Monday, October 29, 2012

How powerful are book blogs?

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian
Although we hold the occasional squee-fest for books we love, this isn't primarily a book-reviewing blog. It is true however, that a lot of blogs we read and interact with are first and foremost book blogs.

And I have a question about that...

I've heard some industry professionals express confidence that the book-blogging community can do a lot to spread the word about a book and even help sales. 

  • How effective do YOU think book blogs are in alerting readers about new books and helping them decide what to read? 
  • How much of your TBR pile is brought to your attention by book blogs? 
  • How many fellow readers whom you swap recommendations with are online vs. "in real life"?
  • Do you think book blogs influence which stories sell better than others? 

Are book blogs powerful in your reading life? 

I am really interested to know what you think about this!  Please let us know in the comments!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Follow Friday

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. They also  have two lovely featured blogs: Carmen Jenner and The YA Bookworm Blogger. If you haven't followed them, you should. They're all awesome.

Today's Question: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.

The trick (does it count as a trick? It's not very tricky) that irritates me most is when authors take common, real-world items and make them the most amazing, newly invented, magical things in their fantasy world. I have no issues with said common items actually becoming magical in an alternate world. My complaint is only when the ordinary thing stays ordinary and all the author has done is change or misspell the name. Yet all the characters are somehow shocked, awed and mystified.

The protagonist's discovery of coffee (only now it is called Cavage) does not count as plot or scene. Neither does a debate about what to call the (recently invented) magnificent rolled pastries with cinnamon between every roll and frosting on the top. Cinnamon Swirl? Sugar Roll? Cinnamon Spiral? It's like the perfect name is floating just out of my grasp.

On another note, we recently had a blog birthday, so check out our brand new "You may also like..." bar. And rather than having a giveaway ourselves in honor of our blogiversary (as some of our regular commenters have named it) we would like to direct you to Crystal of YA Society, who's giving away a Kindle or a Nook ( 'cause that's way cooler than what we'd be giving away) in about six days.

A joyous Friday to you all. May the weekend be magnificent.

Keep an eye out for Save-a-Word Saturday. It's coming soon.
Save the words! Don't let them starve in the cold!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We forgot our own birthday!

Susan:  Hey...when did we start this blog thing?
Tyler-Rose:  Um...around...this time of year.  *checks for first post*
Susan:  Wasn't it REALLY close to this time?
Tyler-Rose:  It was last week!
Yes.  We just realized that we had our first blog birthday...

...last week. 

So happy belated blog birthday to us! 

On October 18, 2011, we had our first, oh-so-brilliant-and-exciting post

We've had a great first year, and have come very far from that first post.  Our comment section no longer consists of us having random conversations with each other!  Thank you to everyone who made that possible!

To celebrate, we have installed "Related Posts" tabs beneath each post.  Or rather, Tyler-Rose installed them with her awesome html skills.  I watched gleefully and did a bit of cheerleading. 

We're also planning to start a weekly blog hop called Save-a-Word Saturday.  It's going to be great fun.  Keep an eye out for it if you like old words. ;) 

Since we obviously weren't prepared for this, I'm afraid we don't have a giveaway for you right now, but we CAN direct you to a place where you could win a Nook or Kindle!    (Yeah, that's definitely cooler than whatever we'd be giving away...)  Crystal Licata is starting a cool-looking blog called YA Society, and she's kicking it off with this great giveaway. 

Also, I don't usually have much to say when other bloggers ask this of me...but if you remember any favorite posts or would like to see more of something, please do let us know!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

I have recently discovered (thanks to my lovely blog partner, Susan) The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube.

Imagine a modern-day Lizzie Bennet (witty as ever) who keeps a twice-a-week vlog following her adventures in pursuit of that special man who is, no doubt, in need of a wife.

(Reading the book first=CRUCIAL)

They are terribly clever, as well as heartwarming and absolutely hilarious.

If you like Pride and Prejudice even a little, you NEED to see them.

They just released Episode 57 this morning and I feel Darcy's epic failure of a proposal is in my near future. I'm on the edge of my chair to see what they do with it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

We're Too Tired to Think of a Good Title

. . . but someone appreciates us anyway.

We've been given the Reader Appreciation Award by not one, but TWO lovely bloggers! 
EM Castellan, an epic fantasy author with a beautiful writing blog, who--WHOA.  GUYS.  SHE LIVES IN A AN ENGLISH CASTLE.  Ahem.  That is really, really cool.     
Kristina Perez, a writer of diverse talents (and when we say diverse, WE MEAN IT.) 
Thank you, ladies! 
The rules for this award are as follows: 
1. Identify and show appreciation to the blogger who nominated you.
2. Add the reward logo to your blog.
3. Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate some other bloggers.
5. Inform your nominees that you nominated them.
We're doing the "7 things about yourself" in tandem...
1. We are wearing the exact color of our blog today. By accident. Plus jeans.
2. We made delicious vanilla chai scones this morning and had them with apple cider for breakfast.
3. We live in a suite with thin walls. Sometimes at night our neighbors take a smoke break and talk about their lives directly outside our windows and we hide in one of the rooms and listen to them quietly. They have very exciting lives. No, we don't think eavesdropping is wrong. We consider it professional research.
4. Susan slept through a date with her parents this morning and her mother had to stand outside and throw crab apples at her window. That blackout curtain she bought yesterday appears to have worked.
5. Tyler-Rose's laptop screen is flashing mysteriously. She is going to spend the day hunting frantically for her flashdrive so she can back up every word she ever wrote.
6. We think that while six is a lovely number, it should not be taken seriously.
7.  Mostly when we're together we just cackle manically. In fact, you can imagine all our blog posts attended by maniacal cacklings.

Thing number 8, just because: We short on sleeep. Can you tell?

Now to nominate nominees. Da DA! (more cackling)
1. Peter William Carrillo of Pete's Notes You are our favoritest reader ever, Peter From the Internet!
Peter regularly posts original poetry.

2. Suzanne Furness of The Word Is...
She is writer/blogger who loves purple and is currently querying a series intended for  early readers about Birthstone Unicorns.

3. Hannah Milton of Paper, Ink and Coffee
Hannah Milton we love you because of this sentence: "I'm that weird person in bookstores who cries while smelling a book because it feels like their soul has been transformed into sparkles." What more need we say? She's a new blogger. GO FOLLOW HER!

Thank you again, Eve and Kristina!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reading Novels Will Give You . . . Uterine Disease?

Sooooo, I was reading my Sociology text book yesterday and the author was waxing eloquent about the joys of release and Carnivalesque Pleasure and then bemoaning the horrible restrictions imposed on the rest of us by the middle class . . .

                            . . . When I came across this passage from the Ladies Guide, published in 1882:
"We wish to put ourselves upon record as believing firmly that the practice of novel reading is one of the greatest causes of uterine disease in young women. There is no doubt that the influence of the mind upon the sexual organs and functions is such that disease may be produced in this way, . . . Reading of a character to stimulate the emotions and rouse the passions may produce or increase a tendency to uterine congestion, which may in turn give rise to a great variety of maladies, including all forms of displacement, the presence of which is indicated by weak backs, painful menstruation, leucorrhea, etc.  . . . Thousands of women whose natural love for purity leads them to shun and abhor everything of an immoral tendency, yet find themselves obliged to wage a painful warfare for years to banish from their minds the impure imagery generated by the perusal of books of this character. We have met cases of disease in which painful maladies could be traced directly to this source."
                                              Ladies Guide, Kellog, J.H., W. D. Conduit Co., Des Moines, USA, 1882
Next time your back feels a little weak or you have a cramp, you should probably see a doctor because you might have uterine disease caused by reading novels.
And if reading novels can give you uterine disease, imagine what writing them could do to you.
It's a miracle Susan and I are still alive.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mythology geeks, ahoy!

I would like to introduce you to my new favorite website: 


That's right.  It's a comprehensive online encyclopedia of mythology that is apparently free and reliable!  (<--Most articles appear to have *references*.  Everyone say, "Oooh, ahhhh.")  I can just search Penthesilia or Sir Percival or whatever mythical figure I want and boom--concise summations of their stories at my fingertips!

Some articles even have pictures!  For instance, here's Dido being all weird and clingy as usual.

SO COOL, RIGHT?  (Yes, I get excited about these things.  This is why I'm considering a classical studies major.)

And even though my current WiP is in no way a mythology spinoff (except in the ways that all stories are mythology spinoffs...), mythology definitely influences my storytelling--both consciously and subconsciously, I'm sure. 

Why haven't found this website before??!?!!  DAY MADE. 

Aaaaaand Tyler-Rose is apparently reading a very good book, because when I checked to make sure I should post this today, her response was (intense whisper):  "Don't speak to me!" 

It's The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley.  All I know about it is that it includes handsome ghosts. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

MY BOOKS CAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Way back in the middle of September I wongiveaway on Supernatural Underground!!!

I was truly amazed. I never win anything.

I would have posted about it, but I was to busy freaking out and then I thought I would wait until I had the books actually in my hands.

Anyway, my amazing prizes came today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe and a hardcover copy of JULIET MARILLIER'S new book, Shadowfell.

While receiving the books alone would have been enough to throw me into paroxysms of inarticulate book ecstasy, both the authors signed my books with my name. And they signed the packaging they came in. And they wrote my address with their very own published writer hands!

Aren't they lovely? 


Also, I have new fodder for my writerly fantasies . . .
I am now going to have awesome postcards of my book.

Oh, my God! Helen Lowe and Juliet Marillier know someone name Tyler-Rose is alive on this planet!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Epic fan-girl moment!!!!!!

I feel a little like how I felt when I went to see Anne Hathaway's house in England,

"You mean this is the actual, original floor, Shakespeare might have actually stood on??!?! Let me fall to the ground and kiss it, thereby absorbing some of his genius through these magnificent, beautiful flagstones!"

Thank you so much to Helen Lowe for being a fabulous writer and making the world a better place and for hosting the interview and giveaway and dealing with all my panicked, ecstatic, flaky emails.

And thank you to Bronwen Jones, Helen Lowe's excellent assistant, also for dealing with all my panicked, ecstatic, flaky emails.

And thank you to Juliet Marillier for agreeing to be interviewed, for being brilliant, for writing the most amazing books, and for writing the name of this puny mortal on the same page with yours and in your very own hand.

Now that I've got that off my chest,
                                          I think I might need to go take a nap.

Authors are my ROCKSTARS!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Compounded Misery

I am from the West Coast.

Particularly from a part of the West Coast where there are no real bugs.

I didn't think that was how it was when I was growing up. I was well aware of the mosquitoes and the horse flies and the bluebottle flies and the crickets and any number of other unpleasant exoskeleton-ed creatures with too many legs.

After coming to the Midwest for college, I have learned (among other important things like how to cook a full meal in the microwave and the intricacies of ancient Greek grammar) that the bugs in my home state are sort of wimpy, rather pathetic, harmless little things. In other words, not real bugs.

Here, the bugs are a warrior race of Titans.

My friends had to inform me that the solution to having them fly into your mouth while you walk is to close your mouth.

I felt like a genius.

However, I'd never thought much about bugs before, but considering the annoyance of bugs made me think of all the little inconveiniences that are part of the fabric of any novel and part of the construction of any truly miserable hero.

Interstingly, heroes rarely seem to deal with bugs.

Unless they are huge spiders, of course.

Or in the Lord of the Rings.

"What do they eat when they can't get Hobbit?"

More often they seem to be tortured with cold.

While, bugs and cold are not disasters, calamities, or great plot developments (unless the spider's talk or the cold takes the form of a near fatal avalanche that kills our hero's only source of guidance and leaves our hero limping through the snow) they are annoying and inconvenient and depressing. While annoying and inconvenient and depressing don't move the plot, they make it that much harder for the character to make the right decision, that much more likely that the character will fail.

The result of big disasters, little disasters, medium sized disasters, a calamity or two, and a bunch of little inconveniences is, as Donald Maass, in his Writing the Breakout Novel, called it, "compounded misery."

I heart misery. My characters definitely need more misery in their lives.

I think I am going to go add some bugs.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why painful revisions should make you happy, illustrated by Ron Weasley.

Revisions of my WiP have become downright difficult.

Maybe difficult as re-potting mandrakes.  But it's been difficult enough.

My natural, immediate reaction to painful revisions is this:


Or this:


But after thinking about it, I realized that the rational response is this: 

Oh, revisions are even more difficult this time?  As in, you're fine-tuning things?  As in, you're putting out one last monumental effort to make it as amazing as possible?  HUZZAH!  YOU'RE GETTING CLOSE! 

And it's not because you drank a luck potion.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am getting close.  This very well may be my last revision.  And after that it's query time! 
And the reasonable reaction to "query time" is...

I was going to use the finishing-a-marathon analogy for this post, but using Ron was more fun.  :)

Also, there is an opportunity to win a Kindle or Nook over at the Y.A. Society, a new blog that Crystal Licata is starting up!  Yes, you heard that right.  You could WIN a Kindle or Nook.  Don't miss out!