioned that professional authors use web-hosted WordPress websites/blogs, and I think it’s time we spoke to an expert who can answer our questions.

My author friend, Angela Ackerman, with her successful blog, Writers Helping Writers, joined my FaceBook group: Gutsy Indie Publishers (please join if you want free help with your blogging, publishing, marketing questions) and introduced me to her tech guy, Jay Donovan.

I shall be interviewing expert Jay Donovan from who will answer the following questions and others during this Webinar.

In this presentation you will learn:

  • How to start your author website
  • What you need to know about selecting domain names
  • Whether you need a web-designer for a blog
  • How to transfer from to
  • Why you should consider a transfer from to website
  • How to tell if your website is slow and how this can hurt you
  • Which plugins are most helpful to writers
  • How to make the best author website for you
  • ‘Pitfalls’-What to do if you’re not happy with your hosting company



Guest Tech Expert: Jay Donovan has been a geek since before geeks were cool. He’s done it all, from remotely debugging the Internet connection for a US aircraft carrier deployed to *REDACTED*, to being responsible for the servers & networks for one of the largest Internet sites in the world, and now the most challenging job of them all – parenthood.

Jay is an author groupie and is co-founder of TechSurgeons.  (TechSurgeons keeps my website running lightning fast. He’s trained as a Certified Ethical Hacker (yes, really!) and always uses his geeky powers for good.  When he’s not neck deep in wires and computer parts, you’ll find him hanging out on Twitter as @jaytechdad or on Facebook –


(Limited Seating)

Webinar on Friday April 18th at 9 a.m., PST.


 in the comments section below.

He will answer them during the Webinar.

You can also e-mail me the questions with QUESTION FOR JAY in the subject line.

E-mail to

Subscribe to my free “Gutsy” newsletter and receive two bonus prizes. Check out my webinars  on topics related to blogging, publishing and marketing.


REMEMBER TO VOTE for your favorite March 2014 “My Gutsy Story®.” VOTING ends on April 16th.

The WINNER will be announced on April 17th. 13th.



Would you like to submit your “My Gutsy Story®” and get published in our 2nd anthology?

Please see guidelines below and contact Sonia Marsh at: for details.

You can find all the information, and our new sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story®” contest page. (VIDEO) Submission guidelines here


Annabel Candy is a Gutsy Woman Who Runs 2 Successful Blogs

Annabel Candy A GUTSY WOMAN

Annabel Candy


When I first started blogging in 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. It took me a while to come up with the name “Gutsy Writer” for my free blog. Little did I know at the time, that this was a perfect name for me, and that it would lead to my brand.

I often tell my audiences the story of why I started blogging, and explain how I wanted to be just like my hero, Catherine Sanderson.  You see Catherine started blogging early on, when most of us had never heard of the word blog. She started a blog “La Petite Anglaise: Slices of My Life in Paris ,” and wrote gossipy work-related stories about life as a Brit in Paris, with a French boss. The followers started flocking to read her posts and she landed a book deal. Needless to say, I wanted to be just like Catherine.

I soon realized that I needed a more professional blog with a theme and tag-line that would encompass more than just myself, and that’s when I hired a professional web-designer and changed to a custom web-hosted WordPress blog. I started my “Gutsy Living: Life’s too short to play it safe,” blog and now I recommend to any writer who wishes to become a commercial author, whether indie-published, or traditionally published, to invest in their blog, and not waste time starting with a free blogger blog like I did. (There are many reasons, one of which is the lack of SEO, which means in layman’s terms, a lack of discoverability. Please contact me if you’d like me to explain other reasons.)

I followed many “Big” bloggers, to see what they were doing right, and Annabel Candy, was one of them. Here is a post I wrote about Annabel  when I started reading every post she wrote, and also purchased her helpful e-book called, “Successful Blogging in 12-Simple Steps.”

I have come a long way since starting my blog, and finally interviewed another hero of mine, Annabel Candy, about her life as a mother, a travel blogger whose work has been published in print and on the biggest blogs in the world, a website designer, and how she can run two successful blogs at the same time. Annabel lives in Queensland where she writes the popular travel blog Get In the Hot Spot and shares online marketing tips at

Here is my interview with Annabel Candy on 3/26/14.

Would you like to submit your “My Gutsy Story®” and get published in our 2nd anthology?


Click on cover to go to Amazon

Please see guidelines below and contact Sonia Marsh at: for details.

You can find all the information, and our new sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story®” contest page. (VIDEO) Submission guidelines here


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Publicity is the Key to Success For All of Us

Sonia Marsh speaking upside down

Click on photo to find out why Sonia Marsh is speaking upside down

There comes a time when one person can’t do it alone, and a community makes things happen.

This is the time when I need your help to make the “Bring Out the Gutsy in You” event and the launch of our first: My Gutsy Story® True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure from Around the World (now on Amazon)


I have so many people to thank for helping with our  SPECIAL EVENT and BOOK LAUNCH


  • I’ve rented a movie theater to make this event  special
  • I’ve hired a film crew so footage can be shared and used to promote everyone
  • I’m working with a wonderful publicist, Barbara Kimler, to make things happen
  • The Orange County and Anaheim Convention and Visitors Bureau will send out a media blast to 800 businesses.
  • Producing a DVD of the event
  • I’ve hired a professional photographer
  • I’ve been on PBS-SoCal TV to promote the event (video link)
  • PBS reporters, Maria Hall Brown and Ann Pulice from PBS said they would attend the event
  • I’ve been on local radio shows to promote our event
  • I’m giving back part of the Anthology proceeds to help a non-profit, helping women in transition (please read Jacene’s story below)
  • I have a wonderful group of smiling volunteers to help make our event special


  1. Please watch my Pubslush video (don’t laugh at me standing on my head!)

    Sonia Marsh speaking upside down

    Sonia Marsh speaking upside down

  2. Please contribute to the PUBSLUSH Campaign to help support the event, and OFFER YOU REWARDS in exchange.
  3. Please share this post with your family and friends, as well as on social media.

This is what WomanSage does to help women like Jacene

After surviving cancer 3 times, her 32 yr marriage ending in divorce, and moving to Orange County to take care of her aging parents Jacene faced financial, emotional and personal losses. She used the TM experience to investigate other potential career avenues identified by her career coach. With her renewed vigor, passion and a plan, Jacene chose to continue her work with children in the school district and expand her tutoring service. She is currently an educator at Newport Mesa Unified School District.




Come back Thursday, September 5th, to read more.


Remember to Vote for your favorite August 2013 “My Gutsy Story®.” You have 2 weeks to vote. The winner will be announced on September 12th, and gets to select a prize from our sponsors.

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