31 October 2011

Blogging Mentor Mondays: Meredith Moore

Happy Halloween! I have a real treat for you today. Have you met Meredith Moore of Fairy Tales and Cappuccino? Meredith is a reader and a writer who often shares her travelling adventures with her blogging friends. Her weekly post, Five Random Thoughts on a Friday, has something for everyone. Let's find out more about Meredith!

Give us the low-down on yourself, your writing, and your blog: Here’s my bio: I grew up in Texas, and now I’m back. I worked as an editorial assistant at a publishing house in New York for a bit, learning about the crazy business of making books, but the stories in my head wouldn’t shut up. I needed to write. So I quit, spent my days writing, moved to Boston, then back to Texas, and now here I am, trying to find a way to make this whole writing dream a reality.

I’ve written a couple of manuscripts (and even more half-manuscripts that I swear I’ll get back to at some point). I write YA, because I love that time when people are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. So much awesome angst! I don’t stick to one genre: some of my stories are contemporary, some are fantasy, one ill-conceived one was dystopian.

My blog, Fairy Tales and Cappuccino, is really a place for me to share all of my random thoughts about writing, about books I love, about why fall is the best season ever, and so on. I post lists of things that make me happy every Monday (I’m a big fan of simple pleasures). Writing can be a frustrating business, and I love keeping everything upbeat on my blog—it helps remind me to stay positive.

You're accomplishing your goal; your blog is definitely upbeat.

How do you build your blog following? The main thing I do is follow other blogs and comment on them. There’s such an amazing writer community here online, and I love that I often find people who comment on other blogs and click over to their blogs—I’ve found some of my favorites that way.

Good advice! Being a faithful follower is the key to creating blogging relationships.

Do you have any advice for writing good posts or comments? I guess my biggest advice would be to take your time. Blogging is a big investment (a very worthwhile one), and so I like to write my blog posts ahead of time and make sure I say what I actually want to say. As for commenting, I take the time to really read the post and respond in a meaningful way.

I like that you write your posts in advance. I do too.

How does blogging benefit you the most? Knowing that I’m not going through this alone. There are so many writers out there that are experience the same struggles, the same rejections, the same endless editing process that I am. So we can laugh about it together, and that’s just priceless.

Laughing with other writers about our shared neurosis is priceless!

What is your favorite blog (besides your own of course), and why? Oh goodness, don’t make me pick just one! Hmmm. I really enjoy Maggie Stiefvater’s blog: she gives great writing advice, and she always has the best music on her playlists. Plus, she’s an amazing artist and musician. Really, there’s something for everyone on that blog.

I'm going to check Maggie's blog out. Thanks!

Random question: If you could be any literary character, who would you be?
Haha, this one’s easy! Anne of Green Gables. She’s got red hair, she’s smart, she’s a writer, she lives in one of the most beautiful places in the world (Prince Edward Island), and she marries Gilbert Blythe. Absolute perfection.

You know, I liked you before you answered that question, but now I like you even more. Anne and Gilbert are one of my favorite literary couples. Awesome choice!

Thanks so much for letting us get to know you better as a writer and a blogger, Meredith. You're such a doll!

28 October 2011

Killer Characters Blogfest—Antagonist Challenge

The end is near for Killer Characters Blogfest. It's time to write your heart out about your favorite famous literary antagonist. This is a bloghop, so hop around (the list of participants is at the bottom of this post). The winner of this challenge will win a 10-page critique from Elana Johnson! A big thank you to all who participated. It's been a scream!

My choice for favorite antagonist still gives me the creeps. I first read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (book one of the Oz books) when I was in high school, but it was before that when I saw the famous film adaption that I didn't sleep for a week, all because of the Wicked Witch.

The Wicked Witch (some include "of the West" in her title, but that's not her name in the book) and her monkey army scared the crap out of me.


L. Frank Baum wrote a memorable witch: green, ugly, malevolent. The Wicked Witch was intent on getting those silver slippers (in the film the color was changed to ruby) from Dorthy. The line “Going so soon? I wouldn't hear of it. Why my little party's just beginning..." shows her confidence. Though she is less visible in the book than in the movie, the continual mention of her was ominous. I could feel she would eventually confront Dorthy, and her little dog too.



The depiction of the Wicked Witch in Gregory Maguire's adapation, Wicked, portrays a witch much more likable. Although I enjoyed Maguire's books immensely (the last in the Wicked Trilogy will be released on Nov. 1) I prefer Baum's witch. I like evil to be evil. I don't want the Wicked Witch to have redeemable qualities. She's 100% wicked—and I'm creeped out by that, just as I should be.

26 October 2011

Killer Characters Blogfest—Protagonist Challenge

The second challenge has begun! Who's your favorite famous literary protagonist? Spill! The winner of this challenge will receive a 5-page critique from Elana Johnson!

I first met my favorite protagonist when I sneaked into my older brother's room to flip through his X-Men comics, but I didn't stop to read about mutants. Instead I found a Batman comic.

It was love at first sight! You can imagine my schoolgirl giddiness when Warner Bros put out the cartoon, The Adventures of Batman and Robin.

I rushed home from school every day to make myself a PB&J sandwich and settle in to watch this show. For 25.3 minutes I was mesmerized. At night I dreamed about a hero wearing a black cape.

As a pre-teen, I met my hero face to face when I saw the movie Batman.

Yeah, I know Michael Keaton played Beetlejuice first, but that didn't matter. I was in love... again.

There have been other Batmans, wannabe Batmans. One played a madman in Willow and the other played an ER doctor on TV. They were not Batman, so I reverted back to reading the comics. They never disappointed me.

Fifteen years after I sneaked into my brother's room I was finally introduced to THE Batman.

Batman Begins and The Dark Knight left me breathless. This Batman was everything I imagined him to be: brave, driven, broken. He was my comic book hero come to life.

Bruce Wayne is a rich orphan, pretty boy, and powerful businessman—he’s a dreamboat. But I'm captivated by what Bruce becomes when he dons that bat costume. Batman walks a narrow line between fighting darkness and falling into it. His superpower is his desire to reap revenge against lawbreakers as payback for the crook who murdered his parents. But this is a vendetta Bruce Wayne and Batman will never finish.
My bleeding heart is his.

24 October 2011

Killer Characters Blogfest—Supporting Character Challenge

Killer Character's Blogfest has arrived! If you're participating, please remember to adhere to the 250-word limit, and don't forget that this is a blog-hop! To read and comment on the other participant's entries, go hereThe winner of the first challenge will win a copy of Elana Johnson's book, POSSESSION!

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

I'm going to kick off this blogfest by sharing my favorite literary supporting character, err characters.

The Ugly Stepsisters

The story of Cinderella has been told many times in many ways, yet the setup for the story remains similar. A daughter of a rich, widowed gentleman gains a stepmother and stepsisters when her father remarries. Soon after the marriage, her father dies and she's left with her stepmother and stepsisters.

This is where it gets ugly. Ella, who was meanly nicknamed Cinder-Ella (because she was in charge of tending the fire, and while doing so, the cinders often popped out and burned her) is treated abominably by her two stepsisters.
I chose these spiteful, jealous, selfish young ladies because they are the antithesis of Cinderella's long-suffering, kind nature. By demonstrating how not to behave, they help teach the moral of the story: Beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, one can do anything.

The Ugly Stepsisters are truly ugly—inside AND out. By pitting them against Cinderella, she becomes a character the reader empathizes with. Contrast is a powerful tool. We can all make our stories "uglier" by creating morally corrupt supporting characters our readers will want to see punished. This can also influence our audience to champion our story's hero/heroine.

I applaud the Ugly Stepsisters for being unforgettable supporting characters! There's a bit of their ugliness in us all.

20 October 2011

Marco!

Now you're supposed to say Polo! Then I say Marco again, and you come closer until you follow me to Chantele Sedgwick's My Writing Bug, where I'm being interviewed today. Come and check me out! And I mean, Check Me Out. I think you'll like what you see ; )

(P.S. Two interviews in one week has gone straight to my head. Soon I'll be advertising for cereal and my own sports drink. My fan base has grown so large I'm nearly ready for my own clothing line. You KNOW you need underwear with my initials on them.)
(P.P.S. If Chantele doesn't have it up yet, don't worry. I'm always early, in life and in blogging. My mother would be so proud!)
(P.P.P.S. This is so high school. I can't remember the last time I left more than one P.S. or a P.S. longer than my main message. Who says I can't write YA?)

19 October 2011

Last Call!

Next Monday begins Killer Characters Blogfest
If you haven't signed up, click on the button in the sidebar to get started.
It's gonna be a scream!

For my post today, I'd like to share a fellow blogger's post: Sangu Mandonna's How to Write a Novel. If you haven't read it, Sangu says:

How to Write a Novel

The thing friends and family inevitably ask me, at some point or the other, is 'how does it work? How do you write a book?' So here it is. In a nutshell. How to write a novel.

The Ten Step Plan
1. Get hold of an idea. Or a character. Or a concept. Something that interests you enough that you want to talk about it. If you want to talk about it, you'll probably want to write about it. Beg. Borrow. Pilfer. Buy one at a shop if you have to. Just make sure you get your hands on one.
2. Write about your idea. Make it Something New and Original and Different.
3. Burst into tears and throw it away because you don't like it anymore.
4. Lather, rinse and repeat Steps 1-3 many times.
5. Start over a variable amount of time later with a) a Fresh Take on the Old Idea, or b) a Brand Spanking New Idea. Now it's special, folks. Now you're in business. (At least, you tell yourself so, to avoid going back to the agony, heartache, blood, sweat and melodrama of Step 4).
6. Write six chapters and give up. It sucks, quite frankly. Stinks. Smells like poo. You're not a writer. You can barely spell. Give up the dream. Become an accountant instead. Or Wesley Snipes's stuntman. (Assuming Wesley Snipes still has a career after all that tax stuff. He should have been an accountant.) This creativity lark's not for you.
7. The Idea nibbles at you. It's probably stewing with malaria. Swat it away. You're not a writer, remember?
8. The Idea nibbles some more. It gives you sleepless nights. It breaks you out in a cold sweat on a hot day. It consumes your thoughts. Your dreams. Your soul. You bite your fingernails to the quick. You get tested for malaria. For various personality disorders. You take strong medication, otherwise known as wine. Nothing works. YOU HAVE TO WRITE AGAIN.
9. So you do. Doesn't help you sleep any better, though.
10. Finish the book. Sleep for a week. Wake up. Carefully count your new grey hairs and dye them before anyone notices. Shed many tears over the fact that you now have crows' feet and your bottom is twice its original size from all that Sitting at the Computer. 

Then stop sobbing long enough to realize you finished the book. Suddenly your bottom is no longer a concern. Possibly because you've fainted and concern is therefore beyond you now, but whatever. YOU WROTE A BOOK.

See? Easy peasy.

I laughed at each step. Thanks for the giggle, Sangu! Your description is accurate, right down to the gray hair and flabby tush.
What do you think of Sangu's method for how to write a novel?

17 October 2011

Blogging Mentor Mondays: Christa Writes

I am SO happy to be interviewing Christa Desir of Christa Writes. I met Christa during Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up to Get an Agent Blogfest where I had the privilege of reading Christa's query letter. Since then, Christa has signed with an agent and been busy with revisions and a new manuscript!

Give us the low-down on yourself, your writing, and your blog: I am a contemporary YA writer repped by Sarah LaPolla. I love dark, troubling YA books that push boundaries and get to the heart of the things teenagers struggle with. I was a very angsty teen and I wished there were things that I could have read then that didn't make me feel so isolated. I write the kind of books I wish I had at my fingertips when I was fifteen.

I also love to laugh and I make a fool of myself all the time. I tend to blog about my embarrassing moments, things that delight me, things that are thought-provoking or interesting to me, or what I think other people would find interesting. It's sort of random, and I don't have a schedule because I didn't start blogging so I would "have" to blog. I did it to practice writing and so I didn't have to call my parents as much : )

Your blog makes me laugh a lot. I enjoy your sassiness immensely!

How do you build your blog following? Hmm... I have done a bunch of blog hops. I don't do them just to do them, more I do them because I like the theme or have books to giveaway. I also visit other people's blogs. The number of followers on my blog doesn't mean that much to me because it is really a bit arbitrary. I have followers who are friends/family, followers who just pop in for giveaways, followers who are writing friends. I like to post things for everyone, but I can't get that worked up about numbers, you know? I know people who have read my blog every single time I've posted but either aren't followers (bc they are bloggy techno-phobes) or don't comment. Every time I start getting too serious about my blog, my friend Bruce reminds me that it is all for fun and that I suck when I'm trying to be serious. That helps me keep it all in perspective.

Blog hops are a good way to go! Speaking of that, there's still time to sign up for the I Love Dark YA Blogfest and Killer Charater's Blogfest. Get a move on people!

Do you have any advice for writing good posts or comments? I can't ever tell people what to say or not say. I think you need to be authentic to the person you are. Blogging should never feel like an obligation as a blogger or a commenter. Someone wrote a comment on my blog once that she was going to follow me and I should follow her because that's how things are done...but then her blog was on this medical thing that I had no idea about and wasn't interested in. That just seemed like crazy logic to me. I tend to follow people who I like or who make me laugh. I also read lots of blogs that I don't officially "follow" (mostly because I can't figure out that WordPress razzle dazzle). 

That being said, some of my followers have said such wonderfully sweet things on my blog that I have become "bloggy friends" with them because of it. I'm not exactly everyone's cup of tea, so when I find people who like me for who I am, I tend to hold on to them.

I like your way of thinking. When you find those special people, you gotta hang on to 'em.

What about blogging benefits you the most? To me, I like the practice of writing. I like having to create something whether it's a flash fiction piece or a simple debriefing of my week. I've always loved writing letters so blogging has become a little like that for me. I am pretty personal and honest on my blog, but I think that's sort of the way I am in real life so I guess that's good. I also have found great CPs from blogging. I didn't have any writers read my first book before I queried it initially. I know, CRAZY, right? I just didn't know writers. Now, I don't have anyone but writers read my books. Blogging is one of the reasons that has happened for me. My writing friends are the BEST imaginary friends in the world. Totally better than Snuffleupagus.

Imagine writing without those friends now—crazy thought, huh? I wonder how I lived without my critters.

What is your favorite blog (besides your own) and why? Ack! I have too many. And too many friends blogging to answer. Different days I'm in the mood for different blogs. I like personal blogs that make me laugh. I like saucy 'tell it like it is' blogs that I'm too shy to write myself. I like helpful/informative writer blogs from the people in the industry who know what they are talking about. My agent does a really great one called Glass Cases that I think covers a great wide range of literary helpfulness as well as showcasing really good short fiction. I also like random blogs that just give me glimpses into people's lives. It's all about connection and I think blogging is a great opportunity for that. 

Sarah LaPolla's blog is great!

Random question: If you could live in any book setting, which would it be? I love how YA books always place people in boarding schools in order to remove parents from the equation. I think I would live in any boarding school from Hogwarts to Hex Hall to John Green's Looking for Alaska boarding school. Also, in my very best dreams (and perhaps one day in the future), I am a New Yorker with money and time on my hands like in Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.

Another New Yorker? Just what the world needs. : )

Thanks for having me, Emily! I love these thoughtful questions.

Thanks for playing along, Christa. I appreciate your contributions to the writer/blogger community. You are loved!

14 October 2011

My 1st Interview!

I'm being interviewed at Deana Barnhart's blog today. Check it out! Deana hosts the best interviews. Seriously, this girl knows how to put on a show!

13 October 2011

Writing for Life

About ten years ago, I discovered a workout program that actually works. Body For Life is a 12-week nutrition and exercise program that encompasses six small meals a day, weight training until failure, and a high-intensity 20-minute cardio session. When I say it works, I mean it—it's fitness program magic.

I've recently jumped back into the weight lifting portion of the workout, which has me pumping iron until my arms are wobbly and my legs are shaking. I LOVE IT! Yesterday, as I was "feeling the burn," I began thinking about my fellow writers. Many bloggers have expressed their fatigue for editing, revising, and even blogging as of late. We all have a maximum number of pages we can revise, only so many blogs we can visit a day, and so many errors we can find before our brain turns to mush and we can't edit or write another word.

Part of the Body For Life program that I appreciate is the mandatory recovery time. I perform a series of different exercises every day, rotating the muscle groups I train. This promotes growth and proper healing, so when I hit the weights again, I do so with stronger muscles that can give 100%.

Given what I know about exercise and rest, why wouldn't a fatigued writer benefit from recovery time? If rest is good for biceps and glutes, then it's darn well good enough for writing muscles! Take a break from editing, revising, or blogging when you're fatigued. Give writing a break! Then, when your writing muscle is mended, push yourself until it's fatigued again.

Alternating high intensity writing sessions with sufficient recovery time will help you achieve a stronger, tighter, well-rounded derriere... er, I mean manuscript.

How long do you write before your writing muscles need a break? What do you do to fill your time while recovering?

10 October 2011

Blogging Mentor Mondays: Jolene Perry is on Tour!

Jolene and her husband. Aren't they a cute couple?
Jolene Perry, author of her blog Been Writing?, is here to chat with us about blogging. But first, we must give a round of applause for the release of Jolene's first book, THE NEXT DOOR BOYS. YAY! I'm aching to get my hands on it. If Jolene's book is anything like her blog, I know I won't be disappointed.

Give us the low-down on yourself, your writing, and your blog: MYSELF? I am shockingly 35. I have no idea where that came from cause like, yesterday, I was 27.
I'm into too many things—rock climbing, biking, guitar, music, writing, Mario Kart ;D . . .
MY WRITING? My first book comes out October 8th!! Soooo close. I'm repped by Lauren Hammond (who I ADORE) and write almost entirely YA. Almost all contemporary, but not quite. I have enough ongoing projects to make your head spin. Two books are on sub now, so I'm really keeping fingers crossed to have more happy news soon! OR... I'll  be heading to revision land. We'll see.
MY BLOG? When I realized I had finished a novel, and had NO idea what to do with it, I went online in search of information. Honestly, the best place for info on what to do with your book is on blogs. How to query, how to write well. What works for people, what doesn't. I wanted to be part of that community. I started my writing blog the end of June 2010. So, not really all that long ago, and I've learned SO much, and met SO many incredible people. Also—on my blog—what you see is what you get. It's all me.

I feel the same way about blogging. It was an eye-opener for me. I couldn't believe there was a huge writer's world I didn't know about.

How did you build your blog following? I visited a TON of blogs when I first started. A TON. I don't have that big of a following, comparitively speaking. I have friends who have LOADS more followers, but I also don't make people join my blog for giveaways and stuff like that. I want people to be at my blog  because they want to be, not have to be. I look forward to each and every comment, and love the people who drop in, so yeah. It works. I think blogging is a lot more time consuming until you get about 200 followers, at that point you have good friends who blog, and people who come back often.
The problem I'm having now is that I sometimes miss some of my favorite people, because my blog keeps me so busy! And I'm doing that whole "writer thing."

Finding a balance between writing, blogging, family, and friends is difficult. Let me know if you figure out a secret for how to do it all. Many of us would love know!

Do you have any advice for writing good posts or comments? My only advice is to not try to be anything but yourself. I know, I know, I sound like someone off Sesame Street, but it's true. I love seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the people I follow. And so, in turn, you get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of me. Everything you get from a comment or in my blog is honestly me.

Well-established bloggers know this, but for the newbies, at times it can feel as though your voice isn't being heard. You're right though—if a blogger is consistently true to his/herself, it will pay off.

What about blogging benefits you the most? As a writer, I'm more neurotic EVERY FREAKING DAY. I swear. Now I have this amazing community to support me, and I LOVE to support them. I love to help with queries, and I love to see people get excited about requests, landing an agent, selling their first book. It's all just very happy and good. And when people are down about rejections, we've all been there, too. So, it's nice to know we're not alone in that.

Helpful bloggers are the best kind. You know you just opened yourself up to judge a blogfest or something, right? : )

What is your favorite blog (besides your own of course) and why? Wow. NO idea. I love John Green's vlogs, does that count? I find new blogs almost every week that I can't believe I've never heard of before, and now can't live without. I go to my favorite blogs, and find new people to follow by their comments. If you leave a killer comment on a blog I love? I'll probably stalk you. Also, Nathan Bransford. Does anyone who writes NOT follow him?

Thanks! I love referrals for writer's blogs. The more the merrier! 

Random question: If you could read one book over and over, which would it be? I'm going to cheat and give you two answers. 
1. I know this is lame, and SOOO many people have said this - BUT Pride and Prejudice. One, it's fairly long, and it's meant to be read out loud. Two, it makes me laugh, and I love snark. 
2. One I wrote. I know, I just sounded like the most egotistical person EVER. (I'm now hearing You're So Vain in my head) But I wrote one book that I just ADORE, and when I'm having a really, really bad writing day, I read parts of it over again. I'll let you know when/if it ever sells ;D

Thank you for choosing one of your own books. I would have chosen one of mine, too. I guess that makes us both vain. Sing it together now! You're so vain...

I feel so SPECIAL for getting to hang on your oh-so-awesome blog for a day! THANK YOU!

Jolene, thanks for hanging with us today, and good luck with your book launch! We're all rooting for you!

04 October 2011

Identity Crisis and Sunshine

My blog is having an identity crisis. As you can see, I've changed my background again. (I wonder how long this one will last.) I have yet to find a theme that encompasses me and my writing completely. But hey, I'm a girl. I'm allowed to change my mind. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

I've been feeling chipper lately. This T-shirt graphic that my sister showed me is one reason why.


Get it? I'm Walken on Sunshine, as in Christopher Walken? : ) Makes me smile every time.

Another reason why I'm grinning like a loon is because I've surpassed 200 followers! I want to send a big thank you to my posse! Hugs and Kisses for everyone!


The last reason why I'm annoyingly happy is because I'm in revisions! Revisions usually put me in a sour mood, but I'm all smiles because I'm writing. September was an off month. I felt as though the whole world had conspired against me (yes, I'm that egotistical when I'm depressed) and I couldn't squeeze out a sentence. When I feel that way—as if the sun has been swallowed whole and all I can do is eat everything in sight to save myself from dying of hypothermia—I don't force myself to write. I let time do its thing and get back to the keyboard when I'm feeling the love.

Now, not only am I caressing my keyboard with regular strokes, I've set a goal to finish revising my MS by December 1st. Can I do it? So long as life doesn't kick me in the arse again I hope to meet my goal by Turkey Day. Ambitious? Yes. Doable? Maybe. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you again, my lovelies. You've given me much to be grateful for. Each follower, old and new, is a blessing.
XXOO,
Emily

03 October 2011

Blogging Mentor Mondays: The Aspiring Sub-creator

Sarah McCabe is this week's Blogging Mentor! Sarah caught my attention when I happened upon her blog, An Aspiring Sub-creator, and she shared her opinions about blogging in this post. I read it and thought, "This woman is meant to be a Mentor!" Then I pestered her until she accepted my invitation. Here's what Sarah has to say:

Give us the low-down on yourself, your writing, and your blog. I'm just a simple girl with a somewhat old fashioned mindset. I've always loved to write and to create stories and characters. However, it was only about this time last year that I began to take it seriously as something that I could do as a career. Fantasy fiction (particularly of the "imaginary world" variety) is my passion and that's what I write. Over the past several months I have been putting a lot of work into building an imaginary world of my own, which I hope to make as rich as Middle-earth. Currently I have several stories planned in that world including short stories, short novels and what I prefer to call a cycle of related stand alone novels. I'm hoping to start self-publishing with a few short stories in a matter of months.
I began blogging last fall on wordpress, but it was very lonely there. A helpful person who stumbled upon my blog suggested that I try the community of writer-bloggers on blogspot instead. In February of this year I took up his advice and I've not looked back since. I've been amazed at how the writing community has embraced me since I started The Aspiring Sub-creator.

Wow, girl! You're juggling a lot of projects. Good for you!

How do you build your blog following? A combination of going out there and finding blogs that I like and following them (which leads to follow-backs) and jumping into just about every blogfest I find. 
One thing's for sure, if you want to build your following you have to be proactive. As a normally very shy and introverted person, this wasn't easy for me. But I kept one thing in mind: these other bloggers are just like me. They too celebrate every new follower and get excited over every new comment. And I think that if you can manage to show that excitement, that appreciation for every person who stops by your blog in your posts, then people will be more likely to want to follow you.

Well, if you're interested in joining more blogfests, I'm co-hosting two: Killer Characters Blogfest and I Love Dark YA Blogfest. Okay, I'm done with the shameless plug. Back to you.

Do you have any advice for writing good posts or comments? I'm terrible at comments. Really terrible. Whether it's commenting on others' blogs (where I often find that I'm the only one making an observation contrary to the post) or responding to comments on mine (where I never know what to say because I'm an introvert who's BAD at interacting with people). But comments are important because they're the main method of interaction in the blogging community and I think in the end you have to just do it. Just say what's on your mind, even if it's controversial or you think it sounds stupid. Just as your posts as a blogger should be genuine, your comments should be as well. 

I agree. I think bloggers should be more concerned about writing comments than posts. As you said, comments forge relationships.

What about blogging benefits you the most? What about blogging doesn't benefit me is a better question. We wouldn't be writers if we didn't enjoy sharing what's going on in our heads, and blogs offer such a fantastic outlet for all the thoughts and the worries that go along with the creative process. But putting those thoughts out there isn't hard. It's the way the writer-blogger community responds and embraces and shares and commiserates and encourages that makes it truly great. Having a support system is important for people who essentially put their secret dreams out there for the whole world to criticize as a career choice. I didn't realize this is what blogging would offer me when I started, but I couldn't be more grateful. 

You're so right. Nothing compares to being a member of the blogger/writer community.

What is your favorite blog (besides your own) and why? I absolutely love the blog of author Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She is very experienced after spending decades in every aspect of the publishing industry. (She's been an editor, helped run a small publishing company and is the author of many, many novels and short stories.) Every Thursday she writes a long post that explores various aspects of the industry from the perspective that as an author she is a businesswoman in charge of her own career. Her posts are insanely informative, well balanced, and reliable. They've changed my outlook on the industry quite a bit.

I'll check out her blog. It sounds like a keeper.

Random question: If you could relive any day of your life, which day would it be? Argh! Curse the random question gods! I find this question so hard to answer. I think I would like to relive the incredible day that I spent in Cairo years ago. I've done a lot of research on Egyptian religion in the past year for my world building. If I could, I'd love to go back there and convince the group I was with that we should stay in the Cairo Museum longer instead of going to McDonald's! I could have learned so much more.

Don't go cursing the random question gods, I learned a lot from your reply! Now I know you've been to Cairo and you like Egyptian religion. Awesomeness!

Thanks for playing along, Sarah. It was fantastic to get to know you better. As always, for those of you who haven't been to Sarah's blog, get on over there. She's one of a kind.

01 October 2011

I Love Dark YA Blogfest—Sign Up Now!


The time has come to sign up for the I LOVE DARK YA Blogfest at YAtopia!

Meet the other hosts: Kelley York, Heather McCorkle and Christa Desir.

We are so excited to be hosting this month-long blogfest in November for lovers of dark YA books.  The rules are fairly simple. You only need to post on Wednesday of each week. We ask that you try to participate in each week’s activity, but you don’t have to if it doesn’t work for your schedule.

RULES
1. Put the I LOVE DARK YA badge on your sidebar or at the top of each of the posts you do for the fest. Make sure you link it back to the YAtopia linky sign-up.
2. Visit blogs of your hosts and other participants if you can. It’ll be more fun!
3. Your blog post needs to be up on Wednesday. You can post early if you want, but people will be hopping on Wednesdays.
4. Blog themes are as follows:

Week One
November 2—Blog about your favorite dark YA book(s).

Week Two
November 9—Write a 500 word or less flash fiction piece inspired by this picture—


Week Three
November 16—Music and Movie Fun. Take a dark YA book and build a soundtrack for it or cast characters for a movie version.

Week Four
November 23—YASAVES. Blog about how a dark YA book made an impact in your life.

Week Five
November 30—Waiting on Wednesday. What dark YA book are you most looking forward to?

On the final day of the blogfest, your hosts will each be doing a giveaway on their blogs. Any of the I LOVE DARK YA blogfest participants may enter. Thanks for joining the fun!