I hope you’re all well and are getting into the Easter spirit 🐣! I’m thoroughly enjoying my Easter break – reading plenty, spending time with my family (my support bubble), in the garden and spending time soaking up the warmer days. I seem to have got my writing mojo back so whilst I appreciate it is now April, I have a couple of posts I need to catch up with. Today’s post is the book I chose to read for the reading challenge. The focus for March was: Read a book that was gifted to you. If you’d like to catch up or take part in my reading challenge, please click here for more information. I’m sure all my avid reader blogging friends get books for birthdays, Christmas and then when you decide to treat yourself… or is that just me? Anyway, I had the perfect book in…
The definition of a makeover is ‘a complete transformation of the appearance of someone or something’.
As many of you might have noticed the recent something that underwent a makeover this week is my blog! A task I’ve wanted to tackle for ages, however I was apprehensive and hence procrastinated.
Would the whole blog disappear if a mistake was made? Maybe all the wonderful comments would erroneously be deleted? The calamities surrounding the possible makeover seemed insurmountable!
To the rescue came my son, a university computer science student, and when he heard my thoughts (and my fears) he promptly offered to help — the very next day!
Yikes! My musings to combine my blog with an author website was finally going to see the light of day.
Where to start?
Where else but the fantastic community of WordPress which I had explored over some months. I’d collated various articles by bloggers and two particularly were ones I referred to over and over again.
Natalie Ducey is not only a wonderful poet and graphic designer; she also prepares the most informative posts about all aspects of blogging. Were it not for her encouragement I would not even have considered the possibility of updating my website.
Through her, I learnt how to download new fonts and how to use them. My ‘signature’ here is in a font I found via her blog and is called ‘Saturday’. The background element upon which it rests is one I bought upon her suggestion. I love its calm and tranquil feeling, reminiscent both of the sea and sky.
Next came the matter of a new theme. I learned that my old theme, Sela, had retired — hopefully with a good pension! Hugh Roberts, a writer and prolific blogger provides super blogging tips at Hugh’s Views and News.
One of his posts featured WordPress themes and he listed some of his favourites. I looked at many of these and finally settled upon one which seemed best to suit my purposes. The theme of my website is called ‘Lovecraft’ and is free to use from WordPress.
Although at one stage I had a tag line underneath my blog, I had taken this away as it no longer reflected me or my work. Tag lines are key to describing you, your website or blog within just a few words, to win the attention of readers and hopefully retain their interest. After considering all the terrific comments about my books, stories and posts I realised two elements within my life stood out and influenced my written works. I feel I captured this within the final tag line of:
‘A writer influenced by her Swedish heritage and Yorkshire upbringing.’
As the deadline for the revamp approached I sketched out a welcome message, organised my book reviews in a document and found the appropriate images and photographs.
The day arrived and my son and I sat down at my computer!
Switching the theme was frighteningly easy but until the button was clicked I nervously kept asking was he sure this was okay? Would I lose anything? By the third reassurance and my hand hovering over the mouse he took affirmative action, borrowed the mouse and clicked the button!
Yeah! My website was on its way to a full makeover! The title and tag line were set to a large font. A custom background colour was selected from the palette and the gentle lavender harmonised all the elements within the website.
Next, there was so much to consider we ended up making a list.
The biggest change was my ‘Welcome’ introduction post. I wanted something brief, engaging and with my photo which was to be pinned to the top of the website. All was achieved — I just hadn’t realised it would be published as a post! As this was more of an informative introduction to the website the comments were removed. Searching Google my son found that the removal of likes and sharing was in the jetpack icon on the top right of the WordPress draft post. An icon I have never even touched before!
Next headings were created and my son set up sub-headings; something I’ve always longed to do and which have impressed when I’ve seen them on other blogs.
Of course, the headings had to lead to something.
For my books and their reviews we made new pages (and to activate these, one needs to click ‘publish’ but fear not, these are not published as a post!)
Last year I finally had managed to add a ‘Contact’ form but only via my ‘About’ page and it was not ideal. As if by magic my son transferred the previous ‘About & Contact’ into HTML, copied the code for the ‘Contact’ form. Once again I had a neater looking ‘About’ page and he quickly set up a new ‘Contact’ heading and page.
As for the sidebar, several elements have been taken away as I felt the website would benefit from a more streamlined and ultimately decluttered appearance.
One issue we discovered was my sprinkling of categories in my previous posts which makes it tricky to settle on just a handful of ‘Blog Topics’ for the drop-down menu. In my early days of blogging, I had no real understanding of categories and liberally made new ones, even for just one obscure subject! These will not be captured by the new headings. Furthermore, some had different types of spellings, eg. Short Stories and short stories, writings, Writings and writing! The only solution is that over time I will edit the categories on my older posts to make them more inclusive.
I’m sure there is yet much more that needs tweaking but in the meantime, I am proud to present to you my new and updated website. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about its creation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask … and I will pass on the queries to my son! Many thanks to him for all his hard work and patience!
Finally, a shameless shoutout for my musical son Sammy and his Youtube channel. Here he features over 80 of his piano covers, as well as his own compositions and own piano sheet music. For his latest venture, he is taking commissions for sheet music which he creates himself. If there is a piece you, your family or friends long to play but can’t find the sheet music do not hesitate and contact Sammy directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
And at last, a brief reminder of my two books available via Amazon or myself.
They say a picture paints a thousand words and with this in mind I’m overjoyed to share some photos of a young lady enjoying my children’s book “Oskar’s Quest”.
However, words still play a huge role and I’m very happy to include the following five-star review of the book by Erica, the girl’s grandmother and best friend!
“Oskar’s Quest” is a beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship. Annika Perry has a gift for writing up, not down to children. Even very young children are attentive, curious and observant. My four year old Granddaughter and I love reading “Oskar’s Quest!” My Granddaughter has already memorized parts of this book, especially the sound effects. She loves following “Oskar,” the blue bird, and “Maya,” the golden bird, throughout the story. Often a key to an engaging children’s book is how the adult also enjoys reading the book over and over and over again. I highly recommend “Oskar’s Quest!”
Many thanks to Erica not only for this wonderful review, but also for the permission to use the photographs of Abby. The copyright of these is held by Erica.
I have only known Erica a few months here on WP and already value her as a kind and thoughtful friend. Although not a reviewer before she quickly understood how important and key reviews are to a writer.
An inspirational person, her posts are always a joy to read, touching on adventures, travels, family and nature! She is also humble and almost by accident I learnt of her travel writing, love of running, taking part in Half Corked Marathon and Great Walk of 63.5 km. Do take a look at her blog Behind The Scenery.
Finally, I am elated to announce the first foreign language version of “Oskar’s Quest”. The translator, Marion Roberts, worked tirelessly to translate my children’s book … working wonders with text and especially the popular albeit tricky sound effect/onomatopoeic words!
Heartfelt thanks to David Cronin for formatting the latest version of my book and I appreciate all his work – without his help it would not be here! As simple as that!
Below is a picture of my favourite teddy, Minky, as he’s enjoying “Oskar’s Abenteuer”. Luckily he’s fluent in German having accompanied me on my studies at the Karl-Marx University in Leipzig and University of Tübingen. (btw. ‘Abenteuer’ means ‘Adventure’)
Today I’m excited to welcome our friend and writer, Annika Perry. For those of you who know Annika, I’m sure you’ll agree she is one of the kindest and most generous bloggers you’ll ever meet. We connected many years ago, and now I feel as though we’re old friends. I was excited when she expressed an interest to play “would you rather.” I think you’ll enjoy her answers as much as I did.
Would you rather be able to freeze time or travel in time?
Without a doubt, I’d rather travel in time! Ever since reading ‘The Time Machine’ by H G Wells as a child I knew here was the perfect way to travel although I realised it came with its own inherent hazards. Avoiding these I would visit various eras across time. The major world events, whilst of interest, would not appeal to me as much as seeing…
I’m elated that my new release ‘Oskar’s Quest’ is featured on Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine today. As you can understand I was keen to share here on my blog; please click on the link to read the full feature and to comment!
Delighted to share the news of Annika Perry’s new release. A delightful children’s book, perfect for 3 – 6 year olds – Oskar’s Quest.
About the book
Oskar is afraid of adventures. Yet one day he finds himself on a mysterious island which needs his help.Join Oskar on this unexpected and magnificent quest, where he finds not only courage but so much more…“It’s light, extremely enjoyable and very gripping.” Esther Chilton – author & editor.Perfect for ages 3 to 6.
I received an ARC of this delightful book from the author. In this beautifully illustrated children’s book, author Annika Perry captures the importance of caring for others, overcoming fears and making new friends. Young children are sure to relate as a fearful Oskar steps out of his comfort…
It’s here! I am overjoyed to announce the release of my latest book!
UPDATE: NOW ALSO OUT ON KINDLE with optional pop-up text boxes … links are below.
Oskar is afraid of adventures. Yet one day he finds himself on a mysterious island which needs his help.
Join Oskar on this unexpected and magnificent quest, where he finds not only courage but so much more …
“It’s light, extremely enjoyable and very gripping.” Esther Chilton, author & editor
The first review is already in and thank you so much to Bette A. Stevens who read a pre-release copy of Oskar’s Quest.
“In this beautifully illustrated children’s book, author Annika Perry captures the importance of caring for others, overcoming fears and making new friends.
Young children are sure to relate as a fearful Oskar steps out of his comfort zone and embarks on a perilous journey in an effort to save a beautiful songbird and return happiness to an island where he’s been stranded during a fierce storm.
I loved the author’s generous use of onomatopoeia to paint memorable word pictures for little readers and listeners. PLIP-PLOP, FLASH, BANG—the story’s excitement builds.
Delightful!” ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author
Oskar’s Quest is suitable for children aged 3 – 6, although I would like to say there is no upper limit to enjoying any book!
It’s a scenario many of us have experienced in our lives.
A young child in bed, restless and not at all keen on this falling asleep lark! Being awake is so much more exciting!
Over a couple of years, when my son had difficulty letting go of his awake self, I started to make up stories to help him drift asleep.
One of these was Oskar’s Quest, which was created and developed over many weeks. It became a firm favourite at home.
As my boy grew up, oh, so quickly, the regular bedtime story of Oskar’s Quest was no longer requested nor required. Before I forgot any part of his adventures my mother advised me to write it all down. Who knew when it would be needed in the future; where it could lead?
Mothers are always right! Last year I revisited my children’s story and I was smitten once again. Anew I found myself captivated by Oskar and his Quest. Maybe others would feel the same, I wondered. I even dared to hope!
Yet, with many years of writing experience, I realised the story needed work. I set at redrafting and editing this lengthy tale to one more suitable for publication. Finally, with the aid of a talented illustrator, the book was ready!
I’m so thrilled and elated to present Oskar to you all and for you to have an opportunity to take part in his adventures. I will be posting much more about Oskar’s Quest, its cover, blurb and release date in the near future!
May Oskar soon make many new friends with children and adults alike, all keen to follow him on his exciting quest and in the process find a bit more of themselves.