Eleven Questions, Elevent bloggers, Sunshine Blogger Award, Writing

And the Sunshine Blogger Award goes to…

It was a real surprise to be chosen by fellow writer and blogger Jessie Calahin as one of her eleven candidates for The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thank you so much Jessie and I’m pleased to accept your challenge.

The Sunshine Blogger Award empowers bloggers to celebrate other bloggers who are creative and bring positivity to the blogging community. Part of the challenge is not only to answer the questions Jessie has sent me, but to nominate 11 other bloggers and send them my own set of 11 questions. This I’ve done at the end of this post.

 

 

Here are Jessie’s 11 questions:

Which three photographs would you present to capture your life? 

Picture one reminds me that I had beginnings as a small baby with chubby hands and knees. What a journey it’s been since then. Picture two is of me and my OH on holiday. Settling down being another major milestone in my life. And thirdly the cover for my fourth novel to celebrate my life as a writer. It’s my absolute favourite

 

I believe laughter is one of the best tonics in life.  When was the last time you could not stop laughing?

Lots of things make me laugh. But choosing a moment when I couldn’t stop, well it has to be Peter Kay’s Car Share where they went to a wildlife park and ended up with a monkey on the back seat. I think that was a totally classic moment. I’ve watched it on YouTube since and it still makes me laugh out loud.

Explain the last act of kindness you showed to a friend or stranger

Christmas shopping in Salisbury last year. I saw a woman on orthopaedic crutches about to enter the store we were in and could see she would struggle as she attempted to open the door. So I went back to help her.

Do you prefer the winter sun or the summer sun?  Explain your response.

Oh it has to be summer. For me it’s a season of freedom, when I can get rid of jumpers and coats and all the other winter paraphernalia. It’s a time of being able to eat outside whether it’s a picnic by the river or alfresco dining at a pub or restaurant.  Evenings are lighter, days are warmer and I find I have so much more energy

Describe your perfect Saturday evening.

A trip into Bath, a meal at one of the many wonderful restaurants and then a wander through the city. One of my best memories is of eight of us walking down the high street after a meal. The Abbey was head of us, beautifully lit and very atmospheric on a warm summer evening.

What sorts of characters do you prefer to meet in novels?

Spirited heroines and heroes who aren’t quite what they seem. 

Give one sentence of advice to yourself when you were sixteen.

Be true to yourself.

Is there a friend from the past you would love to get in touch with and why?

No, I don’t think so. I’m lucky enough to have a good number of friends; some have been with me for most of my life, others are more recent. I’m quite content with this.

What is your food heaven and food hell?

For me food heaven is definitely chocolate. I have to admit to being relatively weak willed and can’t be trusted to pass shops like Hotel Chocolat without wanting to go in and buy something.  However I have learned to curb my chocoholic tendencies and now only purchase as a treat.  Food hell is elvers. I’ve never eaten them but have seen the competitions on TV where they have to eat as many as they can within a certain time frame. Okay they’re dead but just the thought of eating those tiny eels – yuk!

Share your favourite recipe.

ANTON MOSIMANN’S BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING – a rich twist on a basic pud.

Serves 6

9 fl oz (250 ml) milk

9 fl oz (250 ml) double cream

A pinch of salt

1 vanilla pod (or a teaspoon of vanilla essence)

3 eggs

5 oz (150g) sugar

3 small bread rolls, thinly sliced and buttered

1 oz (25g) butter

1/2 oz (10g) raisins, soaked in water

3oz (75g) apricot jam

A little icing sugar

Bring the milk, cream, salt and vanilla pod (or essence) to the boil.  Mix the eggs and the sugar together.  Add the simmering milk and cream.  Pass the mixture through a sieve (not necessary if vanilla essence is used instead of pod).  Arrange rolls in a buttered, ovenproof dish and add the soaked raisins.  Add the milk mixture, dot the remaining butter on top and poach in a low oven at 375  F (190  C), gas mark 3 for 35 – 40 minutes in a bain-marie (or a tray lined with newspaper and half filled with water).  When golden brown on top, dot with apricot jam and dust with icing sugar.

 

If you could travel back in time where would you visit and who would you take with you?

I think it has to be Pompeii. I’ve been there and the sophistication of their culture, bearing in mind how far back we’re going, amazed me. As to who I would take, definitely my OH. I think he’d look great in a toga.

 

And now congratulations to the people I have nominated.  I appreciate you may not have time to respond with a blog so do not feel under pressure.  I am happy for you to simply enjoy the award and celebrate in whatever way you choose.  Coffee, cake, prosecco, it’s totally up to you.  

If you do choose to accept the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.
  • Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Do leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award and ask your nominees 11 new questions 

Here are my eleven bloggers and their questions:

 

Linn B Halton

 Kit Domino

Sheryl Browne

Wendy Dranfield

Jera’s Jamboree

Melanie Robertson King

Pauline Barclay

Lisa Hill

Like Herding Cats

Novel Kicks

Esther Chilton

 

 And now for the questions:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
  3. If you could ask one question of an historic figure who would you choose and what would that question be?
  4. Sweet or savoury – what’s your favourite dish?
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be and why?
  6. What is your favourite colour?
  7. What is your all time favourite movie and why?
  8. How would you prefer to spend your weekend? Trekking in the Brecon Beacons or a relaxing spa break?
  9. If you could go back in time would you have chosen a different career and if so, what would that be?
  10. Are you happy with the name your parents gave you? If not, what would you have chosen?
  11. Who is your favourite actor/actress and why?

 

Writing

LIFE PLAYLISTS WELCOMES AUTHOR EMMA JACKSON CHATTING ABOUT MUSIC THAT INSPIRES HER WRITING…

When I saw Jo Lambert’s blog posts about five songs which are important to the writer, I was eager to join in as music and writing have always gone hand in hand for me. When I was a teenager writing my first attempts at novels (which I now know were really more like fan fiction since Pacey Witter featured heavily), I always had a favourite CD on in the background. A lot of the time there was more listening than writing going on, but I’m sure I absorbed the experience of learning the lyrics and feeling the emotional pull of the music and it sparked the desire to replicate it in the stories I was trying to write.

Now I’m writing novels as an adult, I love putting together playlists on Spotify. It’s one of the first things I do when I sit down to write. I start with a few songs that I think suit the mood – fun or dark – as it helps me instantly get into the flow at the end of the day, when the kids are finally in bed and I can concentrate. I expand on the lists as my draft progresses and often find some artists in particular have the right voice to suit one of my characters as I get to know them better. The book I’m writing at the moment has a bit of a Sam Smith feel!

I created a public playlist for my debut romantic comedy novel A Mistletoe Miracle http://bit.ly/AMistletoeMiracle

http://bit.ly/AMMSoundtrack

and have put together a huge one for The Devil’s Bride, my historical paranormal romance novel which releases tomorrow! http://bit.ly/TheDevilsBride They’re very different genres so need very different soundtracks to help me get in the right mindset! As soon as I’ve cherry-picked my favourite songs from The Devil’s Bride list, I’ll make it public – but for now, it’s time to choose my five for Jo:

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You by Van Morrison. https://youtu.be/J789GId1kaY

Both my parents are big music lovers and between them we would listen to all kinds of music from David Bowie to Doris Day to Otis Redding. On evenings when my mum would go to the gym and my big sister was at Girl Guides, Dad and I would listen to music together and I loved this song. We’d dance around the living to it and I know that Dad thinks of me too when he hears it. As soon as it came on at my sister’s wedding, we found each other to dance to it again.

You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrisette https://youtu.be/NPcyTyilmYY

I mentioned that I liked to listen to albums in my bedroom as a teenager, didn’t I? Well, Jagged Little Pill was one I would play over and over and over and I could have picked any of the songs from it as important. This one blew my mind the most though. Here was this angsty, vibrant music, with a young woman’s voice telling everyone how angry she was…it was simply perfect for expressing those teenage difficulties – my poor family must’ve wanted to plug their ears to all my screeching but they never said anything and I don’t regret it for a minute!

Free Your Mind by En Vogue https://youtu.be/i7iQbBbMAFE

Another one where the album had so many amazing tracks on it, but I picked this one because it’s such an important message. When my sister got her first car, we would drive to Lakeside and Bluewater shopping centre for lovely girly evenings, buying clothes with the money from our weekend jobs or going to the cinema. And we’d always have a soundtrack to sing along to one the way. This was one of those songs we’d bellow at full volume in the car.

The Climb by Miley Cyrus https://youtu.be/NG2zyeVRcbs

Being a writer can be a hard slog, littered with rejections and self-doubt and it’s helpful to build in some rituals to help you out when you’re feeling low and like giving up. One thing I do is write in a journal about the trials and tribulations – basically I have a good moan for my eyes only – another is to note down positive feedback I might receive in a notebook and read it through when I’ve convinced myself everything I write is awful, and finally I like to listen to this song a few times as it always gives me chills and makes me feel that necessary determination again.

Shut up and Dance by Walk the Moon https://youtu.be/6JCLY0Rlx6Q

When I signed my publishing contract for A Mistletoe Miracle, I had a book party with my two daughters (they’re seven and three). We blew up balloons, baked a chocolate cake, got out lots of books, dressed up and danced to music. My eldest asked for this song and when we put it on, jumping up and down and laughing together it was perfect. Not just because it’s so uplifting, but because it suited my book totally too. It’s on the playlist for it now and I’ll never hear it without think of that wonderful celebratory afternoon when my dream to become a writer had finally come true.

Author Biography

Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published in 2019 by Orion Dash, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. Her next romantic comedy, SUMMER IN THE CITY, is due for release in June 2020.

Emma also writes historical and speculative romantic fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE will be published by DarkStroke on 5th February as an ebook and paperback.

The Devil’s Bride:

No one goes near Edburton Manor – not since the night in 1668, when demons rose from the ground to drag Lord Bookham’s new bride to a fiery death. Or so the locals say.

That’s what makes it the perfect hideout for the gang of highwaymen Jamie Lorde runs with.

Ghost stories have never frightened her. The living are a far more dangerous prospect, particularly to a woman in disguise as a man. A woman who can see spirits in a time when witches are hanged and who is working hard to gain the trust of the most ruthless, vicious man she has ever known because she intends to ruin and kill him.

But when the gang discovers Matthew, Lord Bookham’s illegitimate brother, who has been trapped by a curse at the Manor ever since the doomed wedding, all Jamie’s carefully laid plans are sent spiralling out of control.

You can find out news about Emma via her website http://www.esjackson.co.uk or on:
Twitter @ESJackson1
Facebook @EmmaJacksonAuthor
Instagram @emma_s_jackson

IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO COME ALONG AND CHAT ABOUT MUSIC THAT INSPIRES THEIR WORK, PLEASE MESSAGE ME ON EITHER FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

TWITTER: @jolambertwriter

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185