What’s Your Guilty Reading Pleasure?


Hi everyone

I have a confession to make. I still enjoy reading Little Miss and Mr Men books. You could say they are my guilty please.

In fact, whilst I was recently in London to meet and speak with HM the Queen, at the end of my visit, I bought one Mr Men book and two Little Miss books. Okay, confession number two, I still collect them.

I just couldn’t resist buying this Little Miss Princess book, as I thought it was very apt considering I met HM the Queen.

image

So what do I do with all these books? Do I buy them, read them and store them, never to be read again? Wrong. Confession number three. I read them time and time again because I thorougly enjoy them for the follow reasons:

I love the short adventures the characters get up to.

The stories make me laugh.

They make me feel relaxed and calm.

They are light reading before going to bed with nothing particularly scary in them. Although Little Miss Scary and Mr Jelly would probably disagree.

I love the twists, irony or juxtapositon of elements of the stories.

They ease my physical pain by taking my mind off it.

They are fun.

The books are genius, as there is at least one character for everyone to relate to at some point in their life.

They have a good moral to each story. Based on bad being overcome by good but expressed in different ways.

The characters are easy to understand. Any reader can empathise with them very early on in the story.

The illustrations are colourful and simple. Great to look at.

They are great inspiration for anyone who wants to write children’s picture books. That includes me.

Reading them makes me feel good.

Although I have a serious business side to my personality and enjoy writing how to/business books. I also love to write rhyming pictures books for 3-5 years, as I also have a fun, kid-like side to my personality. Both are very different genres but that’s what being quirky is all about.

What’s you guilty reading pleasure? Dare you confess to it?

Write soon
Sandra

Hold On to Your Shorts!


Hi Everyone

I am pleased to announce that today I have the writer and published author Jennifer Owenby as my guest blogger.

Jennifer lives in the northwest of the united states on the pacific ocean with her husband and children. She is a published author of short stories, a freelance writer, and some days will attempt a novel.

“One thing I’ve learned, is that the craft of writing is an ongoing project. If I’d realised that when I started, I wonder if I would have continued. Now, I can’t stop. It’s as much a part of who I am as the air I breathe.”

As Jennifer is a short story expert, I thought it would be fantastic to find out more about the appeal of short story writing and this is what she had to say…..

Hold on To Your Shorts!

I love writing and the more I do it, the more I love it. Like many others, it’s a part of who I am.

Any form of writing is great practice but I feel the value of working on short stories is often overlooked. Here are three great reasons to write and hold on to your shorts.

  1. They are a great tool for working on “problem spots.
  2. They force you to tighten up your words
  3. You can publish them in between novels

I attended a short fiction class and during that time students wrote a new short story. After completion, the instructor worked one on one with us.  Together, we looked at the story in sections, fixed problem areas and discussed why the changes were made. Working on a smaller story and understanding how to fix the issues, then allowed me to apply that knowledge to my novel. I learned faster dealing with a smaller story. It was easier to identify, understand and correct the problems, rather than be overwhelmed by a novel sized story.

Another reason to write short stories is it teaches you to choose your words carefully. It forces the writer to think about each word, especially if there’s a word limit. This helps to eliminate wordy sentences and is a great way to practice throwing out adverbs and replace them with action verbs.

Have you noticed that authors who have published books through traditional publishing companies and self published authors are creating short stories and novellas in-between books?  This allows the author to pull in additional readers between projects and gives fans new material to read. These shorts are either separate stories that involve a character’s back story, or some other link to their published novels. This also allows the author’s name to remain on the book list instead of fading into the back ground.

There are several great books on writing short stories including, “Let’s Write a Short Story” by Joe Bunting and “Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories” by Margaret Lucke, but if you have a good outline and understand the mechanics, as long as you are writing, you are only going to get better. So, hold on to your shorts and thanks for stopping by!

A huge thanks to Jennifer for this insightful post. I have to say that I don’t think I will ever look at short story writing in the same way again.

Jennifer can be contacted on jenowenby@live.com

Her most recent magazine publication is:

“The Long Road Home” short story for Chinook 2012 literary magazine in print and online: http://www.ojc.edu/chinook/Chinook_2012.pdf

Jennifer owns ONB Freelance Services, specialising in writing articles and online content for businesses and entertainment. Her experience includes the publication of several short stories in print, as well as contracted freelance work. Jennifer states, she offers low rates for content, articles, set up and maintenance of blogs.

Her online portfolio can be viewed by clicking any of the links below:

quirkybooks – Is Shining Brighter Than Ever Before – Two Shine On Awards


Hi Everyone

I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded the Shine On award twice in recent weeks. One from Oasien at http://oasien.wordpress.com and the other is from Alastair at http://kattermonran.com

As always, with any award, there are rules to follow, so here they are:

1.) Show appreciation of the blogger/s who nominated you and link back to them in your post.  Done.

2.) Add the award logo to your blog. Done.

3.) Share 7 things about yourself.

  1. I love films with robots in them.
  2. If I have the choice to see a movie in 2D or 3D, I always choose 3D, I love it.
  3. I prefer a MAC to a PC and I recently upgraded my Mac operating system to Mountain Lion.
  4. For those of you who missed a blog post, I am going to St James’s Palace on the 15th of July, to celebrate CSV’s 50th Anniversary. (Community Service Volunteers.) In the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
  5. I am a Health Buddy for CSV. My job is to spread health messages about taboo topics, encouraging people to go for screening and work towards the 5 Ways To Wellbeing.
  6. I am also a member of BID (Be Involved Devon) that is part of CVS (Community Volunteers Services.) We have meetings relating to Mental Health organisations and the NHS.
  7. I have written 2 articles for the BID newsletter that featured on the 5 Ways To Wellbeing page.

4.) Nominate 5 – 10 or so bloggers that you admire. As I won it twice, I will nominate 10 people.

womenmakingstrides.com

subhanzein.wordpress.com

hopeoflight.wordpress.com

galuri85.wordpress.com

mikesfilmtalk.com

ladylovelyblogger.wordpress.com

bbanublog.wordpress.com

lanternpost2012.wordpress.com

followmyfreedom.wordpress.com

thedailygraff.com

5.) Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

6.) Optional questions – Here are my 7.

  1. Do you prefer whipped cream or clotted cream?
  2. Do you prefer land or sea?
  3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  4. If you could be any animal what would you be and why?
  5. What is your favourite children’s book and why?
  6. What is your very favourite blog and why?
  7. What is your favourite book ever and why?

I look forward to reading the answers to my 7 questions from the above nominees. Congratulations to all of you and may your blogs continue to Shine On.

Write soon

Sandra

quirkybooks.net – New website coming soon


Hi Everyone

My apologies if I have not been blogging or commenting as much lately but I have some amazing news to share with you. Not only have I been having some time off from work to celebrate my birthday week but I have also commenced work on changing http://www.quirkybooks.net into a much more impressive author website which will incorporate an e-Book store in the near future. All books on this site will be my own written work. Book cover illustrations will be from a variety of sources including new illustrators.

This is an exciting time for both me and quirkybooks.

If you search for my website at the moment, you will see that it is currently under construction whilst I spend the next weeks adding content to my site. By June or July I hope to have my first e-Book available to buy on this site. I intend to self publish on Amazon too.

As always, I like to do things the quirky way, so rather than having books galore to start with, you will see books gradually appearing over time.

For my Birthday day, I visited the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and I hope to upload some photos I took there soon.

I have a lot of blog award posts to catch up with and I am very grateful for each and every one. Please bear with me, I will get around to officially thanking you and accepting them, although I may not be able to devote the time to contact all nominees individually due to my website preparation and new future work commitments.

Something magical is starting and I am thrilled to have you along for the journey. Thank you my friends.

Write soon

Sandra

Double Recognition – Two Liebster Awards


Hi Everyone

I have been thrilled to receive a number of awards over the last couple of months, including these two Liebster Awards . I have already been given a pink Liebster Award and now I have a blue one and a white one to add to my collection. Although I have noticed that the white Liebster award is not the same as my previous pink award or the blue one because it states Liebster Blog and then a heart to symbolise love. So I guess with the third award I am getting some serious blog loving.

liebster-award
I won my second Liebster Award March 15th 2013

The Blue Liebster Award is from Rohan rohan7things.wordpress.com

Liebster Blog Heart

I received this Liebster Blog (Love) award from mikesfilmtalk.com on March 26th 2013.

Thanks to Rohan and Mike for these two beautiful blog awards. I am very grateful for each and every award that I receive and I feel honoured that people have taken the time to read my blog and are enjoying the content.

As there appears to be some discrepancies between the rules for theses awards I am going to use the rules that I used for my first pink Liebster Award on the 10th of November 2012 quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/the-liebster-award-thanks-and-nominations for both of these awards.

For this award I need to:

  • Answer 11 questions from the nominator. As Rohan hasn’t asked me any questions, I will answer the ones from Mike.
  • Nominate 11 other people to receive this award (It is meant to be for people who have less than 200 followers but I don’t mind who you nominate. It’s the thought that counts.)
  • Create 11 questions for the new nominees to answer
  • Place the blog award on my blog
  • Link back to the people who nominated me for this award
  • Inform my nominees of their award from me

My 11 questions to answer are:

  1. Are you a cat or dog person, and why? Although I like cats, I am a dog person. My best friend when I was young was my cocker spaniel called Purdy. Nowadays my guineapigs are the love of my life. They are so cute, loveable and gorgeous. (Smaller poos to clean up too.)
  2. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three celebrities would you choose to be with you? Kylie Minogue, Fred Savage (If you remember him from The Wonder Years) and Bruno Mars.
  3. What’s your favourite film of all time? I have 3, You got Served, Grease, Dirty Dancing. All dance and music films. You Got Served is hip hop and has a great story line.
  4. Is there anything that you collect, and if so what? Erasers. (Some may like to call them rubbers but to avoid confusion with condoms, I like to use the word eraser.) I tend to buy them from the places that I visit and any I find that are unusual. I also collect eeyore things , from Winnie the Pooh. If you click on the link you will see a short video of eeyore:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMDAY8H5yIw
  5. What is the strangest or most inventive thing you’ve ever dressed up as for a fancy dress partyI haven’t been to a fancy dress party as such but I have hired a witches costume and been in the audience of a Deal or No Deal Halloween special. I wore the costume on the train to go to the studios on my own from Exeter to Bristol.  A couple commented that I was brave to do that.
  6. Are you a Windows or Mac user? I am definitely a Mac user. Although I do use Windows for Mac.
  7. What is your favourite place to go? To go on holiday I like Disneyland Paris or London. I love being busy and going to fun places. I especially like going to theme parks, zoos and aquariums.
  8. If you could keep any animal in the world as a pet, what would you choose and why? My 4 beautiful guineapigs. They are the best thing ever.
  9. What is your proudest moment, like, ever? I have a lot. My latest one is being singled out for an official Special Recognition Award for my http://www.beatredundancyblues.com website prior to its launch. It is signed by Womens Development Unlimited and Devon County Council. (There is no apostrophe in their spelling of womens)
  10. Do you have any weird nicknames? No. My strangest one when I was at secondary school was “Sange”.
  11. If you could be anyone for a day (dead or alive, real person or a character, animated or real) , who would you choose and what would you do? If I had a previous life, I always used to think I was a tortoise, don’t ask me why, I have no idea. It may be because I had one for a pet. I guess I wouldn’t mind being a bird, so I could try out flying for the day but I would need to have a different mind because I don’t like heights and would spend all day on the ground. I like my mind so think I will stick to being me.

My 11 questions are:

  1. Do you prefer black or white and why?
  2. What do you like most about rain?
  3. If you could publish any one book that you are currently writing, which one would it be and why?
  4. If you weren’t a writer, what other job would you be doing and why?
  5. Do you prefer poetry or prose?
  6. What is your greatest writing moment to date and why?
  7. What is your favourite genre to read and why?
  8. What is you favourite animated film?
  9. Do you prefer How to or self-help books and why?
  10. How would you like people to remember you?
  11. What are your three most positive words.

 I nominate the following bloggers for the blue Liebster Award:

  1. inspireyourbusiness.wordpress.com
  2. acflory.wordpress.com
  3. julesgemstonepages.wordpress.com
  4. photographyofnia.com
  5. renardmoreau.wordpress.com
  6. maryamshahbazmian.wordpress.com
  7. hilalachmar.wordpress.com
  8. luggnaggsland.wordpress.com
  9. mjwrightnz.wordpress.com
  10. dailylifeimpressions.wordpress.com
  11. babyjill7.wordpress.com

I nominate the following bloggers for the white Liebster Blog (Heart) award:

  1. oasien.wordpress.com
  2. landoffun.wordpress.com
  3. ladylovelyblogger.wordpress.com
  4. bbanublog.wordpress.com
  5. suewestwood.wordpress.com
  6. diedreblake.wordpress.com
  7. darlenecraviotto.com
  8. womenmakingstrides.com
  9. simplymejustbe.wordpress.com
  10. caseyroach.blogspot.co.uk
  11. followmyfreedom.wordpress.com

Some of you may have over 200 followers but like I said, it’s the thought that counts.

Happy Easter to all of my fellow bloggers. Thanks for your support.

Have a fantastic Easter weekend.

Write soon

Sandra

 

Do you love the one you are with?


Hi Everyone

As you know, I like to be a bit quirky. In view of that fact, I am going to London for valentine’s to celebrate being single. I will be there from Wed 13th of February for two nights and I intend to have a blast. My motto is, if you can’t be with the one you love, or you don’t love anyone, then love the one you are with and if you are single, then that means loving yourself. You don’t need anyone else to make you happy, you can do that for yourself by:

  1. Affirming how wonderful you are – Write down a minimum of 20 positives about yourself. Try to read this out aloud on a regular basis. Reading five a day is good.
  2. Celebrating 5 successes every day. Write down anything from washing up to having an article published.
  3. Buying yourself presents – A writer’s journal. A book. Clothes. Perfume/aftershave. CDs. DVDs. Jewellery or whatever you want.
  4. Taking yourself out – For a meal. To the theatre. To the cinema.
  5. Going on holiday – To wherever you want, whenever you want. You could go to that writer’s retreat you have always wanted to visit.
  6. If you are feeling sad then comfort yourself. Give yourself a hug and say out aloud –  “Things will get better and you are coping very well.” Self-talk is a good thing.
  7. If anyone gives you a strange look because you are sitting on your own, simply by strong and happy that you are single and give them a smile. If you are confident that being single is right for you then why should anyone else question that.
  8. Write a book about the adventures of being a singleton – Watch this space, as there is a possibility that there may be a similar book from me in the future.
  9. Find what you were born to do and let no one stand in your way of achieving it. Being single is great because there is no one to hold you back and no one to think about but yourself.
  10. Educate yourself. Learning gives us knowledge and increases our sense of worth making us feel good. If you want to do a course, then go for it.
  11. Whatever makes you feel fantastic, do it and keep doing it.
  12. Praise yourself at every opportunity and if something goes wrong, then treat it as a learning curve to make you stronger. You will love yourself more for it.

In case you wonder what I am doing in London. I am going to see The Bodyguard Musical on Wed, to The Sea Life Aquarium and Mama Mia Musical on Thursday 14th February and to Paradise Wildlife Park on the Friday. I am doing all of these by myself. You can have just as much fun by yourself – Sometimes more because you can do what you love and what makes you love your life without the need for any compromises.

Write soon

Sandra

 

 

Happy to be Super Sweet – Super Sweet Blogging Award


Hi Everyone

It’s my great pleasure to receive and accept the Super Sweet Blogging Award. I am so thrilled to have been nominated for this award by Mike from mikesfilmtalk.com Whose site has been featured on Freshly Pressed and who has over 200 followers.

Mike describes himself as:

“A Sporadic YouTuber, Blogger, Film Fan, Gamer and Survivor. It’s been an interesting last couple of years. If you stop by, pull up a chair and look around, you might find something you like.”

I would encourage you to take a look at his amazing blog as I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

So here is the award that I can now proudly display on my blog:

Super Sweet Blogging Award
Super Sweet Blogging Award
As with any award, there are some interesting requirements for accepting:

1. Give credit to the person who chooses to nominate you

2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions

3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13)

The super sweet questions are:

1. Cookies or cake? I can’t have either as I have lots of food allergies and intolerances. In the past, I have made chocolate muffins that are suitable for my restrictive diet.

2. Chocolate or vanilla. Sugar free, Gluten Free, Wheat free, Yeast free and Dairy free Chocolate. Did I mention I have lots of food allergies and intolerances? I am sometimes naughty and have chocolate that has some dairy in it and it’s not good for me, tut, tut! Can’t even attempt any of the other no no foods though, as the pain and dizziness would be too much.

3. What is your favourite sweet treat, cheesecake or frozen yoghurt? Strangely I can’t have any of these, I have to stick to certain fruits.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? At night and when I am out and about. Anytime I walk past chocolate because I want some but have to wait to get mine from the health food shop and if it’s closed or out of stock, I am not a happy bunny.

5. If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? Sweetheart.

Lastly, the list of the Bakers Dozen:

subhanzein.wordpress.com
searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com
thewhyaboutthis.com
jessicaschaubbooks.com
kattermonran.com
carolynhughesthehurthealer.wordpress.com
simplymejustbe.wordpress.com
hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com
suewestwood.wordpress.com
jenowenby.wordpress.com
inspire1life.com
thetruthwarrior.wordpress.com
marthareynoldswrites.com

Congratulations to everyone, you have wonderful blogs and I appreciate your support.
Write soon
Sandra

 

Creating Fireworks – 2012 In Review


Hi Everyone

I’m pleased and proud to announce that the quirkybooks 2012 annual blog report is now available and I would like to share it with you.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I am thrilled that I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award for a second time and the Super Sweet Award for the first time – Details and thanks to the people who nominated me will be given soon in a future post.

Write soon

Sandra