Another Liebster Award!

liebster-award 3

Still combing through the blog tags and awards I was recently nominated for, and today it’s Liebster Award time. Thank you for the nomination, Phoenix Grey! 🙂

Here are the rules for this version of the Liebster Award:

  1. Once you are nominated, make a post that thanks the person who nominated you and links back to their article.
  2. Include the Liebster Award sticker in your post.
  3. Nominate 7 to 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Answer the 10 questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
  5. Make 10 questions of your own for your nominees.
  6. Lastly, copy these rules in the post.
  7. All of the nominees are free to accept or reject the nomination.

So, Rules #1, 2, and 6 are done already. (I hope it’s OK that I’m skipping around…?) Now let’s go on to Phoenix’s questions!

Phoenix Grey’s 10 Questions

1. If you are a writer, what is the first story you wrote? Are you proud or ashamed of it?

Depends on what you mean by that. I started writing stories when I was 7 years old(!); and though I can’t remember now what they were about, I remember little details like talking zebras, traveling to exotic places, and delicious food like pineapple pancakes. 🙂

As for the first novel I ever wrote… I started writing a contemporary vampire romance when I was 13 years old. (This was in 1997 – 8 years before Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight was published. *gasps*) I never finished it; and since I didn’t know much about the mechanics of novel-writing then, I doubt it was any good. But I’m still more proud than ashamed of that story. It taught me that I had the drive and creativity to, at the very least, start writing a novel. And when you’re a fledgling writer, the beginning is more intimidating than any other part of the novel – until you learn to push past it.

2. If a big publisher offered you a multi-book deal but you had to radically change what you’re writing, would you take it?

No. If a publisher asked me to do that, I’d take it as a sign that they’re not the right fit. I understand that editors will recommend changes to polish a manuscript. But radical changes? I’d rather turn down the deal and be patient for something more ideal to come along. I want my work to be published, but I’m not desperate enough to let it be compromised to that extreme.

3. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

As weighty as the question is, I thought of an answer right away: Make our world a more compassionate place. It’s kind of generic… But it hurts my heart when I hear or read about people mistreating one another, especially over differences in race, religion, and sexual orientation. I’m a straight, agnostic Caucasian woman who grew up believing that everyone should be treated with fairness and kindness, and I still hold firm to that belief. I hope that blogging for 1000 Voices for Compassion every couple months can be my way of adding a droplet of empathy into the ocean of humanity, and that others will be inspired to do the same. So, to make that change more specific, I’d make our world a more compassionate place for everyone, regardless of their differences.

4. What made you start blogging? Have you ever considered giving it up?

I started blogging back in 2009. (The site turned 6 years old in July.) To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing back then, so I’m glad I’ve (sort of) figured it out since then.

Would I give it up now? Not in a heartbeat. I’ve met so many other writers and book bloggers because of this little corner of the Internet, and I’ve learned a lot as well. You can’t trade either benefit for not embarking on this journey to begin with. 🙂

5. Do you enjoy listening to music? What genre/type?

OH YES. 😀 I’ve been a music lover all my life. My tastes have changed over time, but if you were to scroll through my iTunes library right now, you’d find the following genres / subgenres (along with some of the artists I listen to):

  • Symphonic rock / metal (Within Temptation, Kamelot, Xandria, Evanescence, Epica, Stream of Passion)
  • Progressive metal (Beyond The Bridge, anything by Arjen Lucassen)
  • Progressive rock (Anathema, 3)
  • Gothic / alternative rock or metal (Autumn, The Mariana Hollow, Lacuna Coil)
  • Classical crossover (Josh Groban, Eklipse, Lindsey Stirling)
  • Singer-songwriter pop/rock (Darren Hayes, Phillip Phillps, Adele)
  • Popular rock bands (U2, Coldplay pre-Ghost Stories)
  • Orchestral film soundtracks (Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, a few Harry Potter films)
  • New age / instrumental music (Deuter, David Arkenstone, Donna DeLory)

6. Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

Very much an introvert. I listen more than talk, am more sociable in small groups (especially one on one) than large crowds, and need quiet time alone at the end of the day. Most of my Friday and Saturday nights are spent in a chair with the book I’m reading in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. That’s perfectly fine with me!

7. Is there a book that you’ve read cover to cover more than once? What is it?

I’m not much of a re-reader, since I have sooooo many books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet. But I do go back and read favorite passages from certain books now and then. Some of the most recent “revisits” include Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, Kristin Cashore’s Fire, Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

8. Do you have a toy from childhood that you still own and cherish?

Yes – two, actually. 🙂 I still have my Addy Walker doll, packed away in a box somewhere. I adored the American Girl franchise when I was young. At one point, I had all of the Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, and Molly books; and Addy was my favorite of the bunch, so I got her as a Christmas present one year. I’ve hung onto her so that if I ever have a daughter, she can play with Addy when she’s the right age.

Another cherished Christmas gift I still have is a dollhouse that my dad built from a kit. It’s pretty big; a three-floor house with stairs, front and side doors, and tiny roof shingles. I bought a family of dolls and accumulated furniture, clothes, accessories, and a pet or two for it over the years. Of course, I say I still have that dollhouse, but it’s actually in my parents’ basement. (*blushes*) I haven’t figured out a good place for it at my condo yet.

9. If you had a time machine, what would you do with it?

I’d go back in time! I’d love to be a fly on the wall in certain cultures during their peak periods, like ancient Egypt, India before the British invasion, or the Mayan / Incan / Aztec civilizations. (Except the human sacrifices. I wouldn’t mind missing those.) I’d also like to visit Native American tribes across America before the westward expansion in the 1800s. Those are the cultures and time periods that fascinated me most during history classes, and being able to see their clothes, architecture, religious practices, and everyday lives would only strengthen that appreciation. This might explain why the historical fiction novels that appeal most to me focus on these peoples or periods.

10. Finally, what’s the one thing you would tell your past self, if you could?

I’d tell my teenage past self, “You’re OK the way you are. ” I struggled with self-esteem throughout middle school and high school. Sometimes I was self-conscious about my looks; I was constantly teased about my eyeglasses and braces. Other times I felt like I didn’t fit in because of my interests, shyness, or conservative behavior. It took me years to turn those negative perspectives around and embrace me for me. So, if anything, I’d want my younger self to know that the most important thing to love yourself for who you are, and to worry less about what other people think.

My Nominees for the Liebster Award

I think I haven’t nominated these folks for awards / tags previously, or at least for a while. You don’t have to accept this award if you’d prefer not to. Just know that I believe you’re worthy of the recognition. 🙂

  1. Aberdeen @ A Glimpse of Starlight
  2. Ali Isaac
  3. Claire @ An Overactive Imagination
  4. Deborah @ The Road of a Writer
  5. Emily @ A Cup of English Tea
  6. Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff
  7. Sarah J. Higbee
  8. Sarah Zama @ The Old Shelter
  9. Sarena and Sasha Nanua @ The Writing Duo
  10. Yvonne @ It’s All About Books

Your questions, should you choose to accept this nomination, are:

  1. Pick one of your favorite writers. What do you admire most about their work?
  2. Do you have any weaknesses or guilty pleasures when it comes to food? If so, what?
  3. What was the most daring or adventurous thing you did as a child?
  4. If you could visit any city, country, or landmark in the world that you’ve haven’t been to yet, where would you go?
  5. What is your favorite type of setting? In other words, do you prefer beaches, lakes, mountains, cities, forests, etc.?
  6. What literary trope are you most tired of reading about?
  7. On the flipside, what is one thing you’d like to see more of in published novels?
  8. What birthday or holiday gift do you cherish most?
  9. If you could invent one thing (technology, household appliance, computer program or app, etc.) that currently doesn’t exist, what would it be?
  10. What’s your favorite kind of weather? Do you prefer rainy days over sun, snow over heat, etc.?

What about you? You don’t have to be a nominee to answer these questions, or the ones that Phoenix asked me. Feel free to share your answers below! 

49 thoughts on “Another Liebster Award!

  1. That was a fun read, Sara! I’ll have to check out some of those books you mentioned. I don’t know that I’ve heard of any of them. Thanks! Oh! And I’d like to travel through time with you. Those are all places and things I’d love to see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Nominations & Thanks | It's All About Books

  3. Your answer to #1 cracked me up. Do you have any of this pre-Twilight vampire story around (and if so, do you read it for fun?). Vampires (actually, anything remotely monstrous) cropped up in my stuff long before Twilight too (but they were usually being chased by hunters).
    Ahhh, question #2. I really appreciated your answer. No amount of money would be worth changing your story.
    #3- Compassion is really an underappreciated virtue (and often misunderstood.) You strike me as a very thoughtful and empathetic person though, which is wonderful.
    Good music picks, which didn’t surprise me 😉
    I loved American Girl Dolls too! I had Samantha, but I really liked Addy’s books.
    On #9 – See, here I was thinking that you wanted to visit the Aztecs to watch them throw hearts down stairs . . . (I would want to visit basically every country and time period!)
    On #10. *Fist bump* I had braces and glasses (still have those) as a teenager and it was PAIN.

    Liked by 1 person

    • #1: XD Nope, the pre-Twilight story is long gone. I probably threw out the notebook with those chapters over a decade ago. I don’t even remember what it was about, to be honest. Maybe I didn’t know what it was about then, either. *lol*

      #3: Thank you. 🙂 I agree that compassion is underappreciated and misunderstood, even viewed as a passive or “lazy” trait. But it’s really not. I’d rather be compassionate and accepting of other people than the complete opposite. We have enough of that opposite in our world already…

      Music: Ha ha, I figured you’d be familiar with some of those names. 😉

      #9: XD If that happened during my visit to the Aztecs, I’d be the scaredy cat running away or hiding in a corner. And feeling super nauseated. *lol*

      #10: You were a member of the Geek Club, too? 🙂 I still have glasses as well (I wear contacts most of the time).


      • ^^ That’s why if I were to visit the Aztecs, I’d only want to be a fly on the wall. Or a ghost. That probably wouldn’t help, though, would it? XD

        I still have glasses, too. I usually wear them on the weekends, before / after work, and other days I want to give my eyes a rest.


  4. Sara, first of all, thanks so much for the nomination! This sounds quite a demanding award, but I really want to follow up. Though coming up with 10 questions… I’ll do it! 🙂

    I feel like we share so many things, you know?

    I started writing at 8, I remember that story quite well.

    About the big publisher’s demand… I’d do the same. First, if he asked me such a substantial change, I’d start wondering whether he really like my story and why he chose it. And sencond, I read an experience by an author who did that: it was actually an agent who adviced her to turn one of the supporting characters into the main character. She did it, spent a year on the book, lost the angent, went back to her book, spent another year rewriting it the way she wanted, then self-publshed it.
    That really got me thinking.

    It’s always awkward answering questions like “what would you change in our world if you could”, but I like your answer 😉

    And if I could advice my younger self, I’d do the same as you, because you sounded a lot like me as a teenager.

    I won’t be able to come to this very fast, but I promice I will! Thanks again for thinking at me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem, Sarah! And don’t feel obligated to do this in a hurry. I was nominated back in early July, so it’s taken me some time to finish it as well.

      Isn’t funny how we can remember when we started writing stories? 🙂 Do you remember what kinds of stories you wrote back then?

      That’s too bad about the writer who was asked to rewrite her novel. And she lost her agent in the process? :/ Perhaps that relationship was never meant to be…

      I think a lot of us have shared experiences when it comes to high school. It can be a tough time for gentler or more creative souls; that’s the impression I had from other writers who have talked about their teen years. But we made it through, which makes us survivors in a way, right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for this nomination:). I am honoured and delighted and will respond just as soon as I can.Apologies for being a tad tardy in responding, but I’m having a crazy-busy August… Folks visiting every day this week – AND the grandchildren are arriving later today for another week-end visit! So I’m finding it very difficult to fit it all in… And keeping up with what my blogging and Facebooks friends are doing tends to get squeezed, somewhat.

    Didn’t you have a lovely lot of questions to answer – I also very much liked the ones you posed and will enjoying answering them:). My word, don’t you have an eclectic musical taste? I sort of knew it was FAIRLY wide-ranging, but when you actually listed your favourite genres I then realised how widely it spans… which tells me that you truly love music and are willing to listen to anything that attracts your attention and give it a fair go. Ah… American Girl dolls… Frankie encountered these last summer online and became a bit obsessed by them for a while. They are certainly beautiful – but I frankly think the prices are a disgrace. Were they so expensive back when you were collecting them?

    My heart went out to you when I read about your unhappiness at being picked on because of your glasses, etc. Children can be little beasts. The beautiful, warm-hearted adult that you have become maybe more compassionate and certainly a better writer because of the misery you endured – my theory is that the very best writers tends to have come from some dark places, because the drive to communicate on your own terms (nose pressed to screen/the page, frantically getting the words out of your skull such that they make sense) comes from that sense of despairing loneliness that engulfs anyone in a really hard situation.
    I really enjoyed reading your enlightening answers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sarah! And no hurry on responding. I’ve yet to pull together my post for your Dragon’s Loyalty Award. That’s how busy I’ve been, and how many other awards and blog tags I’ve been picked for recently! 😮

      I actually had / have only the Addy doll. The rest of my American Girl collection was books; I had the complete series for at least five of the girls. I think I also subscribed to the magazine at one point…

      Kids really can be awful to each other. And for some reason, I still have a hard time reading stories with contemporary high school settings (The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a rare exception, probably because the main character was a writer and avid reader). They bring back too many sour memories, I guess.

      “The beautiful, warm-hearted adult that you have become maybe more compassionate and certainly a better writer because of the misery you endured – my theory is that the very best writers tends to have come from some dark places, because the drive to communicate on your own terms (nose pressed to screen/the page, frantically getting the words out of your skull such that they make sense) comes from that sense of despairing loneliness that engulfs anyone in a really hard situation.”

      Thank you. I don’t know how else to respond to something as beautifully and truthfully worded as that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah – I didn’t know there were American Girl books, though it makes sense there should be…

        I fully understand your avoidance of high school stories without the fantasy twists – I feel the same way about contemporary novels dealing with marital infidelity, particularly if from the pov of the cheating spouse!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. These are some cool facts. I had a big dollhouse as a kid that my mom build for my sister and me. We loved it. ^ ^ Yay fellow introvert! I’d tell my past self the same thing you would haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay, this is quite a coincidence, because when I was 14 I began writing my first somewhat-serious book and it was in the vampire genre, waaay before Twilight ever existed. Isn’t that funny? 😀 We both had the same idea almost at the same age, haha. I wonder what was going on in the world to give us those ideas? 🙂 And it seems Rebekah did too!
    My dad made me a 3-story doll house too! But like you, as a grown up I can’t find a good place for it yet, haha. 🙂
    Braces…yeah…wasn’t fun for me either. And my hairstyle and fashion sense was so horrible then, it only made it worse, lol! I looked like a country girl trying to be a city girl, baggy clothes and all. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really?? *lol* Who knew vampires was such a common starting point for first speculative fiction books? XD Funny this is, I have no interest in reading vampire novels now, except for Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy.

      Someone built a dollhouse for you, too? 😀 You’re the second commenter to say that!

      Teenage years can be awful, can’t they? But the thing is, we made it through and are stronger for it, right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • IKR? Lol! Yeah, thankfully mine had nothing whatsoever to do with romance and stuff, haha.
        Yes, my dad built it! 😀 It’s pink, blue, and white, and very detailed. 🙂
        Yes, we learned a lot, and are glad those years are now over. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, I couldn’t resist – First, I have no idea what was with the vampires. (My knowledge of them came from really goofy kids books, and Scooby Doo, so who knows? That probably explains why everything I’ve ever written involving vampires was REALLY strange. And silly.)
        But to be honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever written a book without some sort of monster (whether human or not) in it. Werewolves (actually, were-creatures in general) were my favorite.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know what was with the vampires either, to be honest. *lol* I never read many vampire stories before or after that first-novel-I-never-finished. Even now, I’ve only read the first two Twilight books (have no intention on finishing that series or seeing any of the movies) and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (very slow-paced, but incredibly addicting). I also never latched onto other paranormal species / creatures / peoples – except fairies, as of late.


  8. I love your answers. Especially the one about compassion – there does need to be more of it in the world. And I smiled when I read you like to listen to Darren Hayes – love that guy. 😀 And Evanescence and Lindsey Stirling. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Phoenix. 🙂

      Yay for Darren, Evanescence, and Lindsey! I’ve been a fan of Darren’s since the Savage Garden years. When my friends had Backstreet Boys, N-Sync, and Limp Bizkit on repeat, Savage Garden was my choice. 🙂 How about you?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve also been a fan of Darren since Savage Garden. I played both their albums and his solo albums to death. Do you have a favourite?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same here! Affirmation was my favorite SG album, though my all-time favorite song of theirs was To The Moon & Back. As for Darren’s solo work, The Tension and The Spark was my favorite. I really appreciated the emotions and honesty of that album, and the fact that he made the music he really wanted to hear. You?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Affirmation was my favourite SG album too. I know every song off by heart. Even now. 😀 As for his solo stuff, The Tension and the Spark took me a while to really appreciate, but now I love the depth of it. You really have to listen to it to appreciate the emotion and turnoil behind what he’s writing. The album I got the most excited about was was This Delicate Thing We Made. Such an interesting concept, and such visual songs. I think I’d say those two are my equal favourites, for different reasons. I love them all though.. 🙂 Have you ever seen him live?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! I saw him twice with Savage Garden (for both album tours), and then twice as a solo artist. The first solo show was at an annual radio festival in Providence RI to promote Insatiable / Spin, and the second one was an acoustic show / signing at a Border’s in Burlington MA for This Delicate Thing. So yes, I’ve met him too. 😀 It’s a shame that his solo career never really took off here in the States like his career with SG did.

        Have you seen Darren live too? Or met him?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, no, I’ve not seen him live. I would love to though. But I’m not sure I’d handle meeting him well. I’d be a puddle of hyperventilating mess, and then just feel ashamed about how much I’d embarrassed myself. Is he as nice as he seems?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes! Darren’s a sweetheart. He was very appreciative of everyone who came to the acoustic show / signing, and very friendly and funny. I’m still surprised how well I handled meeting him (I thought I’d be a mess as well). Because I was one of the last people in line for the signing, it gave me time to calm down and think about what I’d say in the 15 to 30 seconds we’d have.

        And honestly, if you met him and reacted as you fear you will, I doubt it would be the first time that happened to him. 😉 If anything, that reaction might be more natural than maintaining your composure in that situation!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think if I’d have been last in line the nerves would have taken over completely. I’m often better if I don’t have time to think about things!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for the nomination! I look forward to answering the questions. 🙂

    I love that you had American Girl dolls, too. I have Kirsten and Felicity, and I enjoy meeting other people who have the more traditional historical dolls. Talking about them brings back so many happy memories. =) And yay for introverts! *high-fives*

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I look forward to reading your answers. 😉

      So many AG fans! 😀 I also prefer the more historical American Girls to the 20th century ones. I think I was growing “out” of AG when they issued the dolls and books for Josephina (mid 19th century Southwest) and Kaya (15th century Native American). I would have loved to have read about those characters.


  10. Pingback: Time Flies!: August 2015 | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  11. Pingback: Liebster Award | The Old Shelter

  12. Pingback: Liebsterish Encore and Versatile Blogger Award | The Road of a Writer

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