Blogging Skills

Blogging Skills

I’ve been dabbling in the blogging world for years now, and I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously. I’ve learned to read and review the books that I want to review, not just the ones that are trendy. I’ve learned to be more well-rounded in my topics in order to keep me interested in writing. I’ve been thinking of the more tangible skills that I’ve learned, and also the things I really need to work on.

Things I’m Better At:

Using Pictures

While I might be the best at taking great pictures, I’m more aware of the pictures I take. I’m trying to use better backgrounds and occasionally use props (when appropriate). I’m also incorporating manipulated stock images in my posts (like the picture at the beginning). I think they make posts a little more interesting.

Writing Succinctly

My writing style has always been to the point, but I’m consciously doing it more in blog posts. Sometimes you don’t need the flowery stuff, you just need to get to the nitty gritty of it. And I think it works!

Things I Need to Work On:

Scheduling

Life gets in the way of a lot of things, blogging included. I would love to be able to create a schedule where I could post a couple times a week, but it’s hard when I work a full time job and I have a two year old son. He doesn’t let me go to the bathroom alone, let alone try to write!

Time Management

This goes hand in hand with scheduling. I tend to write what I can when I can. I need to use my time more wisely and create meaningful content.

 

What skills have you improved on recently?

Advertisements

The Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag

blue-bright-candy-827066 - Copy (3)

I love doing posts like this. I found this from Arctic Books, and I thought this would be a fun way for y’all to understand my reading habit and why I pick certain books. Let’s get started!

1. What was the last book you read?

The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One. I really enjoyed that collection. You can see my post about it here.

2. Was it a good one?

I thought so.

3. What made it good?

I loved how it made me think about current social issues.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

I definitely would.

5. How often do you read?

Not as often as I’d like. Having a two-year-old prevents that sometimes.

6. Do you like to read?

LOVE.

7.What was the last bad book you read?

I don’t know if it was bad per se, but I wasn’t the hugest fan of Breaking the Glass Slipper.

8. What made you dislike it?

Just wasn’t my jam.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

Eh? I have a book idea in mind, but I don’t really know if I’m going to go through with it. For now, I’m really happy with blogging.

10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

Some books that have really touched me are The Princess Saves Herself in This One, The Alchemist, and Carry On Warrior.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Nope.

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Nope.

13. What’s your favorite book?

Trying to pick a favorite is like trying to pick your favorite child. It’s impossible.

14. What’s your least favorite book?

Moby Dick. I hate Melville.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?

I love both for different reasons. Physical books are just so satisfying. My Kindle allows me to read with a kid on my lap.

16. When did you learn to read?

I think a little before kindergarten.

17. What is your favorite book you had to read in school?

There were so many! But if I have to choose one, I think it would be The Bell Jar.

18. What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter for sure.

19. Who is your favorite author?

Fiction: don’t really think I can pick one.

Non fiction: Brittany Gibbons

20. What is your favorite genre?

Either fantasy or historical fiction.

21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?

Hermione and Matilda. I really connected and identified with both of them.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Don’t they all?

23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?

Everything, Everything. It was so sweet!

24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

Twilight or Fifty Shades of Gray. I was never a fan of either series.

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

If I can be left alone and read, a couple days. If I have a crazy kid and husband to deal with, it could take FOREVER.

26. Do you like when books become movies?

Sometimes. Some adaptations are amazing, while others are just ok.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

I think Ender’s Game. I wasn’t a fan.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

I feel the Lord of the Rings series were pretty spot on.

29. Do you read newspapers?

No, but I should.

30. Do you read magazines?

From time to time.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Probably magazines.

32. Do you read while in bed?

It’s one of my preferred spots.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

You gotta do what you gotta do.

34. Do you read while in the car?

If it’s a long car ride, yes. Books helped me survive the 13-hour trips to Michigan.

35. Do you read while in the bath?

Haven’t tried it.

36. Are you a fast reader?

When a book has really captured my interest, yes.

37. Are you a slow reader?

When I have lots of distractions, yes.

38. Where is your favorite place to read?

Probably on my couch under a blanket.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

Sometimes.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

I would prefer it to be quiet.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

Probably my dad.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

I’m currently reading Quackery, but after that I don’t really know.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

Kindergarten.

44. Who is your favorite children’s book author?

Roald Dahl.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

JK Rowling for sure.

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

Brittany Gibbons. She’s a badass and super funny.

47. What book have you reread the most?

Either the Harry Potter series or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

Books that have stood the test of time and are still relevant today.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

ALL THE BOOKS.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

NONE OF THE BOOKS.

Do you agree/disagree with my answers? Fill this out for yourself!

Grad School Decisions

grad school

Something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now is get my Masters’ degree. Although getting a pay bump is a huge plus, the main reason I want to get it is because it’s something that I want to do for me. I had always thought that I’d get it in English, then later pursue a Doctorate degree, but since I’m not in education anymore, I don’t really know how much that would benefit me. Now I think I’ve really decided on what I want to do.

I want to get my MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science).

I think this is going to be a really fun program, with lots of benefits:

I get to be around books all the time.

Sounds like every bookworm’s dream, right? I can look at books all day long! I can check out all the books I want and fulfill my book cravings.

I can help people.

I love that I can help people find their new favorite book. I can also help them with getting their passport, completing a research project, and pretty much everything else they would need.

I can have more time with my son.

This is the big one for me. I’d like to get the dual certification as a media specialist so I can work in a school setting. I would basically have the same schedule as my son, so I can spoil him rotten and spend as much time as possible with him.

I think the one thing that is really holding me back right now is money. If I just get the MLIS without the media specialist certification, I would save myself about $4000. But at the same time…I don’t know if I’d make it back to school again in order to get my certificate. Plus, I’m trying to go back to school with no additional student loans. I’m still paying off my Bachelors’ degree, and I graduated in 2012! I’ve started a little nest egg for school, so slowly I’ll be able to afford it.

Any suggestions on what path I should take and how to afford it? Leave me some comments!

Bookish Podcasts


As you might know from previous posts, I love listening to podcasts. Usually I listen to true crime podcasts, but sometimes I branch out into different genres…mainly book-related podcasts. Here are the main bookish podcasts I listen to, as well as a few that I might need to start listening to in the future.

wsirnWhat Should I Read Next is the show for every reader who has ever finished a book and faced the problem of not knowing what to read next. Each week, host Anne Bogel interviews a new person and finds out their tastes. Then, she makes recommendations about what to read next.

I’ve been reading Anne’s blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, for a while now. Truth be told, I think that MMD is what this blog wants to be when it grows up. When I saw that she was launching a podcast, I knew I had to subscribe. I have found so many books to read thanks to this podcast. I have a whole spread of TBR books in my bullet journal (post about that later), and I’m so excited to check them all off soon. The first one I’m trying is Still Life by Louise Penny, and I’m glad I finally picked it up. Thanks Anne!

 

overdueOverdue is a podcast about the books you’ve been meaning to read. Join Andrew and Craig each week as they tackle a new title from their backlog. Classic literature, obscure plays, goofy murder mysteries: they’ll read it all, one overdue book at a time.

I love the tone of this show. It’s just two guys talking about books they’ve read. It makes you feel like you’re sitting in there with them. I jump around with the episodes. I only listen to the ones that feature books I’ve read. There are plenty of books that they cover that I want to read, but I don’t want to spoil them for myself. My all-time favorite episodes are the 50 Shades episodes (numbers 50, 100, and 150). They’re absolutely hysterical.

 

hpatstWhat if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? What would we learn? How might they change us? Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a podcast reading Harry Potter, the best-selling series of all time, as if it was a sacred text. Just as Christians read the Bible, Jews the Torah and Muslims read the Quran, we will embark on a 199-episode journey (one chapter an episode, to be released weekly) to glean what wisdom and meaning J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels have for us today. We will read Harry Potter, not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives.

I love the idea of this series. I know that the Harry Potter series is important to many people on a personal level, and I like the experiment of reading the series for something more. Vanessa and Casper provide such great points and personal stories throughout their analyses. Not really a spoiler, but at the end of most episodes they try to do a reading activity. Usually it’s picking out a random quote from the chapter and viewing it through the podcast topic’s lens. I’ve tried that on my own, and I think it helps me get more involved with my reading. I want to do it more often!

 

pcJoin PotterCast in a continuing adventure through J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. For eleven years PotterCast has remained your trusted source for discussion, celebration, and interviews with creators and actors from the Harry Potter Universe.

If I can get the backlogs of all the episodes, I’ll think I have died and gone to heaven. Eleven years of Harry Potter podcasts?! Oh man, sign me up! I’m really excited to hear from the actors and see what their experiences were like on set.

 

rgDo you love books? Want to learn how to make the most of your reading life? Join hosts Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara every week as they discuss tips and tricks for reading better on Reading Glasses! Reading Glasses is a podcast designed to help you get more out of your literary experiences. As professional creatives and mega-readers, Mallory and Brea are experts on integrating a love of reading into a busy lifestyle. Reading Glasses listeners will learn how to vanquish their To-Be-Read piles, get pointers on organizing their bookshelves and hear reviews on the newest reading gadgets. Brea and Mallory also offer savvy advice on uniquely bookish problems. How do you climb out of a reading slump? How do you support authors while still getting books on the cheap? Where do you hide the bodies of the people who won’t stop talking while you’re trying to read? Mallory and Brea engage in a spirited weekly half hour discussion geared towards all kinds of book lovers — nerds, avid bookworms, comic fans and science fiction geeks, literary fiction readers, book hoarders, library users, people who prefer the company of words on a page to a crowded party and casual readers who want to read more.

Based on this description, it sounds like something I would create! I know this is a relatively new podcast (I think there’s only 2 or 3 episodes out), but I’m definitely going to check this one out!

 

tholEnthusiast Jacke Wilson journeys through the history of literature, from ancient epics to contemporary classics. Find out more at historyofliterature.com and facebook.com/historyofliterature.

I love fun history. When I was in college, the introductory lessons at the beginning of literature units were my favorite, because I loved learning the history of the time period and the writing. Now there’s a whole podcast about it! This is right up my alley.

Do you have any bookish podcast recommendations for me?

Use the Force

25792207

In honor of Star Wars Day (you know, May the Fourth…get it?), I thought it was totally appropriate to review this book! I even dressed the part today.

IMG_7466

Have you ever wished that you could be a Jedi and harness the powers of The Force? Joshua P. Warren has uncovered the secret…and it’s probably something you already know about: The Law of Attraction. Warren says you can “improve your finances, health, and relationships by controlling the reality around you”. As a person who doesn’t read self-help books, this seems like a stretch to me. However, going into this with an open mind, I have indeed learned some things and am trying to apply them to my life.

I really loved the idea of weaving Star Wars references into a self-help book. Being a nerd myself, I thought this was a wonderfully creative idea. Also, it really makes me want to rewatch the series. Don’t judge me too harshly on not seeing Episode VII or Rogue One! I need a marathon first!

While I was reading, there was a particular quote that spoke to me:

If you want to attract good things to yourself, you must begin by believing that the universe is a friendly place.

I really like that idea. If you have a negative view of the world all the time, all you’re going to attract is negativity. As the saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Warren talks about repeating a certain mantra throughout the day, everyday, to reaffirm that thought: I live in a friendly, supportive universe that loves me, and wants me to be happy and succeed. I took it to heart and I now have it pinned to my cube wall at work.

IMG_7460

Warren seamlessly used Star Wars references to enhance his points throughout the book. It didn’t feel as though  he was arbitrarily throwing Yoda quotes around; the references built upon his thoughts and ideas.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. For not being a self-help reader, I’m more inclined to try more books like this. I especially loved the nerdy twist. Give this book a try!

The Kingdom of Oceana

9780692508411

Five centuries ago, on the island now called Hawaii, there was a kingdom filled with adventure, beauty, and magic. 

When 16-year-old Prince Ailani and his brother Nahoa trespass on a forbidden burial ground and uncover an ancient tiki mask, they unleash a thousand-year-old curse that threatens to descroy their tropical paradise.

As warring factions collide for control of Oceana, it sparks an age-old conflict between rival sorcerors that threatns to erupt – just like Mauna Kea, the towering volcano.

With the help of his ancestral spirit animals, his shape shifting sidekick, and a beautiful princess, Prince Ailani must overcome his own insecurities, a lifetime of sibling rivalry, and a plague of cursed sea creatures brought forth by the tiki’s spell.

Can peace be restored to the kingdom? Can Prince Ailani claim his rightful place as the future king of Oceana?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a huge Disney fan. I try to go see every Disney movie that comes out in theaters. When I heard that the newest one was Moana, I knew I wanted to see it. Typical me, though…I haven’t. However, when I saw this book, I knew it would fill the Moana void. I don’t want you to think that this is a straight-out Moana story. The Kingdom of Oceana is a totally great story. Right after I finished the first chapter, I knew I needed to read this as fast as possible; I needed to know what happened to everyone!

The Kingdom of Oceana is a sibling story at its core. I like reading about siblings because I like to imagine what’s it like to have them. I feel like Mitchell Charles did a great job creating that relationship. Ailani is always trying to measure up to his older brother Nahoa, and Nahoa likes to remind Ailani that he is the little brother. I really enjoyed the character development throughout the story. I feel that Ailani grew up not only because of necessity, but because he was starting to see his potential.

As a new mom, I feel like I pay more attention to parent-child relationships in stories. As I was reading, I found that I most wanted to be like Father and definitely not like Mother. Father tries to do right by his family and his people, even if that means making decisions that he might not think are great. He always tries to teach boys lessons, not just about how to become the next leaders of their people, but also about being good people in general. I hated how Mother played favorites. If I ever have more than one child, I want to be able to love them equally.

When I was in college, I took a Mythology course. When I first signed up for it, I thought it would be only about Greco-Roman mythology. Boy, was I wrong! I was learning about Celtic, Chinese, Native American…and Hawaiian. As I was reading, I was recognizing some of the terms used throughout the book (just in case, Charles includes footnotes, which I think is an added bonus to the story). I was trying to think of why things sounded familiar, and I remembered back to my Mythology class. If anyone wants to check out my textbook, I highly recommend it!

Speaking of class, since The Kingdom of Oceana is geared toward younger readers (think middle school age), there are educational materials that go along with it! As a former ELA teacher and new mom, I think it’s awesome that there are pre-made materials that enhance the reading experience. I can’t wait ’til my son is a little older and I can teach him about this book. There is a glossary of Hawaiian words and two study guides focused on earth science and humanities. If there are any ELA teachers out there who read my blog, contact me and I might be able to hook you up!

The Kingdom of Oceana is a fast-paced, fun read that gets you interested right from the beginning. I’m really hoping Charles is working on a sequel, because I need to know what happens next!

Authors Talk About It

2017-atai-enter-4

I know it’s been a minute, but thanks for sticking with me! With things getting crazy at work and at home, I really need to stick to a writing schedule. Anyone have any tips or tricks?

ANYWAY…

I recently discovered a writing blog, Authors Talk About It, and it’s a really great resource for writers. They offer a podcast and classes on how to market your book. Maybe once I get my butt into gear and start writing, I might use their services!

Currently ATAI is taking nominations for their second annual Book Award Contest. The great thing about this contest is it’s giving new authors a chance at exposure and critiques.

ATAI was created by Rob and Janelle Alex, both doctors who are passionate about marketing and teaching people how to market themselves. They have created courses tailored to authors, like “How to Write a Powerful Bio for Authors” and “Outside the Box Marketing for Authors”. Both of these sound really interesting!

This year ATAI is hosting a Book Award Contest, and the prize package is pretty sweet. The Grand Prize package includes:

  • promotion of your work on all their sites
  • features on their sites
  • podcast interview
  • invitation into private mastermind (sounds so swanky)

Everyone who enters receives a critique/review, which I think is extremely helpful for up-and-coming writers. The more exposure, the better…right?

If you’re a writer and want to enter your book into the contest, check it out here.

Good luck everyone!