But this post is about Tamara, whom I’m delighted to welcome to Story Matters.
Tamara, happy you’re here! Tell us a bit about your blog. What’s it about, and when (and why) did it begin?
Traveling With T is my blog’s name, and it is mainly a play on words. I want my readers to travel with me in my daily life–my reads, to book signing events I attend, and other fun stuff! When I started the blog, I wanted it to be more about fun festivals, road trips and more–the charms of small-town Southern life. My plan, at one point, was to run two blogs–one for book talk, another for other things. However, running two blogs did not happen, so now Traveling With T has a bit of everything–some travel, book signings, LOTS of books and book talk, and a smidgen of other fun events.
Why did I begin blogging? It had been on my mind for some time–wanting to do this, but not sure what exactly to blog about, what to call myself, and on and on. So one day, I took the plunge, set my blog up, and then….. I blogged sporadically. I didn’t have many visitors, or followers. I was not a good blogger at first. Slowly, though, my numbers increased–and I’m happy to report that I have some really great followers (and book-ish friends) due in part to my blog! Basic advice: Just blog, baby, blog! It doesn’t matter if you have one follower or 1,000–blog, baby, blog!
For me, blogging has taken up parts of my day that was quiet–when I would find myself online shopping–which was bad for the budget! Talking about books, reading and reviewing books–it’s something that my nine-year-old self never dreamed possible. And yet, it’s happening! While my online shopping budget is back to normal, I did have to increase my book budget slightly (but the trade-off is much better!).
Like me, you’re a book review blogger for She Reads. You’re also their newly appointed Twitter chat maven. (Congrats!) In the year-plus that you’ve been a She Reads blogger, in what ways has this organization impacted the book world?
Thank you! Being the Twitter chat maven and the Online Book Club Discussion Leader is like being dipped in awesome and covered with the most sparkly glitter–it’s that wonderful!
It’s the blog network that makes She Reads what it is. Having a group of women who love to read and talk about books and are social-media savvy is part of what makes this group stand out. Even more–we’re real people. We’re not blurbs-on-a-book-cover-type people–we are real, honest and approachable. We can reach people who LOVE books, people who keep track of book-release dates and have reading lists pages long; but we are also a voice for the casual reader–the mom who only has time to read a few books a year. The college student who is swamped with her course-load. The lady who doesn’t want to go searching through “best of” lists and needs a source for some great books. We reach all types of people, all through the power of social media.
It’s not just the blog network, though. The women behind the scenes–Ariel, Marybeth and Kimberly–they make it possible for us to work magic. And they deserve tons of good things for they ways they help us!
Do you have any literary confessions?
Oh my–yes, yes I do. Literary Confessions is something I started last year on Traveling With T and I frequently use the hashtag (#literaryconfessions). Last year I confessed to not reading Pride and Prejudice (which I have since read!).
Other confessions: I’ve not read Gone With The Wind (although I have watched the movie countless times). I’ve also not read Anne of Green Gables! My biggest literary confession is this: Sometimes, I like the movie better than the book. (I know, I know- people never admit that!) Seriously, though, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier– I enjoyed the book for the most part; I adored the movie!
What kind of book earns your 5-star rating? Examples?
Oh, this is a hard question! Sue Grafton books get 5 stars–her main character, Kinsey, is a delight! For me, 5 stars comes from enjoyment. My most recent 5-starred book is The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman. If the book is well-written, has a good plot and I enjoy the book–it’s going to get high marks. However, I don’t love the Goodreads rating system because 5 stands for “it’s amazing”–and sometimes I talk myself down from a 5 to a 4 on some books. It’s a tricky thing!
Swanson’s Sleuths Street Team? What’s that all about?
Denise Swanson, a cozy mystery author, writes a series called Scumble River Mysteries. The character. Skye, is a school psychologist living in a small town–and when a mystery happens, she sets out to solve the mystery.
With the latest Scumble River book released on September 3, Denise Swanson created a street team to help spread the word about her books, and especially her newest one, as first week sales are very important. As a member of her street team, I give out bookmarks, post pictures, and use social media to help spread the word about her books.
What’s your favorite way to spend a lazy Sunday?
Reading! Reading and relaxing! Other favorite ways: going to the movies or enjoying quiet time with my family.
What’s currently on your TBR pile?
What is not on my TBR pile is the better question to ask! Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck, Ladies Night by Mary Kay Andrews, Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman, The Time Between by Karen White, Saving Cee-Cee HoneyCutt by Beth Hoffman, and The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee. *Note: this is just a small section!
Favorite book (so far) in 2013?
I have three books that I just loved (so far) in 2013: The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman, A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams and The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro (which was released in 2012, but I read it in 2013).
Thanks so much, Tamara. I see I have several more books to add to my own TBR pile.