Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 133: Balancing Work and Blogging

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

For all of you worker bees out there!
How do you balance having a
day job/career and managing your
blog at night? Is it hard or easy
to do, and what do people in your
work life  think of your blogs? 

(Submitted  by Danielle @

My Answer

GREAT QUESTION!! I've been asking myself this very same thing ever since I started blogging, back in 2010. Lol. Somehow, I've managed to stay afloat, but just barely, to be honest! I have to be even MORE honest and add that I've thought of quitting many, many times..... Somehow, though, I always find the motivation to keep going, because blogging is really my one creative outlet. Plus, I would sorely miss ALL of my SUPER SWEET blogging buddies!!  

When I started out, I was working two jobs -- a full-time day job, and a part-time night job. My day job was in an office, and no, I didn't like it AT ALL. It was basically just something I did to earn money. 'Nuff said! The night job was much more rewarding. I was teaching ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages), also known as ESL (English as a Second Language) in the evening adult program at a local high school. 

My day job schedule was from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday, with an hour for lunch. My night job was from 7:00 to 9:30 PM, Monday to Thursday.

Well, I lost my day job in January of 2014, after being in that company for 10 years. And, of course, the money from the night job simply wasn't enough. So I quickly began to check out other options.  At first, I searched for another office job, but then just as quickly changed my mind about doing that. I was sick and tired of office politics, so that was that.

Finally, I was able to get a tutoring position, at the same high school, and also working with adults. So my schedule expanded to include this. The tutoring schedule is from 3:00 to 6:00 PM, Monday to Thursday. 

With the tutoring and the night class, I work a total of 22 hours a week. But that's just fine, because my husband's income is certainly more than adequate.

I thought that I would be able to dedicate more time to blogging once I had lost that day job, but that hasn't really happened. In fact, now I'm wondering how I was able to blog as much as I did when I had the two jobs! The thing is, I have to prepare classes, too. I have my own copier/printer at home, so I do prepare originals copied from ESOL books, which I then give to an office clerk at school so she can make stapled sets to hand out to the students. However, in a pinch, I have in the recent past prepared sets at home myself.

On May 26th, the night school principal at the high school where I teach called me into his office to tell me that, due to an unusually low enrollment, he had no choice but to close several classes in the night program, including mine. At the time, I was teaching a Level 2 class, and there were only 6 students on the roll. The night the principal closed my class, there were only 3 students present.

Well, I felt really bad about this.....but, a small miracle took place two weeks later! One of the remaining teachers had to leave, due to family problems, and the principal gave me that teacher's class!! I couldn't believe it!! WOWZA!! 

This new class consisted of two levels -- 5 and 6. So I suddenly had to shift gears. I also saw the need to prepare new material for these students, as I didn't have any on hand. The previous teacher had been using textbooks in his classroom that were also used by the day teacher, which meant that these books could not be taken out of the classroom. The students were shifted to my own classroom, because it has computers available, whereas the previous teacher's classroom did not. So I then began to make copies like crazy! But I really didn't mind. I want my students to have copies anyway, because obviously, they can then study at home.

All of the above means that I have had to give up some of my blogging time in order to prepare for this new class. Besides, I also have to prepare material for my tutoring sessions. Unfortunately, my reading time has suffered, too..... Right now, I'm behind on a book I'm supposed to review for a blog tour THIS coming Monday! So I have to finish it this weekend. Yet another problem is that I've been trying to fit too many books into an already crowded schedule..... I have not only been reading the two books shown in my sidebar, but also a couple of nonfiction books, which I know readers of this blog won't be interested in. I might review them on my other blog, the one that's been sadly neglected because of lack of time.....

To top things off, I'm trying to start an exercise schedule (I have exercised in the past, but on a haphazard basis), so that's going to complicate things even 

Compounding the problems is the fact that I'm not exactly the world's most organized person, so I rarely schedule posts ahead of time. With blog tours, I do try to schedule them at least two days ahead, but I have often found myself feverishly attempting to finish a tour post the night before it's due to be published! Lol. With my own posts, I always do them the night before, and frequently get behind with those, as well. In fact, I often publish my "Shelf Candy Saturday" meme post on Sundays! Lol.

I do hope to be able to continue blogging, though, as I LOVE it so much!! And I'd like to take this opportunity to ask those of you who frequently comment on my posts to be a little patient if I don't reply or comment back right away. I might get behind sometimes, but I will always try my best to catch up! 

Bottom line: it's not always a piece of cake to balance work and blogging, but, if someone really and truly LOVES doing something, they will somehow ALWAYS find time to do it. Right? Absolutely! Until, that is, Life throws a monkey wrench into the But that SURE hasn't happened to me yet, and I hope it never does!

As for what my co-workers think of my my office job, I did mention it on a couple of occasions, but no one showed any interest whatsoever in it. Sadly, the same thing has happened at my teaching job. I have mentioned it to a couple of fellow teachers, but again, they just weren't interested. As for my students, I have only mentioned it to a few of them in recent years. Again, there has been no interest. Just about a month ago, I also mentioned the blog to one of my new Level 6 students. She did visit, and then later told me that she thought the blog was great. However, it seems the posts are too difficult for her to read. She told me that she read one, and had to keep looking up words in an online dictionary. She hasn't mentioned the blog since, and I haven't, either. I'm not the type of person who toots their own horn. If I mention my blog at work, and see little to no interest in it, I will definitely not bring it up again. I started this blog for my own enjoyment, and to find fellow bloggers who were just as enthusiastic about books -- and blogging about books -- as I am. It just seems that no one in my immediate vicinity feels the same way my fellow bloggers and I do. It is what it is, I guess! Lol.

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 252: Green Rider, by Kristen Britain

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

Green Rider
(Green Rider, Book 1)
Kristen Britain
Trade Paperback, 592  pages
April 1, 2011
Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

Here is another gorgeous Gollancz cover! Really, need I say more? No, but I will! Lol. I don't know how this publisher does it, but they always manage to bring out  utterly stunning covers for us passionate bookworms and bibliophiles to raptly gaze at! I'm getting this edition as soon as I possibly can!

I came across this beauty at S.J. Higbee's fascinating blog, Brainfluff! This is one of my favorite blogs, as it features tons of fantasy and SF! Besides, its creator and owner is an SF writer herself!! Music to my ears! You can see the post where S.J. features this glorious cover right HERE!

In her post, which includes several covers for this novel -- some from other countries -- S.J. mentions that she's not sure that there's actually a winged horse in this novel, but she doesn't care, as this image is so, so beautiful! I totally agree! (Note: One of the commenters, Sue Bursztynski, has pointed out that the Winged Horse is the symbol of the Green Riders in this novel, and is a gold brooch. Thanks, Sue!)

I have always loved winged horses, as well as unicorns. Of course, I have a deep love of real horses, especially those of the Arabian breed. I also love the Lipizzan breed. These are the horses who perform in the famous "Airs Above the Ground" equine shows at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. The horse on this cover is actually striking a pose very similar to one of those taught to the Lippizans by their trainers.

This winged horse has been drawn in such an exquisite style, which actually reminds me of the style of one of the greatest artists ever -- Leonardo da Vinci. However, the details are even more embellished than they would be in a da Vinci drawing. Still, the resemblance is very strong.

This is a proud steed indeed! His regal bearing is very much in evidence. This is the King of the Winged Horses! His mane highlights his restless energy, his wings poised for flight. Oh, he's just glorious!! How I wish I were owned by a majestic horse like this one.... (I wouldn't have the wings in the real world, of course. Lol.)

Another cover detail mentioned by S.J. was the totally boring font used for the title and author's name. What's up with that, Gollancz? I definitely agree with this, too! Surely the brilliant Gollancz designers could have put in a more elegant, ornamental font! I do realize that they probably didn't want anything to take away from that magnificent horse, but still. The font they've picked just doesn't fit with this gorgeous winged creature.

In spite of this objection, I really do love this cover, and I repeat, I need to make this book mine just as soon as I possibly can! Thanks to S.J. for featuring it in her own cover post!!

As for the gifted creator of this amazing cover, she uses the alias "pallanoph", and she has posted the complete drawing -- which totally blew me away -- on the site, Deviant Art. I was able to find out her real name, though; it's April Schumacher, and she lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is in the US. 

Schumacher is a freelance illustrator who specializes in book illustration, especially concept and character design. She graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is also a painter. I think her work is exquisite! Interestingly, she also creates beautiful bird drawings, which accounts for the realistic detail seen on the wings of the horse on this cover.

So I'm adding Schumacher to my growing list of favorite book cover, design, and illustration artists!

UPDATE, 6/17/18!!
I have ordered this book from
The Book Depository, 
as it's cheaper there than on
Amazon. This book is now MINE.

Online Links

Gollancz (Wikipedia)

April Schumacher
What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 132: How would I spend a $100.00 Visa gift card?

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

You have just won a $100.00
Visa gift card. Will you spend the
entire amount on a rare collector's
edition you have always wanted,
or buy several newly-published
books? Explain your choice.

(Submitted  by Maria @

My Answer

After I had submitted this question to Billy, it struck me that bona fide book collectors (of the really rare and expensive kind of books) spend much more than $100.00 on books they want to buy! In fact, the amounts they spend are often in the thousands. I guess I was thinking of a collector's edition that would be more "attainable" by someone of more modest means, such as myself. Lol. So I was thinking more of the kind of book you can buy from either The Easton Press, or The Folio Society

So you know my answer already; I would go for the collector's edition, hands down! Why? Well, because it's not every day you can spend your hard-earned money on a real beauty of a book, and, if you win a freaking gift card, I think the thing to do -- for me, anyway -- is to rush over to one of the two sites mentioned above, and get one of those expensive books that I would normally just be able to drool over, and wistfully pass up..... 

Of course, others might prefer to go ahead and spend the entire amount on newly-published books. In my honest opinion, though, I can easily get those later on down the line. Not all of them at once, naturally. I would have to get them gradually. But most of these books are more affordable, and can get even more affordable, as time goes by. As for the collector's edition, it can quickly and easily be discontinued. (Yes, then I could probably get it much cheaper on eBay or Amazon, but the chances of that happening are not always good....)

So here are some book beauties, any one of which I would love to buy with my hypothetical $100.00 gift card! (Actually, I would need a bit more than this amount to buy some of these babies....sigh....)

Click on each picture to access the book's page on the site.

This gorgeous edition of The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, is from The Easton Press. I would have to pay FOUR monthly installments of $57.00 EACH in order to own this treasure! (Well, the gift card would help a

OMG..... I guess I really had NO idea what I was getting myself into.... I'm a die-hard fan of the Arthurian tales, but, if I wanted to own THIS beauty, I would have to shell out four monthly payments of....are you ready? Four monthly payments of eighty-nine freaking dollars!! The thing is, though, this is a complete set. And, of course, it's sold only as a complete set. Darn!!! 

The photo above is of two illustrations from this incredibly beautiful edition, and my gaze is getting more wistful by the minute.....  :(

Well, it turns out that The Folio Society has more "reasonable" prices, but they're still on the expensive side. Check out the books I would love to buy from them!

This collection, of Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy, would "only" cost $135.00. So I could use my gift card, and pay $35.00, plus S/H. Not bad, I think. Okay, it's not as bad as The Easton Press. No installment payments here! Lol.

This incredibly beautiful edition of Tolkien's The Hobbit goes for a "mere" $57.95, plus S/H! My gift card could easily cover this, but then I would have to buy a less expensive book with the balance. Lol.

And here it is -- the majestic The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by Tolkien!! This stunning set can be purchased for the price of $190.00, plus S/H!! Well, maybe I could win another gift card....... Lol.

Okay, so, since I only have 100 measly dollars on my gift card, I think I'll go ahead and buy four Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions, which are $20.00 each, plus tax, and be done with the whole thing! And heck, those B&N editions are just as gorgeous as the ones shown above, and at a cheaper price!

I've checked the B&N site, and they actually have some even cheaper editions! Check it out!

This B&N edition of Jules Verne's classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, is only $10.00! (Yes, you read it right. Ten, not one hundred.) And they currently have a special, too: buy one book, and get the other 50% off! (No, I'm not getting a commission for this!)

Well, okay, not all of the B&N Collectible Editions cost $20.00. The book above goes for $25.00. If you buy it online, of course you'll have to pay the S/H. If you buy it in a B&N bookstore, you'll pay the $25.00, plus tax. It's still a lot cheaper than either The Easton Press or The Folio Society! All you "Whovians" out there, take note!!  :)

Yes, Barnes & Noble loves me!! I actually already own this edition of Star Trek: The Classic Episodes!!! I got incredibly lucky here, too; they were having a 50% off sale one day, so I got this book, which normally costs $25.00 plus tax, for only, and I really mean only, $12.50 plus tax!!!! Talk about Luck with a capital "L"!!! 

Okay, so I'm definitely sticking with the Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions!! My gift card is (would be, if I had one.....) in love!! Lol. 

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!