Thank you to Words on Key for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. You are too kind for including me in your list of nominees. Everyone should go check out their work; the aim of their blog is to write and share their work with other word nerds (like me and you!). Feel free to check out and follow their page on Pinterest @ikwords K.
Rules I Received
• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
• Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
• Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
• List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
Questions Asked of Me
Why do you blog?
I love entertaining an audience. Even outside of blogging, I post on Facebook funny stories about my life and observations. If I didn’t blog, I would create Twitter threads or write a whole lot more fanfiction. Maybe I would practice telling stories at gatherings more. Who knows? But blogging allows me my fill of positive responses. Here, I get tangible proof that my stories, my voice, my jokes entertain others. Not always very many, but then, there’s always next week’s post to try again.
What makes a book good?
A rich examination of the human condition. Not everyone will agree, though, and I understand. But for a home schooled, introverted kid like me, stories which delved into questions of humanity, of relationships with others, and of conscience were my version of growing up on the playground. I gained wisdom and a form of experience from these stories that I would otherwise have missed, so that when I showed up to public school for the last two years of my education, I at least was not an emotionally shriveled shut-in.
Whatever your blog is about, when and why did you get interested in that topic?
Fiction: I have ever relished the mindful, thoughtful, peaceful stories I have consumed in books and on television. Those full of magic, nature, kindness, and strangeness, the ones not scary, but a little creepy. I never found many of these out in the wild. So at some point, I began to incorporate these aspects into my own writing, just so I could read them later. Over time, this congealed into my stories about The Hopeful Wanderer, the weekly fiction installment of my blog. I keep writing these stories because I can put into them everything my heart loves to read. But given the blog’s current following, it turns out other readers were looking for the exact same thing.
Book reviews: Who am I to think I have an opinion worth giving about a book? An egotist, that’s who. One confident enough in my own deep and thoughtful perspective to have the audacity to write my insights down for others to read. Probably, this came from studying for an English degree, where every class is an exercise in forcing students to give their thoughts and opinions in agonized mumbles. I love to be right and to answer questions correctly, so I got good at forming opinions of what I read. You never know when someone will call on you for your thoughts on the reading.
Writing advice: Every writer gives writing advice. Because of this cliché, I resisted doling out advice for a long time. (I didn’t know much myself anyway; what could I even pass on?) But I, of course, have received advice myself from good writers, both in person and through advice posts online. I put much of it into practice as I wrote and got feedback, wrote more and got more feedback, discarding some and keeping others. Recently, I joined a fantasy writing group on Facebook, a wonderful group full of seasoned writers willing to help newbies with all their questions and requests for feedback. I found myself among those willing to help. But I also caught myself repeating to one writer the same advice given to another. This made me realize two things: 1) I am a seasoned enough writer now that I do, in fact, have wisdom to pass on; and 2) writing up the tips and tricks I have learned from hard-earned experience gives new writers a chance to find the answers they seek, all in one place.
Tell me your favorite poem and quote the lines you found beautiful.
He does not bite so much as nibble, my friend Death
Wearing me down to the size of a child
Soon I am small enough to nestle in his hand
Gone in one swallow, behind his gentle smile.
I appreciate the final line the most. How sinister. How beautiful. Death poetry speaks to my heart, because aren’t we all always dying?
What “genre(s)” of your niche do you like best? For example, for a cooking blog — desserts, meat, soups, etc. or for a writing blog (this one’s kind of obvious) — fantasy, short stories, horror, poetry, etc.
My writing interests lie somewhere within the intersection of fantasy, soft-apocalypse, and soft-horror. The magical, the encroaching disaster, and the creepy. I enjoy the soft and the strange, the reprogramming of the mind’s capacity for acceptance when the unnatural happens to be not that far off from the natural. I find I work better with short-stories. I have always struggled with getting my stories to the end, so I have less practice writing endings than beginnings. (Yes, I know, “write the end first.” Yet here I am.) But writing short stories and flash fiction forces me to the end almost at once, so that I get the chance to experiment with conclusions. Though I have worked on several novels, I may always be a writer of anthologies and novellas, and that’s fine with me.
Where do you get inspiration for your hobbies/interests/talents?
Others say, “Don’t do X in your writing.” I think, I believe I will do X thing.
Or I look at what someone has done and think, I could do better.
Then I go write something.
Besides whatever your blog is about, what is your hobby/interest/talent?
I love to play Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games. Acting out an imaginary scene with my friends activates the creativity in me and allows me to explore the reaches of story in a collaborative setting. One of my writing weaknesses has been creating characters too similar to each other, but playing with other people who dream up wildly different goals, attachments, and personalities for their characters has taught me a thing or two about building in diversity. I also homebrewed (meaning: made up my own) and ran a mini-campaign myself, which forced me to face and overcome my weaknesses in building interesting plot and conflict for my players to experience.
Which of your posts has been the most popular? Reflect on this… why, do you think? Do you agree, or are you annoyed by it? Is it really your best work or is it just what seems like would appeal to readers (in your opinion)?
My most popular post was a fluke. It happened on October 21, 2017, when I posted my review of Maggie Stiefvater’s newest book All the Crooked Saints. Somehow, my tweet about the review got to her and she retweeted, saying she liked the review because it had turned out less of a review of the book and more of a review of her views. (I found out later I had gotten the main reason for the book wrong, but I still stand by my perceived insights of the time.) Because she retweeted the review and said she liked it, over 600 of her followers viewed my post. I will never again receive that many views, so that date will stick out on my insights stats. Forever.
What motivates you in life? (This is a broad question – answer however you interpret it)
Once again, spite. Anything I do, I want to do it better. Do it best. Especially better than my last effort. I’m very competitive toward myself. I also suffer from depression. When life grows dark and I feel no motivation, I keep dragging myself forward, because I despise depression and the effect it has on my life. So I’m out every day to prove that pit of negative feelings wrong.
Is this the first time you’ve gotten one of these awards?
I have received two blogger awards before this one. Although I will admit, I did not feel my, at the time, lackluster blog merited the first award, so I did nothing with it.
Do you ever feel nervous before publishing a blog post?
Sometimes I think, well this is a dud. But I don’t have time to make adjustments. Or my brain feels so devoid of ideas that this story was all I could extract from those wrinkles. Or the depression has me looking at the world through a dull and dirty lens. So I know I have given my best and I post it anyway. Oftentimes, it turns out my audience didn’t feel the same way I did, which is nice.
Mostly, I feel excited. More than doing the work, I love having work done.
My Dear Nominees
Featuring beautiful blogs about books and words. Check them out; each has uniquely wonderful content to offer.
- McGee Travel Tales – Exploring the Places No One is Talking About
- the dark netizen – short stories – mostly dark ones!
- Elaine Howlin – to inspire creativity, expression and exploration
- Sirius Editorial – a writing service and online literary journal
- Casey Carlisle – musings, anecdotes, and excerpts…
- Ephemeral Elegies – the poetry of emotion
- To the Salt of the Sea – fragments of my days or little pieces of fiction
- Leigh Hecking – Writer. Blogger. Reader. Dreamer.
- One Round Corner – where my fairy tales, poems, and images collect
- fantasynovel1 – fiction, fantasy, supernatural, random
- Asha – a cat, a book, and a cup of tea
For you, my dear nominees, are these questions to answer on your own blog.
- What quote inspires you the most?
- What story has most impacted your life?
- How has your blogging fared during the effects of the pandemic?
- When did you become interested in the topic(s) of your blog?
- What do you hope to achieve with your writing?
- Who do you get most excited to imagine reading your work?
- What to you daydream about over and over?
- Where was the best place you have ever visited?
- Why do you keep blogging?
- How do you envision the content of your blog looking in the future?
- What do you lie about when you cannot tell the truth?
You may pick and choose the rules you wish to follow. Eleven questions took ages to answer, so five might be better.
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Thanks for reading!
Featuring an exclusive Hopeful Wanderer short-story!
For over 100 years, Texas High Plains Writers has been a part of great storytelling in Texas and beyond.
This year, our anthology offers a collection of short-stories, memoirs, inspirational essays, and poetry filled with hope.
With 22 talented authors, from best-sellers to the first time in print, there is something for everyone.
Great heroes of legends past sit side by side in these pages with the unsung citizens showing kindness to strangers. Humor, adventure, and nostalgia combine to remind us all that hope can be found anywhere.
Buy it now: Amazon
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