Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Spotlight #3: Ramblings of a Daydreamer

Hello and welcome to the third edition of Saturday Spotlight here at I Write, I Read, I Review. This is the place where I invite fellow book bloggers to chat about all of the awesome things going on within their own slice of the book blogging pie. And do I have a treat for you this week! Please join me in welcoming Marie from Ramblings of a Daydreamer. :)

Kathy: Thanks so much for joining us today. Now let's get right to the good stuff, shall we? So, why did you start blogging?

Marie: I've created several blogs over the years, but never stuck with any of them. When I created Ramblings of a Daydreamer late in 2010, it was going to be a place for me to talk about my life, my thoughts, etc. In April, I started writing book reviews for a site I freelance write for, after seeing a few other people doing the same. Over the next month, I started visiting other blogs and I discovered some of the thousands of book bloggers out there.

I saw how people like me were reading books, sharing their thoughts and feelings, interviewing authors, hosting guest posts and giveaways and cool features, and I knew I wanted to be part of it all. That's when my blog went from being just another random blog to being a book blog. It was one of the smartest decisions I've ever made. I know that may sound strange, but if you're a book blogger, you probably get it. 

I don't have many 'real life' friends who like to read, which means not many people to share my love of books with. The book blogging community is full of book lovers like me, and I get to talk to them on a daily basis. What could be better?

Kathy: What do you guys view as your greatest accomplishment as book bloggers?

Marie: I wouldn't say this is an accomplishment necessarily, but a big moment for me that is a result of book blogging came earlier this year. Seven years ago, I wrote a novel (one of many) and I loved it, was really proud of it, but knew it needed a lot of work. I put it away, brought it out once or twice over the years, but had no idea what to do with it to make it better.

Well, seven years later, with a lot more writing and life experience, and some encouragement from a friend, I brought that book out again and started working on it. I hadn't been blogging long, but I had noticed that the majority of bloggers seem to focus on young adult books. My novel was originally an adult romance, but seeing the number of YA book bloggers out there made me take a huge leap and change my book to a YA romance. It was a lot of work, but it made all the difference, and I was able to finally complete the novel. 

I don't think I would have done that if it weren't for the influence of all the YA readers and reviewers out there, so I feel like I owe a lot to the book blogging community, not only for that, but also for the support I've received since announcing that I would be publishing my novel Blue Sky Days in January 2012.

Kathy: What advice would you give to other bloggers?

Marie: Here are some of the things I've discovered are key to being a successful book blogger:
*Post regularly, but don't post for the sake of posting - make sure you're posting meaningful content. For book bloggers, that could mean anything from reviews to interviews to guest posts to bookish memes.

Network - comment on other people's blogs, but again, make sure it's meaningful. There's nothing I hate more than someone coming to my blog and saying 'nice post, come visit my blog', because you know they didn't really read your post at all, they just want followers. For example, read a review someone's written and tell them how you felt - did it make you want to read the book? Convince you not to read it? Have you read it and felt the exact same way they did? You can get some great discussions going this way, and even make some new friends in the process.

Post your updates on Twitter and Facebook so that people can find your blog. Don't spam these sites, but it is a handy way to let people know you've updated your blog. A tip to avoid seeming spammy is to make sure you talk about other things too - tweet other people, mention what you're reading, what you want to read, what you're doing today, etc.

Make your blog interactive - ask questions, ask for opinions, host giveaways if you're able, create a new meme or participate in some of the many memes out there, have polls, etc.
Those are just some of the things that have helped me become a successful blogger.

Kathy: Care to share some of the blogs you love to visit?

Marie: I have several favorite blogs that I visit regularly. The ones I visit often tend to be blogs where I feel like I've made a connection of some sort with the actual blogger. They've visited me regularly, left nice comments, chatted with me on Twitter or Facebook, things like that. I feel like I've gotten a glimpse at the person behind the blog, and I love that. Plus they've all been supportive of me, my writing and/or my blog in one way or another, so I'm really grateful for them.

I don't want to make anyone feel bad by leaving people out, but there's only so much time and room, so these are the first people I thought of at random:

Mist from Bookaholics Book Club
Melissa from Just One Opinion

Molli from Once Upon a Prologue 

Jessica from Thoughts at One in the Morning 

Lea from LC's Adventures in Libraryland 

Haley from YA-aholic

Kathy: What fabulous thing(s) are you doing on your blog right now? Got anything awesome planned for the future?

Marie: Right now, I'm hosting my first ever reading challenge. I got the idea in September; my favorite holiday is Halloween, I love October, and love paranormal books but haven't read many lately. So I had the thought: why not devote October to paranormal books, make it into a challenge, invite people to join me, and as incentive, give away a book at the end of the month?

So the 2011 Spooktacular October Paranormal Reading Challenge was born. There are about 60 people signed up so far, and all you have to do once you've signed up is read a minimum of 3 paranormal books (I'm using the term loosely, basically anything otherworldly will be accepted - vampires, werewolves, shifters, demons, witches, angels, faeries, mermaids, etc), between October 1st and 31st, post your reviews on my site, and for every review you post, you're entered in the giveaway. A lot of people have told me it's a great excuse to get some of the paranormal books read from their TBR lists, and that was my goal, so I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm also hoping to have a few mini giveaways during the month that tie into the challenge.

Kathy: Alright. We've done a lot of talk about blogging. Now let's get to the good stuff. Books! First up: I'm sure you've read lots of books. Is there one you really love? A book you would feel confident in calling an absolute must read? why do you love it? What makes it great?

Marie: That's a good question. I know some people can tell you instantly what their favorite book is, but that's difficult for me. I don't really have an all-time favorite book - I could probably make a top 10 list, but even that would take time, so I'll choose a recent favorite: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.(Click the link to read Marie's review.)

I read this one in September and absolutely loved it. The characters were likable and relatable, the story was great, and there were so many extra fun elements in this book, like the characters' playlists, facts about the states they visited, doodles in the margins, etc. And besides all that great stuff, it reignited my desire to take a cross-country road trip, and now my sister-in-law and I are in the process of making plans for next year! I loved this book so much, I would recommend it to anyone.

Kathy: Hmm... That sounds like my kind of book. I may have to pick that up and read it next month. I use to travel all over Canada and the states with my grandparents when I was little.

Kathy: And then there are all of those books that are coming out in the future. It never really stops. So, what upcoming book are you dying to read? What about it has you excited? And what crazy, zany thing would you do if it meant you could have it *right now*? :D

Marie: I'm really excited for a lot of 2012 debuts...including my own! *Shameless plug moment: Blue Sky Days will be out in January 2012 lol* Now that that's over with...I'm really looking forward to Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, and Above by Leah Bobet, just to name a few from my endless list. They all sound like terrific YA books that a lot of people will really enjoy.

What crazy, zany thing would I do to get my hands on one of these books? Hmmm...I would probably be willing to make a squee-filled, gushing, fan-girly YouTube video. ;-)

Kathy: Okay! Now it's your turn to ask everyone a question. :)

Marie: How have your reading tastes changed over the years? Do you read the same types of books you always have, or have you branched out? Or have you narrowed it down and you just stick with a certain type of book now? Has blogging changed the way you read? I know that's more than one question, but they all tie together! lol

Kathy: Yes, the certainly do. Let me see if I can answer these... (Oh man this ended up long!)

When I first got really into reading I was very into paranormal and urban fantasy. Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter... You get the idea. It was actually the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristen Cast that got me into YA. Because it gave me a solution to a huge problem I was having in my own novel, Moon Dance.

When I realized Moon Dance would fair well as a YA story I started to dig in deeper. I went on from House of Night to also read Vampire Academy, Blue Bloods, Evernight... Lots of vampire stuff in the beginning. I ended up taking a long pause and went back to my normal adult paranormal books for about a year.

My current YA kick, the foundations of my blog and pretty much everything you "see" here is tied to actually completing the rough draft of Moon Dance -- and I was right. It did come out YA. But now I am very stuck in revisions. I figure that if I want to be good enough to fix my story, I have to understand the genre I'm writing in.

That lead me to wanting to fix the romance between Sarena and Kesyl, and debating whether to have a love triangle with Kyden or not. (I know, I know... A lot of people say I can't have two K's. I need a solution. *sigh*) I don't really care for instant love. I don't mind soul mates. I think they can be cute. But regardless of what romantic background you give your characters, the reader needs to be witness to the love gowing between them.

And that is what has lead me to my current obsession with contemporary YA. Books like Anna and the French Kiss (which, for any faults I pointed out about it, got what I'm talking about right.), The Sky Is Everywhere, the Perfect Chemistry books by Simone Eskeles... I could go on and on. (But I won't. I'm not suppose to be the one getting interviewed and this is getting lengthy!)

Lastly, I must give a large emphatic "Yes!" in response to whether blogging has changed how I read. I notice and pay attention to details in books that I might not have grabbed before. Is this plot slowing down? Is that character pulling a total 180 on me? Why did this author set this situation up this way and what does s/he hope to get from readers by doing so? 

It has also effected what I read and in what order. I can't always read whatever I feel like reading. I never take on a book that I am not interested in, but that doesn't always mean that I get to read things in the order I might have chosen to on my own. I think some of the discipline is actually good for me. I don't have a lot I "have" to do in life and making and sticking to committments for something is satisfying when whatever I'm working on is done and I get to see the end result. It's something I hope will carry over as I start to work on Moon Dance revisions. (And you thought you were shamelessly plugging?)

Kathy: Thanks so much for joining me today for Saturday Spotlight. :) It's been really fun interviewing you and I'm sure that our blogs will be taking part in things again in the future.

Marie: This is a fabulous idea! Thanks so much for mentioning it to me, I really appreciate it. :-)

Marie asked some really good questions. Want in on the discussion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Thank you so much for featuring me today Kathy! I love that for both of us, our novels ended up being YA when that wasn't the original intention. Thank god for book blogging to help us make those decisions! I love all the pics and extras you added, this is fantastic, and I'm honoured to be in the spotlight! :-D


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