Tag Archives: Award

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The lovely Char From Joy in the Moments recently bestowed the honor of “Inspirational Blogger” on me.

I had a giggle.  It is really nice that someone finds me inspiring.  Blog awards are so nice.  They always make me grin.

The caption says “Keeping the Blogisphere a beautiful place.”  Hmmmm.  Makes me want to recycle or something.

Thank you so much, Char for thinking of me.

Everyone hop on over to Char’s blog and give her a cyber-hug for me.

The rules of this award are to tell you seven things, and then pass on the love.

Hmmm.  I recently answered seven random questions for another award.  Let’s think of something new.

1.  My roof finally got fixed.  I have a ceiling in my office again. Yay!

2. My sons decided to quit Wrestling.  (YEEESSSS!)

3. I keep procrastinating against signing Chloe (my poodle) up for Agility Training.  I’m enjoying being “sport free” at the moment.

4. My hair is naturally straight.  But it hasn’t been straight in 15 years.

5.  There is nothing more relaxing than watching Max swim around trying to get my attention.  He’s in my office.  Chloe likes to chase him.  Max is a Koi by the way.  You can see him swimming behind Eric in the Video Book review Eric did for me.  (He’s the big white one who hangs out on the right of the screen for the first :57 seconds)

6.  I love stationary, even though I don’t use it anymore.  I just love a few good pretty sheets of paper.  It’s a shame I don’t write with ink anymore.

7.  My husband just lost something like 65 pounds.  I feel like I’m cheating with this hot young stud.  Tee Hee.  He wants a washboard stomach by summer.  I’m not complaining.

Okay… Who inspires me?

I have to put Jenny Keller Ford on the top of th list, because she’s the one who cajoled me into starting a blog.  Apparently she thought I would have something to say.  I hate a writing partner whose always right, don’t you?

Brenda Drake.  Brenda is a thorn in my side because I’ve never met a contest I don’t like, and Brenda keeps taunting me with them.  There are no monetary prizes, and I’ve never won.  But she’s the one who cracked the deadline whip on me the first time, and taught me to pace myself.

Well… I’m supposed to give you seven, and although I read TONS of blogs that I enjoy, these are the only two who I can say genuinely INSPIRE me in one way or another.  So, rather than just picking one out of a hat, there you go.

Check out these lovely ladies… but watch that Brenda.  She’ll rope you into a contest, I guarantee it.

Interview with Published Author Fran Metzman “The Hungry Heart Stories”

No, it is not a little blue woman from Mars (although that would be totally cool, too.)

Today my humble little site is part of Fran Metzman’s promotional blog tour for the release of her short story collection:  THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES.

Each of the twelve stories in Fran’s collection involves food as a means to fulfillment (If it were me, it would be a book all about chocolate)  🙂

Without further ado, let’s welcome the lovely and talented Fran Metzman!

Hello Fran, and welcome to “Learn from my Mistakes”

Fran:  Hello everyone!

***Imagine Fran smiling and waving madly***

This site is dedicated to new and soon to be published authors. At the end of this interview, would you be willing to answer questions from inquiring minds?

Fran:  Yes.  I would be delighted.

Great!  Keep that in mind, guys.  Okay, let’s get started.

Fran, would you tell us about the first time you were published.

Fran: I consider this publication of THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES, as my first, as it is actually the first one published with only my own name. The other was co-written. In UGLY COOKIES and THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES, each story deals with relationship issues – a theme that has always intrigued me.

What part of relationships intrigues you so much?

Fran: We are all trying to find a level of satisfaction in relationships and it is common to feel cheated at some point in our lives. We yearn to fill emotional voids. I want to answer the question – how far will we go to find a relationship that answers deep-rooted needs?

As a writing teacher, what do you see as a re-occurring problem you need to “teach out” of new writers. What are the common mistakes they make?

Fran: I do encourage people to write from the heart, but all too often that is where they want to stop. In my opinion, it is vital to understand the structure of fiction writing because in today’s world of publishing whether it is non-fiction, memoir and even journalism, they are expecting the works to follow the form of fiction. Once a writer has that under his/her belt they have the option of experimenting. It’s like art – you must understand the structure of the body in order to sculpt or paint a figure before going on to other genres.

Can you explain that a little more? Do you mean “fitting into a set mold” or is there a certain structure that is undeniably necessary?

Fran: I don’t mean for anyone to be locked into a particular writing style. My undergraduate degree was from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and I was a sculpture major. When we learned how to draw a person we did it step-by-step. First we did a skeleton then laid a clear sheet on top and did the muscles and sinews next. The final plastic sheet presented with skin, face, hands and toes. It was a process that enabled us to understand the structure of the body so that all parts were anatomically correct. Once we understood that, we could use that information to evolve into our own thing.

Interesting.  How did this help to make you a better writer?

Fran:  Figures differ but when the different body parts are out of scale it disturbs the visual rhythm the same way the written format may become unbalanced. For instance, if there is too much description that goes on for pages you will, in all probability, lose your reader unless you have presented such a strong, unique voice that we get lost in the work. That doesn’t happen often. Once you have an understanding of the structure, you can experiment.

Wow.  Not too many of us have the experience of learning art in that way, and can relate that to our writing.  Interesting insight.  How do you think a new writer can get there, without sculpting in clay?

Fran: Write regularly on a set schedule even if it is only once a week. WRITE!

Tell us about your first novel “Ugly Cookies”.

Fran: I co-wrote UGLY COOKIES with Joy Stocke based loosely on several short stories that seriously involve parental/child relationships, romance and feminist ideals. It also has a sub-plot of prejudices toward the elderly, something that has become a hot topic nationally today.

What was your reaction when you first saw a “real” printed copy? What did you do?

Fran: Seeing that book in print thrilled me and made me incredulous at the same time. Was that my name on the cover? How could that have happened? It had a dream like quality to it. But that didn’t last long as we had to immediately get into the huge amount of work involved in publicity.

I’ve had a lot of discussions with people, and this is what they are most worried about… Promoting.  What did you do to publicize?

Fran: It has changed so dramatically from the time my first novel was published about 10 years ago. Now it is VIRTUAL TOURS. Book chains and many independents have folded in the interim and fewer people attend live readings. We have generations who are constantly on computers, texting, googling, IPhoning, game playing, and connected tightly to screens for a myriad of reasons. The new way of publicizing is not easy for someone like myself who still prefers hard copies of books.

It’s okay, you’re doing fine.  We bloggers are a friendly group.  What’s been the hardest part about cyber-publicizing?

Fran: Today it’s all about being online for links, connections, websites, tags, Facebook, Twitter and the plethora of connections online. This consumes mammoth amounts of time as I worry when will I get back to writing.

Piff!  Speaking to the choir, my friend!  Let’s talk about some awards.  “My Inheritance” was nominated for a Dzanc Books Award for Best of the Web. Was that a surprise? What do you think made it stand out from the others?

Fran: That story has always impacted me emotionally, but I was a bit surprised as there are so many mother/daughter stories out there. It is a sensitive subject and many women choose it as a topic. I hoped I had a somewhat different spin on it. I did know someone who went into therapy when her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I didn’t know any details, just had this nugget. So the story is a total fiction. But as in all my stories, there is a seeking for redemption.

You just released “The Hungry Heart Stories”. Each short story in the collection relates to food in some way. Why did you choose food as a theme?

Fran: My own mother was a sensational cook and baker. It was a major way for her to express her love. When I came home from school the house was filled with the most delectable scents, oh those wonderful peach pies. There are a couple of downsides and one is that I was a chubby kid. The other was refusing food could be a serious problem in my house. I believe, my mother interpreted it as a rejection. So, I learned to eat every morsel put on my plate.

Tee Hee. It was the same way in my house, but since my Mom was raised during the Great Depression, it was more “There are children starving somewhere” rather than a rejection thing. Did this affect your eating habits as a grown-up? Personally, I cannot TOUCH beef stew, asparagus, or boiled spinach.

Fran: Indeed, I developed bad eating habits. If you eat every bit on your plate beyond the point where you are full, it is just unhealthy excess. For years I have had to be very careful to get that under control. It is a fight every day not to overeat or eat the wrong foods. For years I didn’t eat strawberries (I do now) because my mother insisted I eat her cake that had strawberries in it. I wasn’t hungry and I sat for two hours staring at it. Finally, I gobbled it up so I could go out and play.

I’m looking at the cover of THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES.  There is a woman gazing into the distance. It feels like she is old to me, or maybe taking a step out of time.  Also, there is no food to be seen. Is there some underlying symbolism there?

Fran: The woman on the cover was to represent women of all ages who are yearning to fill an emotional void in their lives. She looks into the distance, hoping to find some answers. That kind of void is threaded throughout the stories, but the protagonists are all pro-active in trying to backfill a hunger yet to be satisfied. Some go to the edge to fulfill what they perceive as the missing piece that once found will make their lives whole. But in seeking to resolve this lack of fulfillment – they might go to the edge.

After having been through the publishing process twice, what little snippet of advice would you give to soon to be published authors?

Fran: The publishing industry is, as everyone knows, very, very tough. This is where knowledge of fictional structure pays off. You have to submit a near perfect piece in order to get it published. The time is long gone when an author could say that something they wrote needs some work but publishers have editors for that. The industry has leaned down so that there are fewer editors and little time to do overhauls.

So, do you think everyone should look into a professional editor before they even submit a manuscript? Does that go for submitting to agents, too, or just publisher direct?

Fran: Yes, a near perfect manuscript is expected from agents and editors. Since an agent doesn’t make money until they sell the book, they are especially reluctant to spend time trying to make it pitch perfect for publishers. As for professional editors, that could be expensive. If you can afford it, I say go for it. Check the editor out as well to make sure they are good. If money is an issue, find a friend who is an educated reader for content and clarity. If they are grammarians or can edit well — even better. Workshopping with a group of writers is also very helpful.

Other than editing, do you have any other advice?

Fran:  Not only does it have to be in excellent shape, the beginning has to be a grabber.

There you have it… words of wisdom from author Fran Metzman.  Thanks for stopping by Fran!

I am now opening it up for questions.  If you have a question for Fran, just post it in comments below.

Fran Metzman Author Bio

Award-winning author Fran Metzman is a graduate of the Moore College of Art and the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition to publishing numerous short stories and two novels, she also teaches writing at various local colleges and universities.  Her blog “The Age of Reasonable Doubt” can be found at Wild River Review.

Wilderness House Press
ISBN 978 0 9827115  5 2

On Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/7xgqgsn

On Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/6pubq6c

Ugly Cookies: http://tinyurl.com/7tod2er

The Age of Reasonable Doubt: http://www.wildriverreview.com/metzman/

Wild River Review: http://www.wildriverreview.com/

“My Inheritance”: http://www.wildriverreview.com/FICTION/My-Inheritance/Fran-Metzman

Want more Fran?  Visit these great sites, also hosting this tour with reviews and more interviews.

Monday, February 13th
“Welcome to Hell” by Glenn Walker

Tuesday, February 14th
“Writing – Art – Metaphysics” by Shelley Szajner

Wednesday, February 15th
“BeccaButcher’s Blog” by Becca Butcherhttp://beccabutcher.wordpress.com/

Thursday, February 16th
“GilbertCuriosities” by Marie Gilbert

Friday, February 17th
“The Author-in-Training” by Mieke Zamora-Mackay

Saturday, February 18th
“A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers or “Learn from My Mistakes” by Jennifer M. Eaton

Sunday, February 19th
“GilbertCuriosities” by Marie Gilberthttp://gilbertcuriosities.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 20th
“BeccaButcher’s Blog” by Becca Butcherhttp://beccabutcher.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, February 21st
“The Dream Between” by Robin Renee

Wednesday, February 22nd
“Literary Debauchery” by Krista Magrowski

Thursday, February 23rd
Wrap up with Glenn Walker

Liebster Blog Award! The Love Just Keeps on Flowing!

Uber thanks to the incredibly talented Jenny Keller Ford for gracing me with the Liebster Blog award.

She said the nicest thing to me when she awarded this:

In order to thank you for all you do, I’m awarding you the Liebster Blog Award.     I couldn’t have come this far without your help.  I owe you so much.

This made me feel super special… especially since this is the wonderful lady who convinced me to start a blog in the first place.

Being incredibly anal as I am.  I looked up “Liebster” to see if I could find out who this guy was so I could decipher the true meaning of this award.  Well… I couldn’t find anything.  Not even who the original “Liebster” was.  (At least give me an “A” for effort)

What did come up over and over again was a bunch of German words.  Hey, you know what?  My Dad was German (He was dern proud of that too.)  See Dad!  I won a German award!  I did amount to something!

So, anyway… I did a little more digging and found out that “Liebster” is a word from my Daddy’s fatherland and it translates loosely to “favorite” or something endearing for a loved one, like “dearest”.

Cool, huh?  Hugs back, Jenny!

This award is set aside for up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.

(Gack… I just got in under the wire when she awarded this to me, or I would have had to decline.  I actually had 199 followers this day… she must have been psychic.  I’m happy to say I’m well past being eligible after sitting on this for a week.)

Hello all new followers!

Hello all old followers.

Ummmm… Hello young followers?


Awe, heck… why single anyone out…

Hi everybody!

So, back to the award… Here are the rules:

1.Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog. **CHECK**

2.Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you. **CHECK**

3.Copy and paste the blog award on your blog. ***YOU’RE READING IT, AREN’T Cha?***

4.Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve. **Coming up!**

5.Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.  ***Ummmm…. eventually…. If they don’t find out here, first***

In the tradition Of the lovely Ms. Jenny Keller Ford, I am going to award this to blogs that I learn from.  Here are five people with under 200 followers that I think deserve WAY more.

Gloria Richard

Brinda Berry

Natalie Hartford

Roger Colby

Robin Weeks (She has 204 followers, but I sat on this for a while.  Are the Blog police gonna come get me? Oh, well.  I’m such a rebel)

Everyone take a hop over to these blogs.  They are really great, and definitely worth a “follow”.



7 x 7 Link Blog Award

It’s been a very award winning season for me.  No more pouting when I see these lovely tags on other’s blogs.  Now I have quite a collection of my own!

I was granted the 7×7 award by the lovely and talented Ms. jmmcdowell.  Check out her blog.  Archaeologist by day, novel diva by night.  Thanks so much for the nod!


The Rules — 7 x 7 Link Award

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.  (Check)
  2. Write a post about it.  (Ummm. Doing that now.  Check)
  3. Answer 7 questions about yourself.  (Erghh.  See below)
  4. Link to 7 of your own posts: Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Popular, Most Beautiful, Most Helpful, Most Controversial and Most Pride-Worthy
  5. Pass the award along to 7 bloggers who you think deserve it

10 Questions:

Favorite color: As girly as it is, I’ve recently become extremely fond of pink.  In a house with 4 men, it’s the only way to claim something as mine.

Favorite animal:  I have a big floppy poodle sleeping on my foot.  She’s cool, but it would probably be a tie with my wonderful koi.  (You can see a few of my koi swimming behind Eric in yesterday’s video.  The rest are in heated ponds outside) Chloe’s going to be tested for Canine Good Citizen some time this week when the AKC confirms.  If there was a test for fish, I’d give it to my koi.

Favorite number:  If I told you that… I’d have to kill you.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  Gatorade  Has to be green, and cut 50% with water

Facebook or Twitter?  I’m not terribly fond of either, but I am addicted to my email.

My passion:  Writing and teaching.  I love creating new worlds, or maybe just escaping this one.

Getting or giving presents?  I love watching the expression on someone’s face when they open a special present.  Christmas videos are classic just for this.

Favorite pattern:  Swirly swishes.  If you don’t know what this is, look for some dividers in my blog.

Favorite day of the week: Thursday.  Only one day left before I can sleep.

Favorite flower: I’m rather fond of daylilies… The big exotic (expensive) ones… not the yellow ones you see everywhere.  I’m pretty fond of the water lillies in my pond, too.

Okay… that wasn’t all that hard.  This will be though.

7 Posts in the following categories:

Most Surprisingly Successful:  Sucking out your creativity…Cancer

Most Underrated:  Book Review of Throne

Most Popular:  I had to look this up, Funny, my most popular all-time post is the Kreativ Blogger award and Honorable mentions.  That one is still drawing people in.  Maybe because I listed so many great blogs to check out, people keep coming back.  Not sure.

Most Beautiful:  Art of Conflict.  I don’t know, I just love the way that one looks with all the images.

Most Helpful:  Any of the Gold Mine Manuscript Series.  Everyone seems to get a lot out of those

Most Controversial:  Tee Hee.  It’s sitting in my queue.  It’s called “The dreaded F-Bomb”  Some day, I will publish it.  I Promise.

Most Pride-Worthy:  Pride is a bad thing.  I don’t feel prideful about anything.  However, I was happy that I could make a friend feel better in “Don’t take it out on your Beta Reader

This was actually a really cool exercise.  I never went back before to see what my popular posts were.  I found it funny to see that many of my first posts only had 1-2 views TOTAL.  I may have to re-post some of the better ones.  It was neat, though, to see my numbers going up over time.

Okay.  There seems to be no criteria at all for this award, so since I have been hanging around my stats anyway, I am going to award this to the top commenters on my blog, and a few new cyber-friends who recently joined in the fun.  This is my “Thank you” for making my blog a warm and cozy place to hang out.

Jenny Keller Ford

Gloria Richard

Kristina Stanley


Natalie Hartford

Brinda Berry

Diana Murdock


Okay, so that’s eight… not seven. 
I’m a writer not a mathematician gosh dern it!

Kreativ Blogger Winners – And a bunch of honorable mentions

Wow…. Next time I promise to look at 126 blogs someone SMACK ME.

This was fun, though.

Can I say one thing?  Guys, please… if you are just blogging for the fun of it, disregard this comment.  However, if you are building a brand, you should really think about what your blog looks like, as well as the content.

Some of these blogs may be wonderful, but if it looks boring, there is less of a chance for someone to read it.

For the 30 or so of you with the same theme… the exact same row of books in your header… immediate disqualification.  BORING.  Would you want an agent to go to your blog and have it look just like the other ten blogs they looked at that day?  Think about it. That’s not the only theme I saw over and over, but it was the most abused used.

The first time I saw my theme replicated (The Koi theme) I cringed.  The next time I saw it, I dumped it… even though I loved it.  I didn’t want to go through that annoyance again, so I built my own theme.  Be creative.  Don’t be like everyone else.

So, with that in mind… Here is my list of “honorable mentions”

This is everyone who I at least stopped on and looked around for a little bit.  It could have been for any reason.  The color, the name of the blog, the originality.  There was something about the VISUAL of the first glance that made me stop.  You managed to grab my interest.  One of you even tempted me into downloading your novel.

If you are not on this list, consider taking a look at your blog… not necessarily the content, but the overall “look”.  (Note:  I may not have placed you on the honorable mention list if you recently won this award.)



http://angelaquarles.com/  —- I’ve seen this background too many times… but the turtle drew me in.


















http://derekberry.wordpress.com/ –WORD SALAD.  Love the title



http://jimrosswriting.wordpress.com/–would win if I hadn’t seen this backdrop so many times (It’s pretty, though which is why so many people use it.

http://raelynbarclay.wordpress.com/ – same as above.  This was my first blog backdrop.  LOVED IT…until I came across 12 more people using it.





http://dianamurdock.wordpress.com/ – I downloaded her novel tonight







Luckily for me, I won this award three times this week, so I get to choose 18 winners.

Here they are.  The most creative out of my 126 current followers (In no particular order).



















Of the list above the best by far for brand-building is http://sanguinestream.wordpress.com

The art really gives you a feel for who the author is.  You know, at a glance, whether you will love or HATE his work.  Nicely done.

Okay, Lucky 18!  Now it’s your turn.  Please pass this award on to 6 lucky bloggers, and let them know.  Also, post on your blogs a list of 10 useless but fun facts about you.


Kreativ Blogger Winners. Who to choose? Who to Choose?

I’ve been thinking about Kreativ Blogger winners. This has been hard, because I just nominated a bunch of people for Versatile blogger. I don’t want to be redundant and just nominate the same people. Sooooo…. This is what she’s gonna do:

I have 123 followers right now. If you want to be in the running, and you follow my blog BOOM! You’re in the running. No problem. Don’t worry, you’re not disqualified if I nominated you for Versatile Blogger.

Since this is called a “Kreativ Blog” award, I am going to look at everyone’s blog. It will just be a quick glance. It will take me about 30 seconds for me to decide whether or not it is “creative”. The marketing manager in me is drooling over the opportunity.

I’ll start hopping tonight, make a list of which are creative, and then start narrowing it down to the six most creative.

Good luck!

Kreativ Blogger Award – TWICE in one Night!

Wow, did I get a nice surprise when I got home from wrestling practice tonight.

(No, I am not wrestling… two of my sons are)

My normal Thursday night post is going to have to wait because both the Lovely and Talented Jenny Keller Ford and the Smart and Savvy Sandra Madeira both graced me with the Kreativ Blogger award today.

They both totally rock.  Please go take a look at their blogs and give them a follow.

Thank you so much for thinking of me, Sandra and Jenny!

The Kreativ blogger award rules are:

1. Share 10 things about yourself that readers might find interesting.

2. Pass the award onto 6 other bloggers (be sure to leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know).

Hmmm… I just did a “ten thing a little over a month ago, so I guess I need ten more tidbits of useless info.

1.  Okay, we can get personal.  I have three kids.  All Boys ages 5-11.  Two in wrestling.  One in Dog Training.  (No, he’s not a dog he’s quite handsome, thank you very much!)

2.  My princess poodle is in training for her Canine Good Citizen exam which takes place in about six weeks.  FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

3.  I have a wonderful husband who cooks for me.  Thank goodness.  I don’t like burned food.

4.  Yes, I work full-time, and raise a family, and write novels, and teach others everything I know, from computer programming to grammar.  Sleep is optional.

5.  I collect fish.  Yeah, it’s a little hard space wise.  I have two ponds full in the backyard with heaters so they don’t freeze their little tails off.

6.  My roof is leaking.  Don’t know why I told you that.

7.  I can’t spell for the life of me.  Spell check is my best friend.  Now, if it could just teach me the difference between bought and brought.  🙂

8.  I love fonts.  Can’t get enough of them.  (You know this is your read my blog regularly)

9.  Dark chocolate covered raisins and bananas are gifts from God, as are Japanese Peanuts

10.  I gush when I get awards!  Big smiles!  Waves!

Ten Blogs to re-gift this award to.  This is always a tough one.  I over thing things… I’m anal like that.  So this is going to have to wait for another night, because my husband is calling me, and I don’t want him to be mad at me… he might stop cooking, and no one wants me to burn the house down.

Thanks!  Gush Gush 🙂