Writing Wednesday – Sexy New Idea

Writing Wednesday 2
I’m a flighty person by nature. I am easily distracted by internet browsing, bribery involving food or fun, and shiny objects. If there is something interesting happening out in the world that seems better than what I’m doing right now, I switch focus. You can imagine that this does not bode well for my writing projects.

This tendency of mine to quickly bop from one thing to the next means that I am particularly susceptible to the Sexy New Idea. The SNI is a dastardly foe to writers. It distracts us from our current projects, and if not carefully managed, can lead us along a path littered with the unfinished scraps of many a manuscript.

One of the most common solutions to the SNI affliction is to keep a notebook where you can jot down Sexy New Ideas as they come to you. This way you won’t forget them, and you’re free to let them go and get back to the project at hand. Oh, if only that worked for me.

Sexy New Ideas that take root in my brain tend to demand at least a few scenes before I can let them go. I can’t just jot down a few notes and leave it be. I have to spend some time with it, develop it ever so slightly, and construct a couple of characters having a moment. This gives me the best sense of what this story wants to be. Otherwise, I come back to a half-cocked idea scribbled on my bedside notebook and have zero recollection of where I was going with it. I can’t seal an SNI in my memory without putting some real imaginative effort into a scene that will allow me to jump back into its world later on.

So there are Those That Say you shouldn’t pursue those pesky SNIs because of their penchant for encouraging procrastination and unfinished business. But sometimes those SNIs show up to give you a message. Maybe you’re not fully invested in your current project. Maybe it’s not working. There’s no use in struggling to finish something that may not be worth your effort.

My current project is still worth the effort, but I have been struggling mightily with it nonetheless. At first it was gentle resistance, with me passive-aggressively refusing to play well with it. That soon spiraled into outright resentment, however, and I began hating everything from my lead character’s name to its complete inability to turn into something fun.

At that point, I went back to a Sexy New Idea I had put together when I started last November’s NaNoWriMo. Though I failed early on to complete anything close to 50,000 words, I did really like my character and thought her world was loads of fun. So to distract myself, I spent some time editing and re-writing a good chunk of it and sent it off to my writers’ group with the caveat that this was, indeed, a Sexy New Idea.

And they loved it. They still love my work in progress, and feel there’s even room for them both, but they also really encouraged me to consider my SNI as a possible new current project. My SNI may have accidentally usurped my WIP. (Fun with acronyms!)

One of my group members made the point that lots of writers go back-and-forth. Maybe it doesn’t have to be one OR the other. Maybe it can be one AND THEN the other AND THEN the first one again. Given my aforementioned flightiness, I feel this may be the way to go. I’ll work on one WIP until I get bored or frustrated, then turn to the other. Or I’ll work until I get inspiration for one or the other. I think I can handle two simultaneous projects without them bleeding into each other. They are very different.

Do you have to multi-task to succeed? I do this with books as well, and constantly juggle competing reading interests so it shouldn’t surprise me that I do it with writing too. Do you read multiple books or work on multiple projects to stave off boredom? Or for other reasons? Or are you best when focusing on a single thing?

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Review: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Book: Airborn
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Eos
Release date: May 11, 2004
Source: Borrowed from library

Summary from Goodreads: Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

First impressions: Be still my beating, swooning heart! Kenneth Oppel wastes no time jumping into the action of this story, and it completely sucked me in. I so love when books do that.

Lasting impressions: Absolutely pitch perfect. Full of excitement, adventure, and mystery, this one grabs you and never lets go.

Conflicting impressions: None. Seriously.

Overall impressions: If I learned one thing from this book it’s that airships are so my thing.

Fans of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series will love this book as much as I did. Matt Cruse, our confident protagonist, is very similar to Westerfeld’s Deryn Sharp. He is so comfortable in the air he feels as if he could fly. He lost his father to a horrible airship accident. He has to take a post as a cabin boy to help pay the bills, but he also really and truly loves working on a ship. If there’s anyone who has found his place in the world, it’s Matt.

On a routine flight across the Pacific, Matt’s ship encounters an adrift hot air balloon with a few secrets contained within the pilot’s journal. On the next flight, Matt meets the pilot’s granddaughter, Kate de Vries. Kate is precocious, intelligent, stubborn, and a bit of a princess. She comes from the upper class and has a hard time taking no for an answer. Matt, as a lowly cabin boy, soon finds himself dragged into Kate’s exploits as she pursues the mysterious creatures her grandfather had discovered.

But Matt is not all passive. Part of his journey is finding his voice and learning to exploit his own capabilities in the face of hardship. Through the course of the book, Matt faces pirates (several times) and crashes and strange flying cats (oh my!), and still manages to keep his brain on straight. Younger readers will chew through this one!

If you’ve never tried steampunk, this is a superb place to start. It’s light on complicated gadgets and heavy on interesting characters and setting. Matt is brave and quick, and his story will capture your heart.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

Book: When the Sea is Rising Red
Author: Cat Hellisen
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release date: February 28, 2012
Source: ARC received from Around the World Tours

Summary from Goodreads: After seventeen-year-old Felicitaâ??s dearest friend Ilven kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburgâ??s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven’s death has called out of the sea a dangerous wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg’s caste system, and the whole city along with it.

First impressions: Fourteen pages. That’s how long it took for this book to completely wow me. Cat Hellisen creates a beautifully unique world with full and vibrant characters that made it nearly impossible to put the book down.

Lasting impressions: There were a few moments that had me wailing, “Noooooo!” Despite some of the frustrations with the plot, I still found this to be a well-written and unique story.

Conflicting impressions: It always sucks when the love interest you want is not what you get. I had to work to find happiness with the ending, but I grudgingly accept that it was probably for the best of the characters involved.

Overall impressions: This book is being compared to the works of Neil Gaiman and Jacqueline Carey, and though I (gasp!) have yet to read anything by these fabulous authors, I recognize that they are fantasy geniuses. So, too, is Cat Hellisen. The village of Pelimburg is rich with magic, supernatural creatures, and a protected elite class bearing down on the lower castes. The world in this novel is easily imaginable and effortlessly complex.

Felicita is caught behind a powerful brother who rules her life and that of her mother. In Pelimburg, the patriarchy is strict and unchallenged, and Felicita faces an unhappy arranged marriage with few rights. Determined to take control of her own life, she flees to the streets and falls in with a group of poor workers who sometimes also fight against the elite under the charismatic boy-in-charge, Dash.

Dash has his own plans, and secrets, that entwine Felicita and her new friend, the vampire Jannik. As Felicita gets drawn deeper into Dash’s plotting, she struggles with trusting him. Does he care for her or is he using her to get his way? As the story progresses, things get more convoluted and enemies stay firmly in gray areas. You never know who to trust in this ragtag group of street kids, which is part of the fun of the novel. I thought the plot went kind of crazy all over the place during the climax, and I wasn’t satisfied that Felicita found true happiness the way I wanted, but it was definitely a fun journey.

I’d by lying if I didn’t admit that I was mostly disappointed with the love interest. Felicita and Dash start something that seems cute and fun, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Things are complicated by some apparent affections for Jannik, her new vampire friend, but for the most part they stay platonic. For a story that starts out with fears of arranged marriage, I so wanted Felicita to find love and companionship in someone of her choosing, but I guess we don’t always get what we want. In my opinion, this would have been a five star read if I’d just been able to find Felicita some true love. Ah well. A highly recommended fantasy read nonetheless!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Book Blogger Confessions: Social Networking with Authors

Book Blogger Confessions is a new(ish) meme run by Tiger at All-Consuming Media and Karen at For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday they post a new question to open up discussion about common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

Social networking with authors: Do you interact on Twitter/Facebook/etc. with authors? Does it affect how you review their work or do you look at their books differently because you’re on friendly terms with them?
I do interact with authors on Twitter, but considering I’m such a rare tweeter anyway, it’s not anything that happens super frequently. The authors I interact with the most are those whose books I’ve read and adored (like @LisaTBergren), or authors who just happen to tweet a lot in general (like @LiaHabel and @TaherehMafi).

The big caveat here is that when I say I interact with these authors, I mean we’ve had a conversation or two. Which may have only consisted of a couple of tweets. With the exception of Lisa, I don’t think any of the authors I have interacted with via Twitter really know or remember me. And I consider that a good thing.

As a reviewer, who also happens to be a writer, I try to keep myself at a professional distance. I don’t go out of my way to contact authors. I don’t tweet at them when I post reviews, with the possible exception of major fangirl 5 star lovey ones. I prefer to stay under the radar, happily occupying my little blog space with warm bookish thoughts until one day (hopefully) this domain can be used to publicize my own work. I’m also incredibly shy, and feel like if I start tweeting at authors I’ll just annoy them. (I should mention that I’m focusing on Twitter because I don’t use Facebook for blog-related things.)

As for how it impacts my reviews, I think that in general I’m always worried about loving an author, but hating their book. For the most part, I limit my interactions to authors until after I’ve read their book. If I wasn’t a big fan of their book, I usually just quietly unfollow them. If I am a fan, I’ll keep following, and if the mood strikes, I’ll start up a conversation. I’m a cheerleader at heart, so when I read books that I love, I want to pump up their authors. I want to sing their praises to the world, and thank them for writing such amazing stories.

And I love that social networking allows us to do that.

Silly Sunday is back! – Shit [blank]s Say

Can you believe it’s been almost a year since I last did a Silly Sunday?! Yikes! Time to get back in the game. Life is too funny to go without giggles.

Today I’m caving to the Shit ___ Say meme, but only because I find it really, really funny. Frankly, I’m glad that @ShitGirlsSay spawned an internet craze of hilarious (and not-so-hilarious) knock-offs. The more the merrier.

If you haven’t seen the original, behold:

Shit Girls Say

“TWINSIES!”

There are two more episodes on YouTube, but the third one is not so great. I highly recommend Episode 2, though. “That poor dog needs water!”

As a book blogger, I can hardly ignore my own group’s contribution to the meme:

Sh*t Book Bloggers Say

Finally, in what I deem to be the most hilarious of them all, I give you:

Sh*t Nobody Says

If anyone needs help with that Papyrus problem, I can take care of that for you.

TGIF at GReads! (16) & Weekly Recap

This Friday blog hop is run by Ginger at GReads! (who also created this beautiful button). Every Friday you can answer a new question and recap your week. Click the button to join in!

This week’s question is:

Book Blogger Pride:
What do you take pride in when it comes to blogging?

I take pride in the quality of my reviews. I try not to slap something together just to get it up on the blog. I like taking time to reflect on what I’m reading, then putting my thoughts into a format that hopefully gives people an idea of what to expect from a book. I review so that people will want to check out the books that I’m reading, and enjoy them as much as I do!

*EDIT* Okay, everyone is writing such nice things that now I feel like the asshat who didn’t get the assignment. I’m the girl in Drop Dead Gorgeous who wore the Biggest Ball of Twine costume. So here’s my postscript:

I also take pride in the fact that my blog paved the way for me to meet some pretty amazing people and learn SO MUCH about YA fiction. Without this blog, I wouldn’t know half the stuff I do about the types of stories I like, who is publishing what books when, which authors go the extra mile, the generosity of readers, and how fawesomely individual we all can be while hanging out together in this cool little niche in the corner of the blogosphere.

That’s pretty damn amazing.


My weekly recap is inspired by the phenomenally talented, kind and generous Small Review. If you are not already following her, you are really missing out. Also, have I mentioned how much I love Cool Text? They’re the folks that allow me to make these cool (and simple) text buttons – for FREE!

If you’re a first time visitor, or just didn’t get the chance to stop by this week, here’s what you missed:

Reviews
INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows
3/5 stars
Debut Author Challenge

HOUNDED by Kevin Hearne
4/5 stars
First in a Series Challenge

SCARLET by A. C. Gaughen
5/5 stars
Debut Author Challenge
YA Historical Fiction Challenge

Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Review: Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

Book: Scarlet
Author: A. C. Gaughen
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release date: February 14, 2012
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads: Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hoodâ??s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

Itâ??s only her fierce loyalty to Robinâ??whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle herâ??that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

First impressions: I have to confess up front that I almost put this book down after the first few pages. I found Scarlet’s speech patterns to be jarringly irritating (she uses “were” instead of “was,” as in “I were truly bothered by the way she kept saying ‘were.'”).

Lasting impressions: Dialect choices aside, this is a thrilling adventure about life in Robin Hood’s gang from the perspective of a girl who can’t see past her own perceived failings to recognize the strength she carries within herself.

Conflicting impressions: See first impressions, above. Eventually I got over it, and I’m so glad I stuck with it, but it’s never a good thing when a character’s voice is initially so off-putting.

Overall impressions: It’s probably not my best idea to write this review immediately after finishing this (amazing, stupendous, terrific) book, because all I want to do is heap (amazing, stupendous, terrific) accolades upon it and call it a night.

Despite all of my grumblings about Scarlet’s dialect, she wormed her way into my heart. While approaching a particularly poignant revelation about three-quarters of the way through the book, I reached my train stop on my way to work and got disturbingly grumpy about having to stop reading for THREE WHOLE HOURS until lunch. Yet when I got home with merely fifteen percent of the book left to read, I savored it because I couldn’t bear for this to be the end of my journey with Scar and Rob.

I’m generally hit-or-miss with retellings, but this one knocked it out of the park. Perhaps my fond memories of Kevin Costner heaving that glorious mullet through a Bryan-Adams-soundtracked Sherwood Forest had something to do with my excitement for a new Robin Hood tale. (Don’t act like you didn’t see – and love – that movie.) Maybe I’m just a sucker for do-gooder redemption stories with tough, knife-wielding heroines. Whatever the case may be, it’s safe to say that this one is going on the Special Shelf.

Scarlet, a girl on the run from a secretive and damaged past, has taken up with Robin Hood and operates among the townfolk as Will Scarlet to keep her identity as a girl under wraps. Robin, John Little, and Much are all aware that she’s a girl, and although this fact keeps her as somewhat of an outsider among their band, Scarlet can hold her own in a fight. She has a hard time fully trusting her brothers for reasons not fully understood until they are painfully and slowly (in a good way) extricated throughout the narrative.

Things start to get overly complicated for Scar when the thief taker Gisbourne shows up in Nottingham. She’s been on the run from him, but won’t tell Robin why. Between the visible fear the usually unflappable Scarlet exhibits around Gisbourne, and the hints of a growing attraction between Scarlet and John, Robin starts to worry that Scarlet is endangering their band. Scarlet is all too aware that things are spiraling out of control, but as the Sheriff ratchets up the violence against innocent townspeople, she can’t help but try to save them to put right what she feels has been a lifetime of wrongs she has committed. Fighting her past as well as her suppressed feelings for Robin, she is losing her grip on her destiny she has tried so hard to control, and it may be too late for her to give everyone their happy ending.

The romance and internal conflicts are expertly handled, and though this is a familiar tale, there are plenty of twists and surprises to keep you guessing. Scarlet is a lovable, heart-breaking girl who absolutely enthralled me, and the men vying for her attention are equally engrossing. You River of Time series Luca fans will swoon over John Little, whose charming personality forgives his skirt-chasing ways. And what can I say about Robin Hood? He’s dashing, brilliant, and has a heart of gold. He wants to take all of the pain in the world upon himself to protect those around him. What’s not to love?

You must read this (amazing, stupendous, terrific) book. Right now. If you read one book this year, let it be this one. And in case I’m not being clear, I’m telling you that this is a really good read. Do you see what happens when I review (amazing, stupendous, terrific) books right after finishing them and just before bed? I’m reduced to spewing gobs of praise in every imaginable form and hoping that some part of it seeps through your eyeballs and into your synapses that then march you into your bookstore to pick up a copy.

If it worked, be sure to let me know.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Book: Hounded
Author: Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Del Ray
Release date: May 3, 2011
Source: Local library
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #1

Summary from Goodreads: The first novel in an original, back-to-back three-book series The Iron Druid Chronicles–introducing a cool, new, funny urban fantasy hero Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old–when in actuality, he’s twenty-one “centuries” old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power–plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish–to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

First impressions: Knowing absolutely nothing about Celtic mythology, this book threw me into a madcap new world full of hilariously entertaining gods and mortals.

Lasting impressions: This one lives up to the hype. Atticus is a charming protagonist with plenty of opportunities to dazzle us, both in this book and the rest of the series.

Conflicting impressions: I didn’t get a good sense of the danger involved with this plot. Atticus seemed to have an easy fix for everything, and although the final battle was realistically short, things resolved themselves a bit too quickly for my taste. I wanted him to have to work a bit harder to keep Fragarach from the bad guys.

Overall impressions: Don’t even ask me to use names other than Atticus, Oberon, and the Morrigan. There are so many Irish names and places that the book has to start out with a pronunciation guide, and even then I mostly made it up as I went (good thing Mr. Hearne suggests that as an excellent solution). I think Missie had the right idea with the audiobook.

Atticus is thousands of years old, but currently living as a 21 year old occult bookstore owner near the Arizona State University campus. He’s accompanied almost everywhere by his Irish wolfhound, Oberon, whom he has magically charmed into the ability to communicate through a kind of telepathy. Atticus can bind himself to Oberon’s mind, and the two trade a fair amount of dialogue throughout the book.

And let me tell you – Oberon is fecking hilarious. He knows how to push Atticus’s buttons, he has snarky comments about everyone and everything going on around him, and yet he remains sweetly dog-like so as to remain believable. If my dog could talk, I would hope she’d sound like Oberon.

The plot moves quickly and is pretty straightforward. Atticus has a magical sword that one of the unpronounceably-named gods wants for himself, and the rest of the gods are picking sides and forming unwieldy alliances among themselves, a coven of local witches, and even the demons of Hell. Lots of betrayal and mystery, thrown in a blender with copious amounts of action and battles. Add in the colorful side characters (like the possessed bartender and the vampire/werewolf lawyer team) and you can’t help but fall in love.

Despite the too easily achieved resolution and what I found to be an inadequate backstory for us Celtic mythology-challenged readers, any urban fantasy reader will gobble up this series. I’m excited to continue on to the next book, and thank you, my fellow bloggers, for convincing me this was a must-read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Book: Incarnate
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Release date: January 31, 2012
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Series: Newsoul #1

Summary from Goodreads: NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Anaâ??s own mother thinks sheâ??s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether sheâ??ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Anaâ??s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Anaâ??s enemiesâ??human and creature alikeâ??let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone elseâ??s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

First impressions: Without a doubt, the concept of this book had me sold from the beginning. Ana’s status as a newsoul, within this well-visioned fantasy society of recycled souls, was intriguing and captivating. I loved setting out on this journey to discover the secrets of why she is different in a world where everything is the same.

Lasting impressions: Ana and Sam were interesting characters, but the real standout here is the world where their story takes place.

Conflicting impressions: The book didn’t have enough answers for my taste. We spend the majority of the book waiting for Ana to buckle down and search for the reasons for her newsoul-ness, only to have them explained in the blink of an eye amidst too much other action. The last third of the novel threw way too much new information at me during a flurry of major events.

Overall impressions: Vexing. That’s what this novel was to me. The beginning is beautiful, brilliant, exciting, and full of so much promise! I was rooting for this book. So when the ending fell flat for me, I wanted to scream and smash things. Consider me thoroughly vexed.

At first, the mysteries of the book completely captivated me. Ana is the first completely new person, and we as readers are as desperate to find out why as she is. Ana has led a somewhat sheltered life, interacting only with her abusive mother, so when she sets out on her journey there is a lot she doesn’t understand. I loved being a part of her discovery of her world.

Secrets are everywhere, and the tension arising from this fact is delicious. Ana doesn’t know who to trust, and neither do we. Everyone seems to be hiding something, particularly Sam, and part of the fun of the novel is trying to ferret out the truth from the clues given. I felt there were lots of times when I was picking up on things that Ana’s past couldn’t let her see, and it was a really enjoyable reading experience.

That led to an even bigger disappointment, however, when so few of these hints and clues amounted to anything. Ana never calls anyone out on their sketchy behavior. She never notices the small things that seem so obvious to the reader. Worst of all, things that we are led to believe are significant turn out not to be. For instance, Sam in his past lives has constantly been targeted by the dragons that periodically attack town, and he wonders if that’s true or just his imagination or coincidence, but we never find out. The idea is simply dropped. Similarly, Ana has a unique and strange reaction to the pulsing walls that surround the city of Heart and make up the sacred temple, and this is likewise never explored but instead left to dangle like an errant thread.

I kept waiting for that “a-ha!” moment when answers would be revealed and Ana would have some peace, but it never came. I feel cheated out of a whole, complete novel, and wish things would have wrapped up in a way to give us some more answers before plunging on into the next book. It’s a shame that I’m not looking forward to the next installment in this series, because it truly started out in all the right ways.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Blogger or WordPress? Pros and Cons

Lots of people probably don’t know this, but back in December 2011 when I started this wee blog, it was hosted by WordPress.com. I loved the dashboard, loved the ease of use, and loved its emphasis on clean design. I quickly came to realize, however, that nearly every other book blogger out there was using Blogger, and they all had this fancy Google Friend Connect gadget that I couldn’t use on WordPress.

Determined to not be a fish out of water, and wanting to grow my readership, I decided to switch over to Blogger. You’d be surprised how many “Blogger to WordPress” articles I found, and how very few there were for people like me who wanted to do the reverse. Maybe I should have taken the hint.

After the announcement several months ago that GFC is on the outs, and more bloggers experiencing difficulties with Google and/or Blogger, several prominent blogs switched over to WordPress. More and more of the blogs I follow started doing the same. And the more WP blogs I saw, the more I started to envy my old WP platform and regret my choice to jump ship when I did.

Now I’m re-examining my options from the perspective of a somewhat established blogger instead of a newbie. I know more about what I’m doing, and what I want from my blog. I also know more about the kind of experience I want to provide my readers. I’m still comfortably parked on the fence, but I’m taking this discussion to the blog to gain some insight from you, dear readers.

As a blog reader, do you have a preference?

If you are a blogger, why do you prefer the platform you use?

Here is my own, personal take on the matter:

Blogger

  • Integrates seamlessly with Google
  • Is familiar to me after a year of use
  • Has more options for free gadgets
  • Is easier for fellow Blogger users to comment

WordPress

  • Has a more intuitive dashboard
  • Is easier to use to format posts
  • Provides advance URLs
  • Creates post templates

Some of my primary complaints have been addressed by both – Blogger now offers threaded comments *update* threaded comments won’t work with my blog design, unless I make a stylistic choice to abandon the transparency over my background image – SAD!; WordPress now offers more customization via HTML/CSS. I’m very happy with my new blog design, and it has been a factor in my decision not to move to WordPress just yet. With WP.com limiting the ability to customize their templates, it forces me to only consider the WP.org self-hosted option, which will require me to pay a monthly hosting fee in perpetuity. That’s asking a lot of commitment, and I’m concerned I don’t have the HTML/CSS skills to get the full use out of self-hosting.

If any of you have made the switch from Blogger to WordPress, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the migrating process. As it stands for me, the self-hosting hurdle is a big one for me to overcome, and will require more research on my part – which I’m not sure I’m ready to invest right now.

But I really am curious…what do you all think of this?