My Cleric delicately cleared her throat. I jumped. “How long have you been there?” I demanded.
“Only a short time, Mistress. You seemed so engrossed in your writing, I did not wish to disturb you.”
I grunted a thank-you, and returned my attention to the computer screen.
She cleared her throat again.
“Did you need me for something?” I asked, testily.
“No. I was just wondering what you are writing.”
I sighed. “I have been nominated for a Liebster Award. According to the directions for accepting the award, it seems I have to answer some questions.”
My Cleric cocked her head and furrowed her brow. “What is a Liebster Award?”
“It is an internet award given by bloggers to other bloggers,” I explained. “It is a way to help promote fellow bloggers, and give their blogs some exposure.”
“Peer recognition. That is very prestigious,” my Cleric responded.
I shrugged. “Yes, that is one way to view it. Some nominees may view it as too similar to a chain letter, though. If you accept the award, you are required to share 11 facts about yourself, answer 11 questions posed by the nominating blogger, and then nominate up to 11 other bloggers at the end of the blog you have written about the award.”
“How do you view it, Mistress?”
“I’m all for anything that helps promote my blog and writing, or that gives me the opportunity to help promote other bloggers.”
“So, you are accepting the award,” my Cleric stated shrewdly. “Who nominated you?”
“One of my online friends and colleagues, DMGbyrnes. You have heard me speak of her. She is the very talented writer and blogger whose blog can be found at https://dmgbyrnes.com. I need to thank her for this award!”
“Yes, you must,” my Cleric agreed. “So the first requirement for accepting this award is to share 11 facts about yourself?”
“Yes, but that is something I already did in my blog just a few months ago. So I think I will just provide a link to that entry.”
“Oh, yes, I remember that one. It was very enlightening!” My Cleric nodded approvingly.
“So if anyone wants to read the facts about me, they can go here.” I typed in the URL: https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/10-or-more-things-you-might-not-know-about-me/
“Or,” my Cleric suggested, “they could go to the About Me section of your blog. I remember you reading that to me once. Not as insightful, perhaps, as your other blog entry, but it does introduce you adequately.”
I nodded, and typed another URL: https://margecutter.wordpress.com/about-me-margaret-tesch/
“The two combined should provide readers with a well-rounded view of you,” my Cleric commented. “Now, what about the questions your colleague, DMGbyrnes, posed?”
“Let’s see…the first question is If you’re a Harry Potter fan (I concede that there are some out there that aren’t), do you enjoy the movies?”
“Who is Harry Potter?” my Cleric asked.
“He’s a fictional wizard,” I explained, “the subject of a series of novels that were made into movies. I loved the books, and I also thought the movies were excellent.”
“A wizard, is he? I shall have to read those books! What is the second question?”
“Do you have a preference for hard copy books or ebooks? Well, that’s easy – hard copy books. I’m a dinosaur – I don’t own any form of e-reader.”
“E-reader?” My Cleric furrowed her brow again.
“An electronic device for reading books and other publications. Similar to my computer.”
“Third question – Do you have a story you want to write but keep putting it off for some reason? If so, why? Hmmm. Yes. I have any number of stories in my mind, and in my idea file here in my office. Many are more than just ideas, they are outlines or even beginnings of stories that I have already started writing, but never finished. Why?” I gave my Cleric a side-long glance. “Because I found a group of characters who insisted I drop everything and write their stories. I am on book three of an envisioned seven-book series, which I hope will someday be published. So I don’t put much effort into other writing at the moment.”
My Cleric blushed. “You have put aside your other writing for us?”
“I am touched,” she said, and gave me a huge smile.
I chuckled and went on to the next question. “How long have you been blogging? Let’s see…I have only been blogging since October 2015, when one of the exercises in the Writer’s Digest 2015 October Platform Challenge was to start a blog.”
“I remember,” my Cleric mused. “You were blogging for quite a while before you started writing about the adventures we, your characters, have had since entering your world.”
I nodded and glanced at the questions again. “How do you deal with self-doubt?”
“Oh, Mistress, you have no need to doubt yourself,” my Cleric exclaimed, laughing.
“Well, I thank you for that, but I happen to be riddled with self-doubt, and I don’t deal well with it. I lose a lot of sleep, I stress, I overeat, and I seek assurance from others that my writing measures up.”
“Of course it measures up!” she replied with a firm nod of her head.
I just smiled.
“Next question. Have you been to a writer’s conference? Or do you plan to soon/this year? Many years ago (no, I won’t say how many years), I attended one. I would love to attend more now that I feel my writing has reached a critical stage. But an aspiring author can spend a fortune on conferences and seminars, including travel, lodging and meals, and it just is not in this writer’s budget.”
My Cleric frowned. Before she could comment on the sorry state of my finances, I read the next question. “Do you have a favorite hat? If so, what is it?”
My Cleric laughed. “You are not what I think of as a hat person, Mistress. The only one I ever see you wear is that floppy one with the string.”
“That’s my favorite hat!” I agreed. “It shades my face while I am hiking, keeps my hair out of my face when I am taking nature photos, and the hatstring keeps it on my head on windy days.”
“And it is just so flattering,” my Cleric teased.
“It gets the job done.” I chuckled, and read the next question. “What is one writing (or other) goal you’ve set and met so far?”
“You have been published,” my Cleric stated. “Is that not the goal of every writer?”
I nodded. “Yes, I have met my goal of being a published writer. A lifetime ago, I had a nice freelance writing career for a few years before life interfered. I had several hundred articles in local, regional and national publications, mostly in the field of equine sports. I also had a few poems and pieces of short magazine fiction published. Now my goal is to take it to the next level, to become a published author and see my books in print.”
My Cleric smiled warmly and nodded. I read the next question. “Do/What is your favorite medium of visual art? (painting, sketch, sculpture, photo, etc.)?”
“Oh, I know,” my Cleric enthused. “That has to be your nature photography!”
“Indeed! Next to writing, it is my favorite activity, and the only visual art I create.”
I continued to the next question. “You’re leaving the house for the day and are bringing a bag of things you need/stuff to do. What are 5 things you’re definitely bringing. (Assume no catastrophe, just a day away from your home/working area).”
I sat thinking, and my Cleric looked at me expectantly. “Well, I suppose it would depend on where I am going. But if I am leaving for the day, I don’t think I would be going shopping. I guess I would be going birdwatching and taking nature photos. So I would need my camera, my walking stick, a bottle of water or iced tea, some sunscreen, and insect repellant.”
“Yes, you always triple check that you have those items before you go,” my Cleric agreed.
“Last question,” I said, reading from the list. “Name something on your bucket list.”
“What is a bucket list, Mistress?”
“It’s a list of things you want to do or accomplish in your lifetime,” I explained. “When I was younger, I had a lot of things on my list, but I have accomplished many of them. If I had to name one thing I still need to accomplish, it is to become a published author.”
“And I know you will, Mistress!” My Cleric beamed at me.
I returned her smile. “Well, that’s just about it for the requirements for accepting this Liebster Award. All I have to do now is nominate up to 11 other bloggers, and write 11 questions for them to answer.”
“Do you know 11 other bloggers who have not yet received this award, and who would appreciate the honor?” my Cleric asked.
“Well, let’s see…probably not 11. Many of the bloggers I enjoy have already been nominated for this or similar awards. But I should know a few who are newer, who have not received this award, and who deserve to have some exposure. Let me look…”
My Cleric waited patiently as I went through the book marks on my computer.
“Here,” I said to my Cleric after an exhaustive search. “Here are the bloggers I would like to nominate for the Liebster Award.”
My Cleric looked over my shoulder as I typed the names:
A Marie Silver – http://amariesilver.com/
Ally McCormick – http://allymccormick.com/
Charity Rau – https://charityrau.wordpress.com/
Majida Rashid – https://apakistaniwomansjourney.wordpress.com/
James Stack – https://siroliverofskygatefarm.com/
“I recognize two of them,” my Cleric commented. “We met AMarie and some of her characters in several crossover adventures back in December last, did we not? And is not the last blogger on your list Dragon’s friend, Ollie, and his human?”
I nodded. “Yes, indeed. AMarie’s characters were fun to work with, weren’t they? And I could never leave Ollie and James off the list. Dragon would never let me hear the end of that!”
My Cleric smiled. “I look forward to reading the works of the other bloggers you are nominating. What questions have you composed for them?”
“I still have to write the questions I will pose to my Liebster Award nominees,” I told my Cleric. “You can read along over my shoulder, as I type.”
My fingers stumbled over the keyboard in their usual clumsy fashion. Twenty minutes later, I was finished.
1. How long have you been blogging, and what motivated you to start your blog?
2. In a single sentence, what is your blog about?
3. How did you decide on the name for your blog?
4. Where do you get the ideas for your blog posts and how often do you post?
5. Do you ever get “writer’s block,” and, if so, how do you deal with it?
6. What’s your favorite post that you’ve written? Could you provide a link to that post?
7. What is the best advice you can give your fellow bloggers about how to get new subscribers?
8. Do you belong to any writers’ or bloggers’ associations and, if so, which ones?
9. Where will we find you on social media?
10. Other than blogging, what is your favorite activity?
11. What one thing would you like to be remembered for?
“Those are very interesting questions,” my Cleric commented as I finished typing and hit save. “Is that everything now?”
“Yup…for me. Now if a blogger decides to accept the award, they need to nominate up to 11 other bloggers for the award as well. Then they just have to share 11 facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions I posed, and devise 11 new questions to pose to their nominees.”
I hit save again, just to be sure. I did not want to have to retype all that! Then I yawned and told my Cleric, “I’m beat now. I think I’m ready to hit the hay.”
She gave me a blank look.
“It’s bedtime. I’m going to go to sleep,” I clarified.
“Oh!” She brightened. “Good night, Mistress! May you have pleasant dreams this night!”
“You, too!” I replied.
I smiled and headed upstairs. I turned on the porch light as I passed the front door – I never know when we might have visitors.