AWARD – Awesome Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated for another award! Woo hoo! 🙂 This time it’s the Awesome Blogger Award. Thank you to Roda from Growing Self for nominating me. If you haven’t checked out Roda’s blog yet, you really need to. She’s got great life advice and lots of fun stories about her farm. 🙂

AwesomeBloggerAward

What Is the “Awesome Blogger Award”? 

This award was created by Miss Maggie over at dreaming of Guatemala! And she says :

“This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

The Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you. Include the reason behind the award. Include the banner in your post.

• Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.

• Answer the questions your nominator gave you.

• Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.

• Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.

• Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated!

 

Roda’s Questions: Let’s try something fun with the questions!!

1. One thing you love? Since Roda specified a “thing”, I’m going with my Kindle Fire. I love having so many books at my fingertips.

2. Two favorite colors? Purple (just in case you couldn’t tell 😉 ) and Midnight Blue.

3. Three words you love to use? “I love you.” To friends, family, etc. Not generally to strangers. 😉 

4. Four places you have traveled? Finland; Buffalo, NY; Colorado (Denver/Boulder area); and Washington D.C.

5. Five favorite foods? Pizza, popcorn, quinoa, ice cream, black beans – I could be perfectly happy living on those 5 things along with a few condiments, different pizza toppings, and water.

6. Six musicians or bands you love? The Piano Guys; Trans-Siberian Orchestra; Peter, Paul & Mary; Moody Blues; Yo-Yo Ma; and Metallica.

7. Seven survival items you would take while visiting out-of-town relatives over the holidays? Hmmm.. this one’s hard as most of my relatives live near me. For a general road trip/vacation, let’s see… 

  • Warm clothes (I hate being too cold, especially at night)
  • My phone/charger
  • My tablet/charger
  • My camera/charger
  • Headphones/Earbuds
  • My own pillows & stuffed animals (yes, I still have a couple stuffed animals I sleep with. One of my mental illnesses causes me to need them.)
  • Books! Lots and lots of books – both physical and on my Kindle.

8. 4+4=8. Four favorite vegetables? Four favorite fruits? Veggies: Broccoli, Green beans, Red peppers, and Cucumbers.  Fruits: Apples, Grapes, Cloudberries (unfortunately, only available as jam in the U.S. but I love the berries themselves), and Cantaloupe. 

9. Nine words that describe you? Kind, Intelligent, Compassionate, Thoughtful, Generous, Creative, Fat, and according to my best friend, Brave and Beautiful (neither of which do I feel like I am but she does). And just so you all know, I don’t mind the word fat. I despise the word obese, but I don’t mind fat. I am fat. It’s just the truth. 

10. 10-9=1. One thing you love most about YouMy eyes – they’re a pretty blue. 

 

My Nominees

I realize that not every one chooses to participate in award nominations. If you choose not to, that’s fine (but I hope you will). Just keep blogging. 🙂

  1. Books & Biscuits
  2. Mischenko from Read, Rant, Rock & Roll
  3. Susan Loves Books
  4. Marie at Drizzle & Hurricane Books
  5. May from Forever and Everly
  6. Marcia Strykowski
  7. Dee’s Rad Reads and Reviews

 

My Questions for my Nominees:

1) What is your favorite genre(s) to read (pick up to 3)?

2) What are the top 3 books you’ve read in the last year?

3) If you could spend one day with anyone – fiction/nonfiction, dead/alive – who would it be and why? (This does not have to be someone famous – just whomever you want to spend a day with.)

4) If you could travel to *one* place in the world and spend a week there (all expenses paid) – where would you go and why?

5) What song(s) has/have meant the most to you over the last 3 years (pick up to 3)?

6) Cookies, cake, or cupcakes? Why?

7) If you could travel to a fantasy world that is *NOT* Harry Potter’s world and *NOT* Middle Earth, which one would you choose and why?

8) What sound or noise do you love to hear?

9) What sound or noise do you hate to hear?

10) Tell us something unique about yourself that people may not know about you.

 

Thank you again to Roda from Growing Self for my nomination!

BOOK TAG – This or That

Today I’m bringing you another book tag. I wanted to be bringing you another review today, but while my migraine has died down a bit since the heat died down a bit, the ability to concentrate and think has not really come back. Consequently, I haven’t been able to concentrate much on reading or writing.

Since I didn’t want to go too long in between blog posts, I figured a book tag post would be a good way to post without having to worry about too much concentration!

“This Or That”

The Rules:

  • Mention the creator of the tag (Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks).
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you!
  • Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do them if you want to.
  • Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

 

I wasn’t particularly tagged, but I know that Jay over at this-is-my-truth-now has done this tag in the past and said for anyone who wants to do it to do it.

 

1) Reading on the couch or on the bed?

Usually on the couch. I’m not as young as I used to be and my back doesn’t like it when I’m lying down and reading. Plus my bed isn’t that comfortable for sitting on, even when propped up with pillows.

 


2) Male or female main character?

Either is fine with me. Many of the books I read seem to have female characters, but I have nothing against male characters.


3) Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?

Salty – most definitely salty. Usually popcorn or Chex mix.


4) Trilogies or Quartets?

Ummm. I’ve read more trilogies so I’m going to say trilogies. The few quartets that I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed, I just haven’t read very many. On the other hand, I’ve read many, many trilogies and I enjoy them a lot.


5) First or Third person POV?

I actually prefer third person POV. When it’s a first person POV, half the time I forget the character’s name and then when someone calls their name, I have no idea who they’re talking about!


6) Reading at night or in the morning?

Umm… all of the above and everywhere in between. I’m almost always reading. It’s my number one hobby. Yes, I paint ceramics, take nature photography, have a water garden, and make other art, but reading is my number one hobby so I’m almost always reading, no matter what time of day it is.


7) Libraries or bookstores?

Both. I know, I’m supposed to choose between them, but for me, each has its uses and value to me. I no longer buy books unless I know I’m going to read them more than once or use them frequently. If it’s a favorite author, I’ll pre-order the new book from one of my favorite independent bookstores in town.

If it’s not a book that I’m going to read over and over again or use frequently, I make good use of the library that I work for and the inter-library loan services that are available to me.


8) Books that make you laugh or make you cry?

Books that make me laugh. I think that’s why I like cozy mysteries so much. They usually make me laugh instead of cry. I don’t mind a good book that makes me cry, but I will generally choose books that make me laugh.


9) Black or white covers?

Neither. I prefer colorful covers. 🙂 If it’s too monochrome, I’m not as drawn to it.


10) Character or plot driven stories?

Character driven. I prefer those much more. I can handle a not-so-great plot as long as the characters are great, but if the characters are bad, it doesn’t matter how good the plot is, I’m still not going to enjoy the book.

 

I’m not tagging anyone in particular. If you want to tag yourself – go for it. 🙂 It’s always fun getting to know other bloggers!

Monika Schröder – INTERVIEW

Along with inviting me to read her middle grade book, Be Light Like a Bird, Monika Schröder graciously agreed to answer some questions as an interview for me! Thank you for being willing to do that!

line of jumbled short, fat pencils in red, blue, green, brown, yellow and purple
© Graphic Garden

Question #1: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a certain number of words or pages? How does music/other noise affect your concentration?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I set aside about three to four hours a day to spend with my work in my studio. I am not always putting words on paper, but I stay “in the zone.” I need absolute silence.

 

Question #2: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or are you firmly in control of where the story is going? Similarly, do you outline your books or let the plot take you where it wants to go?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I usually have an idea of the broad plot line and the ending. But after I got stuck with this method, I am now becoming more of a planner.

 

Question #3: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: The number of revisions varies. I re-wrote my first novel, THE DOG IN THE WOOD, 37 times. Now I don’t need that many revisions any more. But my new book, BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD, also went through several revisions.

Yes, time is the best revision helper. It is always good to set a manuscript aside and then go back to it with fresh eyes. My husband, a former English teacher, is always my first reader. I appreciate his comments and once all his suggestions are incorporated I send my manuscript to my agent, who then gives his input.

line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
© Graphic Garden

Question #4: Your latest book, Be Light Like a Bird, is set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Did you travel to the Upper Peninsula to do research for the book? If not, how did you make sure you got all the details of what life is like there correct?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My husband is from Michigan and we used to spend part of our summers at his family’s cabin near Sault Ste. Marie. In fact, my husband and I got married up there. We inherited the cabin and still own it. So I was familiar with the setting when I wrote the book.

 

Question #5: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My first novel was rejected by the first editor I sent it to and I spent several years rewriting it. Yes, it takes tenacity to get published. My second and third book were published by the legendary Frances Foster, an editor with her own imprint at Farrar Straus Giroux. When she passed away it pulled the rug from under me. She was not only my editor but also my mentor and friend. After her death I had to find an agent and BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD was rejected several times. So, even though I already had published three novels, I experiences set-backs. Sometimes it is hard to keep up the hope. Again, my husband is a great help. He coaches me through times of self-doubt and he is a great fan of my work.

(Blogger’s Note: I, for one, am super glad that you kept trying with Be Light Like a Bird because it really is phenomenal.)

 

Question #6: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I do read my reviews. It is painful to read bad reviews but in most cases I can find a kernel of truth in them. I might not agree with the weight a reviewer gives a certain aspect of the book, but I try to look at the issues raised with a clear eye.

line of jumbled short, fat pencils in red, blue, green, brown, yellow and purple
© Graphic Garden

Question #7: What are some great books/authors you’ve read recently?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I am a big fan of Avi’s work and I also loved Louis Bayard’s first book for kids, LUCKY STRIKES.

 

Question #8: What hobbies do you have/enjoy?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I tend to a big flower garden and I look forward to gardening season starting again soon. I also love to bake and cook.

 

Question #9: Do you like to travel? If so, what was your favorite location to visit?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My husband and I worked and lived overseas for 16 years. We have travelled a lot during those years. Now that we live in the US we don’t travel as much any more. But we recently visited Jekyll Island in Georgia and found it very beautiful.

 

Question #10: What is your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process? What is your least favorite?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My least favorite part of the process is writing the first draft. It is agonizingly slow and I have to force myself to keep on writing without looking back too much before I have reached the end of one whole draft. And that draft is usually very bad and then I make it better. I love revising, but my favorite part is probably when someone offers me a contract to publish my book.

line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
© Graphic Garden

Once again, I’d like to say a huge “THANK YOU” to Monika Schröder for agreeing to answer my questions. Be sure to check out her newest book, Be Light Like A Bird!

Adding Something New

I’ve decided to add something new to my blog – author interviews. Primarily, these will be the authors who contact me about reading their books or those whose review crews I am apart of. We’ll see how it goes. I know this is a small blog in comparison, but hopefully I’ll have a few takers!  I’m sending out a list of questions to my first author tonight and I’m crossing my fingers that she’ll answer and return them so I can post that after I post my review about her debut novel.

Here’s hoping it works!