I am delighted and honoured to have been nominated for this award by two different people. Strictly speaking, I’ve been nominated for two different versions of the award, so I’ll proudly display both badges on my page. My two lovely nominators are – in the order that I received them – Suganiya Rassiah at her blog, Infinite Passion (above badge) and Yinglan at A Simple Life (badge shown lower down the page). I want to say a huge thank you to both of them for thinking of me and urge you to take a look at their blogs, if you don’t already do so.
I’ve had Suganiya’s nomination for a good few weeks now, but it’s been on hold until I got back from Andalucia. Yinglan’s arrived last week, while I was still in Spain, so I think it’s time to do something about both of them.
First, here are the rules:
Other than for the fourth one, the rules are the same for both of the awards. The questions are different, however, so I’ll take one set of questions at a time.
2. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
4. (a) Nominate 11 other blogs that have 200 followers or less (Suganiya’s Award – black badge, above).
(b) Nominate 5-11 other bloggers (Yinglan’s – blue badge below).
5. Ask your nominees 11 questions of your own.
Now that’s done, here are eleven random facts about myself:
1. I have very fine, flyaway hair. When I was younger I kept it long so I could just tie it back or put it into bunches or pigtails. I’d look a right idiot with bunches or pigtails now, so it just hangs and gets on my nerves. These two photos of me with bunches were taken when I was a first-time mum. They’re so old and cracked they’re a bit of a disaster.
2. I may have said this before, but I’m a techno-nerd. In other words, any technological apparatus or appliance has lost me before I even touch it. And when I do touch it, it invariably breaks.
3. I live in a tiny village where the Internet connection drives me to distraction. I’ve had to abandon so many posts, or comments – and even emails – for a while because the connection has been lost just before I hit the send button!
4. I hate the wind. I like a nice gentle breeze on a summer’s day, but a strong wind in either summer or winter is a definite no-no. Probably all to do with my flyaway hair.
5. If it were possible, I’d relocate to the Lake District – which I’ve adored since I was a child. Not that I want to wander off looking for daffodils – Wordsworth’s already done that bit. I just love the mountains and lakes.
Now we live on the edge of Lincolnshire, which – with the exception of couple of areas – is very flat. Very pretty… but still flat.
6. I adore ice cream – although I’m not a lover of fancy flavours. I just like a nice, rich vanilla or even what we call Cornish ice cream in the UK, which is very rich and creamy. I’ll eat ice cream any way, but I prefer it in a cone/cornet when I’m walking around. Occasionally I’ll be tempted by a chocolate flake or strawberry sauce.
7. When I write – seriously, I mean – I have to be in a room on my own and in silence, give or take a few of the noisy birds we have around here. I don’t even like music playing, no matter how quiet it is.
8. I love travelling, both abroad and in the British Isles. I still have a list of countries I’d like to visit, for different reasons, as well as British sites I still haven’t seen. Finding the time (and money) is a different matter, though.
9. Early mornings are my favourite time. It’s the time I like to get out and walk. Then – apart from the usual housework and necessary cooking -I have the rest of the day to do my own things. I can’t do late nights nowadays. By 10pm I usually head off to bed to read.
10. This was me (the one on the left) when I was three, with my aunt (who was only six years older than me) and my little sister. I always hated these picture because they made me look like a little pudding. The second photo, of just me, is also very stained now. My tendency to overweight has long gone through year of jogging, going to gyms and swimming. Now I have dodgy knees due to all the jogging and people keep telling me I need to put weight on! 11. I’m struggling to find random facts now … Ah, I know: By the time I was twenty I was beginning to believe I was destined to marry a farmer. I had had three ‘steady’ boyfriends who all, for some unknown reason, were farmers. The first two lasted for simply a matter of a few months but the last one was for three years. Most people assumed we would marry when I finished my teacher training. But things just fizzled out when I moved across to Yorkshire to start my first teaching job. I still wonder what attracted farmers to me, or me to farmers. Perhaps I just liked that rugged, outdoors look they have. Haha. 😀 None of the three knew each other and I met each in completely different circumstances. Now I think I’m totally factless…
1. What era do you think you’re best suited to?
Although I write historical fiction and have a passion for the past, I’ve always been happy living in the present era. I was born just after the war, so I’m part of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation who were teenagers during the 1960s with all the changes that came with it. I have very happy memories of my 1950s childhood and can’t help comparing it to childhood during the present times. I appreciate all the ‘mod cons’ we have now that make life so much easier and more comfortable, not to mention the medical advances that have been made. I rarely wish I’d been born at a later date. The future holds so much uncertainty.
2. What kind of person do you wish you were? Describe please! For a start I’d like to be a lot taller! I’m a grand 5 foot 2 inches, and the shortest person in my family. My mother was six inches taller than me, although my father was an inch shorter than her. He looked even shorter because of the bad limp he had after being badly wounded in the war. But Dad’s side of the family were all ‘shrimps’ like me, especially the women. As for the type of person I’d like to be … Probably someone more assertive. I’m very easy going and have a ‘live and let live’ attitude to others. There’s no point in letting other people get you down as far as I’m concerned. We’re all different, and that’s that.
3, Why did you start a blog? I started blogging simply because people assured me it was something that all writers should do. But I’ve found far more to WordPress than a site on which to promote my books. In fact, I do very few posts about my books. In all honesty, I hate some of the blogs of writers, whose every post has ‘Buy my Book’ thrust at the readers and nothing else. I can’t bring myself to do that. I enjoy blogging and participating in the flash fiction challenges because they’re fun. I also like to put my travel post and those about British customs and traditions. My blog is called, ‘Bringing History to Life’, which is what I like to do.
4. Describe your dream man/woman 😉 Ah now, that is an interesting question – although I’m probably far too ancient to be answering it! As far as looks are concerned, I’ve no preference for either fair or dark, or particular eye colour. But, between you and me, I’m rather fond of Chris Hemsworth as he is in the ‘Thor’ movie. 😀 Now, I know I’m biased here, and vikings are are must for me – but he is a god, after all …(I couldn’t find a free image of him as Thor, but I’m sure you all know what he looks like with long hair and carrying his big hammer.) I like long hair! I suppose I’ve been influenced by two hippie-style daughters!
5. Have you ever written a story/book (doesn’t have to be completed) and if so what’s its name? This is an easy one to answer! I have written the first two books of my ‘Sons of Kings’ trilogy – ‘Shadow of the Raven’ and ‘Pit of Vipers‘. I’m writing the third at present, but the only idea for a title at present is along the lines of ‘Dragon of Wessex’ – after the Wessex flag. (This is because it is in Book 3 that Alfred’s dreams of keeping the Danes out of Wessex are fulfilled … mostly!)
6. Do you remember the first book you read, if so what’s the name? Some of the first books I read (unassisted) were the ‘Secret Seven’ and then the ‘Famous Five’ books by Enyd Blyton when I was about six or seven. I read quite a few of them, so I don’t remember which I read first. Before those, of course, I had to learn to read at school. We had some set reading books about a farmer called Old Lob. So I suppose, they were the first books I actually read – under the gentle guidance of the very patient infant teachers (plus Mum at home). The first ‘classic’ I read was ‘Jane Eyre’ when I was about eleven. I loved that story.
7. Why do you read, or rather do you read? I can’t imagine life without reading. I’ve read all my life, to what extent dependent upon circumstances at the time. I now read for two different reasons. I read non-fiction when doing research for my writing, and fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. I find reading a great stress reliever. I can delve into someone else’s story and forget about everything I’ve got to do for a while. Any form of reading is also very educational. 8. What relaxes you? Walking, swimming, reading, knitting and baking. I’m not one for a great deal of TV watching. I like the odd programme, like ‘The Musketeers’ – which I now have to wait almost another year for, but I can happily miss most stuff. Knitting I’ve simply abandoned while I’m writing this trilogy, but I know I’ll come back to it eventually. I’ve made dozens of jumpers and cardigans in my time and find knitting relaxing. Baking nowadays tends to be when we have all the family coming round to eat it.
9. Something you regret. My main regret is in not starting writing my books earlier in my life. But six children and teaching left no time until I’d actually retired. Now, I’m beginning to feel I really have left it too late.
10. Something that you don’t regret. Marrying and having six children. I’d probably do the same, given my time over again (although I’d probably have people screaming at me nowadays to think about the population explosion!)
11. What is the imaginary pet you always wanted to have? Don’t like pets, well try them 🙂 We’ve had just about every ‘normal’ type of pet imaginable when my children were young, including various types of rodents, and tanks and ponds full of various kinds of fish, including some huge koi carp that the local herons seemed to find tasty until we netted the pond. We also had a catfish that we soon realised was eating all his playmates. The only reptiles we’ve ever had are tortoises. I drew the line at snakes because I really don’t like them! Ugh … As for imaginary pets … When I was a child I’d have liked a flying horse, like Pegasus, or perhaps a unicorn. I also loved all those dogs and horses that always came to their child-friend’s aid when they were in danger. Like Lassie, Or Champion the Wonder Horse.
Now for Yinglan’s Nomination
1. What made you start blogging? (Same answer as Q.1 above)
2. What have you learned through blogging? I have learned that blogging takes a lot of time. It’s also a lot of fun meeting so many people around their world and many posts are very educational as well as interesting. Some have opened my eyes to things I had never considered before.
3. If you could go anywhere, where would you go? I’m happy actually living in the UK. Even if we move away from Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire, nowhere in this country is that far away from where most of our family live. Britain is very small compared to other countries. For holidays, I think our next ‘long haul’ will either be New Zealand or Canada, although I’ve taken a fancy to Russia recently, too – and Argentina! Flying across to mainland Europe is a quick holiday for us, and we generally go down to Malta every September because we have a timeshare there. I’d like to do some ‘city breaks’ though …perhaps Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin.
4. If you could be anything (occupation-wise), what would you be? I’ve already finished my career as a teacher – which I loved – and now I’m concentrating on my writing. If I hadn’t gone into teaching, I would have veered towards midwifery. I’ve always been a ‘baby person’. I fancied being some kind of air hostess when I was 14 because I wanted to see the world. I soon learned that in those days (1960s) they wanted tall, leggy women for that … which I certainly wasn’t!
5. One word you like people to use to describe you. Creative, I think. I love to write, but only the feedback from others can say whether I manage to be creative or not.
6. One word you would not like people to use to describe you. Insensitive. I hate insensitive people, so if anyone called me that, I’d have a lot of self-assessment to do.
7. What are some sounds you dislike? Loud ones – particularly high-pitched screeches. ( I won’t elaborate on my dislike of some women singers’ high pitched caterwauling here!) I hate noise, whether it’s machinery, music or lots of people talking and laughing loudly. I really do like peace and quiet. Of course, I don’t get it when the tribe descend on us, especially at Christmas and times like that 8. Who do you look up to? So many people throughout history, both men and women, have achieved greatness in their lives, and I’ve no desire to prioritise right now. Thinking about most of these is a humbling experience. Closer to home, I have to admire the way my husband has coped with his life in the twenty-six years since the car accident that almost killed him. Though not his fault in the slightest and he did receive compensation, he had to retire from teaching. Now, although he jokes about being ‘Metal Mickey’ (we have great fun at airports) he copes really well and, other than the limp due to a displaced pelvis, he keeps as active as possible – though sometimes not without his regular, prescribed pain killers.
9. If time freezes for 24 hours, what would you do? I’m not sure what could be done if time were frozen. Presumably I wouldn’t be frozen in time as well (?) in which case I’d probably write … and read. I could manage that for 24 hours, but any longer and I think I’d just go crazy. 😦
10. Are you motivated by hope or fear? Hope – for what I have still to do and can achieve. I don’t see fear as something to motivate anyone. Rather, it would surely hold them back? My own hopes and ambitions for my writing, and seeing as much of the world as possible, drive me forward – as well as my hopes to see my children and grandchildren thrive in their future lives.
11. What/who is your inspiration? I’ll gear this question to my inspiration to write, I think, because I’ve been inspired by many people for different things. So, great writers … Dorothy Dunnett inspired me to write historical fiction many years ago. But her writing style is so complex, I always felt I could never match her standard. Still, it didn’t put me off wanting to write. I’ve enjoyed books by so many authors. I love Wilbur Smith’s ‘River God’, Mary Stewart’s ‘Crystal Cave’ and Bernard Cornwell’s series about Arthur. And far too many more to list here.
Which brings me to my questions for my nominees:
2.Do you have a particular time of day when you do your blogging and how often do you generally aim to post?
3. Have you a particular genre you like to read or watch on TV/movies, and are there any genres that you would avoid at all costs?
4. What would be your ideal holiday destination? (e.g. are you a sunshine-and-beach kind of person or a sightseer, a sports-driven holiday-seeker, or what?)
5. What is your biggest goal in life at the moment?
6. What is your favourite type of music? Do you have any favourite performer(s)?
7. Do you have a favourite musical instrument and do you play anything yourself?
8. To what extent are you influenced by fashion in your choice of clothes?
9. Describe your ideal meal/venue for a meal on a special occasion or night out.
10. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
11. Now the biggie: What do you think of ‘Game of Thrones’ (book or TV series)? This seems to be a popular discussion point at the moment!
Finally, these are my nominees. I’ll do them in two groups.
These are the people I nominate for the first award shown (the black and pink one):
* luckyjc007 at Reflections on Life’s Journey
* Sonya at Only 100 Words
* Jessica (skyllarae) at Eat Me
For Yinglan’s Award (blue/grey one)
* Norma at Emovere
* Bekki Hill at The Creativity Cauldron