THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD

Following the dark, often stormy, winter there couldn’t have been a better time to bring in some light! During the past few weeks I’ve seen several bloggers receive an award that brightens our days as well as theirs. Imagine the surprise, honour and delight when, within a few days, I received the double accolade of The Sunshine Blogger Award!

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a peer appreciation award given to bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

Thank you so much to the two bloggers for thinking of me for this award. I deeply respect them and I always savour their posts, learning along the way, sharing their enjoyment of life, travels and books and I’m overjoyed for them and their publishing success! If you haven’t visited their blogs before, I highly recommend you head over … you’re in for a treat!

Darlene Foster

Darlene at Darlene Foster’s Blog mentioned me first. She is the author of numerous children’s books based around the central character of Amanda and she has also had several short story wins and some published in anthologies. She blogs about her books, writing, travels, family. She divides her time between Spain and Canada.

Brigid P. Gallagher

A few days later Brigid at Watching The Daisies also kindly nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award. Brigid’s posts resonate with wisdom and calmness, attributes reflected in her hugely successful book Watching The Daisies which is an Amazon no. 1 Inspirational Irish Memoir. On her blog Brigid shares news about her book, as well as articles on travel, health, book reviews, nature, gardening, recipes and healing. 

Rules for the award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate (at least) 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

Here are the questions I received and my answers:

What was the driving force behind the creation of your blog?

First and foremost I wanted to share my experience of writing my first novel!

What was your vision for your future in blogging/writing when you first started this blog? How has that vision evolved?

Within a couple of weeks I realised that this this single-minded focus for my blog was untenable. My blog would quickly become dull and dry. Also there was so much more I wanted to share so I happily started writing about books, travels, nature, traditions, my short stories.  Later I shared the journey of the publication of my first book, a collection of short stories, entitled The Storyteller Speaks

What age were you when you realized you loved writing?

I was at primary school in a small Yorkshire village and think I was about nine-years-old.

Yorkshire Dales

How has your life changed as a result of the electronic age? Is it better/worse/the same?

On many levels electronic devices has made life so much easier. As a gadget-nerd I’ve always enjoyed using the latest devices and remember my mother with one of the earliest Apple computers at work, as well as seeing the magic of a fax machine! The internet, although filled with so much dark material, is still a positive force and how many of us don’t ‘google’ something everyday. As soon as I saw the iPad I longed for one and had to wait for prices to fall … it is my go-to device, for news, blogging, reading, writing (with aid of Bluetooth keyboard).

What was the very last website you visited today?

I love the eclectic nature of the blogs I follow and just as I was writing this a I received a notification that GP Cox at Pacific Paratrooper had put on a new post. 

If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

I was dreadfully unhappy in one school (an all-girls) for two years when eleven and twelve-years-old … one day I finally broke down and told my mother just how utterly miserable and depressed I was there and I never returned. I flourished at my next school and am still in touch with my friends from then.

How would your life be different today if that one thing from your past were to change?

To be honest, probably not too much as the warmth and love from home meant I recovered quickly and could see the problem wasn’t with me. It did steer me away from single-sex schools for life and I didn’t want that for my son either.

If you have children, tell me…how did your parenting change from the time you had your first child until the time you had your last?

As I only have one child I can’t really answer this one. I always used to joke that I would be far more relaxed and not so anxious with a second child – but I doubt this would have been the case! What I can say is that being a parent changed me absolutely and I could never imagine my life without my son. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I am so lucky and it is real!

Tell me about the funniest experience you’ve had in the past month.

Ever since I was a baby I have approached new foods with trepidation … and this is still the case much to the amusement of my family and friends.

Thinking it might be a good idea to go ‘healthy’ I decided to try Benecol and one Sunday morning the little bottle stood eagerly on my placemat. I looked on fearfully, my husband gulping his down enthusiastically, showing me how to do it! 

Bottle of Benecol

Hmm… I sniffed the white liquid anxiously and still wasn’t convinced. I then went into my default mode and called my mother and told her I had a ‘scary prospect’ ahead of me! Concerned she asked what it involved and when all was revealed she just laughed and said, ‘That’s my daughter’. ‘Could I put it on my cereal,’ I queried? She wasn’t sure. I stared at the bottle and it glared back. The stand-off continued!

A while later I took a minuscule sip – it was delicious!! I now look forward to my new morning addition!

What do you have planned for the upcoming holiday season?

My husband and I are soon celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary (where did those years go???) and are travelling a few days to the beautiful island of Jersey. The hotel is just on the beach, overlooking the bay and I am already giddy with excitement! 

Finally, to the nominations!

I am aware that some of you might have received this award before or have an award-free blog, in that case please view this award as a compliment. There is no obligation whatsoever to respond. 

My questions are the same as those posed to me.

My nominees of bloggers who spread sunshine and inspiration are:

A VISIT TO ESMÉ’S

Notebook, Pen & Coffee

Don’t you just have a split reaction to interviews? Slightly daunted to start with but excited at the prospect?

On my recent visit to Esmé’s at Esmé Salon ‘Share, Care & Inspire’, I couldn’t wait to partake in her ever popular 20 + 1 Interview Questions and the questions flowed with ease through both my blogging and personal life. … no need at all to be apprehensive!

  • What blogging achievement are you most proud of?
  • Do you have any wisdom or tips regarding blogging to share with us?
  • Do you wish to be 20-something or the age you are now and why?
  • What makes your day a good and happy one?

Above are just a few questions she put to me … the answers to these and the other 17 questions can be found here. See you there!

Comments have been turned off for this post as I look forward to discussion Esmé’s blog.

THE WRITER Q & A TAG

pne&notebook

With less than a week to Bloggers Bash in  London I thought this was a perfect time to introduce myself a little bit more through this Writer Q & A tag. Many thanks to Marje at K Y R O S M A G I C A for nominating me. She has a lovely varied blog and it’s always a delight to read her posts. Do pop over and have a look for yourselves.  Now to the Q & A Tag:

  1. If you met a sexy vampire what would you do? Hook up, get the garlic and crosses out or run a mile?

nosefratuBlimey, what a corker of a first question! Can vampires be sexy? The only time they’ve crossed my path is seeing Count Orlak in the 1920s film Nosferatu – definitely not sexy, just creepy so guess I’d…ruuuuunnnn!

2. What’s your favourite genre of book and why?

sisterGlancing at my bookshelves I must admit to a predominance of what is called ‘romantic fiction’. However in that case I feel the likes of Jojo Moyes and Jodi Picoult bring that genre up a notch. Overall I read a lot of literary fiction, also some fantasy, YA books as well as humour books for light entertainment. Recently Nick Spalding’s books have been perfect for a good laugh wrapped around an easy going story.  Books I will not touch are horror – reading Cujo as a teenager was bad enough!

3. Who is/are your favourite author (s) , poet (s)? What is it about them that inspires you?

This is an impossible question! I like so many authors for various reasons…

4. If you had to control a classroom of year 6 kids would you bail, or enjoy the challenge? Would you be (a.)  too undisciplined to do so, you’d just join in the general mayhem, (b.) enjoy bossy them around, or (c.) pray in a corner for the bell to sound.

teacherI can be a bit  bossy, so would probably be (b.)  but with fun, laughter and silliness thrown in. I spent time helping in my son’s classroom from time to time and luckily never had to supervise more than ten at a time.

5. What made you become a writer/blogger? Do your family support you or do they think you’re crazy, bored,  attention seeking, or all of these? Tell us a bit about your current WIP and/or books…

blog2Like so many I started the blog as I’d read you need a ‘platform’ as a writer. Very quickly and to my joy I discovered it was so much more – the interaction with other bloggers is wonderful and the epitome of blogging.

Luckily my family are cheering me along all the way…although it’s my son who now reminds me of the no-devices-at-the-table rule! Abashed I will switch off and place it out reach. Blogging is strangely addictive.

Earlier this year I was overjoyed to have completed my first/second draft of my first novel. Island Girl is about a girl, Anna, growing up on an island off the coast of Sweden. Initially this is a paradise for her but as she matures the very island she loves, threatens to become her prison.

6. What is the most awful job and/or experience you’ve ever done/had?

I just realised that I have been very fortunate and actually enjoyed most of the jobs I’ve had. The toughest was a summer job spent baby-sitting for a couple’s two young children. I loved the job itself but it became increasingly stressful and tricky as the extremely naughty five-year-old boy was allowed to boss and hurt his three-year-old sister with impunity. Whenever I tried to put a stop to it I was reprimanded! My heart went out to the poor girl and I do wonder what the future held for her.

7. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Does this spill out onto other parts of your life? Are you generally organised/disorganised?

virgoI’m not sure if it’s to do with being a Virgo but I am known for being very organised in my life. Around the home, planning trips, dealing with finances and always at work. Beware anyone who dared touch or alter my working system.

first-draftWith this in mind it was a surprise to myself that although my novel was sketched in my mind I started writing without a written plan. Early on though I realised this was not the best way to go – my timeline was all over the place, I kept forgetting names, events and so quickly I developed a quasi plotter/panster method using Scrivener which worked well for me! I do use their cork boards and don’t know if I could have finished without them!

8. Do you believe in Ghosts? Fate? Love at First Sight? Fairies? Psychic happenings?Numerology, Mermaids, The Loch Ness Monster, Demons…etc…

bullarI definitely believe in elements beyond our very limited realm and have had many experiences of ‘something’. In one of the houses I grew up, the lovely smell of home-baking would fill the dining room -although no one was even in the kitchen. Also a warm draft of air would pleasantly waft across my legs. Talking to older neighbours we learnt that the original house’s kitchen and oven were exactly in the place these incidents took place. Spooky but a gentle genial ghost I felt…

9. What is the worst haircut/clothes/hats you’ve ever had/worn? Photos please, or describe in vivid detail…

chick.jogMy worst hat incident occurred after I won the best made Christmas hat competition whilst at primary school. I learnt a valuable lesson that Easter – never set the bar too high at the start!  My concept was brilliant – I glowed with expectation. My hat, at first just a cardboard frame, would become the Easter chick of all Easter hats. I painted – yellow. I glued on feathers like a demon. The more I glued, the worst it looked. By then it was too late and taking it in to school (in a carrier bag!) the teacher encouraged me to place the hat on my head. I wish I could have put the bag over my head instead! The whole class, including the teacher burst into laughter. I doubt I’ve offered so much hilarity to anyone since. As tears ran down my friends cheeks I put the offending hat back into the bag. But no, it had to go on the display table…

10. Please finish this sentence with more than three extra words: Life is one foot in and one foot out, you ….

often trip up. The key is to get up, stumble along and hopefully soon enough you’ll be navigating this life safety, with joy, excitement and contentment.

words