Awards appreciation and some changes to my awards acceptance

veryinspiringblogawardOkay, first of all the awards. Kerilady from My Thought Exactly…! nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award quite a few months back. Then about a month ago I was nominated for it again by A Girl Who Reads from the blog Find A Girl Who Reads. Lastly, I was nominated by Jill London on her self-named blog for, well, one of a selection of awards she was nominated for all at once.

I want to thank all three of these wonderful ladies for sending awards my way – it is always much appreciated and nice to know people enjoy the stuff I have to say on here (even after quite a startling amount of posts). I also want to highly recommend their blogs, all of which are very interesting and thoughtful – if you haven’t checked these out before on your travels through the blogosphere, get the heck off my silly blog and go look at theirs (the links are in the first paragraph). Now. Go on. I’ll wait right here. I’m cooking a roast anyway so I have quite a lot of time to kill. I’ll just whistle a long song, like Bohemian Rhapsody. Or maybe Echoes by Pink Floyd, that’s like 20 minutes long…

Have you looked at their blogs? You have. Good stuff. This is why I like you.

Okay, now on to the second part of this post that I hinted at in my title.

As some of you might know, my life has become ludicrously busy in recent months, and the rest of the year is destined to become even crazier as I build up to some big changes that I can’t quite discuss yet because it’s too complicated but I promise you all I will one day write a blog post about it and you’ll all be like “ohhh now I get it.” But until then, spare time is something I find when I’m supposed to be sleeping, sleep is a distant dream at the bottom of my coffee cup, and I have more pressure being put on me than Queen and David Bowie would have at a concert where they forgot the lyrics to that song.

As a result, finding time to blog at all has proven increasingly difficult. I’m managing to stick to an average of about three posts a week, although some weeks I only find time for two, and this takes it out of me. I miss the days where I could blog four or five times a week with ease, but if I forced myself to do that I simply wouldn’t enjoy it any more, and to me that seems kind of pointless.

What I’ve realised is that when it comes to awards, I’m just not getting around to posting about them any more. I have a weekly music post, a weekly book/writing post, and then the third post tends to be whatever I can think of, and that’s it really. Not only that, but as a fellow blogger pointed out recently, sometimes these awards posts can be quite stressful, especially when you’ve already won a number of these awards and you’re starting to run out of things you can say about yourself or random questions you can ask people. It’s not that I don’t appreciate them – I really do – but I’m starting to see now why some people accept them but don’t post about them, and I’m about to become one of those people I’m afraid.

So I will still accept awards if you wish to send them my way, as I always, always appreciate the thought (though I understand as well if you’d rather send them to people who will continue with the posts). When I get around to it in the near future, I’m going to create a page for my awards with a tab up the top, so it has its own special corner of my blog, and there I will link to my old awards posts, and try and include links to everybody who has nominated me for each award (to the best of my abilities – with several thousand comments, it may be hard to pick up every single person who nominated me).

Wow, this post became longer than I thought. I must be tired (I ramble when I’m tired). So I’ll end it now.

Thank you to everybody who has ever nominated me for an award. And thank you to all my readers, past and present, who continue to amaze me with your kindness, support and encouragement. You all rock!

The Addictive Blog Award

So, I’m a terrible person. Why, you ask? Because I was nominated for The Addictive Blog Award back in September, but I’m only posting about it now. I was nominated right before I took a break from blogging to go travelling, and when I returned I found myself so busy and distracted that, well, my memory wasn’t all that intact.

Addictive Blog Award

But I am rectifying this error of my ways right now, beginning with thanking Andrea Kelly who awarded me this in the first place so many moons ago. Andrea is a writer and wonderful blogger, and if you haven’t seen her blog The Hand-Written Life you are missing out, so go and check it out right this instant! Go on, I’ll wait here.

Okay, you’re back? Excellent. The idea of this award is pretty obvious – it’s about sharing the blogs you are addicted to with your fellow readers. So the rules are as follows:

– Thank the person who nominated you (and link back to their blog of course)
– Share a little about why you blog and how your adventure in the world of blogging began
– Paste the blog award on your page (or wherever you keep them on your blog for all the world to see)
– Nominate 10 (or in my case 5, I’ll explain later) other bloggers you are addicted to (or rather, their blogs. I mean, you might be addicted to the actual person, I don’t know, but it kind of sounds weird)


I blog because once I started, I couldn’t stop. Getting started was a little hard though. I’ve always been a writer, since I was a very young boy, so over the years my desire to blog grew, but I didn’t know what to write and was scared I’d just be saying stuff that had already been said. However once I did start, I very quickly realised I just wanted to write about my passions, in particular books and music, and on top of this I met a lot of wonderful supportive readers and fellow bloggers who inspired me, and still do inspire me, to keep on blogging. So now I blog because I know people want to read what I have to say, and because I like reading what these same people have to say themselves. And, as with all writing, I blog because I have something to say, most of the time. But mostly I just blog because it’s awfully good fun.

Okay now as I said I am only going to nominate five other bloggers, the reason being that a lot of bloggers I am addicted to I have been addicted to for a long time and nominated for gazillions of awards and so I thought I’d try to focus on some of the blogs I have more recently followed. So four out of the five blogs here I have only followed in recent weeks, and the other one I am simply shocked I didn’t nominate for an award months ago! All five blogs are great, so check them out.

The blogs I’m currently addicted to and nominating are:

Mitten’s Kittens


Cafeteria Days

Bookish Bean

The First Draft Of Anything

And we’re done. Better late than never, hey?

Blog of the Year Award 2012

Blog of the Year Award 3 star jpegTo be nominated for an award with a title such as “Blog of the Year” at all is pretty nice, especially for a blogger who is still in his first year, and who still feels he has a lot to learn in the art itself. But to be nominated for this award three times before I even have the chance to write my post on it leaves me a little speechless. So Keri from My thought exactly…!, Susan from Mywithershins, and Jenny from J.Keller Ford – thank you for nominating me for this, for being so wonderful and supportive over this year, and for being so inspiring with your own blogs.

Now, as usual there are rules (which I am simply going to copy and paste, rather than rewording them as I so often do (I’ll put them in italics so you know when it’s me writing again, so to speak)):

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

6 stars image

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

Okay, I’m back now. So having been nominated three times, I have three stars now, which is pretty awesome, and for which I am exceedingly grateful.

But now onto the blogs I wish to nominate. These are blogs that I have been following for the majority of the year at least, and many have helped inspire me countless times over my (relatively) short blogging experience.  I also won’t write about their blogs – if they’re on this list, you should just go and check them out, it’s that simple. Many of them have similar interests to me, but some are more personalised, as well. Also, I am including the three blogs who nominated me on this list, which I would have even if they hadn’t nominated me!

My Thought Exactly…!


J. Keller Ford

Got My Book

Books Speak Volumes

The Tiger’s Eye

Storyteller In The Digital Age

Green Paw-Paw

Diane’s Stories Site

The Hand-Written Life

If you haven’t seen these blogs before, hop to it and check them out, as they all have something amazing to offer, and are all written by some very talented and interesting bloggers.

Hope you are all keeping sane at this busy time of year, and also that you are keeping safe! And also also that you are finding time to relax, read, and so on. And also also also that you are finding time to be awesome. And also also also also…okay I’ll stop.

The Liebster Award

So I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award four times, by Danielle from Enchanted By Books, Carlyofsuburbia from A Little Bit Of Everything, Susan from Mywithershins and Lotsboutnothin from her blog of the same name. Thank you guys for thinking of me, it is always appreciated, and readers – if you haven’t read these blogs before, head over there now because you’re missing out!

Now firstly, this award is meant for people with under 200 followers, which is a nice idea I think. Except there is one slight problem – my blog is over that many followers now, and has been for a couple of months. But despite this, my blog is only 7 and a bit months old, and I feel far from experienced or an expert in the blogosphere yet, so I shall accept these awards as they were intended (I suspect my blog doesn’t reveal the amount of followers I have to those already following me, anyway, which makes it hard).

Now, there’s rules as always. Answer the 11 questions asked by the award giver (which in this case is 33 questions (again) as 3 of the 4 asked completely new questions), pick 11 people for the award and pose 11 new questions. So this will be a long post – make sure you do at least check the blogs at the bottom if you don’t have the time to read all of my answers to the questions, which I have again broken up into each individual award-giver.

Danielle’s Questions:

1. What is your favorite book read in 2012? (does not have to be released in 2012)
So far, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.

2. Have you read any of the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series? Why/why not?
No I haven’t, actually. I own the first one, but it’s long and I’m struggling to find time to read as it is at the moment because I am so run-off-my-feet busy, so I will probably save lengthier books like that for my January holidays (when I get several weeks off work).

3. What is your opinion of 50 Shades of Grey?
*Projectile vomits everywhere* That pretty much sums up my opinion. What a load of trash, really. I guess most people reading it know it’s trashy, at least, but somehow that doesn’t excuse it.

4. How long have you blogged?
7 and a half months. Still young to the world of blogging. But I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to it, too.

5.  Do you do anything crafty?
Yes, muhahaha *clasps hands maniacally*. Oh, you mean crafty as in arts and crafts? No, not particularly.

6. What country are you from?
England, although I’ve lived in Australia since I was 4 years old.

7. What countries/states have you traveled to?
I haven’t travelled as much as I would have liked. In Australia I’ve been to Queensland, Australian Capital Territory (i.e. Canberra) and Victoria, and I live in New South Wales, close to Sydney. I haven’t travelled overseas since coming here, but I am about to go back to England very soon which is really exciting.

8. Do you like to participate in weekly memes? Which ones?
No I don’t, though I have seen them and some of them look quite good. But I tend to just write a blog when I feel like it, about whatever the heck takes my fancy at the time. I’m trying to make Mondays my music blog post day but it has been a while…

9. What is your guilty pleasure tv show/book/movie?
Well, guilty pleasure implies I’d feel guilty or embarrassed about it. But frankly I don’t have any such things. I don’t really watch or read anything trashy, I most watch comedies, documentaries, quiz shows (like QI), and my taste in movies is becoming quite broad these days. The closest books I have that could be considered guilty pleasure is my Wodehouse collection maybe.

10. What tips/pointers do you have for blogging?
Write about not only what you know, but what you love, what you’re really passionate about – people can tell. And although it’s important to try and keep consistent with posting, don’t force yourself to post when you don’t feel like it – people can tell this too. Lastly, comment! Reply when people comment on your blog, but make sure to visit other blogs and comment there too – I’ve met some wonderful people through the blogging world, but you do have to make some effort yourself, as well.

11. Is there a book you love that you want to be a movie, as long as it was done the right way? Why/Why not?  Which one?
Yes, there is (I think I answered this question recently somewhere). Magician, by Raymond E Feist. I just envisioned it like this epic movie as I was reading it.

Carlyofsuburbia’s questions:

1. What’s your favourite book?
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It blew my mind, it made me laugh, it made me cry, and it inspired me to get back into reading and writing after these lifelong hobbies had taken a several year absence (or close enough to an absence) from my life.

2. What’s your least favourite book?
I find myself rather repulsed by the success of 50 Shades of Grey. Twilight is closely behind this.

3. Have you met any authors?
Hmm, I have known some authors, some were lecturers at university, and one author I actually went to school with for a couple of years, and she has a couple of books under her belt already, which makes me think I need to get on with my writing more! Oh, also, one particular fantasy author who has become huge in recent years with his first two books added me on Facebook after I put up a short review of his debut novel – this was just before his book really took off sales wise, but I think it’s still really awesome.

4. Do you own an e-reader? If not, will you make the switch to e-reading?
I might do eventually. I might not. Right now I am undecided, but am enjoying real books more for the time being.

5. What’s your favourite colour?
Always changing, but mostly it’s blue or purple.

6. What is your favourite childhood book?
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I think a lot of this was because James is my middle name, and you think in funny ways when you’re a kid. Anyway, I loved all of Mr Dahl’s books, and still do.

7. Do you have a favourite genre you like to read?
Not really. I think a lot of my books would be thrown under the banner of Literary Fiction, but Historical, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Crime Fiction (Cri-Fi…why hasn’t that caught on yet?), and most other genres would appear on my shelves somewhere. I have a weird fascination with books about neurology, too, particularly by Oliver Sacks but I am looking into many other authors now too.

8. Sunrise or Sunset?
Oooh. I love both, so this is really hard to decide. Do I choose the sun setting on a day, closing another chapter, or do I choose the light cracking through the dark of night first thing in the morning, as a new day begins to take form, with adventures and events yet to be told? Actually what I do love (though I haven’t done it for a long while) is staying up all night, and watching the sunset AND the sunrise!

9. Favourite pastime, other than reading?
Probably listening to music. My music collection numbers over a thousand albums (actually it’s probably closer to 1500 albums now), so it’s safe to say I more than just like music – I absolutely love it. It fascinates me, moves me, soothes me, inspires me, keeps me company. Oh, and writing, of course.

10. What’s your favourite day of the week?
I’m really enjoying Saturdays at the moment. Though I’m also enjoying life, so any day ending in y, really.

11. Finally, two men walk into a bar.. ?
And the bar says “watch out you idiots, that really hurt!” I also like these ones:
A superconductor walks into a bar and asks for a beer. The bartender replies “Sorry, we don’t serve your kind in here”, and the superconductor leaves without putting up any resistance; and
Schrödinger’s cat walks into a bar, and doesn’t.

Lotsboutnothin’s Questions:

1. Who do you live with?
Nobody. Well, officially with my sister, but she’s never here and is slowly moving out, so essentially I live alone, which after initial misgivings, is actually quite nice and peaceful.

2. Where would you like to live, if you could go anywhere you want?
The moon! No not really. I don’t really mind to be honest, but I do suspect that my future in Australia is somewhat limited. But I shall say no more on this for the time being.

3. What are you doing for your living?
High School Teaching, trained to teach English and History but actually teaching a mixture of English and Mathematics. Yeah I know, it’s weird – I’m one of those creative types who has a logical side to my brain too.

4. Do you prefer summer to winter? Why?
Not here in Australia, because our winter is probably the equivalent to summer for most of the world (as in, it’s winter right now, and this past week the temperatures have averaged 21, 22 degrees Celcius (70 Fahrenheit I think?) during the day, and it’s been bright blue skies). Our summer here is lovely too but it can be too hot – most years we have a month or two where it hovers around the 35 to 40 degree Celcius mark, normally with a week or so where it climbs into the 40s (so over 105 Fahrenheit), which is just a bit too hot for me. I know there are lots of places around the world that get this hot too, but there are a lot that don’t – I guess I just want to be somewhere a bit cooler, like, oh I don’t know, Sweden?

5. What languages do you speak?
English English, Australian English, Pirate English. Arrr, me hearties.

6. What did you want to become when you were little?
A SAMURAI PIZZA CAT!!! (If you don’t know what this is, look it up on youtube and watch an episode or two).

7. How many children do you want to have some day in the future?
Hmm don’t know, but I guess between two and four. But whatever happens, happens.

8. What is your lucky number? Why?
All of the numbers! But mostly 7, 25, and 625. (Yes, 625 is 25 squared. What of it? (I told you I was a Maths nerd)).

9. Are you tattooed? If yes, what? If no, do you want some day?
No, I’m not. And interestingly, though I wanted a tattoo for a long time, I don’t think I do anymore. I’m not against people who have them, of course, and I think they look really cool on the right people, but I just can’t think of anything I would want to tattoo onto my skin enough.

10. What music do you listen to?
All sorts of music. Look at the Music and 30 Day Music Challenge folders to the right of the page to view blog posts that reveal some of my music tastes. Right now I’m listening to an album called Weather Systems, by the band Anathema – a prog rock type band on the  Kscope label that has also been home to bands such as Porcupine Tree, The Pineapple Thief, No-Man, and many more of this genre in recent times.

11. What are you wearing right now?
Nothing. I actually lied about my teaching job, and am in fact a streaker. Now if you’d excuse me, I have some professional streaking in which to partake…Okay so in reality I’m wearing the regular weekend outfit – jeans and a tshirt. You can call me Mr Fashion, if you like.

The 11 Blogs I am nominating:

I am picking 11 of the newest blogs I have stumbled across (in some cases because they have kindly stumbled across my blog), and in most cases they are under the 200 followers, but I can’t always tell – they all seem relatively new (as in, this year) though, so it’s up to them if they want to accept it or not if they do have more followers, of course! At any rate, you, my awesome readers, should visit them:

The Hand-Written Life

Confessions of a Disquisitive Writer

A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

She Who Must Not Be Named



My Thought Exactly…!

The Secret Mermaid

Always Taylie Jay

Rustic Recluse

Holly Recommends

My 11 Questions:

1. What’s your favourite word in the English language?

2. What are you listening to as you write the answer to this question (if not music, what sounds)?

3. What was the last thing you ate that you really, really enjoyed?

4. You’re at a job interview, and the interviewer asks you to make them laugh. What do you do or say?

5. The world is about to blow up, but you’re being saved, and are allowed to take five things to another planet (aside from the clothes you are currently wearing), where you and only 999 other people will now exist (ignore the bleakness of this question). What do you take?

6. What’s your favourite drink to consume first thing in the morning?

7. What was the last book to make you cry?

8. What’s the most ridiculous or silliest way you’ve been injured?

9. What’s your favourite city in the world? Why?

10. What’s the most embarrassing album in your music collection? (Be honest)

11. To borrow an old line from a Crowded House song, would you rather a mansion in the slums or a caravan in the hills (i.e. a nice house in a not nice area, or a tiny living space but with views)?

Here endeth the interrogating and interrogation by and of me. Hope you enjoyed (and managed to get through it all).

Have a great weekend people!

The Booker Award and My Top 5 Books of all time

I still remember a long, long time ago (the 2nd of January, 2012) when I very first began this blog, and I was desperately wondering what direction the content would take. I very quickly realised that I wanted to make my blog about books and writing, and even though other things have found their way into my posts, such as music (in particular this month), but also random things I like (such as coffee and tea), I still feel overall that I write a books and writing blog, and that will indeed remain my focus for the foreseeable future.

So I must thank Literary Tiger for nominating me for the Booker Award, an award for blogs primarily about books (50% or more on books, reading and writing). One of the great things about book blogging is meeting so many other brilliant book bloggers out there, and Literary Tiger has a fantastic blog and a great taste in literature, and is without a doubt worth a visit if you have not yet managed to stumble across her posts.

As usual there’s some rules, but I quite like the third one:

1.  Nominate other blogs, as many as you want but 5-10 is always a good suggestion (but hey, I once nominated 32, so don’t take my advice necessarily).  Don’t forget to let your recipients know.

2.  Post the Booker Award picture.

3.  Share your top 5 books of all time.

And so, I give you…

MY TOP FIVE BOOKS OF ALL TIME (for the moment…because I mean, really, this sort of thing is bound to change as one travels through life and…OH this is still the heading. Right. Sorry):

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – I’ve discussed this brilliantly absurd World War II based novel before, multiple times. This book made me howl with laughter, and was also the first book (in my memory at least) to make me cry. It moved me in a way a book hadn’t ever moved me before, and single-handedly re-inspired me to read more and, more importantly, to start writing fiction again. An amazing book, and one which will likely always claim the top spot in this list. If you haven’t read this, you absolutely must.

2. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières – Apparently the film adaptation of this is awful, which is a shame as I suspect that puts a lot of people off reading the book, when really it is magnificently written. Also set in World War II, it is the story of a Greek island community who has to deal with an Italian occupation during the war, and how one girl in the town falls in love with Captain Corelli, the musician captain of the Italians. It’s funny and heartbreaking all at the same time, and another book I am constantly lending out to friends.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Series by Douglas Adams – Yeah yeah, it’s technically five books (and yes I know there’s a sixth, but I just can’t bring myself to read it when it wasn’t written by Douglas Adams). A downright silly and bizarre series of science fiction books, which at first may come across as being too silly for their own good, but upon further reading and reflection are actually taking subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) swipes at society. All in a universe in which Earth flickers between existing and not existing, depending on which book you’re at. This isn’t for everyone, but I recommend at least trying it.

4. The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – This hypnotising gothic novel is set in post-civil war Barcelona, and based around a boy, Daniel Sempere, who is initiated into the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where upon initiation into this old forgotten library he has to choose a book to protect for life. When he falls in love with his book and tries to track down more books by the author, he finds out the author’s life is shrouded in mystery, and that a figure named after a character within the story has been burning all of the author’s books. The whole story within a story thing doesn’t always work, but this one is just spellbinding, as are all the books by this author.

5. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss – Okay, so this is another series, a fantasy trilogy of which the third book is yet to be released. But the first two books, The Name Of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, both blew me away, and are undoubtedly my favourite fantasy novels. The story of Kvothe, adventurer, arcanist, musician and so much more, and why he has disappeared into obscurity, is one of those stories that stays in your mind long after you have read it, and the novels steer away from the usual conventions of the fantasy genre, making for a much more exciting and less predictable read. If you’re a fantasy fan, read these books. If you’re not, read these books.

The Nominations:

Books & Bowel Movements

Poetry by the clueless

Storyteller In The Digital Age

Book Club Babe

Books Speak Volumes

Writer’s Block


These are all great blogs about books and writing and various other related topics, so check them out. And as always, this is by no means a definitive list, and I have left some people out who I know have been just nominated recently for these awards. But for many other great blog suggestions, check out my other awards posts, as well.

What are your top 5 books of all time?

A lovely blog award

One word which could quite easily describe my blogging experience thus far is the word ‘lovely’. This very same word could also be used to describe many of the bloggers who follow me, and who I follow back; it could also be used to describe the often insightful and entertaining posts by many of these same bloggers. And it most certainly can describe how I felt to be nominated for the One Lovely Blog award twice fairly recently.

RebeccaV nominated me on her wonderful blog Friffle Thoughts, and a few days later I was nominated again by Coach Sue on her inspiring The Courage To Adventure Blog. Thanks ladies for the nomination – it really is appreciated, and it’s always great to have these awards posts to connect to other blogs too!

Now, the rules are fairly similar to other awards – link back to the person who nominated you, write seven random facts about yourself, nominate a bunch of people and remember to tell them. So, on to the facts (are you guys bored of my random facts on these posts yet? Considering I gave you 26 more of them on my personal timeline post recently too…):

1. The longest word I know how to spell is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. At 45 letters long, this word is 11-12 letters longer than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (some versions of this word omit one of the last vowels, the ‘i’ I think?), and 17 letters longer than antidisestablishmentarianism. Sadly, I knew how to spell all three words by the age of 8. Why? I have no idea.

2. When I was younger I had a fear of swimming, a fear of heights, and a fear of spiders. My fear of swimming I eventually conquered by learning to swim, my fear of heights I think I beat when I realised that the view was worth the climb in most cases, and my fear of spiders has just been rationalised down to the question “is it dangerous?” (Which, in Australia, the answer is often ‘yes’, though my general fear has gone and I definitely don’t leap away with fright anymore – I can take care of getting rid of a spider if need be).

3. I’m right this minute wearing an old red sweater that I have owned for over 10 years, since I was a pimpley teenager (this is a lie, I never had trouble with pimples). My weight has gone up and down like a yo-yo over this time, yet, no matter what size I am, this sweater always fits just perfectly. I wish I knew how it did that. And I wish my other clothes would do that.

4. I’m good at sudoku. Really good. Frightfully good. Magnificently good. Maybe ever gooder than that (I’m heaps gooder at English though (gooder is totally a word (okay, maybe it’s not))). Speaking of sudoku… this week I’ve been decorating a little classroom that is mostly used for extension mathematics groups with different groups of students, some of which I run myself at the school at which I work. The kids had an awesome idea – we’re going to create giant sudoku posters, laminate them, put them up on the walls, and that way students (and teachers, for that matter) can use whiteboard markers to play the games, over and over again! As I said, this was one of my student’s ideas – I was very impressed.

5. While we’re on the topic of maths, I happen to be freakishly quick at basic arithmetic. I’m pretty good at maths on the whole, but for some reason I have always been able to crunch numbers in my head really fast, often quicker than the time it takes people to punch these numbers into a calculator (there are limits to my abilities though of course). I forget every now and then in front of my students that I can do this and that it’s not quite normal. An example: the other day I heard one student, while working out a bigger problem, ask her friend “what’s 7.5 times 25” and without the slightest hesitation I blurted out “187.5”. When the room fell silent, I turned around slowly to find the students staring at me in disbelief. I just told them if they keep working things out without a calculator one day they’ll be able to do this too (maybe).

6. I’ve just found out I have quite bad sleep apnea, and have realised I’ve probably had it for a while, which would explain a lot of other health problems I’ve had, not to mention being really tired all the time. It’s kind of funny though – it’s had me thinking about how we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking that the way we feel, physically, mentally, emotionally, is perfectly normal and healthy, that it’s how everybody else must feel all day, when it’s not. When things like this happen, I am torn between sadness that I have been struggling without being aware of this fact, and also excitement at the thought that if I can do as much as I have been doing with this, imagine how much more I can do when my health is sorted out and I’m sleeping normally again!

7. I prefer Winter to Summer. This is probably because I live in Australia, where our Winters are often the same temperature and climate as most of the world’s Spring or Autumn (if not as warm as their Summers), and our Summers just become scorching and sweltering and make everything uncomfortable and exhausting. Sure it’s great to go to the beach on those hot days (and I do live near some stunning beaches), but it’s just not the same as wrapping yourself in extra layers, sitting by a fire or heater drinking hot chocolate, and indulging in other clichéd wintry pastimes.

Now for the people I would like to nominate for this award (I have tried to nominate lovely blogs that I am pretty sure I haven’t nominated before for an award, but knowing me my memory will have failed me (I know I could go back and check my old awards posts, but…but…)):

Writer’s Block 

Embracing The Geek

The Preeminent Litterateur

Robin Coyle

Mediaeval Musings

Tracy Loves History

Lea At Sea

Throwing My Weights Around

Write, Aubrey, Write

Words Can Break Hearts

All of these blogs are fantastic, and blogs which I regularly visit, so make sure you drop by each one, as you’re bound to find something you like there.

I actually think for the first time in months I have caught up with all my awards posts! Coming up later this week, I’ll review The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, and write some other post I haven’t thought of yet.

Happy reading!

Lucky Seven Award/Meme/Thing (a bit of fun for fellow writers)

Recently (as in, last month), I was nominated for the Lucky Seven Award/Meme/Thing (it shapeshifts between blogs, as these things often do), and this nomination reminded me that not quite as recently (as in, back in March) I was also nominated for it by somebody else, and mentioned (but “left alone” due to an abundance of such awards I had been nominated for) by a third person. These three blogs, WeelilWimsy, Roshrulez’s Weblog and Mywithershins, respectively, are all fantastic blogs by amazing people, so if you haven’t read them before, please do, because otherwise you are missing out!

Now, on to what I’m supposed to do. The rules are as follows:

  • Go to Page 77 of your manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Copy next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs into your post
  • Give the award to 7 more writers

I have lots of manuscripts going simultaneously at the moment, many at different points (and many nowhere near as far along as they should be, I hate to admit). So I’m going to take my excerpt from the manuscript of my January novella (the first of twelve for this year, if I find a way to freeze time), which was given the working title Chrono-illogical . This novella is very much in a first draft form, where it will likely remain because it’s one of the silliest, most bizarre stories I have ever written. For fun, I’m not going to provide any context for this whatsoever. Here goes:

“Okay, so let me get this straight. You guys are barely even human, and I am, against my better judgement, ancient. Apparently, also against my better judgement, this is a good thing for me. Except that you guys want to study me for some reason, and then eat me. Have I missed anything?”

Am I really losing my temper with a group of beings who are almost certainly the cause of my imminent demise? I am a clever sausage aren’t I…

Now for the writers I want to nominate…I am going to change this a little bit. A number of people have already been nominated for this, but due to a seeming lack of actual image for the award for most of the posts on it, it’s hard to track down exactly who has been nominated. And so….

I nominate YOU!!!

In other words, if you are a writer, and have not yet been awarded this award/meme/thing – take it! It’s yours! I am giving it to anybody who writes and reads this post! Tell me you are doing it, and I’ll add your name to this post and link to your page, so you still get the linky goodness!

Happy writing and reading! I’m off to get my nerd fix from watching QI.

The Reader Appreciation Award (an almighty thank you)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what keeps me writing this blog, even more than my love of writing and books, is the amazing (and growing) group of readers who not only read my posts, but like and comment on them and join in some great conversations.

With this in mind, I am touched to have two other blogs nominate me for the Reader Appreciation Award, as I have received nominations from both The Obscured Dreamer and J. Keller Ford, both fantastic blogs that I strongly recommend you visit if you haven’t yet come across them in your travels through the blog world.

As is quite often the case, the rules for this award differ slightly in the two interpretations I have seen (and I will probably break the rules anyway). As always, you need to link back to the blog that nominated you, include the picture of the award, and then nominated six more bloggers (I think I’m going to nominate a few lot more for this one).

In one interpretation of the award you’re also supposed to mention what you’ve been up to lately. Geeze, where do I start? I guess with my health returning I have finally returned to work full time, and have found myself darting around doing all sorts there, working with some fantastically intelligent students who need to be challenged and pushed to new levels (I find myself so impressed and excited by these kids), as well as working with younger kids than I am used to (as we have a primary/junior school right next to the high school). Outside of this, I have been spending a lot of time with friends, listening to a lot of new music (speaking of which, I’ll update my music listening page after I publish this, for those of you interested), bracing myself to catch up on my 12 novellas challenge somehow, as well as trying to catch up with my reading. Oh and I’ve been watching a lot of Ross Noble’s latest stand up comedy DVD, which has three discs, six shows and hours of extras – the total running time is nearly twelve hours, which in itself is quite funny. If you’ve never seen this man’s comedy, you really must (he has a channel on Youtube called the Ross Noble Channel I think, full of clips from one of his Australian tours a few years back). His shows are completely unrehearsed and unscripted, and insanely funny – I dare say he is one of the most talented stand up comedians in the world at the moment (he is hugely successful in the UK and Australia, but I don’t know about outside these countries).

Okay, now on to the readers I would like to pass this award on to. I am deeply grateful to all my readers of course, but these readers I am nominating have been extra amazing, commenting on my posts regularly, and being highly supportive of my blog as it grows.


Green Paw-Paw

Books Speak Volumes

The Tiger’s Eye

January to December

Diane’s Stories Site


Books and Bowel Movements


Eternal Domnation

Storyteller In The Digital Age

Roshrulez’s Weblog

The BookBimbo Chronicles




Arab Writer Chick

Book Club Babe

The Courage To Adventure Blog

Paint later, a painter’s blog



A. J. Jenner

Friffle Thoughts

Minute descriptions of me *Kristopher*


50 Year Project


Tracie Louise Photography

Unblocking My Mind


Robin Coyle

…and of course the two lovely ladies who nominated me for this in the first place!

There are so many more blogs I could nominate for this, but I will stop there. If you haven’t visited these blogs, please do as they are all amazing. And if you have ever stopped by my blog, even only once or twice, or if you have liked or commented on anything on my blog, thank you, because you are awesome and you have in someway contributed to the continuance of this blog! I appreciate all of my readers, every single last one of you!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! It’s raining here so I think it’s time to curl up with a book.

You beauty! (The Beautiful Blogger Award)

Continuing the awards catch up, I have been nominated twice in the last month for the Beautiful Blogger Award, once by Literary Tiger from The Tiger’s Eye, and the other time by Heather from Bitsnbooks. If you haven’t been to these two lovely ladies’ blogs, you’re missing out, so hop over there now!

Thank you both so much for the nomination, it means the world to me that you would think so highly of my blog.

Now, as always, there are rules for this award, but as I am finding with a lot of awards, they seem to be changing depending on where I am reading. As usual, you’re supposed to link it back to the givers of the award, as well as passing it on to other bloggers, but in some cases this is all you have to do, whereas others have specified that you’re supposed to reveal things about yourself. So I’m going to twist it for my own purposes, and reveal five things I think are beautiful in the world.

Five beautiful things:

  1. The sound of the ocean. There is something infinitely beautiful about that sound, something which reaches into the very depths of our souls, and which stirs us in powerful ways. While we might often return from the beach covered in sand and grit and needing to wash desperately, I always find myself feeling cleansed in other ways from a good trip to the beach. I think I would struggle living too far away from a coastline, no matter where in the world I live in the future.
  2. Waking up before the sun on a day off. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping in, and I struggle to function in the mornings without my coffee. As we head into winter here in Australia, I am naturally waking up before the sun most days anyway for work, and some mornings I strongly dislike this fact. But every now and then, I like to wake up just as early on a day off as well – enjoy the start of the day, relaxing, and making the most of the whole day. You soon forget about the sleep-in once you’re enjoying the morning.
  3. The first few moments of starting a new book. You hold it in your hands (a real book), breathe in its smell, as your mind whirls with the possibilities contained within. The excitement that I feel when I start a new book is an amazing sensation, incomparable to much else in life. It’s also amazing when you can’t put the darn thing down!
  4. The aroma of coffee permeating the air in a cafe. This smell alone perks me up, and I do that thing where I stop where I am, close my eyes, and take a deep breath, before letting out a resounding “ahhh.”
  5. Relaxing with family and friends. Yes, I know this is somewhat predictable. I’m at a point in my life where I essentially live alone, and am quite busy most of the time. I also am vaguely aware that the next few years of my life will no doubt bring profound change to my life. With all this in mind, lately I have really been enjoying just spending time with my family and my friends – it doesn’t matter what we are doing, it’s just being with them that counts.

And now for some beautiful blogs:


Perfect Nostalgia

J. Keller Ford, Young Adult Author

A. J. Jenner


Arab Writer Chick


These blogs are all beautiful, and of course they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to beautiful blogs – there are many I didn’t mention (the list could have been many times longer), and all the blogs I have mentioned before in awards posts (I generally try and mention different ones each time to try and share the blog love) are also beautiful in their own ways! So if you want more ideas for blogs worth checking out, have a look at the posts in my Awards category from the right-hand menu.

Now, time to crawl into bed with a cup of tea and a good book.

The Inspiring Blog Award (including more random mini-stories about me)

I have been inundated with beautiful people nominating me for various awards over the past month or two, and have several awards posts that I have been meaning to write for far too long, so I shall begin here with this, The Inspiring Blog Award.

I have been nominated for this by two people (I think it’s two…if I forget to mention you on any of these awards posts please feel free to remind me – I am a bit forgetful and some of the nomination comments are in different posts so I get confused). I have been nominated by Arab Writer Chick from her blog of the same name, and nymuse88 from Oh My Muse! – both these blogs are awesome, full of fascinating insights into literature, writing, poetry, music and more, so if you haven’t come across these blogs before please do check them out, as they certainly inspire me!

As usual there are some rules to this award – I have to link back to those who gave it to me, then provide seven facts about myself, before passing it on to seven people who inspire me. So, firstly, the seven facts about myself (you might want to get comfortable, I tend to ramble when writing these).

Seven quite possibly uninspiring facts about me (don’t say I didn’t warn you):

  1. Up until a few years ago, I had spent my whole life thinking I was allergic to penicillin. This supposed “fact” came under scrutiny when I was told I had Golden Staph (which was just delightful), and the doctor actually said “are you sure you’re allergic to penicillin?” After being met initially with bewildered looks, he explained that some people, when very young, have been told they are allergic to penicillin only because they took it while suffering from something else, and they had an allergic reaction – one which could have been caused by what they were suffering from, not the penicillin. Turns out I am such a case, and I am not allergic to it after all, which meant attacking the Golden Staph was made substantially easier. It also increased the types of cheese I can now eat, on a side note. Oh goodness I’m still on my first fact…
  2. I can play guitar. When I say play guitar, what I really mean is that I possess three guitars (one of which is really quite nice), and can pretend to play all of them. I haven’t played as much recently but I do intend on getting back into that soon, because it was enjoyable (even though I sucked at it).
  3. Once, when applying for a job at a much, much younger age, I remember filling out a form before an interview (there was a group of us being interviewed one by one), and on this form was a question asking if we had any special talents or hobbies. They insisted it could be absolutely anything, so I jokingly decided to test the waters, and proceeded to write “can make fart sounds by cupping my hands over my ears and eye sockets.” Goodness only knows what I was thinking, really. Anyway, about twenty minutes later I was being interviewed by a man who turned out to be the big boss of the company, and he requested that I demonstrate these abilities. He seemed quite pleasantly surprised when it became clear I was telling the truth. I got the job. (But it was rubbish so I quit after 2 weeks and half a day, but that’s another story in itself).
  4. In march I had a haircut that was rather significant. Why? Because the last haircut before that was back in October 2009. I have done this three times in my life, grown my hair long and then cut it all off, and this is the first time where I quite like it shorter. Having said this…I’ll probably still grow it long again. Might book in for 2015.
  5. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos. I know, pretty terrible for someone who is about to turn 26 in a few days. I don’t intend on getting any piercings, but I wouldn’t mind a tattoo. Only one, though, and it would have to be really good. As a friend once said “a tattoo either has to mean everything to the person getting it, or it has to mean absolutely nothing at all.” Anyway, if I never get one I won’t be too upset, but we’ll see what happens.
  6. Although I clearly enjoy English and History as subjects a lot more (evidenced both by my love of literature and history books, and also the fact I teach both these subjects), in high school Mathematics was my strongest subject, and gave me my highest marks. I have taught a bit of this too, and it weirds the students out that I can teach this subject as well – I think in their minds it’s breaking some fundamental law that binds the universe together, by being able to enjoy and manipulate both words and numbers.
  7. When I was younger, and my family had first moved to Australia, we lived in the west of Sydney, about an hour from the city centre and also from the coastline (we now live an hour north of Sydney, on the coast, which is much nicer). Anyway, we used to holiday every year for several years to this little place near the sea called Kiama. We’d listen to the Beach Boys in the car trip every time (and so that is my childhood memory of going to the beach or on holiday – singing Wouldn’t It Be Nice out loud. One day, my family is going to have to listen to Jack Johnson when going to the beach, as I have already decided this has to happen). Anyway, every year without fail it would rain. The whole time. The last year we went, we decided this would be it, our final family visit to Kiama. And the sun finally came out that time, and it was a lovely holiday. We decided not to tempt fate, and to just leave it at that point.

Seven Inspiring Blogs you should visit:

The Tiger’s Eye – An awesome blogger who writes about books, quotes and more. She also should win the coolest header image award, if such a thing existed.

Japan in 365 days – One of my favourite photography blogs, which as the title suggests, is based in Japan. Definitely worth a visit – this one is on my list of blogs I try and check daily.

Isle of Books – Another fantastic book blogger, who also blogs about poetry and other things. Intelligent and insightful, this one is deserving of your time!

So So Poems – One of the coolest ideas ever: writing poems on coffee cups, and then taking a photo of said coffee cup, and placing it up on a blog (with the poem typed up). You know you want to see this. The poetry is really quite good, too.

Books Speak Volumes – An awesome book blogger with remarkably similar taste in books to me, she is also a great reviewer. She has pretty good taste in music, too!

Book Club Babe – A passionate book blogger who has many insightful thoughts on books, and who isn’t afraid to voice her opinions when necessary.

Bigbadwolf31  – A blogger who I have just realised I have more in common with than I first knew – she too was born in Britain and moved to Australia at a very young age. Her blog is just hilarious and makes me laugh every time, no matter what the topic – if you ever need a pick me up, this is the place to go (she managed to make depression funny and uplifting…need I say more?).

Of course there are many more blogs out there I find inspiring, including both those I have nominated for awards before (I tried to focus on blogs I am yet to nominate for an award for this one), and even those I am still yet to nominate for an award. The blogosphere is an incredibly inspiring and motivating place, and I have all of you, my awesome readers and fellow bloggers, to thank for this!

Until next time….oh dear I just saw my word count. Next time, I’ll attempt to be brief. Honest.