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Friday, September 21, 2012

Blogger On Blogger Interview: DaVinciKittie @ Grave Tells


Happy Friday!!!  This week only I am running BoB a day after to accomodate some scheduling issues.  So welcome to Friday, and please meet DaVinciKittie from Grave Tells!

I interview a lot of authors, we all do.  And it is really a lot of fun, right?  But who is it behind those interviews?  You!!!  So now I want to interview you! This post will run every Thursday (give or take a day due to scheduling) as long as I have people who want to be interviewed!  Check out the tab up there in my tab index for this feature.  That's where you can check out past interviews, upcoming bloggers, and sign up for your own interview! :)


Hi DVK! Thank you so much for joining me today!
Thanks so much for having me! It's a pleasure! I love these blogger-on-blogger interviews you do. Promoting friendliness and familiarity among bloggers is such a positive force. Can't we all just be friends?! :p

For those who don’t know you, you run GraveTells. Please tell everyone a bit about your site.

GraveTells was originally just my reviews and news tidbits on paranormal romance and urban fantasy books... because I'm a junkie and I can't get enough!  Over the past 20 months, GT has grown into a multi-contributor site that covers anything with a paranormal aspect and at least a nominal thread of romance, including some SciFi and fantasy. We luuurve steamy hot erotica and we rave about family-friendly young adult too, so our reviewers' tastes definitely cover the whole heat spectrum!  We post between 15 and 20 reviews each month and host just about as many authors and book tours. We love promoting strong Indie authors.
Earlier this month we were nominated for 13 Bloggy Awards and were ultimately voted the favorite for Most Influential Blog, Best Group Blog, Best Paranormal Review (DVK's West of Want by Laura Kaye), Best Dystopian Review (Rachel's The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa) and Best SciFi Review (DVK's Storms and Stars by Neena Jaydon).  Super exciting!
Grave Tells is also a group site. Can you give us a little insider info on your other reviewers? I also want to know about your nicknames, I’m jealous that I didn’t think of that!
Bahaha! Oh oh oh, the stories I could tell you about "The Captain", which was originally shortened from "Captain Dirty Pants"... who now is a published author of naughty erotica under the pen name Jennifer James. I'm DaVinciKittie, which is a mouthful, I know (hey, get your mind out of the gutter!), but is less of a nickname and more my online persona. I'm sorta in awe of Leonardo Da Vinci and tend to have way too many cats. I have a hand drawn Vitruvian Cat framed on my wall - love it!
GT has a fantastic review team. They are all avid readers and fangirls of PNR, and are relentless about writing new reviews each month! This site would not be nearly as prolific or successful without these ladies. Much love to  our active veteran reviewers Rachel, Molly, Buffy, Kari, & Chanel, and welcome to our two brand new reviewers, IMP and Renae!
So how does all of that work? Do you guys take turns reviewing books, or is everyone responsible for their own requests, something else?
Each reviewer tells me how many books she thinks she has time to review that month and then gives me a list of her top choices. I go through all the lists, decide which we will be doing, schedule due dates and post dates for each reviewer, then request the books from the authors/tour organizers and pass those along to the individual reviewers as I get them back. Sound a little difficult to keep track of? It is! I don't have time to do nearly as much reviewing these days as I used to.

We have a pretty nifty database of books available for review, automated so that anytime an author (or whomever!) submits a book through our online form, the reviewers can immediately see it in our "currently available" list in their private section of the site. Neato, right?!

DVK, I love the name GraveTells. How did you come up with it?
The name is actually a gamer lingo bastardization of "/tells of grave tales" and if you understood that, come find me in WoW when Pandas releases and we'll have some fun!

I see a lot of people debate between WordPress and Blogger, myself included. And you are a big fan of WordPress. Why is it the better choice in your opinion?
Yep, I gotta admit, I'm kinda a WordPress enthusiast. I'm all about options and creative freedom, and WP allows me that with a minimum of fuss. The WP vs. Blogger debate is sorta like the Android vs. Apple debate (without the lawsuit, of course!)... one gives you more freedom and one is (generally) easier to use. For me WP is the clear winner because a) it doesn't require my readers to click that annoying "ZOMG I swear I'm an adult!" Blogger warning every time they visit, and b) I wouldn't be able to do half the creative site upgrades I do (like that nifty rotating slideshow header and the clean customized sidebar) without some design wiggle room.

Your whole site design is superb. Are you the sole designer on Grave Tells?
Thank you!  And generally, yes. One of our reviewers, Kari Pinasco, is also a graphic designer and she's helped out with our private Reviewer Central images as well as doing the baseline design for our big IndiePendence Week event (love that badge!).

I really enjoy the creativity of making new designs and images. I'm more a photo manip gal than an artist, so I'm really looking forward to trying my hand at some book covers soon!

Let’s talk about posts for a minute. Personally, I am horrible at preparing ahead of time. I write all my posts within a day or two of them going live. How do you go about it, especially with other reviewers adding to the mix?
Girl, you should see my calendar! By the way, my calendar is Queen; if its not on there, it doesn't happen on GT!  With something like 40+ posts going out every month, I absolutely have to preschedule them. I try to do them in bulk a week or so in advance but sometimes I'm lucky to get 'em scheduled the hour before they're supposed to post!
I totally agree!  My Google Calendar goes with me everywhere, and I swear, I check it several times a day!

What is your favorite part about book blogging?
Ooo that's a tough one! Easy access to all those great books is fantastic for addicts like us, so that's a given, especially when you can snag a coveted advanced copy of something you've really been anticipating. But more than that, I love getting to work with all the different authors, bloggers, reviewers, and readers. Can I just say, GraveTells fans are the BEST! I love seeing our regulars comment and it always makes me smile when Rafflecopter picks one of them for a giveaway prize.

I also know you are very active on several social media outlets. Do you have a favorite?
Ooo toughie. Twitter is great for sheer usability and auto-push of all my posts (requires no management, which makes my time-deprived self happy). Pinterest is downright addicting and GT is really just getting started there. But my favorite has to be Facebook. I can spend freaking hours on FB and still get nothing done. Its a great mental break in the middle of the day. Its also a fantastic way to get news on books, authors, and events, and to help share our own content.
Haha, I know the feeling!  Facebook could easily steal too many hours from me, too!

DVK, something else that is completely awesome that Grave Tells does – awards. Can you tell us a little bit about that, such as how do you choose the books up for nomination, how does the voting go?
I absolutely LOVE doing these awards!  Each month we give awards for Book of the Month, Reviewer Top Picks, and Readers Choice Favorite Book and Author.  The Readers Choice ones are a great way for fans to show their support for their favorite author or story, and I'm almost always surprised by who wins!  The RC awards are really a wildcard and it's super cool to see lesser known authors getting some recognition through them.  Voting lasts for three days at the end of each month, so it's not over til it's over!  ;-)
The Reviewer Top Pick is voted on by our active review team members, and the winners are the books that got the most votes by the most reviewers.  There's a whole Excel spreadsheet for it with an algorithm, so I'll spare you the details and leave it at that.  *grin*  Then there's Book of the Month, and that's chosen by me, as the site's Executive Editor.  I look for books that have stood out in some way over the month.  The winner can be self-pubbed or big house, short story or epic length, super steamy or young adult... it's wide open!  I look for quality of writing and freshness of voice... and the enthusiasm the reviewer had for it, of course.  To see our August award winners and to read more about the nomination and selection process, click the banner below...

You also have something else that I’ve not really seen on other sites – a store. What kind of things are in the store and what made you decide to go in that direction?
The store is something I really want to spend more time fleshing out with custom t-shirts and things like that, PNR-related of course!  For now, though, it has links to all our featured books for each month (I'm a little behind right now, yikes!) and a pretty good selection of e-readers.  I wanted to make it easy for readers to find the books they'd seen on the site and quickly purchase them, even if all they remember is "I remember this book I saw featured on GT in April but can't recall the name".  See all the goodies, listed by month featured, here:

Now, obviously you are a fan of the paranormal. If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would it be and why?
Geez, you ask the hardest questions, Liz!  Okay, I can't pick just one, so I'm going to go hybrid here and say... vampire-angel-succubus-witch!  I know what you're thinking "well that covers everything".  No, no it definitely does NOT cover everything.  For one, I will never ever want to be a zombie!  Hehe!

If you could bring an entire book into reality, which book (or series) would it be?
I think that probably changes based on whatever my current reading addiction is, but right now I gotta go with the Dark Protectors universe.  They have Vampires (both good and bad), Witches, Shapeshifters, and Demons, so technically I could nearly fulfill my paranormal-creature-I-would-be wish.  I'd be a powerful witch (The Seventh, of course -  sorry Moira), snag myself a Kayrs brother (good vampires, ruling family), and be surrounded by sexy shapeshifters (*kisses* to Jordan)!  And thank you Rebecca Zanetti for bringing us Connlan Kayrs, quite possibly the hottest hero to ever grace the pages of a book (MUST READ Hunted!!!).  Move over Bones.  Oh yeah, I went there.
I'm going to have to check this out... I haven't read Bones' books yet (hangs head in shame) but I am so ready to read about a new hero!

And if you had an archrival enemy, which book would you put them in?
Easy!  One of the dystopian universes.  So let's go with either Pamela Palmer's Vamp City (A Blood Seduction) as one of the human slaves, or in Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules as one of the humans living in the slums inside the walls of a vamp city.  Yeah.  Take THAT whoever-you-are-arch-enemy! 

Ok, I think that should do it for today! Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me. I really enjoyed getting to know you a little bit more!
Thanks so much for having me and my long-winded self on Fictional Candy!  And for your ETERNAL patience with all the delays getting this to you.  Mucho love!  <3 nbsp="nbsp">Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us on FC in the coming months!  I bet you have some awesome stuff planned.  =)

Now do you want to follow DaVinciKittie all over the interwebs?  Here's your chance!

GT on...
DVK's reviews on...