Visit Utah Giveaway Winner

The winner of my  Visit Utah giveaway is:

Kelly, from @TellerBoothChic!

Congratulations, Kelly! Check your email for a message from me soon.

And a big thank you to all who entered the giveaway!


Blogger Interview With Angela From Angela's Anxious Life | UBM

I am so excited to bring you this interview today! As part of Utah Book Month, I got to interview Angela, from Angela's Anxious Life. Angela loves books, movies, comics, video games, and is huge Stephen King fan. Read her interview, then check out her blog and send her some love!

Are you a current resident of Utah? How long have you lived in Utah? If you aren't a current resident, where are you now?
I do not live in Utah anymore.  I lived in Utah from 2003-2005.  My parents still live in Utah though so I go there usually about twice a year. I love Utah so much.. I think it is a beautiful state. I usually go to a lot of nature spots when I go to visit including Antelope Island and Farmington Bay. I am in Colorado now so I live right next door to Utah.

As a book blogger, what do you like most about bookish the community?
What I like most about the book blogging community is chatting with other bloggers.  Seriously.. I just love comments and commenting on other blogs.  I have met several bloggers this way.  Especially with events like Utah Book Month.  I just think the community can be wonderful if you put yourself into it.  I really enjoy discussion posts too… I find that really gets people talking and discussing great bookish topics.  Too bad I can’t always think of clever discussions!

On your blog, you state that you moderate a Goodreads book club for your favorite author: Stephen King. Which is your favorite of his novels, and why?
I love King so I am glad you asked about him!  It’s fun to go from reading a young adult book and then switch over to a King book.  My favorite King book is the Shining.  I love just what a psychological thriller that book is.  It’s not the same as the Jack Nicholson film…. you just get an entire different feeling reading the book.  I usually tell people to start with this book too when they begin reading King.

As the moderator of two book clubs, how do you pick the books read each month?
Each book club on goodreads that I moderate actually picks their book club picks differently. In the Young Adult book club have a master list of book titles that group members have suggested over the years. Then using a random number generator ten books are picked from this list and then voted on by the group.  The Stephen King Fans group rotates the books they pick.. so one month a King book, one month a book we suggest to King, and then a book King has blurbed or recommended and then we vote.  We are reading all the King books and then once we get through we will start over.  I have been running both groups since 2007.

Was there ever a book you read for a book club, or for other reasons, that completely surprised you--whether positively or negatively? Which book, and why?
A book that surprised me… I have to admit, it is this graphic novel I read called The Arrival by Shaun Tan.  There are no words in this book.  You simply look at the art and make your own story.  It is beautiful and a very unique experience.

Which is your go-to book for general recommendations? You know--the book you recommend to everyone, even if you don't know what genres they like to read.
I hate to sound cliché … but before the movies even came out I would recommend the Hunger Games to people.  I really think those books read very well for both adults and teens.

Your crystal ball rating system is so clever! How did you think of it, and has your rating system been different in the past?
I saw the crystal balls on a site somewhere and thought they were just neat.  It said the graphics were free to use so I went ahead and used them adding my own text to them.  I have used black cats before as a number system (1 cat-5 cats).  I am actually thinking though of finding something that goes more with my Wonderland theme.  A key or something.  Be on the look out!!  I will probably be switching to that soon.

Have you ever tried your hand at writing? If so, can you tell us something about the experience?
I have not tried writing.  I suppose in college I wrote but I just have no stories in me.  I wish I did.  I read a book and just can’t imagine how someone can think and write those stories.

You're a gamer, so picture yourself in a video game for this one: If you had to fight against a character from any book, who would it be, and why?
Oh wow!  This is a good question.  I would love to fight in the battle of Hogwarts.  I just loved that part of the Harry Potter books. I want to team up with the other students and just feel the comradery that they were feeling at that time.  Plus I want to handle a wand.  I did play a Harry Potter game on the Kinect one where you ran around with a wand and it was only OK.  But I did ride the ride at the Wizarding World where you felt like you were on a broom and that was AMAZING.  So I would also like to be riding a broom and wielding a wand.

What powers would YOU have in this game?
What powers???  Well I would like to be able to be an Animagus in this battle incase I need to change shapes really fast like Professor McGonagall.   I would hope this would be a great asset during the battle.

Lastly, can you tell us your favorite book quote?
I have been listening to the podcast called Welcome to Night Vale and have been having soooo much fun!!  It is a fictional podcast that is about this spooky small town.  Really neat.. So I am going to include a quote from the podcast:

Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Angela! I'm going to have to pick up a copy of Shaun Tan's graphic novel, to check it out for myself. And that quote! Too funny!

Blog  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

About Angela
My name is Angie and I love the simple things in life.  I love nature, reading, movies, videos games, pets, NASCAR, Denver Bronco football, and so much more.  So you will see all of these interests on my blog! I love to get to know all kinds of bloggers.
Angela's Anxious Life is a blog about really anything that is entertainment. Books.. movies.. video games.... and comics.


Bree Despain Interview | UBM

I am so excited to have been able to interview none other than the talented Bree Despain for Utah Book Month! Bree is the author of the The Dark Divine series, as well as her newest series: Into The Dark. She is also one of our fabulous Utah authors, and is very active in the writing community.

Purchase The Shadow Prince
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Your fourth book, The Shadow Prince, was released earlier this year. What has been your favorite part of the publishing process with this trilogy? Has it been any different than your experiences with your previous trilogy?
I think the biggest difference is that I am much more down to earth about the whole publishing process. I think a lot of newbie authors (myself included) suffer from what I like to call "debut author syndrome" where you think you must (or can) do everything possible to make your book a success. You think you have to speak at every event, read every review, check sales numbers constantly, say yes to every single invitation or request, blog/twitter/facebook/email constantly, and have a meltdown to your agent with every blip in your progress. You can even start to get a little full of yourself, thinking you can control everything. Then you get a few books into the publishing process and realize there's really very little the author can actually do to make a book successful once it's been written. A book's success is really in the hands of the publisher, marketing department, booksellers and the market itself. So I've learned to back off. I don't read reviews (mostly) and I rarely ever even check my sales numbers. I've learned to say no and prioritize. My job is to write the best books I can possibly write and the rest has been put lower on the list. So I guess my most favorite and different part of my experience this time around is that I feel a lot more sane!

Did you find it a hard, or easy transition from writing The Dark Divine trilogy, to writing the Into The Dark trilogy?
Every book I've written has been a completely new experience and I always think "I have no idea how to write this book!" With my sequel to TDD, I kept thinking, "I have no idea how to write a sequel," and then with the third it was "I have no idea how to end a trilogy." When I started writing the first book in the Into The Dark trilogy, I had tricked myself into thinking it would be easy to write a first book again. But no. I found myself thinking, "I've forgotten how to write a first book!" I realized that unlike ending my first trilogy, I had no idea who these new characters were and the way they would think or react. But discovering who my characters are is always the funnest part of writing.

As a series with Greek mythology at its core, what research went into the Into The Dark Trilogy?
I read a lot of mythology books and marked things I found interesting. I have a couple of books that look like they barfed up a bunch of post-it tabs. I also looked for alternate translations of commonly accepted versions of myths we all know.

What is your favorite Greek myth, and why?
Persephone is such an interesting character and I think she gets slighted by the version of the Persephone and Hades myth that most of us learn in school. Researching her origins and earlier versions of her story is one of the reasons that I wanted to write Into The Dark.

What kind of writer are you: a pantser, or a plotter?
I used to be a pantser who was forced to write plot outlines by my editor. Now I can't live without them. My last two books I plotted scene by scene before I even started writing them.

Do you have plans to speak at any events or conferences this year?
I'll be a panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con September 4-6. I also have a few signings coming up: September 11th at the Orem, Utah B&N with Colleen Houck, October 20th at The King's English in SLC with Sara Raasch to celebrate the launch of her debut YA Snow Like Ashes, and then again with Sara at the Tattered Cover on Colfax Ave in Denver, CO on October 21st.

On your website, you list one of your favorite TV shows as Veronica Mars. Have you seen the Veronica Mars movie that came out this year? What did you think of it? Did it fill the hole that was (presumably) left when the show was tragically canceled?
My husband contributed to the VMars Movie kickstarter campaign on my behalf for an anniversary present--which means I have Logan Echolls as my outgoing voicemail message! We drove to a theater an hour away to see the movie opening night. I enjoyed every moment of watching the movie and felt incredible joy at seeing all of my favorite characters together again. A few days after watching the movie, I started to have some issues with the plot and some of the character choices--which I could go on about for quite some time (and did as a panelist on the VMars panel at FanX last spring)--but that still doesn't take away from the happiness I felt while watching the movie.  Side note, in anticipation for the movie, Hubs and I rewatched the entire series while I happened to be drafting my next book, The Eternity Key. Which means you will definitely be able to see the VMars influence in that book!

What do you do when you aren't writing?
We live next to a lake so I try to spend as much of my time as possible in the summer paddle-boarding, kayaking, walking or leisurely riding my bike around the lake paths. I love reading and I'm a big theater buff. I probably watch way too much TV and movies--but hey, it's all in the name of research!

As a wife and mother, how do you juggle your author responsibilities, with your responsibilities to your family? Do you have any tips for those of us who might need help with the juggling act? (Totally calling myself out here!)
It's a little easier now that my kids are in school--I can mostly get my work done before they get home--but I still have to deal with off-track and summer vacation. I think the biggest thing is that you need to treat your writing time seriously if you want others to respect it as well. If you designate a part of your day as your writing time and treat it as sacred, you can train your family to allow you to have that time. If they see you treating your writing seriously, they will follow suit. When my writing time is over and the kids are home, I try my best to be fully present and in mom mode instead of author mode so they know that they are my biggest priority.

Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Bree! I enjoyed hearing about the transition to writing a new series--and of course, hearing anything Veronica Mars. I'm excited to read The Eternity Key, when it is released! :)

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(Photo by Chauntelle Janzer of OpieFoto)

About Bree Despain
Bree Despain is the author of the Dark Divine trilogy and the upcoming Into The Dark trilogy.  Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo.​​


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