Friday, 19 April 2013

Find Out More About Me! - Liebster Blog Award

A while ago I was chosen for one of these pass-em-along blog award things by the wonderful James Everington, but I never had the time to get around to filling it out. Now seems like the perfect time, as it's my blogoversary week and I'm doing some posts focussing on me and my favourite things. So, here we go!

First up, I am supposed to tell you eleven facts about me. Okay, easy enough!

Eleven Facts About Me:

1) My favourite food is cheese.

2) Co-incidentally, my favourite movies are also cheese.

3) I can’t stand the phrase ‘I could care less’. It means the exact opposite of what you are saying!

4) My feet are always cold.

5) I make handmade Christmas cards for my family every year.

George the Dragon
6) I write fiction as well as all my various non-fiction and reviews. I’ve recently started sending out short stories and out of four so far I've had one accepted! I’m currently writing an urban fantasy novel set in Nottingham. (Yes, that all counts as one fact, shush you).

7) I have a group of freckles on my arm that resemble Cassiopeia and some on the other arm that kinda look like the Big Dipper if you stretch your imagination a bit.

8) I use books like others use comfort food. If I’m feeling sad or have just had a horrible argument with someone, I immediately want to buy a shiny new book. Having an e-reader can make this very hard to resist. It’s instant you guys!

9) I own a stuffed dragon (called George) that I’ve had since I was born. He’s had his eyes and ears and various parts sewn on again many times, and has a few bare patches, but he’s still with us!

10) I am determined to visit Italy one day to explore the ancient sites there, particularly in the Bay of Naples. I studied Classics for eight years and I love everything ancient Greek and Roman.

11) My favourite season is autumn and October is my favourite month.

So there you go, eleven facts about me! Next up, I have to answer the eleven questions that James set for me:

Eleven Questions from James

1) Who’s the most underrated author out there that you know of?

Well, I can think of plenty of authors who aren’t known very well, but underrated is a different thing. I’m going to say Diana Wynne Jones.

Wait, wait, I know what you’re thinking, but bear with me! Plenty of people know of Diana Wynne Jones and love her books, but actually she is often overlooked when people begin listing great authors. She is a children’s author, one who primarily writes about magic, and so I have often seen her dismissed. When I tell people that my favourite book is Howl’s Moving Castle, I tend to have to justify this a bit.

Diana Wynne Jones is incredible and if you’ve never read her books you really should. They are filled with wonderful worlds, fantastic characters, great plots, and intelligent writing. They’re books that children adore, but have massive appeal for adults too. She is very good at twisting tropes and telling things in slightly unexpected ways, but also giving you the plot arcs and endings that you really want. I also think she’s one of the best at writing romance, even though love stories are rarely the focus of her plots.

She has also written a few books for older readers, which are definitely worth checking out too. Fire and Hemlock, for instance, is quite a complex and multi-layered book that has stayed with me long after finishing it.

2) You need to pick one song to be used to torture unpleasant types, by playing it to them full volume 24/7. What do you pick?

‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ over and over. I really hate that song. It’s just too languid and mushy and... bleh! It really sounds to me like someone’s taken a normal song and put it on the ‘painfully slow and insipid’ setting. I don’t normally mind slow songs, but this makes me fidgety and my legs start twitching and I want to shake the singer and tell him to CHEER UP it’s Christmas.

3) As a writer, what is your own personal definition of success?

Oh wow, interesting question. Probably to be at the stage where I could write (and not have to do anything else) for a living. But honestly, any validation feels like a success, like when a short story gets accepted, or you read back over something you wrote at stupid-o’clock at night and it actually sounds okay, or when someone you trust reads over your story and doesn’t immediately want to throw up or punch you.

4) How do you like your steak?

I don’t.

5) A genie grants you get an extra hour every day, meaning your days are 25 hours long. The condition is you must use this hour to take up a brand new hobby. What do you pick?

Great question! Maybe knitting or cross-stitching; my mum knits such lovely things and I’d love to be able to make scarves and woolly animals and bookmarks, etc, for myself. That or archery.

6) What’s the most overrated piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Hmm, perhaps writing advice that goes on about how you actually have to write to be a writer. Of course it’s true, but it’s the kind of statement that’s a bit useless to most people. It’s like asking how to begin knitting and someone telling you that you have to knit to be a knitter. It’s correct but in the end it’s not that useful.

I think if you’re going to tell people that they need to write, then advice that breaks things down is better. Like, how many words do you need to write a day before you have a book in a year? What kinds of things should you be focussing on in your first draft and what should you not worry about until the editing? And so on. That’s much more motivational and helpful.

I also dislike the idea that you have to avoid all adverbs. No! *clutches the adverbs* You can’t make me!

7) If you were in a band, what would your band name be?

If the author would let me, I would name it after a phrase or exclamation that I found amusing in a book. Like:
‘Asha’s Paps!’ (The Red Knight, K.T. Davies)
‘Great Juno’s Peacock!’ (The Roman Mysteries series, Caroline Lawrence)
 ‘Baby-Baby Panda’ (Geek Girl, Holly Smale).

(Thanks Lyris14 and PervoiBrushes on DeviantArt for the photoshop brushes used in creating the band logo!)

8) Oxford Commas – yes or no?


9) What’s the most embarrassing typo or mistake you’ve ever found in your work after publication?

Hmm, well on my blog I once commented that a book was nothing like the film (which I’d seen first), not realising that the film was actually based on a later book in the series and was in fact pretty faithful to it. Oops! Thankfully, blogs can be edited after publication, so mistakes don’t have to be permanent! ;-)

10) Who’s your favourite Muppet?

Beaker! Love him.

11) Will you write me a haiku?

I can’t even begin to try to write a haiku. I will cheat and present you with the legendary haiku battle from Avatar: The Legend of Aang.

Through all the long night,
Winter moon glows with bright love,
Sleet, her silver tears.

Sokka, who was listening to the students practice, is knocked on the bottom by an ostrich and falls through the window

I am so sorry,
Something struck me in the rear,
I just wound up here.

Five, seven, then five,
Syllables mark a haiku,
Remarkable oaf.

They call me Sokka,
That is in the water tribe,
I am not an oaf.

Chittering monkey,
In the spring he climbs tree tops,
And thinks himself tall.

You think you’re so smart,
With your fancy little words,
This is not so hard.

Whole seasons are spent,
Mastering the form, the style,
None calls it easy.

I calls it easy,
Like I paddle my canoo,
I'll paddle yours too!

There’s nuts and there’s fruits,
In fall the clinging plum drops,
Always to be squashed!

Squish, squash, sling that slang,
I'm always right back at'cha,
Like my boomerang!

Teaher steps down

That’s right I'm Sokka,
It's pronounced with an okka,
Young ladies, I rocked'cha!

Sokka: Wait, counts on fingers 1...2...3...4...5......6!

Bouncer: Uh, that’s one too many syllables bud.

Sokka is flung out on his face

Eleven Questions From Me:

And finally, I'm supposed to think up eleven questions for the people I will pass the blog award on to. I'm not sure who, out of the bloggers and writers I know, would like to do one of these posts. I know some people find them too time-consuming, but I do think they're a lot of fun and would love to get to know more about the people behind the blogs and the books.

So, if you would like to answer the questions and put the blog award logo on your site, go for it! Answer my questions and pop your link in the comments. I would love to see your answers!

Meanwhile, I'm going to highlight five writers who I think you should get to know: K. T. Davies (fantasy), Jennifer Williams (fantasy), Andrew Reid (fantasy), Mhairi Simpson (fantasy and YA), Selina Lock (comics). They can feel free to answer the questions or not - no obligations! (though I'd love to see their answers) ;-)

1) What quality/talent do you admire most in a writer?
2) If you could pick any character from a film, TV series, book, or game to give a piece of your mind to, who would it be?
3) What’s your favourite sandwich filling?
4) Mary Sues... just misunderstood or really annoying?
5) If you could live in any country besides your own, where would you live?
6) What’s the most meaningful thing that’s ever happened to you?
7) Present tense in fiction... like it or loathe it?
8) An author is going to write the story of your life. Who would you like it to be?
9) Think of your favourite book. Got one? Now, what would that book be if it were an animal?
10) Flame powers or water powers?
11) Recommend me a favourite song! :-)


  1. My feet are always cold too! I'm still wearing super warm socks even though it's 20+ degrees outside... And I love Greek/Italian culture as well. I've been to Greece a few years ago (even though I haven't seen Athens yet) but I've never been to Italy. But hey, there's always next year, right? :)

    Happy blogoversary!

    1. Haha me too! I have these big thick wooly socks from M&S that are so nice and cosy. Although sometimes my feet even get cold in those too! O.O

      Athens is amazing - hope you get to go sometime! Italy is my dream destination - history, architecture, beauty, sea, warm weather, interesting culture, and THE FOOD! Yum! :-)

      Thanks Vicky! :-D

  2. Oh I love George!

    OOH! And archery. Let's take up archery together in this magical 25th hour. xD

    1. Yay, that would be fun! I've had a go at archery a few times but never properly learnt it. Always love archery type heroes in stories! :-)

  3. Done! You may find my answers at and may God have mercy on your souls.

    PS Now with secret groanworthy pun!

  4. feet are always cold too, I do not have a dragon, but a baby blanket that my mother made and it was my security blanket. I hate the phrase..I can't. Thanks for sharing and happy blogoversary!

    1. Ooh good one. I need to say "I can't" less. But "you can't" is worse! Hehe, lots of bloggers seem to have cold feet. Maybe it's the sitting and reading/typing/internet-ing all day that does it... :-)

  5. I enjoyed getting to know a little more about you. Definitely Oxford commas! And I love your band names. ;-) And George!!!