The Road So Far

Hey all, Dani here.

Yes, I am well aware that the title for this post is a Supernatural reference. It was kind of intentional since my post today is going to be a reflection of the past year on this blog…and because I am a fan of the show Supernatural anyway.

I started this Mousai Books blog last January, just after my paternal grandmother died. She was exactly one month away from her 90th birthday so she had lived a long and full life, but I can also say that her death was the first major one to happen in my life. I lost great grandparents and great aunts and great uncles who I didn’t really know so they didn’t pack as much of an emotional punch to me. But I had spent a lot of time with Granny, and the last five years of her life she actually lived with my family so I was around her a lot.

I had thought about starting up a new blog for a while, since my one on Blogger never really had many views or followers. So I guess it was because I just really needed something to do while I was on my three bereavement days away from work.

A lot has happened in the past year, both in a narrow personal focus and on the national and global scales–and I’m not going to get into it here because political trolls are everywhere. Through it all I have been blessed to be able to continue and buy new books and start to really build a presence and find a place in the online book community.

Books have always been a refuge for me, a way to escape whatever is going on in life. They have helped me process life, love, loss, and so many other feelings and events. And they have led me to form some great friendships with authors, which is really cool.

There is this quote from The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger that says: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” In today’s modern world, a lot of us at least can reach out to authors via social media and sometimes find that they will answer back. But I actually have a few authors whose phone numbers I do know, and though I haven’t called them, I know that I have that opportunity. And yes, I do still squee when an author likes my tweet or retweets a link to a review of their book from this blog; it seriously makes my day a little bit better.

Starting and developing this blog, I’ve also found that I’m gaining more acceptance for e-galleys and ARCs, and I’m hopeful to develop this aspect even more in 2017 and beyond. I’m really trying to keep up with my NetGalley reads and reviews, and this year I’ll be attending Book Expo America, which means I’ll be picking up a few Advance Reader Copies in a physical format.

But when I first started this blog, I admit that I worried that it would be like my last blog, that I would be writing in this little black hole on the internet with no interaction from anyone. Thankfully though you lovely bookish people started liking my posts and following my blog. It makes my day when I check my notifications and see that I have another like or follow. My goal for 2017 is to start getting more comment interaction on my posts. So part of that means having more of a presence in the comment section on other book blogs too.

I can also say that 2016 was not a good writing year for me. I’m really trying to get everything all wrapped up on my next book so I can get it published. It’s possible that I needed a break, and it’s also possible that starting the year off with a big death in the family got to me way more than I thought. After all, I do write books about Death and the Angel of Death so…

Writing takes time. Reading takes time. Blogging takes time. Then you throw in the need to post on social media and build your presence there. Oh, and don’t forget going to work at a soul crushing job that actually does pay the bills. That typically takes at least 45 hours out of my time each week. I spend a lot of time at work day dreaming, sometimes about books I’m reading or TV shows I’m watching, and other times about my own writing. I use my break and lunch times to squeeze in more reading. I would totally listen to audiobooks if my commute wasn’t only 5 minutes. I don’t listen to audiobooks at home because an audiobook chapter might take 26 minutes but I can physically read that same chapter in like 4 minutes.

Oh, also in 2016 I found myself expanding my reading horizons a bit. Thanks to the recommendations of several BookTubers (PeruseProject, abookutopia, JesseTheReader, polandbananasBOOKs, katytastic, readbyzoe, and emmmabooks) I picked up some more middle grade books and historical fiction and cutesy contemporary YA reads. I found new to me authors who I intend to follow as they release new material.

I weeded out my library a bit, but then still needed to buy another bookcase because of all my book purchases–and I think I’m about ready to buy another bookcase now. Speaking of, I reorganized my bookshelves over my Christmas shutdown from work, so as soon as I clean up some of the clutter around my room I owe you all a bookshelf tour.

In 2016 I attended my first convention as an author. While I only sold a couple copies of my book, it was still an interesting experience. I spent time each morning before the convention floor opened walking around and chatting with other authors and artists. It was a great networking opportunity.

My books finally became available in an actual store at the end of 2016. There is a local store in the mall that has used books, comic books, board games, D&D and Magic: The Gathering, and myself and a couple other local authors are prominently featured when you walk in the store. The store owners have been absolutely wonderful about helping me to spread the word about my books. (I can admit that I am sometimes awful when it comes to self-promotion).

Basically last year was an absolute roller coaster of events. I’m not sure what all is going to happen in 2017, but I have a personal library filled with books and I’m finding my place in the amazing online book community. As long as I have that I think everything will turn out okay.

How about you guys-what has your blog journey been like so far? Let me know in the comments!

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