Today, I’m thrilled to interview blog owner and reviewer Melanie Melanie Marshall. Her blog, Scattered Thoughts And Rogue Words, is one of the best I’ve seen out there. She, along her terrific team, reviews different books including the M/M genre and offers giveaways, runs contests and so many more! If you’re looking for a great resource with a lot of content being updated frequently and the occasional fun rants on wrong grammar, I highly you check out her blog!
Tell us about you and your gay romance blog. Where can we read it?
My blog is Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, and it can be found here at http://ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.com
What got you started as a m/m blogger or reviewer?
I got turned onto M/M or slash fiction early on with fanfiction and the Man From Uncle and Star Trek series. Wow, that was a while ago. Slash, m/m was just getting started and I couldn’t cobble up the stories fast enough. Soon I found myself wanting to tell others about the stories I was reading, and pass them on, as well as my thoughts and feelings. That was the start. Then came small reviews for Goodreads, then my own blog a little over 2 years ago. It has been quite the journey.
Why are you passionate about reading and reviewing m/m books?
I think its all about the romance, the men, and the types of relationships that figure into the genre. I think about this often and don’t know that I have really arrived at my final answer for myself. M/M Romances resonates with me in a way not too many others have. It’s made me think about gender, attraction, the full spectrum of love and romance along with all the myriad possibilities that exist for imagination and experiences associated with love and relationships. Plus there is the angst that is associated with LGBTQIA history, and the pain of non acceptance that continues to this day in much of the world. It’s so complicated and yet, the love is so heartbreakingly big. See, I told you I haven’t totally figured it out yet!
Many of my readers love reading m/m blogs but what makes yours unique compared to others?
For me, authors and books are such a large part of my life and always have been. They can carry an intimacy about them with regard to the feelings and thoughts they can pull from the readers and the authors. I try to convey those feelings, thoughts and insights to my readers through author interviews, and of course, what I hope are thoughtful reviews, honest, and fair.
Along with the occasional rant and rave about bad vocabulary and word usage, thoughts on books covers and such.
We offer a new reviewer who is of YA age range who will be reviewing YA books for us, a great way to see YA books from a YA perspective. And we have a growing group of reviewers of various ages and genders to give us different perspectives.
And of course, we have book tours and contests for all to enter. And we are growing to see what new needs and niches we can fill in the Book Review that haven’t yet been explored. So more coming…
Define success as a m/m blogger and reviewer.
Success for me means that I have helped someone discover a story, an author, a series that they might not have found without me. I hope that through my efforts (and those of the other reviewers at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words), that authors, new and established, find a new audience for their stories and renew the interest of readers already familiar with their works. I want to help readers discover something new in a book they’ve already read or look at storytelling in a new way. Whew! That’s plenty. And if I only get a percentage of what I hope to accomplish, then I feel I have succeeded.
What are some of the best m/m books you’ve read this year?
Wow, this has been a banner year for books and authors in my opinion. So many will be on our year end Must Have Best of list. But here’s a few to consider:
The Devil Lancer by Astrid Amara
The Red Dirt Heart Series by N. R. Walker
The Endangered Fae series by Angel Martinez
A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
King Mai by Edmond Manning (the whole series really)
Pulp Friction 2014 Group Stories (4 series interconnected) – Elemental Connections by authors Havan Fellows, Lee Brazil, Laura Harner and TA Webb
The Granby Knitting Series by Amy Lane
A Taste of Poison by Aleksandr Voinov (the series )
When All The World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and JA Rock
ok see what’s happening here…..too many and all trying to crowd into my thoughts all at once. Each month a list is made of those books reviewed and rated. Check out each month on my website and then wait for the final year’s lists to arrive, including Best Covers of 2014. If anyone has their own favorites, we love to hear about them and will add them in as readers favorites along with ours.
What would you like to see more in m/m literature you don’t see now?
More, more sagas, more well written anthologies (a great way to get introduced to new authors), more everything from science fiction, to gritty urban fantasy, more M/M historical (one of the hardest to write in my opinion), just more!
What advice can you give to aspiring m/m reviewers and bloggers?
In this ever enlarging group, write fairly, compassionately, and thoughtfully about the books and authors. It’s easy to go on funny opinions and remarks, but these stories come from the hearts of these authors and I have found some people arent’ really writing reviews (imo)but opinions only. A review should carry more than just a “happy or frowny” face. It should be more substantial. Reviews are about excellence in writing, from structure to feelings. It’s a critique, an evaluation of how well the author has covered their subject, plot, and brings it to a culmination that works. Yes, opinions do come into it. But was it the character him/it/their selves the reviewer didn’t like or the way that the author constructed them to feel less than believable? In a stand alone story, did the ending leave you wondering wtf because there wasn’t a complete ending or because you didn’t like the ending. Two totally different things. Oops, ok getting down from the soapbox now.
But I guess….I would ask new reviewers to go the high road, no, not meaning ratings but to think about the impact your words will have…on readers, authors, and of course, other reviewers. And keep looking back at your early reviews. You will be astonished to see your own growth as a writer and reviewer…and reader.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk a little about books, my blog Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, and thoughts on reviews. Happy Reading and please come see us and check us out.