The Liebster Award


I hinted yesterday that today’s post would be a response to some good news. Sarah Zama from The Old Shelter nominated me for the Liebster Award. Her A to Z blog on the Jazz Age Jazz was entertaining and informative. And her Reflections post is a must-read for the advice on preparing for A to Z – there’s a lot there that I’ll be attempting to take on-board

I always get both nervous and excited when I’m nominated for such an award, especially from a blogger that I respect. Excited about the recognition – nervous as I need to deal with some crucial questions.

This is actually the second time that I have been nominated for the Liebster – first was way back in October 23, 2013, so my answers may have changed since then.

Rules of the Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award and you chose to accept it, write a blog post about the Liebster Award in which you:

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog in your post.
  • Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.
  • Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  • Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. [Some claim that this is a flexible rule, so I’m ignoring it. In fact, I don’t qualify. 😉 ]
  • Create a new list of questions for the nominees to answer
  • List these rules in your post (copy and paste from here). Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  • Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)


11 questions Sarah asked me

  1. When your started your blog, did you know what you were doing?

It was trial and error, but it always will be as the learning process never stops – no exceptions. I started when I began following blog-maestro Robert Lee Brewer  and his introduction to creating a Writer’s Platform. His ‘challenge’ took me through the early stages of blogging and social media.

  1. Many writers I know tell me they don’t blog because they prefer to write their own stories. Why do you?

Blogging for me is not the same as creating my fictional stories. The posts are a chance to address other issues from writing quandaries to health issues. However, a few posts do stray into fictional areas, such as my interviews with characters in my novels, and this year’s A to Z mystery.

  1. Do you plan your posts?

I start scribbling ideas for posts days ahead of when I want to schedule them. I have a black notebook with sketched out ideas, some of which have yet to be developed – like “The First Terrorists”. As the scheduled day approaches, I select the most appropriate idea. Right now I have a review of “The Road” imminent.

  1. Do you stick to a posting schedule?

I have a flexible posting schedule of a weekly post on Tuesday or Wednesday. There’s no particular theme as my readers went for Pick N’Mix. At the moment, that’s enough of a commitment. Looking way ahead, I might have to schedule “The First Terrorists” for October 10th (Columbus Day), especially as this desktop will be in transit to the USA. That will mean some clever scheduling for almost two months.



  1. When you signed up for the A to Z Challenge the first time, did you know what you were doing?

I’d seen a few posts in 2013 so had a rough idea what I was getting into when I did the Challenge in 2014. I chose posts themed around what I was researching for a WIP, but admit that it was a learning process. However, I wrote some posts in advance so wasn’t a complete wreck by the end of April 2014.

  1. What were you thinking when you signed up the second time?

That I needed to write more posts in advance to give myself time to visit others. However, I stuck to a theme related to research for a WIP, although that book is now on a back-burner. This year I resisted the temptation to go with a research theme, as I said in my Reflection above. On further reflection, my research approach might be okay for 2017. Counterfactual history or maybe Snowdon Snippets.

  1. I can hardly resist a blogging challenge. Do you participate in many?

I resist the temptation to do more than A to Z, especially if they are over many days. I have done a few one-off challenges, like posting specific sentences from a manuscript, or details on my current main character.

  1. What is the blogging challenge which was the most fun for you?

In general, trying to select a weekly post that will be of interest to my readers and followers is a challenge. I’m still working on that one, hoping that I will suss what sparks their attention. And what dictates that? The number of comments? Likes? Visits? Probably, the overall reaction. Being ignored is the pits though. In terms of particular posts and fun, I would say that writing the mystery part of “A Brilliant Conspiracy” my A to Z Challenge this year. Challenging because of my rules, but fun as those same rules played a part in the plot and the climax. But I keep worrying that it was too obscure. Was it?

  1. Did you ever produce a vlog? If not, would you consider doing it?

Never have, and won’t consider doing it as I stammer and swallow words because of my disability. That’s also the reason why my days of public speaking ended last century and I won’t do any readings.

  1. Have you ever read articles about marketing to learn promoting your blog?

Read a few but tend to feel that most suggest things that I’m unlikely to do. Perhaps tweaks. Most of the great strides were in the early years. Is that where my blog fails?

  1. Do you think writing a blog is the same as writing a book?

Very different from writing fiction, as different products. However, not in terms of commitment. Both require persistence and perseverance. I find them complimentary – like wine and cheese.


11 random things about myself

  1. Although I’m British, in terms of my maroon passport, I’m actually part Chilean. My maternal grandmother was from Chile and met my grandfather when he was working for a nitrate mining company out there. My mother was born in Santiago.
  2. My office has a view towards Snowdon, which I will miss when we move to the US. However, Idaho has plenty of spectacular mountains and wild scenery.
  3. I went to school in Canada, for a few terms, so got a taste for the outdoor lifestyle over there – especially the skiing. I even went white-water rafting.
  4. My first time on a ski slope I was ready to chuck it all in. I was scared of the nursery slopes. My instructor sent me up the next level run, telling me to try that one. I struggled down, but never looked back. Taking slopes head-on became a regular thrill. I even raced a bit…but not down the nursery slope.
  5. My first success in writing was winning three days with the Royal Navy, when aged about ten I wrote an essay on A Day In The Life of a Helicopter Pilot.
  6. That RN adventure was the last time that I sailed around the Isle of Wight in a large ship – the guided missile destroyer HMS Devonshire – Displacement 5,440 tonnes (6,850 tonnes full load). On September 20th I will sail around the Isle of Wight again but on RMS Queen Mary 2, bound for New York – Displacement 75,000 tonnes.


    Queen Mary 2 in New York Harbor

  7. I still have one of the books that I read and adored as a child, George Brooksbank’s “Old Mr Fox”. With a cover by celebrated artist Archibald Thorburn, this was my father’s copy, which he was given in 1932 for Christmas, the same year the book was published.
  8. My favourite author is J.R.R Tolkien, but I first discovered him when I read the essay based on his lecture “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics“. Reading “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” came a few months later.
  9. I read the whole of “Lord of the Rings” over one very long weekend when I was at Eton College in 1969. I still have the three hardback copies with their wonderful fold-out maps.
  10. History has always fascinated me, so it was one of my specialist subjects at school and at college. I even enjoy Virtual or Alternative Histories, so one day I might work out how the Vikings colonised Kanata.
  11. I’ve had Multiple Sclerosis since 2000 but writing keeps my brain on track, although it can be exhausting. And I now call it the MaelStrom MonSter.


With the A to Z Challenge in mind, I’d first like to nominate a few fellow A to Z-ers for this award.

Tasha @ Tasha’s Thinkings Wrote 2.5 blogs during A to Z, including her entertaining spooky one on Fictional Phantoms.

Miriam @ An’ de walls came tumblin’ down  Her A to Z was clever stories in which each sentence began with the chosen letter of the day.

Jen @ Lexical Creations This children’s writer tackled a double theme for A to Z. Each post featured an Alphabet book and an instalment of her own fun alphabetical story with letters as characters.

Cheryl @ Plucking Of My Heartstrings Her 2016 theme was non-profit organizations that deserve support, so please visit as many as you can.

Maryann @ if i only had a time machine Her informative and detailed A to Z posts were A 1970s Time Capsule from A to Z. Facts and video clips galore.

Archie @ Travel With Archie – and finally a great travelogue with A to Z posts on US cities. Wonderfully informative and great photos.

Finally, I’m choosing two other bloggers that are deserving of the Liebster Award.

Chrys @ Write with Fey Catching sparks for stories and passing on torches of inspiration.

Mark @ Time Present and Time Past        Author/Lecturer who knows how to tell his facts in an informative and engrossing way.


And these are the questions for them, and of course most are about blogging:

  • Do you have goals for your blog? What are they?
  • Do you have a blogging schedule?
  • I can hardly resist a blogging challenge. Do you participate in many?
  • What is your favourite way to interact with other bloggers?
  • What is your own personal favourite of your own blog posts, and why?
  • What kind of blogs do you like to read the most?
  • Where would you most like to visit?
  • If you could have any kind of pet, what would it be?
  • If you could choose to live in another time, when would you choose?
  • Would you change your chosen career path?
  • Do you have a favourite book that you re-read?


Again, thanks so much to Sarah for giving me the possibility to share the love. And thanks to all those that have inspired me to nominate them.