Category: Awards

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphicI have now been nominated three times for this award by three lovely women and it’s about time I got on and did this. First of all, I would like to thank the people who nominated me: Dena Rogers, Linda Huber and Sharon Booth, all authors like me, at various stages in their writing careers and all friends I have made through social media 🙂


The rules are fairly simple.
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate seven blogs.

As I was nominated by three different people, I’m going to be a bit cheeky and choose some questions from each person to answer 😉

From Dena:

1. How often do you read?  Daily, weekly, monthly?
I read every day without fail. No day would be complete for me without some form of reading taking place. I’m currently reading ‘You Think You Know Me,’ a romantic suspense story by Clare Chase.


2. Favourite Movie?
There are so many films that I love. The one I come back to a lot though is ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply,’ with Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman, long before he was Snape and when he was a bit better looking! It makes me cry every time I watch it.

dfw-js-fhtn-cover-3d-nologo3.  Since we are all authors, what’s one accomplishment you’d like to have with your writing?
I think I’ve already accomplished the main one, which was to write and self-publish my debut novel, From Here to Nashville. Now I would simply like to repeat that with increasing success many more times!

4. What’s the last picWP_20150315_015ture you took with your phone?- A bit nosy, but I’m running out of interesting things to ask!
I took some lovely pictures when we went out together as a family on Mother’s Day last Sunday to an English Heritage property near us called Wrest Park.

From Linda:
5. Do you have a ‘sister’?
I don’t have a real life sister but I have three very good friends that I have known for many years and they are like sisters to me. I have also made some very special new friends online since I began writing and have met a few of them as well and they’re just as lovely in real life 🙂

6. What’s your favourite colour?
My favourite colour is blue, not for any particular reason but most of my clothes are blue! I do also have a special love for the sea.

Nashville-At-Night-Tennessee-1136x6407. What do you hope to achieve in 2015?
I really want to finish the first draft of my second book before the deadline of the end of August which is when I have to submit it to the RNA New Writers’ Scheme for reading. After that, I want to write a novella follow-up to From Here to Nashville. If I can do that this year, I will be well on my way to being an established author, I think.


From Sharon:
8. What are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of being married to my husband for 26 years this year and together for 30 by the end of the year! I’m also proud of our two daughters, who I love to bits and who drive me mad in equal measure 😉

moving-quotes-from-maya-angelou-169. Which woman in history do you most admire?
I’m sure I will think of others after I’ve written this but one woman I really admire from recent history is Maya Angelou. I think her strength of spirit was amazing and I wish I had discovered her poetry sooner than I did. I also found out recently that one of her favourite songs was ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack, which has long been one of my favourites.

man-110. Who would you like to go on a date with ? (Excluding current partners or spouses)
Well, that’s almost impossible to answer but if I can only pick one…Orlando Bloom! If I could pick more though…Colin Firth, Aidan Turner, Patrick Dempsey, Charles Esten. I have a bit of ‘Handsome Hunks’ thing going on 😉


I’m passing the award on to Lori Schafer, Janice Preston, Helena Fairfax, Joanne Phillips, Cat Lumb, Norah Colvin and Heidi-Jo Swain.

Here are my questions:
1. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
2. What is your favourite place you have visited in your own country and abroad?
3. Do you speak any foreign languages?
4. What is your favourite food?
5. What one thing would you like to do that you have never done before?
6. What single piece of music (it can be an album) would you take to a desert island?
7. Do you have a book that you like to read over and over again?
8. Which is your favourite season of the year and why?
9. Do you have any pets?
10. What’s your favourite mode of transport?

Over to you, lovely ladies 🙂 Please don’t feel any obligation to do this if you’re too busy and apologies if you’ve already done it before.

P.S. I could have included lots of other lovely women I have come to know online but I was only supposed to choose seven! If we know each other and you’d like to do it, do let me know and I will happily nominate you 🙂

Post Goodreads Giveaway Analysis (Part 1) and A Gold Star!

star-407747_640As you know, I ran my first Goodreads Giveaway this past week. I’d set it up to run from Thursday last week until Tuesday of this week but when the approval came back, I realised it wouldn’t have started until midnight on Thursday so I changed it to start at midnight on Wednesday. When I got up on Wednesday morning though, it was already live! This means that it will have run for a week in the end.

As I’m writing this, 735 people have entered the giveaway and of these, 349 people have added my book to their ‘Want To Read’ shelf. When you enter a giveaway on Goodreads (just in case you haven’t ever entered one yourself), the book is automatically added to your ‘Want To Read’ shelf unless you deselect that option. As only half of entrants have added it to their shelf, I’m hopeful that those people are genuinely interested in reading it. However, from everything I’ve read on the internet about Goodreads giveaways, they don’t tend to increase sales for the author but I will have to wait and see on that front.

I am really pleased to see that so many people have entered though and would count this giveaway as a great success in raising the visibility of my book amongst readers on the Goodreads site. At the moment of course, I don’t know who will win the book but when I send it out, I have decided to send a hand-written note with the signed copy, asking the reader to leave me a review once they’ve finished the book. I have to hope that they will read it of course and that their interest in my book is genuine. I have read some horror stories of people who enter lots of giveaways just to resell the books themselves! This is why I’m pleased that I’ve only offered one copy.

And so what of the other people who entered? What can I do for them? Well, the answer to that is nothing it would seem. Goodreads has rules forbidding authors from contacting readers who have entered a giveaway. I also tried to put in the link to the Amazon page on the giveaway to prompt people to buy it if they wanted to but they removed it. A lot of authors are keen to offer a discount voucher for a copy of the ebook to those giveaway entrants who didn’t win and have contacted Goodreads with this suggestion but to no avail. This is such a shame and really does seem like a wasted marketing opportunity. The other option is to include a message on the book’s Goodreads page once the giveaway finishes saying that there is a special offer for giveaway entrants who didn’t win and if interested, those people should contact you to find out more. You could then offer an Amazon gift voucher to them to purchase your book at a reduced price. The only problem with that is that you can’t dictate what people use the voucher for 🙁 I can’t think of any other way round that problem.

In summary then, I would say that it is a good way to raise visibility for your book but as to what happens after the giveaway, I don’t know yet and will have to wait and see.

In other news, I found out this morning that the cover for From Here to Nashville has been awarded a gold star in the prestigious Ebook Cover Design Awards run by Joel Friedlander on his website, The Book Designer. He said it is ‘A beautiful cover with typography that evokes the country music theme of the book, and a great color scheme. It sings.’ Wow! You can read more here.

Finally this week, I wanted to mention that as it’s my big birthday next Monday (eek!) and the week after that, I will be on holiday in Nashville, normal service on my blog may be a bit out of kilter for a few weeks! I will be posting bits and pieces here and there, if not on here, on Twitter and on Facebook, so if you don’t already follow me there, please do go to those profiles and click to follow or like. When I return, I will do a big catch-up post about it all and I will be able to tell you more about the Indie Author Book Fair I’ll be attending on 17th April in London.

Thanks for reading, as always. If you have any feedback on the Goodreads Giveaway issue, I’d love to hear from you. Have a good writing week, y’all 😉

Two New Blog Awards

realneatblogawardI’m writing this extra post on a Sunday because I’ve been given two new awards for my blog and I wanted to let regular readers of my blog know and to thank the lovely Jade St. Clair aka Scatterbooker for her kind nomination. You can find her wonderful website here.

The awards I’ve been given are The Real Neat Blog award and the Premio Dardos award.

Here are the seven questions I had to answer for the Real Neat Blog Award:
1. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger.
2. What is your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere in France!
3. What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
4. Who is your secret celebrity crush?
Kevin Spacey 😉
5. Do you have a favourite sports team?
6. What song is guaranteed to get you up and dancing?
Uptown Funk (currently!)
7. Do you have any pets?
A cat called Miley and a guinea pig called Albus.


Now, I should be nominating 15 other blogs to receive these awards but I’m going to be a bit radical. If you would like me to nominate you for the awards and you have time to do what it takes, then let me know in the comments below and I’ll edit the post to include you. I hope that’s a good way to do it because I know how busy everyone is but if you’d like the award for your blog, don’t be shy!

Thanks for reading and see you all for Monday’s normal blog post 🙂

Update 23/2 – I have my first nominee! I nominate Judith Barrow at her blog here  http://judithbarrowblog.com/ to receive the Real Neat Blog and the Premio Dardos awards. Thanks for getting in touch, Judith. Do go across and have a look at Judith’s lovely blog where she blogs about her writing and reblogs a number of other sites all connected with writing and reading 🙂

5 Highlights from My Very Busy Writing Year – 2014

DSC_0503Looking back at the blog posts I have written this year, I am amazed at what I have managed to pack in. So, as the end of the year approaches, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the highlights.

1. The year began with me successfully joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme (NWS). There are only 250 places on this scheme available each year and I knew it would be hotly contested so I was very excited when I found out I had got a place. I went on to submit my debut novel, ‘From Here to Nashville’ to the NWS and received a very positive report back from my reader. There was still a lot of work to do but I had made a good start.

In addition to this though, I have made many new and lovely friends by joining the RNA and attending events like their Summer Party, the annual Conference, my local RNA group lunches and being invited to events by established authors like the lovely Phillipa Ashley. The support I have received from this network of writers has been wonderful and I can’t thank them all enough. I will be rejoining the RNA next year and look forward to another wonderful year with writing friends, old and new.

2. I finished ‘From Here to Nashville’ at last! When I say that, I really mean it as well. After I got my report back from the RNA, I rewrote and edited some more before seeking a professional edit. I finished those edits just a couple of weeks ago and now my beta readers and I are giving it one last read through before it goes to the proofreader in January. I am pleased with how it’s looking from my read through so far, with only minor changes looking likely. I have had a professional cover designed which I’m really happy with and I am cracking on with the formatting for Kindle. I know now that I will publish my debut novel early next year and I am so excited about that.

3. I have attended three writing courses this year, as well as taking part in an online course run by Future Learn. In February, I went on a course called ‘Passion on the Page’ run by Write Stars. It was a great course, run by romance author Katherine Garbera and I learnt a lot from it that I could use in my writing. Then, at the end of March, I went on another Write Stars course led by romance author, Sue Moorcroft, ‘How to Write a Romance Novel in a day.’ Once again, it was a very useful course and I learnt lots from Sue and the other attendees. I signed up for the Future Learn course ‘Start Writing Fiction’ in April and although this was a course for beginners, I found it useful. I also started a writing journal as a result of being on the course which was one of the best decisions I made all year! Finally, I went on a Short Story course, run by Woman’s Weekly magazine in October. The course was led by Della Galton, another experienced author of both short stories and novels and it was clear that she really knew her stuff.

4. I established my author platform this year. By this, I mean that I worked out which social media was proving useful for me. I started out on Twitter and I now have a solid following there of about 1,000 people. I’m happy to keep it around that number because I want to interact with my followers as much as I can and this number seems manageable.

I have seen my blog go from strength to strength this year, receiving no less than five awards and I love writing my weekly post and engaging with readers as a result of it. The #MondayBlogs has been incredibly useful for my blog and I really enjoy participating in it. There are a number of other hashtags I could get involved in but as I work part-time, I’m not sure I could keep up with it. I do use Tweetdeck on Mondays to help me manage all the retweets and faves. I like to thank people for being supportive and I know that they appreciate it so Tweetdeck helps me keep on top of everything (Thanks to Liz Harris from the RNA for that tip!) I have also enjoyed taking part in various blog tours and have recently started a Cover Reveals feature once a month to help other new authors, which has proved popular.

This year, I also managed to set up a Facebook Author page. It is building slowly and may not prove that worthwhile longer term but I have found having a personal page lots of fun and I enjoy supporting other authors at their virtual events. If you’d like to make contact on Facebook, do go on over and like my page so that you get my updates.

I do also have a Pinterest page but I know I’m not doing much with it yet so that will be one to work on for next year perhaps. Here’s the link though if you want to see what I pin and follow me. Beware though, you will waste hours on there!

5. I have learnt so much this year, I can hardly believe it. I have written posts about writing a synopsis, Point of View, rewriting, editing, outlining, show not tell, how to write a blurb, working with a cover designer, self-publishing, proofreading, formatting, creating a newsletter, Evernote and Scrivener! I feel exhausted just reading that list but I know it shows how far I have come in my writing life over the past year.

I’d like to finish with a big thank you to all those of you who read my blog every week and take time to comment and share my posts. It has meant a lot to me and I hope that you’ll join me as I move into 2015 and finally publish my debut novel 🙂 Merry Christmas to you all!

My blog has received a ‘One Lovely Blog’ award!

7fd5e-onelovelyblogawardIt’s always nice to receive awards but this one has a particularly nice ring to it and I am very grateful to Terry Tyler for nominating my blog this time round. If you’ve not seen Terry’s blog before, you can take a look here and read her post about receiving the award at the same time. Thanks again, Terry for being such a great supporter of my blog 🙂

The rules for this award are similar to those for others I’ve received. Firstly, I have to tell you another 7 interesting things about myself. I know that you’re probably getting a bit fed up with me by now but I promise I am going to try and come up with something even more interesting than I’ve told you before! Then I have to link to 15 other blogs that I think you will find entertaining.
So here goes with my 7 interesting things about myself. I’ve decided to give this list a bookish theme. This week, I was tagged by one of my Facebook friends to list 10 books that have stayed with me since reading them and I duly complied, enjoying the activity enormously. However, there were lots of other books I could have included but didn’t have space for so here are some of those and the reasons why, which should also reveal a little more about me.

SalemslothardcoverAlthough I love reading romance stories, my first great love in book terms when I was young, came through Stephen King. One of our close friends bought every book as it came out and then passed it on to me to read next. I devoured these books as a teenager, even though some were truly frightening but I loved that. My favourite book of his is…Well, that’s the problem! I can’t pick a favourite because I loved them all but I can still remember reading amongst others, ‘Salem’s Lot,’ ‘The Shining,’ ‘Christine,’ ‘Pet Sematary’ and ‘It.’

dustinI couldn’t include Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ on my list but it’s definitely my second favourite after ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ I studied it at school and so knew it very well. If you’ve read my previous lists about myself, you’ll know that I like the actor Dustin Hoffman very much so when I saw that he was to play Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in London, when I was studying at University, I knew I had to go. I still have very fond memories of that experience to this day 🙂

marklesterOne of my other Charles Dickens favourites is ‘Oliver Twist,’ probably because I loved the musical first! I did go on and read the story though and loved it. I think the musical does a very good job in sticking to the story and of course, there are the songs. I actually performed in this play at school, although I only had a tiny part, despite being a good singer, because the music teacher had her favourites and I wasn’t one of those 🙁


Alex-Haley-RootsI did include ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on my list because it had a profound effect on me and my life. I hate injustice but particularly when it’s related to race and I find stories about that very powerful. As a young person, I remember watching ‘Roots’ on the television with my mum and being shocked to my core by the events contained within the story. I only read the book a few years ago though, when one of my children was studying it at school. It’s a massive book, as you’ll know if you’ve ever read it but I flew through it because the story is so wonderfully written.

book-thefirm-lgTalking about justice, I love legal thrillers too and so when John Grisham’s books first came on the scene, I was captivated at once. I loved ‘The Firm’ because I’d never read anything like it and I still love it to this day. I have all the hardback copies of his books sitting on the top shelf of my bookcase even now but I have to admit to not having reread any of them for years.


200px-TheIceHouseAnother author I used to enjoy reading was Minette Walters. She wrote contemporary crime fiction and her book, ‘The Ice House’ was one of the best I’d ever read. I went on to read lots of the others over the next few years. However, once I had my first child, I knew I could not read any of this kind of book for a while because it upset me too much when I tried. I do now read crime fiction again but I still find anything to do with children difficult to stomach.

harry-potter-booksMy last one that I have to include here because I didn’t have space on the first list is every single one of the Harry Potter books. I love them all and have read and reread them many times. Over the last few years, I have been able to read The Philosopher’s Stone at school with some of my classes and I am always amazed at the number of children who have never read it. Why not?! I want to cry. I remember many happy hours spent reading the early books with my children, until they were ready to go off and read the rest on their own. We all love the books and the films and we’ve been on the tour as well and these are some of our happiest memories together, all thanks to J. K. Rowling 🙂

Here’s my original list for your perusal:
1. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5 . To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
7. Wait for You by J. Lynn
8. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
9. The Island by Victoria Hislop
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

And here are the 15 blogs that I recommend to you this time. Do go and take a look if you don’t know them already, you will be well rewarded!
1. Jane Isaac, Crime Writer – Caffeine’s Not a Crime
2. Paula Reed Nancarrow, Writer and Poet – On Writing, Creative Practice and Performance
3. Wendy Janes, Proofreading for the Independent Author – Proofreading by Wendy
4. The Romaniacs – Kindred Spirits with a love for Writing
5. WriteMindsWritePlace – Women Chatting about their Writing World
6. Dylan Hearn, Writer – Suffolk Scribblings
7. Bill Cunningham – W. C. Cunningham Writes
8. The Write Romantics – Love, Life and Writing
9. Jane Lovering, Author – From Behind the Keyboard
10. Debi V. Smith, Writer – Chocolate Wasteland
11. Debbie Young, Author – Debbie Young’s Writing Life
12. Jessica Redland, Writer – Jessica Redland, Writer
13. Robyn Koshel, Book Reviewer and Writer – Elder Park Book Reviews
14.Katie Oliver, Author – If you like a bit of comedy with your romance…
15. Clare Chase, Writer – Writer of Fast-Paced Romantic Mysteries

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated for another award! This time, it’s the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and I was nominated by Pam McIlroy whose wonderful blog about reading and writing can be found here.

Here are the rules of the award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: follow the blogger who nominated you, if you don’t already do so.

Seven Things About Me
Well, this is starting to get a bit difficult because I’ve received a few of these awards now and I’m not sure there’s anything new for me to say about myself but I’ll try! I’ve decided to go with a romance theme since it is a very important theme in my life.

  • I write romance novels in my spare time. I hope to publish my first novel before the end of this year so it’s a very exciting time.
  • Talking of romance, I have been married for 25 years and celebrated this milestone with my husband and family with a trip to New York earlier this year.
  • We got engaged in Paris and spent our honeymoon there too. I spent my last big birthday there and we also took my older daughter there for her 16th birthday last year.
  • My husband and I met when we were travelling on a ‘plane to Rome to perform in some choir concerts there. It was to take us more than twenty years to get back again!
  • Travelling is one of my favourite things to do and there are still so many places I would like to see. Apart from Europe, I have only ever been to America so that leaves a heck of a lot of world still to see!
  • I play the piano (not very well) and a little guitar too, as well as being a singer.
  • My favourite romance stories or films are often ones where someone dies! I’m not quite sure what this says about me 🙂 Anyway, I love the film ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ and I also love ‘P.S. I Love You.’ In my view, the best romances make you cry your eyes out!

And now for my 15 nominees:
1. Cat Lumb: The Struggle to be a Writer
2. Heidi-Jo Swain: Writer’s Blog
3. Joanne Phillips: A Writer’s Journey
4. Helena Fairfax: Romance Author
5. Cynthia Harrison: Novelist
6. Karen Soutar: Fact and Fiction
7. J.E. Nice: Writer
8. Rebecca Bradley: Crime Writer
9. Janice Preston: Writer of Regency Romance
10. Bernadette O’Dwyer: Writer
11. Norah Colvin: Teacher and Writer
12. Debi Smith: Writer and Chocolate Lover
13. Sandra Danby: Writer
14. Ruth Livingstone: Fiction Writer and Blogger
15. John de Gruyther: Freelance Writer

I have been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award!

My good friend from Twitter, Debi Smith, who blogs here, has very kindly nominated me for a Versatile Blogger award. I feel very lucky to have met so many wonderful new people through Twitter and through my own blog here. Debi and I share a love of great music and she still has the best way of saying thank you for retweeting I have come across in the twitter sphere. Check her out on Twitter – @DebiVSmith – and you’ll see what I mean. So a big thank you to Debi for nominating me.

The rules state that I now have to tag/nominate 15 other blogs I follow. I remember doing a similar thing once before and finding it very difficult to list 15 blogs that I would recommend to my readers but the job was much easier this time. So I hereby nominate these wonderful people and their blogs: Marianne Power who blogs over at Help Me! blog about her year long quest to see if self-help really can change your life; Helena Fairfax who blogs about her life as a romance author and insatiable book lover; Cat Lumb who blogs about her struggle to be a writer; John de Gruyther who blogs about his life and work as a freelance writer and poet; Heidi-Jo Swain who blogs about her romance writing and her path to publication; Rachel Stirling who blogs about her life as a writer and illustrator; Bernadette O’Dwyer who blogs about her journey as an aspiring romance author; Joe Johnson who blogs honestly about his love of cycling and his writing life; Elizabeth Ducie who is a full-time writer and blogs about her writing life, including interviews with other writers; Julia Proofreader, who works as a proofreader, as her name suggests and comes highly recommended; Terry Tyler who blogs about her life as a successful independent author and self-publishing in general; Mark Barry who is also a successful independent author and generously interviews other writers on his blog; Ruth Livingstone who blogs about her life as a fiction writer and blogger; JorieLovesaStory who is a book blogger and writer and loves everything to do with books and reading, and Helen Carey who is a successful author, avid reader and also teaches creative writing at University level. I know that you will enjoy reading their blogs as much as I do.

All that remains now is for me to tell you seven things about myself that you don’t already know!

1. Next year, I will be 50 years old! This has crept up on me, as I’m sure many of you reading this will understand and has left me thinking that I need to get on with some things. I don’t really feel like I’m nearly 50 (see point 2 below!), not mentally anyway! Physically though, is quite a different matter.

ac1b0510a7a284de3a8ab2b3ea5fc3502. I have 2 daughters, aged 17 and 13. I know, I don’t look old enough 😉 I have to confess a bit of a secret here. The avatar on my Twitter bio was taken when I turned 40! Still, people recognise me when they meet me in real life so it can’t be too out of date, although I do have some grey hairs now 🙂 I suppose you want me to put in a more up-to-date photo now, don’t you? I’ll see if I can find one I like by the time I turn 50!

Nashville guitar3. I want to go to Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate my 50th birthday. Look at this wonderful photo advertising Nashville to tourists. Now, the question is, does it remind you of any other photos you might have seen on my site? If you’re interested, I have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to Nashville and my debut novel. Here’s the link.

DSCN86724. My favourite meal at the moment is Chicken and Chorizo paella and my husband bought me an enormous paella dish for my birthday this year so we can cook lots of it! We christened the pan with our family just after we got back from New York at Easter this year and it was a truly wonderful occasion.

dia_00075. Photography is one of the great pleasures of my life. I was given my first Kodak camera aged 10 and have been steadily taking photos ever since. The only thing getting in my way is point number 6 (see below) but I’m persevering and trying not to let it stop me. Here’s a photo from the colour folio I had to produce when I was working on a Photography diploma a few years ago.

6. I have a lazy right eye and so I wear only the one contact lens in my left eye. I am really vain about wearing glasses but I am fast approaching the time when I will no longer have a choice 🙁 I currently have 2 pairs of glasses and I even have one of those chains for hanging them on (at my own request) but I hate it. It makes me feel so old! Next week, I’m going to try a multi-focal contact lens to see if they’ve improved since the last time I tried them. No photo here for obvious reasons 😉

DSCN87667. My favourite modern romance story is ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger. My favourite classic play is ‘Romeo and Juliet’. My favourite classic love story is ‘Jane Eyre’ and one of my favourite romantic films is ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply.’ As you can probably guess, I like love stories that make me cry 🙂

The Lighthouse Award

the-lighthouse-award1How lucky am I? My lovely writing friend, Cat Lumb, has nominated my blog for another award! You can find Cat’s blog here. Cat and I have become friends through a shared love of writing and we are now working as critique partners for each other’s novels. You can read about her writing journey on her site and pick up lots of valuable writing tips there too! She has helped me in so many ways and I am very grateful for her support, advice and friendship 🙂

This new award is called The Lighthouse Award and it’s a bit different from some of the other awards out there. So, without further ado, here are the rules for it:

  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  • Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  • Share three ways that you like to help others.
  • Nominate as many bloggers as you like.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
  • Have fun!

Here are my nominees, chosen because I enjoy reading about their experiences and I’m sure you will enjoy them too:

Helena Fairfax – Romance Author
Diana Scott – The Pelican Writer
Touching Light – The Thoughts and Fiction of H B Slade

Okay, so now to the difficult bit. How do I think I help people?
Well, I suppose the most obvious way in which I help people is through my part-time job as a teacher. Helping children to learn is an important job, whether they’re your own children or someone else’s and it’s a job that the children make worthwhile.

I have a family of my own and I think I am pretty helpful to them. This ranges from making sure that my kids get up and go to school every day, to planning and booking interesting holidays for us all, which is one of my favourite activities.

We are a very pet-friendly family and have rescued three cats over the past twenty years or so, helping them to have better lives than they would have done otherwise. One of our cats passed away recently and it was just as upsetting as the previous time but they really have enriched our lives 🙂

So that’s my bit done. Do go and have a look at the other websites mentioned here. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. Thanks for reading. My next post will be on Monday, as normal.

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award

dragons-loyalty-award-logo-31-12-13Hardly had the New Year started than I found out that I had been given an award by Sandra Danby for loyally reading her blog over the last few months. You can find her blog here.

It is such a lovely blog about Sandra’s life in Spain and it has been my absolute pleasure to check it every week to find out what has been happening in her part of the world. Sandra is also an experienced writer so she has often had words of wisdom for me in my new writing life which have been much appreciated. So I’d like to say a big thank you to her for giving this award to me.
Now, a brief mention of The Rules for this award, which are:-

  1. Thank the person who offered it to you and link to their site.
  2. Display the award on your site and write a post about it.
  3. Present 15 or so other bloggers with the award and let them know about it.
  4. Write 7 things about yourself.
  5. List the Rules.

So I would like to take a moment to link to some other great people who have started following me since I began my own blog.
1.  John writes thought-provoking poems on his site.

2. Alana supports and inspires other writers here.

3. Jenny is a book-blogger.

4. Kimberley is a writer and blogs about it.

5. Lisen is also a writer and blogs about her writing journey.

6. Diana is also a writer and blogger.

7. Another writer trying to establish a daily ritual of writing.

8. Taylor is a writer of fiction and micro-fiction and is also heavily involved in NaNoWriMo.

9. This site is described as a library of literary interestingness!

10. Crissi is an author, writer and blogger.

Now for some things about me.
* I love Marmite 😉
* I have two cats, Charlie and Miley (named pre-twerking era)
* I speak French fluently and a number of other European languages less so.
* I love to sing.
* Three of my heroes are Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman and I have seen them all perform live.
* My maternal grandfather was Czechoslovakian.
* I have studied about wine to diploma level.

So I would encourage you to go and look at these sites and thank you to them all and to you for continuing to read my blog.