April’s Blogger Alert is pretty special for a number of reasons. First off, Amanda at On a Book Bender is an amazing blogger. One of my favorite things is that although she is involved with so many events and other bloggers, she really maintains independence on her site. She does her own thing and doesn’t pay much attention to the outbursts that we can see in the blogosphere once in a while. Amanda hosts some fabulous discussion posts, hilarious reviews with some of her co-blogging friends, she co-hosts Bout of Books, and well, she’s a busy blogger! What else is so special about this month’s Blogger feature? She just so happens to be my copy editor, a fantastic friend, and a constant supporter of both me and giraffe shifters. As you can see this girl is practically swimming in awesomeness.
Because she’s also my editor, I want to link you to her business site too. The reason being is that she offers so much more than just editing for authors and I want everyone to know! If you have a blog, a business, use online media, etc. Amanda has a lot of different features that can help, and some of them are even do it yourself resources she’s developed. I know they’ve helped me and so I need to share the love.
Now, let’s see how this giraffe shifter loving, tentacle book obsessing blogger handles the INTERVIEW OF DOOM.
1. You’re an active, consistent, and organized blogger. The “About” page on your website even outlines exactly what posts will come when. How do you stick to that schedule and avoid falling into the dreaded “blogging slump?” And if you can’t avoid it, how to you keep your blog rolling with new posts, reviews, and interesting discussions?
I think the biggest trick I have to sticking to my schedule is that it is sustainable. I read more books than I review, for example, so I’m always scheduled ahead. But no one is immune to the blogging slump. I went through one earlier this year. This is part of what led me to taking on another associate reviewer. I evaluated how much I could realistically do, stopped doing extra, and got help where I needed it. I have time to make do without an associate reviewer, but an associate reviewer gives me the sanity I need to continue blogging.
2. As an avid reader and talented editor, you have a passion for the written word. Have you ever considered publishing your own work, and if yes, what genre do you think you’d work within?
Yes. Giraffe shifter erotica, NA contemporary, or adult urban fantasy. At least those are the current story ideas I have rattling around in my brain.
3. Hypothetical #1 – You’ve been given the opportunity to venture to Canada for an editing conference. While leaving the airport, your taxi is attacked by a trio of yetis. When the taxi gets turned over, your luggage spills onto the ice covered roads. Using only what is in your luggage, how do you defeat the yetis?
As the yetis attack my taxi, I notice certain…glances between the three of them. The glances are quick—I barely have enough time to catalog them—and within a minute or two, the taxi gets rocked over. Naturally, my luggage is full of books. When one of the ménage books slip out (I brought it on the insistence of Kelly, who attempts to corrupt me at every opportunity), the yeti glances click and I realize what’s going on here: yeti sexual tension.
My hunch is confirmed as I stumble out of the taxi and my nose is assaulted with the yeti stank. The yetis stalk forward and I do what any logical ménage reader would do under the circumstances: I ask them if they’ve given in to their sexual tension. When they tell me no, that it could never work, I scoff at them. I pick up my ménage book and hand it to the yeti nearest me.
I tell them, “Read this. It will answer your questions.”
They look skeptical, so I add, “Please. Your yeti stank is overwhelming. You need to do something about it. I promise this book is the key.”
This seems to satisfy them, and they bound off into the setting sun, no doubt to do naughty things to each other.
4. When you’re not editing books, you also do editing for other bloggers. You do edits for individual posts, websites, as well as marketing services. You’ve helped me and others use social media to the fullest with your website and social media analysis, as well as some of your DIY offerings. You have a passion for words, that much is clear, but where does your passion for marketing come from?
I find that there are two main components to marketing: language and psychology. With marketing, I get to be more creative with language than editing. And I’ve always found psychology to be fascinating. Combining the two is fun and challenging.
5. One of the things I love most about your business website and blog is all the grammar tricks and tips you post. The approach you take makes things that would easily confuse me, become understandable and in the end, strengthens my writing. What would you say is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to common grammar mistakes?
Honestly, my biggest peeve has evolved over time. What bothers me more than any single grammar mistake is the assumption that people have to somehow be very careful about what they say to me because I’m going to be silently correcting their grammar and judging them. Do I notice grammar mistakes? Yes. But I’m not going to care about it or correct you and your grammar unless you pay me to do it.
6. On a Book Bender has a review policy that states what genres you read and review. Although you’re open to all genres, there are three specifically that you thoroughly enjoy: Mystery, Romance, and Fantasy. Can you tell us one book from each genre that you would recommend and that surprised you in the last year?
Mystery: Criminal by Karin Slaughter. This is the latest in the Will Trent series. The mysteries themselves are fantastic, but what makes Karin Slaughter’s books some of my favorites are her characters. They are real and flawed and amazing. I can’t get enough of them.
Romance: Lord’s Fall by Thea Harrison. I am seriously in love with the Elder Races series. This is the latest book in the series, and it features the same couple from the first book. I was skeptical that a romance book could feature an established couple and still rock it, but Thea Harrison completely won me over.
Fantasy: Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I don’t think these are straight fantasy—they’re futuristic and sci-fi-ish, but I’m going to put them here anyway. I was hesitant to start this series because I was sure I wouldn’t like it. (Cyborgs? Pffft.) But I was so, SO wrong. I adored these books and they’re definitely among my favorites.
7. When you’re not reviewing and not working, what kind of things do you enjoy doing?
You can usually find me on Twitter or hanging out with my boyfriend. Sometimes I run or do yoga. Oh. And I take a lot of pictures of my dog niece, Lucy. If you’ve seen pictures of her, you know why.
8. Hypothetical #2 – You’re working on one of my books and a very repetitive grammar error continues to come up. It’s driven you to the brink of madness. You close your eyes to keep from screaming and when you open them, that grammar error has crawled off the page, taking on a hideous form. What mistake is it, what is the hideous form it has taken on, and how will you defeat this beast now that it has come to life?
Well, since you ASKED. I’d say that your error is your, use, of, commas, in, places, they, don’t, belong. And I’m guessing that the monster will be large and look odd due to misplaced commas. It’ll breathe, weird, because the commas are, all in the wrong spots. I’ll stab it with my, red pen and when it deflates, all will be better.
This was supposed to be funny. All it did was make me cry.
9. You don’t take part in blog tours or any of those types of promotions, but you keep your blog jam-packed with events. Is there a conscious reason you don’t do those promotions? And out of the events you’ve been involved in, do you have a favorite? What is it about that event that you enjoy so much?
I think my lack of promotion just evolved that way. While I understand the importance of promotions from the standpoint of an author, my blog has always been about creating community and discussing books. Bringing in promotion dims that community for me, unless it’s a book or author I feel THAT STRONGLY about. I’ve never seen my blog as a vehicle for authors to promote their work. My blog is about me and the books I love.
Staying out of promotion also helps me to keep the line between pleasure (my blog) and business (editing). Though I genuinely want the authors I work with to succeed, I don’t personally review their books. Once money exchanges hands, I lose credibility to offer an opinion on a book because my success is wrapped up in theirs. It’s easier to stay out of promotion completely.
Outside of the events I’m personally involved in, I love participating in Bloggiesta. It really focuses on the blogging part of book blogging. And I like that.
10. What kind of advice could you give to any avid readers out there that are interested in starting a blog?
I’m going to go the self-promoting route and say that you should buy Blog Smarter and DO IT. Honestly though, I think if you want to start a blog, DO IT. You CAN do it. And do it your way, whatever that way is.
11. Your editing business offers a wide range of opportunities for authors, bloggers, business owners, etc., but what is one area you haven’t tackled that you’d like to see yourself approach in the next few years, and why?
I’d like to get into web design and branding. I’ve taken a web design class (and used the skills I learned to design my business site, redesign my book blog, and tweak the Bout of Books site), and I’m about to embark on a course about creating brands from both a copywriting and graphics standpoint. When you build your brand, you’re going to be more successful. And I want to help people do that.
What’s your preference?
Paperback, Hardcover, or eBook: Yes
Dream Vacation or Dream Car: a late 60s Ford Mustang with a manual transmission
Cats or Dogs: Dogs
Spiders or Snakes: No
Chocolate or Caramel: Yes
I’d like the record to show that these responses are pure cheating. I’m giving you an ‘F’ for not following directions according to The Book of Matt (coming soon to a world near you).
Food: Jalapeno cheeseburgers
80s Movie: I don’t have one. o.O
Smell: Freshly cut grass
Reading spot: My bed