Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Portia Kitcher

Portia Kitcher was the first person to respond to my speculative fiction interview post. I’m excited to kick this series off with her responses! 

Image credit: Arthur Rackham.What was the first speculative story you ever remember reading?

Grimms Fairy tales – being read to at first and then reading them myself – over and over!

Who is your favourite author? Why?

Justin Gustainis. I like him because he writes characters I like and care about. His Occult Crime series combines my two favourite genres of fantasy and crime solving.

What do you like most about the genre(s) you read?

Good guys vs. bad guys with the good guys generally winning.

More and more authors seem to be writing cross-genre stories these days. How do you feel about this trend?

That depends – I don’t like a lot of romance in my books – always keen to get back to the action, but I do like it when magic/occult combines with crime.

If you could name a pet after one character, which character would you choose? Why?

Yoda – because he is wise and small.  I am small and aspire to be wise.

What fictional world would you never want to visit?

Wonderland.

What fictional world would you want to visit?

Middle Earth.

Sharing spoilers with people who haven’t read the book or seen the film/show is a hot topic on Twitter and across many fandoms. How do you feel about sharing or overhearing spoilers?

I personally wouldn’t read the end of a book first so I don’t want to read spoilers, and don’t really understand why people do.

Which series do you think should be made into a TV show or film next?

Justin Gustainis Occult crimes series.

Which TV show or film do you think should be turned into a book?

Interesting question – I would watch a film/TV show of a book I had read but not the other way around.

About Portia: My plans to become a doctor were change due to family circumstances at the age of 17 when I left college and started work as a laboratory technician.  I got married at 18 had my two children, then went back to work 15 years later as a science technician in a school.  I then worked in Social Services as an administration officer for a supported employment agency.

I am now at home with my retired (second) husband.   I am an amateur musician and classical singer and also make celebration cakes.  I am currently doing a project where I am donating 60 of my hours to good causes.

https://thegiftoftime.home.blog/

If You Love Speculative Fiction, I Want to Interview You

I’ve decided to try something new on my site. This was loosely inspired by what Downright Dystopian started doing with her interviews earlier this spring. I’m hoping I’ll be able to tap into a new audience since I’m focusing my questions on people who like speculative fiction and have multiple social circles that don’t seem to overlap much with Krystianna’s sphere of influence at all.

What do I mean by speculative fiction? Well, if you read about, watch, listen to, or write about:

  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Fables, Fairy Tales, and/or Folklore
  • Alternate History
  • Superheroes
  • Myths
  • Horror
  • Monster Movies
  • Utopians
  • Dystopians
  • Magical Realism
  • Supernatural/Paranormal Tales

Or any combination of these types of stories, I want to hear from you.

Yes, this includes people who prefer, say, paranormal romances that only have the slightest touch of fantasy added to them or mysteries that are pretty hardboiled until the final scene when the audience discovers the killer was an 900-year-old vampire. TV shows and films count, too, especially if they are in any way tied to a book or graphic novel.

Everyone is welcome.

If you’re interested in being interviewed, I’ll need the following things from you:

 Answers to the Following Questions

  1. What was the first speculative story you ever remember reading?
  2. Who is your favourite author? Why?
  3. What do you like most about the genre(s) you read?
  4. More and more authors seem to be writing cross-genre stories these days. How do you feel about this trend?
  5. If you could name a pet after one character, which character would you choose? Why?
  6. What fictional world would you never want to visit?
  7. What fictional world would you want to visit?
  8. Sharing spoilers with people who haven’t read the book or seen the film/show is a hot topic on Twitter and across many fandoms. How do you feel about sharing or overhearing spoilers?
  9. Which series do you think should be made into a TV show or film next?
  10. Which TV show or film do you think should be turned into a book?

If you are an author or other creative person, feel free to substitute some of these questions for a few of the ones above or answer them all for extra credit:

  1. What is the most unusual or interesting way you’ve come up with an idea for one of your creative works?
  2. Sometimes characters don’t do what their creators want them to do. If this has ever happened to you, how did you deal with it?
  3. What is your favourite trope?
  4. What tropes do you try to avoid in your stories?


A Short Biography 

Tell us who you are in a few sentences. Feel free to drop links to your website/blog, social media accounts, or similar pages if you’d like to.

A Photo 

Send a photo of yourself, the cover of a book you’ve written (if applicable), the logo from your site, or any other bookish subject matter.

Email your answers to interviews@lydiaschoch.com

There is no time limit on this offer. I will share your submissions once they begin to arrive and continue on for as long as there continues to be interest in this project.

These interviews have tentatively been assigned to Thursdays, although this may change depending on how many of them are sent in.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Blogging Changes I’m Making This Winter

Every time one of my favourite blogs shares a post with a title similar to this one, I get a little nervous about them shutting down or going on hiatius. If you’re the same way, don’t worry! lydiaschoch.com isn’t going anywhere.

I have and will be making some changes to this site that I wanted to let my readers know about, though.

All of these changes are being done in hopes of driving more traffic to this site. I’m confident about my writing abilities, but in 2019 I’d like to become better at marketing the things I create so that new audiences can discover my blog and my stories.

Marketing is something that I honestly struggle a bit with, so if you have any advice I’d sure like to hear it. Comment on this post or send me a DM on Twitter if you’re interested.

In the meantime, here are the things that have, will, or may be changing on this site in the near future. Not everything is set in stone yet, but this is the direction I’m thinking about taking in the new year.

Comments on Old Posts

As of earlier this week, I’ve opened up comments on all of my old posts. I’ve received some messages from people who were disappointed to find comments closed on posts that were shared more than 10 days ago. Originally, I’d set them to close after that amount of time to combat spam that was overwhelming my inbox.

The spam has been much more manageable this time, so let’s see if I can make this a permanent change. If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it probably got caught in my spam filter. I do my best to release those posts as soon as possible, but do feel free to nudge me if it’s been a few days and you don’t see anything yet.

Reader Questions

At the end of this month, I’ll be blogging about a question that a reader asked me in the comment section of a post recently. Her question was so big that it might take more than one post to fully respond to. Stay tuned for that post. It’s going to be a fun one.

I’d love to make this a recurring feature if or when other readers ask me questions, so fire away if you have any!

Book Blog Memes

From talking to other writers and bloggers, I get the impression that participating in weekly book blog memes like Top Ten Tuesday can be an excellent way to drive new traffic to your site.

I’m still looking into which ones would be best for me to participate in, and that list is one of several online that I’ll need to go through between now and January. Top Ten Tuesday is extremely popular, but I’m also curious to see if I can find something that’s specifically related to sci-fi/fantasy, mindfulness, or fitness. Whatever I pick, I will only be doing one or two of these a week at the most.

Suggestion Saturday

As much as I enjoy doing Suggestion Saturday posts, they are having less and less of an impact on drawing new visitors to this site with every passing month. They also require an investment of my time that I’m wondering might be better spent writing other types of posts.

I have not yet decided if I’ll keep doing this in 2019. I need more time to think about it.

Guest Posts from Others on This Site

Yes, I will continue to offer other bloggers the chance to write guest posts on this site if they contact me first. I’ve seen some bloggers become pushy on this topic, and that’s not something I’m comfortable doing at all. This is something I only want to do with people who are enthusiastic about it.

With that being said, I will be on the lookout for sites that list guest post opportunities to see if I can sign my site up for such a thing. It would be interesting to introduce you all to other bloggers who write about the same sorts of stuff I do.

Guest Posts from Me on Other Sites

If I find such a site, I may also be signing up as a guest blogger there. You all will receive links to any posts I write for other blogs, although I’ll have to come up with a creative way to do that if I put an end to Suggestion Saturday.

How Do You Attract New Traffic to Your Blog?

Please let me know in the comment section! I’d love to hear your tips.

Go Wish Long and Short Reviews a Happy Anniversary!

Long and Short Reviews, my favourite book review site, is celebrating their 11th anniversary this week.

They’re publishing special guest posts every day between now and Friday. They will also be giving away dozens of prizes, including a $100 Amazon gift card.

I hope you’ll all check out their celebration this week and enter into the contest. Good luck!

Avoid These Common Rookie Blogging Mistakes

 

Common Mistakes Writers Make While Blogging

Companies increasingly realize the value in blogging. It’s a simple way to create engaging content on your website, improve your SEO, and drive more traffic to your digital door. On the other hand, quality blogging is both an art form and a science. Your content must not only be entertaining and simple to read, it must also strike the appropriate tone and reach the right audience. In order to achieve this, avoid these rookie blogging mistakes:

Mistake 1: Neglecting Your Research

When setting up a blog, think about your target audience. If you neglect to include demographic research into your blogs, your content may fall flat – or worse, turn people off from your site.

Failing to know your target demographic can also lead to your posts becoming too generic. Instead of creating tailored content to your readers, you run the risk of simply taking up space on a page. Rather than trying to “appeal to the masses,” conduct some thorough content research before creating a blog. Writing to a target persona will automatically make your content more personal, engaging, and conversational.

Mistake 2: Creating An Inappropriate Tone

As you conduct your market research and decide on your target personas, think about the tone in which you want to communicate ideas to these people. Appropriateness is a key issue that can make your blogs fall flat. The classic example is wearing a suit to the beach, or beach shorts to a job interview. If your company deals in serious subject matter (such as medical services or financial planning), trying to incorporate humor or lightness is a lot like wearing beach shorts to a job interview. Make sure the tone of your writing matches up with your target audience.

Consider creating a blogging guide with blog writing tips for all your copywriters that dictate tone and appropriate style. This will ensure consistency throughout your posts.

Mistake 3: Lack Of Emotion In Your Writing

On the other hand, it’s important to communicate some level of emotion in your writing, no matter your audience. Even formal, authoritative pieces of content can communicate personality. Health-related services, for example, can remain authoritative while communicating compassion and empathy. When you write from an emotional or personal perspective, your writing automatically becomes more conversational and easier to read.

Mistake 4: Broken Links In Your Content

Link-building is an essential process for driving your SEO. One of the simplest blogging tips – yet one that rookie bloggers are most likely to ignore – is making sure your linked content goes back to a reliable source. Broken links tarnish your authority and create a sense of annoyance in your reader, while neglecting your link-building altogether creates a missed opportunity for improving your search engine ranking.

Mistake 5: You Don’t Have A Responsive Website

Your readers are more likely to engage with your content on a mobile device than they are on a desktop. If you lack mobile optimization or a responsive web design, you’re damaging your blog’s reputation before you post your first article. Having a responsive website means your readers can engage with your content no matter how they view it – on a desktop, on a tablet, or even on their mobile device. The easier the content is to read, the more likely people will enjoy engaging with it.

Mistake 6: You Don’t Use Calls-To-Action

A call-to-action, or CTA, is a simple way to encourage more engagement with your website. A CTA can be hard: “contact us to take advantage of this amazing offer!” or soft: “if you’re interested in learning more about our services, reach out to us at any time.” No matter what kind of CTA you use, they provide extra opportunities for your audience to connect with your content.

Mistake 7: You Don’t Promote Your Content On Social Media

You put a lot of time and energy into creating engaging blog posts. Why not promote them on all your marketing channels? It’s simple to do and drives more traffic to your website, organically improving your SEO while teaching your readers more about your company. Link your articles to all your social media channels by using an enticing description.

Mistake 8: You Don’t Engage With The Rest Of The Blogging Community

Here’s a piece of sage blogging advice: don’t forget about other blogs in your niche. Most bloggers don’t realize that you can build more traffic to your own site by commenting on other blogs and networking with others in your field.

These simple blogging tips will help you organically build a readership base and ensure that you’re creating engaging content each week. Apply them when starting or revamping your blog – your readers will take care of the rest.

Author Bio:

Nicola Yap lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her two cats Marcie and Lambert. When she isn’t writing blog posts, she’s probably playing video games or doing something as equally unproductive. She works as an organic marketing strategist for Eminent SEO, a full-service digital marketing agency that creates custom websites and innovative marketing solutions for small to medium-sized businesses that are looking for impactful results.

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Things I Learned While Publishing

This is a guest post from Stephen Lomer.  Let’s start off with an establishing statement: I never once considered going the traditional publishing route with Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All. Never. Not once. Other authors may be seduced by the potential for big-money contracts and the marketing clout of the big publishing houses, but… Read More