For What It's Worth


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday: My Favorite Blogger/Author interactions

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. 

It is co-hosted by (Linda from Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell, Roberta from Offbeat YA, Jen from That’s What I’m Talking About, Berl's from Because Reading is Better than Real Life  and me) 

Join in by answering this weeks question in the comments or on your own blog.

If you would like to join TMST and receive periodic emails of upcoming topics, please fill out this GOOGLE FORM. TMST is a laid back meme – join in or opt out depending on your interest in topics or schedule. 



Question: What have been your most fulfilling blogger/author interactions so far? 

Answer: You hear so many horror stories about author/blogger interactions these days but I've been so lucky, going on 13 years, that all of mine have been positive.

📚 During my first BEA back in 2010, I also attended a book signing at Books of Wonder in NYC. It was called the Class of 2010 and were all debut YA authors. As a blogger who agreed to sign up to promote the class - I had access to all the books ahead of time and had reviewed several so I was excited to meet the authors - my first time ever meeting a real life author!

As I went through the line and introduced myself, many of the authors remembered my blog and my review. I was kind of stunned. I didn't think anyone read my 1 year old blog lol One author loved my review so much, she had printed a copy and kept it in a file. Another was SO sweet and found out about my dogs (I had 3 different shelties back then) and sent me an arc of her next book with dog treats. And did that for several years whenever she had a book come out. 

📚 I also met Jeri Smith Ready around then. I can't remember exactly when or if it was even at that signing - but she was the first author I ever wrote to. At that time she was writing the WVMP Vampire series and the fantasy Eyes of Crow trilogy and I think was at the event for Shade - her debut YA. We corresponded and then finally met in person and became good friends. We had a love of music in common and when I went to her home town for a concert once - she took me to see all the Maryland locations where her vampire series was set and answered any questions I had about the characters/story etc. It was my favorite series at the time and it was the coolest thing being able to pick her brain about it. We've stayed good friends and I've beta read most of her books from that point on.

📚 Which somehow led me to Ann Aguirre. Jeri told Ann I was a HUGE fan of her book Enclave and Ann contacted me to see if I wanted to read a draft of Horde and that somehow turned into me beta reading for a lot of her books from that point forward. I also got to meet her in person at a BEA conference and she's a wonderful, generous person. I read her books as she writes them which is a really cool experience. I love watching the story literally unfold chapter by chapter and I have a lot of fun predicting what will happen while she teases me with hints and asks if I REALLY want to know. lol

📚 I had heard so many DON'T REVIEW INDIE AUTHOR stories because of quality and behavior. Tammara Webber had contacted me to review one of her books. This was before Easy (her best selling NA) and was for her YA series. I had never been contacted by an author before. That experience was one of my best as a blogger. She was super professional, kind and that was the moment I felt like a *real* blogger/book reviewer lol It set up my attitude about indie authors going forward. Yes, there are bad apples but there are also a lot of Tammara's - A+ quality writing and a wonderful person. 

📚 I used to host book auctions on the blog for charity in my early days and every author I contacted generously donated signed books - Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong, Jeri, Jeaniene Frost (who was exceptionally generous with books and bonus material) and many others. Again, I was stunned that they would say yes so readily to this random person emailing them.

The interactions have really died down in recent years - the environment has gotten so toxic and I think we're all a little wary of how to interreact but I still have those great memories of the blogging hey days!


Do you have a favorite author interaction as a blogger or reader?

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Resolutions and words for 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. 

It is co-hosted by (Linda from Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell, Roberta from Offbeat YA, Jen from That’s What I’m Talking About, Berl's from Because Reading is Better than Real Life  and me) 

Join in by answering this weeks question in the comments or on your own blog.

If you would like to join TMST and receive periodic emails of upcoming topics, please fill out this GOOGLE FORM. TMST is a laid back meme – join in or opt out depending on your interest in topics or schedule. 



Question: Resolutions/words of the year - do you do them? What are they for 2022?

Answer:       


THIS


I usually do a word (past words have been laugh, disconnect, simplify and joy. I like my words to be ideas or feelings rather than concrete things. Something to set a mood heading into the new year.

Last year my phrase was "My tranquility needs to be refurbished" lol A line from The Queen's Gambit. It seemed fitting after another chaotic year. 

*Heads up - this is going to be a bit rambly and personal so bail now if you'd like lol

2022 was a rougher year, mentally for me. I mean, I know it has been for everyone! but I really struggled at times. Overall, I am happy and doing well but I had a return of panic attacks - which I hadn't had for years. And sleeping/focusing is a struggle and I was developing OCD tendencies (but that started a bit after losing Fonzi in 2020). 

I got called for jury duty back in October (so many things about that trigger my anxiety and attacks) and I knew I needed to address things so I decided to finally get a therapist. She has been helpful and I've started practicing Cognitive Therapy.

Brief explanation from Very Well "Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing the automatic negative thoughts that can contribute to and worsen emotional difficulties, depression, and anxiety. These spontaneous negative thoughts have a detrimental influence on mood.

Through CBT, these thoughts are identified, challenged, and replaced with more objective, realistic thoughts." 

This is not a magic bullet and it's not easy but these techniques have done more for me and my panic than anything else I ever tried before. Hello - just breath & think positive through it, it only last 5 minutes advice person. 

So much of it is retraining the brain. There's a lot of fascinating science to it about why the brain overreacts, or focuses on negative more than positive events and why we can't let things go. I think I'm going to save that discussion for a post during Mental Health Awareness month though.

But to the point of choosing my word for 2022 - the thing that comes up over and over in therapy and meditation is that you need to be present - meaning don't let your brain go to the past or the future but just stay here in the this. 

I know it's more complicated than that and I still get caught up and worry about things that have happened or will happen but I want to remember that THIS - this is where I am at any given moment. You can always return to the THIS.

I know it sounds a little new agey/woo-wooey and that's not really how I mean it lol It just reminds me when my brain is spiraling into dozens of different thoughts to come back to myself, challenge some of my thinking and then move forward again with a better sense of clarity and balance. 

If you are interested in learning more about cognitive therapy or anxiety, but aren't ready or unable to go to therapy - this is a YouTube channel that's been invaluable to me. Therapy in a Nutshell with Emma McAdama Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Probably more helpful than actual therapy. I find her to be relatable and pragmatic with concrete answers and solutions (if you do the work!) and I learned so much about the science of anxiety and why we can't just *turn our brain off* and other bad advice. 

Just a note that the videos all have one quick ad at the beginning and she's talking about mental health so it's better to watch several videos rather than just one. A 7-10 minute video on it's own isn't going to give you all the information you need but put together she's incredibly helpful. She also discusses depression, trauma, OCD and other things - although less than anxiety and panic. 

Do you make resolutions? Have a word? What are yours for 2022?


Friday, January 7, 2022

That's a wrap(up): What I'm watching/reading this week

Happy New Year everyone! This year will be better. Right? RIIIGHT??!!! I'd say it can't be worse - but the world somehow keeps proving us wrong. 

I saw this on Instagram and I laughed so hard but also...TRUE



In the meantime watch or read something fun! (good topic transition there lol)


Disney+

Cruella - 2021 Live Action version - Consider me totally shocked by how much I loved this movie. I had NO urge to see it and accidently started it by hitting the wrong button and was too lazy to back out lol

It's a bonkers movie in all the best ways. Everything is over-the-top and dramatic and the retro music (Ike & Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Nancy Sinatra, Supertramp, The Doors, Bee gees...) was a blast from the past and added a whole other level. And it's a really great origin story. P.S. No pets were harmed in the telling of this story....

The Book of Boba Fett - I'm not a big Star Wars fan but I have been enjoying most of these new shows, like Mandalorian but this one is underwhelming so far. It's not bad but it's not particularly compelling either. We're only a few episodes in though and I know Kevin is going to watch the whole thing anyway so hopefully it gets better. 

Paramount Plus

We have Paramount Plus for 30 days and watched a couple of things so far but we're not going to sign on after the 30 days expire

The Quiet Place 2  - Eh. I liked the flashbacks to how things started and a few of the action scenes but otherwise I saw no need for this one. 

From Cradle to Stage - Is a documentary hosted by Dave Grohl and his mom Virginia Hanlon Grohl, based on her book of the same name. The interview 6 different musicians and their moms to discuss what they were like as kids, when the mom's knew they had *it* and the rise to fame/struggles. Really great show. Dave's story is woven throughout the series. Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons), Miranda Lambert, Pharrell, Brandi Carlile, Tom Morello, Geddy Lee (Rush)  & their moms comprise the 6 epsiodes. 

Brandi, Dan, and Dave's stories were favorites of mine. Geddy Lee and Tom Morello's moms were the best! Geddy's survived the holocaust and Tom's mom is quite the rebellious thinker, activist & a hoot with incredible stories to tell.

Amazon Prime

With Love is a 5 episode romcom that follows siblings Lily and Jorge Diaz, over the course of a year, each episode taking place on a holiday - starting with Christmas and ending on 
Día De Los Muertos
.

This has been my virtual date watch with my friend Jen and we have one episode left. It's light hearted, fun (a little drama, of course) and mostly works. Some of the fast forwards make you feel like you missed stiff but it's a cute show with a fun concept.

The Expanse   I am not much of a sci-fi watcher but I love so many characters on this show - especially the women who are powerful, vulnerable and complex. Same with all the relationships ( I'm not talking about just the romantic ones - which are few - but friendships, family, co workers, political alliances)




I'm reading The Lucky Escape (an arc I received from the publisher) and it's light, kind of quirky and kind of what my brain needs right now. 

Never Tell  was originally published in 2004 and just republished. I assume because Selena Montgomery is well known as powerhouse Stacey Abrams now. It's romantic suspense and it does have a dated feel. Also, there are very graphic descriptions of violence and death from the pov of the victim and I'm not sure I'll be finishing this one. (Received review audiobook via libro.fm)









My not so helpful reading assistant....




What are you reading/watching/doing this week?