This evening I am hanging out with DJ from the SFF book blog MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape.
SCy-Fy: You are one of the new generation of bloggers, DJ. How do you approach it?
DJ: I’m not currently working due to a couple of injuries, so in terms of my reading and book life, I’m actually quite fortunate because I don’t have a set schedule and my time is extremely flexible. But this is generally how most days go:
It all starts with a big cup of coffee. Grab that and go sit down at the computer, where I’ll check my e-mail, blogroll and see what’s good. Then I usually spend the rest of the morning reading a book or writing up a review if I need to. Later at night I’ll sit down for the Sox’s game, check out the blogs and websites again, and finish reading what I opened in the morning and anything new that’s been posted since. Of course, I always finish off each by day reading a book again before bed… and hoping I don’t stay up too late.
SCy-Fy: What are your future plans?
DJ: My main goals are to keep posting one book review a week, and to also become a more active member of the SFF community. I like interacting with other bloggers, and I’m always looking for new blogs to follow.
There are also three features I would like to add to my blog. The first is some sort of monthly drawing round up. I’ve been wanting to learn to draw for a few years now, but never sat down to put the pencil to paper. Earlier this year I started participating in Tabitha’s Art It Up! feature on her Not Yet Read site and that’s where I got the urge to draw again. I thought it might be cool to start posting some drawings to show people my journey and progress as my skills (hopefully) improved. I was going to start this up last month, but one of those injuries I have requires shoulder surgery. So rather than start and stop, I decided to hold off on the posts. Maybe in about 6 or 7 months you will see it.
I’ve also been thinking about adding some writing to the blog. I’ve always had fun writing since I was young – that’s part of the reason I started to write book reviews. I’ve been writing some essays and short fiction recently, and have posted a couple of those essays. I’d like to keep putting up an essay every month and then who knows, maybe somewhere far in the future you might see a piece of short fiction too.
The last thing is super top-secret. It’s not book- or SFF-related, but I think some people may really enjoy it. That should be starting up somewhere between January and April of next year, or if I’m really lucky it will be before 2016!
SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging?
DJ: I think it has to be the number of books getting published each year. There’re just too many! It seems like now, multiple reviewers are coming together to make a single blog, and are then able to post multiple reviews for a variety of books each week. I think that may be the way to go.
Then there’s also using different forms of media. Booktube is slowly starting to become more popular, but I think the future of SFF may be in podcasts. A lot of people have busy busy days, and may prefer to spend that free time at night reading their book, rather than spending that time getting up to date with the latest SFF news. With podcasts, though, you put them on at work, driving, gym, etc. Just like audio books, it can be more convenient. I’ve seen a couple of sites doing audio instead of written reviews, too.
SCy-Fy: Tips for bloggers? For reviewers? Writers?
DJ: Do this because it’s fun. Blogging, reviewing, and writing – these are all hobbies. Sure, there are some people out there who are fortunate enough to make money doing these – and even fewer who can make a living – but the majority will not. You shouldn’t feel guilty about not getting a post out, or stressed because you have to finish a book and have to write up a review. This isn’t work, and it shouldn’t feel like it.
SCy-Fy: What are your most useful resources?
DJ: Goodreads, blogs, and occasionally booktube are places I go to, but the best resource I have found are podcasts. I listen to them frequently. I just checked my phone and I am currently subscribed to 22 on itunes.
A couple of years ago, I used to work maintenance/grounds keeping for a school’s campus. So for 6 to 8 hours a day, I would be working alone. Rather than putting in earplugs or listening to the buzz of a weedwacker all day, I started listening to podcasts.
They are an excellent source for what’s going on in the SFF community and getting introduced to new authors and books you may not have heard of. Then for authors and books you are already familiar with, they may give new insights or explore topics you’d be interested in.
SCy-Fy: Traps in SFF blogging?
DJ: That whole, “If you build it, they will come”. Maybe there are exceptions, but that was not at all the case for me. My blog is very young – I only started it last September. At the beginning I naively thought that people would just magically find it and start commenting. That was very wrong. Once I started commenting and liking other blogger’s posts though, that was when people started to see my reviews. My blog did not “take off” by any means, but now that I am consistently interacting with other bloggers about the books we are reading, my whole book blogging experience is much more fun.
SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?
DJ: The love of reading. Whether it’s after a long day of work or if I’m just having “one of those days”, it’s great to just sit down, relax and escape and get lost in a book. Unless you’re reading GRRM, though – be careful of him. One time I was having a long day and just wanted to get home. Finally had time to read a single chapter before bed, but that one chapter happened to be from A Storm of Swords, where it ends with a certain character getting a certain object chucked at their head. That one time, reading did not cheer me up.
SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?
DJ: Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I don’t think it’s getting nearly the attention or notoriety that it deserves, and I really wish more people would check it out. There is actually an interview with Brenda on Skiffy and Fanty where she talks about her new novel.
I’m slowly working my way through the current issue of Uncanny Magazine, and I think this is going to be their best issue yet! There is a new short story, In Libres, by Elizabeth Bear, and it is easily one of my favorites this year. Anyone who had to write some type of research paper in college will really enjoy it.
Then a couple of weeks ago I read Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I just started reading Sanderson this year with the Reckoners Trilogy, but he is one book away from becoming a favorite author. I’ve only read three of his novels, but each one has kept me up reading well into the night.
I picked up The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison when it first came out last year, and I loved it! It is one of my favorite books. I was so happy when I found out that it got nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo! I’m really hoping that it does well in those awards.
SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to?
DJ: Like everyone else, The Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin is at the top of my list. Really want to that come out so I can read it, but no rush. I have plenty of other books still to read, and I’d rather GRRM took his time with it and wrote it as well as possible.
Finders Keepers and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. King is my all-time favorite author. Pretty much everything he writes, I buy as soon as it comes out.
Cold Iron by Stina Leicht, Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan, The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley and Calamity by Brandon Sanderson are a few others.
SCy-Fy: Thanks, DJ.
DJ: Thank you so much for having me on here! I’ve been reading your interviews for a while now, so it was an honor to be invited.
SCy-Fy: That game is about to start, so let’s take our places!
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