Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'I Love Your Blog' Awards: December 2010 Winner--All Things Urban Fantasy

Don't you miss that icon?! I do! I'm glad to close this year with an amazing blog as December's Winner. All Things Urban Fantasy is this month's winner and I am so honored to give this award to the girls over at ATUF. A few months ago, I found this review blog when searching for new blogs to follow. I fell in love with the design immediately and soon was addicted to Abigail's reviews. To wrap up 2010, I wanted to give this award to a blog that deserves some recognition for being absolutely amazing and a great contribution to the blog world. So, here's to you, Abigail and Julia! ATUF definitely deserves this!

Here's my Q&A with Abigail:

How did you get started blogging?

I never set out to start a blog. I’d written reviews for years, but it wasn’t until I got caught up in the paranormal world through the Buffy TV show that I discovered the blogging community. When I started trying to find books similar to Buffy, I stumbled across Doug’s amazing blog, SciFiGuy.ca. I started paying attention to the things I liked about various blogs and what I didn’t. Finally I took the plunge in September 2009.

How did you get the idea for ATUF?
At the time, there were only a handful of paranormal fiction blogs available, and I thought I could fill a void. In hindsight, I wish I’d spent more time comparing Blogger to Wordpress before choosing Blogger.

How did you come up with the name for your blog, All Things Urban Fantasy?
Honestly, I had two really pragmatic reasons for choosing my title: I wanted it to show up first alphabetically and I wanted it to include the words “Urban Fantasy” so that I would get more search engine hits. Voila: All Things Urban Fantasy. I did have more fun coming up with the tagline: Where Para is Normal

What makes your blog stand out from others?
Visually, I‘m still crazy in love with my header that I had designed. I wanted something that looked like an urban fantasy cover and I think we nailed it.

Content wise, ATUF has a lot of regular features like Hot Off The Press (a list of monthly new releases), Cover Art Coverage (a collection of all the new covers released that week), How I Blog (my tips and tricks to blogging), Top Ten Lists (that one’s self explanatory) and phenomenal guests and giveaways.

ATUF also hosts special events throughout the year like Paranormal Summer Fest, Spooky Legends, Turkey Tales, and my personal favorite, The Urban Fantasy Cover Art Awards.

What is your favorite thing about blogging? The worse?
Honestly, the best thing is free books. I know a lot of bloggers say it’s not about ARCs, but that’s a huge perk. That and getting to interview authors.

The worst is the colossal time suck that a blog becomes. I had no idea going in how much work is involved. Having a partner has saved my sanity.

What have you learned from blogging?
Lots, that’s why I started my How I Blog feature :)

I know that you have started your 2010 Cover Awards, I certainly voted! How did you come up with the Cover Awards and when did you start them?
I started the awards just two months after I started my blog. I was looking for something to bring attention to my blog and I’ve always been obsessed with cover art. It took awhile to figure out the logistics, but it’s now my favorite event that I host.

How is this year's Cover Awards different from previous?
Time! I only had about a month of planning last year. This year, I started in August and had plenty of time organize the nomination/voting ballot and streamline the voting process, which in turn freed me up to contact all the authors and artists right away this year. I also had lots of bloggers who were anticipating the awards and started to promote from day one.

You have done lots of interviews, what is your favorite parts of interviewing? Do you have a favorite interview?
It can be challenging trying to come up with new questions for each interview, but it is unbelievably wonderful to have that kind of access to the authors you love. I do have one question I always ask and the answers are always great: “If X were ever made into a movie, who would your dream or, to keep things interesting, nightmare cast be?”

My favorite interview has to be the one I did with Maggie Stiefvater for LINGER. She’s one of my all time favorite authors and she was unbelievably generous with her answers.

Giving that you are a book reviewer, what have been you favorite books of 2010?
I actually just did a giveaway for my favorite books from 2010. These are the ones I rated 5/5:
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Double Cross by Carolyn Crane
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffith
City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Hunted By The Others by Jess Haines

What are you thinking of doing differently or bringing to ATUF in 2011?
I have a few surprises planned, but nothing drastic. I hope to review lots more books this year with Julia on board:)

What is one thing you wished you would have done differently since starting ATUF?
Only one? I probably would have gone with Wordpress over Blogger. The permalink feature alone would be worth it. And I probably would have gone with my own domain instead of the default .blogspot.com.

You have one feature called, How I Blog, can you give bloggers any tips?
My number one tip is the one I did my first How I Blog post about: Windows Live Writer. It’s a free program that you build your posts with. Check out my post to see what is so amazing about it.

What are you looking forward to for the upcoming holidays?
Books for Christmas!

Do you have any blog New Years resolutions?
Not to over extend myself.

Is there anything special you want for the holidays?
I jumped the gun and bought myself a Kindle over the summer, so I just want books and of course the time to read them. Oh, and a Snuggie!

I saw you have a new reviewer on the ATUF crew, Julia. How did she become your blog partner?
Julia. I was going quietly nuts before she joined ATUF. I was getting so many review requests, I couldn’t keep up. I decided to advertise for a new reviewer and of the 35 applicants, Julia was my first choice. She’s amazing and has such a wonderful conversational review style.

You have new community launched called Pocket After Dark, what is that about?
Pocket After Dark is a new site that Pocket books launched this year. Here’s the official copy:
Welcome to Pocket After Dark, an online community of urban fantasy and romance readers, where top authors share exciting new content and interact with fans. Check here regularly for free books, live chats, exclusive blogs, photos, video and more! So belly up to the bar at Pocket After Dark.
What is one thing you always live by when blogging?
Organization. Keep track of your contacts, upcoming guests, and review schedule. Time is the enemy of blogging and the more organized I am, the better use I’m able to make of my time.

Peace and Fangs,

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