I'm a technical project manager in the Seattle area. I spend most of my day working on knotty left-brained problems, so reading, writing about, and discussing fiction is my way of balancing that out with right-brained thought processes. You can find out more about my professional life at my LinkedIn profile.* My name is Nicola Onychuk; if you knew me a long time ago you may remember me as Nicola Aaron. I had my nose in a book most of the time back then, too.
About This Blog
Alpha Heroes is a labor of love for me. I've been reading romance for an awfully long time now, and I like to think I know a little bit about what makes a good one. I like talking about them. I'm not a professional writer or reviewer; at present I do not take ads and I've stopped bothering with the associate thing for clicks to Amazon. Everything I post is because it amuses or entertains me to do so, and I hope there are a few people out there who will enjoy it too.
Naughty or Nice?
I started blogging in 2007, but I've been posting on internet forums and bulletin boards since 1995. Over the years I've posted things I've regretted, encountered flame wars, and had my feelings hurt. These days, I have some simple rules about how I self-censor:
- I won't post anything that would embarrass me if it were read by my mom, my kids, the local PTA, or my employer.
- I won't say things to or about a person that I wouldn't be willing to say to his or her face. This includes authors, other bloggers, and anyone else.
- That's it.
This question tends to stir a fair amount of controversy in the blog world. I don't have any hard and fast rules beyond what I posted above; however it is true that I tend to prefer posting about books I love. And books that impress me in a particular way. When I do post about something I don't like, I try to explain what it was that I didn't like, and readers can decide whether it's something that would bug them or not. I like to think that my less glowing reviews are kind and respectful, and perhaps constructive for authors. You can find examples of these by clicking on the tag in my label list "didn't like."
I do accept review copies. I try to remember to tag them as such but I don't guarantee a perfect record for that. I like to think I give them the same fair review I do books that I purchase. Books I purchase for myself are going to skew toward a more favorable review because a) I prefer not to rent out that much more space in my brain for things I don't like and b) if I choose it myself, I'm pretty good at avoiding things I don't like and finding things I do.
If I have explicitly asked for or accepted a specific title, I am commited to reviewing it in the time frame requested. I have been disappointed in myself lately on this commitment and am resolved to do better. If I receive an unsolicited title, I will do my best but do not guarantee a schedule or a review.
I have on two occasions received review copies of books that I thought were irredeemably awful. Books I could find nothing good to say about. In those cases, I contacted the person who sent them and politely let them know that I didn't like the book and gave them a choice of my writing a negative review or opting out of the review altogether. Both times, the contact opted out. I will continue that policy.
You like the header photo? I'm very proud of it-- I took that shot at a lavender farm in Sequim, WA in 2006. Purty, no?
Template: I do change this up every now and then, but I try to maintain a continuity of look and feel. Currently I'm using a free template from ourblogtemplates.com - I can strongly recommend these for Blogger users, as they're highly customizable using the Blogger interface for colors, fonts and layout without having to go into the HTML code.
Favicon: Free hosting for .ico files seems to come and go. Currently I'm using IconJ with thanks to Peter at Blogger Tips and Tricks for very detailed, easy-to-follow directions on where and how to insert the code.
I tweet sometimes here.
There's a Facebook page too.
*I have been regretfully declining most requests for connection at LinkedIn. Please don't take this personally. I reserve that network for professional contacts in my field. Very happy to connect on the channels mentioned here though!
More detailed posts about what I do and how I do it
Weekly Geek's QA on posting style
How I write my reviews
An intro, and the beginning of it all