The Liebster Award

I am incredibly honored to have been nominated for the Liebster Award! From what I’ve read, this is an award given from one blogger to another in recognition of their work. So, this is our chance to show others that they are valued and inspire us. It also helps introduce readers to new blogs. How fun is that?


The fact that I’ve now received my second blogging award in less than a year is very humbling. I’m thankful for this opportunity, and to know there are at least a few people out there whose time I haven’t wasted. 😉

First off, I would like to thank Heather Fitzgerald of Tethered Together for nominating me. I apologize for not getting around to this post sooner, but between traveling and other writing/work responsibilities, I haven’t had a lot of time. But hey, better late than never, right? Heather and I first met via a mutual friend at a local writing group, and I now consider her a dear friend as well. Not only is she kind and generous, but she’s a talented writer who constantly inspires me and whose wise advice and feedback have been invaluable to me. Oh–by the by, her first book will be published soon! AHH!! So if you enjoy young adult fantasy stories, I highly recommend you keep an eye out for “The Tethered World” next year. You won’t be disappointed!

Now, for the rules:

– Answer the 11 interview questions
– In your post, link back to the person who awarded you.
– Choose 11 other bloggers to award, focusing on those with 200 followers or below.
– Link to those bloggers in your post, then go and leave them comments to share the good news!
– Be sure to ask them 11 original questions.

Here are my answers to the 11 questions:

Why did you begin blogging?

In part, as a confidence booster and as an opportunity to write in a public space where other people actually read my work. I was a “late bloomer” so to speak, as I didn’t start writing seriously (or want my writing read by real people) until college. Thus, I haven’t had a whole lot of experience with sharing my work and receiving feedback. Plus, I had several other ideas for short stories and various topics floating around in my head for a while, and a blog seemed like the best format to share those ideas.

What is your favorite blog topic?

My favorite topic to read, or write? 😉 I generally enjoy reading topics on writing advice and authors, and I particularly love reading analyses and descriptions of Tolkien’s works that deepen my understanding and appreciation for his world. Reading others’ stories, poems, and so on is really fun, too! If we’re talking about my favorite to write, I do enjoy writing my children’s stories. But analyzing hymns also gives me a deeper appreciation for the music we sing at church, so I’m thankful for that. And yes–I am aware I didn’t give one favorite.

Do you think life imitates art or is it the other way around?

My, my! This got deep very quickly. I’ve never really given it a lot of thought in that context, so I’m not sure how reliable my opinion will be. I’ve always known life and art were connected and often feed off each other in a unique way, I just haven’t considered which came first. I suppose art probably tends to imitate life most often, as artists frequently draw from their experiences and knowledge and culture and in turn express all that through their art. I hope that suffices.

Coke or Pepsi?

pepsi canI’m a Pepsi gal. I don’t particularly hate Coke, and I’ll drink it if there’s nothing else I’d prefer. But if given the choice between Coke or Pepsi, I’ll choose Pepsi every time.

What’s your favorite background music while writing?

Actually, I prefer not to listen to music while I write. I know, that sounds borderline blasphemous coming from a musician. I think it has to do with my “musically-wired” brain, but I find it’s hard to tune out the music and concentrate on what I’m writing at the same time. I have this subconscious tendency to analyze everything I hear, so it’s just easier to write in silence. Otherwise, my attention is divided. The exception to that would be when I write in a public place, such as Starbucks. But the music is usually low, and there’s enough conversation on top of it that it’s more easily ignored. But at home silence is key for me.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?

Ooh, just one?? Hmm…Probably “show, don’t tell.” The more you can draw your reader in and “show” them what’s going on with your descriptions rather than just telling them straight out, the more they’ll connect with it. Plus, it challenges you to come up with more creative ways of getting information across without always expressly saying it. As the writer, it’s often hard to trust readers to take from your writing exactly what you want them to take, but I’ve learned that at some point you have to be willing to step back a little and give them the benefit of the doubt. They’re usually smarter than we give them credit for. 😉

If you could travel anywhere to get inspired for your next novel (or writing project) where would you go and why?

Well, if you had asked me that before this year, I would have said without skipping a beat, “IRELAND!!!” But then my lifelong dream came true just a few months ago, because I went there with my husband! It was indeed inspiring–for proof, see my six-part blog series on my travels in Ireland. 😉 I would also like to visit New Zealand to see “Middle Earth” in person, so that is next on my bucket list. However, I would not complain if I could go back to Ireland again.

strandhill beach 2

Do you read outside of the genre you write in? Why or why not.

Absolutely! I do love to read Fantasy, obviously, but I’ll read pretty much anything if it’s well-written and interests me. Mystery, Sci-Fi, thrillers, non-fiction, historical fiction, you name it. I particularly enjoy the classics–“A Tale of Two Cities,” “Moby Dick,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “The Scarlet Letter,” everything by Jane Austen, etc. I believe it’s important for a writer to be willing to read books in any genre, and to read often. Studying the works of others will help you improve your own writing, because you are not only expanding your vocabulary, but exposing yourself to many diverse writing styles–you can discover, for example, multiple ways to approach sentence structure and world building and description. All of that and more can be gleaned from extensive reading. And the more genres you read, the more well-rounded your writing knowledge will be, because you have multiple angles to learn from rather than limiting yourself to only one. Just because I don’t write thrillers, for example, doesn’t mean they can’t teach me anything.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now…

What’s your favorite dessert? Feel free to post the recipe!

Ugh, do you know how difficult it is to pick just one? I have a weakness for desserts. But a long time family-favorite has always been peanut butter pie. The best part is it’s a no-bake pie, so it’s super fast and easy to throw together. Here’s the recipe:

*Disclaimer: I’m writing this from memory, so I apologize in advance for any incorrect measurements. Most ingredients can be altered to taste, anyway.

1 package cream cheese, softened

1 package whipped topping (e.g. ‘Cool Whip’)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup powdered (a.k.a confectioner’s) sugar

1 cup peanut butter (or to taste…I never actually measure it out. I just scoop in peanut butter until it looks and tastes how I like. Very scientific.)

1 graham cracker crust (You can make your own or buy it pre-made at the store–I usually get the pre-made chocolate graham cracker crust, then it’s like a Reese’s pie!)

Mix all ingredients together, and pour into the crust. Freeze/refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set. If you prefer a softer, creamier pie, just pop it in the refrigerator. However, I usually make and freeze it beforehand, then set it out early to thaw before serving. That way it’s more solid, almost the consistency of ice cream. Also, if I have time I’ll buy a package of Reese’s mini peanut butter cups and decorate the top of the pie with them!

Mmm, tasty…

If someone made a movie about your life, who would you choose to play you?

Oh, wow. That’s a hard one! I’m not really sure my life is interesting enough to be made into a movie. LOL! So, I’ve never thought about it before. Don’t really know which actress could play me. As a Harry Potter geek, I feel almost duty-bound to say Emma Watson, just ’cause. Who doesn’t like Hermione? Although, I suppose I could see Drew Barrymore pulling off my personality. Not sure why. That’s just who popped in my head right now.

What would be the theme song to your movie?

Well, since I’ve never considered making my life into a movie, I must admit I haven’t considered this question before either. I’m sure if I spent a long time contemplating it I could come up with something deep and profound. As it is, trying to pick one song to be my theme song is a bit like choosing one outfit to wear for the rest of my life. Hahaha…

I’ll just say “Be Thou My Vision.” It’s one of my favorite hymns, and is a constant prayer of mine. No matter what I enjoy or accomplish in this life, it is my sincere hope that my focus will ever be on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that I will seek the glory of God alone and grow every day in holiness and humility. And when I fail, as I all too often do, I pray God will turn my eyes back upon Him that I may finish the race.

Now here are my nominees for the award! If you have already been nominated for this award, or you don’t generally participate in this kind of thing, feel free to ignore me. I won’t hold it against you, promise. 😉

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Living in Heaven’s Shadow

The Starlit Forest

A Tolkienist’s Perspective

Sweating to Mordor

Nadine Brands

A Pilgrim in Narnia

Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Blonde RJ

The Creative Works of James Harrington

Taking Words for a Stroll

Finally, here are my 11 questions for you to answer. I’m terrible at coming up with original and interesting questions, so I apologize in advance.

1. How long have you been writing?

2. What is your favorite genre to read?

3. What genre do you primarily write?

4. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and/or your dream destination?

5. Who is your favorite author?

6. What is your favorite movie?

7. What hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?

8. Rain or sunshine?

9. Where is your favorite writing spot?

10. Describe your favorite childhood memory.

11. And finally, the most important of all…cake or pie?

indiana jones choose wisely


4 thoughts on “The Liebster Award

  1. Wow! This was a blast to read, Fire Gatherer! You and I have much in common…including a love for Pepsi and peanut butter pie! Thank you for peeling back some layers. You’re so talented and full of life! Love you, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for nominating me!! I want to say I might have been nominated before, but it was probably right in the middle of the family funeral we were attending at the time. So I’m super excited to do it this time! Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

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