Sunday, 31 March 2013

Bookworm Galore with Jessica Peterson

Hi Jessica! Please tell us about yourself and your blog.

I'm 23, have always loved reading; as far back as I can remember I've pretty much always had a book on the go, especially when I started grade 6 and discovered the library at my new middle school had amazing books I just HAD to read! :) My blog, Addicted to Novels is about 99% all about YA books but very occasionally it's 1% adult or new adult, and has book reviews, author interviews, and more.

When and why did you start book blogging?

I started book blogging around the end of July 2011 and August 2011 then gave up on it till around that Christmas...I think it was harder than I thought haha. I haven't stopped blogging since :)

I started blogging because this one day I was bored and was trying to find out pub dates for new books I was waiting for to come out and see what new ones were coming out by my favorite authors, when I happened to "stumble" upon some book blogs that had book reviews on books I was looking for, so I started googling everything I could about book blogs, then probably within a week later, I decided to try and start my own.

Name your favourite book/s and why.

I've read so many books, that I have way too many favorites to list, but here's a few that top my list:

The Bluebloods series by Melissa De La Cruz, my bff had recommended and lent me the first 3 books a few yrs ago just before the 4th book came out, and I was instantly pulled into the world of the glamorous, New York world of vampires.

All of Meg Cabot's "teen" novels, and all of Sarah Dessen's novels, I read their books growing up and just always loved them, especially Meg Cabot's 'Mediator' series!
What do readers look for in a book?

I don't know if all readers are the same, but I always look for a good, strong lead character with a head on their shoulders, a good story line that has bits and pieces here and there to keep you reading but also giving me an inside to whatever it is, all the while having it all come together at the end of the book. I like characters that are real, that deal with and work through their problems, while also having some sort of romance or something else good going on on the side.

If you could spend a day with any character from any book, who would you choose and why?

Right now, I'd have to say Finn from Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood! He's just the perfect fictional boyfriend, especially when he was being compared to another love interest in the Born Wicked novel. He was willing to fight for his family and what was right, but was also gentle and loving. He was just so yum :")
In your opinion, what is the deadliest mistake an author can make in writing a novel?

I haven't read too many books that I didn't care for, but I'd say flat characters, the kind with no personality and/or are dumb as hell. Like the kind that have everything right in their face yet they still have "no idea". Really?! Also, a story that has no depth to it and just kind of slowly sails along, killing me of boredom, the kind of books that don't have anything in them to pull you in and make you FEEL.

Do you have any recommendations for authors while writing or readers who are thinking about starting their own blogs?

I say just go for it, just don't start a blog, then after a month when you haven't gotten as many readers/followers as you'd like, or find it too hard or whatever, don't just suddenly up and quit. Chances are, you WILL have at least a few readers who care that you've disappeared from the blogsphere, plus you probably won't feel like you've achieved anything. I think for anyone who wants to get started as an author, or wants to just start a blog, having a twitter, facebook page, and even a goodreads page to advertise your work on is extremely helpful; it helps you build a fan base and get word out about your work, whether it's about a book or a blog.

Thanks so much Jessica for gracing us with your presence! This was truly insighful and loads of fun. Hey Readers, below are some links to follow Jessica and just basically continue to see what she's up to. Book Bloggers rock!


Monday, 25 March 2013

Battle of the Block

It got me while writing The Scarlet Omen; it attacked while I wrote A Maiden’s Legacy and it’s gotten me now while writing Book 3. That wretched alien wall that decides to come slamming down between writers and their creative juices—you know what I’m talking about. Yes…writer’s block. It’s the most useless of all ailments. It doesn’t even strengthen our immune systems like other diseases. Right? Wrong!

I’ve been learning the hard way that writer’s block is something from which no one can escape (if there’s anyone out there reading this who disagrees, please feel free to contact me so that I can take blood samples). I used to hate it, wishing that someone would come up with a vaccine.

“Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.”
Lili St. Crow

If writer’s block is such a natural thing, should we be fighting it? Of course we should! Just like our bodies fight off the flu, we need to get off our butts and write. With every bout of the flu we come back stronger than before. Similarly, with every writer’s block episode we come out with a clean sheet of paper with which to work. Think of it as a big kick in the butt reset button!

When I was working on The Scarlet Omen, I got stuck just as everything was getting exciting. The whole mythical world of Masa was already in place with its monsters and heroes. However, my mind just shut down because of the many possibilities—there were just too many different roads that my characters could take to get to THE END. What happened next? That annoying wall came hurtling toward Earth accompanied by self-doubt and tears. The same thing has happened with every book I’ve written. Either I didn’t have enough facts to go on or there were too many battling for my attention.

So what have I learnt from this? I’ve learnt that every obstacle in life can be used to your advantage. I’m taking writer’s block as a chance to step back and assess my work from a new vantage point—to de-clutter if you will.

I’m not going to take much credit for this post because I was completely stumped last week and wouldn’t have gotten out of my hole had it not been for THE PIXAR PITCH.

·         Once upon a time

·         Everyday

·         One day

·         Because of that

·         Because of that

·         Until finally

This is a miracle worker! My favourite way to make an outline of your book while keeping a clear head. Assessing your work (when you hit that Great Wall of Blockage) using these sentences will change the way you look at a book.

I’ve also fallen in love with because of the awesome writing material used by the author. Once you start his exercises, you should be back on track with making fantastic literary history! Good luck peeps.



Saturday, 16 March 2013

Watcha Doin' with Mo Anders

Image courtesy of Mo Anders
Author Bio:
I grew up in a sleepy village deep in Bavaria, which was so tiny that it didn’t even have a public playground. As my best friends lived far away, I often went roaming for hours alone with my dog through forests and meadows. A stone was not a stone but a stolen magic gem of a kidnapped goddess. This was because in the stories between numerous book covers I could travel to all kinds of places and meet lots of people. I used to devour books and I had lots of time to let my fantasies run wild.
When I was fifteen, I joined a youth sports exchange with Japan. This was a thrilling and deeply impressive journey for a German teenager. We lived with Japanese families. We were stunned about their customs and about the things we had in common. We could try Kendo and Kyudo, but we also wondered about the Japanese toilet seats that came with heating, washing, and drying functions and about the artistic wax sculptures in the windows of restaurants, which showed their dessert menus in detail. My friend and I once dressed in Kimonos, and one of the host fathers took us on his nightly patrol in a police car.
My strong interest in cultural differences was awakened. In the following years and during my undergraduate studies, I always loved to backpack to remote places around the globe to see how life was elsewhere. My curiosity brought me to more than thirty countries. I wrote my diploma thesis on the creation of images of countries.
To work for insurance and software companies and raise three kids, I had to change my way of travelling considerably. As a mother, I have discovered a new passion that is different but nevertheless related: I love to help children experience something new and to inspire them to think differently.
What inspired you to become an author?
We have our home in Berlin but spent a sabbatical in California. During that time, we took a vacation to Maui, Hawaii. For that trip, we decided to leave home children’s books, because we only could rent a small car. We regretted that decision on our first evening when our kids refused to fall asleep without a goodnight story. I had to make something up. I decided to come up with an ongoing story about a child and its dolphin friend, which was set in our wonderful holiday location and which was about various common adventures, like a trip to a volcano, a whale-watching tour, or the famous Hawaiian feast called Luau—events that were also on our to-do list. I was relieved that the kids seemed to like the stories. One day, after midnight, my youngest daughter woke me up and demanded that I continue the story at that very moment. This was the first time that I thought that the stories might not be too bad. On the last evening on Maui, my second daughter asked me to write them down.
What was your strangest experience as a writer?
During a reading at an elementary school in Berlin, a boy who was sitting next to me moved closer and closer with each turned page until he was nearly sitting on the edge of my chair. After I finished reading my book, which was volume three, “The Journey of the Blue Pearl to Cambodia,” the boy shouted loudly in a very demanding voice, “Why haven’t you written more of this?!”
Please tell us a little about your latest release. What were the best and worst parts for you personally? Which one of your novels is your favourite?
“The Journey of the Blue Pearl to Hawaii” (German title “Die Reise der blauen Perle”) is volume one, the start of a round-the-world trip for elementary school kids. As an author, I want to make the children hungry for more exciting and funny adventures and sensitive to the cultural aspects of countries around the world.
Hence, I will soon publish volumes two and three. They are in the making now. I have also written the first drafts of the Tunisia, Turkey, and Australia volumes and have developed the outlines for the Sweden and Spain journeys. These books are a little bit like children to me—I simply would feel like a bad mother if I picked one of them as my favorite!
The pictures in your books are all your own works of art. When did you first realize that you could paint/draw so well?
I loved studying arts in high school, so I chose it as my main subject and participated in exhibitions. After graduation, I even thought about studying arts at the university. I chose a more rationally motivated subject for my diploma, so my drawing skills enjoyed a long sleep.
For “The Journey of the Blue Pearl” I first wanted to work with an illustrator. During the writing process, however, the pictures became more and more present in my mind. I bought professional drawing equipment and gave my drawing skills a wake-up kiss. The reaction from various sides—for example, children at readings and school teachers—encouraged me to illustrate the whole book. I have chosen a naturalistic style to show things with which kids are usually not familiar.
What do you think are the differences between writing for adults and writing for children?
When writing for children you have to see the world through their eyes and let them find the jigsaw pieces of the big picture. To get into their hearts, you have to address their topics of interest and you have to adapt the tone, which means easy enough that they continue reading but challenging enough that they feel taken seriously. Parents and teachers, as their gatekeepers, also must be convinced that their kids will grow with these works.
Your books are in German right now. Do you have any future plans of writing English books or translating your current ones?
Yes, of course. I also want to reach out to English-speaking kids, particularly since I started book writing in California.
I started writing “The Journey of the Blue Pearl” series with the vision to publish it in several countries, because it conveys the value of traveling and connecting globally. I am currently working on the English translation of the first three volumes of the series. Because my English requires serious proofreading, I am happy to have found Tammi L. Coles, who in addition to doing a great job on the translation also came up with many helpful hints. We now have finished the translation of the first novel, “The Journey of the Blue Pearl to Hawaii”, and it will be published this spring.
Please tell us a little about the challenges of being a self-published author.
Nowadays with a book project you are confronted with heaps of possibilities authors simply didn’t have in the past, like print on demand or reaching out to a crowd on only a low marketing budget. The lower market-entry barrier doesn’t mean that your book sells, however.
After evaluating the pros and cons, I decided to try self-publishing instead of sending my manuscript to publishing houses.
For me, self-publishing is fun, hard work and rewarding at the same time. It is exciting that you can be fully in charge of your books. But you have to think honestly about whether you are the person who manages to do everything that is required. I decided to invest in professional editing help, for example. Self-publishing provides you with a lot of freedom as well as a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. I am deeply grateful to my husband, who helped me with the formatting process, which is not so easy with a book full of illustrations.
In summary, I enjoy shaping this major part of the work but, at the same time, also growing my awareness for the people at the various stages in the book process and business.
Any words of wisdom for our readers/aspiring authors:
Especially if you are also writing for children: Test read your books at schools. That gave me lots of rewarding and valuable experience. Whenever I had doubts about the quality of my book, a test reading gave me great input and feedback, either encouragement by loud laughter and shiny eyes or—and at least as valuable—hints to areas for improvement. Kids usually don’t hide their thoughts, and their faces show their sentiments very clearly. I will never forget the moment when a mother of a child who attended my first reading told me that her daughter came home and said that she wanted to have all of my books!
If your readers would like to share experiences or connect, please encourage them to contact me at!
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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Bookworm Galore with Tammy

Tell us about yourself and your blog.

Well I'm a pretty simple person. I live with my husband in Iowa I have 2 daughters grown and no longer living at home. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love to read it has always been one of my biggest passions. My blog Tammy’s Tea Time is dedicated to my love of books and reading.

When and why did you start book blogging?

I started my blog on Saturday October 6, 2012. My love of reading and books is why I started it. I wanted others to see reviews of the books I read and possibly make others want to read them also. I never thought it would have taken off like it has though.

Name your favorite book/s and why.

Wow, good question. I have read so many great books I'm not sure I can narrow it down to just one particular book. I just love reading.

What do readers look for in a book?

I think most readers are looking for stories that they can relate to but also escape into and get lost in. I think for the majority readers read to relax and just enjoy different worlds and places to unwind into.
If you could be a character from any book, who would you choose to be and why?

I don't have one particular character but, I would be a faerie if I could be. I love faeries, I always have so stories about them intrigue me.

What are the things that you love and hate about being a book blogger?

I love being able to read so many great books it's so awesome to discover a new book. I wouldn't say I hate anything about being a blogger. I do get nervous about writing my reviews I worry about if the author will like my review and if they would use me again in the future for other books.

Do you have any recommendations for authors or readers who are thinking about starting their own blogs?

Just know your audience. Know who you are trying to speak too. Base your blog off of something you love.