I am very excited to bring you a great site with a really awesome name in today's spotlight. I met Sharon from I Smell Sheep while out on the convention circuit, at ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC. Since then I've gotten to experience a whole lot more about this fun-loving bunch known as the Flock, and I even have my own Baaart puppet from participating in a video on I Smell Sheep during my own blog tour. For this installment of Blogger Spotlight, both Sharon and Katie were kind enough to be interviewed. Read, enjoy, and becoming part of the Flock! :)
Blogger Spotlight #4: I Smell Sheep
1. Tell us a little about yourself, and your background.
Sharon: I’ve lived my whole life in NC, everywhere from the beach to the mountains. I got a BS in Biology from UNC (GO HEELS!) and a Masters in Microbiology from NCSU. While in grad school I met Don playing foosball. I used to play foosball a lot, competitively. I had a killer push shot. I have a second degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. Been married 20 years and we have two girls, Lauren (16) and Holly (11) and currently live in a small town between Winston-Salem and Greensboro. I made the girls promise to put me in a nice retirement home in the NC Mountains. I love the mountains in an unnatural way.
My husband was born with a defective heart valve which after a long series of unfortunate events ended in him getting a heart transplant in 2003. He has never had rejection or issues with the medication. It hasn’t affected his lifestyle at all. We were lucky, and because a 22 year old man made the choice to be an organ donor my children have their father.
I love action movies (the more stuff blowing up the better), SyFy original movies, watermelon, dark chocolate, eating in the shower, Italian food, reading, talking, most music, Fall, Winter, peanut butter, Pepsi, moon pies, lemon desserts.
I don’t like vegetables, jazz, summer, spicy food, intolerance, getting old (ya’ll it really sucks!
2. What kinds of books do you like to read for pleasure? Any favorites?
Sharon: If I had to pick one type it would be dark urban fantasy. I love horror, romance, urban fantasy and mystery. Get all those in one book…Boo-Ya! I also love m/m romance. I think the romance has more of an emotional impact than traditional romances. I Smell Sheep doesn’t review m/m so I guest review at Rarely Dusty Books and Love Romance Passion for those.
And I can’t forget graphic novels. I adore them! I tend toward more horror graphic novels, but I like any that are well done. The fact that art and a few words can tell a complete story with just as much impact as a novel is amazing.
Favorite novels: my head explodes just trying to think of the list! I’ve read so many great books. I prefer series.
Favorite graphic novels: Criminal Macabre, Dark Swan,
Katie: I love PNR and some UF with romance elements. I will branch out and try other genres but they have to reach out to me in some way. There’s no way I could pick a few favs! Too many!
Let’s not forget Marvel comics!
3. When did you start your blog, and what motivated you to do it?
Sharon: I came to I Smell Sheep around its one year anniversary. I started writing reviews on Goodreads and got lots of compliments on my reviews so I submitted a review to Love Romance Passion and became a guest reviewer. Then Katie approached me about joining the Flock! I write reviews that I like to read, relatively short and to the point. I don’t want the blurb regurgitated to me. I want to know why it worked or didn’t for the reviewer and I like a sense of humor.
Katie: I started the blog, which is now a website, in April of 2010. What started as a place for me to write about my opinions on books and movies has now grown into this massive group of fellow readers around the globe. We now have several writers with us, plus guest reviewers, and our amazing editor! All ages are welcome and I love hearing the comments from our readers!
4. What are some of the more unique aspects about your site, in your view?
Sharon: we are a multi-media site. We will cover anything that pertains to the paranormal genre and we have fun doing it. We manage to act professional when needed and still have a sense of humor. We are eclectic. You never really know what we are going to post day to day. I like the fact that we usually only do one post per day. That gives the book/author center stage for that whole day. I think we have some of the best interviews out there. People are more likely to give a book a chance if they can connect to the author so we try to bring out the funny in them.
Katie: I agree with everything Sharon said. The whole point of our website is to give the reader a fun experience but at the same time getting all the important information out there.
5. How did you come up with the name for your site? Is there a story behind it?
Sharon: I will let Katie take this one
Katie: It’s top secret. *evil laugh*
Sharon: it took a year before she even told me!
6. What's the story behind Baaart? Tell us a little about your loveable mascot.
Sharon: We had a contest for his name a while back. His full name is: Dr. Baron Baxter von Baaathalmew III
Katie: Baaart came along as a fun edition to go along with the name. Little did we know he would take on a life of his own! That sheep has been all over the world! From California to Ireland, he’s seen it all.
7. You also attend a lot of conventions. Do you have some favorites?
Sharon: I’ve been to some local NC ones and Dragon Con was my first BIG one. DragonCon was to big and chaotic to really enjoy. I liked Con Carolina. I plan on hitting Author’s After Dark next year and I will be a guest blogger at Mysticon 2013 in Roanoke, VA. There is a slight chance I will be meeting Katie at the first annual Olde City New Blood UF convention in FL
Katie: That would be a toss-up between WonderCon (San Francisco, CA) and PhoenixComiCon (Arizona). Both were amazing! I’ll be heading back to those for 2013 and possibly San Diego ComiCon.
8. What are some of the strengths of conventions for a blogger?
Sharon: net working with publishers and authors. One big perk of reviewing is getting to read your favorite books for free (sometimes before they come out) and helping an author spread the word about their book. Publishers will put you on their ARC lists. One of the best things is meeting the people I have only talked with via email. Conventions are also a great place to advertise our website. You would be surprised how many people don’t realize there are sites out there where they can get info on their favorite authors and books and even win stuff.
Katie: Yes, being able to interview and author or actor in person is a big plus of going to the conventions. Seeking out new publishers and getting our name out to a broader audience is the main goal for these events.
9. What kinds of genres do you cover on your site?
Sharon: anything paranormal…speculative fiction is the new word I think
Katie: Young Adult as well!
10. What kinds of regular features do you have on your site?
Sharon: Nothing to regular, wanna keep people guessing
11. What is the hardest thing about being a blogger?
Sharon: Time commitment. Katie and I are pretty much the only ones who do posts and reviews. Kalpar edits all our reviews (thank goodness!). We have a few guest reviewers, but Katie and I do 95% of the stuff. It can take me two hours or more to get an interview formatted and ready to go. We are looking to add more reviewers so…give us a shout if you might be interested.
Katie: Finding the time to get it done. People don’t realize how many books we read a week. One a slow week I will read 2 and 4 in a busy week. I’ve got friends who don’t read that many in a year! Doing the juggle of family, work and website is the main thing.
12. What are your favorite things about being a blogger?
Sharon: Getting people to discover new authors. I could never write a book and I am in awe of those that can. I would love to, but I just don’t have what it takes. So the next best thing is to help authors. Knowing I had a part in helping them get even one new reader makes me feel like part of the process.
Katie: Getting to say whatever the heck you want about something you read or watched. Having the freedom to let your opinion be judged by the world and being brave enough to hear the response. Next to that would be all the wonderful people we get to meet from so many different walks of life.
13. If you could give a piece of advice or two to authors looking to work with a blog site, what would you say?
Sharon: Read their policies if they have any. Make sure they cater to your audience. If you contact us, be flexible. If we like what you offer but can’t manage a review, we might be able to arrange a guest post, spotlight or something.
Katie: And buy ad space if you can! We do this [running the site] for free so any help we can get through advertising goes a long way in keeping the site going!
14. Any last thoughts or things you might want to say to readers who are finding out about your blog for the first time?
Sharon: Drop in and see what we have to offer. We have a very interactive fb group and there are always moon pies and Kool Aid on the table. Of course you will need to bring a weapon of your choice because sometimes the dungeon door opens.
Katie: Plain and simple. We are fun. If you want to join in we would love to have you!
Be sure to become part of the Flock, and connect with I Smell Sheep at the following:
I Smell Sheep Website