5 Year BLOGIVERSARY + Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Guess what’s special about today? πŸ˜‰ (Okay, okay, the title may have given that away. *cough*)

It’s my 5 Year Blogiversary! πŸ˜€

Yes, you heard that correctly.

On this day, half a decade ago, I posted my very first post on this blog!

It’s been a long, exciting journey, and I just started another shiny website too (as well as having a book blog I’ve been enjoying for a few years) — but this is where it all began, and it’s still the heart of my online presence as a writer, and… well… a human. πŸ˜‰

So I’m celebrating with a giveaway (Hobbit-birthdays and all that sort of thing, so read on for that) and general merriment and partying.

*passes out virtual cupcakes and tosses confetti on everyone*

The Stats

  • 5 years
  • 293 posts (as of this one!)
  • 590 followers (plus social media = 1,091 followers, hence the number on the side. ;))
  • 6,700 comments
  • 16,298 visitors
  • 45,789 views

Top Commenters

Commenters are my favorite — this means you! Also, special shoutout to my top commenters of late. You guys are amazing! THANK YOU! (Everyone, check out their amazing blogs! ^_^)

My top 10 most popular posts this year

Thank You

I just want to say thank you.

Thanks to all my lovely readers, followers, and commenters! You make this blogging thing worthwhile. πŸ™‚ It’s been such a joy taking this road with you all. Thank you for joining me in the journey. ❀

*GROUP HUG*

Blogiversary Giveaway

Okay, here’s the part you’re REALLY here for! πŸ˜‰

There are 5 (ish) prizes — because 5 years — and they are (surprise, surprise!) books!

I love sharing books with people, and I also frequent library sales and collect beloved books. So I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with y’all! ^_^

But just a second, because I’m going to tell you all about one of the awesome prizes. πŸ˜€

Stellar September

I’m extremely excited to be showcasing The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder today!

I won an ebook ARC copy of this book, and loved it so much that I raved about it in a review, got a paperback copy when I got to meet the author at Realm Makers (!!!), and just ordered a second paperback copy just so I could give it away on my blogiversary post today. πŸ™‚

Mollie was also awesome and donated two sets of gorgeous character cards, of the delightful characters from The Electrical Menagerie, for me to share with y’all! (Visit the artist on Instagram.) One set I’m giving away with the paperback (US), and one set I’m offering as an International prize, because I love you peeps too! ❀

But wait, there’s even more delightful news! πŸ˜€

The Electrical Menagerie got a starred review on Publisher’s Weekly yesterday! :O I’m SO excited for Mollie, and so proud of her and this splendiferous book (and its characters. ;))! I just love it so much, and I hope more people will discover it. ^_^

If you’re curious to read it, now is a fantastic time to try it out, becauseΒ the ebook is only 99 cents on Amazon right now, for a promotion Mollie is calling Stellar September. And is it ever stellar! πŸ˜€ So go get yourself a copy! ❀

And, of course, enter to win a paperback copy of this (and other books) below. πŸ˜‰

You can learn more about The Electrical Menagerie, Mollie, and the characters, and sign up for Mollie’s newsletter for a free novelette about Huxley (it’s hilarious, FYI!), at thecelestialisles.com or writeratops.com!

The Giveaway Prizes

  1. The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder (paperback) — Steampunk (ish). The rest of these books I got at library sales, but this one I ordered. It’s a recent release, which I may have flailed about a lot. πŸ˜‰ And since I’m writing steampunk right now, and love humor and dynamic characters, it seemed to fit the theme of my giveaway. πŸ™‚ Let me just tell you that if you love The Greatest Showman, or steampunk, or dynamic duo friendships, or humor/snark, or magical worlds (floating islands with sky-trains run by stardust!), you simply have to try this book out! ❀ Included with this book is a set of the 4 lovely character cards!
  2. Magician’s Ward by Patricia C. Wrede (paperback) — Regency Fantasy. You can read my full review here, but this is a fascinating and fun story set in an alternate Regency London, about the fabulous magician (and eligible bachelor) Mairelon the Magician, and his ward, Kit, who is a street-thief-turned-Regency-lady. And yes, this is as fabulous as it sounds. XD It’s technically the second book in a duology, but I read it as a standalone and understood it just fine. (I’ve since read the first book, and enjoyed it, but not as much as I loved this one.) This is an ex-library paperback and is slightly worn — apologies! — but the story inside is lovely. πŸ˜‰
  3. Conrad’s Fate (Chrestomanci Series) by Diana Wynne Jones (hardcover) — Fantasy. You know this had to be on here, because of COURSE I have to give away a DWJ book. πŸ˜‰ Even if you haven’t read any of the Chrestomanci books before, you can start with this one (as it’s sort of a prequel). It’s a lot of fun, and features a teenage Chrestomanci/Christopher Chant, which was AWESOME. It’s also a buddy story, from the point of view of the “servants” at an older, fancy, British-like house, with magical shenanigans and humor. I love it. πŸ˜€
  4. The End of the Third Age by J.R.R. Tolkien (paperback) — This is the tail-end of a series of books featuring some of Tolkien’s older drafts of The Lord of the Rings (edited by his son Christopher Tolkien). But the reason I’m giving away this one is that it has the UNPUBLISHED epilogue of The Lord of the Rings, which never made it into the final version, but which I strongly believed SHOULD HAVE. It’s about Sam and his kids after the end, and makes the end of LOTR not sad, say I — it ends on a better note. There are two versions of the epilogue, both collected in this volume, and even if you don’t read the rest of the book, you HAVE to read them. And I want to make it possible for some LOTR fan to read it, so I’m giving away a copy. πŸ™‚ (Plus, what with the Silmaril Awards going on right now — don’t forget to vote for your favorite characters this week!! — this feels like an appropriate thing to give away. ;))
  5. If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (paperback) — Nonfiction. This is one of my favorite books on writing. I wrote a whole post about it once, which you can check out to see if it’s the sort of book you would like. And since this is “The Road of a Writer” and I know many of you are writers, it seemed fitting. πŸ™‚
  6. Another set of Electrical Menagerie character cards (INTERNATIONAL) — Because, as I mentioned, Mollie kindly sent along two sets, and I wanted something for any of my lovely non-American readers who would like to enter a giveaway. (Huxley makes a great bookmark. I’m just sayin’. ;))

Giveaway details

  • You must be subscribed to my newsletter, or if you haven’t, your email address will be added to my newsletter, from which you can unsubscribe any time. (But I like to think that the sort of people who enjoy the sorts of books I’m giving away above, will be the sort to enjoy my newsletter. ;))
  • This giveaway is open from September 11 – 15, 2018
  • The books are US entries only (sorry! Because shipping) but the second set of character cards are just for international entries! πŸ™‚
  • There will be 6 winners
  • Winners will be chosen by random draw. The winners be contacted by email, and posted here on or after September 17

You can subscribe to my newsletter here. πŸ™‚

Enter the giveaway in the form below, or, if it’s not working for you, click here!

Giveaway Form

That’s it!

P.S. If you want to follow me on Instagram, I’m hoping to post a different fun picture there each day this week during the giveaway to showcase each of the books, so… there’s that. πŸ˜‰

Whew! I think that’s all the fun I have for you guys today. πŸ™‚ (Special thanks to Mollie for providing the character trading cards for the giveaway!)

Do you want to read The Electrical Menagerie? And which of these books would you most love to win? πŸ˜€ Thanks for joining me in my blogoversary as I celebrate 5 years of blogging! You’re all awesome! ❀

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I’m Back From Realm Makers! + Announcements/Updates!

Hey, friends!

I’m back and I have new shinies to share with you!

Including a website and new social medias and *whispers* the time my short story got read aloud at Realm Makers. (Whaaat??)

Ahem.

Backing up… I’m back from the Realm Makers writers conference! *collapses and curls up in a tapestry to sleep for a century or three* *crawls quickly out again because it’s far too hot to do anything of the kind*

Sneak-peek! (Full post coming soon; promise.)

I’ve hardly been home in the last month or so, let alone blogging (sorry, my neglected bloggy and readers!). But although I’m still trying to climb out from under the pile of Things That Need Doing, I’m back, so hurray!

I’m still sorting through Realm Makers pictures and typing up notes from the classes, and trying to get back into the swing of life again. (It’s… taking awhile. Being gone again shortly after getting back from my roadtrip didn’t help things, and then I went kayaking this weekend. So it’s been fun, but it’s nice to be home.)

I’m HOPING that I’ll be able to pull together some kind of Special Edition Ishness for a Realm Makers recap shortly and get that posted next week. Because I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

In the meantime, I wanted to say that I’m back, I had an AMAZING time, met so many author friends, and got so many books. XD (You can see my bookhaul over on my bookblog if you like!)

More details will be forthcoming! But I’ve kind of abandoned my poor little blog for a month and wanted to say hi to you lovely readers. πŸ™‚

I also have Announcements!

Remember back in the day, I had writing dreams/goals for this year? Well, I’m happy to announce that I’ve accomplished several of them! πŸ˜€

See, I wasn’t only busy with Realm Makers — I was also busy kind of polishing up my online writer presense, and it’s time to tell you aaall about that!

I have an Instagram!

*gasp* The shock! Okay, so I’ve had one for awhile but couldn’t post any pictures on it until I recently acquired a smartphone. XD

After getting back from Realm Makers, I’ve been having a blast putting together fun Bookstagram posts. πŸ˜› So if you’re at all interested, you can check out my profile here. πŸ™‚

I have a Facebook page!

Yes indeed, my very own writerly FB page, where I’m planning on sharing (hopefully) writing updates and occasional snippets, as well as… well… probably writerly stuff and my blogposts and maybe some bookish things. I haven’t totally decided. But it’s my new fun place to share stuff when it can’t quite fit on Twitter. XD (If you like, you may like it, and I will like love you for, like, forever. Yikes, that was way too many likes in one sentence. Somebody save me from myself.)

New Website

I have my very own official website, guys!! :O I’m so excited. I’ve only been working on this for MONTHS. *nervous laughter*

At the moment, I’m still keeping my two blogs separate, just linking back and forth to all the things — although someday I might change that and transfer these to my domain. For now though (because that’s scary *cough*) I’m using deborahocarroll.com for a central hub, sort of, which I can link to (instead of trying to decide which of my blogs to link to).

It’s also where I have Important Stuff all in one place, like social media links and About Me and my Reviewing and Editing Services (oh, yes, I’m a freelance copyeditor/proofreader; did you know? :P) and a smol page about my current WIPs and so on.

But I got it done and it looks nice (I think) and I’m SO HAPPY. ^_^

It’s also hosting my new…

Newsletter!

Yes, I actually have a newsletter now! *cue gasps from the astonished audience*

I haven’t done much with it yet but I finally set one up. As of next month, I’ll have been blogging for 5 years (FIVE! :O) and I’ve thought of a newsletter as kind of the next step… so I’m finally taking it!

We’ll see what said newsletters turn out to be like (definitely Deborah and fantasy and writing and book related, though! XD) but in the meantime if you’d like virtual otters/cupcakes and a short story and my eternal love and adoration, you can sign up for it if you’d like to at all. ^_^

I’m planning for it to eventually be my go-to way of reaching my most loyal fans about All The Things so… yeah. (I’ll still, obviously, be blogging as well, though!)

Wait, what was that about a short story, you ask?

Let me tell you about that… πŸ˜€

How My Flash Fiction Was Read Aloud at Realm Makers (and You Can Get It For Free)

At the very beginning of July, I saw a contest held by Splickety for fantasy flashfiction works of 300 words or less… and the winner would be published in the January edition, and that and nine other finalist stories would be chosen to be read aloud in a “flash critique” session at the Realm Makers conference.

So I wrote a little something, sent it in (my third time submitting to a real contest), and figured that was that.

Well it wasn’t.

The winning story was by a blogging friend (CONGRATS, KIRA!!), and my story was one of the 10 — actually the very first one — that was read aloud and critiqued by a panel of Splickety people. *collapses* I. was. so. excited. πŸ˜€

Andrew Winch, Will Wight, and Josh Smith, giving their critiques of the Splickety stories. (Photo credit to Ralene Burke, found here. I was far too gobsmacked to remember to take pictures.)

They said mostly nice things about it and it was read aloud in a room full of people (aaahh!) and everyone laughed at one of the funny parts and just — it was absolutely amazing. πŸ˜€

If you weren’t one of the people in the room listening to it, you can still read it if you’d like. πŸ˜‰ I decided that I’d make it available to my newsletter subscribers as my little opt-in reward thingamawhatsit (I know, such technical terms. *cough*).

Here’s info I wrote up about it if you want to know what it’s about:

Mentor Problems, a 300 word flash fiction story by Deborah O’Carroll, was one of ten finalist stories read aloud at Splickety Magazine’s flash-critique session at the Realm Makers 2018 writers conference. Do you like humor and fantasy tropes with a twist? Then you’ll love this bite-sized read!

So yeah! If you’d like to read it, you can get it by subscribing here! (And of course you’re welcome to unsubscribe at any time; nobody knows how full inboxes can get like I do. πŸ˜› Though of course I’d love it if you stick around!)

Wattpad and adorable new otter cover

I haven’t done a lot on my Wattpad, but I did put a few short stories I’ve had hither and yon on the interwebs over there, including the otter one with an adorable new cover I made. πŸ˜‰

Not sure what I’ll do there in the future, but there it is!

Cuteness. Because you need Gavin the otter secretary in your life.

Okay, I’m done now!

So I may also have tweaked some things around this blog and my book blog, in terms of pages/links/social media/etc., and on already-established social media like my Twitter, trying to get it all tied in together. It’s kind of exciting. ^_^

But that’s all I have to share today. I just had to show you the new shinies! I’m thinking of it as getting my authorial internet house in order, so I can focus on moving forward in whichever direction I end up going… which at the moment is going to look like lots of writing and an epic #RealmMakers2018 recap post hopefully next week! YAY!

So I will see you then! πŸ˜€

What do you think of my new shinies? Are you curious to read my flash fiction? (AAHH, I’m so excited!) And what have you been up to? I’ve missed you guys and can’t wait to chat in the comments! Thanks so much for bearing with me and reading my updates. You’re the best! ❀

We Otter Do It: I Won a Flash Fiction Writing Contest!

Guys! I won a contest! *squeaks*

I’m really excited to announce that I won the fan-voted Fellowship of Fantasy Mythical Doorways flash fiction Writing Contest! I can’t believe it, and little Gavin the otter and I are so grateful for y’all’s votes!

The contest was to write a 500 word or less story, opening with “The door creaked open …” I won the adult section, and the winner of the 15 and under category wrote an amazing story too!

FYI, flash fiction = a short story of one thousand words or less. Or, in this case, 499 words, which is how long “We Otter Do It” is — and you can read the whole thing on the Fellowship of Fantasy blog where it’s being featured today! πŸ™‚ Along with the other winning story, which is fantastic. πŸ˜€

So drop by to meet a little otter secretary named Gavin. πŸ˜‰ And leave a comment here or there to let me know what you think! ^_^

We Otter Do It

by Deborah O’Carroll

The door creaked open. A tall, wobbling stack of parchment pattered into the room on little furry paws. At least, that’s what it looks like when your otter secretary comes into your office carrying the mail.

I’m a respectable young man and a magician, and nobody would believe me if I told them my life is tyrannized by an adorable otter.

Read the rest at fellowshipoffantasy.com


P.S. Oh, and the writing contest was a publicity thing to celebrate the release of a Fellowship of Fantasy short story anthology which released last week, Mythical Doorways, featuring stories by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, H.L. Burke, and nine other fantastic authors. You can get the ebook free online in some places (I think Amazon is currently being difficult but it’s 99 cents there at the moment and might be free again). Anyway, I’m reading it now and enjoying it. And it’s unrelated to the contest, except in both having doorways. XD

P.P.S. This is the first time I’ve won a writing contest and I’m SO EXCITED. It’s got me floating in the clouds! AWK.

Thank you for reading! ❀

Draft Zero (Finally!)

I’ve only been meaning to post about my Draft Zero technique for AGES. XD

Many of you have asked if I’d share a little bit more about it, when I’ve mentioned this writing method of mine.

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve finally written a post about it and I’m sharing it today as my first-ever guest-post, on the blog of my dear friend Lisa Pickle!

If you’d like to hear about my favorite writing tip I’ve discovered, you now can!

There’s also a Howl’s Moving Castle reference. (Because obviously. We’re talking about me…)

Get ye hence and read! πŸ˜€

And maybe leave a comment if you’re so inclined!

(And follow Lisa because she’s lovely. ^_^)

Announcing 2nd Annual Silmarillion Awards!

I have some very exciting news for you all today! πŸ˜€

I’m pleased to announce that this July, beginning next week, myself and 9 other awesome bloggers are going to present . . .

The Second Annual Silmarillion Awards

Some may remember last year’s awards, but for anyone new (or needing a refreshed memory) they are a fan-voted just-for-fun award for recognizing the greatest fantasy characters in several categories… And since characters from The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) are fairly universally recognized as the top of the line in these matters, they are the ones presenting the awards, “Silmarils” (from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion), to said fan-voted characters.

These are unofficial, just-for-fun awards, a sort of “Fantasy Oscars” for beloved characters from fantasy novels. πŸ™‚

We’re also having oodles of fun giveaways, a scavenger hunt for a Tolkien-themed grand-prize, and all sorts of fantasy fun, so you are NOT going to want to miss this! πŸ˜€ (You can also get a snazzy commemorative t-shirt or mug to cover costs, if you like; details on Jenelle’s blog here about that and other SilmAwards details!)

This year, we’re switching things up and each taking a different award than we had before. There are also a few different categories that that weren’t here last year! As well as a couple of new bloggers joining us! We’re all very excited. πŸ˜€

Last year, I hosted the Strangest Character Silmaril (presented by Tom Bombadil) which was awarded to Puddleglum in rhyme-form. (Now THAT was fun…)

This time, I will be presenting an award that is new this year:

The Most Epic Heroine Silmaril (Presented by Eowyn)

I’m very excited. πŸ˜€

The other awards, their presenters, and the bloggers hosting them are as follows:

Notes:

  1. These are LIFETIME awards, which means that a character who won an award in a previous year is not eligible for this year.
  2. Characters from Tolkien’s works are also not eligible for voting, since they are already recognized as the top characters in those categories of fantasy excellence, which is why they’re presenting them. πŸ™‚
  3. And you can’t nominate a character YOU wrote; though you are definitely welcome to tell your own readers about the awards and encourage them to nominate some of your characters. πŸ™‚

Time Line

The time-line is going to be:

  • Round 1: July 3-7: Nominations Begin! Nominate your favorite fantasy characters from beloved books, in the appropriate comment-thread of each participating blog for that category (or “second” someone else’s nomination!).
  • Round 2: July 10-14: Voting Begins! The top 5 characters in each category with the most “seconds” will be up for voting during this week. Be sure to vote for your favorite in each category!
  • Round 3: July 17-28: Award Presentation! The winner of each category will be announced on the hosting blogs on different days throughout this period of time, and the characters from The Lord of the Rings (or The Hobbit) representing each category will present the Silmaril awards to the most-voted-for characters!
  • Round 4: July 29: Celebrate! In celebration of the 63rd anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings, you’re invited to join the fun by posting on your own blog or social media about why you love Fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien, etc. Basically, let’s party about all things Fantasy and/or Tolkien!

What do you do now?

I know, it’s SUCH suspense, having to wait a whole week!

But if you need something to do while you wait, may I suggest you:

  • Follow the hosts’ blogs if you don’t already (they’re all awesome!)
  • Get excited!
  • Spread the word around social media (use #SilmAwards2017)
  • If you’re a blogger, you can start thinking up some sort of fantasy-or-Tolkien-appreciation post for the end of July, because you have a whole month to do it! πŸ˜‰
  • Most importantly, start thinking of your favorite fantasy characters in each of those categories so you’ll be all ready to start nominating on July 3rd!

Stay tuned, as there will be more info (and the awards themselves), as well as giveaways and general fantasy fun, coming next week and all through July. πŸ™‚

(You can also share this infographic I made, below. Or the gorgeous, official SilmAwards logos, above, that DJ Edwardson made.)

Nominations start in one week! So get ready!! πŸ˜€

What do you think?

Are you excited? I’M EXCITED. Which award are you most looking forward to? And does it sound like it’s going to be epic or WHAT? πŸ˜€ Thanks for reading! ^_^