It was an absolute delight to receive the nomination for The Liebster Award from the lovely Aimee Coveney. Thank you Aimee. Aimee has worked with me this year to rebrand my internet presence, creating a fantastic website for me and linking to it Scary Ramblings plus my social media, enabling them all to be accessed via my website.
Aimee works tirelessly to help authors create a brand for themselves through website design, book trailers and social media training, to name few. Her blogs offer invaluable tips and advice on various aspects of writing, publishing and promotion. Check out her blog at authordesignstudio.wordpress.com.
For those who don’t know, The Liebster Award is a nice blogging award where you shout out to some blogs you enjoy. You get some questions to answer from the person who nominated you, then you pass on some of your own questions to other bloggers you nominate, which creates a nice chain of support and gratitude!
As part of the rules for the Liebster Award, here are ten random facts about me:
- I am a fully qualified Yoga and Yoga for Athletes teacher.
- My favourite place in the world is Yosemite National Park in California.
- I have two tattoos about my person…….only to be shown if and when I choose.
- I rarely read horror and dark fantasy novels, despite it being my chosen genre.
- I share my life with three furry friends – Willow, Jasmine and Texas. Three very different cats, with very different personalities.
- I once jumped out of a plane…..it didn’t end well.
- I have completed the Krypton Factor assault course.
- I used to swim for the County in my teenage years.
- The primary school teacher who told me never to write ‘such horrible things again’, is now one of my biggest fans.
- I was a painfully shy teenager and so my parents sent me to modelling school to help boost my confidence.
I also have to answer the questions of my nominator, Aimee Coveney:
- Did you blog before your writing career? No, I didn’t. I’ve been writing since my mid-twenties – mainly short stories – and had written and published my first novel, Bonds, before I started blogging. I wanted to get into a regular writing routine, which is something I have always struggled with due to a full time job and other commitments. Blogging helped focus me and set aside that time to write.
- Does your blog help with your writing career at all? Yes and no. From the point of view of honing my style and fluidity of writing and also with regards to the exposure to readers, then yes, I do believe it helps, as people become familiar with my name and what I write and so are more inclined to read my novels and other works. As to whether blogging has helped me get published, then, for me, this is a no. I’m not saying it doesn’t help other authors, but it hasn’t helped me in this sense.
- When you started, did your blog have a theme, and did you stick to it? My blog is called Scary Ramblings, named as such to enable me to write about anything and everything linked with horror, dark fantasy, the macabre, gore etc. I felt it gave me the breadth that I needed and I have maintained this theme. This blog will be the first to break that theme.
- What’s your favourite thing about blogging? Ha ha, it allows me to get on my soap box and talk about whatever is on my mind or whatever takes my interest and, best of all, it enables that flow of debate or conversation with my audience. It is great to interact with different readers and get different viewpoints and experiences based around what I have written.
- How often do you blog and how do you stick to your schedule? As mentioned above, I started blogging to get myself into the routine of writing on a regular basis. The trouble was, the deadline I set myself was a weekly blog, published every Thursday. Not being known for keeping things ‘short and sweet’ I found that the only writing I was doing was my blog. I then made the decision to blog less frequently, so as to concentrate more on my novels. I am still trying to achieve the correct balance! At the moment I am blogging once a quarter, but I am aiming to blog on a monthly basis.
- What are you passionate about? Everything! I am a passionate person and so I tend to throw myself into whatever I am doing, which is pretty exhausting. My partner saw what ignites my heart on a recent break to Hay-on-Wye, where he was taken to more bookshops than he knew existed and sat patiently while I scoured the shelves for an antique book to add to my collection – I purchased four. We both enjoy antiquing and he experienced my love of all things stationery when I purchased the first automatic pencil – a Penkala from 1906 – to add to my collection.
- What’s your idea of a perfect book? For me, the perfect book is one you pick up and do not, cannot and will not put it down until you have finished it, regardless of the time. This has happened to me only once – Suzanne’s Diary to Nicholas by James Patterson. This doesn’t mean it is the best book I have ever read or even my favourite book, because it isn’t. It is simply the perfect book to get lost in.
- If you could change your career, what would you do? As I currently work full-time as a Business Improvement Consultant, I would (and am working towards) changing this to write full-time (or as full-time as I can afford). I would combine this with teaching yoga, both one to one and group classes. This would be perfect.
- What has inspired your writing and why? Now, that’s a tough one because it’s a combination of who and what. As a child, I loved Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter and as an adult my favourites are James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer, Kate Morton, Mary Higgins Clarke, Nora Roberts……Each has something to give me; each has something to teach me.
I suppose, the book that most inspired me to write, or gave me a good kick up the bottom to get on with it, was Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’. Something in that book, and I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was, just made me believe I could do it and that is half the battle!
As to non-writing inspiration. Well, at the risk of being controversial, two very famous ladies of the 1980’s can take credit for this – Madonna and Margaret Thatcher. Madonna – because she didn’t care what anybody thought of her; Margaret Thatcher – because she proved there is no such thing as a man’s world. Both proved you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
The idea for my first novel, Bonds, came during a wedding I attended in an old village church. At the back of the church stood an ancient stone coffin covered in engravings. It was this coffin that sparked my interest and it was during the service that my imagination took flight. If it wasn’t for that wedding, Bonds would never have been born!
- If you began your publishing process again, would you do anything different? I have already tried two different ways to publish. I firstly published Bonds (and its sequel Broken Bonds and my collection of short horror stories Tales From a Scarygirl) myself via Createspace, with the eBooks being produced via BookNookBiz. When I decided to republish Bonds, I did so with the help of Matador, the self-publishing arm of Troubador Publishing. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and so, ideally, I’d look to go somewhere in between for the next book. It would be nice to get a mainstream publishing deal, but the downside is the loss of control over your manuscript. It’s all about picking the right way for you, as an author.
11.What are the top books you’ve read this year? I read a lot, but nowhere near as much as I’d like to. Here are my top reads so far this year:
- Divine Evil by Nora Roberts – Loved, loved, loved this book. It hit all the right notes for me – good story, very dark and a well written plot with fabulous characters.
- Hope to Die by James Patterson – Absolutely loved this. I am a huge Alex Cross fan and this was just him at his best! The plot was fast paced and the story action packed and nail bitingly tense. Cross was pushed to the extremes and even I wasn’t sure which way it would go. I think Marcus Sunday is one of Cross’ best enemies and the method he chose was extremely unique.
- The Distant Hours by Kate Morton – As always, I loved, loved, loved Kate’s book. I cannot fault her in the way she can weave such a colossal story and draw you in. That’s what storytelling is all about. Although, I did think the convenient fire at the end was a little too convenient and certainly not worthy of Kate. I love the analogy that the walls whisper to you, telling their stories of all the lives they have witnessed before. If you, like me, always place your hand on the wall (or a piece of antique furniture) of an old house and close your eyes, just to see what your mind conjures, then you will know what I mean.
The official rules of The Liebster Award 2016, if your blog has been nominated and you have chosen to accept it, are below:
- Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
- Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a ‘widget’ or a ‘gadget’. Images you can use for your 2016 Liebster Award can be found at http://theglobalaussie.com/the-official-rules-of-the-liebster-award-2016/
- List these rules in your post.
- Answer your nominator’s questions.
- Give 10 random facts about yourself.
- Nominate 5 – 11 small blogs (preferably below 200 followers) that you feel deserve the award.
- Create 11 questions for your own nominees to answer.
- Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.
My nominations to accept the award are:
JM Moore (http://jmmoore.co.uk/category/blog)
Jude Lennon (http://littlelambpublishing.co.uk/blogview)
Gwyneth Marshman (http://gwynethmarshman.com/book-diaries)
My eleven questions for you are:
- When and why did you start to write?
- What is your chosen genre and what was your motivation for choosing it?
- Is your blog in the same genre as your writing and, if not, why did you decide to make it different?
- What came first – blogging or novel/short story writing?
- Do you think a blog is a must for a writer and, if so, why?
- Describe your writing routine and why it works for you.
- Do you have a special place to write and, if so, where is it and why?
- If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give yourself as you embark on your writing journey?
- What is your favourite genre and is this the same as the one you write?
10.What do you feel the advantages and disadvantages of blogging are?
- What was the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I have and continue to share the blogging love!
May fear protect you when the darkness comes.
Til next time.