Fun Stuff

The Mysterious Blogger Award

Hello everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve been on wordpress so I’ve missed this lovely nomination by Bailey @thebookstack. I hope you enjoy this post and maybe nominate some people of your own!

What’s the Mystery Blogger Award?

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma

The Rules

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Me

  • I’m under 5 feet tall. I am a very small person. I will never hit my head on things, but I also can’t reach things easily on the top shelf at the grocery store.
  • I’m an outdoor education instructor. I work outdoors with kids for about 14 hours a day, five days a week. Which means I work a lot for very little money, but kids are usually pretty great so it’s a weird balance. This blog is definitely a hobby when times allows though.
  • My favorite books are the ones that have made me cried. I will never watched and/or read a book that I already know has a sad ending. I read for escapism and crying my eyes out doesn’t really help with that. BUT, when I’m hit unexpectedly there’s just something that just seems to cement my appreciation for the book.

Bailey’s Questions

  • What book have you been wanting to read, but keep putting off?

I have a whole bookshelf full of books so it’s hard to pick one. Mainly the grisha series I suppose. I’ve read the first book and started the second one, but haven’t made it past that point. I enjoyed it and I would like to finish the series soon.

  • Do you dog-ear your pages and write in your books, or do you try to keep them pristine?

I like to keep my books pristine. I hurts me on a deep level to damage my books. I want a huge library one day so falling apart books doesn’t really work well for that dream.

  • What do you do when you find yourself in a reading slump?

Honestly, I just stop reading. Reading is something I really enjoy, but when I’ve had enough for the moment I just take a break. Breaks I think are super important and a normal part of life.

  • We all know the book is almost always better, but what movie adaptation did you really like?

I love the book The Time Traveler’s Wife and though I think the movie left out a lot I still enjoyed the movie.

  • (Bonus funny question) Would you rather fight a 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?

Definitely 100 duck-sized horses. Ducks at their normally size are aggressive and overwhelming sometimes. I certainly wouldn’t want to fight a horse-sized duck.

My Questions

  • What encouraged you to first start your own blog?
  • How do you come up with new ideas?
  • Are there any other bloggers that really inspire you?
  • What is one of your favorite books and why?
  • (Weird/funny) If you were a sandwich what type of sandwich would you be?

Nominees

Some amazing bloggers I’d like to draw attention too:

NovelsandWafflesUnputdownablebookssomeonewillrememberusWordwonders

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: Secrets

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! This week I’ve been wondering about secrets. Not necessarily world changing secrets, but the small little secrets I think we all have. For example, I’ve told people I have a blog, but I’ve never told anyone I know in my every day life that this particular blog is mine. I don’t tell people because this blog is extremely personal to me and I don’t want the added pressure of knowing that people I see every day may be judging what I post on here. It gives me a lot more confidence to post whatever I want and it makes blogging more fun.

So, on that note, do you have any little secrets that you keep to yourself? And if so, why do you keep them a secret?

Advice

Beginning Bloggers- Pros and Cons for blogging

Hello everyone, so I’ve been blogging for officially for a few months now. Wow, the time has flown. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve really enjoyed and what has been a bit of a struggle with book blogging. I decided to share it with you incase you’re interested in getting into book blogging or just need to know that you’re not the only blogger experiencing the struggle and rewards.

  1. The Community (pro #1) – I’ve just begun to really start interacting with the book community and everyone is so friendly and fantastic. I don’t have a lot of friends who enjoy reading or have time oddly enough and this has really given me an outlet to start talking to those of you who have similar interests. It’s so warm and great!
  2. Time Commitment (Neg #1) – A blog that is updated approximately every other day or even a couple of times a week is a huge time commitment. Writing is fun, but the moment you give yourself a schedule there’s personal pressure. Now, you don’t have to keep a set schedule, but realize that if you want to new people to chat with you on your blog a set schedule I’m finding is optimal for at least getting your posts seen.
  3. Broadening of horizons (Pro #2) – I began this blog to talk and discuss particular elements of fantasy books. Mainly, characterization, world building, and diversity. I know what I enjoy for characterization and world building, but I hadn’t really been looking for any diversity. It wasn’t intentional, but I was reading books about all white characters almost all the time. I don’t think reading those books are a problem, but what was the problem was assumed there weren’t other types of stories out there. I didn’t think the problem was me. I just thought people weren’t publishing different stories. Well, I was dead wrong and now I’ve start to realize and really explore more diverse books. I must say that they’re amazing!
  4. Remembering stuff ( Neg #2) – I like to say I have the memory of a goldfish. I read a lot of books and do a lot of stuff. It’s really difficult for me to remember a large amount of detailed information. This is mainly important because I want to create a lot of lists. People love lists and they’re also very helpful for people who want to read a particular type of book. So, in order to remember books and characters well enough to create lists I takes notes. This really slows down how quickly I can read and can dampen the enjoyment I have for reading.
  5. Patience (Pro and Con #3) I list this as a pro and a con, because it really is for me. I have been slowly building a blog following, but it’s been slow going. This is a con, because as I mentioned I want to talk with other book lovers and the more people you have following you the more likely you are to have a discussion about something you’ve posted. It makes sense. However, it’s also a pro. I think instant success can sometimes make people (or at least me) lazy. It takes me time to write what I feel like is good content and even then sometimes it goes up before I feel like it’s 100% ready. There’s no problem with taking your time and I think that’s an important lesson on it’s own.

What do you think? Have you experienced these as well? Are you concerned about them?

Authors, Friday Feature

Friday Feature: Author Kellie Doherty Interview

Kellie Doherty is a queer science fiction and fantasy author living in Eagle River, Alaska. Her work has been published by Desert Palm Press, Queer Sci Fi, and Pathos Literary Magazine, among others. She currently works full time as an office assistant and part time as a freelance editor. In her (mostly non-existent) spare time, she likes to read, play games, and watch way too much YouTube.


Published Books

Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties– Recently released on March 27th!

Losing Hold (Cicatrix Duology book 2)- Published April 2017

Finding Hekate ( Cicatrix Duology book 1)- April 2016

You can purchase all three books at Desert Palm Press here!


Interview

What inspired you to write Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties?

Well that’s a little bit of a story, actually! I got the idea for my fantasy series back when I was teenager. I thought it would be fun to have four distinct main characters each with their own stories, their own failures and triumphs, and then have them come together at the end. I started with Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties because Misti, my main character, was the first of the four characters to really stand out to me. I knew her the best. I was inspired by the type of magic she wields (though I call it crafting in my world), and she has a really cute companion animal so that helped me, too. So really, I was inspired by my main character to write her story first.

Is there anything you really want readers to know about your recently released novel, Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties?

I’d like readers to know that Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties is the beginning of a new five-book fantasy series, where, while the story is about Misti during her adventures you’ll also get to meet the other three main characters of the upcoming books. The first four books will be standalones, but you’d probably need to read one of the first four before reading the fifth. The character arcs will be intertwined in some way (think: bumping into one of them on the side of the road) but also unique, too.

Your previous two published novels are science fiction and your recently released novel is fantasy. Do you do any research before and/or during your writing process or is it all from your imagination?

Most of it is from my imagination, but for my science fiction work I did research how certain technology would work and what living on a spaceship would be like. (Oh, and if watching Firefly, Star Trek, and Stargate reruns counts as research then I did a lot of that, too!) For my fantasy work I researched sword fighting vs. dagger fighting styles, mythological creatures from various cultures, fun plant-life, things like that. (I watched a bunch of Critical Role while writing my fantasy work, too, which helped!) I also do research on various worldbuilding aspects—unique foods, interesting fashions, cool settings—and sprinkle that into my writing, too.

As a queer author, how important is representation in books to you?

So, so, so important. I can’t stress that enough! Diversity is a huge conversation happening in the publishing world right now and I am thrilled that we’re finally talking about it—and doing something about it! We need more diversity of all kinds—queer, POC, disabled folk, etc.—in all areas of publishing, writing, marketing, social media, design, etc. Representation is so important to readers, too, being able to see yourself in the books you read. I didn’t get to see many queer main characters in fantasy and science fiction works when I was growing up and even into the beginnings of adulthood so being able to add positive representation is lovely. It’s one of the reasons I write!

What other authors have inspired you?

Wow, there are so many awesome authors out there—V.E. Schwab, Becky Chambers, Tomi Adeyemi come to mind right now. The other authors at Desert Palm Press are constant sources of inspiration for me, and my friends who are yet-unpublished-but-are-amazing-writers are super motivating, too!


Want to Know More?

You can check out Kellie’s website here. She also has a twitter.

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: The blogging community

Hello lovely readers! I hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday! Today I was wondering how you participate in the blogging community particularly the book blogging community. Do you participate in reading challenges, do you do lots of blog hopping, or are you someone who prefers to just read a blog or two in your spare time? Do you participate in the community in a way I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear your responses!

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: Where do you get your books?

Hello lovely readers and happy Wednesday! Today, I’ve been wondering where everyone finds new books that they want to read. Do you find all of your book while browsing the shelves of Barnes&Noble, searching for highly rated books of Amazon, through friend recommendations only, or something different?

I can’t wait to here all the places that you find new and great books.

Advice

Beginning Book Bloggers- ARC 101

Hello lovely readers, I hope the day is treating you well! Today I want to talk about ARCs. ARC stands for advance readers copies. This is probably one of the best perks outside of the book community itself to book blogging. It is where you get free copies of a book with the understanding that on some platform you will leave a review. As a lover of books this is amazing! However, it’s also really easy to overwhelm yourself if you’re not careful. In this post I’m going to discuss general ARCs stuff and also some precautions about what I call the ARC trap.

Where can you get ARCs?

NetGalley– my favorite site. Full of professional publishers

Edelweiss+ – also full of professional publishers. Haven’t personally used.

BookSends ARC – sends you an e-mail with ARCs you can choose. Very small selection. The deadline to read is usually very short compared to other sites.

Reading Deals – the first place I ever got an ARC. They’re very clear on book review expectations and etiquette which was nice, but their selection isn’t very good.

I’m sure there are even more than this, but these are the ones I’ve either heard of or used myself. You can also always personally ask the publishing company or author for an ARC though with no following and limited experience you probably won’t have much luck.

How do I get approved for ARCs?

This is the golden question. For smaller companies that handout ARCs like BookSends and Reading Deals anything you request you can usually receive no problem. Fairly straight forward. I’m not really familiar with Edelweiss+ so honestly I can’t really speak for that website, but I’ve heard a lot of people use it so I wanted to include it. NetGalley is where I get all my best ARCs from. It’s a great site! Now, NetGalley is hub for a variety of publishers that receive your requests and then either approve or deny them. If you look at the publisher’s preferences you will see that almost every publisher has the right to approve or deny your request basically just because they want to. However, there are some things you can do to really improve your chances. 1. You need a platform. I’ve been approved when all I had were Amazon and Goodreads accounts, but it’s not the best. A platform such as a blog really tells the publishers that you have a following and that you’re taking this seriously. You don’t even need a large following so don’t worry about having tons of followers! 2. You need to keep an eye on your feedback ratio. Your feedback ratio is the number of books you’ve given reviews for compared to the number of ARCs you’ve received. Some high profile bloggers may be able to get away with low ratios, but starting out I’ve found a low feedback ratio tends to be why I get denied a book.

Beware the ARC Trap

What is the ARC trap you ask? It’s when you requested lots of ARCs, think you didn’t get approved for any of them, and so request more only to later get approved for all of them and then you have six or more ARCs and limited time to read everything. Plus, your feedback ratio is now horrible. Now, if you’re thinking that’s oddly specific then you’d be correct. This has happened to me multiple times and I don’t want it to happen to you. It puts you under a lot of pressure that you don’t necessarily need or want to be under. Publishers are very busy and probably receive hundreds if not thousands of requests for books every day. It can take a publisher anywhere from a couple days to a month to see your ARC request. I didn’t realize this at first at it put me under a lot of pressure to quickly read a lot of books that I didn’t necessarily have time to read. I would encourage you if you’re just starting out as a reviewer to only request one or two books at a time. Most publishers are kind enough to e-mail you that they have denied your request for their ARC so you should usually know if the publisher has seen your request or not.

ARC Etiquette

So, I would say there’s definitely some ARC etiquette I would personally recommend that bloggers/reviewers follow. If you are getting a free ARC it’s important to remember that the author and publisher are giving you a gift. They worked very hard on it and probably put in a lot of love. What does that mean for you? You need to actually take the time to read the book. Don’t skim it, don’t give up on it even if you don’t like it. Read it. Now, there of course can be an occasional exception. I have DNF-ed one ARC, but that should be a rare occurrence. Once you’ve finished it, give a thought out review. It is 100% okay to give an ARC a bad review. Honesty is the best policy my friends and if you’re not being honest then you’re not helping anyone. But, if you’re going to give a single star to a book then there needs to be a reason just like if you gave it five stars. This is part of why you were given the ARC in the first place. Honor that responsibility.

Transparency is also important. If you were given an ARC it’s important to make sure you let readers know you received it as a free ARC. This has personally never changed how I feel about someone giving a review for a book, but again I think honesty is the best policy and letting readers know is a good trust builder.


Does that answer all your ARC questions? Were there things I didn’t cover? Let me know what you think!