Archive for the ‘ Blogs & More ’ Category

The Versatile Blogger Award

My friend and fellow blogger and author extraordinaire, Alissa Grosso, awarded me The Versatile Blogger. Sweet!

While I believe that these awards are kind of like those chain letters – that are more like chain emails these days – I think that they are a great way to check out new blogs. And no bad luck is attached to this award if you choose not to follow the rules!

I’m sure to a certain extent this is like whisper down the lane where the rules have been tweaked a little bit each time it’s received, but for those of you who choose to pass the love along, here are some guidelines for you to follow.

1. Create a link back to the blog where you received the award.

2. Write SEVEN interesting facts about yourself that relate to the corresponding number. A little confusing, but see below for the example.

One, the number of dogs I have – Jackson, a miniature dachshund.

Two, the number of states I needed to visit this past week to complete my visit to all 50 states.

Three, the number of countries I visited this summer – Switzerland, France, Spain.

Four, the number of times I try to run each week.

Five, the number of nieces and nephews I have. Well, after my sister-in-law has her baby in September.

Six, the number of states that I’ve lived in – New Jersey, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware.

Seven,  the number of days each week that I try to write!

3. Nominate 15 other blogs/bloggers to receive this award and let them know they’ve received it. I’m going to nominate 5 of my favorites.

Danica @ The Chic Runner – Great blog devoted to running with delightful anecdotes about her daily life.

Lisa & Laura Roecker @ Lisa and Laura Write – I visit this site for my daily dose of laughter. The sisters are witty and snarky in their views on the world and give great insights in their journey into the world of being newly published authors.

Audrey @ Holes in my Brain – A great blog about YA books with a topping of cultural insights to make this blog a fun read.

Molly @ A Dazzling Distraction – Another wonderful blog that centers around YA novels, authors, and book reviews.

Jennifer @ Unedited: My Journey to Becoming an Author – As an aspiring author I love reading new blogs about others and their quest to becoming published authors. Jennifer writes about her writing journey as well as news and books in the world of literature.

Feel free to pass on the award and the love! 🙂

Bloggiesta Wrap-Up

What a fun way to spend a rainy weekend!

I had a wonderful time participating in Bloggiesta this weekend – meeting new people, getting great advice, completing tasks I’ve been meaning to accomplish, etc. It gave me the ideas and tools to be able to become a better blogger and now I just have to make the time to do it!

My #1 Goal was to learn how to generate more traffic to my site and I got great tips for how to do that through other Bloggiesta participants through Twitter and comments on blogs. For what I learned click HERE.

I also was able to complete some (though sadly not all) of the tasks I had set for myself during Bloggiesta.

Here’s what I was able to do:

1. Build a button for my blog and post in my blog sidebar.

2. Create one new page

3. Build a header  – and then find out that the wordpress theme I use doesn’t allow for custom headers… 😦

4. Imbed a social networking link to the bottom of my post – now I want to keep it as part of my signature for every post!

So, while I was able to complete many tasks, I still have a lot more I can do to revamp my blog and meet my goals. It was great meeting so many new bloggers! I can’t wait to continue sharing ideas, thoughts, and suggestions with everyone. 🙂


Day 3: Stuff I’ve Learned

Day 3 is up and running! Okay, okay, I know it’s already almost 4 in the afternoon, but I had errands to run! Now, I’m back in my happy place bloggin away in bliss.

This has been a great experience for me and I’ll be sad when Bloggiesta is officially finished. 😦 I’ve gotten some sage advice from other bloggers as to how I can meet my #1 Goal of  increasing traffic to my blog. I’ve read some great posts on the subject as well and have connected with some really cool people. The mini-challenges have rocked as well!

So Bloggiesta (hope you’re reading this Natasha), I give you a 10 out of 10 for awesomeness! 🙂

I know you’re all dying to know what I’ve learned so here are some clutch tidbits of knowledge:

1. Um, BLOG! No, I’m not yelling at you, that was a self-yell. I’m definitely a culprit of not blogging as much as I should be. So I’m making a resolution to step it up and blog at least four times a week. Totally a reasonable goal – and now that my resolution is out in bloggerspace, one that you can keep me accountable to!

2. Comment. This goes hand-in-hand with #1. It’s just as important to comment on your fellow bloggers sites as it is to blog on your own (okay, maybe not quite as, but it’s a close second). The reason for this (thanks for the reminders @kristinglas, @MargReads, and @chachictweets!) is that it’s constantly connecting you to others in the blogosphere. The more people see your name/blog’s name the more people are apt to track back to your blog! Sweet!

3. Be in the know. It’s a great idea to know what’s going on in your field of interest whether it be the latest YA books, authors, games, or TV celebrities. Bloggiesta tweeted about a post mentioned by Emily’s Reading Room that was filled with great ideas of keeping abreast of trends. Check it out HERE. This will not only help spark ideas for new blogs, but it will keep your blog fresh and interesting to your readers.

There’s always room for improvement. That’s one thing I have learned through Bloggiesta. It’s important to not get caught in a rut, so tackling my goals to build a better blog has been rejuvenating! I love getting to chat with others, find solutions, and get amped for new projects! I’m going back to my list of goals I posted on Day 1 to see what I can accomplish before my friends arrive for dinner – until later…adios!

Bloggiesta Time!

I’ve never been involved in Bloggiesta festivities before and am super excited to get started!

What is Bloggiesta? It’s a time for bloggers to spend on their blogs (ie. marathon blogging) to revamp those pesky to-do items that never seem to get done. Whether you’ve wanted to join a blogging community, catch up on book reviews or give your blog a spring cleaning, now is the time to get it all accomplished. For more info, head on over to Maw Books Blog to read more and join in the fun!

I’ve been blogging since January of this year, but my blog traffic isn’t where I would like it to be. So increasing the number of visits and comments regarding my blog is my #1 Goal.

To reach this goal during the Bloggiesta, I would like to accomplish the following:

1. Find out why some blogs receive more traffic than others  – ask questions, post on twitter, collect data, etc.

2. Figure out how to imbed videos onto blog

3. Make background and banner more attractive and eye-catching

4. Write rainy day posts

5. Learn how to make a button for my blog and post on homepage

6. Build more pages regarding: Contests, Books, Reviews, etc.

7. Put goodreads button on homepage

8. Update books and reviews on my goodreads account

Those are my top items for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more as I peruse other blogs on my quest to meet my #1 Goal. Happy blogging!

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Author Websites

I have perused many an author’s website both for this blog and for my own general interest in the realms of literature, as I’m sure many of you have. There are some that are very well done – and, by the looks of it, professionally done – and others, well…not so well done. It’s really fun for me to browse the sites of my favorite authors, blogs, and interests as many have creative and inspirational themes, set ups, designs, etc.

Most recently I was on a website for The Prophecy of the Sisters for Michelle Zink as I always like to create a link in my book reviews to a site for my readers to find out more about the authors I review if they so desire. It was created by the Hachette Book Group and seems to be part of a marketing campaign for her book. It had flash graphics as the intro followed by a creepy room (replete with eerie music). You can click on any item in the room and you are brought to a page that gives an author bio, info about the book, youtube video, icons you can copy, etc. I really enjoyed it and it was different from a lot of websites, so it resonated with me. Zink also has a personal website, which I find more and more authors have, where the author has a regular blog, pics, info about books/tours/etc.

I think that because of the vast popularity of social networking these days, authors are eager to use forums aside from the standard book talks to showcase their writings as well as engage their audience. Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are just a few networking sites that authors are using to share information both about themselves and help to support fellow authors. The YA fan base is an ever-growing one that has long since outgrown the perimeters of actually being a “young adult” and authors, publishers, and agents are catering to this vast market  more and more through online means of communication.

I like blogs and sites that are:

1. Maintained on a regular basis or, if not, have a reasonable explanation for the hiatus.

2. Interactive links and graphics

3. Information on upcoming books and tours

4. Images and videos that aren’t just the cover of their books

5. Authors giving props to other authors – it’s all about community after all!

Bonus: Authors giving back to help the world at large (ie. Supporting a cause outside of writing that they believe in)

Here are some other of my favorite author websites:

1. Michelle Zink

2. Craig Thompson

3. Neil Gaiman

4. Lauren Oliver

5. Stephen King

What are some of your favorite sites?