Tag Archives: blogging fun

Seven Random Things About Me

It’s awards time!

Jemi at Just Jemi awarded me with the Honest Scrap Blogger award and the Best Blogger award. Thank you, Jemi!

As part of my acceptance speech, here are seven random things about me that you might or might not know:

1. My name. “Belle” is my full, legal first name, not a nickname. I spent my first 20 years of life wishing my mother had chosen a two-syllable first name for me, because I really disliked having a one-syllable first name and a one-syllable last name. Not that I have a poet’s ear or anything, but it never sounded quite “right”.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate my name more and more (especially after changing my last name during my first marriage – I felt so utterly foreign to myself! It was quite a relief to change back to my real name).

2. Making changes. By the time I was 16, I had moved 13 times. I think this is the main reason why I’m rather fond of change and big moves. If I don’t get the chance to move residences every now and then, I end up moving furniture or (to my husband’s chagrin) shifting entire rooms in the house.

We’ve been in our current house for over ten years now – way too long, from my point of view. So, as an example of my fondness for changing things around, our current dining room used to be the kitchen, after which time it spent a year as a storage room. It then became a dining room, was changed to the “train” room (as in a model train layout), and now, in its present incarnation, is a dining room again. It drives my husband nuts but makes me very happy.

3. Not quite a lethal weapon. I have a brown belt in Aikido and a black belt in Jodo. (Jodo is not Judo – at quick glance, it’s an easy mistake to make, but in reality the two arts are very different. Jodo is a traditional weapons martial art.)

People ask me all the time – so, when are you going to start training again? To which I must reply: Never. I’m quite content to rest on my laurels and glory in my past achievements without ever stepping onto the mats again. (And now you know why I’m failing miserably in the Fitness Challenge – please don’t look at my progress in the sidebar.)

4. My first book. When I was seven, I wrote and illustrated my first book, Adventures in Candyland. The main character was an enterprising round candy by the highly original name of Mint. I’ll give you three guesses what my favorite candy was back then …

I then went on to write and illustrate a whole series of Mint’s adventures in Candyland. Unfortunately, each one is long lost, but I can still remember the many hours of enjoyment I had creating each of them.

5. A detour in life that lasted a bit too long. On my first day of law school, when the Dean addressed the first years and told us we were “the cream of the crop”, I had to fight down a massive attack of the giggles. In retrospect, I should have known this didn’t bode well for a future career in law.

To make things even worse, he was actually stating a fact. Does anyone remember that scene in Legally Blonde where Reese Witherspoon is sitting outside with a few of her new classmates, and they’re introducing themselves? And everyone has a long, long list of impressive credentials and degrees? That would have been about 75% of my classmates. The other 25% came from families who dined regularly with the Prime Minister. (There was, of course, some overlap between the two groups.)

I’m not sure how I snuck into this highly refined and academically excellent environment, but I somehow did. Can we say square peg in a round hole? Or maybe a bull in a china shop?

6. My ghosting experiences. I once ghostwrote a book on customer service that was published by Wiley Canada. I knew nothing about customer service, but of course that didn’t stop me. I even came up with a great survival of the fittest theme to organize all the points in the book.

I was also a freelance medical writer for two years, during which time I ghosted doctors’ speeches, medical articles, patient pamphlets, letters to the editor, and the occasional monograph. As for how much I knew about medicine, see paragraph above.

7. Blather, blather, blather. I have a tendency to be very long-winded when I put my hands to the keyboard. (Probably not such a great trait when it comes to novel writing, but there you have it.) Oh wait, you already knew this …?

There you have it – seven random things about me!

I’d like to pass this award onto all of you, so if you’d like to play, blog about it and let me know your link in the comments here, or tell me a random thing or two about yourself in the comments!

BBAW: Raindrops on Roses … A Few of My Favorite Book Blogs!

It’s Day One of Book Blogger Appreciation Week and today it’s time to shine the spotlight on some of my favorite book blogs! It was extremely difficult culling down my list, although it was helpful that some of my favorites were shortlisted and therefore had to be cut from my list.

Which, by the way, is the downside of being shortlisted: I don’t get to have wonderful book bloggers writing wonderful things about me!  More’s the pity, as I didn’t win. Ah well! A big congratulations to Books on the Nightstand, who received the blue ribbon for Most Eclectic Taste, and deservedly so!

Today, I’d like to shine the Ms. Bookish spotlight on the following blogs.

Dorte, at DJ’s Krimiblog. If you’re interested in mysteries and suspense, DJ’s Krimiblog is definitely a place to visit. What’s even better is that Dorte is in Europe, and it’s because of her that I’ve added quite an international touch to my own mystery reading list – I’ve discovered scores of new European authors through her. Dorte also shares her flash fiction on her blog, and they are such great reads. Want to know something really impressive? English is a second language for Dorte, but she has such an enviable command of English, you wouldn’t guess it’s not her mother tongue.

Memory, at Stella Matutina. Memory writes mostly about speculative fiction, and I have gone away from her blog many, many times with a new title or author scribbled onto my “I want to read that” list. She writes with such passion and style – her reviews are very in-depth and she shares a bit of herself with each one, too. I love reading everything she blogs about. And she doesn’t limit her reviews to new or current books, either; she writes about lots of older books and I really enjoy that. She’s also a fiction writer, and is currently hard at work revising her current WIP.

Carrie, at Books and Movies. Carrie is constantly adding to my list of “I want to read that book”. I especially love her recommended reading lists that she occasionally puts together for various genres. And here’s something that I am totally in awe of: in addition to blogging at Books and Movies, Carrie also writes a popular homeschooling blog, Mommy Brain – she homeschools her four children! Ward and I are just embarking on the homeschool path with our six-year-old, and I can’t tell you how inspired I am by all that Carrie accomplishes.

Nicole, at Linus’s Blanket. Nicole writes simply gorgeous reviews, the kind you can sink right into and emerge feeling like your life has been irrevocably enhanced by her words. I always feel like she’s taken me on her own reading journey whenever I pop over there. And there’s often a bonus at the end of her posts: a thought-provoking question which has me commenting with glee.

Rebecca, at I’m Lost in Books. You wouldn’t know it from her blog, but Rebecca only started blogging this year. She is an extremely prolific blogger, and comes up with the most delightful posts. She has an extremely eclectic taste, and reviews new and old books in all sorts of genres. She also has this knack for coming up with the most creative features. A visit to her blog is always fun because you never know what you’ll find.

Meghan, at Medieval Bookworm. As many of you have probably figured out by now, historical fiction isn’t something I read very often. It just doesn’t appeal to me, not unless it’s got a mystery or fantasy thrown into the mix. Despite this, Meghan’s Medieval Bookworm is a place I enjoy visiting very much. No, she doesn’t always review historical fiction, but she does review quite a lot of it, and does that matter to me? Not at all. I read all of her posts with interest, because she has such a gift of writing great reviews.

Update: Well, I don’t know where my mind was at; I’ve been feeling scattered all day. That’s my only excuse. Margot from Joyfully Retired is on my personal shortlist, too. I love, love, love her blog; you know how you visit a blogger and wish you knew them in real life? Well, that’s Margot. Her Favorite Places posts are fabulous, and it’s always such a treat when she gets her husband or her daughter to do a joint review with her. She is one of the first blogs I visit whenever I go bloghopping.

There are so many more book blogs out there that I enjoy reading – it was very hard narrowing down my list to these specific blogs. While I don’t always have the time to comment much, just having each and every one of you in my Google Reader adds immeasurably to my book reading life.

Visit Me at The Scene of the Blog!

FINAL Scene of the Blog LogoI’m featured at Cathy’s The Scene of the Blog today! Come drop by here to take a peek at where I do my blogging.

I am still marveling at Cathy’s perfect timing. She managed to catch me right after I had cleaned my desk. At this very moment, as I’m typing this, I can’t actually see much of my desk because I have too many things piled up here. (Yes, I’m a piler …)

Want To See The State of My TBR? What’s On My Desk Wednesday

I got tagged last week by J. Kaye for the What’s On My Desk Wednesday meme. My heart kind of sank because the state of my desk when I got tagged was really really dismal. (I actually had to move a stack of books in order to see the little date thing in the bottom right hand corner of my monitor. It’s better now, but no worries – I didn’t cheat. I took my pic on the day I got tagged. And it’s not a picture of my desk, either.)

I realized there was a loophole (can you guess what my post-graduate degree is in?) – here are the rules, from Sassy Brit’s blog (I added the bolding to highlight the nice little loophole):

Grab a camera and take a photo of your desk! Or anywhere you stack your books/TBR pile. And no tidying!

Add this photo to your blog.

Tag at least 5 people!

Come back here and leave a link back to your photo in the comments section.

That’s it.

Since I have several TBR piles on the go all around the house, I realized I was saved. I could still play and NOT take a picture of my extremely messy desk.

In the interests of full disclosure (ah, another hint about the life I was supposed to lead), I do admit that I took something like 30 different shots of this TBR pile before picking this one as being the tidiest looking one:


This is a picture of the TBR stack that resides on the floor to the left of my desk. In case you’re wondering, the two separate piles of papers are work-related manuscript proofs. There’s also a box of file folders in there. Behind the two stacks on the right hand side is another shelf stuffed with more TBRs. The box that you see in the lower right front corner is from Harlequin – I’ve decided to give romance a try (mainly because of this blog), but haven’t gotten around to opening the box yet.

In the shelf above the two stacks on the right hand side is my shelf of notebooks. Yes, in addition to being a book-aholic, I’m also a notebook junkie. I admit it.

Embarrassing, isn’t it? But nowhere near as embarrassing as my desk!

I hereby tag the following bloggers – these are the bloggers whose desks/TBR piles I’d love a glimpse of!

Diane at The Book Resort. Diane is my cozy mystery guru, and she reads and reviews so many books, I’m dying to see what her TBR piles look like (and maybe catch a glimpse of some upcoming reviews).

CarrieK at Books and Movies. Carrie’s “book lists” are really impressive – she has excellent taste in books and I trust her recommendations absolutely, another good reason to catch a glimpse of her TBR pile.

Debbie at Debbie’s World of Books. Debbie has such a wonderful style in her book reviews, and offers an eclectic mix of reviews. A sneak peak at what’s coming up next would be wonderful.

Joanne at The Book Zombie. Joanne has done more than her fair share in terms of adding to my list of books to search out; I have several graphic novels that I’m trying to pin down and get a hold of because of her excellent reviews. I figured, it’s payback time.

Rebecca at I’m Lost In Books. I love reading Rebecca’s blog because she has such a wonderfully eclectic taste, and I’m sure to find something interesting every single time I visit her blog. It all adds up to one thing: I really want to see your TBR pile, Rebecca!

and (I know this is a little strange) Dennis Denis, husband of Cathy of Kittling Books.

I don’t know if this kind of thing is actually allowed within the parameters of the rules, since Dennis Denis isn’t a blogger, but I thought I’d give it a shot. Dennis Denis, you are free to decline! But Cathy’s husband is definitely a reader (Don’t you think Cathy is so lucky? My husband cooks, but he doesn’t read. Even more impressive, Cathy’s husband likes Deborah Crombie’s books. And I won’t even mention the netbook he recently surprised her with) and most importantly, Cathy and I recently had a Twitter conversation about messy desks; she says her husband’s has to be the messiest of all time, but I personally think my desk has his beat. (I would tag Cathy, but she was actually tagged in the same round as I was … that’s my excuse, anyway.)

Bloggiesta Update

blogiestaThe past two days definitely flew by. I didn’t accomplish everything on my Bloggiesta list, but then again, with a couple of deadlines hanging over me (one down, one to go!) I didn’t really expect to.

I found that just making my Bloggiesta to-do list was helpful, and I will likely be making my way through the list for the rest of this week, getting everything ready for when I leave for vacation!

So here’s my list – I’ve crossed off the things I did manage to get done:

  • write and schedule as many Incoming! new book arrival posts as possible.
  • update my writing blogs links page. It is woefully behind, in comparison to the book blogs one.
  • figure out how to copy all of my existing blogging templates from my desktop to my netbook (this one is very very important)
  • create master printed list of usernames and passwords for handy reference while I’m away
  • begin compiling my Sunday giveaways post before tomorrow night (I’ve been falling into the dreadful habit of doing it all last minute, and it can take me three or four hours!)
  • upgrade existing plugins
  • upload and activate new plugins

I also did some template tweaking that I hadn’t contemplated: I added gravatars to the comments section. And I now have threaded comments! I’m pretty thrilled about that one.

I also completed the following mini-challenges:

The Book Lady’s Blog: Clean up your feedreader

Fizzy Thought’s challenge: Go forth and comment!

And I did one that I hadn’t thought I’d have time for: Ruth from Bookish Ruth – You’re going to analyze what? My score? 97/100. I was pretty happy with that.

As you can see, I’ve been quite the Bloggiesta slacker compared to a lot of you. I kept up with everyone’s tweets through #bloggiesta and many of the participants were up to some awesome stuff. Debbie from Debbie’s World of Books and Diane of The Book Resort both put up brand new templates (and Debbie actually switched over to her own domain!)

Natasha (MawBooks) has The Bloggiesta: Finish Line post up, so you can check out how (and what!) everyone did over the past 48 hours.

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenges

blogiestaI just checked out the Bloggiesta mini-challenges, and I’ve decided to add these ones to my Bloggiesta list:

The Book Lady’s Blog: Clean up your feedreader. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing – I even posted about blog overload recently! My plan is to borrow an idea that Beth F. suggested to me: place the blogs that I am subscribed to in alphabetical folders.

Speaking of Beth F., I’m also going to be doing her challenge: Write a post and save it for another day. I’m not sure whether I’ll write an opinion post or a list post, but I have ideas for both in my blogging notebook, so I have quite a few choices.

I love blog commenting, although I don’t have as much time for it as I’d like. So I’ll be doing Fizzy Thought’s challenge: Go forth and comment!

Some time today I’ll also be heading over to GalleySmith’s and linking to something on here in her comments section with the proper anchor text. Unless a blog has enabled do-follow comments (for example, when you comment here, Comment Luv is activated and you get an SEO-valid link back to your latest post), you’re not going to get major SEO benefits from links in your comments on that blog, but it’s still a VERY good reminder to always use related anchor text when creating links to your blog!

The final mini-challenge I’m going to attempt is Book Blather’s blogging tips and tutorials challenge.  The idea is to go through this  list of blogging tips and tutorials at Problogger and learn a new tip (and possibly put it to good use over Bloggiesta!). This one sounds like fun.

Are you in Bloggiesta? Which mini-challenges are you going to tackle? Even if you’re not doing Bloggiesta, do any of these mini-challenges sound like fun to you?


blogiestaI’ve signed up for the Bloggiesta over at Natasha’s blog, MawBooks. It’s a bit of insanity, I know, because I’m also working hard to complete two deadlines, hopefully by Monday, so that I’ll have a few days to prepare for our road trip (we leave on Friday). My husband has also been breathing down my neck to start blogging regularly at our food blog – I moved the blog to a new account, leaving behind all our old posts in the process, and haven’t done much with things ever since – so I’m also celebrating Bloggiesta over there, too, in the hopes of motivating myself to get into daily food blogging, as well.

BUT the Bloggiesta sounds like so much fun and I really want to participate! So my list of things to do here will be on the shorter side, but I figured it would be a good way to get involved and catch up on things I wanted to get done around MsBookish before I left on holidays.

Here’s my Bloggiesta list for MsBookish:

  • write and schedule as many Incoming! new book arrival posts as possible. I have a huge stack here, so it would be nice to get them out of the way. While I intend to blog regularly while on holidays (we’re supposed to have Internet access), it will still be nice to know I’ll have some scheduled posts to rely on.
  • update my writing blogs links page. It is woefully behind, in comparison to the book blogs one.
  • figure out how to copy all of my existing blogging templates from my desktop to my netbook (this one is very very important)
  • create master printed list of usernames and passwords for handy reference while I’m away
  • begin compiling my Sunday giveaways post before tomorrow night (I’ve been falling into the dreadful habit of doing it all last minute, and it can take me three or four hours!)

Update (already!): almost forgot two more things: upgrade existing plugins and upload and activate new plugins!

This isn’t a huge list, but I wanted to be realistic. I also don’t want to stress out. Plus I’d like to participate in some of the mini-challenges, too, so this will hopefully leave me some time for doing that!

Happy Bloggiesta, everyone!

Ms. Bookish’s First Award!

This was such an unexpected surprise to come back to from my holidays, and such a wonderful way to start the new year. Jessica at Living Between the Pages gave me this beautiful Butterfly Award!

Part of the fun of receiving a blog award is passing it on to others. So I’d like to pass this award to my dear friend and fellow book blogger Ann-Kat at Today I Read. She definitely has one of the coolest blogs around!