A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

The Self-Hosting-Move is DONE!?

Hi everyone!!

So in my March wrap up I explained how I had made a HUGE decision… to self-host my blog! Well it’s happened WAY faster than I thought possible…

  • I’ve set up my self-hosting, bought my domain and bought and activated my theme.

  • I’ve exported and imported ALL of my posts and information that WordPress.com allows.

  • I have a ROUGH, ROUGH home page and have migrated all of my followers.

In the next few days I will be working on getting my home page setup in all its glory with all of the little details working…

I’m posting on my new blog now so leave comments on perspectiveofawriter.com!! (Not on my .wordpress.com blog.)

I'm posting on my new blog now so leave comments on perspectiveofawriter.com!!

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Audiobook, Discussions

Why I Say NO to Audiobooks // A Discussion

Are you an audiobook fan?! In today’s day and age with 24/7 access to the internet and with audio capabilities a major functions of our phones… it would be criminal NOT to be a fan… Uhhhhh so why am I saying NO to audiobooks?! Come check out why I’m rejecting the biggest innovation in books since… well the smartphone…

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My Unique Experience with Audiobooks

Back in June 2017 I wrote what I thought would the first of many audiobook reviews …I actually talked about three different books I tried… It was an eye opening experience as I learned the narrator played a MAJOR role in whether I could even suffer to listen to an audiobook… Now here it is almost a year later and I haven’t posted another audiobook review (GAH! Those gorgeous but wasted review graphics *cries*)  WHY?!

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Well that is what I’m here to talk about today… I had to make a conscious effort to listen to those three books as audiobooks and I couldn’t even get through the third book because the voice was so off from the character.*

*NOT that I am saying audiobooks are bad, of course…

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Audiobooks have definite benefits

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Hands-free! And portable when you can’t be looking down and reading words.

Multi-Tasking! Can be doing a second thing while also “reading.”

Learn better! If you are an audible learner then this will be BETTER than reading…

Failing eye sight! The blind and those with weak eye sight still get the pleasure of story.

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Why I say NO to Audiobooks

Here’s the thing, while audiobooks clearly have positives… they aren’t for me (unfortunately**).

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**Seriously, I don’t do audiobooks, even with all the benefits… I have legitimate reasons too… Stop laughing!! I really do!

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#1 – Reading doesn’t take nearly as long as listening to audiobooks!

When I listened to Rebecca, I was STUNNED to find that listening to it would take 15 HOURS!! GAH! I ended up putting it on 1.25x speed because it was practically unlistenable on the regular speed. And NO it doesn’t take me that long to read it!

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#2 – The 3 BIG multi-tasking times aren’t functional with audiobooks…

What are they… Exercise. Cleaning. Driving.

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Exercise and books don’t mix for me. I am always quite envious when a bloggers crows how they can listen and keep their heart rate up at the same time! Now I can in a pinch read and bike at the same time but let me tell you the workout is NOT the same. Even if I were to sacrifice a quality workout… This is also a great time to think. To work out what I want to say on reviews. Gather my thoughts for a discussion. Or even think about my own characters… *gasp* (If only I had a dog I needed to walk twice a day!!)

cleaning gif - Saferbrowser Yahoo Image Search ResultsCleaning is not something I marathon. I understand the benefits of a clean home. So. My method is to divide and conquer. I do chores in 10 to 15 minute bursts through the week! which isn’t enough time for an audiobook… It would have taken 60 chore bursts to read Rebecca!! 60! And you know many times I’ll do chores when I’m stuck on something and need to break out the big gun (my brain) and use the activity to work through it…

commuting gif - Saferbrowser Yahoo Image Search ResultsDriving would actually be the best time for me to listen to audiobooks… if I had a LONG commute! I actually know some international bloggers who DO have a long commute (and yes I am envious of them!) who read during this time. Audiobooks would be great because not only can you listen while you sit, but as you walk to and from the bus or train as well as in the car! For me I rarely go anyplace more than 20 minutes away… and most of the time its 5 minutes… *cries*

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#3 – Not cost effective to BUY audiobooks!

Let’s pretend I have loads of opportunities to stream an audiobook… Because of how long it takes to listen to one I would probably only listen once. If I wanted to get into the book a second time I would get the book! So buying an audiobook wouldn’t be cost effective… I would check it out of the library and since you can only have them for 20 days that means I need to listen to about an hour a day to get it read before the audiobook is due!

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#4 – Audiobooks take MEGA concentration.

What like it's hard gif - Saferbrowser Yahoo Image Search ResultsIn school lectures were how I learned. I LOVED them and when teachers used this method to teach I did quite well. However, you don’t exercise or do a ton of moving around while listening to a lecture. It takes extreme levels of concentration to hold onto sounds, put them into words and then work out the ideas being put across. Yes, I am capable of doing this (duh, I’m human) but it means an extra step beyond reading… so doing another task on top of this makes the entire process less effective. The entire point of audiobooks to my mind is to multi-task. And that is hard to do while listening effectively.

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#5 – Narrators MATTER! They matter BIG TIME!

I learned from my experiment with audiobooks last year My First Audiobooks that not all narrators are made equal. In fact, while some narrators make a book better, more often than not the voice doesn’t add anything to the book and can also impede any enjoyment. 1 out of 3 books having narrators worth the time, effort and cost of audiobook is NOT good odds… I DO want to LOVE audiobooks and actually I would still like to listen to one every now and again… but it will have to be for an audiobook with TONS of hype about the narrator.

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I remember how much my brother LOVED the audiobook tapes of The Hobbit with the entire cast of voice actors and it makes me long to love them too. I feel like they are so popular nowadays and I must be missing out on a major part of the book community!

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What problems do YOU have with audiobooks? What successes?

Audiobooks are great for many people and I envy those who have the right mix of time and responsibilities to be able to make listening to books work for them… Any suggestions about listening to audiobooks?! Are there ANY audiobooks that you would recommend are a MUST to listen to?! Please leave them in the comments for everyone to see…

Dani Signature

Thanks for Reading XOXO

Are you an audiobook fan?! In today's day and age with 24/7 access to the internet and with audio capabilities a major functions of our phones... it would be criminal NOT to be a fan... Uhhhhh so why am I saying NO to audiobooks?! Come check out why I'm rejecting the biggest innovation in books since... well the smartphone...

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

Discussion // 4 Frustrating Wants I Need from the Wordpress platform I Love

I LOVE WordPress. I experimented with all the big blog sites when I first started blogging and this is the platform with the most polished and professional blog themes on the web… I kid you not! That DOES NOT mean though that WP is perfect… far from it. These are my top 5 frustrations that I need WordPress to fix ASAP!

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#1 – Linky Lists

I LOVE the idea of giving readers a place to link up posts… so that we can share common topic posts. Can you imagine the MAJOR blog hopping that could happen?! (If you’ve ever done a Top 10 Tuesday meme then you know what this is!)

This is one of the features I am WANTING SO BAD! I could have used this to great affect with my This Week’s Appreciation posts if it were possible on wordpress! Due to restrictions on the use of javascript free wordpress sites CAN NOT use these…

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WORDPRESS! You are killing me here… why can’t we use this?! Come up with your own version! It causes readers to skip around wordpress finding new blogs on your platform to follow and read!! That is good for you…

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#2 – Rafflecopter Giveaway Widgets

With book tours bloggers are asked to share giveaways all the time with their readers. It’s fun to do and I love being able to be a part of sharing the swag! The only problem is that I AM NOT ALLOWED to post a widget on my free wordpress site!

AGAIN, due to javascript restrictions I have to send my readers OFF WORDPRESS to do their giveaway tasks to enter! I feel like this is a missed opportunity for wordpress.

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Bloggers SHARE these giveaways on social media and yet instead of driving readers TO THEIR OWN PLATFORM they send them away… Let us help draw readers ONTO wordpress by hosting the rafflecopter widget on free sites!

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#3 – More Comment Notifications

I do the MAJORITY of my comment reply in my wordpress app. I DO love my wordpress app very much! It’s just that the notifications part needs some overhaul… There is only a limited number of notifications that we are allowed to see and I want those spots ALL for comments!

You don’t really DO anything with a like notification anyway. You SEE it and that’s it. A comment notification though provides a place to reply as well as a way to return a comment to the person who visited you! It gives you a list of bloggers who you interacted with recently… It’s helpful!

On book reviews: unpopularity, comments and other struggles

Make it easier for us to SURF wordpress by giving us access to MORE comment notifications! That keeps bloggers around and that is ONLY GOOD for your blog platform…

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#4 – HTML “Formatting Tips”

On Goodreads when you post a review there is a nifty drop down that tells you some codes you can use to add pictures and gifs, make style changes and add links! I would LOVE the same things for more complex HTML formatting on wordpress.

One that EVERY blogger wants are the codes to SIZE UP within paragraphs! I DO appreciate the set headers for consistency’s sake. Sometimes though I want to highlight a phrase in a paragraph by making it bigger… Or be able to have subscripts by making lines smaller.

There are other formatting tips though that would be useful! Drop window text to hide spoilers… or even a similar spoiler link like is on Goodreads. I’d like to share spoilers within the text but at this point that is NOT easy… and changing the color of text doesn’t work with mobile devices many times…

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Blogs are easier to read when there is something to focus on except blocks of text. Let’s keep readers coming back by being about to “format fancy” quickly!

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I LOVE WordPress. It is a pretty nifty platform. While there aren’t tons of free themes I have been able to work with what they have to great success. And best of all their themes are pretty, professional and polished! We only lack a few things that would help us, help you, be the BEST blogging platform out there.

It’s time to make your New Year’s resolutions WordPress!!

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What problems do YOU have with wordpress?

This is not meant as a negative Nelly post AT ALL… I have enjoyed my time on this platform and still find it the easiest to use besides the best looking (which is important for a graphic designer). It’s just these are my most frustrating wants for my blog experience!

Dani Signature

Thanks for Reading XOXO

I LOVE WordPress. It is a pretty nifty platform. While there aren't tons of free themes I have been able to work with what they have to great success. And best of all their themes are pretty, professional and polished! We only lack a few things that would help us, help you, be the BEST blogging platform out there.

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

What I learned as a Guest Post Author

For the last year I have been guest posting on the sci-fi fantasy indie publisher’s blog @ Curiosity Quills Press. It has been exhausting, exhilarating and such a learning experience!

Click Read More… to go to my guest posts!

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17 Jul - Artificial Intelligence in YA

17 July 2017 – Technology makes for a compelling focus in YA fiction. Cyborgs, androids, robots, drones and AI have all been at the heart of some of the best stories! Learn about the differences between them and how they are applicable today… Read More

What I learned? I got burnt out writing guest posts to the max limit of the word count and I wanted to play with graphics! You can see in later posts how this really opened my eyes to how I approached my future articles.

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22 Aug - Obscure Mythological Monsters

22 August 2017 – Mythology is one of the best premises a book can offer when I’m looking to read something new! Here I talk mythology, legend and folklore and different cultures that would make for good story. Read More

What I learned? Certain kinds of guest posts can take a TON of research. If I wanted to maximize my time then I need to keep the focus on subjects I know about and can share easily. I had fun with this but better to save this for my own book research.

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22 Sept - A to Z Manga

22 September 2017 – As a fangirl of manga its surprising to learn I didn’t start out loving the format. No I had to experiment… I save you some of the trouble by laying out some basic info to become converted… Read More

What I learned? I LOVED this list format and I had fun writing it… But I neglected to take into account the blog’s wide page layout which strung the info too thin. Remember you don’t have a hand in formatting when you write a guest post!

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24 Oct - Books with Creepy Settings

24 October 2017 – This time of year was the perfect opportunity to talk about creepy settings in books! It amazed me how many books inspire due to the characters IN a place and NOT the place itself… Read More

What I learned? This was my first foray into adding graphics to my quest post and it worked well because I used a color theme! Even small the pictures can draw your eye when grouped in a repetitive pattern.

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14 Nov - Book Covers To Be Thankful For

14 November 2017 – Book Covers had been on my mind in November so it was natural to segue into a post about the ones I’m going ga-ga over. As a graphic designer I grouped them by type! Read More

What I learned? My own blog is graphics heavy, so I didn’t give it a thought when I created huge graphics to show off the covers that inspired my post… Remember to think about your host, they may not feel the way you do and adjust accordingly!

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Dec 5  - Family Activities to Bring Us Closer Together inspired by Stranger Things.

14 December 2017 – Family is a HUGE deal during the holiday season. What better way to come together that to take a page out of a magnificent homage to the 80s, when family was a big idea! Read More

What I learned? Wanting to give readers a sense of the show and why that activity would be so group building I searched out gifs… Only their site can’t handle gifs! So be sure to check with your host that they can DO gifs!

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Each one of these guest posts was based upon a general topic that the publisher gave me. I thought up the details and wrote it with that topic in mind. The woman who was my liaison was a real blessing!! She was a joy to work with and I hope that all my contacts can be so great. Thanks Clare!! ❤

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Have you ever guest posted? Would you want to?

I didn’t realize during my first six months that I was learning anything, lol. Check out my first post here. A year is a long time to do something but sometimes its the rewards you don’t see that can do us the most benefit. I enjoyed my time as a guest post author and hope to progress to the next step in that journey.

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Thanks for Reading XOXO




For the last year I have been guest posting on the sci-fi fantasy indie publisher's blog @ Curiosity Quills Press. It has been exhausting, exhilarating and such a learning experience!

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions, Reading Challenges

Changing for Better in 2018

UPDATED 1/15/18!! I have realized since posting this that I forgot a couple challenges that I wanted to take part in so I added them… 

I’ve been so inspired by everyone’s different resolution posts this week!! I wasn’t really intending on doing one as I kind of just keep a running list in my head, but it’s been super fun to read how excited everyone is for 2018… and I want to share some of the things I want to focus on too!

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Reading Better!!

Something I noticed in 2017 was that I was all over the place in my reading; not necessarily reading what I wanted so much as what caught my momentary attention. This year I want to be a little more deliberate in my reading while also having some fun!

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Goodread Challenge 2018Reading 150 Books Minimum

This is your classic goodreads challenge! Last year I read 247 books with the help of my nephew who loves picture books. I got this number (which doesn’t include picture books) by doing some math. I typically get to read 10 book books and 3-5 manga a month… So this goal is totally reachable and easy going.

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Reading Down my TBR

Moody Reader Reading Challenge Featured

Earlier this week I shared one of my biggest resolutions! That is to read down my TBR on goodreads this year. I want to get to some books that I have been meaning to read for a year or more so I created the Moody Reading Challenge!

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Reading A to Z


This challenge will go quite well with my own and I love the blogger hosting it, Megan @ Ginger Mom and the Reading Quest! She’ll have extra challenges each month and chats to make it fun and remind us. Each review earns you 1 point toward the grand prize at the end of the year of a $100 Amazon gift card! And you can do a kidlit version too if you love picture books (which I might do with my nephew!). I’ve already read my A and B books, American Panda and Bokkaners of the North!!

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Graphic Novels and Manga Reading Challenge 2018

This challenge is posted in a closed Facebook group which I thought would be a fascinating change for me. I do have a Facebook account and post to it for family and friends. I thought I could check out other manga bloggers and form a mutually beneficial relationship! I’ll have to see how it goes but I’m excited to meet some new people and have them read some of my new manga and graphic novel reviews… I’m planning on about 52 reviews during the year at the very minimum.

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Commenting Better!!

I’m super happy about my commenting in 2017. As an introvert getting my feelings into a comment box is HARD and AWKWARD for me. I’ve gotten so much better sharing and being myself. Now that I’m not so stiff I’d really enjoy getting to know other bloggers better and more consistently!

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More Discussion posts

Since I comment back a lot I need to give readers something to comment on! To those efforts I want to participate in this discussion linky challenge! I feel like it is an opportunity to find MANY wonderful posts for my weekly appreciation posts as well and help me find bloggers that I want to follow! Discussion posts are hard for me to write and not take ALL MONTH so this will give me some motivation to take the leap and write them.

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Comment on 365 Different Blogs this year

This is a challenge that goes well with my efforts in the discussion posts challenge. I’m sure to find many new bloggers that way. This will give me a double incentive to check in on my fellow discussions. Also Nori has created a list of bloggers who are participating with a spreadsheet and everything! I’ve tried it out and it is fun and I already found a blogger to follow!! You can still sign up too!!

Elgee WritesGayathri @ Elgee Writes is a new blogger I found who also has a comment challenge that I thought would work well in conjunction with the above comment challenge! I love bloggers who comment back, it feels more like a community rather than commenting into the great dark internet! She’ll add you to the list if you agree to comment back ❤

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The Sunday Post Linky

Sunday PostSince I decided to move my discussion posts to Saturdays and my This Week’s Appreciation posts to Sundays I was thinking about ways to spread the word about the blogger posts that I love. I know that many bloggers link up with Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post meme. She says we can tailor our news posts anyway we want!

So I’m going to update my This Week’s Appreciation posts again with a NEWS section! I’ll keep it small as I want the focus to remain in the blogger posts that I loved this week!! AND I can comment on and find other bloggers this way…

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Prioritize Better!!

I was all over the place last year… I got distracted by everything on my plate and would focus on different things more or less and nothing consistently. Really at the end of 2017 I was just happy to hang in there on everything that I started!!

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Streamline My Posting Schedule

Keep Calm and Prioritize Your Life PosterTalking to my writing partner she suggested that I post certain posts on certain days and figure out when the myriad of features could be posted so that I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. I want to post reviews the month I read them too so I want room for those to be and have time to be read. SO I WROTE DOWN MY SCHEDULE!! YAY! And I kept to it this last week!! It’s already relieved my mind so much!

Clean Up My Blog

I’ve already set this in motion! I want posts easy to find and read. I’ve stripped my regular posts of extra verbiage and consolidated it to one page. I already feel a weight off me doing that as well as streamlining my signature chat at the end of my posts. Also you’ll notice reviews are simplified in the new year as I make them easier to read. I have a bunch more ideas and things that will roll out as I get to them.

Also I want to add in Personal Priorities, as I streamline everything with my blog I want to be able to consistently do other things in my life that I sometimes put off for blogging and reading and commenting.

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Are you ready for 2018?! Is it hard to stick to resolutions?

I try really hard not to make goals that i won’t strive to do. This isn’t a perfect system but if I’m motivated then its A LOT easier to go for it then when I pile stuff on top of me that is just busy work without heart. (My ambition wants to sign up for 5 or 6 reading challenges but my heart says to stick with what I have…)

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Thanks for Reading XOXO


I've been so inspired by everyone's different resolution posts this week!! I wasn't really intending on doing one as I kind of just keep a running list in my head, but it's been super fun to read how excited everyone is for 2018... and I want to share some of the things I want to focus on too!

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

How to Stick Around to Become a Power Influencer in 4 Easy Steps + Why I’m NOT one YET

I’m a goalie… I LOVE to make goals… I love to CHASE goals and work at accomplishing them… So as the year comes to a close I’m taking this time to look to the future and readjust.  YES! As a goalie you have to retune, refine and redirect. It’s easy to get off target in the busy-ness of our everyday lives.

As I’ve looked back over the year I realize I almost QUIT blogging… there was a rough patch where I had to fight the feelings dragging me down and I had to think about where I wanted to head…

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Making it in the Community

My #1 advice to new bloggers is to NOT SWEAT THE NUMBERS… this is hard to do as even seasoned veterans can’t help but cheer when their numbers break records…


Who doesn’t want more visitors they can chat with about books?! Certainly we ALL want that… BUT it’s very easy to get blogger burn out.

In the interest of staving off this #dreadedbloggerdisease veteran bloggers will give you some basic advice…

Watercolor splot 4Be yourself! Sounds easy… fact of the matter is its easier to be yourself than trying to be someone you’re not… but it doesn’t stop us from trying.

Watercolor splot 3Have fun! This goes hand in hand with being yourself… its not fun to do what you think others want… its so much better to follow your heart and feels.

Watercolor splot 2Find your flow! This may mean scheduling posts. It may be posting everyday, MWF or once a week. Whatever it is should suit your time commitment…

Watercolor splot 1Interact with others! We’re talking about finding like minded bloggers you click with, making friends. I.E. Sharing your love of books (it’s why we’re here…)

There’s lots of other advice but these are the basics. You’ve probably read it a thousand different ways from bloggers you follow! And its always great to be reminded of the stepping stones to successful blogging. But…

What if you want to DO MORE, BE MORE… Dream bigger?!

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Becoming a Power Influencer

The best thing about ANY community is the community!! We want to have great conversations, many comments, likes and views. It’s a thrill when others take our advice and come away happier.

These bloggers influence. They share. They reach. They inspire. 

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They are the ones you lean forward in anticipation to read their posts… You wouldn’t dream of NOT leaving a comment! And you probably already know the bloggers I’m talking about!? There are two or three that just do it!

They influence the community. They influence you. They influence me.

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Are you dreaming bigger now?!

These are 4 concrete steps you can take to become influential. Of course, as with EVERYTHING, time plays a HUGE part… T-I-M-E wins every time (haha) so you can’t burn out. In the meantime though work on honing these skills…

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Watercolor splot 6 COMMENT…Everywhere, Consistently

Obviously I don’t mean literally every single blog out there. A range of blogs from within the community… and NOT just the mega bloggers you admire… Also the up and coming niche bloggers, bloggers who visit you regularly and bloggers who aren’t trying to rule the world but you love anyway. Choose wisely.

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You’ll want to form relationships by visiting often! And as consistently as possible! It’s hard to find the right balance with this… The more you network the more influential you’ll become as others enter and leave the community and yet you STICK AROUND.

Life gets in the way (this is my problem with this step!) so I’m NOT consistent at all… #bloggershame  That’s okay though… Keep going back! Every visit counts… (Remember this is a work in progress!)

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Watercolor splot 7 You MUST be Kind…

Or at least have an ENGAGING personality… This is a tough one to write about. There is no other way to say it but personality matters. Everybody has worth (I truly believe this!) Some bloggers come into the community and BOOM! 700 followers in 6 months or some such numbers. One of their gifts is probably a sterling personality. That’s okay that’s what they do well…

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Don’t worry… There is a longer route that TOTALLY relies on hard work and choices! That’s being kind… truly kind, authentic and lovely. Going out of your way for another person goes a long way in this world and the same is true in a community. It doesn’t have to be major favors… returning comments, linking to others posts that inspire you, and a myriad of other small ways… Kindness is its own superpower!!

I’m a bit of an odd ball. I don’t think that makes me less of a person and I like to think that I have blogger friends that see this as just being me (GAH! Thanks y’all, hopefully you know who you are!!) But I don’t have that instantaneous engaging personality… so I’m putting in the leg work instead!! #bloggergoals

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Watercolor splot 5 OPINIONATED Personalities Win Points

Because this translates into discussions. This doesn’t mean being pushy or ranting or really any negative way you can construe it. You still need to be yourself… but stand for something! BE PASSIONATE! Have things to say, put your spin on old ideas.

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As a part of a community we WANT to hear voices other than our own… We want to know the causes and concerns and knowledge that you’ve accumulated in your experiences.

Fear is what holds us back from sharing our opinions. We worry that others will take what we say the wrong way. We’re nagged by the horror that we’ll look stupid or turn others off. The only way we defeat this is by going out there are sharing anyway… (Note to self: MUST follow own advice!)

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Watercolor splot 8 Ambition to RULE THE WORLD

(I.E. you MUST be a feminist…) Hahahahahhha. Blogging is NOT EASY… and the more you are in it the more effort it takes. Something has got to motivate you! You don’t have to champion women’s rights if you don’t want to but you’ve got to be willing to stake your corner of the internet and lay it down.

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Motivation will get you somewhere! People leave the community everyday never to return… WHY?! Because they were no longer motivated to be here. Sharing these ambitions, these motivations with the community not only helps you to keep going but it allows them to see that you want to influence… You want to help grown the change!

I’m not sure that I want to rule the world to be quite frank (Can I be indecisive right now? Does that mean I’m NOT a feminist?!) but I do want to share my thoughts in MY corner of it…

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In Conclusion

Hey, I’m still working on interacting with the community consistently so I’m no power influencer yet… But my ambition is to stick around, throw my two cents out there and share ALL the passion in my heart! I’m still finding my flow and learning what works for me… It’s an ongoing process of trying new things and retaining what works.

The key is NOT TO BURN OUT! Persist! Have fun! Be yourself!

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What do you think?!

Do you want to be a power influencer? Are you already one?! What are your secrets?

What are your dreams for your blog? Are you motivated?

Thanks for reading, XOXO

Dani Signature

As I've looked back over the year I realize I almost QUIT blogging... there was a rough patch where I had to fight the feelings dragging me down and I had to think about where I wanted to head...

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

The Awkward Duty and Ecstatic Joy of Comments // The Blogging Life

So yeah, back in July my second discussion was not successful and I have been procrastinating writing one since then even though every month I plan to write my next one… When you fail at something you’ve got to get up and do it again (OR SO I KEEP TELLING MYSELF…) otherwise you’ll forever avoid it!

So this month I bit the bullet and made a large opening in my schedule… and here it is… TADA! *wild round of applause* (I seriously doubted I could do this, but YAY I DID!)

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Problems with Rejection

I follow all of my blogs in my wordpress reader… I just LOVE that they are all in one place… It also means I can follow blogs impulsively, read their content over time and find posts that I genuinely identify with. (This is my process, yes!)

Have you ever done this then written a heartfelt comment (after stalking the blog) and all you received was a “thank you 🙂 ” in reply?

I have.

And it felt like the pits.

I have serious issues with comment rejection.

I admit it! I do! It’s a problem and as a blogger I should just suck it up.

It’s simply a part of the blogging life.

rejection gif - - Yahoo Image Search Results

It’s dark and anxiety contributing but hey, its real and I need to get over it… because there is ALSO SO MUCH LOVE!!

I’ve obviously been thinking A LOT about comments. Don’t we all? (Please tell me other bloggers worry about comments too?! Replying to them, leaving them and even receiving them!?)

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#1 – The Knowledge You Aren’t Alone.

I LOVE everything that I put out on my blog. When you are passionate THE BEST THING EVER is to hear that someone else gets it.

They may simply be telling you they understand how you feel, they’ve had a reading experience like that in the past. You may get to fangirl over a ship (you’ve finally read the book everyone has been talking about)! No matter what I’m sharing, a comment says I HEAR YOU… (Take that comment rejection!)

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#2 – Feeling the Connection.

Whenever I see a review for a book I’ve already read I always try to drop in and read what they have to say… Or if its a book I’m ANTICIPATING highly I’ll read spoiler free reviews to get a sense of what the community feels. Commenting builds bridges between me and other readers and is a HUGE part of why I read blogs!

Those reviews may totally disagree with how I felt about the book. Sometimes I read wildly different opinions and having not read the book my curiosity is aroused… Either WAY I’m leaving my mark on the network and its a joyous thing!

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#3 – Finding the Ones.

Presenting my own ideas is just the first step to me… I want to find the ones. They write sincere comments on your blog and you excitedly comment back! These special people hang around your blog… you just click! There is an exchange of ideas that make a dialogue with them free and flowing.

YES I would love to be validated with 100 comments! But I’m more ecstatic to find friends…

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#1 – Replying 1,576,024 Years Later…

I LOVE comments! Who doesn’t?! Just the sheer validation that your thoughts aren’t a jumbled mess, knowing that a real human being is reading and having their own thoughts in return is a sheer joy! What did they say?! What did they say?!

rejection gif - - Yahoo Image Search Results

But they take a HUGE amount of time to read and reply back to. (I STILL LOVE THEM!) And I don’t want to be a “thank you 🙂 ” sort of replyer. I need a dedicated block of time and sometimes that doesn’t appear for a couple days. I try really hard to not allow more than 3 days to pass because AWKWARD, but sometimes I have to FORGIVE MYSELF.

Far better to rely sincerely when I have time then to dash off a quick reply!

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#2 – What Do I Say? *Shame*

I’m a total introvert… A blog is a great way to connect with others outside of myself but its also AWKWARD! Small talk has never been my forte. So yeah sometimes I’m ashamed to admit I read a post and don’t know what to say…?

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I WANT to say something! I’m thinking things… I’m inspired, but the WORDS WON’T COME! Whhhhhyyyyyyy? (Because I’m an introvert, if you’re one you understand then…) Sometimes I slink away and come back days later… other times I write what I can get out.

It may be awkward but its sincere… and I do MY BEST!

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#3 – TOOOO many blogs, not ENOUGH time…

I LOVE finding new blogs! I share my favorite posts from the week in a post every Saturday, BECAUSE I feel each and every blogger has ideas and thoughts that are worthy of being validated. This means I follow 249,576 blogs (#kiddingnotkidding ONLY over 250!) so yeah I can’t read every post.

It’s physically impossible as each post takes approx 5-7 minutes each just to read! So why didn’t that blog post rate reading?! Well to be honest it TOTALLY should have been read by me… AWKWARD! There simply isn’t enough time to read everything that I WANT to…

not enough time gif - - Yahoo Image Search Results

This means priorities. I ALWAYS comment back (meaning comment on the blog of someone who has commented on my post)! It’s simple… they DESERVE to be a priority because I was a priority for them… #sorrynotsorry

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Well *ahem* because of such “scarring” experiences I have a love and hate relationship with comments and I wondered if others do too? What are the joys and duties of commenting FOR YOU?! Do you feel comment rejection? Or commenting shame?

thanks for reading, XOXO

Dani Signature

I've obviously been thinking A LOT about comments. Don't we all? (Please tell me other bloggers worry about comments too?! Replying to them, leaving them and even receiving them!?)

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

My 2nd Discussion // Not to My Taste… BUT…? // Rating Woes

Okay, gulp… time to do this discussion thing again! My safe but inspiring topic is still on the back burner (but its peculating back there…) I’m actually more nervous than excited but I have been thinking about this topic for about a week now and really want to hear what all the smart and opinionated bloggers in the book community think… so please weigh in!!

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Book Reviews

I’ve read for the past several months different book bloggers thoughts on the merits of posting reviews. Are you still a book blogger if you don’t have review posts? By necessity reviews must be spoiler free and worse, they don’t get the hits that other posts receive…

I’ve read where other book bloggers have made the leap, choosing NOT to write reviews for EVERY book they read but picking and choosing when a review will suit them or not. This is all due to the time they need to invest in the review writing…

I’m NOT saying any of these perspectives are wrong or right… If you don’t WANT to write reviews then great, don’t. It you do want to WRITE reviews then great, do!

(Some of us are FORCED to write reviews because we receive ARCS… #kiddingNOTkidding)

We may not all review, but we ALL rate books…

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Example #1 – Not to My Taste… WHAT DO I RATE IT?!

(This book inspired this discussion post…)

Recently I finished an ARC that I had been looking forward to and had finally received. I struggled through the whole book by turns LOVING the story and the characters and HATING other specific aspects of the characters and the story. I’ve been really TORN!

This book is one of my favorite genres… post apocalyptic. It includes mental health issues and abuse one of my other favorite genres. It’s decently written and thought out. I was engaged with the MC and the family she meets. I WANTED, NO NEEDED to see HOW THEY END UP!!

The first drug scene I ran across I thought, okay… she’s trying to add some realism. The next scene seemed unrealistic to me as they had SO MUCH DRUGS.


I know this sounds like these scenes came one on top of another but they were spread out just enough that I’d almost forget them then BAM, there it was again.

I’m not here to ARGUE about the PROS AND CONS of drugs… they aren’t to my taste (especially how they are depicted here) and I’m NOT going to apologize for disliking them.

What do I rate the book? Should my taste issues influence the rating?

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Example #2 – Not to My Taste… 4 Stars!

(This book inspired my conflicted feelings on this matter…)

Eight days ago I settled down to read a dragon book (I LOVE AND ADORE DRAGONS!!! Sorry, deep breathes… no fangirling right now!) and couldn’t finish reading it. I felt conflicted doing this but it was a load off my shoulders to dnf it!!

Dragon Personality

(Thank you to all those bloggers who have talked about how they can’t finish a book they are not into!) Personally I can finish a book I HATE *shrug* I love to dissect books like this… but being indifferent and feeling the drag of my disinterest WAS TOO MUCH! I don’t, no I CAN’T regret this…

Then I proceeded to write a review about the aspects of the book I did enjoy and did like, merrily ignoring MOST of what I couldn’t stand. The publicist joyfully asked me to post this review on Amazon. This is a regular practice for 4 Star reviews…

I knew other readers would get a kick out of this book… Comedy fantasy not being my thing…

But was 4 Stars TOO much when I didn’t ENJOY the book?

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So what I’m saying is…

I don’t have any easy answers. Rating books is a personal and individual thought process we share with ALL. Giving example #1 4 stars is not going to happen, no matter HOW MUCH I loved the book. I was able to rave about example #2 which wasn’t to my taste and I’m HAPPY with the 4 stars. #ConflictedMuch

I do know if I didn’t NEED to write these reviews I wouldn’t have learned that my tastes matter. That my specific tastes make me a book blogger!

Yes, I am also a writer book blogger who shares my perspective about the storycraft and writing techniques in the books I read. I’m also ALLOWED to be a reader who loves some things and really, seriously dislikes other things…

As both, writing reviews is IMPORTANT to me!! They help me clarify who I am and refine what I find important. If my taste choices influence another reader to read for them self then that makes me happy. The #1 and #2 advice for writers is to write everyday and read everyday. Another author’s book offers that opportunity.

Lay it on me

(Note: I do not expect writing reviews to be important to you too! I love that people are diverse and that we can accept everyone’s choices…)

What is your opinion on writing reviews? Rating books?

Is it the page views that matter? Or clarifying your FEELS? Do you think there should be consistency in the numbered rating? Is it about the story craft for you or if the book covers ideas/situations to your taste?

Please share your thought about reviews!!

Dani Signature


Gathering the book community's thoughts on rating books and writing reviews...

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

My 1st Discussion // #ownvoices // Feeling the Love, Not the Hate…

I’ve been preparing to write my first discussion post for the last month. I had a safe but inspiring topic I wanted to talk about (that I still love) but which was shoved to the side due to the lovely May @ Forever and Everly, the Mango lover and Discussion Queen! Yesterday she posted her discussion before going on vacation and it really hit home for me…

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May’s Inspiration

(If you haven’t already then you need to read her post on why diversity is needed and  wrong!) The thrust of her post is that diversity is first about representing ALL people. (I really liked that!)

Normal People Scare Me

Second that we need more diversity and better represented diversity. (A given!)

BUT May’s point was that it needs to be natural diversity and readers shouldn’t criticize books for NOT having diversity. (Again read her post, it is excellent!)

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Judge the Book, Not the Author

A helpful diversity-loving book blogger explained the whole diverse movement to me (about a year ago when I first heard about it) and since then I have been by turns excited by diversity and totally disheartened!

There were strict percentages given (50% of the author’s blood MUST be the race in order for their work to be from a POC, i.e. an #ownvoice read) and what the author looked like mattered BIG time (white looking Hispanics without the proper amount of color DID NOT count as Latin – fact is these are Latin people with Spanish blood, i.e. from Spain and are NO LESS Latin!!) NOT everyone subscribes to this strict of rules when it comes to diversity, but the fact is many readers are weighing in on what counts and doesn’t count.

I’m NOT saying readers SHOULDN’T have an opinion!! Everyone SHOULD have thoughts of their own that add up to their own opinion.

It is my belief that the story should be what is judged, not the author. In other words if the diversity is A PART of the story NATURALLY then it will resonate with the reader. It won’t matter what color or sexuality (etc.) the author is because the book will BE SPECIAL due to how it affected the reader (the feeeeeeeelllsss)!!

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I have a vested interest in this as a writer myself…

I’ve been thinking a lot about diversity, specifically how it relates to own voices as the two seem to be tightly connected. If you met me in real life you’d see a “white” woman but I’m actually a quarter Japanese* and have been STRONGLY affected by my mother’s culture and my Japanese grandmother.

Park Shin Hye grumpy

*Why am I not 100% Asian?!

I LOVE Asia and the cultures to be found far and wide across the continent. A quasi-Asian inspired culture is to be found in my own fantasy writing as I have studied my own and other Asian cultures from Korea and China.

Unfortunately my book WOULD NOT be considered #OWN VOICE… why? Let me share the definition of #ownvoice by the woman who coined the term:

“Use it for whatever marginalized/diverse identity you want … and for whatever genre, category, or form of art you want. As long as the protagonist and the author share a marginalized identity.”

I don’t share a marginalized identity.

So Good Luck With That

(mar·gin·al·ize v. Treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.)

People don’t look at me and SEE an Asian girl. (They do listen to me fangirl and know that I’m that odd white girl who loves k-dramas but I don’t think that “counts…”)

While I’ve NEVER experienced the HATE, I DO FEEL THE LOVE!!!

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So what I’m saying is…

Some white people (me!!!) are writing about diverse characters, not to cash in on diversity but because they are a total fan of that marginalized group!

Readers shouldn’t criticize the amount of diversity in a story but share whether the book itself, the characters and the events they went through made us think about ourselves… made us scream… made us squeal in delight… In other words made us feeeeeel!

Lay it on me

(I’m now totally nervous about my first discussion post! Please be kind but also honest… no offense was intended in the writing of my thoughts!)

What is your opinion on #ownvoices? Are you a writer blogger? Are you marginalized? How do you incorporate diversity into your writing? Was this post too much, too fast (for my first discussion)?

Dani Signature

The hot topic of diverse characters and #ownvoices from the POV of a budding writer.

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Features

My First 6-Months as a Guest Post Author

I love and adore indie publishers and how they work so tirelessly to showcase the work of their authors. I found Curiosity Quills Press on Netgalley and formed a lovely relationship with them as a reviewer (they have the BEST covers in the sci-fi/fantasy publishing world!) and then as a guest post author. I wanted to look back on my time on their site as I head into the next six months of guest posting…

Just click the banners or “read more” to take a look at my guest posts!

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25 January 2017

Jan - Life Lessons Banner

Video games are seriously addicting. For whatever reason you play, the game world mimics one thing better than real life: success. As we reach each level, our advancements in the game imbues us with the power to keep leveling. We seek this power for our real lives. …READ MORE.

10 February 2017

Feb - Unique Couples Banner

I love relationships of every kind, color and make-up. Those between siblings, a parent and child, two friends – either of the same sex or of the opposite sex. There are also ones where strangers become allies, or enemies must work together for a common goal. Then there is the pièce de résistance of relationships, couples. So in honor of Valentine’s Day I’ve gathered a list of my favorite unique couples – the quirkier the better… Bring the war on! …READ MORE.

29 March 2017

Mar - Opposition Villains Banner

There are many kinds of antagonists: nature, society, self. These sometimes don’t even have a human face to them, they can be a mega-storm, a dystopian government or dealing with jealousy, shyness or guilt. In fact most stories deal with some kind of internal struggle with your self and many are set in a society that causes conflict. Today we’re going to talk about the human variety of antagonists and their benefits for your story! …READ MORE.

10 April 2017

Apr - Trying New Things K-dramas Banner

A universal element to be found in all k-dramas as well as beloved by Americans is humor. Everyone can relate to those funny moments that break tension and lighten the soul. I’ve gathered 5 of the funniest k-dramas to tickle your funny bone… READ MORE.

23 May 2017

May - Loving Mother in Fiction Banner

I started to wonder about mothers and how media like books, movies, and television are portraying them. Do we really have a deficient number of mothers doing their best and succeeding? Being more aware of mothers this month I performed a little experiment. I didn’t search out lists to find these but looked at the media I was consuming or had recently consumed and not thought about the mother’s effect on the protagonists’ life. I found many books where a mother’s loss was front and center to motivations but I was truly surprised by how many mothers out there go about living quietly and without fanfare. READ MORE.

14 June 2017

Jun - Teaching Grit Banner

Recently I read an article (Forbes online leadership article: 5 Characteristics Of Grit — How Many Do You Have? By Margaret M. Perlis) about the characteristics of grit and how important it is for success. In the article it says: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.” Strength is a much touted personality trait that is a part of nearly every protagonist you read about these days. Sadly, grit seems to be a dying quality, but it can be taught… Seeing as we have Father’s Day this month I thought I’d examine some of the fathers who teach the essential characteristics found in grit… READ MORE.

Triangle Color BarGuest posts have several excellent benefits! They get you outside your comfort zone (you comply with a topic each month) that allows you to be creative (how can you wow within that topic?) They also have to potential to expand your reach. I made a goal to write for Curiosity Quills Press every month because it made me uncomfortable. And it has been such an empowering journey!

What has been your experience with guest posts? Do you love to write them? Do you love to host guest posts?

Dani Signature

I made a goal to write for Curiosity Quills Press every month because it made me uncomfortable. And it has been such an empowering journey!

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

A Lifetime of Writing Goals

Recently I heard a man talk about goals and how we need to make bigger goals because they are acts of faith. Another speaker spoke about how essential it is to write these goals down so that we will start to plan how to achieve them otherwise they are only wishes. And a quoted man from the day’s talks has said, “It is not enough to want to make the effort and to say we’ll make the effort. We must actually make the effort. It’s in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals. If we constantly put our goals off, we will never see them fulfilled.” So here I am to track and enlarge my goals, with the idea to take the steps needed to accomplishing them.

Moon Bridge - Writers Goals

I’ve always been an ambitious person who has many dreams I want to obtain. Even as a child in grade school I made my school projects bigger and better than what I was called on to do. This wasn’t helped by a mother who totally believed in me and taught me I could do anything that I set my mind to. This means effort.

This idea of effort is probably what lead me to writing. Writing challenges me. You can never become too proficient at writing. Writing never becomes easier. The end of a story leads you to another mountain to climb. While I excel at storytelling, a storyteller is by no means a qualified writer. Storytelling is the job of a dreamer; writing the career of a professional. Once way to challenge the storyteller inside all of us is to make goals.

As a writer, I’ve long been fascinated with many forms of storytelling. If you’ve taken even a cursory look at my blog you’ll see I favor a wide range of media for my story pleasures. As I’ve explored each media in more depth I’ve fallen in love with the strengths of each medium. They all have joys about them, ways of communicating to the audience that best showcases their story.

A book series is as much about the inner journey as the outer one. A movie compresses the journey; a television show elongates it. A manga is about the dialogue and visuals. K-dramas have a finite story length yet provides plenty of time to explore the characters in-depth. An animation must appeal to children with a message while not talking down to adults. A play is about the experiences coming together in the performances and the music.

As a consequence I have many ideas swirling in my brain for the various mediums. Stories best suited for specific strengths. Each medium will dictate a completely new look at the writing process. Some will mean partnerships with artists and masters of their medium. This may very well mean a lifetime of study. A lifetime of writing. The stories are there clamoring for me to gain the experiences I need to let them bloom and spread across the world.

Remember by recording your goals you are more likely to attain them, no matter how big… May every writer attain to their dreams with their very best efforts!

What are your writing goals? Is there any particular medium you’re aiming to conquer? Are you dreaming big? Do you have faith that you can accomplish what you set out to do?

Thanks for reading, XOXO

Dani Signature


If we constantly put our goals off, we will never see them fulfilled." So here I am to track and enlarge my goals, with the idea to take the steps needed to accomplishing them.

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

The Defining Power of Relationships

During the course of April I completed a challenge to write everyday but Sundays. I did it! I focused on characters that I love…so what did I end up learning?

Characters Featured

I love challenges. If you plan well for them, you become empowered through the experience. Your ability to execute your ideas increases and the strength you need to overcome sudden obstacles also increases. The point of this challenge was to become empowered to write. I accomplished this goal. I didn’t miss one posting and I’m very proud of that fact. To write everyday wasn’t an easy task, but I did it and it sets me up for my own personal May challenge (to write a post everyday while also working on another writing project).

About half way through this year’s challenge I noticed a pattern in why I loved each character: their relationships.

Relationships make character.

The point of stories, whether in a book, movie or television show, is to simulate real life. We want to feel that character is up and moving around and the people we interact with, how we interact with them and why we are motivated to do so all contribute to who that character is. The intimacy we feel in getting to peek in on their interactions with others — there is no power a writer can utilize in their writing toolkit than that  — show us who they are through their reflections in others.

Many times these characters are not the lead point of view or protagonists. They are the secondaries that are shaded in with broad sweeping strokes that hint and tantalize, allowing space for our imaginations to go deeper and deeper into their character. We only learn of them through their interactions with the central character and thus through their relationship. We aren’t in their head and so deprived of the straight facts on how they feel we must interpret through their actions and words.

Awwwhh, it’s a heady feeling – it’s the same way we feel when we meet a new friend or fall in love for the first time.

Hopefully every time we accept a challenge we come out the other side learning something from the experience, (relationships make character) because it’s through the refining fire of struggle that we become better.

AtoZ Survivor HeaderThank you A to Z Challenge 2014!

Dani Signature

About half way through this year's challenge I noticed a pattern in why I loved each character: their relationships.

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

April Showers, May-ny Fantabluous…

This year I made lots of goals to make this blog a regular place I come to write. I’ve been pretty successful so far so I thought a challenge was in order. A blogging challenge hosted by a group of bloggers here with the theme reveals here. They’ve been around a few years and it’s been a successful events for them. I love a challenge so when I read about it I was really intrigued.

Characters Featured

What could I blog about every day (except for Sundays) where I could use every letter of the alphabet but not go over 100-200 words per post?

Yeah, a tall order for miss talk-a-lot over here!

March came around and still no ideas, though I remembered that I did want to participate in the challenge set for April 1st… I finally came upon the answer watching Catching Fire and marveling how stunning Donald Sutherland was as President Snow (loved how he showed you what he thought with a wave of his hand).

Characters…I love them, they are my motivation to keep reading, keep watching, keep blogging. At the core of any story if you have a powerful character they will come.

So my theme for this year’s A to Z Challenge is:

April Showers Bring May-ny Fantabluous Characters.

I love movies, books, television and other unique forms of media including k-dramas, manga and anime. I’ll tap them all to bring you some of the funnest, most powerful and unusual characters to grace stories everywhere. Here’s a list of my posts that I’ll link to for easy access to all the letters! (P.S. I’m raising the word cap to 500 as anything lower than that is pushing my abilities.)

K=Katsuya, Kyoko & Kazuma
M=Mulch Diggums
P=Pale Man
Q=Qui-Gon Jinn
W=Wah Sing Ku
X= Xander

AtoZ Challenge Logo small

Feel free to comment with your favorite characters and why they should have made the list!

Thanks for reading, XOXO

Dani Signature

Characters...I love them, they are my motivation to keep reading, keep watching, keep blogging. At the core of any story if you have a powerful character they will come.

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, All About Movies, Discussions

Can You Be Hooked By A Podcast?

Bloggers in the movie review world love to talk about their podcasts. I never gave much thought to what that entailed, nor was I curious to search them out myself. I felt myself suitably busy with a couple blogs, my writing and all the media that I take in every week. That all changed in February! Can you be hooked by a podcast?

My podcast awakening is all due to movie blogger and podcaster, Ryan, over at The Matinee. Last year I was introduced to his blog and decided to join his yearly blogathon, The Blindspot Series. I loved the idea to look back and watch movies I’d missed the first time around, some simply because I hadn’t been born yet. It’s fun to watch a movie and search out how it relates to my perspective as a writer as you can read in my January and February posts. At the end of the month it’s fun to read about the blindspots other participating bloggers watched to fill in their own film knowledge.

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So needless-to-say I was shocked and honored to be asked to participate in Ryan’s 107th podcast where he covers the Blindspot series. He nicely explained what a podcast was (all voice and music, no video) and directed me to where I could listen to a few (he has breached his 100th cast!) If you have a smart phone you can download an app and it makes listening and finding the podcasts very easy. (Yes, yes, I am behind the technological times a bit. This was an excellent learning experience though and a grand reason to wade into the world of podcasts. I’m grateful for the experience and found it a lot of fun.)

I was in fact, one of three female bloggers (there are three males as well) who participated and the only one from the United States. I listened to the cast this morning and it was really great to hear everyone’s experience with their February movies. Ryan has an easy and comfortable style, more a conversation with a few directed questions than an interview. It makes for easy listening with unexpected conversational directions and tangents — all about movies. Yay!

The runtime can seem daunting, at least it was to me when I first downloaded one: 87 minutes. It goes really fast though, I loved coupling it with exercise. Here’s a rundown of the participants, their times (there I am at minute 54) and their sites:

1. Introduction
2. Mette Kowalski discusses MEMENTO (2:03)
3. Shantanu Ghumare – HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (15:07)
4. Getter Trumsi discusses THE PRINCESS BRIDE (29:13)
6. Dani Eide (ME!) discusses MY LIFE AS A DOG (54:01)
7. Amir Soltani discusses CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 (66:23)

Give it a listen, you’ll be hooked, I know I was.

(If you want to skip around the podcast be patient, it takes a few moments for the player to catch up.)

You can also subscribe to the Matineecast via iTunes.

Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorite ones? Can you be hooked by a podcast?

Thanks for reading, XOXO

Dani Signature

I was shocked and honored to be asked to participate in Ryan's 107th podcast where he covers the Blindspot series.

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

Story’s Love Affair w/Sex or Talk of Censorship

Romantic Feet

Yesterday I read a post from the wonderfully smart girls over at The Book Wars. Here she talks about dystopian fiction which is predominately found as a sub-genre of YA fiction. She made a really great case about how dystopian stories were less dystopian and more romance. What I found most disturbing was an assertation that YA fiction ought to portray sex more consistently and realistically in the pages of their stories. And that if sex was not added more to YA fiction its censorship!

This isn’t the first time I’m hearing about this “need” for more realistic and thus consistent inclusion of sex in YA stories and that is why it is so disturbing. To top it off I don’t like powerful words like censorship thrown around when talking about what should and shouldn’t be included in a specific genre. There is plenty of LGBT literature out there and more up and coming as publishers fulfill the desire for more. No one is strangling the YA genre from exploring sex either. The Twilight series, hated though many profess to do, explored the idea of premarital sex in a very real way that was true to the author’s morale. Good or bad as you may think it, nothing is being censored here.

On The Book Wars post I commented as seen below and you can read from her reply that she totally missed my point!

Sex Comments

If a woman wants to read a story about the love life of a woman and it have sex then said woman has plenty to choose from – its called the romance section. There is now a full range of stories from paranormal (the equivalent of YA fiction with sex) to erotica to historical to the newly added New Adult genre. All the many thoughts, feelings and explorations having to do with sex is delved into among these pages.

One of the reasons I enjoy the YA fiction books I read is that there is no sex. No talk of sex. No exploration of sex. No reality of sex. No consistency of sex. This is for one fundamental reason – sex adds nothing to a relationship unless a plot twist has direct bearing on the thrust of the story. Now let me clarify right away what form these plot twists take: pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, rape, cheating, S&M and the many variations on those. I may have missed one or two, but you get my point.

Unless the main crux of the story is some sex derived emotional trauma then we need not hear about sex, read about sex or see sex. Before you throw me under the bus, that every time a person has sex it must have emotional bearing on the persons involved let me finish making my case.

In her post/comment The Book Wars’ point seemed to me to be that she wanted sex portrayed in a real manner as befitting what sort of sexual activity happens in reality. The key word here is reality. Now lets take out the rather sensational topic of sex and replace it with just as real a topic as intercourse but one with a little less glamorous feel…say a woman’s menstruation cycle. In this way we can better understand the role reality has to play in story.

Now I can safely say most YA stories have a female protagonist or at the very least a female secondary character or love interest.

Have you even read once about a woman using a tampon? No.

How about cramping terribly? Probably not.

Or having a bloody mess she had to clean up because she inconveniently started her period while trying not to be killed by the antagonist? Definitely not.

Why not? Because it adds nothing to the story! Would it be emotionally traumatizing to cramp or have a mess in front of the hot love interest? Yes. Yes it would. BUT WE DON’T NEED THAT MUCH REALITY! (I know that I am yelling. Please excuse my passion and keep reading. I promise I’ll complete the thought.)

It’s a fact that writers, even female writers, don’t allude to the female menstruation cycle. We aren’t given hints or sly references of any kind. The matter isn’t addressed (even when it’s a flaw in the plot – I’m looking at you The Hunt!) or talked about even. Everyone pretends menstruation doesn’t happen in story worlds. For good reason! The same can be said for sex (except for the above noted exceptions.)

Do teens have sex? Yes. Do college kids have sex? Yes. Do adults have sex? Yes. Does it happen before marriage? Yes. Do people do it for more than just procreation? Hopefully. More than likely you do it too in the privacy of your home. So we know what it’s about and it’s well established that sex happens in reality. The simple fact is we don’t need to read about it. We don’t need to address the issues of it.

(Whatever your definition of maturity is,) if two consenting adults whether in a story or in reality want to have sex then that is their decision and based upon the emotions they are feeling. We simply don’t read for reality, otherwise how is dystopian the genre of the moment? No, it’s emotions we relate to, it’s emotions we read for, not topics. Not sex. Not reality. Not menstruation.

If sex is at the crux of a YA story then by all means let the author, in a tasteful, un-erotica, character driven way, incorporate talk of sex into the story. Otherwise, no matter how unrealistic, leave sexually explicit scenes and talk to the romance/erotic/new adult writers. It’s not censorship. It’s good sense. Leave my beloved YA fiction alone!

Are you turned on or turned off by sex in stories? How do you feel about sex in YA fiction? Are you a reader of the new adult genre? Is reality a defining feature you look for when reading a book? Or is it whether you relate to the character’s situation…and emotions?

Thanks for reading, XOXO

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Yesterday I read a post from the wonderfully smart girls over at The Book Wars. Here she talks about dystopian fiction which is predominately found as a sub-genre of YA fiction. She made a really great case about how dystopian stories were less dystopian and more romance. What I found most disturbing was an assertation… Continue reading Story’s Love Affair w/Sex or Talk of Censorship

A Writer, Blogger, Reader Journal, Discussions

Resolute Resolutions for 2014

I firmly believe the best way to reach your goals is to start off as you mean to go along. Sure you can fall off the bandwagon at times but muscle memory will have you hopping to your feet to jump back on the train. For this reason I love the start of a new year. As January first rolls around we have a chance to act better, write better and post better. We can start over, recommit or forge on stronger, whatever will improve what came before. Let’s ring in the new year…

Welcome 2014

This year my main goal is to: Write. Every. Day.

Not a post every day, but simply to write something and… Not fear. Not dread. Not procrastinate.

To help me in this endeavor I’ve started several regular posts so even when I get slammed you’ll hear from me. This is a good thing because I intensely dislike missing a recurring event. Odd I know, but if it’s something that happens regularly I’ll make it a priority. Whatever works, right?

Series Mondays

I love projects! With them comes depth and exploration. Projects demand to be broken down, patterns created and reformed. Every Monday you’ll get a piece of the whole that all links back to a main page that sums up all the depth filled yummy-ness. I’ll try to mix it up and not follow television with television, but you never know. Exploration is like that, you ride the trail and play out the ride.

Writing Diagnostic

Editing is like a muscle: the more you examine the problems in other works the easier it is to diagnose troubled areas in your own work. Writing Diagnostic is a monthly post where I explore weak points in a specific work and suggest solutions to strengthen the story as a whole. I’m already on my 3rd post coming this month!

Purely Production

Purely Production is all things shallow, shiny and well, visual. A monthly post where I explore the different elements that affect a finished media, for good or ill. We’ll forget about writing for a moment and delve into all the bedazzling doodads that dress a story. These are longer posts because they tend to be lists where I can touch upon larger patterns in a light way. Successful so far I’m heading into my 4th post in January…

Experienced Book Clubber

This year I’ll also be launching a monthly post covering my book club’s selections. (Read about the choices here.) I’ll highlight the best detail in their selection and share how the ladies responded to the book (it’ll all be praise I assure you). On our break months I’ll post about a 2013 book from the club that’s been lingering in the back of my mind.

Blind Spot Movies

I really want to make seeing movies a priority this year. What form should this take? Well Ruth at FlixChatter introduced me to The Matinee’s blogathon the Blind Spot series. In the interest of watching down our “Movies To See” list of classics and foreign films we choose 12 movies to highlight. By focusing on one movie a month we can savor the great lessons to be had from bygone years and from around the world. I’ll be posting right before or on the last Tuesday of the month like Ryan at The Matinee so I can share the other participating movie posts. I’ll post my list of movies for 2014 later this week!

Dive into Culture: k-dramas

Television can’t be left out in the cold. It’s a format that fascinates me in the extreme as we get to linger with characters in a way you just don’t have time to do with a book or a movie. My passion for all things Asian has been stirred with my exposure to streaming sites with a plethora of k-dramas. As a writer I love experiencing new things and you will too as I take you on a wild ride through Korean television.

Movies, Television and Books, oh my!

Every month I’ll also try to tap each kind of media at least once in a stand alone post. There is so much out there and so much to learn. The medium in which a story is presented has direct bearing on the narrative and how successful it comes across to the audience. Let’s explore the nuts and bolts of story such as pacing, character development and sympathy, and plotting.

I’m also working on fleshing out my Unique Discussions section, planning to fill it with my secret loves, manga, anime, and k-dramas. (Of course!) Unusual story forms are great exposure to thinking outside the box. They help with brainstorming and using your own hidden creativity to create better stories.

January Start

I love the world of story. As a writer I want to bring my audience a unique and wild ride that will inspire, overwhelm and enhance. Doesn’t every writer dream of doing so? By exploring different medias and the problems and strengths in other writer’s stories our ability to accomplish that goal will grow and expand.

Let’s make 2014 the best blogging and writing year yet!

Thanks for reading, XOXO

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This year my main goal is to: Write. Every. Day.