Crazy Creatures of The blogging World with Clarissa from Books Equal Awesomeness

Crazy Creatures of The blogging World with Clarissa from Books Equal Awesomeness

My irregular and crazy blogger feature is back! This time I’m interviewing Clarissa from Books Equal Awesomeness!

If your new around here here is what’s happening, Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World is a feature that I use to spotlight bloggers and get to know them better, as well as let readers get to know them better. I do take nominations, you can email me the name of the nominee, a link to their blog, as well as why you think I should interview them and I’ll check it out. (I won’t judge if you nominate yourself. It’s perfectly acceptable!)

Tell us about you and your blog! How did you start? When? Why? Ect.

I was checking some blogs out and I really loved how some people created their blogs and the features that their blogs had, so I decided a blog of my own! I started my blog around May this year because I really wanted to review and discuss books with other people.

What are your favorite types of books/reads to review?

Most of the books I read and review are young adult, romance, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian.

You’re blog is fairly new. What are your dreams and goals for the future and for your blog?

I hope to make my blog have more followers in the future, and I think having a co-blogger in the future might also be a fun experience!

What is your favorite part of being a blogger and the experience?

I LOVE to be able to discuss books with other people and see different opinions about books.

How would you describe your approach to reviews?

I guess that I would that I would describe my approach to reviews as honest and (hopefully) good and funny.

What draws you to a book and makes you want to read it?

The characters! If I love the characters in a book, I most likely will love the book too!

If you could live in one of your favorite books, what book would you want to live in and why?

 This is a hard one! I have a lot of favorites, but if I had to choose which book I’d live in, I’d be stuck between the Lux series, by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and the Covenant series, also by JLA. In the Lux series, I’d love to meet Daemon, Katy, and all of the other characters! And the idea of living in a world with aliens rally intrigues me! In the Covenant series, I would really like to meet Alex, Aiden, Seth, and all of the other characters! And it has Greek mythology (something I love!), so I think that I would really enjoy living there!

If you could make characters from books real, what characters would you bring to life to recruit as your best friends, family, date to prom, ect?

I would make most characters from my favorite books real! I would make Daemon from Lux, Aiden from the Covenant series, Adrian from Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, Patch from Hush Hush, Lucas from Shadow Falls, and Warner from Shatter Me real and recruit them as my boyfriends!!!! (I know it would be WAY too many boyfriends, but I love them ALL!! :D) I would also make Katy from Lux, Alex and Seth from the Covenant series, Sydney from Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, Vee from Hush Hush, Kylie, Miranda, and Della from Shadow Falls, and Juliette and Kenji from Shatter Me real and recruit them as my best friends!!

If you could have dinner with 12 of your favorite authors (alive or dead) who would you choose to dine and chat with? (why?)

One of the authors I would really like to dine with is J. K. Rowling. I LOVE Harry Potter, so it would be really awesome if I was able to meet her one day. Another author I would also like to dine with is Jennifer L. Armentrout. So far, I’ve read 2 book series and 1 standalone written by her and I’ve fallen in love with them, so it will be like my dream come true to meet her!!! The third author I would like to dine with is Richelle Mead. I LOVED Bloodlines, and I just love Sydney and Adrian, so if I met the person that created them, I would be incredibly happy. The fourth author I would like to dine with is C.C.Hunter. I’m in love with her Shadow Falls series and all the characters in the books, so I think it would be really cool if I could meet her in real life! The fifth author I would like to dine with is Becca Fitzpatrick. I really liked Hush, Hush, and I would really like to meet her one day! The sixth author I would like to dine with is Cassandra Clare. I really loved the Mortal Instruments and it would be a honor to meet her! The seventh author I would like to dine with is Rick Riordan. I really liked the Kane Chronicles, Percy Jackson, and the Heroes of Olympus series, so if I ever got to meet him, I think it would be really cool! The eighth author I would like to meet is Stephanie Meyers. I’m not that big of a fan of Twilight, but I thought the books were pretty good and The Host was awesome, so it might be fun to meet the author of it. The ninth author I would like to meet is Cynthia Hand. I recently finished the Unearthly series, and I LOVED them, so if I got to meet her, I would be SOOOO happy!!! The tenth author I would like to meet is Sarah J. Maas. So far, I’ve only read the Throne of Glass by her, but I really liked it, so if I got to meet her, I would be excited! The eleventh author I would like to meet is Jenny Han. I really like her books, and I thought her Burn for Burn series that she co-wrote with Siobhan Vivian was AMAZING, so if I got to meet her, I would be REALLY happy!!! The twelfth author I would like to meet is Siobhan Vivian. I want to meet her basically for the same reason as Jenny Han!!

What else should readers know about you and/or your blog?

Well…I really don’t know…so let me just tell you more about myself. I’m a teenage blogger! 😉 In my blog, I review YA and NA books. My favorite genres are contemporary, and paranormal romance! When you first meet me, I might seem a bit shy and quiet, but when you really get to know me…I’m a bit hyper and crazy… 😉

What are five of your favorite blogs/bloggers and why should other readers go check them out?

Olivia Hou @ Fictionally Obsessed
Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books
Carina @ My Addiction: Books
Aly @ Reading Shy with Aly
The Misses @ Fangirling Misses
I think readers should go check them out because they are all kind of new book bloggers, but they are all really good!! 🙂

You can find Clarissa on Goodreads, and visit her blog or follow her on Bloglovin’!  Thanks Clarissa it was fun!

Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World: Of Spectacles and Books

Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World: Of Spectacles and Books



As promised here is yet another Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World! If you haven’t read one of these posts before and have no idea what this is all about, this is a feature I created to spotlight other bloggers and let everyone get to know them a bit better through a simple interview. Today I’m talking to Amanda and Addison, the lovely ladies behind Of Spectacles and Books!

Purple: Both
Red: Amanda
Blue: Addison
Black: Briana 

Give us a crash history course on your blog and you guys! Why did you start? When? Ect.

My name is Amanda. I’m a native Texan who has been gorging on books since high school and suffers from Abibliophobia (the fear of not having enough reading material –which is why I hoard books more than squirrels hoard nuts).

I’m Addison! I am from Oklahoma and have roots all over the state. I have my Masters in Library Education and am returning for a second degree this fall. I am a flower hippie, corgi mom, glitter aficionado, and lover of the written word. 

Well, originally we started with Project Book Vlogger –it was more Tumblr than blog in which we would upload videos of us reviewing books. It began as just something fun to do over Christmas break when we were in college and needed to make sure to continue to read, and for the next year or two we intermittently uploaded video reviews on Youtube and our Tumblr. Then last Christmas (2013) we decided to become legitimate and actually make it a thing that we would devote a lot more time into, thus the creation of Of Spectacles and Books.

Why do you love being book blogger?

I love the community the most! I only have a few friends in real life that share my enthusiasm for YA lit and the written word, so entering into a community that is so welcoming and just as excited about books makes my heart flutter. Plus it melds two of my interests: writing and reading, so I get to write book reviews about stories and characters that I love!

I feel like book blogging is this living and breathing being that can change at the drop of a hat. It has feeling and emotion that you don’t see many places. (Harry/Hermione shipping wars last winter, anyone? I still have scars.) No two blogs are alike, so you come across some really diverse thoughts and opinions.

Where do you think your love of reading came from or how did it all start? Was there a specific book that started it all for you?

I actually used to hate reading. I had trouble reading when I was a child, and it came to the point that I didn’t pick up a book to read on my own until I was an 8th grader, even then I would pick up maybe one or two a year. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school when I picked up The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce that I began hoarding books and reading all the time.

My dad started reading to me at night when I was 8 months old. He continued for years until I was in my teens. We read so many diverse and exciting books that I couldn’t help but fall in love. It also made me consider the act of reading as this sacred and special thing, something I still carry with me today. 

Why did you guys choose to blog together rather than have individual blogs?

For me, it was never a question of do we blog together, it was why not? We both started Project Book Vlogger (which is now disbanded since we began Of Spectacles and Books), and it was just our little project to keep us accountable in reading, so there was really never any question, plus we are BFFs, so that only makes sense.

This was never something I would have thought to do alone. Amanda is kind of like my other half when it comes to things like this, so doing it without her was never a question. Besides, she sometimes struggles with being fabulous on the internet, so I help boost that.

What’s it like writing with someone else on one blog? Pos? Cons?

I personally LOVE having a co-blogger. I don’t know how people run their own book blogs. I wouldn’t be able to read and churn out book reviews quickly enough to make it in the blogosphere. Having Addison makes it run smoothly. We also have different strong suits. She is an HTML wizard –I don’t know a thing about it practically, so she’s the designer. I’m the scheduler. I love schedules and I’m the one that organizes everything. Together, I think we make a pretty great team.

Amanda isn’t lying when she says she is good at schedules. For the first few months she made me this little calendar to keep track of posts and deadlines (because I am a hot mess when it comes to things like that). Eventually she cut me loose and now I have to make them myself. But it works. I pick up where she falls behind and the same goes for her. Now when I go on dates I brag to boys about how “organized” I am, and Amanda judges me silently when she hears about it later. We are a team.
How do you feel about the whole books v.s. kindles/nooks/other tech issue? Is it all nonsense? Are people taking it too far? Where do you stand?
Actually, I was very anti e-reader for a while. Up until I began running a blog, but that was just my personal preference. I understood other people liking e-readers and the convenience of it, but I would rather have the physical book in my hand. I’m a re-reader, so I like going back to books and seeing my little notes and tear stained pages; it’s like revisiting who I was when I read those pages for the first time. Now, I proudly say that I have a Kindle Fire. It’s quite convenient, and as a blogger it’s almost essential if you want eARCs, which I read quite often. I’ll take either, but if it’s a book that I really like, I will go out of my way to have a physical copy.

The issue is nonsense as long as people are still reading. Stories are what matters.
(I totally bought her that Kindle Fire for her birthday.)
Lately there has been a lot of chatter in the blogging world about the horrible phenomenon called “the blogger burnout.” Have you experienced it? How did you recover and what convinced you to get back on your blogger feet again?

Well, we are still a relatively new blog. We just began at Christmastime, so I wouldn’t say we are completely burnt out yet. Yes, sometimes we get tired of certain things or we run out of ideas to post about. I was getting there at the end of May, but I scheduled a lot of posts (almost enough for an entire month), and for the rest of that time, I stepped away. It was about two solid weeks that I didn’t write anything for my blog. Yes, sometimes I commented on other posts and interacted with other bloggers, but for the most part I focused on reading what I wanted to read not what I had to read, and I focused on my writing, which was a nice reprieve. After that, I was ready to go. From what I’ve seen bloggers are pretty anal when it comes to perfection (I’m one of them too!), but I think we need to step back and realize that we should be doing this for fun. As soon as the fun is sucked out of it, we are left with obligation, and that’s no good.

I wouldn’t say “burnout” but there have been times where life got so busy that it made me feel bad if/when I neglected the blog. I think that having a co-blogger helps with the stress and potential burnout.
Why do you guys love YA fiction? What makes you want to read a book?

I read YA because the characters speak to me, and as I read, I become the MC and I learn right alongside them. I guess I identify with teenagers more than adult novels, because I’m still not quite there yet. I still live in the land of first loves and fairytale dreams, so why not continue to read about them. I would say that a solid, strong character (female or male) is what draws me to a book. If they don’t have a spine, I’m not as interested, but if they have strength in character, I’m all over it!
I love reading YA because I remember so vividly what it was like to be 12, 15, 17, or 20. I remember the feeling of first love and the “all or nothing” emotions that come with being a teenager. People brush aside teens so often because of their age, but some of the most quintessential moments can happen in that period. I also think that there can be so much gained from reading YA. Anyone from any background can relate to something in a YA novel. It’s a platform for diversity and open mindedness.

What are five of your favorite blogs/bloggers and why?

The Notebook Sisters –they are adorable and sooooo creative! I wish I could meet them IRL. Definitely one of my favorite blogs to follow!
The Paper Sea –Nikki is really cool! She’s a blogger based out of England, and her posts are unique and thought provoking. She expresses herself really well, and I find that I trust her opinions on a lot of things.
Adrift on Vulcan –She’s funny as hell! I LOVE reading her posts, and we have extremely similar tastes in lit.
Novel Sounds –Elena is so fun! She really loves chatting about books with anyone, and she has a bomb Instgram to boot: http://instagram.com/novelsounds
So Obsessed With –Hannah is the kindest, sweetest girl ever! She has such a cutesy blog and is always willing to give advice.

Any profound (or not so profound) last words?

I just finished reading Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, and I’m going through a depression because I have to wait for the next book, and I’m dying inside because I just love these characters so much… Then I began reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. So freaking good. I will hardly be getting any work done on the blog for the next month because I will only be reading these amazing books.
If you get drunk at a bar with your friends, don’t start talking about your book blog. No one is going to care how exciting your BlogLovin stats are. (I heard this from a friend….maybe.)

How can people find and follow you?
You can follow our blog through Bloglovin: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11593061
Or find me on Twitter @amandapate
And Addison @ofspecsandbooks (I am really bad at twitter, so come help a girl out)

Thanks so much! It’s been great having you ladies!

Another Addition of Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World

Another Addition of Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World

Today my interview is with Zoe from the Infinite To-Read Shelf ! Enjoy! Thanks Zoe!

Tell us about you and your blog! How did you start? When? Why? Ect. 
I think it was this way for the majority of book bloggers, but I actually started out on Goodreads in spring of 2012 as a way to catalog all the books I read. There, I noticed a few Goodreads reviewers who also had blogs; and I thought to myself: “Hey, why don’t I do that?” 

What is your favorite part of blogging? 
I think my favorite part of blogging is without a doubt the community. Never have I ever been part of a friendlier or more welcoming community than that of book bloggers, and it’s such an honor. Whether it’s discussing books or fangirling over a series, I know I can always count on my fellow bookish friends to be there for me.

What’s your favorite feature to participate in and why? 
Okay…don’t hate me everyone, but… *gulps* I don’t participate in any features at the moment – BUT I plan on starting possibly by the end of summer. However, as a reader of blogs, my favorite feature to read is Waiting on Wednesday because I love seeing what books everyone has on their wishlists, and maybe even adding a few to my own TBR.

What’s the most challenging part of blogging for you? 
Honestly, I think the hardest part of blogging is actually finding the time to sit down and actually read. There are some days when I just simply don’t have enough time to read, and this really makes having content for my blog difficult.

A little birdy told me that you are into web design and your blog is fabulous! Tell us a little bit about that! 
Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! That means a lot to me! 😀 And yes…as a matter of fact, that little birdy is correct! 😉 I love web design, and I actually figured out this passion while I was fiddling around with the idea of creating a book blog. I love how you’re able to transform an idea in your mind onto the Internet into a real site…it’s incredible! 

What is your fondest childhood bookish memory? 
I’d have to say probably having my parents read to me before bed. I definitely credit them for my love of books!

Why do you love reading or what is your favorite thing about it? 
There’s so much to love about reading! I’d have to say that my favorite thing is really being able to go to different places in my mind, meet characters who feel as real as actual people, and being able to shut reality out – at least for a moment. There’s something special about being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want, with only 26 letters and a piece of paper. 

What are five random things that readers might not know about you? 
1. Besides reading, one of my other favorite past-times is theatre. (I’m currently in a production of Shrek: The Musical!)
2. I’m a competitive gymnast.
3. I love photography, video editing, and web design.
4. My favorite books are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.
5. I have a horrible sweet tooth. Really, it’s like a curse…

What are five of your favorite blogs/bloggers and why? 
I have SOOOO many bloggers that I admire for so many different reasons, so I don’t think it would be fair to only list five, because, in reality, I probably have dozens!

What tips do you have for fellow bloggers? 
I can’t really pretend I’m an expert, but if I’ve learned one thing from blogging, it’s totake initiative and comment on other people’s blogs. It may be a bit intimidating to comment on blogs at first, but it’s such a rewarding experience, and, without a doubt, you’ll most likely meet some friends along the way. 🙂

How can people find and follow you? 
• Visit My Blog
• Follow Me On Bloglovin
• Friend Me on Goodreads
• Twitter – @act_flip_read

Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World

Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World

I am bringing this feature back for realzies this time! I have a bunch of interviews planed so that I can start doing them more often and you guys can meet and get to know more awesome bloggers! So keep checking back for more!

Quick news updates before we start:
1. I didn’t get any books this week because I still have enough books that need reading from last week that you could bury a body (but please don’t try that at home folks). So no Saturday Stacking the Shelves.

2.

Yes, yes I really was impaled. I think I will survive. I think. If you don’t hear from me for a while don’t worry I’m just crying in the corner and slowly bleeding out/ dying to death. Yes I just said dying to death. You want to argue with a dying person? Yeah I thought not. 
(It appears pain and trauma make me sassy and combative. I apologize. I love you guys don’t worry.)
Ok, I’m done let’s get this party started! Today Skylar Finn/ Selena from Life of A Random is here with us!
Tell us about you and your blog! How did you start? When? Ect.
Um…How do I start? Hi, I’m Skylar aka Selena in the real world. 😉 I just recently graduated from high school after being homeschooled the whole way through. There are three things I love: chocolate, books, and sleep. Since a blog about chocolate or sleep probably would bore anyone who visited to tears…I have a book blog called Life of a Random. I’m short. I don’t scream (seriously, I don’t).
I started my blog in the spring of 2013 (I think). At that time, Life of a Random wasn’t a book blog. It didn’t really have any type of focus at all, but I started it just to have a place to write down my feelings and things I was interested in. Slowly the blog began to gravitate towards books. I LOVE books. I ship fictional couples all. the. time. And I love using Life of a Random to talk to other people like me in a way I wouldn’t be able to right off in real life because of my personality. It’s funny because even though I’m an introvert and a pretty shy one, I am SO sarcastic and funny (or at least I like to think so) on my blog. It’s great!
What is your favorite part of blogging? 
I think there are many reasons that make blogging one of my favorite things to do! Buuut, the top two would probably be interacting with everyone in the book blogging community and keeping up with book news like books getting all the hype or books that aren’t even out yet.
It’s the greatest feeling to have people around the world, whom you haven’t even seen, support you and like your blog enough to follow and comment. I still mentally scream when I see another person has followed my blog. I don’t think that will ever get old. J
What’s your favorite feature to participate in and why?
Hm, yikes. This is hard. This isn’t a particular feature but I really like doing tags. For features, I’m torn between Waiting on Wednesday or Top Ten Tuesdays. The first one, because it’s so simple, and the second one because it’s really fun. And simple.
What is the hardest part of blogging for you? 
Finding ideas for discussion posts. It’s really hard to find something original to talk about, so while I love writing discussion posts…the ideas don’t come easily.
Or stuff like scheduling and pre-writing posts *blushes*. I’m getting better but it’s still one of the harder parts of blogging for me.
How do you keep up with everything? How do you keep from being overwhelmed or deal with being overwhelmed?
That is a very good question. Typically, I’m not the most organized blogger, but more recently I’ve been trying to keep things orderly by using Google Calendar. I also keep a folder in each of my emails. One of them is called ‘Book Reviewing’ and another is called ‘Bloggy Friends’. I know, I’m so original. Be jealous.
If I get too overwhelmed, I take a short break from blogging and only publish posts that I have an obligation to publish like book blitzes or tours. 
How do you conduct your interviews?
I usually ask interview questions by email. I try to make them interesting and ask questions that will get informative answers, but also make it fun and easy-going at the same time. I don’t like things to be too stiff on my blog.
How do you expand your following?
With social media and commenting. Social media mainly being Twitter. I tweet all my post links, usually more than once, and also keep my Twitter up to date with personal tidbits. Commenting is also something that will get a lot of people coming back to your blog, especially for features like Waiting on Wednesday. My advice—link-up with your post and then go comment on A LOT of other bloggers’ WoW posts with a link back to your post. It’s exhausting but worth it.
A giveaway *wiggles eyebrows* can also be a good way to gain more followers, especially if you’re only a little ways from a particular goal.
What are your blogging and reading pet peeves?
I really don’t like it when I take the time to type out a long comment and it only gets a one sentence reply. Not a fan. And I definitely don’t like it when the blogger doesn’t reply at all.
Oh, and if a blog has fuzzy graphics or designs you can tell aren’t good quality then I tend to not be as attracted to it. I know that you can’t tell quality of the blog by the look of the blog so I try to not be biased as much.
Reading pet peeves…
1) I hate insta-love. HATE it. According to me, it’s way too common and unrealistic.
2) I don’t like it when the main character is selfish. Like, infuriatingly selfish not realistically selfish. There’s a difference 😉
3) Some inner dialogues of girl main characters I read are creepy. Because they’re admiring a guy and they go, “Oh what nice, muscular thighs you have.” And I’m like *shakes head really fast* What. Why are you admiring his thighs. If you can see a guy’s thigh muscles through his jeans, by the way, those aren’t regular jeans.
4) Making out. Okay, let me clarify. Making out when the world around you is threatening to explode and lots of people are dying and mutants have escaped from a top secret science lab, but, oh, we’re going to make out. NO. THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Go save the world.
What has been your favorite blogging experience?
Being nominated for the Liebster Blog Award! It’s so fun and I mentally screeched when I got my first one. It’s a great way to discover small blogs or to help other people find some of your own favorite small blogs.
What are five of your favorite blogs/bloggers and why?
Cait & Mime @Notebook Sisters(because they’re hilarious, well-written/spoken, and just awesome girls), Ella @Once Upon a Bookish Time (she’s just so enthusiastic about books and leaves the BEST comments), Tansie @Totally Tansie (two words: dry humor), Aneta Augustine @The Graffiti on the Wall (you want someone to tell you exactly whether or not a book is good based on literary points? Aneta doesn’t let feels get in the way of saying it like it is), and Amber @The Mile-Long Bookshelf(Her booktube channel and discussion posts are the best. And she loves pizza. Guys, this is important).
What tips do you have for fellow bloggers?
COMMENT. You’ve probably heard this before, but comment, comment, and then comment some more. It’s the best way to gain more followers and friends. Also, you may just be starting out. And maybe you’re getting discouraged because you only have two followers and you’ve been blogging for ages compared to other blogs who already have a few hundred followers (um, yeah, how do they do that again?). Don’t give up. Keep going. Join features. Make friends. You willget followers and more importantly you’ll find people you can gush over books with.
Most importantly—don’t forget that you’re doing this because you want to. If it starts feeling a bit too much like work and when you have to force yourself to write posts, you need to take a deep breath, a small break, and re-discover why you started blogging in the first place. J
How can people find and follow you?
Thanks again Skylar it was great getting to know you better! 
Check out Life of a Random and the other fabulous blogs she mentioned! Let me know if you have any suggestions/ nominations/ recommendations for other blogs and bloggers to interview and spotlight! 
Special Guest Elizabeth Heiter

Special Guest Elizabeth Heiter

Bum-bum-bum! Happy happy Thursday everyone! I hope y’all had a great day! I am super pumped to share with you my interview with Elizabeth Heiter, the author of Hunted! (See my review here.) Well, I’m just going to go a head and jump right into it!

What made you decide you wanted to start writing? Tell us a little bit about how you got your start!
I’ve always loved writing – and I always knew I wanted to be a novelist!  I can remember starting novels longhand in notebooks back in middle school.  I finished my first co-written manuscript in high school, and a few years after I graduated from college, I began submitting to literary agents!
 
What is your favorite thing about being an author and writing?
There’s a great thrill to coming up with that first tiny seed of an idea that you know can bloom into a full novel.  One of my favorite things is the brainstorming process, where that little nugget of an idea begins fleshing out into a real story.  One of my other favorite parts about writing is being so engrossed in writing a scene that my fingers can barely keep up with my brain.  That time when the story is flowing just right and you don’t want to stop writing, no matter how late it gets.  As an author, I have to admit there’s also something pretty amazing about seeing my novel in bookstores and hearing reader reactions.  The other day, I got a letter from a sixteen-year-old who said she hated to read, but loved HUNTED.  Moments like that make all the hard work truly worthwhile!
 
How did you come up with this story?
Many years ago, I became fascinated with the idea of criminal profiling – the notion that someone could show up at a crime scene where there were no solid leads, no strong suspects and no forensic evidence, and give law enforcement details about who had committed the crime anyway.  That was the first nugget for me – the first tiny kernel that would ultimately become HUNTED.  From there, I started fleshing out my character – asking myself what kind of person would choose this kind of work.  I decided that Evelyn needed something that personally motivated her from her past, such as the disappearance of her best friend when she was twelve.  Once I knew some basics about my character, I started developing my villain, the Bakersville Burier, and the plot.
 
What is your favorite character, moment, line, ect. from Hunted?
This is a hard one!  I love the characters for different reasons – I appreciate my heroine, FBI profiler Evelyn Baine, for her determination; her friend and possible love interest FBI Hostage Rescue Team Agent Kyle “Mac” McKenzie for his persistence and his charm; and their friend Gabe Fontaine for his humor.  One of my favorite moments in the book is when Evelyn opens up to Kyle a  little bit about her past and the case that brought her to the Bureau – the disappearance of her best friend Cassie seventeen years earlier.  (That case will return in the sequel to HUNTED, out next year.)
 
What character in Hunted do you relate to the most? (Explain how or why.)
I relate to them all (well, most of them anyway – not the serial killer so much!) for different reasons.  With my heroine, Evelyn, I love her tenacity and I relate to her determination to go after what she wants, no matter the hurdles.   I also like that she’s not perfect – she’s prickly and socially awkward and she’s definitely got room to grow, both in the course of HUNTED as she learns to let others in, and as the series progresses.
 
Did you end up cutting out whole characters or scenes during the writing process? Was it hard?
I did!  It was difficult.  There were some characters and scenes that I really loved, and I ended up cutting them.  But ultimately the end, the book was stronger without them, so they had to go!  When I’m revising, I try to take an unforgiving look at each scene and ask myself if it advances the plot and the character development in some way.  If not, no matter how much I like it, it’s got to go!
 
What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing and/or publishing Hunted? How did you handle or overcome it?
I think one of the biggest challenges was persistence.  I wrote many manuscripts and spent years submitting those manuscripts before selling, and sometimes that was discouraging.  But at the end of the day, I wanted this too much to give up on it!  And then HUNTED sold along with four other novels, so it was definitely worth the wait!
 
Are there any books or authors who have influenced your writing style or inspired you?
There are so many!  I’ve always loved to read, and I used to devour huge stacks of novels every week (I have less time for that now, being under deadlines, but I still read a lot).   I’m inspired every time I read a book that I don’t want to put down.  Some of my favorite authors include Lisa Gardner, Tom Clancy, Allison Brennan, Suzanne Brockmann, and Laura Griffin.
 
Any last words or advice for aspiring authors?
I think some of the best advice I can offer is the advice I got from Suzanne Brockmann many years ago.  At a book signing, she told me that the difference between an unpublished writer and a published author is perseverance.  So, “never give up” is a good motto for a writer!  Another thing I’d recommend is to find a strong writing organization to join – it makes a difference to have the access to craft and business information they can provide, but also being in a community of other writers is inspiring!
 
Thank you so much for your time! It has been great having you and learning more about you, your writing and Hunted!
Thank you so much for having me here, Briana!
JElizabeth Heiter
Wasn’t that just charming and full of great advice? Be sure to add her book Hunted on Goodreads and get it through Liberty Bay by clicking this: Hunted, and of course be on the look out for more from Elizabeth! I can’t wait to read book 2!
A Special Guest

A Special Guest

Today I am happy to give you my interview with a very special guest…Shawn Mihalik! Here is the interview with him!

Hi Shawn! It is a pleasure to have you as a sort of guest on Reader, Writer, Critic to talk a little bit about your writing career, publishing experience, and your new book Brand-Changing Day. Thank you for taking the time to do this! Now let’s get this party started!
 First off, tell us a bit about yourself and your new book!
I was born in San Diego but grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. I studied journalism at Youngstown State University, and while I loved (and still love) journalism, I realized that I would rather write fiction.
Brand-Changing Day is my second book but my first novel. It’s literary satire about the world of casual American chain restaurants.
 How and why did you start writing?
I started writing short stories and things like that when I was pretty young, maybe thirteen or fourteen, but of course I wasn’t very good. In high school I became interested in journalism, winning a few awards both as a writer for and then editor of my school paper.
Where did the idea for your book come from?
I worked in restaurants (as I think a lot of people do) a lot. When I was sixteen I got my first job at a Bob Evans, and in the years after that I worked for three other different restaurant chains. But the entire time, I hated the experience. I hated the policies, mentality, and what chain restaurants typically stand for. So when I wrote my first novel, it seemed natural that it would take place in and be about restaurants, exploring what makes them, and the people who work in them, tick.
Are there any parallels between Brand-Changing Day and its characters’ lives and your life? What are they?
Several. As I said, the book takes place in a restaurant, and I worked in restaurants for years. But the book also takes place in Youngstown, Ohio, where I group (and which is a city a love). Additionally, the main character spends some time living in Pittsburgh, PA, which I did as well.
Are any of your characters the types of people you would be friends with in your life? What characters and why or why not?
Some of them are, yes. Some of the characters—for example, Lori, Kara, and Mike the Bartender—are wonderful people. Other characters, on the other hand—like Geoff McCree, R.J. Fredickson, and of course, the black bear—aren’t very good people at all, or at the very least, they’re complacent people, content to live very boring, menial existences, and that doesn’t appeal to me in a friend.
And then there’s the main character, Scott, who I also probably wouldn’t be friends with, which is problematic because he’s a lot like me.
What was your publishing experience like working with an indie publisher?
It was wonderful. There are some amazing things happening in the indie publishing world, and Asymmetrical Press is doing a great job of taking advantage of them.
The best part of indie publishing is having a significant amount of control over the process: I got to work directly with editors, approve layout and covers, and things like that.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing and/or publishing Brand-Changing Day and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was releasing the book into the world. I have a very conservative family, but Brand-Changing Day is far from a conservative book—it has a lot of controversial, subversive elements, and I new my family wasn’t going to be happy that I’d written something like that. And they weren’t. But I had to release the book anyway.
What was your favorite part of the writing and publishing process?
My favorite part is creating. Creating a world, a sandbox, and then creating characters to play in that sandbox. It’s exhilarating when it all comes together.
Do you have any special playlists, writing habits or rituals” ect.? What are they?
 
I’d like to say that I do, but not really. When I wrote Brand-Changing Day, I went through periods of time where I was writing every single morning, but then there were other periods where I was writing every single evening instead. And then there were periods were I would go a few weeks having written barley a thing.
 
Even now, as I work on new projects, my processes are different. If I had to pick out any sort of pattern, I’d say that silence is important to my process. I have to be alone when I’m writing, with no music or background noise of any kind, which I think is why I like early morning or late evening the best most of the time.
It was been lovely having you and thank you again for your time!
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Brand-Changing Day

You can buy brand changing day through Liberty Bay Books by clicking the hyper-linked title under the cover and remember to add it on Goodreads!

Interview With Author C.C. Hunter

Interview With Author C.C. Hunter

Interview With Author C.C. Hunter

Hello loves, today I am sharing with you my interview with Author C.C. Hunter. She shared her inspiring story with me, answered my interview questions, and is letting me share it all with you. Her story and words truly inspired me and I found them wonderfully enlightening, helpful, entertaining, and fun! I hope you enjoy them and find them as helpful as I did! Now without further ado I give you the interview! Enjoy!

B: When did you decide to start writing books?
C.C.: First, Briana, thank you so much for having me at your blog. I love sharing my story with readers. To answer your question – It’s all my hubby’s fault. You see, I was born in Alabama and I come from a long line of storytellers. Some of my earliest memories are sitting around with my family, listening to them tell stories. Now, I’ll be honest. In my family, the truth never got in the way of our telling a good story, which is why our stories often got bigger and better each time we told them. What was important was making people laugh and, boy howdy, did we laugh a lot in my family. Before long, I was telling my own stories, too. As for writing those stories down on paper, well, that didn’t happen until later and that’s where my hubby comes in.
I was a new bride in my early twenties and Hubby asked me what I wanted to do with my life. He thought I would say I wanted to become a school teacher and would go to college and get the education I needed. Now, I do love teaching other people, but I thought about it for a moment, and then I told him I wanted to be a writer. Only problem was, I’m dyslexic. That means I sometimes get my words mixed up or I just flat-out leave them out completely when I try to put my stories down on paper. So becoming a writer was a lot harder for me than for most people. I had to learn how to deal with my dyslexia right along with learning how to write. But the struggle was worth it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
B: How did you decide what type of supernatural each of the main characters would be in the Shadow Falls series?
C.C.: Oh, that’s a great question. Now, I know this answer will sound a little strange, but it’s the truth. Here’s what happened when I started creating the characters for Shadow Falls—I let the characters define themselves.
Now, I knew that I would have vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, witches and faes in the series. I just didn’t know which character would be which type of supernatural, and that is where the characters themselves came in. I started with Kylie and then I moved on to the other characters. For example, when Della first appeared, she had this impenetrable wall around her that she wouldn’t let anyone get past. She came across as being tough, but I knew that the toughness probably had a lot to do with things that had happened to her, and once Della and I “talked,” I found out I was right. But now, having known Della for several books, can you imagine her as anything but a vampire? I know I can’t. She embodies the very nature of that species. And that is the way it worked for the other characters, too—once they appeared, they let me know which species they were. Well, all of them except for Kylie, of course—but that’s only because she wasn’t quite sure where she fit in.

B: How did you come up with the story line of the Shadow Falls series?
C.C.: The idea of the paranormal summer camp actually came from my editor Rose Hilliard at St. Martin’s Press/Griffin. And that’s all she said to me, too—”paranormal camp.” She expected me to come up with the rest. But you know what? Those two words were enough to get my imagination going. Once I got Kylie figured out, the rest of the characters sprang to life, and each of them brought a piece of the plotline with them. Now, I’ll be honest. When I started Born at Midnight, the first book in the Shadow Falls series, I had no idea how the story would end. And now that I’m starting the final book, Chosen at Nightfall, I still have no idea which boy Kylie will end up with or what will ultimately happen to her and her friends at Shadow Falls Camp/Academy. But that’s okay. That’s how my writing process works—I learn the specifics of the book as I write it. And I gotta be honest. I think that’s why I love writing so much—I love finding out how the story ends, right along with my characters.
B: How did you decide what Kylie’s friends would be?
C.C.: Well, as I said above, the characters are the ones who tell me who they are. Believe me, I’ve tried to tell them, but that just doesn’t work out. For example, I can start writing a story where I *think* I know who the bad guy is, only to find out, as I get almost to the end, that I was wrong. So I’ve learned to let the characters lead the way. Often, I don’t find out what is going to happen next until they do. I know it sounds a little crazy, but that’s what works for me.
B: Did you cut out or scrap any characters during the writing process?
C.C.: That’s a good question. Back when I was learning how to write—we’re talking about twenty something years ago at this point—I did have to scrap whole scenes and even whole characters because it was necessary for the story. Of course, I was learning the process then, learning what worked for me and what didn’t. It’s something every writer has to figure out on her own. Now, I generally have a better handle on the writing process so I don’t usually have to cut out characters.
B: If you were a Supernatural like the ones in Shadow Falls, what would you be? Would you be rogue, a Shadow Falls Camper on your own out in the world doing your own thing, or working for the FRU full time?
C.C.: Hmm. It’s hard for me to answer because I’ve made some changes to the mythology for many of my supernaturals in the Shadow Falls series. Some of them, like vampires, shape-shifters, and werewolves, can be scary, but once you get to know them as characters, you’ll realize they all have some good qualities. I think that’s what makes it so hard for me to choose—I don’t want to be unfaithful to any of my characters. LOL. But if I had to choose, I’d probably go with either a witch or a fae. I think these characters offer the most options . . . although I think it would be totally cool to be able to fly like a vampire does. LOL.
Now, as for what I would do if I were in the Shadow Falls universe . . . that’s a great question. First, I know I’m not cut out to be a rogue. I feel more comfortable being around friends and family, rather than going it alone. So, I’d probably work for the FRU, though I’m nowhere near as brave as Kylie. I admire her determination and the way she is fearless in the face of danger to her friends and loved ones. I feel that way about my kids; I think it’s a mom thing, really.
B: Anything to say to aspiring authors just starting out?
C.C.: You know, I’m often asked to speak to a group of aspiring writers and when I do, I tell them the same things I tell anyone who has a dream they cherish. Namely, believe in yourself. Believe in your dream. And don’t give up, no matter how many rejections you may accumulate. Stay strong and keep working toward your goals. If it’s writing, take writing classes, attend writers’ conferences and soak up as much knowledge as you can while you’re there. And read. Read widely. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. And most of all, never let anyone steal your dream from you. Because I don’t care what the “experts” will tell you about the odds of making your dream a reality. I heard it all, too. I was a dyslexic high school drop-out when I decided I wanted to make my living as a writer. Believe me, the experts didn’t think I had a good chance of making it. If I’d listened to them, I never would. But I listened to myself. I believed in myself. And I made it. You can, too.
Thank you again for having me and sharing my story and my series with your readers.
 CC

You are very welcome C.C.! It was a pleasure having you and thanks again! Hope y’all loved the interview with her and love her books as much as I did!

Briana