‘Thank you’ to Bloggers

Sharing Mel’s recent post from her author blog on appreciation for what it means to be a blogger… Happy new year!

Mel Cusick-Jones

dear-blogger Coincidentally, another Melanie seems to appreciate bloggers too! 🙂

I’ve just been doing a little ‘spring cleaning’ on my laptop today, tidying up the bookmarks that I keep on here relating to all things books: I have YA book blogger lists, MG/kids blogger lists, blogs on writing that I follow as well as other general writing resources.

For once, instead of dipping in and out of blogs based on what Twitter flashed up at me and made me go ‘Ooh shiny shiny!’ *click* I started at the top of my list (around 40 YA blogs) and I began running down from the top, to see who was out there from when I first started blogging and reading blogs myself, back in 2011… There are six active blogs left posting today. Just six.

Some of the blogs that have gone were ‘big’ to me – they had between 1000-10,000 regular followers…

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Book Trailers – Worth it?

Re-blogging Mel’s post from her author blog about ‘Book Trailers’ – have you got one? Do you think you need one? See what she has to say about them here.

Mel Cusick-Jones

Book trailers are a funny thing – I don’t suppose they really help you sell more books, like a film trailer might at the cinema, because you’re only likely to see them if you’re looking at the book already. Unless someone comes up with a good way of inserting them as a movie file at the end of your kindle book, in which case you could promote your other books quite effectively, giving someone a taster for what else you’ve written or the next book in the series.

Personally, I love trailers at the movies – I like the challenge someone faces of condensing into a few short minutes the best chunks of the story, the action, the emotion, to make us want to know more. They are cinematic versions of the ‘book blurb’ – but do you think they are more effective than an blurb?

I saw an interesting…

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Day 17 – Author I wish people would read more

I’ve been posting about why everyone should try reading an inidie author today

Mel Cusick-Jones

Not sure how this actually fits with the post - I just like Baby Brains :) Not sure how this actually fits with the post – I just like Baby Brains 🙂

Just sneaking a post in at the end of the day – this book challenge is like a second job at the moment 🙂

For this topic, I couldn’t pinpoint a single author, but what I really do wish is that more people would give indie authors a chance. I know that there are books out there from indies which haven’t been edited well or are several drafts off being publishable – but you get previews in e-readers now, which give you a pretty good taste of that person’s writing and the story to give you an idea whether it will be for you or not. I still use these previews with traditional authors, to see if I really want to read the book (sorry Fifty Shades I couldn’t even get through the free…

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Day 4 – Book turned into a movie and completely desecrated

My latest ramblings in the 30-day book challenge…a film that desecrated the book

Mel Cusick-Jones

I had to think quite hard on this one as nothing immediately sprang to mind. In general, because I love film AND books, I tend to look for the benefits each medium brings to the tale it’s telling, rather than focus on where one is better than the other. Like many people, I tend to find books more explicit and detailed than the film counterparts, but that’s not always a bad thing.

‘Completely desecrated’ is a pretty harsh label as well. At first I thought of film adaptations I’d been disappointed with, but nothing matched this. So then I started going through the ‘bad’ films and that was when I remembered The Good German. Oh yes, that was a film that desecrated the book! The film on its own is simply appalling – all style over substance, very little relevant from the book remains and so the shocks of the…

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Day 18 – A book you wish you could live in

I might have been a bit lazy on Aside from Writing recently – but I’ve been trying the 30-day book challenge on my own blog over the last couple of weeks – why not pop over and see what I’m waffling about 🙂

Mel Cusick-Jones

Harry Potter

After a few days off, I’m back on the 30-day challenge wagon again! This was one of the easiest posts to answer in the challenge…

You know it, I know it – pretty much every Muggle in the world knows it, that’s why JK Rowling sold so many books – the magical world of Harry Potter is one of the best book places that anyone could want to live in.

I missed the first few years of hype around Potter and ‘kidult’ fiction (as it was being called at uni, which is where I was at the time that it started gathering pace). Then came the films…it irritated me that LotR and Potter were being geared up for a big Christmas film showdown in the media – to me the stories weren’t comparable, from what I understood of HP – and I thought it was stupid to make the comparisons…

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Laughing cat

How weird is spam? I’ve just cleared down the spam folder for the first time in ages and I had to chuckle at what gets sent to the blog. Our latest haul was a really eclectic mix of Canada goose jackets, Emily’s bail bonds (not sure they’re much use this side of the pond) and a range of semi-marketing, half-medical sounding junk.

I have to admit that when one spam post urged me to ‘verbalize my ankles’ I kind of considered not junking it. Random stuff prompted random post – I’m off now to consider if verbalising any body part is 1. Possible and 2. Worthwhile…

Horrorfest Post…Spooky Stereotypes

Twilight Every genre has stereotypes, but perhaps classic horror has more than most… Remember the outcry about sparkly vampires? Did you think it was an interesting twist, or a tad cheesy – do you prefer your vamps more fangy than blingy? Stake-able or solid as a rock?

I’m a bit of a mixed bag, if I’m honest. I love classics like Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula – imagine writing a book that establishes, such powerful and enduring characters? That people would write and re-write over and over again, re-imaginging them in new settings… I can’t imagine any author not wanting that.

And that’s the next part – as much as I like the classics, where the core themes of the genre appear, I also like it when people twist them. I might not buy in to sparkly vegetarian vampires, as much as I do their blood-thirsty, monstrous cousins – but I like how Meyer twisted the genre. Vampires that sparkle, is a good excuse to stay out of the sun, whilst not ruining the romantic / attractive bits the author was aiming for.

I think the biggest challenge when you’re twisting something is striking the right balance – I read the Sookie Stackhouse books, and then moved on to True Blood on TV – the gore, sex, and rather heartless predators were all what I would expect, but the twists were good: synthetic blood (vampire sci-fi), vampire blood as an illegal drug, vampire integration into society…

No one will have missed that the undead have been very popular over the last few years, particularly in the YA world – Being Human was one of the good ones I came across, which gave a very personal view of becoming a vampire and how that changes you as a person, others I think didn’t hold together as well, (review here) perhaps going so far away from the genre that they weren’t plausible. (Blood cola, anyone? C’mon – at least pretend you want to bite someone and not just fill up on blood related junk food!)

Some of my favourite books play on genre expectations and twist them, either poking fun at your expectations, or using them to give a whole new view on a topic. Zed was a neat twist on the zombie genre – told from the perspective of a ‘thinking’ zombie with a brain. I liked the way the author integrated zombies back into society with zombie-treat dispensing headsets, that helped them work in fast food outlets or rounding up shopping trollies.

So how do you like your horror, straight up, with a twist, or something else entirely?