Hi Jessi! I’m going to steal a little bit of the info from my blog, to make this whole introduction part easier. I’m a 33 year old pastry chef living in New Orleans (originally from just across the border in Mississippi). I’ve had a few stints living elsewhere (Alabama, Ohio, Nebraska) but always keep coming back here, because this city is AMAZING. The heat is the suck and sometimes makes my pastry-making a real headache, but oh well, what can you do? I feel like I should also tell you I love video games, bacon, horror, and photography.
How long have you been blogging? What made you want to start a book blog?
I’ve been reading since I was 3 and have been addicted to books and reading since. I’ve started several different blog types throughout the years but always gave up on them around the one month mark. I guess nothing could quite hold my attention, since I would rather be reading! Even with all the starts and stops, I never considered making a book blog until I happened upon Kelley’s, at Another Novel Read
. She and I have been friends for what seems like forever now (thanks to a video game!) and I always read through all of her online endeavors. She helped me get rid of this odd notion I had that book blogs had to be full of nothing but reviews, and I was so excited talking to her about the books she was featuring that I ended up making my own blog. I got to know the community a bit just from reading through her comments and everyone seemed SO lovely – not at all like the other blogging communities I’d been a part of. I also have her to thank for introducing me to the YA category, which I wouldn’t have given a chance otherwise.
What do you do when you’re not blogging or reading?
Oh if only all my time was spent on blogging or reading! :) I go through phases where I spend tons of time on video games, although not currently because I’d rather be blogging and reading. I also have phases where I make craftsy or artsy things, research various subjects on the internet (out of sheer curiosity), and catch up with far-away friends online. My free time is super limited right now due to working full time and going to school full time. It seems like even if I’m not at one of those two places, I have all this outside work to perpetually catch up on! I’m pursuing a graphic design degree to sort of switch gears on my career. I want to design books, and especially would like to get my hands in cookbook design since I have years of experience in the restaurant industry.
What is your favorite part about blogging? Least favorite?
Honestly my favorite part about blogging is 100% this community, and how amazing the people in it are. I still can’t get over how friendly, helpful, and excited everyone is about what they do, and it gives me motivation to keep going even when I feel I don’t have time or ideas.
My least favorite is probably that I don’t have time to write up bunches of blog posts or visit others’ blogs! I miss my book buddies but try to catch up when I have free blocks of time.
Where did you come up with the name for your blog?
I have an incurable case of wanderlust. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world I’d like to live, unless I could transplant my favorite people with me, but there are SO many beautiful places I want to go in the world. Traveling isn’t always an option, though, due to schedule restrictions, money restrictions, and I’m sure other things I’m forgetting. Books solve that problem for me, even if it is just temporary. And books contain worlds you can’t explore no matter how rich or leisurely your life is – fantastic, horrible, magical, beautiful worlds. Opening a book is like taking a vacation, but you can step in and out of your vacation whenever you like (and for a very small cost). I wanted my blog name to reflect my love of books and love of travel, so Literary Excursion was born.
[Jessi] Wow, that’s awesome! That’s a big part of why I love reading, because books can take you anywhere :)
Do you have any specific book bloggers that inspire you?
Um, yes, pretty much all of the ones I’ve met!
Kelley @ Another Novel Read
first and foremost because we’ve been friends for so long and she’s inspired me in so many areas of my life – not just with blogging. She’s superbly creative, has excellent taste in pretty much everything, and has always been so supportive of anything I’ve talked to her about wanting to do. Plus she’s just plain fun to be around! Snarky and intelligent is a great mix on her.
Asti @ A Bookish Heart
is always so bubbly and lovely, and makes sure to leave meaningful comments on any post she visits. That girl knows how to keep a conversation going, and I love her for it. She’s one of the first that made me feel part of the group rather than the “new kid.”
Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer
is very much her own type of person and doesn’t take crap from anyone – traits I always admire and strive to cultivate in myself. She’s encouraged me to branch out to a couple different book genres I may not have given a chance otherwise. Plus, she bakes!
Octavia @ Read. Sleep. Repeat.
is so outgoing and full of life that it perks me up just talking to her. She brings up great controversial discussion topics, and doesn’t allow herself to be censored for any reason.
Shannon @ Twilight Sleep
leads a super busy life, and still finds time to blog and be active with the bloggers she holds dear. She also provides hosting for fellow book lovers, is pursuing her own photography business, and is going into the same field (graphic design) as I am, just in a different part!
Nafiza @ Bibliophilic Monologues
always has such beautifully-written reviews (and everything else) that it makes me push myself a little more every time I visit her blog. She’s super knowledgeable in regards to underlying stories behind the words we actually read, and writes about them well enough that I learn something every time I read one of her posts.
Trish @ Between the Lines
finds interesting ways to put sparks into her blog, while enriching her readers’ experiences at the same time. She’s translated marketing techniques to a language the rest of us bloggers can understand, and implement to make us more successful. She also makes it a point to spotlight Irish authors, which I absolutely love! (And makes me feel like I should be doing the same thing for Louisiana writers.)
I have so many bloggers I love that it’s hard to put them all into a list. The ones I interact with on a regular basis know who they are, though, and hopefully know that I appreciate their friendship so very much. Everyone I’ve met so far has been so welcoming and inclusive, and excited for the same things I’m excited about! They’ve all made it so easy to become a part of this community, and so quickly.
What do you look for in a blog when following? What are your pet peeves?
Interesting, original content is the #1 seller for me. Sure, a book blog should have *some* reviews, but since I rarely read reviews of books I haven’t read (and I’m way behind on YA reads), I skip most of them. Well-written reviews do tend to draw me in though, especially ones that highlight both the good *and* bad parts of a book, rather than glossing everything over to give it a good rating. Blog design/layout is a pretty big one for me too. If your blog looks nice, I’m much more likely to keep coming back.
On the flip side, blogs that are a hot mess are ones I tend to avoid, no matter how great the content is. The design snob in me just can’t take the visual abuse. Commenting systems that require me to log in in some weird way, involve CAPTCHA, or have no reply notification are an immediate ticket to me never visiting again. It’s so irritating seeing a great post and wanting to leave a comment, then having to jump so many hurdles to leave it.
[Jessi] Ugh, I hate CAPTCHA! And I’m kind of a snob too, if I don’t like the design or it hurts my eyes, I usually won’t subscribe…
What’s your favorite book(s)?
For all-time favorites, that’s really hard for me to pick since my memory is *terrible.* How about we do a favorite reads of 2013 instead (since I’ve been keeping track)? :)
Some of these won’t be all-time favorites, and not all of them are even 5 stars (although they are at least 4), but I liked or loved enough for them to make an impression on me.
I really don’t think I could pick just one anymore! Although when I was younger I would have unhesitatingly said Clive Barker.
What is the biggest turn off for you when you’re reading a book?
Bad writing is the worst bookish sin. No matter how interesting or original the story is, the writing will end up making or breaking the book for me. Weak, wishy washy, or entitled characters are a close runner-up. If I hate all the characters, and I’m not supposed to hate them, I’m not going to enjoy the book.
What first draws you to a book to make you want to read it?
A great cover will draw me in first, simply because it’s the first thing I see. Book blurbs that are written well and don’t compare the book to other books, or say “for fans of…” also win immediate points. Elemental magic, demons, knights and paladins, food magic, dystopia, New Orleans, artificial intelligence, multiple lives, and genetic engineering throw up glaring neon READ ME signs.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Procrastinator. Creative. Poly-interested (aka want to learn, do, and make ALL THE THINGS).
Name a random fact about yourself.
I haven’t been able to snap my fingers on my right hand since getting it slammed in a car door a few years ago (I lost a nail and everything – it was ugly!), and have never been able to with my left hand. I mean I probably *could* if my life depended on it or something over-dramatic like that, but one of the joints healed a bit out of whack and it’s just… painful now.
Do you have a job? If so, what do you do?
Yes, sometimes too much of one! I’m the pastry chef (which you know from the intro) in a somewhat locally famous (maybe nationally, a little?) of a restaurant in downtown New Orleans. I make all the desserts (yes all by myself!) and sometimes come up with things of my own. I also harass the other cooks when they’re being sloppy or lazy, or just getting on my nerves. ^_^
[Jessi] That’s awesome!! You should make me some sweets ;D
What did you want to be when you were little? Has that changed?
This list is probably longer than my favorite books of 2013, but thankfully I’ve forgotten most of them. The ones I can remember: Egyptologist, marine biologist, forensic pathologist, astronomist, artist, tatooist, video game designer, writer. That’s a lot of “ists,” and apparently I really liked science.
Great interview, Jessi and Leanne!! :)
Hi Leanne, it’s so nice to meet you! :D Wow, you have so many that I agree with!! :) Like it’s so awesome to meet a fellow crafty blogger — not as cackling-evil-hands crafty but another book blogger who likes to do crafts too! :D And it’s super awesome that you’re a pastry chef! I love eating – A LOT, so if I were living near you, you’d probably see me on your doorstep every day xD
Fantastic meeting you, Leanne, :D and this is really a great feature, Jessi! :)
I’m so glad you like these posts! Many people in the survey said that this was their least favorite thing on the blog, so I was beginning to feel discouraged about posting them at all. At least someone enjoys them :)
Really? :O These Spotlights are one of my favourite kind of posts to see, because we get to know more of the people in our community! :D But they really are great Jessi!! ;)
No way, whoever took that survey needs to be smacked! This is totally one of your most awesome features, because you’re spreading the love around of bloggers you know & love. It’s much appreciated, and I enjoy coming over to read the interviews once I meet someone new that I recognize from your list. <3
Thank you! That really means a lot to me :)
Hi Emily, nice to meet you too! Hah, well I wouldn’t say I’m exactly NOT cackling-evil-hands crafty… but I keep that to my private time. ;) I do like a bunch of random crafty things, though, totally non-evil. I picked up jewelry making this year and also am learning how to refinish furniture to look antiqued and weathered. There’s been a bit of card-making and journal doodling in there as well.
I wish more of my fellow bloggers lived near me because I would totally feed you all sweets all the time! Nothing wrong with people that like to eat. :)
So glad that I got to know more about Leanne through your feature, Jessi! I see some of her tweets on Twitter, but haven’t really talked to her. I don’t like CAPTCHA too and blogs that has like neon background and clogged sidebars. That is def. a turn off for me. I also wish I had more time to comment on other people’s blogs. I also don’t like reading reviews of books I have not read. The posts I really like are Stacking the Shelves and discussion posts.
I’ve seen yours from time to time as well, but you’re right! We don’t talk much. I rarely get time to cruise around on Twitter these days and just respond to @ messages. (sadface)
I agree with you about loving discussion posts. It seems like I never have enough time to read and respond to them all though, even if I only visit a few bloggers! I also like the Stacking the Shelves type posts but try to stay away from them. My TBR for sure doesn’t need any help swallowing me alive.
Oh yay I’m so excited to be featured here, Jessi! :D Haha I totally forgot what I wrote to your questions and had to read through them all again. Funny, I actually sound like I know what I’m talking about… almost.
I didn’t know you as well when I was writing my answers for inspirational bloggers, but you would totally be on that list now. Thanks to Twitter convos and general internet badassery you’re definitely one of my favorite people. Ugh maybe for Sci-Fi Month someone will build a teleporter already so we can hang out together with all the other kickass ladies in the blogosphere. :)
And yes I should totally make you some sweets! That teleporter would come in so handy right now…
Thanks for participating Leanne!! I know, it took me long enough to post it, right? ;D
Dawww, gosh *blushes* Right back at ya!!
And yes, teleporter. Someone needs to get on that pronto! :)
It was nice getting to know a little more about you, Leanne! :) I definitely know how you feel about the whole “not having enough time” deal. I work full time and go to school full time for graphic design too. ;) It can get a bit stressful.
Ohhh that’s so awesome! Do you have an area in mind to specialize in yet? I’m going for book design, probably with a focus on cookbooks. ^_^
Work and school full time? Respect! I’m already so busy with only school. I love the explanation for your blogging name, that’s awesome :D Game of Thrones is one of the best TV shows.
Well I don’t regret my decision to do both at once, but I do think it may have been a bit silly of me! :) I’m enjoying school, though, because I’m a huge nerd and love learning. I haven’t even gotten to the best stuff yet, so I can’t wait!
Thanks, love that you love the blog name! ^_^
YES, GoT is so awesome… it’s one of the few shows I fiend over for the entire week when the seasons are running.
I’m super late on this, but YAY for featuring Leanne! I’m SO glad that I met her and that I convinced her to join the book blogging community! Leanne, all your flattery is making me blush! <3 <3
I have only read FOUR (or five if you count both books in the Lunar Chronicles thus far) of your favorite books! What the heck!
Ahhh poly-interested. Me too. So much. SO MUCH. (As, I'm sure, you are well aware. :D)
Also, high five for grey and kitties (and grey kitties!).
You’re not late, cause you know how long it takes me to comment on anything! You should be blushing, you’re awesome. <3
Hm some of my favorites I dunno how much you will like, but… I think you'd love Origins, Stirring the Mud, Under the Empyrean Sky, and A Dawn of Dragonfire. There are elements in all of them I know are your thing but I don't know the overall effect they will have on your reading experience yet. As well as we know each other, I still have to fine tune how we agree on books!
Haha yes we're both so poly-interested it's a pain sometimes. But that just means more opportunities for us to get excited over things. :)
I’m even later than Kelley, but I can’t just leave without commenting. So (if someone is still reading this..).
I didn’t know you had so many other blogs before Literary Excursion (I thought the pastry blog was your first one…), no wonder you seemed like a pro from the get go.
I <3 the community too, but yeah time management issues. I really wish I have more time to comment and to be more active on Twitter. I especially miss Twitter.
Wanderlust! I've caught that bug too! :)
CAPTCHA has to DIE! And I'm afraid I'm a little bit of a design snob too :P
A Monster Calls! Skin!! <33
Haha, I wanted to be a archaeologist when I was (very) little.
Are you watching the new season of American Horror Story? I'm really enjoying it. It's much better than the 2nd was, imo.
Thanks for the shout out, Leanne! <3
Shoot I feel like I haven’t stopped by your blog in forever so no worries on being late here!
Haha, well I don’t know how much those other blogs count since I abandoned them all after a few weeks. I guess I just have all these things that interest me but I could never keep my motivation going until I found books. I never dreamed I would have SO many things to talk about regarding books! I love it. :) And I love that all my bloggery friends are even interested in the non-book things I like to throw in there occasionally.
Oh boy, you’ll never get rid of that wanderlust bug! You can appease it for a time, but I don’t think it ever truly goes away.
I am watching the new AHS! It’s funny because I still have a few episodes of season 2 to get through, but I’ve been making season 3 a priority when new episodes come out. I thought 2 was alright until I started watching 3, and it totally blows it out of the water.
You’re welcome Cayce! Thanks for being awesome. <3