A couple of weeks ago I was able to meet three amazing teen authors: C J Hill, Aprilynne Pike, and Suzanne Young. I also snagged an ARC copy of JUST LIKE FATE, which comes out August 27th. You can check out my review of it on the 22nd. I plan on reviewing EARTHBOUND by Aprilynne Pike and SLAYERS by C J Hill in September.
Both Suzanne Young and Aprilynne Pike were happy to provide some signed SWAG for my blog followers! C J Hill signed my book but unfortunately she didn’t have any extra SWAG. Next time though!
- poster of JUST LIKE FATE by Suzanne Young
- poster of THE PROGRAM by Suzanne Young
- poster of EARTHBOUND by Aprilynne Pike
- bookmark of THE PROGRAM by Suzanne Young
- bookmark of EARTHBOUND by Aprilynne Pike
- whatever that other thing is with the EARTHBOUND cover by Aprilynne Pike
(Dog not included. She wanted to lay on the SWAG to get in the picture. I wanted her not to mess up the SWAG. So, we compromised and she got to be in the picture but not on the SWAG. And she’s low-allergen and non-shedding, so if you’re allergic to walking balls of fuzz you should be okay. Not trying to give anyone hives.)
Comment with either your favorite or most anticipated book by C J Hill, Aprilynne Pike, or Suzanne Young.
(Click on the author’s name to view a list of their books on Goodreads.)
This giveaway will be available for US/Canada only due to shipping costs. Ends 9/16/13. Winners have 48 hours to respond by email with their US/Canadian mailing address.
Not responsible for items lost in the mail. Trust me, it happens. I mailed MYSELF a package of books across country and somehow ended up with a box of Taiwanese manga instead (yes, written in Taiwanese!). I’ll go see if I can find the pic of it. Yes, found it! Definitely not the Terry Goodkind books I packed a month earlier.
And no, the dog wasn’t in the box. She does manage to photobomb my pictures a lot, doesn’t she?Read More
It’s not too late to join in! Sign up and participate at Good Books and Good Wine.
Quick! Write 15 bullet points of things that appeal to you on blogs
(AKA 15 rants about blogs)
It took me forever to come up with 15 bullet points! This post killed my brain. I had to visit a dozen different blogs to figure out what I liked, because I was out of ideas on my own by #6.
1. Easy to read – I’d rather the blog have a default design than something that distracts from the blog posts. The background of the blog posts should be a light color; the text should be dark and not in some funky font. Neon colored text is never okay. Neon color background is never okay. Neon is only cool in moderation.
2. Regular updates - Most of the blogs I visit update daily, however I’d say a minimum of once a week would be okay. I just want to know that if I come back next week, I’ll see something new to read.
3. Unique content - I like for there to be something on this blog that I can’t find anywhere else. It could be a certain meme, great reviews, or thought-provoking discussion posts. If it seems like everything on the blog is regurgitated, then I won’t return.
4. Moderate amount of comments – I get intimidated by blogs that get hundreds of comments. I don’t feel like if I respond that my comment will even be read, never mind responded to. I’d much rather visit a smaller, newer blog that I know the will read and respond to me.
5. Easy to enter giveaways – If there’s giveaways on the blog, I don’t want a whole lot of hoops to enter. I know I’m guilty of doing this in the past on my own blog, but it’s not fair that I have to bombard my twitter followers every single day with giveaway spam to stand a chance to win that awesome book. I also don’t like the ones that require a blog post comment when there’s nothing to comment on.
Blog: Hey, I got an ARC signed book by this author! Leave a meaningful comment to enter.
Me: *sad face, closes tab*
What constitutes as a meaningful comment? Are you looking for me to gush about an author/book I’ve probably never read? Do you want me to brown-nose and tell me how awesome your blog is and how I promise to comment every day for the next 16 years if I’m picked. Do you want me to come up with some random question to ask the author when all you’ve posted is a synopsis of the book? What? What?
6. Scratch my back – I love it when people respond to my comments and I get all tingly when they go the extra step and visit my blog and comment. It makes me feel special and you gosh darn better believe that I’m coming back to your blog again and again.
7. Negative reviews – It’s difficult for some bloggers to “hurt” an author’s feeling by giving them a negative review on his/her book, however it’s necessary for your opinion to have any merit with me. If you rate every book 5 stars, then your blog feels more like a promotional platform. Negative reviews are not a bad thing for authors to get. You’re not hurting them by giving them one or two stars. I’ve often bought more books based on the negative reviews than I have of the positive reviews.
8. Well-written reviews – Please give me concrete evidence for why you liked or hated a book. The review doesn’t have to be long, it just has to cover what worked and what didn’t work.
9. Personality – Show off your quirks and don’t be afraid to like what your friends hate. I also like bloggers that have a “thing”. See me, I like to read about kick-ass villains. I enjoy horror over romance. When talking to my designers about my next blog theme, I always say: Don’t be afraid to add more blood. Never can have enough blood.
10. Opinionated – I like it when a blog is a die-hard supporter of a couple authors. I also like it when a blog is willing to take a controversial stance on a topic. Be true to yourself and promote what feels right.
11. Pictures – I’m not a huge gif fan, but I do like there to be at least one picture in a post. It helps break up the wall of text and my eyes thank you. For reviews, just add a cover and maybe a photo of the author. For discussion posts, find a semi-relevant image/gif and stick it somewhere in the middle. And yes, there is a point where you have too many pictures. Don’t break my phone just because you want to upload your entire Photobucket album.
12. Memes in Moderation – Memes are an easy way to fill up empty days in your blogging schedule. They’re a great way to meet people. But when every day is a meme day, it feels like there’s no unique content on your blog. I try to do 1-2 memes a week, 2 reviews, and 1 discussion post.
13. Maturity – I like reviews to focus on the book. If you feel the need to insult the author in your review, then don’t write the review. I waited nearly a week to write a review for a book I hated because it got me so heated, but it’s childish to insult a writer when I know nothing about the person. All I know is that I didn’t like the book the author wrote. And thus, that’s what needs to be in my review. Also, it sickens me when bloggers go on and on about how hot a character is in a YA series. They’re no better than Beiber fans…ugh. Their “gushing” tells me nothing about the book itself.
14. Links – If you’re writing a book review, include links so that I can buy the book or at least check it out on Goodreads. If you were inspired for your discussion post by another post, include the link so I can follow your inspiration.
15. 1337 speech – I don’t mind the occasional LOL or BFF, but I prefer blogs that are written in English, not “Newspeak”.
Because of what happened on April 15th at the Boston Marathon, I decided to run this giveaway differently. Since it is US only, the only thing I want you to do is to keep the people and their families affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and Wholly Books who are hosting the Signed Books Giveaway. I am giving away a signed copy of The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater in another giveaway right now, so don’t forget to check that one out too. For this giveaway, you have the choice of a signed copy of Poison Princess by Kelsey Cole or The Clockwork Princess (#3) by Cassandra Clare. (Links will take you to their Goodreads page for reviews and more information.) This giveaway is opened to US residents only. I’m not responsible for items lost in the mail. I will give you an estimated shipping date, but I no promises. Shipping might also be delayed until early May, since the end of this giveaway coincides with the date I’m leaving to visit family.
Check out the other blogs participating in this hop:Read More
So, I have to be completely honest. When I first decided to start blogging, I didn’t have any direction or goal. Now, I try to focus on books that test the boundaries. I love the grit of dark fiction and the imagination of fantasy. I like the moral dilemmas of dystopians and the unspeakable acts in horror.
My first reviews came as a result of winning Goodreads giveaways. Its been nearly 6 months since I last won one, but I had pretty good luck in those early days. Sometimes, I’d win 2 or 3 in a night. I can’t remember why I started posted reviews on a blog, but once I started I couldn’t stop. And once I was posting regularly, I decided that I had to include more than reviews. I joined up with blog tours, memes, and giveaway hops.
I really never imagined that I’d make it to a year, particularly in those early days. Even now, it’s sometimes hard to log in to Wordpress and type out a post. But then, I read an amazing book and I can’t wait to tell everyone I know how awesome it is. I keep this blog open because I do love books. I think that good authors should get exposure and bad authors should be exposed.
I had a lot of different ideas for what to do with my blogiversary, but in the end, I decided to keep it simple. I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie Steifvater at a signing a couple weeks ago and picked up a copy of her latest book for you guys. To thank you for checking out this post and others, I have a signed copy of the Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (with an amazing personalized doodle). Check out the bottom of this post for more information about this giveaway.
Because I wanted to highlight the ‘extras’ of Lizzy’s Dark Fiction, this giveaway/post spotlights memes. I really liked the idea of memes, but I’m not much for following the crowd with some of the more popular memes. I did do a couple Sunday Showcases and Feature & Follows, but otherwise I stuck with my own memes:
Short Story Saturday – highlights short stories and novellas that I’ve enjoyed
5 Star Reviews – discussion posts that compares what 5 star books exceed at to what 1 star books fail with
This is Your Song – book playlists
Mental Coloration – brief meme that involved me using crayons
My Favorite Meme
But my absolute favorite meme that I’ve created is 10 Things You’re Too Scared To Ask, which is my version of author interviews.
To highlight all the great interviews that I’ve had over the last couple months, I’ve picked my favorite answer from each interview. Also, I went through all the comments and picked the question that my followers loved the best too. Click on the author’s name to read the full interview.
1) If you could revive one person in history and make them your zombie slave, who would it be? - Micheal Cargill
Julius Caesar. The French military is getting a bit bossy in Africa these days and if anyone knows how to put the Gauls back in their box, it’s him. If it turns out that his military genius doesn’t survive the zombie resurrection process, I’ll just pop a centurion helmet on his head and pretend he’s a punk rocker.
2) What is the hardest scene you have ever written. – Derrolyn Anderson
Sex scenes are tough. I don’t write erotica (not yet, at any rate) and I’m all about the “fade to black” sex scene. Not because I don’t imagine my characters getting down to it, but because the language and imagery often used is so loaded. The ick factor can get really high, and one person’s sexy might make another person throw up in their mouth a little bit. For example, I cringe to read about anything moist, glistening, swollen, throbbing or spurting. Sounds like an infection. Her “nub”, his “manhood”, all that mewling, laving, spurting, seed spilling, thrusting and pumping… It’s tricky, because the more clinical terms are almost always way too sterile. Hats off to anyone who can write sexy sex without making me laugh out loud.
3) You have to fight zombies. What is in your arsenal? – Dave Ferraro
My legs. They will carry me far, far away. Actually, I think that a fireplace poker would be a good weapon. It’s pretty long, so you can get a jab in from far enough away that you don’t have to worry about a bite, and it can deliver a good blow to the head to make them stay down. Unless we’re talking fast-moving zombies, because then I’m screwed unless they’re frightened off by the sound of screaming.
4) One of your favorite authors agrees to go on a date. Who is it and how do you woe him/her? - Coral Russell
I want to go out with Emma Holly only I’m not a lesbian and neither is she but she writes really really steamy romance for all genders and was the first author blog that I’ve came across that posted helpful links and resources for aspiring writers. So I would woe her by hiring people to act out a scene from one of her books. It would be optional if she wanted to participate or just watch.
5) Write the most ‘rediculous’ death scene possible. - Benjamin Epstein
It was late one night. I was working on the sequel to my book. It is a hard task. I am not having a lot of success. I am banging my head against the wall, hoping that there was a way to get my ideas sparked.
And then I had a vision. A terrible phantasm manifested of my old High School English teacher, Mr. Bindner.
“What kind of weak writing do you contaminate the written page with?” he roared through the mists of memory. “I told you many times before not to use passive verbs!”
“Passive verbs?” I whimper. ”What on earth is a passive verb?”
“Is is!” he snarled. ”All the roots of the phrase ‘to be!’ Is, Was, Am, Are, Be, all of those passive verbs are unacceptable…. will not be accepted… you cannot use them! They suck away all life and vitality from your work, and you shall not pass my class if you continue to employ them!”
“Well, forget it buddy!” I yelled back at the emanation. ”I am a published author now! My book is sold for real money on Amazon! I was in your class, but I can no longer be bullied by you! And now you have no power over me. Ha! Let’s change that: You are powerless!”
Laughing maniacally, I resumed my work, shouting each forbidden word in defiance of the wraith of dynamic writing. “It WAS late one night! I AM banging my head against the wall!”
But little did I know the folly of mocking the wizards of lively writing and proper grammer. I should have known when this very question misspelled the word “ridiculous.” The ghost of old Bindner reached through the thin veil separating the physical world from the realm of spirits. My heart froze to ice, and I expired before I could strike the next keystroke. Alas, poor me. I knew me well.
(This is a question so loved that I can’t help but use it over and over again!)
Name one culturally “taboo” thing you wish would be accepted.
I’m just as brainwashed as the next person, but wouldn’t it be great if female body hair was considered attractive? No more plucking, waxing and shaving! Imagine the poolside liberation.
Wearing women’s underwear. The ladies have bras that cater to each part of their body that hangs down, so why can’t the men? We’re lumbered with all-encompassing boxer short things where everything just gets thrown together in one untidy heap. It’s why our dingly-danglies always look like they need to be ironed.
I think that people should be allowed to die if they’re in pain and there’s no hope for them. We euthanize animals, but not humans who are in intolerable amounts of pain? It seems strange to me that this isn’t allowed.
In the US we have ‘personal space’ issues and I would like to see the taboo loosened. It should be perfectly fine to aim a flying hug at a perfect stranger anytime you want.
Not watching television. You know how many times someone describes in intimate detail their favorite scene from “Seinfeld” or some modestly famous competitor from American Idol? And when I say I don’t watch TV, they look at me like I’m an alien from another planet?
And the same goes for sports! Why should I be made to feel like an ignoramus if I don’t know who’s playing in the Superbowl, or I wonder when the New York Giants moved away from San Francisco?
Not to mention popular movies! Do I have to feel small if I was the last person to see the Blair Witch Project, or Titanic, or Kill Bill? I had things to do that weekend!
Or music! So what if I just got around to listening to 99 red balloons last week?
Sometimes it feels like the only people who don’t make fun of my cultural ignorance is the Amish. Until they told me that my horse and buggy was just so last century.
There is only one entry to this giveaway. Comment with your answer to the question. Be creative. My favorite answer will win a signed copy of the Raven Boys (US only).
Another person, this one randomly selected, will win a $10 Amazon.com giftcard (INT). Please put in your comment if you’re US/Canada or INT. Also, please include some way for me to contact you. Giveaway ends 5/12/13.
1) Answer the question: Name one culturally “taboo” thing you wish would be accepted.
2) Put your nationality (US or INT)
3) Some way to contact. Email preferred.
(I’m not responsible for items lost in the mail. Winners will have 72 hours to respond. Winner of the signed copy of Raven Boys must have a US shipping address or another person will be selected.)Read More
It’s April Fools Day somewhere in the world, but this is no joke. You can win a $10 Amazon giftcard as part of the Fool for Books Giveaway Hop. This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Giveaway is opened INT and winner has 48 hours to verify email address before another one is chosen.