Tag Archives: twitter

Year in Review: 2017

2017 was a year to be reckon with. Beyond the obvious, political environment, on a personal level, on all levels, this year was one that I would prefer to use as a learning lesson. So, just as warning, this will be a long post.

BOOKS, BOOKS & MORE BOOKS

I reached my Goodreads goal of 200 books this year :D Super excited about that because not only did I not reach it last year but I hit constant book walls this year. Between books that couldn’t keep my interest, books that did not live up to the hype and my own expectations and finally books that were poorly written, my book year has been full of highs and lows.

However, I did hit some fantastic reads, some good reads and some pretty covers, that I want to share.

Fantastic Reads

Why were these books fantastic reads? They were engaging, diverse, honest and creative. The plot kept me on my toes, the characters had development and growth. The world, in which the story is set, felt real like opening my front door. Some of these reads fed my love of history and mythology, while other fed my love for a sappy love story. Either way, my fantastic reads of 2017 are highly recommended.

Good Reads

Why were these books good reads? They didn’t hit all of my points previously mentioned in Fantastic reads. But they did keep me engaged for most of the book and I loved the character. Also these good reads, have a very strong foundation and although not 5 Pickles perfect, I am happy to have read them and read the next book in their series if it applies.

Pretty Covers

What’s a year in review, if I don’t display some gorgeous covers. Some of these books I have read, while others I have not been able to get to yet. But aren’t they just beautiful to look at!

WHAT TANYA HAS BEEN UP TO THIS YEAR

So as mentioned this year has been a unexpected force that put a lot of things in perspective. Firstly, I was able to visit my husband in Japan for two weeks and I was able to go to Dominican Republic this year as well. Both were amazing and it made me realize how attainable traveling can be, if you put your money in order. Because of these adventures, I have the wanderlust bug and actively planning a bunch of trips for 2018.

On a emotional level, I have been a mess. I have been missing my husband dearly and the toll of living on the other side of the world was heavy. It’s still heavy but it is much more manageable. We made celebrated two anniversaries this year. 6 years when we started dating or when I stopped being a butt and said sure (October 3rd) and 4 years when we said I do (December 6th). I tend to get a bit emotional when its comes to my Husband because when we met when I was emotionally and spiritually in bad shape. He stuck around even when I didn’t want him to. He means a lot to me and I can’t wait until his deployment is over and he is home for good.

On another note, school has been kicking my butt and the back and forth of if I should even keep going with my masters degree has been a unanswered question for months now. I am leaning towards banging out this final year (InshaAllah) but I am just not into this classes like I thought I would be. But I did better this semester, so hopefully I can keep that going.

I struggled a lot with past Tanya and current Tanya. Past Tanya was getting bored and tired of being in the past and wanted to explore some newfound freedoms, while current Tanya is not for that mess. But because of certain life changing decisions it was hard to stop those thoughts and move forward with the obvious right and better choice. Past Tanya has taken a step back and I pray that it will be for good. Because when I say she was a mess…smh just so messy.

I learned that self-care is needed not every once in a while but all the time and that it can take different forms. For me going to the library or bookstore, taking a bath and disconnecting from social media, have been the best methods I have learned and used a lot this year. I am still growing in this area because me and emotions aren’t the best of friends but I am proud of myself. I had less panic attacks than I did in 2016, so that counts right? Lol

On a second note, I saw my first ballet, went to a Harry Potter experience, watch old anime in a movie theater, met new people, started wearing lipstick, won a few arc giveaways and a bunch of other stuff. Although this year had some downs, the highs were highs but most importantly I lived and got to thank God for that everyday.

Social Media

As of today I have the following followers on each channel I run:

Instagram: viewsfromthe_desktop : 78 Followers

WordPress: motif by Tanya : 122 Subscribers 

Twitter: @motifink 408 Followers 

I have been participating in various twitter chats and hash tags. Social media is taking a lot of my time and I had made it my mission that every month, I will take a week vacation from it. However, despite the overload, I have been putting myself and Motif by Tanya out there and it is visible in the increase of followers. I even began writing monthly updates and topic specific blogs. During this year (2017) I forgot how much I enjoy writing and started making time for it despite my growing responsibilities. I love this renewal and in 2018, I tend to work on my writing more.

What Tanya Wants 2018

There are several goals I am reaching for this year, book related and in real life.

Book Goals:

  • Start posting regularly for Quick Five© interviews
  • Begin posting The Frustrated Reader© monthly
  • Clear out my arc queue on Netgalley
  • Attend book conventions and festivals
    • Book Con
    • Bronx Festival
    • Y’all Fest
    • Book Expo
    • Novateen Book Fest
    • Well Read Black Girl Fest
  • Begin posting on either Amazon or Goodreads
  • Start a YouTube channel

Travel Goals:

  • Baltimore
  • Bday Cruise
  • Seattle
  • Paris
  • Chicago

Personal Goals:

  • Pray 5 daily prayers on time
  • Quran reading
  • Learn Arabic
  • Start rockclimbing again
  • Learn to fence
  • Learn to bake bread and make a pie from scratch
  • Volunteer
  • Learn to drift & drive a stick

Professional Goals:

  • Begin freelance writing
  • Move up in my current company
  • Own a business

What Tanya Wants New Releases: January 2017

Now what can be a end of the year, beginning of the year wrap up without my anticipated reads for January 2017 :)

I do plan on participating in #unreadshelfproject2018 but with so many new reads I am waiting for this year, I am going to modify my goal. For every 3 tbr books, physical and digital, that I have, I will read one of wants. Sounds fair right :)

In Conclusion:

I know that this was a long post and it could have been several posts spaced out during the week but it was great therapy. What is that saying, speak it into existence? Not only am I doing that but praying first and foremost. Is this considered a new year’s resolution? Naw not really. Motif by Tanya is a book review and author interview website but it is also my baby that I put a lot of time in. It’s time to make her stand out and if that means showing a little bit more of me every so so then so be it.

Peace and Blessings, Ya’ll <3

Muslim Writers

In the light of some interesting books and viewpoints being created and posted, specifically on Twitter, I decided to dedicate this post to Muslim writers.

If you did not know by now, I identity myself as a practicing Muslim woman, hijab and all. And although it is not new to see Muslims as the topic of discussion, I felt that something needed to be said at this point. Why? Because reading is the most important thing that humans are capable of. Words change or make your viewpoint. Stories remind you of something; be what is happening presently or what you think can happen in the future, stories shape this world.

But I slightly digress. What sent me over the edge is shown below:

For those that have said or will say ‘but there are books about Jewish detainment camps and Asian detainment camps.” Yes, there are because that actually happened. It is a part of history. Muslim detainment camps where a random white girl saves the day… not my cup of tea nor do I feel it is appropriate to tell that story, mainly because that crap aint happen. And not the whole white girl saves the day, most main stream books tell that same story over and over again. But having a white author talk about Muslim detainment camps as if it actually happened or is going to happen is troubling. That’s my issue and if you have an issue feel free to argue about it among yourselves because I’m not.

The purpose of this post is to remind you all that there are Muslim voices and it is important to read their stories and support them. Just like you are willing to pay $10-$20 to read the white girl save the day, you can support a book where a Muslim girl or boy, woman or man, saves the day, be it the world or their world. Shown below are books written by Muslim authors. If you don’t support Muslim authors, you can never say you didn’t know any. So here are a few. #muslimshelfspace

<3

Quick Five© with Joanna Wiebe

Courtesy of Joanna Wiebe
Courtesy of Joanna Wiebe

Name: Joanna Wiebe

Who is Joanna?  Canadian author new  to the YA mystery scene, with a love for espresso, chocolate, cheese and wine.

Website: http://joannawiebefiction.com/

Books: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy #1)

Buy: Amazon, Barnes and NoblesBenBella (ON JANUARAY 14)

 

Hooray! For first interview of 2014! Readers meet author Joanna Wiebe. If you haven’t heard of her its okay but then again it isn’t. Her debut novel The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is to be released on January 14th and it is creating so much buzz most (mainly me) readers cannot contain themselves.

Motif was lucky enough to catch Wiebe for a Quick Five© and as her about how excited she is about her first novel and if going to college is worth the paper it is written on. Enjoy!

 

 The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is your debut novel. . . . How are you feeling about its release? How long have you been waiting for this moment?

I’m feeling a healthy dose of excitement and anxiety, which are hard to tell apart sometimes. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any writer who’s like, “Yup, perfect, I wouldn’t change a word” when handing their manuscript over to the publisher; there’s a reason the American version of Moby Dick differed quite a bit from the English version, which was published first. But I’m really happy with where this novel ended up, and it’s been very cool (read: a roller coaster) to read early reactions to it.

As for how long I’ve waited, well, I guess I’ve waited my whole life. Or at least since I was eight years old, writing a little story on my nana’s typewriter, and eagerly consuming her encouragement. That my book will be on bookstore shelves as of Jan 14 is, to indulge myself in a cliché, a dream come true.

      BenBella Books    To Be Published Jan. 14, 2014                272 Pages
BenBella Books
To Be Published Jan. 14, 2014
272 Pages

 

What inspired you to write this novel? Was it an event, a story or the lack of story?

I wish it was one thing, but it was everything. You read those interviews with writers who say their characters visited them in a dream, and you think, man, that would be convenient! My characters are like standoff-ish cats, turning their backs to me until they’re good and ready to let me near them. That said, it wasn’t all waiting for my characters to show themselves and tell me their story. I went into this knowing a) I wanted to tell a boarding school story because I love them so much and b) I wanted to experiment with telling the story in such a way that readers would be kept guessing. So far, it seems like the book is successful at both A and B.

 

Why did you choose to create this story as a series?

Anne’s discovery of the truth of Cania Christy, which is essentially the core of the first book, is just the beginning. We still need to find out what she, of all people, is doing at such a school – because, in fact, it’s not entirely what Anne and Ben think it is. And once Anne discovers why she’s there and what that means, she’s going to have to make a very difficult choice. This was a story that just couldn’t be told in one book – as much as I tried! 

 

 Do you feel that your degree in English helped you to become a better writer? If so, why?

I think a degree in English exposes you to an impressive range of books and styles that you just wouldn’t come across on your own. I would never have read Donald Barthelme’s Snow White or William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying had I not been an English major. Although this book is not written in a postmodern or modern voice or style, I as a writer am influenced by those styles – and it’s helped enrich my voice, I think. I hope. One day, if I can get past the worry that I’m a pretentious fop, I’ll write a postmodern YA novel that would make Barthelme proud.

While an English major, I took creative writing classes, and those definitely helped transform me into a better writer. They also taught me discipline, thickened my skin, and boosted my ego just enough, I think. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to write a book.

 

Finally, if you had to describe your writing style in one word, what would it be and why?

Spongy. I tend to write big, long sentences that are all dense with everything going on – feelings, happenings, even tangents – and then, when I edit, I have to squeeze those big, soaking sentences and shake out shorter, piecier phrases that won’t weigh on the reader quite so much.

 

Follow this very funny and interactive author on these various social media sites eh? (hahahaha)

Twitter

Goodreads

Facebook

 

 

Quick Five© with Mindee Arnett

 Courtesy of Mindee Arnett            (Goodreads)
Courtesy of Mindee Arnett
(Goodreads)

Name: Mindee Arnett

Who is Mindee? A horse loving, former boxer who loves all things paranormal and Mumford and Sons.

Website: http://www.mindeearnett.com

Books: The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy Books 1 &2) and Avalon (Avalon #1)

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles

If you haven’t read The Nightmare Affair you need to read my review here and then go buy the book. When you speak to an author a book that you believe changes the whole game, the excitement you feel is off the charts. After having a brief fan girl moment, Tanya Pickles interviewed Mindee Arnett, cutting down the basics of her popular first book and what it took to get there.

Motif Ink is honored . . . Enjoy

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What inspired The Nightmare Affair?

             Tor Teen  Published March 5, 2013              367 Pages
Tor Teen
Published March 5, 2013
367 Pages

The primary inspiration came from the Henry Fuseli painting The Nightmare. It depicts a woman with a “nightmare” sitting on her chest. I saw it and wondered what it would be like if the situation were reversed, if the woman were doing the sitting instead. And voilà, Dusty was born.

You state on your website that you wrote four novels, only submitted one and received dozens of rejection letters. What pushed you to keep trying?

Well, publishing was always the goal, but the drive has always been the story. Regardless of failure I never felt any desire to stop writing. And it just sort of followed that I would keep on trying to publish as well. Also, more than anything I think beginning writers need to understand that writing is a skill that takes a lot of time to develop. And the only way to develop it is to continue writing. I don’t consider those early novels as failures. They were practice novels.

 How would you define your style of writing? What is it about your writing that draws people to read or continue reading your book/books?

Hmm…I’m not sure how to describe my style. I love vivid imagery and language, snappy dialogue, and a story that moves. I really don’t know what draws people to read my stuff other than the ideas themselves.

             Tor Teen    Expected Publication March 4, 2014             384 Pages
Tor Teen
Expected Pub. March 4, 2014
384 Pages

Do you feel that you are a successful writer? What makes you successful?

I think that success isn’t something you obtain. I think it’s something you have to strive for every day. It’s always ongoing. So I guess by that logic I’m only successful because I keep at it.

 Finally, what is the lasting impression you wish to leave in the literary world?

Ha! For now, all I aspire to is to keep having the opportunity to write more books. We’ll see if there’s any lasting impression later, I suppose.

Mindee loves cyber stalkers (hahaha) so follow her here

Twitter

Goodreads

Blog

Facebook

For your Quick Five© email Tania at wordpress174@gmail.com

Quick Five© with Kimberly Karalius

   Courtesy of Kimberly Karalius
Courtesy of Kimberly Karalius

Name: Kimberly Karalius

Who is Kimberly? A Floridian author, who prefers to stay indoors, dream of fairy tales and watch silent movies.

Website: http://kkaralius.blogspot.com/

Books: The Pocket Forest

Buy: Amazon

Fairy tales are becoming the go to topics for Young Adult books. However, retelling a fairy tale doesn’t exactly leave the biggest mark in the literature world. Meet Kimberly Karalius, an author who decided to create her own fairy tale without the total help from Disney. Interviewed by Tania Lasenburg, Kimberly explains why college was worth it and how is it that she can write so much!

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How has your college courses help you write your first book? Was it worth going to college to be a writer or was it an experience you can do without?
In college, I was raised as an English major despite my core classes being writing. We didn’t have a creative writing program. Whatever stories I wrote were entirely on my own time, staying up late in my dorm room with a binder full of ideas. I did write my first novel in college, but I never finished it. I planned too much, leaving me no room to improvise in my first draft (a good example of when organization isn’t you best friend).
Meanwhile, I studied Keats, wrote a paper on 16th century pastorals, and learned how to pick symbolism out of ancient mythology.

       Deathless Press  Published Oct. 16, 2013        Ebook 58 Pages
Deathless Press
Published Oct. 16, 2013
Ebook 58 Pages
It wasn’t until graduate school that I really got to focus on “being a writer.” I had never been exposed to so many craft techniques and exercises, literary journals, and perceptions that came out during heated workshops. Because my fellow grad students were also aspiring writers and poets, good conversation about books, films, and video games were never lacking. These days, graduate school is a choice for writers. Do you need to go? I don’t think so. But for me, dedicating three years to honing my writing skills was time well spent!
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It states that your book is an original fairy tale. What made you decide to do a take on fairy tales? What inspired “Pocket Forest”?
Most of my stories are inspired by fairy tales, so it was second nature to go that route with Pocket Forest. However, inspiration for Pocket Forest didn’t stem from a particular fairy tale, but rather a subculture: mori girls.
Mori girl (or forest girl) is a fashion movement created in Japan. Mori girls embrace a natural and woodsy look, wearing loose-fitting dresses, layers, and blushing cheeks. While the style is endearing, the philosophy caught my attention. If you’re a mori girl, you take life at a slow pace. You trust your feeling above everything and enjoy the tiny details in life.
After reading about them, I knew I wanted to write about a mori girl. Thus, Harriet (and her mori boy counterpart, Stig) was born.
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You have several  writings displayed on Figment.com. How are you able to focus the story you see in your head and place it on paper?

One step at a time. Sharing my stories on Figment has certainly helped in that area. While some ideas are harder than others to wrestle down on paper, I’ve found that knowing I have readers waiting for the next installment is motivation enough to keep writing.  

 
   Short Story by Kimberly Karalius via Figment.com
Short Story by Kimberly Karalius via Figment.com

As far as authors go who do you look at as inspiration to do what you do better?

When I’m looking to improve my description, I love settling down with one my poetry collections. Sara Teasdale is by far my favorite poet; she writes plainly, but her poems are full of lush images and feelings. I have a few favorite authors that I reread, not only to enjoy their stories again, but to also see how they handled certain scenes or dialogue. My list of favorite authors keeps growing, though!

Finally,  how would you describe your success as a writer not only with “Pocket Forest” but with all your stories?

I think writers succeed when they are heard. For me, nothing makes me happier that receiving emails from my readers. The fact that they liked my writing enough to take the time to write me is a magical thing. After Pocket Forest was released, seeing the reviews on Goodreads and quotes from my chapbook being circulated on tumblr was very exciting. Still is, really. It’s one of the wonderful aspects of being a writer.

 

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Kimberly loves what she does and loves sharing it with people so follow her here to stay constant in her fairy tales

                                         For your Quick Five© email wordpress174@gmail.com for more details

Quick Five © with Graeme Simsion

     Graeme Simsion      (Photographed by James Penlidis)
Graeme Simsion
(Photographed by James Penlidis)

Name: Graeme Simsion

Who is Graeme? Australian author born in New Zealand with love of a good story as well as information systems.

Website: http://pages.simonandschuster.com/therosieproject

Books: The Rosie Project, Data Modeling: Theory and Practice, Data Modeling Essentials

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles,  and ITunes

Amazing surprises can happen on twitter. The connections you can build or find it just so overwhelming you can’t but smile. When I posted the review of The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion’s first novel (click here), I didn’t expect for the author himself to find my review and share it with his fans. It made my night. However, when asked for an interview, Simsion agreed and that placed me on cloud nine. So it is my esteem pleasure to provide this interview with Graeme Simsion to my readers in which he discusses his best selling book The Rosie Project.          Enjoy

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Before this debut book “The Rosie Project” you had released three technical books. What made you decide to enter the world of fiction?

Actually, just two technical books, though I did contribute to some others. In 1998 I read Joe Queenan’s  book ‘The Unkindest Cut’ about making a low budget film. I was inspired to make my own. I adapted a story my wife had written and that led to me trying to write an original screenplay and so it went…

The Rosie Project is a very unique story.  How did you come up with the idea? Most importantly how were you

     Simon & Schuster   Published Jan. 1, 2013            340 Pages
Simon & Schuster
Published Jan. 1, 2013
340 Pages

able to create Don Tillman?

I worked in information technology and academia for many years – and originally studied physics. So I met a lot of Dons. The original story was inspired by a friend of mine who struggled to find a partner, but over five years it changed totally. I made up stuff!

How would you describe the success you’re receiving for your first novel?

It’s what I dreamed about and worked towards – but that doesn’t mean I expected it to happen. It’s been a huge surprise and I’m enjoying it – even getting up at 4am to catch flights to meet readers and booksellers. I’m delighted so many readers are enjoying the story and in so many cultures and languages – current translation count is 36.

The Rosie Project is being described as chick literature. How do you feel about that?

My only problem is that I don’t want men to be put off reading it. It’s a book with a male protagonist written by a male and men who actually pick it up and start reading generally keep reading and enjoy it. It’s also been described as “romance” and while I’d debate whether it’s genre romance (I don’t think so) if that gets it a wider audience then I’m not complaining. Overall the literary reception has been very good, so I don’t feel it’s been put down by any labels.
Finally,  is it too soon to look for a new book?

Not at all! I’m working on a sequel that I’m expecting to be published late next year.

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Constantly  interacting with his fans, follow Graeme on these sites:

Twitter

Goodreads

Facebook

                                         For your Quick Five© email wordpress174@gmail.com for more details