Another Award!

Another Award!

DwarfMy Old Dwarf came bursting into my office the same way he bursts into every room he enters – with a sense of urgency and air of self-importance in contrast to the twinkle in his green eyes and the grin under his grizzled beard. Today, he was dragging my Cleric behind him.

“Ah, there ye be, lassie!” he greeted me breathlessly, as the elf disentangled her hand from his and tried to regain her composure. “Cleric here tolded me yer blog be nominated fer another award!”

“Yes, it has been,” I confirmed.

“Thet be real good! We finally be gittin some recognition!” He beamed.

“First of all, I’m getting the recognition, or rather my blog is, not you and your companions.”

“Argle-bargle!” he exclaimed, his grin turning to a look of astonishment. “Ye be knowin full well we be the ones thet be doin all the work and ye jest scribble it all down.”

“Yeah, right,” I agreed, rolling my eyes and chuckling.

My Cleric gave me an apologetic look and held her hands up helplessly. I gestured to her not to concern herself.

“Second,” I continued, “it’s another award just like the last one. It’s just a nice way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers’ efforts and help promote each other’s blogs. No one ever actually gets the award. Just the nomination is the award.”

My Cleric nodded her understanding, but my Old Dwarf bristled. “No one ever be actually gittin the award? What nonsense be thet?”

“That’s just the way it is,” I replied with a shrug. “Sort of like saying attagirl, in recognition of someone’s work.”

Before my Old Dwarf could argue the point, my Cleric stepped in between us. “The first award for which your blog was nominated was the Liebster Award,” she noted. “What is this new award, and what are the requirements, Mistress?”

“This one is the Sunshine Blogger Award,” I told her.sunshine blogger award

My Old Dwarf snickered and commented, “It be right obvious yer not be gittin that one on account o yer disposition.”

I ignored him and continued, “The requirements are much the same as for the other award. I don’t have to share 11 facts about myself this time, but I do have to answer 11 questions posed by the nominating blogger, then compose 11 questions for my nominees.”

“Who nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award?” my Cleric inquired.

“Another of my online friends and colleagues, Elizabeth Eisenhauer, a very talented writer whose blog is https://truestoryreally.wordpress.com. I greatly appreciate her nominating me for this award.”

“Have you answered her questions yet?” my Cleric asked.

“I was just about to do that,” I replied with a smile, gesturing to my computer screen.

“Well, we kin stay and help ye, lassie, iffin ye want,” my Old Dwarf offered.

My Cleric and I exchanged anxious glances. “You can stay, but no kibitzing,” I warned.

“Who, me?” my Old Dwarf asked, his eyes wide as he protested his innocence. I just gave him a stern look, and turned to my ClericElf

“Why don’t you read the questions?” I suggested.

 

My Cleric nodded. “Number one,” she read. “Do you have a motto, or a quote that you try to live by?”

I frowned, thinking. “I actually know a song that sums up the way I try to live – Fill The World With Love from Goodbye, Mr. Chips.”

My Old Dwarf snorted and shook his head, but my Cleric smiled warmly. “I know that is your favorite song,” she commented before reading the next question. “How is being an adult different from what you expected?”

I laughed. “At my age, I can’t really remember my expectations of adulthood; and since I staunchly refuse to grow up, I guess I’ll never know the reality of adulthood.”

My Cleric shook her head. “Oh, Mistress, you are joking, are you not? You are a very responsible adult.”

I just smiled a Mona Lisa smile and motioned to my Cleric to go on to the next question.

“If you could have a superpower, what would it be?” she read.

“Superpower,” I mused. “Well, I have never had the desire to fly or lift a hundred times my weight or see through things with x-ray vision…” I paused, considering my options. “I think the power to heal would be the greatest superpower in the world, and the one I would want,” I decided. “To heal physical ills, as well as those afflicting the mind and the soul or spirit.”

“Like my clerical ability!” My Cleric beamed at me, and I nodded.

My Old Dwarf snorted again. “With all the superpowers ye could be havin thet would git ye power, fame, or enough gold ta fill the coffers of a dozen kings, ye want the power ta heal peoples?”

I nodded. My Old Dwarf just shook his head. “Yer about as clay-brained as they come!”

I laughed. “What’s next?” I asked my Cleric.

My Cleric looked at the list of questions again. “Number four – is there anything you are bad at – really bad at – that you enjoy doing anyway?” she read.

“Singing,” I replied without hesitation. “I am totally tone-deaf, I have a tin ear as they say.”musical notes

“Now thet be somethin we can attest to,” my Old Dwarf agreed. “Ye can na carry a tune in a suitcase, but ye al’ays be singing.”

“I think you have a very…adequate singing voice,” my Cleric stated, and I smiled at her.

“Next question,” I directed.

My Cleric hesitated. “Mistress? I am afraid I do not understand this question.”

I looked at the computer screen. “Plotter, pantser, or something in between?” I read. “It’s a question about writing style,” I explained. “I’m a dyed in the wool pantser with just enough plotter to figure out my beginning and my ending. Then I fly by the seat of my pants until I get from point A to point B. I never know what’s going to happen next until I write it.”

“Eh, yer no plotter or pantser,” my Old Dwarf grumbled. “Ye jest scribble down our adventures as we have em, and ye call yerself a writer. Ye be a scribe, a chronicler!”

“I won’t argue that point,” I conceded, trying to hide my smile. “So what’s the next question?” I asked my Cleric.

“Number six,” she read, “What do you remember most vividly about your childhood?”

“I have many vivid childhood memories, but I don’t think the question really means one specific memory.” I paused, frowning. “I guess what I remember most vividly about my childhood is never measuring up. I was never fast enough, agile enough, smart enough, pretty enough or behaved well enough. I was the one always picked last for teams, I was the one whose parents and teachers alike always asked why I could not be more like my older sister, I was the one who sat at home alone on date nights. Perhaps that is why I still harbor feelings of inadequacy.”

My Cleric’s eye’s widened. “Oh, Mistress…” she began, but I cut her off. “It’s okay. Let’s just move along. What’s the next question?”

My Cleric looked, and read, “What is the most unusual thing about your blog?”

“I’m not sure anything is unusual about it,” I said, puzzling over it. “I’ve only been blogging less than a year, and my blog is still evolving. Currently I blog about the adventures that befall a group of characters from my unpublished Young Adult Fantasy series, now that they have escaped into the real world. I don’t know if that is unusual. I don’t know if other bloggers do that.”

“Escaped into?” my Old Dwarf thundered, as his face turned red as a beet. “We fell from the pages o yer manuscripts into this world o yourn. We be trying ta escape outten it and back into our own world!” He crossed his arms over his chest, and glared at me.

“Sorry,” I replied. “Poor choice of wording, I suppose.”

“And ye still insist ye be a writer!” My Old Dwarf snorted and shook his head.

“Yeah, well, let’s just go on to the next question.”

My Cleric quickly read it off. “What one thing would you grab (aside from people and pets) if there was a fire?” She shuddered at the thought.

“That’s a tough one. Any of the things I would like to save are probably too heavy, bulky and awkward for me to quickly grab and carry out of the house – all my writing files, my computer, my collection of autographed and personalized RA Salvatore books…” I paused. “I suppose, practically speaking, I would grab as many family photos as I could carry, especially of family members who have passed away.”

My Old Dwarf instantly softened. He surprised me by nodding and patting my hand. “Aye, lassie, memories and family – two things I know ye be holding dear.”

My Cleric quirked an eyebrow at the old humbug, and diplomatically went on to the next question. “When did you know you were an adult?” she asked me.

“I’ve never been an adult. I refuse to grow up.”

My two characters clucked and shook their heads, then my Cleric read, “Number ten – where was your last vacation?”

“Vacation? What’s that?” I quipped. “Miles and I took a long weekend in Wisconsin almost two years ago. We went to Crex Meadows Wildlife Area to watch the Sandhill Cranes stage for fall migration, and we drove around the national forest and explored some quaint little towns off the beaten path. We had breakfast every day at Country Cafe On Main in Grantsburg, where we got what Miles declared to be the world’s best French toast.” I smiled at the memory.

“One final question,” my Cleric declared with a smile. “Did you notice that these questions are in alphabetical order?”

I gaped at the questions on the computer screen. “No, I didn’t!” I laughed.

“So, now thet ye have answered the questions, what be next?” my Old Dwarf asked.

Now, I have to nominate some bloggers for the award, and compose 11 questions for them. If any of them care to accept the award, they have to answer the questions, then nominate up to 11 other bloggers for the award, and compose 11 questions for them to answer.”

“Who will you nominate this time, Mistress?”

I brought up another window on the computer, and pointed. “Here’s my list.”

Eliza Winkler – https://sheepcarrot.wordpress.com/

Kim Bailey Deal – www.kimbaileydeal.net

Deidra Alexander – https://deidraalexander.com/

A.J. McCarthy – https://ajackmccarthy.com/blog/

Marie Rogers – https://marieqrogers.com/

Melissa Mayntz – http://backyardbirdsutah.blogspot.com/

“And what questions be ye givin em ta answer?” my Old Dwarf asked.

“Well, I’m going to cheat on this one. I think the questions I composed for the nominees of the Liebster Award will work just fine for the nominees of the Sunshine Blogger Award, too. I’ll use them.”

I brought the list up and copied and pasted it to the rough draft of this week’s blog.

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?

“So’s thet be it?” my Old Dwarf asked. “We kin be havin some dinner now?”

I laughed. “I believe dinner was several hours ago. It’s just about bedtime!”

My Old Dwarf looked crestfallen.

“Well, maybe, if you’re real lucky, the lads left you a snack in the refrigerator,” I teased.

My Old Dwarf brightened at that thought, and scurried off to raid the refrigerator.

“Do you have further need of my assistance this night, Mistress?” my Cleric inquired.
“Or are you going to…how did you put it last week? Are you going to hit the hay?” She smiled, as she mastered another modern idiom of this world into which she had fallen.

“No, I’m going to stay here and work on this blog a little bit longer, but you can go. Just please remember to turn on the porch light on your way upstairs.”

“I will remember, Mistress. We must always leave the porch light on for our potential visitors.” She graced me with one last, warm smile before skipping out of my office and heading up the stairs.

I returned my attention to the computer. I never heard the scuffle at the front door.

 

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Liebster Award nomination

Liebster Award nomination

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.Elf facing right

“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?”

Liebster Award

“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.”

“Oh.”

“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?”Elf

I nodded.

“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.” 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.

question mark

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.

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