Liebster Award

Big thanks to Brigid at Brigid Writes Things for nominating me for a Liebster Award. The Liebster is an award that bloggers give to each other as a way to promote blogs with less than 1,000 followers. It’s also a fun get-to-know-the-blogger tag!

Liebster Blog Post

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the nominator has given you.
  3. Tag 11 bloggers who have less than 1,000 readers.
  4. Think of 11 questions to ask the bloggers you have nominated.
  5. Let them know you’ve nominated them through social media or their blog.

Brigid’s Questions (and My Answers)

  1. Put your music on shuffle. What are the first five songs that come up?

‘Old Fashioned’ by Cee Lo Green, ‘Promise This’ by Cheryl Cole, ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’ by Indeep, ‘All the Time in the World’ by Boyzone and ‘More than a Woman’ by the Bee Gees. Cringe! OK, I admit it, I still play CDs and I haven’t updated my iPod for a while. I’m an 80s throwback.

  1. What’s the last thing that made you laugh really hard?

I go to a Spanish group once a week and we do nothing but laugh although we are supposed to be learning. It’s just general banter, mispronunciations and misinterpretations etc.

  1. What’s something you did in 2015 that you’re proud of?

I published my second novel, and I finally became visible to the book-browsing public on Amazon UK. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it continues.

  1. What’s one thing you hope to accomplish in 2016?

To publish my third novel, which is the third and final part of The Riverhill Trilogy.

  1. Do you enjoy going to concerts? If so, what was the last one you went to?

I’m not a big concert goer. I think the last one I went to was probably Rihanna.

  1. What is one of your favorite quotes?

‘No les illegitimi carborundum.’

  1. What is the weirdest food you like?

Sushi and seafood according to my family.

  1. What book has made you cry the hardest?

I honestly can’t remember a book making me cry but I don’t generally go in for weepy novels.

  1. What was the best day of your life?

The day I gave birth for the first time.

  1. What fictional world would you love to live in (or at least spend some time in)?

None. I’m very grounded in the real world and think that there is enough good and bad in the world without looking for it elsewhere.

  1. If you could meet any author (living or dead), who would it be?

As much as I love reading, I’ve never really thought about meeting authors. I suppose it would be someone like Jeffrey Deaver or Minette Walters but then I wouldn’t know what to say to them other than ‘I think your books are great’.

My Nominees:

Georgia Rose at Georgia Rose Books

Linda Huber at Linda Huber Author

Guy Portman at Author Guy Portman’s Blog

Judith Barrow

Marilyn Chapman at Guernsey Girlie

Katherine Jenkins at Katherine’s Bookcase

Kath Middleton at Ignite Books

Mark Barry at The Wizard’s Cauldron

Geoff West at My Blog

Julie Stock

Pauline Wiles

My Questions:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. Who are your favourite authors?
  3. What genre do you like to write in, and why? (This one is for writers only).
  4. What are your favourite genres to read, and why?
  5. What was the best day of your life? (I pinched this one from Brigid)
  6. In general, do you think books are best portrayed through films or through the book itself?
  7. What place in the world would you most like to see, but haven’t yet got round to visiting?
  8. What’s your favourite form of transport, and why?
  9. Do you have a writing goal i.e. something that you would like to achieve through your writing? If so, what is it? (This one is for writers only).
  10. What is your all-time favourite book?
  11. What is your biggest passion (apart from writing)?

I just want to finish by saying that if you are unable to take part it isn’t a problem, and thanks again to Brigid for nominating me. Also, please don’t be offended if I’ve nominated you and you have more than 1000 followers as it isn’t always possible to tell.

In future blog posts I will be continuing the theme of Manchester’s historic libraries, with two still to come. I wonder if you can guess which ones they are. Bye for now and have fun with the questions and answers.

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Without Reading, Would our World End?

Certainly the world as we know it. And I’m not just talking about reading books, newspapers and magazines, but reading in the wider sense.

Think about it. If none of us could read – what impact would it have on our world?World

Well, you wouldn’t be reading this article for a start as there would be no Internet. All those stunning Internet images would be meaningless without the words to accompany them. So, there wouldn’t be any emails. Perhaps it’s not all bad; at least you wouldn’t be receiving junk. There’d be no junk mail through your letterbox either, or text messages. Just imagine, a world without the Internet. How would we cope?

Oh, but we’d still have televisions and phones, I hear you say. Ah, but how functional would television be with any written scripts to work from? Media – it’s all words in one form or another, often accompanied by eye-catching images, but words are still a fundamental part of it.

Telephones. How would the telecommunications companies operate with limited means of contact? Communication isn’t all carried out by phone. For example, how would they keep financial records if nobody could read the words and figures on the screen or on paper?

CoinsThat brings me on to the financial world. Money would no longer be represented as figures on a screen or in a ledger. Instead it would take on a more tangible form. People would be weighed down by coins as they would be the only representation of money. Notes would be useless if they bore figures as nobody could read them. Perhaps we could develop a method of colour-coded notes. And we wouldn’t be withdrawing money from the cash machine because we wouldn’t understand any of the bright green gobbledegook on the screen.

Supermarkets wouldn’t have names; they’d probably have a logo instead. They’d have to have more staff so they could tell you how many small coins you needed to buy an apple and how many large coins to treat yourself to a bottle of wine. How would they deal with special offers? Two for ones? Three for twos? At least we’d (hopefully) see an end to black Friday.

Travel. How do you know which bus to catch to work when you can’t read the numbers on the front? How do you know which junction to come off at the motorway? How do you find your way to somewhere new if you can’t read a map? There’s always Sat Nav but you have to type in your selections before it will direct you to your destination. You need to be able to read and write to do that.

Work. How many office jobs involve working with words and figures on the screen or stacks of letters and forms? Which industries would survive? Probably the more tangible ones but even they would have to adapt totally to a world without reading.

Books with question mark

Just thinking of a life without reading makes me realise how difficult it must be for those who cannot read. I’m sure there are other ways in which it must impact on their lives. Maybe there are a few things I haven’t thought about. I would love to get your comments on this.

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What’s on your Kindle?

I have had my Kindle for about a year now and I am amazed at how much content I’ve managed to accumulate. I can’t resist all those free or bargain books that I see advertised on Twitter, or books that I see recommended on various blogs. There are so many great independent authors out there as well as authors that are published through traditional channels. I thought it would be fun to give a quick rundown of what is on my Kindle then invite readers to share what sort of books they have on their Kindles (or other digital readers). Here goes:

Reader

Books by Indie Authors
I have tried a variety of genres including chic lit, romance, crime thrillers, humour, historical, westerners, true life stories and parenting books. Some of the authors whose books I have enjoyed include: Geoffrey West, Joanne Phillips, Terry Tyler, Georgia Rose, Guy Portman, Rose Edmunds, Anne Renshaw, Romy Gemmell, Clare Davidson, Lizzie Lamb, Anne Coates, Taylor Fulks, Peggy Bechko, D J Kirkby, Mark Richards, Yasmin Selena Butt, Jess Sturman-Coombs, Charlie Plunkett and Alice Huskisson. There are some great authors there and I’ve also made some lovely online friends along the way.

Apart from novels I have found a couple of Indie books about independent publishing, which have proved useful. They are “Let’s Get Visible” and “Let’s Get Digital” by David Gaughran and “My Way” by David Perlmutter. “Let’s Get Digital” by David Gaughran is great for new independent authors as it teaches them the basics of how to get published. The follow up book “Let’s Get Visible” then focuses on promotional methods that authors can employ to help ensure that their books get noticed by readers once they have published, and it gives many details of how Amazon’s system works. David Perlmutter’s book also focuses on promotional methods but he takes a different approach, concentrating instead on social media, blogging etc. This is another handy book for newly published independent authors.

Other Authors
I mainly buy the print versions of books by authors who are traditionally published for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because I still like the look and feel of a printed book from time to time. The second reason is because I cannot resist grabbing a book bargain either when I am in the supermarket or from the second hand book stalls when I am on holiday. However, I do sometimes buy books by mainstream authors for my Kindle if they have been recommended to me, especially as I am now becoming more active on Goodreads. This means that I now have even more books on my Kindle that I’ll probably never get round to reading.

Research Books
I do most of my research online these days although I have a selection of trusty old printed books that I still use. Nevertheless, I have recently purchased two research books for my Kindle. One is “On Writing” by Stephen King as it was recommended on a writer’s blog. The other is a book about the gangs of Manchester because I intend to use it when I carry out my research for a future novel.

Reading Holiday

Apart from the content that I have personally loaded onto my Kindle, my husband also loaded a lot of content onto it when he first bought it me as a present. Much of the content relates to books by popular authors and classics. So, I now have a total of 194 items on my Kindle as well as a double cupboard full of books. I think I need a reading holiday. Over to you; what type of content do you fill your digital reader with?

My Favourite Books

I love reading and am one of those people that passes on books after I have read them (unless they are on my Kindle), then I tend to forget them. There are a few books, however, that I haven’t forgotten and a couple of these are so good that I have even kept a copy. My two particular favourites are:

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

We studied this book for ‘A’ level English Literature many years ago, and I still remember my English teacher raving about it. His observation was that every time you read the book you come across something you missed previously because it is full of imagery and symbolism. I agree with him. I have read the book several times now and periodically return to it every few years. The one disappointment for me is that it has a tragic ending.

Guests of the Emperor by Janice Young-Brooks

I had never heard of Janice Young-Brooks, an American author, before I read this book and, from what I recall, I think I just stumbled on the book by chance. I had heard that the 1980s TV series ‘Tenko’ was based on this book, which tells the story of a group of women taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War Two. However, as the book was published after the TV series was screened, it might well be the other way around.
The appeal of the book for me lies in that classic theme of triumph over adversity. Right from the opening, when many ladies had to swim to shore after they were shipwrecked, the book had me gripped. It is a tale of resilience, bravery and resourcefulness, and it is amazing how dire situations can soon become accepted as the norm even by those used to a life of privilege. I enjoyed the book so much that I got hold of other books by the same author and read every one of them. Unfortunately though, I didn’t find any of them as enjoyable.

Favourite Genres

Bookshop I also like to explore different genres but there are a couple of genres in particular that I always come back to. These genres appeal to me at various times; sometimes I’ll fancy reading a good thriller and at other times I want to lose myself in a saga, especially a tale of triumph over adversity or rags to riches. Some cynics may say that this type of book always ends the same i.e. the heroine wins through in the end. In fact, my son enjoys teasing me about my love of sagas. My mother in law also enjoyed sagas and when my son teased her about their predictability, she replied, “It’s not about where the heroine ends up in her life, but what she went through to get there.” Well said!

I also have my favourite authors for each of these genres:

Thrillers

I think that I have read virtually everything written by Geoffrey Deaver, Nicci French, Minette Walters and Val McDermid. The first time I ever read a book by Geoffrey Deaver I just couldn’t put it down. He’s brilliant at building up the tension and suspense. Minette Walters is another great writer and one of my favourite Minette Walters books was ‘Acid Row’, another one that I couldn’t put down. Nicci French is actually the name used by a husband and wife team who write together. Their real names are Nicci Gerard and Sean French, a couple of Oxford graduates who also write individually. I haven’t tried any of their individual books yet but I’ve read most of the ones that they have written as a duo. They are excellent at psychological thrillers. Val McDermid has also written many good books, some of which have been adapted for television. I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever read a bad book by her.

Sagas

When I go on holiday to Spain there are a few English second-hand book stores in the town where we stay, and I love to rummage through for what I call my ‘granny books’. I can really lose myself in Readinga good old rags to riches story whilst chilling on my sunbed – total relaxation! There are so many well-known authors that write for this genre; Catherine Cookson, Meg Hutchinson, Anna King etc. My favourite by far though is Sara Fraser who wrote the Tildy series. Surprisingly the writer is actually a man; Sara Fraser is the pen-name for Roy Clews, a former Marine Commando. The Tildy series recounts the struggles of Tildy, a strong, resilient woman who survives a life of hardship during 19th century Britain. Clews does an excellent job of writing from a woman’s perspective; perhaps the male touch is the reason why the character he has created is so tough.

I am also discovering a wealth of new books by independent authors. The beauty of these books is that there is so much diversity and they are introducing me to a wide range of genres and cross-genres. In the last few months I have read chic-lit, thrillers (both from a male and female perspective), a Western, literary novels, comedies, true life accounts and non-fiction.

I hope you have enjoyed finding out about my reading habits; I’d love to hear about yours too. What type of books do you like to read and why? Do you have any favourite genres or authors? Please feel free to share your views by leaving your comments below.