Thursday, June 7, 2012

Armchair BEA: Bookish Things Beyond the Blog + Fun Facts

Today's topic is Beyond the Blog: has your book blog opened up any opportunities to you beyond your blog? Maybe writing for real publications? How about monetizing off your blog? Or pushed you further somehow in writing or pursuing what you love to do? Share some tips or your story about extending your blog and bookish life past it! And if this DOESN'T apply to you, it's a free topic: share an aspect of your life that's completely separate from books/blogging!

I'm going to cheat and do both, since I don't have much to say for the first one. I haven't monetized off the blog; maybe one day I'll set up an Affiliate program through Amazon or TBD, but right now I don't have any intention of doing so. And I don't expect to try and monetize with ads or going "professional." While it'd be nice for a publication to pay me and print a review, it would change the way I write; I'm a trained journalist, but I keep a lot of that learned craft out of blog reviews. It's purposeful to keep reviews very casual, with a lot of personal thoughts mixed in (and yes, I do curse on my blog - I do in real life, so I choose to put it on the blog*) because that's how I approach books and reading: with very personal views and connections. But I have done reviews for publications in my pre-blogging days, and it's entirely different in voice and technique. For now, I'm happy doing what I do the way I'm doing.

The one way blogging has influenced my bookish life though is that it got me back into writing. I've always been a writer, since before I could properly pick up a pencil. For varying reasons, some very personal and others just trivial, I stopped in the last few years. I still kind of kept it up, did NaNo every year, but never took it seriously or really figured out a plot/outline. But that changed when I read Nina LaCour's The Disenchantments (review here!) - her writing style and subtle meaning reminded me exactly what I love about writing and reignited that passion. Shortly after, one of those lingering plot lines that'd been swimming around my head came back and practically shouted a direction at me. I'm quite happy to say that I'm back to writing, with an idea that I quite like :)

So, my blog doesn't extend much past itself - but I like it that way! I do look forward to reading others' posts about it though, maybe there are other aspects I had no idea about!

And since that wasn't much, I thought I'd tack on some random facts about me completely unrelated to books! It was surprisingly tough - pretty much everything I do leads back to books somehow - but I managed to scrape up some Fun Ashley Facts :)
  • I am an awesome person to know for 6 degrees of separation. Somehow it always works out that I know someone who knows someone and can lead you to who you want to get to. And yes, I can get you to Kevin Bacon. In 4 degrees.
  • I speak English, French and Italian. I can understand Spanish.
  • I'm a nail polish-aholic. I own 120+ bottles, a whole rainbow of colours, and insist on changing my nail colour at least 3 times a week. I love how it's such a small part of you that can speak loudly.
  • I bake. A lot. I started in college because it relaxed me, and I've loved it ever since. I make a mean peanut butter cookie.
  • Related: I don't like peanut butter! Hate it. Can't stand the smell, taste, texture, all of it. So I've never actually tasted my own peanut butter cookies! People just request them all the time.
  • I love the NFL. Give me a good football game any night and I'm a happy girl.
  • Music is big in my life. I sang in every school choir, my family and I play several instruments, and I'm usually listening to something at any time of the day. Not a moment goes by without some sort of tune in my head.
What are your tips to go beyond the blog?
Leave your link in my comments!
(and if you're not doing Armchair BEA, tell me a random non-bookish fact about you!)

*Gayle Forman's awesome response/opinion on cussing in YA.


  1. Faith Hope and CherryteaJune 7, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    thx for sharing your responses to today's post prompt Armchair BEA .. i've posted mine and was surprised at how much has evolved from this book blogging !

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksJune 18, 2012 at 1:34 AM

      thank you for stopping by!

  • The Housework Can WaitJune 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    I find it hilarious that you have awesome peanut butter cookies but you've never tried them. I'm kind of impartial to peanut butter myself, but there are a few foods I'll make for my family without tasting, because I personally don't like it.

    Great post! Here's my Armchair BEA Beyond the Blog Post!

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksJune 18, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      haha i know, it's so odd - and makes it difficult to talk it up to people since I have no idea! Thank you for stopping by :)

  • Racquel (A Book Barbie)June 7, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    I SUUUCK at baking cookies, ABSOLUTELY 100% SUCK. I'm not bad at making cake balls and brownies but every time I make cookies, I throw them away. So you must be pretty awesome haha. cookies are hard :p Anyways this is PERRRRRRFECT: "So, my blog doesn't extend much past itself - but I like it that way!" I agree completely!! It's exactly how I feel, for me it a hobby I love and take seriously but for now I don;t want to take it beyond that.

    Racquel @ The Book Barbies♥

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksJune 18, 2012 at 1:36 AM

      I've never made cake balls, though I've wanted to try! I don't actually like them though, so I never do (although I suppose that didn't stop me from the pb cookies haha). Brownies are fun to make, though I always hit a point while stirring the chocolate that I swear I'm doing it wrong, like all the ingredients will never finally fold together. And thanks about the phrase, I'm glad you agree! Best hobby in the world, and it's ok to stay that way :)

      Thank you for stopping by!

  • KristinaJune 7, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Why would you even start making peanut butter cookies if you knew you wouldn't like them?!

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksJune 18, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      i know, it's weird! But it happened because for any friend's birthday, I ask them to tell me one dessert/pastry/cookie/sweet they want and I'll make it for them as a gift. A friend requested PB, so I found a recipe online and tweaked it a bit for him. I forgot to check how many cookies it would make and ended up with something like 4 DOZEN! So I had to pawn all the extras off on friends, and since then, it's the most requested!

  • Jen RylandJune 8, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Not doing Armchair BEA but I love reading the posts!!
    Random fact about me: I can read and write upside down.

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksJune 18, 2012 at 1:42 AM

      Ooo, fun! I can read upside down pretty well, and I can usually write it but I'm suuuuuuuuuper slow! And I'll always mix up ds and bs haha.

  • Sierra AbramsJune 9, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    YAY!! I love this!! Okay, so, you speak French and Italian? Jealous! I can understand a lot of Spanish, speak it some, and I'm learning French. I can understand a bit of Italian. We should have a mash up of these languages and you can get me excited about finishing my French lessons - because I really really want to be fluent! :D

    Great post Ashely! Love these Armchair posts! :D

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksJune 18, 2012 at 1:46 AM

      haha i do speak it, and I love that you're learning French! So many people sneer at me when they learn I do, it makes me sad :( And i would not mind persuading you to finish your lessons, j'adore la langue de francais et de manquer de parler avec d'autres!

      Merci pour ton commentaire :)


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