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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Getting to Know Your Co-Hosts - M. J. Joachim

Teresa, that’s my birth name, and if my pen name hadn’t stuck so long ago, that’s what my byline would say. Thanks to my Dad for deciding I’d be strong like St. Teresa of Avila and his little flower, like St. Therese of Lisieux – my strong Irish Catholic background influenced me, but the writer in me remained open to interpretation on all fronts. Being the youngest of such a large group (8 kids) only encouraged me to be who I am, a free spirit with more than too much creativity, and way too many ideas to keep things interesting.

Thus, the birth of my blogs…if you want to get to know me, that’s probably the easiest way. They were born from a desire to write, and the easiest things to write about are things I enjoy doing every day. I try not to get too personal on my blogs, treating them more like magazines, than a diary. But this is where you’ll see my creativity at work. If you follow me closely, you’ll also catch glimpses of my personal life from time to time.

Take my book reviews, for example. I’ve always loved to read, so sharing my thoughts about what I’m reading is perfectly natural, an easy progression. I remember one time in high school, my history teacher consistently had us write current event essays. While most kids simply followed the directions, I wrote a story about the story. Mr. Rogers loved my current event papers so much, that he told me never to let anyone teach me how to write, encouraging me to use my writing as an expression of myself, even if the writing was about something else entirely.

One of the reasons I started writing book reviews on my Writing Tips blog is because I hated writing book reports in school. Those formulas the teachers made us follow were so mundane; they drove me out of my mind. When I read books, the stories come alive. I become one with the scenes and characters; they speak to me. As a reviewer, there’s an added element, because I get to share what makes these books stand out, or not, against their competition.

At first, I was a little nervous about writing negative book reviews. After reading more than my share of poorly edited books, I changed my mind. In fact, I get a little insulted as a reader, when a book is not professionally produced, before it is published. Using my writing skills to illustrate how and why these books didn’t make the cut provides valuable information for my audience. Letting my creativity flow as I write them, allows the writer in me to be true. The same holds true when I get to write positive reviews, and I have a much better time writing those. I totally get into it, when I get to praise the authors.

Call me M. J., Teresa, Mrs. D., Aunt T. or Mom – pretty much call me whatever your heart desires. In my mind, I’m just another person on the planet, striving to achieve the ultimate goal of meeting my maker in Heaven someday. There are many roads to get there, a few detours along the way and lots of people we meet on the journey. The hope is they will be better for having known us, because we’re real and the love in our hearts make us shine.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me better. It’s a true pleasure getting to know you too!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit:  M. J. Joachim + the two center ones received from my Mom last summer. ©2014 All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi MJ - that's how I "know" you .. now I can see the back story of Mr Rogers I'll pay more attention to your voice and style ..also I need to visit your other blogs ... enjoy the A-Z and thanks for your help as one of the co-hosts who help so much through this wonderful Challenge .. cheers Hilary

  2. Hi MJ, thank you for this and for the encouragement with the Challenge. I wish you could review my recently published book. Please feel free to be as critical in your review as possible given your 'Catholic Background'. I once was a good Catholic too. Well, the clock is ticking and I am working on my posts already.

    1. Feel free to email me a kindle copy -

      I get a lot of requests, but I'll be happy to read and review it when I can.

  3. Hello MJ, this was a joy to read and feel I know YOU.


  4. Book reports were always the worst, weren't they? Reviews are much easier.
    Glad you are part of the Challenge team!

  5. Great way to introduce yourself, T.! You are an amazing addition to the A to Z Team and I'm so glad we've become friends. Your book reviews are great because you manage to teach writing while reviewing. That's pretty remarkable. Also, the care you give each book, whether good or bad or just plain in the middle is commendable.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

  6. Hi MJ, nice to meet you. I don't really know your blogs, but I will be rectifying that in the future. Thanks for hosting the A to Z. All you hosts do such a good job.

  7. Great to meet you MJ! Oh man the dreaded book I struggled with that, and writing, when I was in school. But then I ended up working in law as a paralegal and learned to write really well. My boss stopped dictating 90% of the papers we submitted and let me just take the file and run with it. All he would do was the legal argument section citing case law. I learned to love writing.

  8. Great post, M.J.!
    Nice to get to know you better.


  9. I am looking forward to the A to Z challenge! This is the first time I am taking part in this so I'm super excited! Great getting to know you!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  10. Great to learn more about you, Teresa. You've been such a valuable member of the A to Z Team this year and I thank you for that. After reading this I realize that we have a lot more in common than I had realized.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  11. Thank you for your inspiring posts, MJ. Your writing is great.

  12. Hi M.J. - what a nice introduction and variety of photos of your pretty smile! I wonder if you are like me - usually NOT wanting to "see the movie" after reading a good book because the actors don't fit the image we've already formed of the characters in the book. My pet peeve in books is also those which are poorly written or poorly edited. I pick up most books with great anticipation and want to give them all 4 or 5 stars, but will drop one quickly if it's not well-written. See you in April, and thanks for all your assistance in preparation for A to Z.

  13. Hey MJ -- look at you! Way to go. I know you'll be a great addition to the team, and I look forward to seeing what else you do with AtoZ this year.

  14. i hate writing negative book reviews too. i avoid it if I can. love your baby pic!

  15. So I completely forgot this was scheduled for today, and when I'm making my rounds, (I feel like an intern doctor or something), I see all these pictures of me upon opening the page. Totally caught me off guard, let me tell you! Then I start reading all these super generous comments, and sensitive soul that I am, get a little choked up over here, sitting at my kitchen table. Yes, I'm definitely looking forward to the Challenge - having a wonderful time visiting more blogs than I want to count these days, and simply enjoying the moment. You all are amazing, and it's a true pleasure working on this team and making so many kind and wonderful friends here in Blog Land.

  16. Hi MJ,
    Good to know a bit more about you!!
    The pics are lovely too!!
    OMG!! The pic in the frame of that
    cute little one is really amazing!
    Thanks for sharing this to us,
    Have wonderful time of A toZ blogging ahead!!

  17. So nice to meet you! I don't write negative reviews. If I don't like a book, I don't write a review unless that author asks for my opinion. Thank you for co-hosting and making this available for us all!

  18. Thanks for sharing this interesting post and your introduction. This is my first challenge and looking forward to meeting many. Tania @

  19. Nice to hear your point of view, MJ and how you started writing.
    This reminds me that I have quite a few reviews to write, but time...

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  21. it's great to know more about you M.J. :) I love reading your reviews :)

  22. Great to be told at a younger age that you can already write...being graded on it was so intimidating and such a drag! Nice to meet you a bit more!

  23. Enjoyed this intro of you, MJ. Being the youngest of eight kids certainly gives you a unique perspective!


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