blogging award

F is for Four Hundred (Plus, Blog Awards!)

Hey guys! Uh, so apparently the follower counter on the front page of my blog is glitchy or something, because although it's still at 398, I just checked my Stats... and I'm actually at 404 followers (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) This is such a huge accomplishment - thank you so much for following, everyone! Your comments, likes, and follows seriously make my day (like, every day!), and I'm incredibly happy that people actually like the stuff I ramble on about. ;) Seriously, y'all are the best - thank you so much for everything!

And on a similar note, I was recently given the honour of being nominated for not one, but two more blog awards (yikes! There've been a billion lately!). :D I'm so incredibly happy and honoured, and I'd like to thank the amazing Karen and T for the nominations for the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Howler Awards! As I'm sure you guys know, Karen's one of my best friends and she's insanely creative, talented, and supportive - seriously, I don't know where I'd be without her. <3 And T is a new friend of mine; we've followed each other's blogs for awhile, but I didn't really get a chance to talk to him until a few weeks ago. He's a fellow young author (and, coincidentally, a romance fanatic just like myself!) - only 20 years old and he's just published his very first book, Hero's Romance. He's such an inspiration and I'd definitely recommend his blog for everyone to take a look at. :)

First nomination, from T, is for the Beautiful Blogger Award...

The Beautiful Blogger Award is an honour bestowed by fellow bloggers to show how much they love reading your blog and appreciate the beauty in your words. The title is so nice and I'm flattered to have been nominated! :) The rules are as follows...

1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo. 2. Thank the person who nominated you and create a link back. 3. Nominate 7 (yes only seven) other bloggers and say a little something about them.

Now, I'd like to nominate these 7 people for this prestigious award:

Karen @ My Train of Thoughts On... Karen's been such a wonderful friend through this whole process, and she supports me (and Frozen Hearts!) through the this-is-actually-the-best-book-the-world-has-ever-seen days, the ugh-why-did-I-even-start-this-stupid-book days, and everything in between. She blogs about books, quotes, authors, inspiration, and other writing-related stuff, and I always enjoy reading her opinions. :)

Edwina @ Edwina, The Writer I originally met Edwina on Twitter, and since then we've grown pretty close. She's another writer working on her first novel, and I thoroughly enjoy exchanging ideas, advice, and inspiration with her. I'm waiting with bated breath for the day I (and the world!) get to read her book The Story of Magic, as well!

Ankanksha @ My Safe Haven Ankanksha approached me on Wattpad a couple of weeks ago and asked me for tips on running a blog right before she opened her own - and really, she hasn't disappointed. My Safe Haven is so inspiring; I really look forward to reading all of Ankanksha's posts, and they just make one incredibly grateful to be alive. :D

Annie @ Actually? Annie Annie and I have been through a lot together, and she's one of the most talented, creative, and just downright amazing people I've ever had the pleasure of calling my friend. :) She hasn't really been blogging much lately because of some not-so-great things that are going on in life, but I know she'll push through it, and I can't wait to see her posting again.

Melissa @ The Ultimate Voyage I haven't really talked to Melissa much lately, but I absolutely love reading her blog - it alternates between hilarious, relatable, and motivating. Plus, SHE WATCHES SHERLOCK. AND LIKES JOHN GREEN. ('Nuff said.)

Rachel @ Spilled Ink I don't even know why Rachel has such flawless skill with words. It kinda-sorta-may-or-may-not blow me away. ;) I love, love, love reading her short stories every Sunday, and I wish her all the best with her writing endeavours - I can definitely relate to struggling to balance everything along with her writing, but knowing her, she's probably way better at it than I am!

Kim @ Kim Graff I will forever be in awe of Kim's skill - she's an uncommonly talented writer and graphic designer, plus she does both manuscript and query critiques. (Also, I like her taste in books. ;) ) I originally met her through Story Cartel and now we're both part of a bi-weekly critique group - I'm so lucky to have her as a friend and I'm constantly blown away by her writing. Plus, the cover she created for FH is flawless. :D

The second award, nominated by Karen, is the Howler award! I'll admit that I'd never heard of this one before, but I really like the premise of it and it's so lovely to be nominated. :) Here are the rules for this one:

1. Display the award on your blog. This can be in your sidebar or on a special award page 2. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog 3. Give 3 examples of things you would like to see changed in the world 4. Nominate (in your own time) at least 5 bloggers that deserve the award 5. Donate the equivalent of $10 to a charity of your choice (optional because I can not check it, however it would be HIGHLY appreciated)

I think I'm going to cheat a little with this one and nominate two more people because I don't really want to leave anybody out - so, I'd like to nominate these people for the Howler award: TEdwinaAnkankshaAnnieMelissaRachel, and Kim. (The same as for the Beautiful Blogger award, except replacing Karen with T because Karen was the one who nominated me for this one in the first place! ;) )

The three things I'd most like to see changed in the world:

1. Less prejudice against young and/or inexperienced creators - be that of words, art, music, science, or anything else. Too often I see people getting discouraged just because others who have the slightest bit more experience shoot them down. We're all learning - why do we have to make it so clear who is "better" and who is "worse"?

2. More hours in a day. *sigh* I wish. ;) If only there were two extra hours - one for playing music, one for writing - I would be the happiest person in the world!

3. More connections with strangers. I was just discussing with Karen the other day how a smile from a stranger can make us so happy. I think it would be lovely if we could all just take a moment every day to do something nice for someone we've never met - the earth would be a much better place if everyone did that.

Again, I'd like to thank T and Karen for nominating me for these two blog awards, and all of you for getting me to 400 followers! I'm so grateful to have such wonderful friends and supporters - thank you so much, for everything. xx

love, Topaz


A is for Awards (The #atozchallenge begins!)

Hi lovelies! I'm not sure if any of my fellow bloggers have heard of / are participating in the A to Z Challenge, but I've decided to try it this year! :) I hadn't previously heard of this, so when my friend introduced me to the concept a few days ago I knew I wanted to join in the fun. :D Basically, the challenge is to post every single day of the week in April, except for Sunday. Sounds pretty simple, right? The catch: each of the posts has to be based on a letter of the alphabet, from A to Z - that is, today is A, tomorrow is B, day after tomorrow is C, etc. The posts don't have to be drastically different from the ones that are usually posted, as long as they relate to that day's letter in some way. So, as you all know, I generally post on Monday through Friday, but for this month you get to enjoy my presence for an extra day on Saturday... yay! ;)

The first letter of the alphabet is, of course, A, and that's quite convenient because just yesterday I was nominated for four lovely blog awards - the Wonderful Team Member Readership, I'm NOT Featured on Freshly Pressed, Parliament, and Liebster (second time for this one, actually!) awards. All of these were given to me by Karen, whom I've talked about previously - seriously, she's an AWESOME blogger and possibly an even better friend, and I'm so happy and honoured that she's nominated for all of these awards. Thank you so much, Karen! :D

The first award is the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. The rules: the recipient of this award posts the logo on their blog, then nominates 14 of their own blog’s readers who they appreciate. They can post their nominations all at once or little by little over a period of 7 days. They need to links to their awardees’ blogs and notify them that they are WTMRA recipients on their blogs.

Probably one of the simpler awards, which is why I decided to open with this one. ;) I'm going to make the nominees a little more streamlined as well, and only choose 6; I hope that's okay! So I'd like to nominate Annie, Emily, Edwina, Rachel, Akira, and Ann for this award - I know that not all of you do awards, but please know that I truly appreciate you and you're amazing writers/friends. :D

The next award is quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen: as the logo says, the I'm NOT Featured on Freshly Pressed award! ;) The rules for this one:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the “The I’m NOT Featured On Freshly Pressed Award”.
  2. Write a blog post and tell us the blog(s) you have chosen – there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.
  3. Include in your blog post a paragraph about why you’d like to be on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed OR a paragraph on why you couldn’t care less about Freshly Pressed. Up to you …
  4. Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them – (please don’t alter the instructions or the badge!)
  5. Come over and say hello to the originator of the “The I’m NOT Featured On Freshly Pressed Award” via this link:
  6. And as a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award, and then PROUDLY display the award on your blog.
  7. If you ever do get officially “Freshly Pressed” then take down this award badge and display the official “Freshly Pressed” badge instead.

Well, I'm going to be completely honest here: yeah, I think it'd be pretty cool to be featured on Freshly Pressed! What blogger wouldn't want that? ;) I'd love to share my work with a larger audience and expand the community, plus of course it would be an immense honour to be chosen for that kind of thing. The blogs chosen for Freshly Pressed are, to be quite frank, absolutely  amazing, though - I'm not entirely sure if I could ever get to that standard! ;) But of course, I'm going to keep blogging and see where it takes me.

Also, I'd like to nominate the same bloggers as above for this award, as I'm quite sure none of them have been featured on Freshly Pressed... yet! So again, that's AnnieEmilyEdwinaRachelAkira, and Ann. :)

Then we have the Parliament award, the rules being as follows:

  1. First, display the Award on your site. You earned it and you deserve it!
  2. List a few things that make you a loyal member.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  4. Nominate at least five (5) well deserving bloggers whose loyalty and love you value and consider part of your Parliament and Pack for the Award and let them know the wonderful news by sending them a message on their site.

My loyalties (three C's, incidentally! ;) )...

  1. Commitment. I firmly believe that there's nothing more important than throwing yourself into everything and being committed to whatever cause you're working / cheering / campaigning / fighting for.
  2. Compassion. Life's a journey, and there's really no point in going on it if you don't stop to help others out along the way.
  3. Community. Nobody ever got anything done by themselves. People say writing is a lonely profession, but who says you can't have friends to support you and be there through the ups and downs?

Aaaaaaand, as for nominees, please see above for mine. I'm going to nominate the same people, because they are absolutely amazing and are pretty much perfect examples of my loyalties. :)

And finally, I've been nominated for the Liebster award once more! As I'm sure you guys remember, this constitutes of nominated a few bloggers (same as the first three - you guys deserve all the awards!), answering some questions, and posing my own. Here are my answers to Karen's questions:

  1. What motivates you? People who tell me I "can't do it" - whatever it happens to be at the current moment - really motivate me, mostly because I just want to prove them wrong!
  2. What holds you back? When I work myself too hard and burn out. Bit of a drawback to this whole gig, I think, although one that is most definitely worth it! :D
  3. Name one goal you’d like to achieve in the next five years. Publish Frozen Hearts and release Falling Star. Also, getting into a decent college would be a plus. ;)
  4. Using love as a metaphor, describe writing/art. It's the easiest thing in the world to pour a broken heart onto a page, because writing is a language that all can understand and sympathise with; there has never once been a pen that forgot to call back or a book that didn't understand you almost more than you understood yourself.
  5. Some say anger is the strongest emotion. Others swear it is sorrow. Still others insist joy outweighs the rest. Which emotion do you feel is the strongest, and how does that emotion play into your writing/art? The strongest emotion? For me, undoubtedly sadness. I feel sorrow much more strongly than other emotions, but on the other end of the spectrum I also believe that happiness is incredibly potent as well. I tend to write a lot of emotionally-charged poetry and songs, as most of you probably know! ;)
  6. When you’re a famous and fabulously wealthy author/artist, how will you spend your days? (Dream big, folks.) This is an insanely boring answer, but I'd probably just write some more. It's what I love to do - why would fame change that in any way?

Since it's getting really late over here - even for me! - and I'm kind of working on like 5 remaining brain cells, I'm just going to use the questions I asked for the previous Liebster award I was nominated for (as I believe I've only nominated one of my current nominees for this one!). :) Here they are:

1. What made you start blogging? 2. What’s the best thing you’ve ever written, in your opinion? 3. Hey, you’ve won the lottery! The first thing you buy is…? 4. Who’s the most badass fictional character you’ve ever encountered? 5. Name one person who inspires you? 6. What’s the one song you think would sum up your life so far? 7. Have you ever written a real paper letter? If so, to whom? 8. What’s the number one thing on your bucket list? 9. Quote the worst advice you’ve ever been given? 10. What makes you insanely, ridiculously happy?

Thank you so much for all the nominations, Karen - it means the world! Night, everyone - sorry for the ridiculously long post, and kudos to you if you read through it all! I'll see you tomorrow for letter B of the A to Z challenge. xx

love, Topaz

Liebster Award: I've been Nominated!

Hey all! Things have been slowing down, thank goodness. We're frantically checking and re-checking props/costumes/lines for our National History Day play, and there have been a multitude of last-minute script changes, but it's all coming together. :D Bad news is I've been way too tired to make much headway on editing FH - I tried, I really did, but I just looked over the edits I made yesterday and it's more riddled with typos than it was previously. So that was a bit of a flop. :P However, our competition is on Saturday, and we do have to ride a plane to Jakarta, so I plan on getting some work done then! ;)

Also, I was nominated by the lovely Rachel, over at Spilled Ink, for the Liebster award! :D This is my third blog award (the first two being the Dragon's Loyalty and Cracking Chrispmouse Bloggywog Awards), and it's always fun to take part in these. So, without further ado...

Rules 1. Each nominee should link back to the person who nominated them. 2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator. 3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers for this award who have less than 400 followers. 4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer. 5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Questions 1. What is your favorite genre? I can never choose between fantasy and - you guessed it! - romance. I absolutely love reading and writing both genres. :D

2. Are you currently working on a novel? If so, what’s it about? I am indeed! Frozen Hearts is about a girl, Rosalyn Lawrence, who journeys to a frozen, magical land in search of her lost brother, Benjamin. Plus, there's Paper Wings and all my other various WIPs.

3. Tool of choice (laptop, notebook, etc.)? Notebooks for jotting down rough ideas, sketches, and other fragments of writing. Laptop for full projects.

4. How long have you been writing for? As long as I can remember.

5. What made you start writing? Books, of course! I used to read in every single spare moment, which made me want to start writing in every single spare moment as well. ;)

6. What’s your favorite movie? Oh gosh, there's a billion. Currently... probably My Fair Lady. It's an old one, but I LOVE the music. Also Audrey Hepburn = pure awesomeness. :D

7. What’s your favorite season? WINTER. Christmas, snow, gingerbread, hot chocolate, presents... what's there not to like?!

8. How often are you on the internet (blogging, researching, school, etc.)? Pretty much 24/7, except for when I'm reading or playing music or whatever.

9. What’s your favorite music? Love love love country music. Aside from that, really anything with amazing lyrics. I have a ton of genres on my iPod: pop, rock, alternative, folk...

10. Aside from writing, what is your favorite thing to do? Reading, singing, playing guitar, or blogging. :)

Nominees (only doing three!) 1. Karen @ My Train of Thoughts On... 2. Akira @ A Corner of my Mind 3. Tanvi @ Save MacRitchie

My Questions 1. What made you start blogging? 2. What's the best thing you've ever written, in your opinion? 3. Hey, you've won the lottery! The first thing you buy is...? 4. Who's the most badass fictional character you've ever encountered? 5. Name one person who inspires you? 6. What's the one song you think would sum up your life so far? 7. Have you ever written a real paper letter? If so, to whom? 8. What's the number one thing on your bucket list? 9. Quote the worst advice you've ever been given? 10. What makes you insanely, ridiculously happy?

love, Topaz