One Lovely Blog Award

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onelovelyblogaward

I want to thank Arielle Joy for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award!

It’s always lovely to think that there are people out there who enjoy what I write, and to have my efforts recognised!

To accept, one of the things I must do is tell you seven things about myself. Other rules do apply, and are listed at the bottom of the post. I have tried to be as open and honest as possible here, and hope this helps you all to get to know me a little better…


 

Seven Facts About Me:

(1) Whenever I see a book that looks neglected and unloved, especially if it is for sale, I get the overwhelming urge to ‘befriend’ it and take it home.

I have quite a few books I have ‘rescued’ from charity shops, library sales, car boot spreads, etc. Withering plants and cuddly toys (i.e. stuffed animals) have a very similar effect on me. I cannot help myself.

(2) I believe that the worst kinds of news are always unexpected and consequently, since I was a child, I have tried to ward off bad news by anticipating every disaster that could possibly happen.

The skewed logic here is that if I’ve anticipated it, it won’t happen. I am quite aware now, as an adult, of how ludicrous this is, but it’s become like a form of superstition – I don’t really believe in it, but find myself doing it just in case. As I approach my house, I reel off a mental list of the bad things I might discover upon arrival: fire, flood, theft, cat death, violent death, and so on, ad infinitum… Weirdly, I’ve found that this helps me to cope rather well when something bad does happen – I have always anticipated something worse, and so it doesn’t seem so bad when put into perspective by a gallery of imagined horrors. However, I am not sure what I’ll do when the worst actually happens.

(3) Treatment of my illness (using heat therapy) has left me with leopard-print scars all over my stomach.

I used to be quite… well, not confident, but certainly care-free when it came to my body, and now the idea of someone seeing me naked – or, actually, even catching a glimpse of the scars – fills me with foreboding. What annoys me most about that is that deep down, somewhere, I do actually care about how I look. I like to pretend I’m egoless but no one is, not really.

(4) I am my own toughest critic.

Always have been. I think it’s why I have such a hard time with my fiction – I find it difficult to accept anything less than perfect, and ‘perfect’ is not possible to attain – there’s always another way, a potentially better way, to say something. However, it is this same trait that drove me to attain great heights whilst studying for my BA, and it is not something I would change about myself, even when it works to my disadvantage. it’s a huge part of who I am, I think.

(5) When I was younger, I was a die-hard tomboy.

My mother cut my hair short because I used to refuse to brush it, and I liked nothing more than playing football in a muddy field with the boys. I used to live in my cut-off jeans, even in the winter when it was snowing. The love of denim and mud has somehow never quite left me.

(6) I think that there is an illness much like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but for greenery instead of sunlight, and that I have it.

I gravitate towards areas where there are lots of trees. I feel lost in cities where there is nothing but glass and concrete everywhere – Birmingham’s ‘concrete mile’, for instance. I feel like I’m going mad. Maybe it’s because I grew up with Sherwood Forest on my doorstep. Maybe it’s a trait I inherited from my mother (who has very similar sentiments about where to live). Or, maybe I just really like the colour green. Who knows?

(7) I’m the only member of my extended family that is not attached (i.e. in a long-term relationship, engaged or married) and/or the parent of a child or children.

Where I’m from, that makes me somewhat of a weirdo. I have nothing against anyone who wishes to settle down with someone they love and/or start a family, but I’ve never really had any maternal instincts of my own. I’ve always dreamed of different things. each to their own, right? 🙂

… and there’s your seven facts about me. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this!


Blogs I’m Nominating:

http://readinginto.wordpress.com/ – Steph

http://lisalabelleblog.wordpress.com/ – Lisa

http://firstnightdesign.wordpress.com/ – Sarah

https://darknesswarmth.wordpress.com/ – Phen

http://somethingabouther.org/ – Silvia

http://tomobrien2004.wordpress.com/ – Tom

http://royciebaby.com/ – Royce

http://modernphilosophystandards.wordpress.com/ – Nam

http://spiritinpolitics.wordpress.com/ – Tom

http://mistermaxxx08.wordpress.com/ – Mister Maxx

http://brucejewett.wordpress.com/ – Bruce

http://sloopjonb1960.wordpress.com/ – Jon

https://mycornerofthelibrary.wordpress.com/

http://dansimmsonfire.wordpress.com/ – Dan

http://acrossthehogsback.wordpress.com/ワシントン・ジアニ


Rules of Acceptance

In order to “accept” the award, recipients are asked to:

  • Thank the person who nominated them and include a link back to their blog.
  • Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.
  • List the rules of the award.
  • Share 7 facts about him/herself.
  • Nominate up to 15 other blogs and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
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The Liebster Award

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I was nominated by michaelatorrens for a Liebster Award (thank you, Michaela!). Basically, the Liebster Award is a acknowledgement of the quality of your blog, and also a nomination to answer 11 specified questions. Then, nominate 11 other people, and ask 11 more questions more questions of your own!

So, here are my answers to Michaela’s questions:

1. Why did you start your blog?

To try and connect with the big, wide world. I’m a writer, and so it makes sense for me to get my work out there, and show everybody what I can do!

2. What do you do about writer’s block?

Ah, Writer’s Block…. my nemesis! What can you do, apart from try to push through it? I find music helps me to relax my mind, as does walking in the rain. However, like most people, I do all my best work when I am away from a pen and paper (in the bath, mostly!).

3. If you could spend a day with any author in history, who would it be and why?

Ooooh, good question! A tough one to answer. There are many people I would love to meet, but I reckon if I could meet anyone, I’d want to meet William Blake. His work, his process, the whole works fascinate me.

4. What are your goals for 2015?

Blimey, I’m still thinking in 2014 terms! Well, I’d love to see my work getting out there to a wider audience, perhaps sell a few books, meet a few interesting people…. and, although not technically a ‘goal’, I’d like to meet somebody special.

5. Do you have any unique traditions in your family for the holidays?

Nothing springs to mind, but I suppose we do have a certain way to doing things. For example, no one is allowed to look at the presents before everyone is gathered around the tree on Christmas Day. If you had to go downstairs for some reason, you had to close your eyes when in the vicinity of the presents! Oh, and there’s always a fight for the last of the parsnips… we love a roasted parsnip in our family.

6. What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?

This is going to sound like a copout, but I do try to avoid lying wherever possible… I don’t see the benefit in it. The only real lie I tell that jumps to mind is the lie I tell myself every day – that I feel alright, and I’m going to have a good day, and one day this will all seem laughable. My health is pretty poor at the moment, and so saying I feel “well” is a falsehood most days. However, it’s not a harmful lie, it’s a helpful one, and I’m not ashamed of it. Some days, I almost believe it.

7. While writing, do you smoke marijuana, drink alcohol or participate in any other vice to get your creative juices flowing?

I’m not a drinker but I am a smoker, and I do find that it helps me to think, and to write, more eloquently.

8. How much weight do you put into naming a character that you write?

An awful lot – after all, names are everything. They’re the title you give to that personality, that unique being. They have to fit – or, if they don’t, there has to be a good reason why. I’m terrible for choosing unconventional names… I can’t imagine calling a character John Smith, for example. I’m not exactly sure why that is.

9. Do you have a favourite quote?

My problem is, I have too many – I am often awestruck by the beauty of other’s words. However, if I have to pick just one, I would nominate a statement made by Oscar Wilde: “we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”…

10. Do you prefer to write on paper (and if so, do you prefer a quill, pen or pencil?), or do you prefer writing on a computer?

I must admit to being old-school – I work much better with a pen and paper. All my initial thoughts are written by hand in a journal. Editing, however, is much easier when you’re word-processing, and so the computer is pretty much unavoidable past a certain point.


My 11 questions for my nominees are:

1. What is your blog about?

2. Where is your favourite place in the world?

3. What inspires you?

4. If you could swap places with any character in any novel, who would you choose, and why?

5. What is the bravest thing you have ever done?

6. What did you want to do for a living as an adult when you were 12 years old?

7. Describe three items that are in the room with you, right now.

8. Who would you want to play you in a movie portrayal of your life story?

9. What is your favourite book?

10. If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

11. If you could give your younger self once piece of advice, what would it be?


My nominations are:

http://sloopjonb1960.wordpress.com/ – Jon

http://spiritinpolitics.wordpress.com/ – Tom

http://karivasblog.wordpress.com/ – Kariva

http://firstnightdesign.wordpress.com/ – Sarah

http://readneckreview.wordpress.com/ – Jimbo

http://blogabooketc.com/ – Fay

http://humanembodiment.com/ – Richard

http://phulme.wordpress.com/ – Pete

http://readinginto.wordpress.com/ – Steph

http://lisalabelleblog.wordpress.com/ – Lisa

http://bradfordgrahamwest.com/ – James


Happy blogging! 🙂 Tag me in your response so I don’t miss your answers!

 

Interview for Smashwords

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So, Joanne… what does the ‘M’ stand for?

Michele – my Dad doesn’t exactly have a way with spelling!

Where did you grow up, and how did your childhood influence your writing?

I grew up a stone’s throw from Sherwood Forest – my early childhood was a careless haze, full of the stacks of storybooks I kept at the foot of my bed, the chalked pictured drawn on the pavement, the bike rides with no destination in mind, days of grass-stained kneecaps and gleeful laughter, the bliss of homemade Cola lollies and sprinklers in the garden. With such wonderful distractions, I never thought about who I was; who I wanted to be.

It was at age 11 that someone saw the writer in me. A secondary school English teacher used to kids reading Shakespeare with dead eyes and slack jaws, he saw something different in me; a quality of ‘writerliness’ (as he once put it). He told me something else that day: that, as a writer, I read with the eyes of a thief – that we were all thieves, looking for shiny things to pull apart and put back together in a way that was different, that was ours. He taught me that day that all writers are magpies.

I have never forgotten this childhood revelation – it has become an integral part of my understanding of who I am as a writer; my purpose, my function, and why I love it so damn much!

When did you first start writing?

I wrote my first book aged 8 – it was called ‘The Magic Bubble’. Seems silly looking back on it now, but that was the first clear sign that my love of books went further than just reading them. I first dipped my toe into poetry aged 11, when I was published three times in a poetry anthology, and produced a hand-printed book of my own, called ‘The Poet on the Corner’.

I’ve certainly come a long way since then – two books already published, paying my bills with professional writing projects, and building my online following by the day.

What do you enjoy reading the most?

I’ve got quite an eclectic library, but I find that I tend to gravitate towards science fiction and more experimental novels, such as the likes of 1984, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Oryx and Crake, Riddley Walker, A Clockwork Orange (I could go on for a while here)… I really respect a writer who is prepared to commit themselves completely to the creation of their fictional world. I have a particular love affair with Blake, and there’s enough Stephen King novels on my bookshelves for them to count as room insulation!

Describe your desk.

My desk is – well, I say ‘mine’… mostly, I have to share it with an affectionate but rather stubborn black cat, by the name of Marley – set beside a window, has two plush dinosaurs astride it (my mascots), and sits beside a pin board containing a whole manner of inspirational drawings, postcards and quotations. I have a Banksy mousemat, and I need a comfier chair…

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I also work as an academic marker and researcher, so I spend a lot of my time (when I’m not writing) marking essays and dissertations, and supplying feedback on how work can be improved. I would count academia as a hobby as well as a job, though, and so I’m lucky that I can do this for a living!

In my free time, I like to settle down with a good book. I’m also a bit of a film nerd, and so I wile away many hours watching everything from Studio Ghibli to Grindhouse. I’m particularly fond of old samurai films, manga animations and thought-provoking documentaries.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

The fact that each day is different, and there are still plenty of things out there that I have not yet seen – there are people to talk to, sights to see, and books to read.

Well, that and the persistent mewing of a very hungry cat.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

My latest eBook, ‘Never Too Late: A Mature Student’s Guide to Going to University’, is full of hints, tips and anecdotes intended to help you to make the most of both the social and academic elements of University life, and to let go of the fear that comes with deciding to go back to school.

I wrote it because when I started at University as a mature student (aged 25), I was extremely nervous about becoming a student again. I had always been an overachiever and prided myself on my ability to excel, but it had been a long time since I had completed a piece of coursework, sat an exam, or even so much as attended a class. Despite only being 8 or so years older than the other students, doubts had already begun to seep into my mind: I bandied around phrases like ‘too old’ and ‘past it’, wondering if my time had come and gone. I imagined turning up on the first day to stares, whispers and sniggers; to people wondering what on Earth I was doing there.

Four years on, these fears seem ludicrous: I am now the proud recipient of a first-class honours degree, and I even got a couple of academic prizes thrown in for good measure! I can say with all honesty that going back was the best decision I ever made. However, I have never forgotten just how scary it was taking those first few steps towards returning to University. That’s really why I wrote the book – I wanted other mature students out there to know that University doesn’t have to be scary, overwhelming, or take over your life. It can actually be very rewarding and a lot of fun!

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a guide for the different citations styles used at UK and US Universities, and a book explaining how to learn the art of critical reading. Both books should be available within the next few months, so keep an eye out for them!

You’ve mentioned your love of science fiction. Any fiction projects in the works?

Yes, actually – I’ve been working on a novel called ‘The Light Station’, but it’s still in bits and pieces at the moment. In a nutshell, it’s a story about sex, death and time-travel.


View the interview on Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/JMWeselby

An informal introduction…

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I think it’s appropriate that I formally introduce myself. My name is Joanne Weselby. I was born in a little hospital in Sutton in Ashfield, England but I now live in the greenest part of the city of Nottingham I could find (although, granted, I do have to share it with the pigeons…)

I grew up a stone’s throw from Sherwood Forest. My early childhood was a careless haze – full of the stacks of storybooks I kept at the foot of my bed, the chalked pictured drawn on the pavement, the bike rides with no destination in mind, days of grass-stained kneecaps and gleeful laughter, the bliss of homemade Cola lollies and sprinklers in the garden. With such wonderful distractions, I never thought about who I was; who I wanted to be.

It was at age 11 that someone saw the writer in me. A secondary school English teacher used to kids reading Shakespeare with dead eyes and slack jaws, he saw something different in me; a quality of ‘writerliness’ (as he once put it).

He told me something else that day; something I have never forgotten. He told me that, as a writer, I read with the eyes of a thief – that we were all thieves, looking for shiny things to pull apart and put back together in a way that was different, that was ours. He taught me that day that all writers are magpies.

It took me a long time before I dared follow that dream (to write) – in fact, it was only once I hit rock bottom that I thought it possible to climb. At the age of 24, 4 years after my body turned on me without reason or explanation, I saw nothing but closed doors. I used to weep daily. I refused to discuss my life more than 6 months into the future. My mother saw me sinking, so she challenged me to swim.

So, I went to University. I worked, sweated, breathed English Literature. I warred with James Joyce, beat myself around the head with Shakespeare, surrendered to the painful logic of Blake at his very darkest. I read, and I read, and I read, until I fell through time, and space, and reason. I lost track of who I was; I only existed in the space between textbook pages.

When I came out the other side, I had a first class degree and two academic prizes. I sat obediently amongst my classmates in my allocated row and listened to people I’ve never spoken to before whisper my name with awe. It turned out, I was the only one to have gotten a first class degree or been given extra credentials (well, in my field, anyway). It made them curious who I was. In fact, I often find that the only time people are curious who I am is when I tell them I write.

I am not afraid to write anymore. Sometimes my words may not be the right ones, and sometimes my fingers will stumble over keys the way I’ve stumbled over life’s step-stones my entire life, but that has to be better than no words at all.

So here are my words: every writer is a magpie. Let’s fly.

All writers are magpies...

All writers are magpies…