Category: Guest Post

Life as a Book Blogger – by Dayla FM

Dayla FM Guest Post

Dayla was one of my very first blog reviewers and one of the few to review all three of my books. She’s articulate, insightful, and honest. Her website, Confessions of a Book Addict, is full of musings on novels as well as reviews, author interviews, giveaways, and book hauls.

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I still remember the first time I was approached by a self-published author. My blog was still a speck in the tumblr universe and all I was doing was documenting which books I read in 2012. It was also around this time that I started writing reviews.

Whenever I saw book reviews on the internet before starting my blog, I would always think it was too daunting a task to write so much about a book. I like to blame this on school, since the constant critical writing put me off from any kind of writing that wasn’t creative.

But when I created my blog and started showing anyone who would stop by what books I was reading, I started to appreciate the time people took when reviewing. I reviewed for my few followers, never expecting to pick up the pace since there are so many other more popular blogs out there. I think I primarily wanted to get my foot into the literary world, even if through a small blog, for the book I was hoping to write once school was done.

After I read and reviewed my first assignment, I felt a strange thrill rush through me. Reviewing became something much more serious once I started getting more requests. Up until this past summer, I thought of this as something I could do for fun aside from writing my novel, but as the emails came in and I earned praise for my work, I realized that what I had once shunned had become a natural part of me.

I was hooked.

Pretty quickly, my blogging became more about giving honest reviews for any kind of author, traditionally published or self-published, and encouraging others to read them instead of simply stating what I was reading. I still wrote my novel–which is currently in the early editing stages–but I’ve also found a new and exciting love for reviewing novels.

I silently thanked my professors as I wrote review, after review.

I joined Blog Critics a few months after I started reviewing professionally and my blog started getting some attention. But, even as traditionally published books were sent to me for reviewing purposes, I still enjoyed receiving the occasional self-published novel. I love that some writers have such passion for writing that they take their futures into their own hands. That takes guts and I respect them greatly.

Also, a lot of the independent authors I’ve met have been awesome! It has definitely been a very neat experience. I’ve always loved books, but never really fathomed meeting the brains behind them. The literary world is tricky and hard to get into, but I have been very blessed with the opportunities I’ve received.

Blogging has taught me a lot about myself. I never expected to be where I am today, but I have great followers and have met some pretty awesome authors. I don’t know where I see myself a year from now, but hopefully I will still be reviewing great books and meeting more incredible people.

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Want to discover indie authors with Dayla? Check out her reviews here.

If you have Twitter, add @daylafm! She Tweets consistently, and always has something interesting to say.

Are you a writer looking for an honest review? Ask Dayla!

And here are her awesome reviews of my work: Lighthouse NightsThe Accidental SirenThe Brandywine Prophet

Storytelling Series: Dance

A guest post by Megan Marthens

In a dimly lit room full of whispering lips, a dancer enters. Quietly and gracefully she places herself stage left and smoothly melts to the ground. The music begins. Words encompass the theater with no accompaniment of instruments. The singer’s words are sad and lonely. The dancer’s gaze moves from her feet up to the audience. Tears are in her eyes. You can feel the abandonment this dancer feels. As an audience member, you are trapped. You can’t help but believe in this girls story.

Growing up, dance has been the way I tell my stories. There is a power that your body has that no other method of storytelling does. The body is honest, genuine, and has first-hand experience with emotions. As dancers, we are trained to put ourselves into the song. I have danced to songs about love, sorrow, abuse, and hatred. No matter what the song or what the story, I find it deep inside myself and show the audience how my body reacts.

A key component to storytelling is expressing emotions properly. A dancer only has 1.5 to 3 minutes to tell an entire story. No explaining. Just music and movement.

Here are a few ways dancers show their emotions:

Anger
When showing anger, the moves become sharp and quick. The dancers face becomes tense. The breath of the dancer tends to be short and dramatic.

Sadness
A dancer portraying sadness will perform movements similar to anger, but they’ll draw them out. There tends to be more fluidity of the body, and an exploration of space.

Scared
Movements during this emotion are generally quick. It is a great combination of sad and angry.

Love
Showing love (or loss of love) can be most difficult. This is one that is best done when there is true first-hand experience. Remembering how love or loss made you feel can shine through on stage, and it can be the most believable dance anyone has seen. Smiling, smirking, and showing remembrance is how this is best done.

(There are many more, but we could be here forever!)

Dance can be one of the most challenging forms of storytelling, but also the simplest. It takes practice and is something a dancer must care about and invest themselves in.

Dance is about exploring what is inside of you and sharing it with the audience. Make the audience live the story for the moments you’re on stage. Captivate them.

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Megan Marthens is my insanely talented niece. She’s a graduate of Grand Valley State University and now teaches dance in Michigan. She just started a blog about her experience as a teacher, and you should definitely check it out! Diaries of a Dance Teacher

If you are interested in having Megan write a guest post for YOUR blog, you can contact her at diariesofadanceteacher@gmail.com