Apr 16, 2015

My Favorite Self-Published books {the book chat}

Well, first I have to say sorry.  It's clearly obvious that I'm still a little rusty with the whole blogging thing.  I've messed up both book chats since it returned. It would seem that I set up the wrong link tool in last week's post.  Yikes.  If you wrote a post last week that you would like to share, you can still add it.  I've been in Ireland all week and well, maybe my brain is still there.
Then forgot to schedule todays.  Sheesh.  Bear with me. I'll get my stuff together.  Promise.

So.  I'm excited about today's topic.  Self-publishing has been something on my mind a lot this past year.  Not only have I read a bunch of excellent self-published titles, I've even considered self-publishing myself.  Which is why I chose the topic for today:

What are some of your favorite self-published books?  Do you ever read self-pub, why or why not?

I think it's very important to support indie authors (and artists for that matter).  They do the same amount of work as a traditionally published author, and sometimes more.  The publishing path is a choice and doesn't mean the work is any better or worse.

Indie authors are brave, tough, hard-working and passionate.

Just think about it, for the most part, they're going it alone.  If you self-publish, you are the author and publisher, and most times editor, cover designer, and marketer.  It is a no-nonsense business and self-publishers don't ask for permission.  They have a story to tell and they don't wait for someone to open the door for them.  They kick that sucker down.

I've spoken a bit recently about my favorite self-published books.  Last week, I shared the cover reveal for one of my favorite authors (period), Keary Taylor.  Then, on our first book chat return, I shared the indie series I was reading by Amanda Richardson.  I've reviewed quite a few other indie titles.  Like this.  And this.

Most of these, I found from doing reviews for Netgalley.  Others are friends of mine.  So, maybe you're wondering...how do I even find good self-published titles?  Well, here are some ideas:
Netgalley
Alt Lit Library
Amazon
Blurb
Friends, Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth!

So, now I want to hear from you.  What are your thoughts on indie authors?  Do you read self-published books or have you considered it for your own publishing option?  I can't wait to hear from you!


Book Chat







Next week's topic: Next week is my birthday!  And for my birthday, I want a really good book recommendation.  Tell me what to read!

Apr 9, 2015

The Setting of my Dreams (The Book Chat)

Welcome back for another week of the Book Chat!

At this very moment I am either in transit to or in Ireland itself.  This has been a dream come true for me for as long as I can remember.  And it's why I chose the topic for today's chat.

The question today is…If you could travel to (or live in) a setting from a book, real or fictional, where would you choose?

What I really want to know is- have you ever read a book set in a place that really, really made you want to travel there?  Did an author ever just bring a destination to life?  Did that story forever create a feeling, an emotion, a mood tied to some location, and it just called to you?

I'm thinking…

Hemingway's Paris
Joyce's Dublin
Ruiz-Zafron's Barcelona

The list goes on.  When an author simply catches (or creates) the essence of a living, breathing city, it's pure magic.

Speaking of magic, I distinctly remember this topic last time, during the book chat's former life.  And I remember the majority of answers being, you guessed it, Hogwarts.  That was one of my favorite book chats, because everyone came together with that same feeling, that same something.  Each of you read that book individually, and yet, you all came away with that fierce adoration of the setting.

It was more than a setting really, it was more like a character in the story.

So, back to Ireland.  What does this book chat have to do with Ireland? Well, it all goes back to an early book-love affair for me.


The Mermaids Singing and In the Country of the Young by Lisa Carey were my young adult obsessions, long, long ago. (They're not actually YA, but we didn't quite have YA back then.  I'm old.)

These books are both set in Ireland.  The thing is…these books aren't necessarily happy, warm books.  They're mostly mysterious, foggy, beautiful, haunting, and more.  They're romantic. Ghostly legends and epic sagas.  These stories were set against the rocky crags and cliffs of this struggle-born nation's shores.  As were their characters.

The point is that I was there.  I could smell the sea and taste the salty air.  I felt the cold chill.  I heard the wind and stood amongst the waves on every single page.

Those books taught me something about setting and what it could be.

And now, my current WIP (work in progress), The Fiddler is set in Prague, a slightly futuristic, magic-soaked city, and this, this something we get from the settings of great books is what I want so badly for my book.  I want my readers to open their eyes in this magical city every time they open the pages of the book.  I want them to dream it, to feel it, to know it, without ever actually going there.  And maybe, hopefully, they will eventually go there because they read a great book that was set there.

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So, I promise to share my Irish travels with you as soon as I get back.  I'm still in shock that I'm actually going.  If you would like to follow along, you can always follow me on Instagram. I always post photos there.  My username is JessicaB_writer.

As for the book chat, everyone is welcome to join!  Just answer the question in a blog post and link up here!  The more, the merrier.  I can't wait to read all of your answers!

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If you would like to join in the Book Chat, here are the rules:
1. Please follow the host (me) via Twitter or Bloglovin...links on the left.
2. Write your post and link-it up below.  Please include the book chat button in your post.
3. Check out a couple other links and chat!


Book Chat



Next week's topic: Share your favorite Self-Published book! Promote indie writers!


Apr 3, 2015

Art & Inspiration {Minted.com} Review

I'm constantly scouring the web for things that catch my eye.  A beautiful photograph.  A captivating design.  Typography that speaks to me.

Whether it be for inspiration, home decor, business or life, I am a collector of the aesthetic.  I surround myself with the flint of creative spark.

So, recently I came across Minted.com.  I had always thought Minted was just cards and announcements.  A friend of mine uses them religiously for her kiddo's party and birth announcements.

But they really do have so much more.  They have art, beautiful, touching art.  As a creative professional, I especially love independent art.  Everything by Kelly Ventura belongs in my house.  

Take a look at their Art selection here.

Isn't all so fantastic?  And so reasonably priced.

So, here's the coolest thing about this site.
Living Room by Jessica, see more wall art
Living Room board by Jessica. See more wall art
On top of shopping, you can create an Art wall, Pin boards and Style boards.  Seriously, there goes my afternoon.

untitled 3 by Jessica, see more Minted
untitled 3 board by Jessica. See more Minted


As for their paper products and cards, the birth announcements I've received from my friend have shown excellent quality.  These cards will really hold up, which makes me happy because her kids are cute, and I want to keep them forever (the cards, not the kids).

Not to mention these Foil-Pressed wedding invitations that make me want to get married again just to order them.  I don't even know you, Steven.  It's so Gatsby.  I love it!


So, that's my thought on Minted.com.  I love everything they offer, and I can't wait to hang up some of their amazing art in my house.  Shopping on the site is a breeze, especially with those scale photos of a model holding up each size print so you can see how big it is (genius!).

Have you ever shopped with Minted.com before?  What's your favorite from their site?

Apr 2, 2015

What are you reading? {the book chat is back!}

It's for real this time.  The book chat is back!


So, for today's topic, let's just start off easy.  What are you currently reading?  Is it something different, new?  Do you love it?  Or not?

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So, I'm actually reading a few different things right now. And I'm pretty excited about all of them.

1. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott

This is the book selection for the Write or Die Book Club!  I'm so excited to finally read this book.  I've had it on my TBR shelf for so long, and as a writer, I feel a little bit ashamed that I haven't read it already.

The book chronicles Lamott's journey through writer-hood with tips and advice on writing and surviving the lifestyle.

I'm so excited to finally dig into this, and even better, share thoughts with my WODW buddies.









2. In Search of Yesterday - Romance Series - Amanda Richardson


This is a romance series that comes out in episodes, one every week.  Each episode is about 35 pages and takes about an hour to read.  How cool is that?

I think Amanda Richardson has really tapped into something cool here.  Just like Netflix, I want to binge read every single episode of this series.  The greatest thing about it is that it's fast paced and gratifying.

I've read the first three and now I'm waiting for episode four, which I hear is the last one...but that's can't be true, because.  Because.  Just no.

Oh and the first episode is FREE!




3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas


The library called.  They said your book is in.
K thanks bye.

I really loved Throne of Glass, only I wish it had more action. From what I hear, Crown of Midnight delivers.  I cannot wait to dive into this sequel.












So, that is what I'm currently reading.  I'm finally over that awful reading slump that consumed me for almost a year.  It feels so good to be reading and book chatting again!

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think about them?

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If you would like to join in the Book Chat, here are the rules:
1. Please follow the host (me) via Twitter or Bloglovin...links on the left.
2. Write your post and link-it up below.  Please include the book chat button in your post.
3. Check out a couple other links and chat!

Book Chat




Next week's topic: Setting you wish you could live in or travel to (real or fictional)?


Apr 1, 2015

Learning Balance

The Write or Die Wednesday prompt asks: Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you most guilty of?

The Seven Deadly Sins is an old Christian belief that classified the natural sins.  I'm not religious, and therefore, won't go much farther into that, but I find the entire idea of the seven sins to be fascinating.

Wrath
Greed
Lust
Gluttony
Sloth
Envy
Pride

These sins all clearly have something in common.  They involve putting yourself before others.  We should not want what others have or think ourselves better than others.  We should not be too angry or too lustful.

And if you really look at these sins, the antithesis of each is a trait of a good virtuous person.
Patient
Generous
Chaste
Moderation
Hard working
Kind
Humble

And these are all great traits.  There was a time when eating more than you needed to meant you were letting others starve, and well, that was a serious issue.  And now, it just means high cholesterol and tight pants.

No one's perfect, right?

So, the question is…which trait do I most embody?  And the answer is naturally, all of them.  Because I think it's okay to have some vices here and there.

At times, I do get so angry.  When my 4-year old just will not for the love of God put on his shoes and would rather scream and cry on the floor and demand a cookie before breakfast, yes.  Wrath.
But with every tantrum, I learn patience.

At times, I do get greedy.  Sometimes I just want MINE.  But that's usually because I'm constantly doing for others, volunteering my time, bathing/dressing/feeding/loving children.
But I'm learning to balance and know that sometimes it's okay to put myself first.

At times, I do lust…ahem.  Enough about that.

At times, I indulge.  No one is starving because I have another piece of cake, glass of wine, slice of cheese.  But moderation is my lesson to learn.  Especially after turning 30 and having kids.  Moderation is an important lesson.

At times, I can be lazy.  But like greed, I find  balance.  I work hard.  I deserve to relax.

At times, I do envy others.  As a mother, it's almost impossible these days.  She has more patience, a cleaner house, nicer furniture, and the list goes on.  But the things I have are things that others may be envious of me for.  The grass is always greener, and the antithesis of envy is probably gratitude more than anything.

And lastly, there are times that I am proud.  But sadly, this one is probably the most rare.  I think I could actually do with a little more pride than I exhibit now.  I should be proud.  I've accomplished a lot, and I do well for my children and community.  I should be more proud, but it's all those other things…envy, wrath, sloth and glutton that get in the way.  Not having pride should be a sin.

But still, with every smile on my kiddo's face, and yoga class I teach, and chapter I revise, I remind myself that I'm doing pretty darn well and that it's okay to be a little proud.



So, there you have it.  Thank you again to the duo, Vashelle and Mia, for another great Write or Die Wednesday prompt.  To see more posts on this topic, or to link up yourself, check it out here:


Write or Die Wednesdays