TIME MANAGEMENT

Does anyone remember back to the time when it was believed new gadgets–washers and dryers, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, word processors and even (gasp!) computers–would make our lives easier, reduce the working week, give us more leisure time in which simply to enjoy our lives? Boy, did everyone get that prediction wrong!

When I started writing back in the ’80s, I had a busy life. I was a school principal and high school English teacher, and I had three school-age children and a home to run. Writing was my leisure activity, the thing I did for myself when all else was done for the day. Even when I was able to quit teaching to write full time, being a writer was a reasonably relaxed thing. By that time I had a computer and (glory be!) a printer, but the internet and email were still things of the future. I saw and heard from readers and other writers only at infrequently-attended book conventions and via snail mail. All I had to do with my working time was write. I remember once asking my editor if I should do some advertising. She sounded puzzled. Why should I? It would be so much waste of time and money. I wrote the books, the publisher published them and promoted them. It made sense to me. It was an isolated life. I used to write all day. It was uncomplicated. Between books I could relax and/or catch up with things I had been neglecting. If I went away from home for a while, I could leave my writing behind and have a real holiday.

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How times have changed! I swore I would never have anything to do with the internet and email–too time-consuming. But finally I did and of course that was just the start. A few years ago I made the decision to slip gracefully into semi-retirement and write just one book a year–four months or so of work, eight of leisure. I pictured myself rather like the lady in the picture above, complete with long white dress. Don’t ask me why I am now back to writing two books a year–I’m not sure I even know myself. And suddenly, starting a year or so ago, it was no longer enough to have email and a web site that I conscientiously updated about twice a year. I needed to be on Facebook. I needed to change my web site so that I could interact more with readers by blogging. I needed to blog more generally all over the internet. I needed to make more appearances, do more interviews. And it’s not finished yet. Twitter looms. So does Goodreads.  Now my laptop goes wherever I go, like an extra appendage. I don’t do smart phones–not yet, anyway.

I do, by the way, enjoy all these activities. The close interaction with readers and writers and other interested persons is an unexpected delight and has certainly taken away the sense of isolation that can so easily cling about a writer. Although I sometimes think it would be nice just to shut everything down, I’m not sure I would be able to now that I have grown accustomed to them. I am, though, busier now than I ever was. I used to start writing immediately after breakfast when my mind was fresh. I still do–but after I have dealt with email and Facebook, and that all takes close to an hour. And those things have to be checked constantly through the day. On Tuesday evenings (like right now!) I write a new blog piece for my web site and draw the name of last week’s winner. There are newsletters to send out every time a new book is about to be published. Retirement? Ha! What’s that? Semi-retirement? Forget it.

I have written all this, not because I think I am somehow different from the masses, but because I know very well I am not. An awful lot of people are an awful lot busier than I am. The question is–have we become slaves of our gadgets, or are they our very welcome servants? Or our much resented servants? How have gadgets changed your life? Has the change been for the better of the worse? How do you manage your time–or don’t you?

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To one randomly-chosen person who makes a comment below, I will send a signed copy of THE PROPOSAL, either in hardcover or in U. S.  paperback or in British paperback, or in CD audio format–winner’s choice. Last week’s winner was Nicole (last name and location still unknown)

 

114 thoughts on “TIME MANAGEMENT

  1. I think technology has helped us get some things done faster, and other times, it has just this death grip hold on us. Since the invention of the internet and all it contains, we have been so connected, sometimes it is hard to disconnect. I try to balance things out between online life and real life.

  2. I love gadgets. Or thought I did. Now the gadgets keep us in touch, hooked up and online all the time. I find all the “in touch” actually makes me a more nervous person. Seems our down times become shorter and shorter as you can reach each other with a click. I guess I’m just old school and looking for a less stressful way to live my time much less manage it. We benefit from your semi-retirement of two books a year! Thanks so much!!

  3. It’s a blessing and a curse. It is so convenient to have google maps on my iphone when we are out looking for a specific place. There are so many helpful features.
    I also see my children each playing on a separate device when they could be doing something else. It’s a big kick in the pants to find other activities that they can do.

  4. In this era of gadgets, communication has become so easy. No longer do we have to resort to snail mail with friends or family on the other side of the world, everything is truly at the touch of your fingertips. However, it has also impersonalised that contact, making people take for granted what a visit, a warm hug or just the face to face effect. I do agree that gadgets truly make life easier but within limit, one should still remember the goodness of a human touch.

  5. I know lots of people who’re slaves to their gadgets and some even seem to take some sort of perverse pride in being so important that they can’t unplug even for a short while. I consider myself lucky that I’ve been able to resist going down that path. Yes, I have a smart phone and a laptop and get on Facebook, and I even have a (very outdated!) blog. But in between the periods of net-surfing, email checking, FB updating, etc, I manage to completely unplug and go old school, with a book in hand and the radio on in the background. I’ve realized that I manage to do just fine with that mixture and don’t need to be surrounded by gadgets all the time. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I happen to have a job where I can leave work behind when I leave the building. Seems like too many people these days are forced to carry their company cell phones with them or check work email even after hours. How awful 🙁

  6. I’m 13 and this post is very interesting ^_^ The longest I’ve gone without being on the internet is probably about a day or two, and that was because I was sick!! lol Well now I gotta go and check my emails, Bai ^_^

  7. I sure wish I computers were around when I was in college. I must have bought white-out by the case. And research….I lived in the library. Ahhh, the information age sure has its perks.

  8. I am on the computer all day for work and then I get off and check facebook. Then I pull out my Nook and read. And that is not even discussing my cell phone, which honestly feels like another appendage. I love the simplicity of our gadgets…but they have taken over our lives. Down time? What is that?

  9. I am a bit of a gadget lover. I’m posting this from my tablet, which I also read on and do Facebook and email with. I love my Pc, and my smart phone, Unfortunately, some things get left behind.

    The one thing all this technology ruined for me was letters. I miss letters from my friends. Hand written on crisp paper with cute little designs that showed their personality. But, I guess I will have to rely on other things for that small part that I miss.

  10. I do not envy today’s writers! Books, blogs, email, Skype, tours, tweets and who knows what else! Modern technology seems to devalue the benefit that snailmail provided, once upon a time – time to reflect upon one’s words, before committing them to paper and post! Thoughts that might have once been private, kept in one’s brain, can now be tossed out to the world – I have a hard enough time controlling my mouth, thank goodness I don’t have the temptation of a smartphone and the ability to respond instantly. Honestly, how do writers actually find the time to do research, to write and come back to something much much later, when there’s all this pressure for the immediate?
    Take all the time you need to write, Ms. Balogh! I love your books!

  11. It is interesting to sit at the dinner table now with our grown children after a meal. The rule is that all phones all be turned off and out of sight during meals, since we are all together so infrequently. We catch up with each other, laugh, bring up old memories- have a great time. They, and their significant others, all pull out their smart phones after the meal is over, to catch up on everything they missed during dinner.

    Our daughter’s are now going to college on the internet. They are missing out on the interpersonal relationships they could be making with other students. They do not even print anything to “turn in” anymore.

    Is it better now? I am not completely sure. Do I miss the times when we would go on a vacation and NOT be attached to the world? YES, but I guess we just have to roll with the tide and keep the dinners sans the world!

  12. For the most part I love mine. They gave me the ability to work at home which was an absolute lifesaver after I lost mobility after an accident. Now with four kids grown and scattered, I feel like I am more involved in their lives. Plus, I am entertained and always learning.

  13. What I can’t believe is how an e-reader became so important to me! I was one of those people fighting the idea. There was no way I would give up books – real books! I scoffed and tried to figure out why any one would want one . Then I got one as a gift. I can ‘t imagine life without one now! I can read, check email, and surf the web while taking a bath! I can get a new book whenever I want and find that ‘hard to find ‘ older book too. So, technology definitely changed the way I read!

  14. My life is definitely more active because of gadgets but I feel the activity is a good thing. Until 3 years ago I was almost gadget free with the exception of a cellphone for emergencies and an ancient computer. Now I have a laptop and a Facebook page as well as a very nice professional grade DSLR (digital camera)and a personal photography page. I still use the cell phone only for emergencies and prefer a land line. My photography led to a web page that I must now consider writing a blog for. Writing is not a strong point! I love reading but prefer others to do the writing so this blog will be a struggle at first because I have absolutely no idea what to write about. That, however, is the great part of gadgets. They make you stretch your boundaries and reach out to new people and new experiences and can enrich your life in ways you never imagined. The important caution to all this is that you have to find a balance so that gadgets don’t take over your life. I believe I have done that and will endeavor to continue to keep my gadget/non-gadget life balanced. As always I enjoyed your blog Ms. Balogh. Thank you

  15. So far as I know, I am the only person I know that doesn’t own an IPhone or Smartphone of some sort. I still have the old flip style cell. I love my cell phone, I love not missing calls and I love not having to call someone (by way of texting). I will resist the IPhone for as long as possible, as I really don’t like the idea of carrying the internet with me everywhere I go. Do I love Facebook? Yes! Do I love that these mysterious people called ‘authors’ are now accessable and actually ‘real’ people? Of course! Could I live without my microwave? Never! I believe that humans have become way too reliant on computer and internet technology. I miss the days when some things were left a mystery. With special effects and the like, how are our children going to know what is real and what isn’t? I used to love daydreaming about fairies, unicorns, rainbows, vampires, mermaids, and other mythical creatures. Not knowing was half the attraction. I believe that technology has spoiled that for everyone.
    Thank you for allowing my long winded rant!

  16. The problem with these gadgets is you are never “away” from your work. My husband is in a tech job and is also on our local school board. When we are on vacation these intrude. Because people know he is “wired” he gets questions that need answers or problems that need solved. Our best vacation in recent memory was to another country. We told people our phones did not work (they did not) and we had no internet access (we could have). We were blissfully unplugged. It felt wonderful!

  17. I like my cell phone, least you break down you can call someone, doesn’t mean they will answer. And if i don’t want to talk to anyone, I just turn it off.
    Love the computer as I can keep in touch with my family across the states, don’t have to wait for the mail to be delivered.
    Sorry no blog or twitter…. I think people put too much personal information out there, may come back and bite them.

  18. I know this sounds crazy but I cannot even consider life without ziploc bags. I put any and everythng in them. Another one is the thumb drive. I am able to save, keep and transport important information anywhere!

  19. I call my iPhone my cybernetic appendage. I can’t stop using it. I carry it around with me, even at home. So! I vacation in places where there is no Internet or cell phone service. Or places where using the phone is cost prohibitive. I definitely need a break sometimes.

  20. I see an entire generation so attuned to socializing through their electronic devices they don’t know how to relate face to face. It worries me a little. That being said I feel I have less free time and more issues coming at me from all directions.

  21. Whether the gadget are your servant or your master depends on your own interface with them. You can use the machines to make your life easier and simpler; but… should you become a person that needs to reply to all messages, blog every thought, and ignore the REAL important things in life, you are the servant.

    Do not put loved ones aside for social networking, do not let the machines steal your time that you reward yourself for doing good deeds or accomplishing goals whether large or small. If you can honestly say that you have never missed a verbal comment from your spouse, child, guest or other person in the same room, then YOU are the master. If you cannot say that, you may want to steal back your life from the artificial or virtual intelligence. Be the master, it is far more satisfying in the long run.

  22. I find it amazing how as time goes on how dependent I have become to technology. Fifteen years ago my husband and I shared a cellphone, now we each have one and are talking about getting ones for our daughters. I am one of those people who never left home without a book and I have raised my children to be this way. However, as times have changed now I care my Kindle everywhere I go. I still love having an actual book to read, but the Kindle is so much easier to stash in my purse. My children are trying to talk me into getting them e-readers, but like the cellphones I have resisted so far.

  23. I love e-mail and facebook and other things but they really cut into my day. I sometimes wonder where my day has gone and why I seem to have so little time to quilt. Then I think, I get up and take my meds, then do e-mail and facebook for at least half an hour. Then I have breakfast and check facebook again and do a few jigsaw puzzles on line. But a few turn into an hour or more of puzzles. Then, why should I start something because it is getting close to lunch time. I really need to not spend so much time on the computer and more time playing with all the fabric that I love to buy.

  24. I was an early-adaptor for the personal computer and I will say I welcomed it! No more white-out, no more crumpled pages in the wastebasket. With my first IBM PC I went on the internet or at least online and discovered a world I could scarce believe, an embarrassment of interaction. I upgraded to the point I could and did design and publish a personal website. It was such creative fun! Content I produced myself, music I found, and art I loved. Sharing myself and not really caring if anyone noticed. Technology enriched my life.
    Nowadays, I have a blog (where I have 3 whole followers), a laptop with flash drives containing a few finished pieces of writing, a couple of megabytes of poetry, and a list of work to be completed. Life just keeps getting richer. The webpage is gone but I write with Facebook in the background like some would write at Starbucks with conversations going on around them.
    The only technological gadget I don’t like is the cell phone. I like being able to get away from everyone from time to time. Being able to say “I’m sorry I wasn’t home when you called” is wonderful. 🙂

  25. I retired at the first of this year also, but do still find myself staying busy with all the new technology gadgets. I enjoy Facebook and of course email – and although I have a twitter account I haven’t found it to be very useful or entertaining so don’t really use that. But I would highly recommend the smart phone. I had to have customer support give me pointers on what it can do – but once I got going – wow! I rarely need to use my computer anymore. I can get Facebook and email on my phone – and I have the audible.com app which I love (I can listen to a book anyplace anytime -with earbuds), and I have the reader by sony so I can read books anytime anyplace also. It has a calendar, calculator, and a camera – and just about any application you could want including banking and shopping. Granted, it is a small screen for reading or watching movies on – but still so amazingly useful, entertaining, and portable!

  26. Into Toulon france today and then Barcelona spain tomorrow. 1 extra day there and then home Late friday night. It has been mind blowing unbelievaly and i have loved every moment!!

  27. Oops! I wrote a text reply as my first comment by accident!! How fitting for the topic! I am happy I went to school in a simpler time before Facebook and smartphones. I waste so much time! I wish I could limit myself a whole lot better than I currently do! Feel free to delete my other comment that makes no sense!!

  28. Two years ago I thought tablets were a useless gadget. Now I kinda like mine (and miss it – it’s in the shop). It has a detachable keyboard. I was using it for writing. I had a nifty app that tracked my daily progress, but the word processor I used (Google Drive, with an auto-save function) had very few distractable features. It was also more cumbersome to switch over to the internet (Alt-Tab on a real keyboard!) and so I couldn’t spend as much time getting lost in pointless research.

    I enjoy your blog. You offer interesting insights and aren’t boring!

  29. Everything moves faster today but I think it is great! Keeping up with my business is easier with computers and Face book. Although I could definitely do better. I love Facebook, it is great for keeping connected with my kids and grandkids. We can”t go back though only forward.

  30. I love hearing your thoughts on how technology has changed your life as a writer. I know that I speak for many of your other readers when I say that we are thrilled that you are on Facebook, and that you do such a good job of interacting with us! I have “liked” other authors pages on Facebook, and while I enjoy their posts, they rarely ask for our opinions or respond to inquiries. You will even ask for our book recommendations! It makes me love your books even more. 🙂 So thank you, for all the time that you give to your readers! Not just in the writing of your books, but in your online interactions with us!

  31. There are positive aspects of the Internet. I enjoy being able to do research and having instant results. Email, texting, and Facebook certainly makes it easier to keep in touch with family and friends. But after all is said and done, I believe that Internet technology has made “slaves” of us all. Also, I believe a lot of bad has resulted from having Internet access to just about anything. I love books, but now own more digital books than real ones. I don’t send actual cards for birthdays, but rely on a quick text or email instead. I have thousands of photos, again saved on digital gadgets. When I buy a newspaper now it is only for the paper to line the cage of my parrot. Sometimes I save the crossword puzzle.

  32. My gadgets have become more and more useful as I learn to use them; but I have to set time limits otherwise I’d waste a huge amount of time. My dad gave me my first computer and got me started on sending e-mails – what a huge time relief as I used to write family letters individually which could take a good part of an evening. Having to just write one letter and click “send” really freed up a lot of time for me. Excel has been wonderful for bookkeeping and Facebook has been great for keeping up with friends I probably would have never seen again otherwise. Time management is hard at times (like now when expecting some news so I check more often) but I try to limit myself to no more than 30 minutes in the morning catching up, checking accounts, etc. and then in the evenings just to relax. I enjoy my smart phone but still mainly use it just as a phone to call or text.

  33. I think the universe is sending me a message. Between your post here, and this amazing post a friend sent me (via Facebook no less): http://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/07/16/the-day-i-stopped-saying-hurry-up/
    I head out to the RWA National conference tomorrow morning, but when I get home, I’ve got about a month left of summer…I think I will devote it to shutting down & slowing down, doing less and living more.
    You are right, all these gadgets throw more balls in the air, and it gets harder to juggle.

  34. I have newly found you. I have loved reading your posts on fb and on here (so yes, I’m slightly a slave to my gadgets, but I love every moment of it.) Anyhoo…I have yet to read any of your novels. I’m excited to start reading, perhaps this will be my big chance!

  35. I didn’t realize until very recently, when my desktop computer decided to become nothing more than a glorified paper weight, how very dependent I was on gadgets and being connected to the ‘world’ I was. Growing up, I remember our first computer was the TI-99. Zero connection capabilities and it was really designed for programmers. In college, I had one of those typewriters that was sort of like a computer – type in your essay, feed paper page by page in the back and press the print button.

    Now as a wife of a Soldier, you know I had to be connected to the internet. It is actually because of his being deployed for the third time in 2009 that I found you… but I digress.

    Without the usage of a computer, I now find myself using my kindle for the web daily, I use my cell phone as well. It seems that I have become an obsessed and addicted internet junkie! Being connected all the time if my husband is deployed is one thing, but for no other reason than to get my facebook fix, seems ridiculous.

    There is only one thing that I have not changed. I love my kindle but you can bet that 4-5 times a month, you will find me in the library. Nothing beats the smell of books! (Although I do miss the old clear plastic coating they used to use). 🙂

  36. I am an enthusiastic and grateful user of these new gadgets. I keep in touch with friends all over the world through various Social Networks. Facebook is the Christmas Letter & the back yard fence rolled together. Twitter (I have three accounts ) has replaced newspaper & research library for me. I have one account in which I follow only travel bloggers and photo essayists. I have started to make You Tube videos during my own travels and I use them often in my work. My first grandson went with his parents to live in Saudi Arabia just before Christmas last year and we visit regularly via Skype. I read books with him during our sessions ( we have duplicate libraries). He is only 18 months old & my daughter- in -law says that he thinks I live in their I Pad. I would not be without my smart phone. I am out in the world daily but I can research, pay bills, find things and keep in touch with my family when I need to. I always have a camera handy. I have been “texted” pictures of grandchildren moments after their birth……..and so it goes. No question life is better for me with the gadgets. I like connectedness. It is pretty much up to me to manage my time….as it has always been.

  37. I love time saving gadgets…..they give me more time to read. I like REAL BOOKS. Your description earlier today of holding the book you were reading instead of a Kindle was almost like describing a love scene. I am glad you have a computer and can write quicker……but a quill an ink well are so much more romantic. I am happiest of all that I do not have to go to the creek and wash clothes on the rocks. My smart phone allows me to carry around a set of World Book, The Bible, a Drug Information book, a good Medical Surgical Reference book, games, alarm clock, note pad, calender, Facebook, Moon phases, Tide charts, camera, music player, and even a good novel with a touch…..so I must be thankful for it. Oh and I can talk to people on my smart phone too.

  38. This was a wonderful and insightful post — I’m a child of the 80s and was one of the last few batches to use a typewriter for school papers. When we finally got a computer, the work got done more quickly but there seemed to be more work to do.

    I only just embraced having a smartphone (last December) and I appreciate how convenient it is and opened a Twitter account just last month — technology is a bit overwhelming!

    I recently went and got myself a Filofax — and friends were a bit surprised that I was back to paper planning and were all telling me how much easier it is to plan/organize/schedule on my smartphone — but I love the tactile experience of sitting down with my organizer, and writing down a to-do list and checking them off.

  39. I am a poster child for time MIS-management and procrastination.

    I do however find that some of these gadgets make things easier for me, and allow me to get things done in a more timely fashion than I likely would otherwise. Without my iPhone, I’d never be able to keep track of anyone’s address, or phone number or anything like that. Without the calendar on my phone, I’d never know when my dentist appointment was, or anything of the sort. I’ve tried keeping paper organizers – my brain doesn’t work that way.

    Having the iPhone though makes it more possible for me to do things like go to lunch with my husband, or take a spontaneous day off. If something comes up that urgently needs my attention, I can fire off a quick email and no one is the wiser that I’m not sitting at my desk slaving away. (Most of my work is completely independent so does not require me to keep standard hours).

    But as with everything, technology can get in the way. I think that you have to have certain times when you just put it aside and say “I’m going to focus on me/my spouse/the laundry/lunch with my friend or what have you for X period of time.” And stick to that. Don’t check email, don’t answer texts or facebook messages or whatever. Just technology free time.

    That’s my $0.02 worth. (US AND Canadian since the dollar is at par right now. 😉 )

  40. I am not sure how I feel about today’s gadgets. Since the beginning of 2013, my home computer, my printer, my wi-fi, and my cell phone have all broke (thankfully not at the same time). While everything was broken, I discovered how truly dependent I was on my gadgets. When my cell phone didn’t work for 3 days, I thought my world would end. I now have everything on the phone backed up, so the panic will not be so great next time. Gadgets help and hurt me at the same time.

  41. Time management is a tricky thing. Nobody has managed to stretch a day into more than 24 hours. Those new gadgets eat up a lot of time until they save you time. First you need to have a university degree to understand the manual (if there is a manual at all), then because you invested all that time you are going to use them and then you can’t live without them even if they are not useful at all.
    I’m not ready to let all these brand new things rule my life. If I think a thing is useful I use it and invest the time, if not I don’t. That kind of time management for me works fine.
    Facebook, Twitter, Smartphones might be nice but have no vital importance what so ever, so there is a lot of time I save for not using them and in which I can (re)read your books.

  42. Sometimes I like my technology. I just Facebook chatted with my daughter about the vacation bible school she is coordinating. She can “talk” to me without her voice disturbing her children.
    I like being in rapid contact with my daughter who is working in Brazil. But I love being disconnected as well. I do not like it when I sit down at the computer and an hour has gone by so fast.
    But I do love the BBC science pages with sounds of the birds. And today I heard a volcano squealing and grumbling. And asteroids zipping by.
    Perhaps we just have to open our family to an extra member – one who can be annoying, but you get used to having it around.

  43. New *mechanical* gadgets like washers and dryers, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers were indeed great time-savers, and word processors, though the beginning of the electronic deluge, were also tremendous time-savers over the typewriter. But from there on it went downhill. Modern electronic devices are time-sucks, nothing more, except in the area of research. I don’t know if we humans will eventually rebel against being always-on, or proceed along the path we’re on until we all have data-and-communication devices embedded directly in our brains. I hope it’s door #1.

  44. Dear Mary,
    Your books are such a delight, I love reading them.
    I’m eagerly anticipating The Arrangement and The Escape.
    And thank you for being on Facebook; I always look forward to reading your posts.
    Take care,
    Ina

  45. We can now interact with people we never would have ever met, like you Mary. That is a great thing. We can take online classes but maybe we should not take all classes online. Kindles are convienient and a fast way to get new books- love that. The internet is a great way to get information and to shop shop shop. Don’t forget to support your local retailers as well though. Cell phones help keep us safe as long as we refrain from using while driving that is. Thats it for now.

  46. I love facebook, because it provides me with a way to be in touch with friends all over the world. However, it takes a lot of wisdom and effort to keep things in their proper place – helping us to be more efficient and not just accomplish three times as much at any given moment and well on our way to a heart attack!. Staying in touch is great, but face to face relationships are more important.

  47. Technology has brought so many wonderful people back into my life. Is it a time suck? Yes, it could be and at times it is. Discipline is really the key. Social media and technology has only enhanced my life, and while I know I grew up without any of these things, ie; smartphones, email, social networks, computers, etc., I often wonder how different my life would have turned out if I had them as a teen, college student and young adult. Now that would make a good novel.

    Love your books, Ms. Balogh. You’ve always been one of my very favorite authors, one who writes “up” to the intelligence of her readers. Thank you!

  48. I think the gadgets help and hinder. It’s a lot easier to find out information about any subject you’re interested in, however they also offer a lot of distractions, such as my new addiction, Candy Crush.

  49. I am really slow with the times for social media and gadgets. I have a facebook and goodreads account, however I just don’t get twitter and pinterest and why you need to add someone as a friend to facebook when you just met them. Even though I can text on my phone, I absolutely hate it. Why can’t you just call if you really need to say something. I have an ipad, kindle and nook. As long as I can read a book or play a game I’m happy. It drives me crazy when people are so addicted to their gadgets that they make you wait to talk to them so they can see whatever went off on their phone. Advances in technology has helped society as a whole, however I think it is making the younger generation lack in social skills and also make them too dependent on technology to do their work. It definitley is making it harder for parents to parent.

  50. No cell phone here either! I don’t want EVERYONE to be able to reach me whenever they feel like it. I actually had my daughter’s school complain to me for not being able to reach me IMMEDIATELY! I am on facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc. to check in and see what family & friends are up to. That is nice, being able to keep in touch through updates allows us to have a presence in their lives, more so than before the technology. It’s especially important now that everyone is so spread out geographically. Good and bad I guess, but we have to learn how to ignore the technology sometimes!

  51. I have waited with excitement for every new MARY BALOGH book to be published! And I am excited about the SURVIVORS! I love the mention of characters that I already know and am so glad to get news of them!!!

  52. I wish I was better at managing my time. If I was, I wouldn’t be feeling bad every time I realize I haven’t played with my child more instead of being caught up in what’s online- especially on Facebook and Pinterest. Sigh. Love, love, love your books, by the way!

  53. I do wish that all of these “facilities” will make society more lazy, and less social. I don’t have much reason to know anything about Prince Charles, but I am in total agreement with his statements on “progress.” I do enjoy that things are available at the touch of a finger, I spent hours in the library researching my first book. Now I can do it in the comfort of my own home – but that means I don’t get to the library anymore. So it’s the good with the bad.

    And pick me for your giveaway! I do love reading your books! 🙂

  54. The only gadget I really use is my laptop. And it has changed my hobby of writing. I use to scribble blurbs and poems in my notebook in Highschool (not that long ago) but when I got my laptop my writing kind of dwindled a bit. It started with me writing less. And then it became a writer’s block and then I can hardly think of what I want to say in writing. I don’t wish it differently but I do wish I could have stayed keeping my writing journel. As for other gadgets, I had a phone a while back but I stopped using it when certain circumstances came up. I lent it to someone and they never gave it back. It broke, and 1.5 years later I still haven’t replaced my phone. I now find it unnecessary.

  55. Yes we become slaves to gadgets. However that is not what frightens me the most. I have all of the latest and greatest when it comes to gadgetry and I love it. But I do not depend upon it. I know I can, and often do, walk away from it for a spell. What scares me to death is seeing teens and young adults how are addicted to their gadgets, specifically, their smart phones. They would go through serious withdrawal if you took their phone away. They really do not understand that the world and their lives will continue on without a smart phone. Every thought process revolves around or encompasses the use of a smartphone in one way or another. Except it seems as a tool to assist them in getting to where they need to be on time.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to rant but this is definitely a concern I have as a teacher and a mom.

  56. I just recently graduated from my dinosaur to an I-phone. Wow! What a difference!
    My hubby was giving me a hard time a few days ago (even tho he’s the one who bought my phone for me!) about always having the thing either in my pocket or in my hands. But, Heaven forbid a miss a facetime call from Mom (who, at 87 years old is even using this technology)! Egad! What an age we live in, eh?
    I often feel as though I should have been born in another century (like the 1800s), but it sure is interesting… and fun to work, play and communicate on the same device! And I still don’t understand how radio waves work!!

  57. I have to admit it, I am dependant on the (phone) gadgets, but only because I have made it that way. My kids all have phones, so I can keep tabs on them. They also do their homework on the computer now too. So they are my welcomed servants and I think it’s for the better, times change and we change with it. When I was their age (6, 7 and even 15) when the street lights came on that’s when you knew that it was time to go in and if Mom says check in at 2:00 pm then you had better check in or there would be a grounding when you got back home… unless she had to hunt me down then I was in real trouble. The latter happened a lot because we lived by a lake and I was always up to something. One of my favorite gadgets is the internet; you can find anything on there. My absolute favorite is to order books from the library or for my kindle, makes it easier and satisfies that “I need it now” feeling. My husband teases because I am always reading. I read while making dinner, I read on breaks at work and I even read (this is the best) in the parking lot of the library in my town. It honestly is just as quiet as the inside. Ha Ha. It always amazes me to look back and see how the times have change in my 36 (37 tomorrow) years. Enjoy your semi-retirement or try to anyway. Hope you summer is going well  NR

  58. I call my iPhone my “brain”. It holds my contacts, their phone numbers, email, addresses. I keep all of my appointments set there and alarmed with reminders. My deadlines, bills, notes, ideas, EVERYTHING! It keeps me from falling apart.

  59. I saw someone throwing out encyclopedias the other day & thought, I remember having to use those for school reports, or go to the library & get books for research, or get magazines for pictures to go with those reports. My kids get everything on the internet. And another time saver is for them to type reports on the computer. No more correct-o-type or white-out! On the downside, I spend about 2-3 hrs a day on FB, emails & blogs. Can’t help myself! I don’t have a smart phone, either. I would need to use my reading glasses all of the time.

  60. I think technology is a blessing and a curse. I think it does in a way make us more connected but at the same time, it doesn’t make us think as much as we used too. Everything we’ve ever wanted to know is just a Google search away. I remember before I got my smart phone, I thought I would never need one, I could always use my computer. Now, I use it all the time! I’m constantly checking Facebook and searching Google for some random, pointless answer. When my husband said he wanted to buy me a Kindle for Christmas, I argued that I’ve always loved books and would miss reading with them. Now, I still read a real book now and then, but for the most part, I use my Kindle. And technology is always changing. It would interesting to see what we’ll be using in 20 years!

  61. I love being able to carry hundreds of books on my Nook wherever I go. Having a four-year-old, I don’t get to spend much time in “my” section of the library or bookstore, and having the ability to shop or browse books from my device at any hour of the day is a blessing. However, it can also be a problem if you find yourself doing that at 2 am rather than sleeping. I like being able to immediately reference things in historical novels that I didn’t know about, or use the built-in dictionary to look up unfamiliar words. I recently re-read Pride and Prejudice and found myself not only looking up several words a page to understand their archaic meanings, but also highlighting passages and adding comments. It has enhanced my reading experience. But it can be distracting having the ability to check email on the same device you read books. I force myself to turn the wi-fi off during reading time.

    As for Facebook, it is amazing that you are on there reading our comments! I feel a connection just seeing the pictures and words you post. The novel is such an intimate experience, a conversation between the author and yourself. It’s fun to have a window into how a historical author feels about the “modern” world.

  62. I think having gadgets make life easier but I don’t use alot of them!!! I don’t carry around a cell phone like every body. I plan on getting one but I like my peace and quiet. If I don’t answer at home then you can leave a message and I will call you back!!! I don’t like being tracked down by texting either. Now, I love my Kindle!!!! I have over 700 books on it I haven’t read yet and over 300 in my archives!! I love how you can get a book download onto your Kindle within seconds with out leaving the house. I LOVE reading!!! I am the happiest when I can sit down with a cup of coffee and my Kindle and just read!!

  63. I am so excited! I get to babble on about the invention of sewing machines. I first told this story 10 or so years ago when we were discussing computers.

    There used to be a sewing machine exhibit at the museum at Hershey Park, Pennsylvania*. Before the advent of the sewing machine, ladies hired a seamstress to come in once a week to sew, and most women only had a two or three dresses. Although they could now have those two dresses made in a fraction of the time, it actually created more work. Now, the women could have 4 or 5 dresses in the same amount of time. And of course, that led to “keeping up with the Jones’ ” who might have 6 or 7 dresses, and thereby doubled and tripled the work.

    Sound familiar? Computers were supposed to make the office run more efficiently by managing the same amount of information in half the time. Instead, we are now managing 10 times the information in thrice the time.

    Want to save time? Simplify. Think back to 25 years ago (if you are that old). Remember how unhappy you were without having all you have now? No? Me neither. (But it could just be a “senior moment”)

    *I do not know if the exhibit is still at the museum.

  64. I guess I am fortunate that I am retired and have the option of making use of my “gadgets” as much or as little as I want to. While I was working that wasn’t always necessarily so.

    I was still a secretary when the first word processors came out. I can remember how THRILLED I was with the editing features. If you left out a couple of words while transcribing you didn’t have to retype the entire page to fit them in. If you had a typo you didn’t have to correct five carbon copies. However, by the time voice mail and email came along (everyone had their own PC by then) it seemed these things were more of a “mixed’ blessing. We seemed to think that just because we could reach each other instantly the issues we were concerned about could be resolved just as quickly. It seemed they often added as much stress as they relieved.

    My views on gadgets are somewhat a result of my age (68) but also my temperment. I have always been a rather private person so I find myself frequently astounded and appalled at the personal things people are willing to share with the whole wide world.

    I love my computer, cell phone and e-reader (although I prefer real books) and would not want to be without them …..but they serve me . I do not serve them!

    And no I don’t want a smartphone. I’m not even as smart as the poor little thing I have now.

  65. My first commandment on technology: I only use technology that is easy, well adapted to my strengths and abilities and actually makes my life better. Example: I will never attempt to maintain a Twitter feed. I just can’t produce short meanful observations fast enough (if at all).

    I use a PC, an iPad and a dumb plain cell phone. I turn the cell phone off unless I am using it or I am expecting a call. I see no reason why I should be available to everyone in the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That is nuts. I don’t give out my cell number to anyone but my close friends, unless I have a good reason to do so (such as a repairman). I tell everyone my cell is not always on.

    I use my iPad for email, Google and Wikipedia searches, keeping my calendar, maintaining lists like my TBR list, storing photos on trips, and writing on trips. These all make my life more convenient. But there was a learning curve to be able to do all of these. I had to learn to use new non-PC apps and to protect my data by learing to use the iCloud to backup my data. I use my PC for everything else and to store a copy of all my data, both the data on my iPad and the data that won’t fit. Everything on the PC is backed up to another hard disk and Carbonite.

    I have used a computer since the 1970s and a PC since 1986. A PC is just part of my life. I can’t imagine writing or working without one.

    I am writing a book about a man who travels back to Regency England. The thing he misses most about the 21st century after modern sanitation is the Internet. I have injected myself into that character.

  66. Technology is a wonderful thing. I can remember the days without all our current high tech gadgets and would not wish to go back in time. That being said, I think it is important for people to use common sense and not abuse or overuse them. I think we should remember that we control our high tech gadgets and not let them control us.

  67. While technology is great is can come with problems. Like my sister is on her iPhone or iPad and now my 3 and 2 year niece’s are the same way.

  68. I have a love/annoyed relationship with social media and even today admonished myself for not using twitter and good reads. In the early 2000s I never would have imagined how connected so many people are across the globe. I do love my computer and word program! I remember the first poems I wrote on an electric typewriter…oops! typos! start over, again and again. Thank for the entertainment and comfort of your novels, Ms. Balogh.

  69. I’ve been OFF Facebook for two months now. The difference is amazing!! I don’t feel as connected, but I’m really enjoying how much smaller my world feels.

  70. I’ve said for the last 10 years that if it isn’t in my phone it isn’t going to happen – I love having the calendar feature available 24/7!!!
    That said since I work from home (and on demand) my smartphone is a necessity and it’s amazing how addictive it is!

  71. I would love to win this book and review it. It has been awhile since I reviewed one of your books. Love them. Trying to win one on goodreads too.

  72. Dear Mary,

    I love technology. Iphones, Ipads, etc…allow me to leave home and take my office with me. If I don’t want to be bothered, I just turn them off.

  73. I appreciate the computer, tablets, smart phones, GPS’s that save me from wasting time being lost everywhere and all the gadgets in my home created to save me from slaving away as my mother did on the farm for more than 35 years before we moved to America. I am so glad that you are writing more often on your website. Your entries are just filled with great information about the world of writing and your world of writing in particular. I love it. Thank you for becoming more visible to your readers. Thank you as well for writing two books and not retiring. I look forward to reading your books all the time.

  74. I spend a lot of time on my PC. I no longer get a daily newspaper, so I get my information from the msn homepage. I get about sixty emails in my inbox every day and I try to look through them all. Many are from writers and I often go back to their websites to read excerpts. I read a lot of book reviews. I go on Facebook at least once a week. I love the posters and pictures you show. I save some of them and look at them at times. One of my favorites was the book with the fantastic beings flitting in and around the book’s slightly open pages. 🙂 I love reading ! I own a Nook and have bought more than a hundred books, but forget to read them. I have read some, but I love holding a book in my hand. I often go back to reread something earlier about a character. I can’t just do that on the Nook. So, I guess I’m a dinosaur in many ways – no cell phone, no Twitter. I don’t know how to put my picture on Facebook, but I love reading comments by writers I love on it.

  75. I was born in the late 80’s, and grew up as gadgets rapidly developed. It is hard to imagine a life without gadgets. Due to my job, I must keep my cellphone on with a loud ringer 24/7. It is quite taxing, when all one wishes for sometimes is some solitude or at least the illusion that we can get away from the world. Gadgets have made parts of our lives easier, like chores being less time consuming via dishwasher, ect. Instead of having more leisure time, it seems that we fill the time up with more ways to be productive, like staying in touch with friends and family or working on extra projects that will help launch our careers. I wonder what it would have been like to live during the Regency days when they did not have most of our modern conveniences. It seems like they had simpler lives, but I would be scared witless to be without my modern medical technology and modern civil rights, especially as a woman.

  76. computers didn’t make our lives better, they made our lives more rushed. Everything has to be available RIGHT NOW, and at your fingertips. I’m convinced that the cell phone is the worst invention of our time.

  77. I think what I like about having a computer is that at it is so much easier to follow one of my favorite authors Mary Balogh. I have all of her books and am so glad she is writing again. I find that you can enjoy reading about a new book prior to it coming out.

  78. HI Mary, I still remember in early 200’s meeting you at a book signing at the library in Regina, SK. You so kindly signed a number of my paperbacks and I still have my leather bookmark! A lot has gone o since then! I am 62 now and in the past 12 years, like you I learned how to use a computer and e-mail, then different kinds of programs on computers with different jobs. (my background is nursing, almost was a teacher! Got a diploma in 1972, nursing degree in 1985 and a Masters in Adult Ed in 1993!) I then went on to twitter and Facebook. I admin 2 support groups on Face book through my job at the New Brunswick Lung Association as Director of Health Promotion. (one for Lung Cancer, one for Lung Transplants) and admin a musician fan page. So to answer your question. I have been an avid reader since I could read! I have all your books and what I have found is that Facebook, especially, is eating into my reading time in a major way! Two years ago this as not the case. Now I can spend hours on it catching up with all the new “friends” I have made and keeping up my 3 groups. SO as much as it is a great way to stay connected and meet people from all over the world I resent the time it takes away from my great escape..reading. I do use an e-reader but for some reason I have to have your books in some form of hard copy as I keep them all in my “keeper-re-read bookcase. Looking forward to your next book(s)! ~ Barbara

  79. I use the internet all the time and haven’t went weeks without sense I was 12.That is when I found online games.I use it today mostly to chat and look for new books.I just got a smartphone a few months ago and am still getting used to it.I am 25 and have to say computers and other gagets have changed my life for the better.

    btw if you win how do you get you your prize?How long after you win do they e-mail you?How do you know if you won?I think I did this week but I am not possitive I was the only Nicole I think to post without a last name or first letter of there last name last week.

  80. My grandmother’s house never had a dishwasher. Growing up the girls did the dishes. It was a social event. We would hang the laundry out to dry except during bad weather. Again, it was a group effort (especially when it started to rain and we rushed to get it in before it got drenched!). It wasn’t a big deal to do household chores. It was just part of life. When we were done we would sit around the living room reading and talking. The T.V. had 2 stations and we never watched it. I look back on those times with nostalgia. To much of technology I am indifferent. However, in my busy household certain things are essential – the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, and iPhone. While I don’t like talking on the phone much, I use it to text/send photos to out of state family, communicate with groups to which I belong, do much of my shopping, compare prices, seek reviews of items I’m planning on purchasing, do research on the internet, read ebooks and find my husband when we are shopping. I do worry that my children are so addicted to technology. It seems they no longer have to think. Television and video games are the things that bug me the most (probably because I don’t watch T.V. or play video games!). My husband and children think I’m nuts. However, I would have loved a computer in college instead of a manual typewriter and correction tape. That would have saved time, frustration and spelling errors!

    • My husband and I were just telling our kids today that when we learned to type in high school, we did it on typewriters. He looked at me like I was insane. Hey, I graduated in 1989, I told him. To him I’m sure that seems like forever ago.

  81. More and more, I despair that we are losing our civility, our ability to communicate and our souls to technology. People are glued to “smart” phones, to tablets and computers. There’s less time interacting with real people in a relaxed and sociable manner. Really how much can you say in 140 characters?

    More than once I’ve seen a parent pushing a small child in a stroller and are they relating to the child pointing out things to help a kid learn? No, their ear is glued to the phone as they move along. That’s just so sad.

    I have the most basic cell phone mostly for security, I’m not on Facebook or Twitter because I value my privacy and my security. Luckily, my job so far doesn’t require a social media presence. Granted, I spend a great deal of time on line and sometimes have to set a timer to drag myself away.

    The positive from the internet is that I have the chance to connect with interesting people and to hear first hand from authors I admire like Mary Balogh. The key for me is moderation and holding on to a piece of my soul that’s just for me.

  82. Hi Mary!

    I must admit that I’ve welcomed some of the new “gadgets” have become available but I find that others have deprived me of the thrill of getting a letter in the mail that has been lovingly written in cursive with the all the “frills” that were taught to my generation in childhood!

    I am grateful for my Kindle since our local bookstore closed (a Waldenbooks – part of the Borders chain) but I do miss the booksellers who always put your “new” book aside for me and gave me a personal call knowing I’d want to pick it up as soon as possible!

    My younger son is a Manager for one of the large telephone companies but I refuse to get a cell phone! I feel that even if a call is important my driving into the cars around me is more important and with answering machines at both home and work I’ll get the message when I’m safely out of the car and traffic! After all even if someone has been taken to the Emergency Room they don’t want me to arrive in the next ambulance to join them!

    On the other hand I must admit I like answering machines. Not only can we have a quiet dinner without answering the phone but I don’t have to worry about the phone # to call is written down wrong!
    Even though I’m old enough to remember phone lines being shared by several different users they did help you to “meet” some of your neighbors that you otherwise might not have known!

    I guess with each generation new “gadgets” get released and while some make our lives more interesting some can also not give us the “freedom” we used to enjoy! As a child we didn’t get a TV until I was in Grade School and it was a “big box” with a small TV which took up an entire corner of our living room and there were very few shows on it but I can remember watching the news with my father. When my sons were young we put off getting a color TV for many years because my older son is color blind and my younger son always had his nose in a book and wasn’t interested in watching it!

    When I hear of the problems in the schools today I wonder if part of it is that the current “young” generation isn’t learning how to play independently outside in the sand box and “make their own adventures” instead of being constantly entertained. I feel blessed that all my grandchildren love to read and only occasionally want to turn on the TV. The adventures they can go on can’t be duplicated by a machine. The mind is a wonderful thing and books are waiting to be picked up to take you on a magical adventure!

  83. I think that technology and gadgets are bittersweet. I think that it is very easy to become a slave to them. Example: The phone, people are lost without it. We spend a lot of time using these gadgets, wasting time. Children and adults alike want to be entertained. On the other hand, they have helped us. I know I have wasted time using them.

    Kathy

  84. Like drive-throughs, technology is one of life’s conveniences. Unfortunately, excessive use of either of these conveniences has had many negative results, including obesity, reduced quality time with our families and distracted driving accidents. Shorthand texting, acronyms and spell checking programs have affected basic writing skills, with cursive going the way of calligraphy! However, there are just so many darned advantages! When my husband deployed in 2000, we were limited to snail mail and brief weekly phone calls. When I deployed ten years later, I was able Skype with him and our family! As a military family, we relocate frequently (seven moves in thirteen years!). I had cumbersome boxes of books packed up and moved each time. My Kindle has alleviated the load and I am down to just over one large box of my favorite books. I love my Kindle! I dislike my cell phone. I actually switched to my tablet to type this as I often generate more typos than words on my phone. On a another note, I love how connected you are with your readers. I e-mailed you a few years ago and was excited to receive an e-mail in return. Thank you for taking the time to keep in contact with us, via facebook, your website, e-mails or in person.

  85. Dear Mary,

    I work in a social job and emails and facebook take up a lot of my time… often more so than preparing or planning for events do.
    On one side i love beeing able to comunicate with people from all over the world. Or read about new books coming out on the authors website. Or meet and discuss and learn with people in forums of my interests.
    But on the other side I think a lot of time is used up with gadgets and without any real contact to people.
    And it much easier to missunderstand some written comment as something said to your face- the emphasis is missing. And it easier to break a contact on the net- there is no arkwardness when one doesn’t return to a chat or thread, but leaving a real person in the middle of a face to face discussion?

    Then there is also the social pressure to be always there, to stay connected all the time. I heartily dislike the controll the new media comes with.

    So I decided for a clear seperation between work and time off: no smartphone for me and no work emails at home for me. I don’t want to work around the clock.

    It is also difficult for all nations whose first language isn’t English- as English is the most used language on the net. I needed about half a year till i was able to write fluently (and surely not without fault) in English. (I was already able to talk and read beforehand.)

  86. Technology is great but like all good things it can become bad with too much dependency. As a nurse, technology while it keeps medical mistakes down: keeps me from taking time with my patients. I spend more time charting than I do actually with my patients.
    I don’t have a blog, facebook is rarely looked at (I don’t need to read a running commentary on how an extended family member, day to day life is going), kindle or any other type of electronic reader is non exsistant because I love holding a book in my hand. Those people that are important in my life I keep in contact with either in person or a phone call. It seems as a society we have forgotten what it is like to have quiet minds.
    I have a cell phone but often choose not carry it with me around those house nor do I answer all calls. My computer is used for school or research an illness, read newpaper articles, or order products I can’t find locally. And I rarely interupt a conversation to answer my phone or reply to a text.

  87. Dear Favorite Author, I enjoyed reading that you tell love stories, not sex romps. For a while after I retired, I was a little embarrassed when friends, who knew I had spent my entire career reading and teaching the classics to my high school and college students, that I was now reading mostly historical romances, especially since my husband died four years ago. That is, until I started reading your stories. By then, I had heaved a profound sigh of relief and announced that I was now reading Mary Balogh and Diana Gabaldon–and proud of it! Thanks for rescuing my reputation. I truly wish I had a few books in me, but I’m afraid I just don’t. But that doesn’t keep me from truly enjoying every last book by you that I can get my greedy hands on. Thanks for several years of satisfyingly concluded love stories.

  88. we do have more free time with washing machines, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners! I live on a sailboat and i wash our dishes by hand…time consuming! We have just filled up our time with other things – like social networking and reading blogs. 😉

  89. Two sons, daughter, my husband and I and nine GRANDchildren just returned from cabins in the Adirondacks with no cell or internet or tv for the last week. I loved it but must confess I had started to make a mental list of things I wanted to “look up” on the internet when we got home. I barely facebook, don’t tweet, text to grandchildren mostly and feel out of the loop technologically speaking. My 3 yr old granddaughter was doing things on her brothers I pad that I can only dream of doing!
    Love your stories, think I have all of your books. Have re-read most of them. When a new one in a series comes out I often go back and re-acquaint myselt with the others. PLEASE don’t retire!!

  90. I find myself day dreaming of what it might be like to live during the time of your books. No gadgets, electricity, or husle & busle. Part of me feels like that is where I would love to be…..then I think of a question and grab my Iphone so I can look up the answer. I am a slave to technology just like most of us. Some, worse than others, but I think we all enjoy the conveniences this day & age have to offer.
    I also agree with everyone here…we love your stories & hope that you will not retire. What will we do without you?

  91. Oh, how I love your books. I can’t wait for the next one to come out. I am continuing to try and find some of your older books that are no longer being published. I have found some of them but still looking to complete my collection. Thank you for allowing me to loose myself in all of your wonderful stories.

  92. Technology has changed all of our lives. I can connect with you and my teen age daughter can connect with her favorite band! If anything, it has given the masses contact with their “idols” and fans can see how their “idols” are just normal people who have some special talent!

  93. Time management is my biggest worry. Remembering even to GET on FB and do the things I need to do… so last year I took a little course online and discovered the best little iPhone app – Awesome Note. It’s like my personal assistant. I try to put absolutely every thing in it. I even have affirmations like – don’t laugh – “left foot, right foot, breathe”, 😉 and have daily tasks set with reminders. it’s helped a lot. The lady who taught the course gave one of the best suggestions I’ve ever had – every morning for five minutes clean, straighten. I was so surprised what I could do in that small amount of time. So I applied that to some of my other tasks like writing. Every day, 10 mins of writing grew into more.

    Can’t wait to read The Proposal!

  94. I have an ancient “dumb” phone, and only get the three networks on my television (which I rarely watch anyway!). No Twitter, no texting, and the only Facebook page I ever look at is yours, Mary, because as an ardent lover of books, I love the pictures you post. Of course I use computers at home and at work, but I value my free time to read, meditate and do yoga. I truly feel sorry for people who must constantly use smart phones, computers, and the various forms of social media as part of their work and self-promotion, i.e. writers!

    For all of the convenience and speed that we have gained with technology, I’m afraid we have lost something very precious in our lives – personal, human connection. Hopefully, after the initial honeymoon with these devices is over, we will cycle back to a state of balance.

  95. I have become more attached to the gadgets, just for reasons like your blog. I have enjoyed your writing for years, and I also enjoy your “behind the scenes” writing. So thank your for the time that you devote to Facebook, the blogs, etc

  96. I have to agree with you Mary. For my age group, 20-somethings, I’m behind in the technology. I just got texting on my phone a few months ago. No smart phone yet for me either.

    A friend and myself have returned to old fashion snail mail for letter writing this year. We still use e-mail and facebook, but every few weeks we take turns writing a real letter. It’s nice sitting down to write a letter on some pretty stationery, and it’s always exciting to me to get a letter in the mail since I get very little of it.

    • So nice to hear. The art of beautiful penmanship is disappearing entirely. My daughter tells me that they have dropped it from the curriculum. How depressing, especially because I have always collected fountain pens.

  97. I feel like I’ve lived in a time that has seen such changes. Absolutely love the internet. With a large family, it’s nice not to have to spend all that time in stores finding the perfect gift for Christmas. Now I can find just about anything on-line. Love that. and yes that really is a time saver! But yes just one because the amount of time on-line is staggering. I am still trying to remember to check my e-mail daily, along with my cell. Still getting there.

    I laugh at how proficient the younger generation is with computers and willl admit that my ten year old nephew has gotten me out of a jam now and then. It’s funny the things we get used to, that the younger generation just takes for granted. Does any one remember when seat belts were not standard in vehicles? (Let along “Power brakes and steering, and air bags”?, etc.). Or when windows needed to be manually closed?

    I don’t think that things get easier with technology, necessarily. Just like life, things just constantly change. That’s part of the fun of it!

  98. I used to criticize my daughters for always being on their “gadgets”. Now that I have a Kindle, I Pod, I Pad, I am feverish to play games, read, listen to my favorite music,check everyone’s stories on Facebook, see the latest on your page etc. etc. etc. It beats turning on the TV and finding nothing but violence, same repetitive shows, nothing but reality shows. I’m glad we have other options.

  99. Many years ago, I was told that there are no labor-saving devices. All of the things that have been invented to make a housewive’s life easier have done nothing of the kind. The time we save with washing machines, dryers, microwave ovens, etc., only enable us to do even more things than before. Our workload has not lessened; it has increased. So we should start saying “labor-adding devices. It’s a good thing that woman are so very capable of adapting

  100. My family and I returned from vacation just yesterday, and one of the things I was most happy to leave behind was anything digital. Of course, our gadgets make our lives easier in countless ways, but sometimes that just means having more things to keep track of. That’s all fine when it comes to running my business, but in my personal life, I want to slow down. I like talking to my children about the things that are going on in their lives. I like being able to see my friends. When I get home from work, I don’t want to think about my computer and my e-mail, and my obligations. Gadgets represent obligations to me. I like a slower pace, where I can use my time to analyze situations rather than making split second decisions because I am too busy to do anything else. I feel more isolated, not more “connected” when I am forced to deal with things rather than people.

  101. In regard to your book, The Proposal, I have not read this novel, but have read many others set during this time period and it always amazes me how hard it was to live in that era. Our bookclub read a number of books relating to Jane Austen and Mr. Darcy and I found it so interesting. As to modern technology, if it were not for the computer and cellphones, I would have lost at least two members of my family in the past 15 years. Thank God for cellphones and other things that people 100 years ago barely dreamed of. If it were not for my computer I would miss seeing pictures of my grandchildren minutes after they do something “amazing” and would rarely hear from family and friends. Technology is a true gift to our lives, mine included.

    I would absolutely love to be the recipient of a copy of your book.

    Thank you so much..

  102. I have read The Proposal, and loved it. I am looking forward to reading the next in series and all after it. I have always loved your books and in fact, have lent my sister and mother your books and now have them hooked also. My dauthter is who got me started reading yours so we keep in the family so to speak. I have and will always recommed you to all my family and friends. Thank you for all your books. Now that I have a Kindle fire I’m finding many of your books I have never read and am catching up with them also.

  103. The question is–have we become slaves of our gadgets, or are they our very welcome servants? Or our much resented servants?

    On the one-hand, gadgets have made life easier, communication is now instantaneous, information can be brought to our fingertips instantly, and Skype is a blessing for those of us with distant family. On the other, most people feel naked or incomplete without their cellphone, it has become a necessary evil to stay connected not only to our circle of family and friends, but to Facebook, email, and internet sites frequented. I work for a customer service company and if our computer system is down, almost everything stops.

    How have gadgets changed your life? Has the change been for the better of the worse? How do you manage your time–or don’t you?

    Cell phones and computers have made my life easier. I traveled constantly when my children were young and my cell phone helped me to stay in touch no matter where I was. I went back to college a a few years ago, and my laptop was an absolute necessity for research, writing papers, and communication with my professor and student team. At work, our systems have improved significantly to the point, where in my whole day, I might not touch a piece of paper at all. Everything is computerized. I work for an electric company and our “smart” meters now record all customer use electronically, no more meter readers.

    I still however, prefer the feel of a good book in my hands, not a tablet. I re-read my favorites over and over, and I prefer to keep my calendar in a book, not on a computer. Oh, I keep reminders in my phone, as well, but I do prefer to write things down, and read over events in the past or yet to come.
    Like the coming of your new book!

  104. I love all your books. They are extremely well written with a lot of research done on time period, characters etc. really feel like I’m part of the story.I read a lot of your books and I can’t put them down.

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