Posts Categorized: Book Talk

Armchair BEA: Introductions

May 11, 2016 Armchair BEA, Book Talk 7

Armchair BEA 3

 

Although I’m a wee bit late to the party, I’m happy to participating in ABEA again. What is Armchair BEA?

Y’all remember how excited I was to be going to Chicago to Book Expo America? I’ve been looking forward to the trip for months having saved all last year so I could attend…..then this happened.

To say I’m disappointed would be a vast understatement. But, a main value of mine is to always try to put a positive spin on things – attitude is everything, right? {don’t get me wrong. sometimes it can be really really hard to keep a good attitude.}

With all that said, I AM happy to be participating in what’s known as Armchair BEA. All of us book bloggers who were unable to make the trek to Chicago spend the week ‘virtually’ attending BEA. This is my 3rd or 4th year, and I do enjoy meeting everyone in the blogosphere. Takes the sting out of not being able to attend BEA in person. 🙂

Without further ado ~ my introduction 😉

Hi there! I’m Stacy. I’ve been blogging since January, 2009 – wow, 7 years now!

One of our prompts is to share the first song in a playlist that would reflect my bookshelves. How about the first song in a playlist that corresponds with the moment I open a book? You know that moment I’m talking about. You sit down in your favorite chair, the lighting is just right, you’ve got a yummy beverage and the book you’ve been anticipating all day. Then when you open the cover, snuggling into your chair/bed/couch, at that very moment someone asks you a question. . . .

For those moments, my playlist would begin with Gwen Stefani’s Don’t Speak. I’d play it loud. and sing out the chorus. Til I could burrow back into my comfy spot, ignoring the world around me and slip into the pages of the book. Ahhh, such heaven!

the city of mirrorsI have the perfect lunch date trio planned. If I could have lunch with any 3 authors I’d choose first and foremost, Madeleine L’Engle. She’s my mentor. Here’s the love letter I wrote to Ms. L’Engle after her death. The other two authors would be C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Can you imagine having an Inklings reunion and adding the brilliance and grace of Madeleine L’Engle! I’d be over the moon excited!

The book I’m most looking forward to reading is the The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. I’ve got it loaded on my iPad all ready to go. I’m waiting for those few precious hours when I can read while the world passes me by. It’s also the one I’m most intimidate by as well. Why? Well I know when I start it I won’t want to put it down. At 624 pages I’m going to need a good several hours to get deep and involved with the book. Finding that time can be difficult.

How about you dear reader? What book are you most excited to be reading? How do you make time/find time to read?

Happy Armchair BEA week friends!

signature

Divider

Sunday Serenade with Suey from It’s All About Books

April 24, 2016 Book Talk 5

Sunday Serenade Suey

This lovely lady has been a book blogger for a very long time and friend to many for just as long. If you’ve been around the book blogging world for any length of time you’ve most likely participated in a Bloggiesta or at least heard of it!  Suey has been the gracious hostess for four years, and I’ve been in awe of her ability to keep us all corralled and moving forward!

Something I recently learned about Suey is that she is a prolific writer! Actually, I’ve learned quite a few cool things about Suey lately ~ like her fascination with other cultures, that she does her grocery shopping at Macey’s {in the South that’s a department store}, and Zumba is her go-to workout of choice and oh, most recently, that she parties during Readathon’s. Can I be your neighbor, Suey? 😉

You’ve been hosting Bloggiesta for years now {how many?} I”ve always admired how on top of everything you stay when it comes to Bloggiesta ~ how do you manage to get so organized? and time management alone during the actual event must be a nightmare – how do you do it?

I took over Bloggiesta in 2012 from Natasha after she stopped blogging. There was a year or two break between when she had been doing it and when I took over, so it was fun drumming up interesting again. I think my “secret” is to keep the event as simple as I can. I always ask for feedback and enjoy the different answers, but often the suggestions will be to “add this” and “add that” and “more more more!” So if I think it will just complicate the purpose of the event, you’ll know it won’t make the cut! Recently, I’ve managed to survive the actual week of the event by recruiting hosts for Twitter chats. That’s saved me! I’m also very lucky to be involved in an event that basically runs itself, so really there’s not much I have to do except line up the challenges and post some things to the website. Everyone just does their thing from there. It’s awesome!

It’s fantastic how you’ve organized the event to run like a well-oiled machine. You’ve also started a writing site, and I’ve heard you’ve got a few manuscripts in the works ~ Do you mind sharing a bit about your writing projects? What has been the most beneficial thing you’ve done to help you along your writing journey?

I’ve participated (and “win”) in three NaNoWriMo’s. The manuscript from the first Nano I actually finished and then revised for the next year or two and even sent it to beta readers and got tons of feedback. Which was overwhelming! Now I’m not sure if I should pursue that book or not. I’m so timid about this whole thing!  Anyway, all three of these projects are YA stories, all different genres. The first one I’d classify as a contemporary romance but with a touch of paranormal (based on legends in Native American lore) and some historical (a diary written in 1906.) The second one is a romance (romances to be more specific) that takes place in the 80s so… would we call that contemporary? Or historical? (I’ve had this discussion at length with various people and we can’t seem to come to a conclusion!) And the third I can say very definitely that it is a science fiction space opera and is a loose retelling of the Tristan and Iseult romance.

The most beneficial thing that helps my writing stay on target is going to writing classes and conferences. Also, meeting and connecting with other writers. I still need to find an “in real life” writing group where I have to be accountable and produce stuff and critique stuff. Once that happens, I think things will take off. I hope.

You do call yourself a writer, yes? With all of the writing you’ve accomplished I hope you’ve learned the art of saying ‘yes, I am a writer!’

This particular question is especially for you, Suey! Your blog has expanded its focus to not just books but to include culture as well. Can you share some of the diverse pieces of culture you’ve gotten into lately?

This question makes me laugh! What a nice way to say… “I hear you are being overtaken by Korean pop culture!”  LOL!  Well, the truth is, I like (love? Yes, I love) music from all sorts of genres and places and cultures. I also love languages. And of course, I love stories. Mix it all up and you’ve got the craze that I currently find myself in! Previous to my discovery of the Korean things (and by things I mean Kpop and Kdrama,) I was in love (ok, I still am!) with a singer from France (Kendj!) who sings in both French and Spanish. Awesome! And I was adding other random language songs to my playlists all the time, some of them I didn’t even recognize (like this song sung in Breton.) So it was only a matter of time before I fell hard for all things Korean.  And now wanting to learn that alphabet and language. It’s a fun endeavor and though I find myself semi-apologizing for the obsession, I truly think it’s a great thing to be obsessed with anything that includes learning about another culture. Am I right? Wait… am I supposed to share actual “pieces?” What does that mean exactly? I guess I linked to some cool songs up above. You want more? Super Junior’s Yesung just came out with a new album which I’m currently playing nonstop and here’s the title music video. So there’s a little Korean ballad for you. How about some Vietnamese? This song is unbelievably beautiful. Into dancing? Watch this and then get up and dance with them! And if you want to try a drama, watch this, all 24 episodes! (Well, start with one and then you can decide if you’re hooked or not.) How’s that for a “little” taste of a few diverse things going on with me lately!?

[Tweet “What do zumba, cultural diversity and book blogging have to do with one another? find out here”]

You had me at dancing…but honestly, I don’t know that my body will pop like those kids! They are phenomenal!  What advice would you give to a blogger who wants to expand into more areas than just books? What advice would you give to other bloggers about becoming more creative in their endeavors?

Well, even though I, too, worry about it sometimes, I think you can make your blog whatever you want it to be. And if a blogger wishes to expand a bit and do something different my advice is,  just do it and see what happens. New readers will find you, some old readers will relate, and it can only make the blog more interesting and layered. As for being more creative, this is where you really need to be brave and believe in your ideas and again, just do it! Is that good advice? I have no idea, but I hope so!

Ah Suey, that’s excellent advice. Very excellent advice. Thank you for joining us today and sharing all things cultural ~ my Spotify list will never be the same!

Suey can be found blogging at It’s All About Books, hanging out on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you want to be really daring, check out this Suey-recommended playlist.

 

 

Divider

A Bookish Giveaway Celebrating Shakespeare

April 22, 2016 Book Talk, Giveaway 1

worlds elsewhere

Are you a Shakespeare fan? Have you ever wondered what the worldwide appeal and fascination we have with Shakespeare and his writings? Then I’ve got the giveaway for you!

Both a cultural history and a literary travelogue, Worlds Elsewhere is the first of its kind. From Berlin to San Diego, Mumbai to Cape Town, journalist and Shakespeare scholar Andrew Dickson traveled the globe to find out how and why the world became fascinated with Shakespeare.

To help the winner keep up with all those timeless Shakespeare quotes, this notebook from Obvious State, a bibliophile’s dream shopping site is included in the giveaway.

shakespeare notebook

Complete the entry form below before 11:59 pm April 28th. U.S. entries only. Good luck!

Giveaway Ended. Many thanks to the entrants!

 

I’d love to know ~ what’s your favorite Shakespeare play, line or quote? How do you think Shakespeare has influenced our culture?

signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Many thanks to Henry Holt Publishing for providing Worlds Elsewhere for giveaway!

Divider

Sunday Serenade with Kim of Bawdy Bookworms

April 17, 2016 Book Talk 2

bawdy bookworms

 

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of joining the ‘From Left to Write’ book club headed up by blogger extraordinaire, Thien-Kim. In the two years I’ve been involved with the club I’ve learned that Kim is a powerhouse when it comes to getting stuff done. . .and she’s crazy imaginative!

This past year Kim started a new venture – a curated subscription box for the smart and sexy woman. For those unfamiliar with Kim, she’s also got two active blogs going already….but I’ll let her tell you all about that!

Won’t you join me in welcoming Kim of Bawdy Bookworms!

Before we jump into your latest venture, tell us about your blogs and how those came to be.

I have two blogs geared at two different audiences. My most active blog is I’m Not the Nanny, where I write about multicultural parenting, food and technology. I was frustrated because strangers assumed I was my biracial children’s nanny.. The blog has evolved to show how we incorporate our different cultures in our family life, which includes book lists featuring diverse children’s books and original recipes.

From Left to Write is a combination book club and book review site. Our book club community is made up of passionate bloggers (like this one!). We read books together and “discuss” the books on our personal blogs. Those are then linked up on From Left to Write. When we’re not talking about our book club selections, I review books and share bookish gift guides. This year I’m running a Diversity Reading Challenge. I hope you’ll join it!

I’m enjoying the Diversity Challenge! I especially like books in translation which covers a multitude of reading challenges for me!  What led you to start Bawdy Bookworms? and what IS a Bawdy Bookworm?

A Bawdy Bookworm is a woman who isn’t afraid to read well-written sexy romances. Me, you, and lots of other women. When Fifty Shades of Grey hit it big, friends privately reached out to me for steamy book recommendations and asked questions about the toys Christian and Anastasia used. Even with the book’s popularity, there’s a stigma for those of us who enjoy love stories with plenty of hot sex.

I wanted to empower women to take charge of their sexuality. A woman’s sensuality and sexual desire is natural and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. So I created Bawdy Bookworms because every smart,sexy woman deserves a happy ending. Our quarterly boxes feature a sexy romance novel that’s paired with a sex toy, along with a few other goodies. Batteries are included, of course!

Behind the Screen of Thien-Kim's Home Office

Behind the Screen of Thien-Kim’s Home Office

There’s a fabulous review at HelloSubscription of the Spring Bawdy Bookworm box – I’m so impressed with how well you’ve curated the items to include!  How do you keep all the balls up in the air, between your blogs, starting a new business and having a family?

Ha! I don’t do it all or I’d go insane.

I keep a paper planner and make lists to stay organized. More importantly, I’ve gotten better at saying “No” to things I’m only half-interested in. Turning down things is hard because I’m an overachiever–I want to do it all! I prioritize my goals. This year my focus is growing Bawdy Bookworms so my other projects are in maintenance mode, meaning I keep it going but don’t take on any big projects.

Another thing I try to do is to mentally leave work. My office is next to my kitchen and laundry area in our apartment. While it’s my dedicated workspace (kids are not allowed to use my computer), working from home means I can work 24-7 if I wanted. I take the weekends off and don’t work at night if I can help it. My family time is important so I make the effort to shut off my work brain when I’m not in my office.

I also have to give a shout out to my husband. He does a great deal of the housework along with his full time job and dad duties.

That’s great to have such a supportive spouse {and kids!}. What advice would you give to other book bloggers who want to create. . .innovate?

There’s so many book blogs on the web so find a way to incorporate another of your passions into your blog. This helps you stand out and gives you more topics to write about. Normally I wouldn’t think to pair romances with vibrators. I was complaining about a novel with my friends and how it missed its potential to talk about sex and sex toys when the lightbulb moment hit. Why not pair romances with vibrators? My second thought after that was “Why didn’t I think of it sooner?!” Once you’ve come upon your idea, do the work.

Success doesn’t happen overnight, so enjoy the journey.

[Tweet “Behind the screens with innovative blogger Thien-Kim from @bawdybookworms”]

What a phenomenal woman! I believe you’ll agree with me when I say Kim epitomizes an innovative and creative book blogger!

I also need to let you in on a little secret – there’s not too many newsletters I open up that come across my email, but. . . when it comes to Kim’s Bawdy Bookworms, I always open those newsletters! You can sign up here to get on the newsletter list.

The Spring Quarterly Box will be going out very soon. If you place your order by April 22nd, you’ll receive an extra $5 off and Kim has given my readers even more incentive ~ enter the code NOVEL at checkout and receive FREE shipping! {by the way, delivery is in plain, unmarked boxes….although I meant to ask Kim if the boxes are shipped UPS and come with the man in brown pants 😉 }

To visit Kim’s other sites go here and here.  Sign up for the Diversity Reading Challenge here.  Follow Kim on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

signature

Divider

Divider