Liebster Award!

Nicole over at Thoughts Stained With Ink is a fairly awesome human being. She is well on her way to writing enough books to fill a shed, and has become a good friend as we both set our snares to capture the title of ‘Published Author.’ If you like honest, insightful opinions and great taste in video games, you should go and check out her blog. She has nominated me to take part in a thing. The thing is called The Liebster Award. This is where the participant shares some facts about themselves, answers specific questions from the blogger who nominated them, and then nominates other bloggers, providing questions for those they nominate.

Here are the rules.

  1. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate up to 11 bloggers and write 11 questions for them to answer.



  1. I am a type 1 diabetic, and I was diagnosed at the age of three (In 1990). I tried conventional logic to managing my condition until January 2014. After countless emergencies, paramedics, passing out, fits and diagnosis of background retinopathy (Damage to the small blood vessels at the back of the eyes) I came to my senses. I adopted a low carbohydrate diet (No bread, cakes, fruit, potatoes, rice etc), Now my condition is well managed, and my wife no longer has to constantly worry about me dying from extreme low blood sugars. Also, I enjoy food much more now than I used to :).
  2. I have a degree in music, and work as an accompanist/piano teacher. I practice the piano for at least two hours a day, plus any accompaniment work I do (I’m currently the accompanist for four choirs, so I’ve got plenty to keep my fingers musically occupied).
  3. I’m not a fast runner, but if you want to see my maximum speed, put me in the same room as a wasp.
  4. I met my wife due to a computer error. She got signed up to the wrong course for university. By the time they rectified it, the student housing was already decided. She had been put in with a load of creative students (Music, creative writing etc), one of whom was myself. They tried to match people up with at least one other person on their course. So if she had not been put on Creative Writing by accident, we would not have been flatmates. Our courses were at opposite ends of campus, so we would probably never have met.
  5. I won a bike in a raffle when I was five.
  6. Thus far, I have broken seven bones. Three arms (That may be two breaks on one arm, or I may have three arms), the same toe twice, my skull and my nose. Skull and nose happened at the same time when I was nine. Moral of the story? Don’t swing on brick arches, they WILL collapse on you. I have a scar over my elbow where they had to pin and stitch it. However, that happened when I was four, I’m twenty nine now. The scar’s got fainter with time, and it doesn’t really come out in photos, so no picture evidence! If I ever become a big author, this will be a rare time I mention my scar. Mention it at a hypothetical book signing, and I will consider you an official awesome person.
  7. I’m a big fan of cats.cat-914110_960_720.jpg
  8. I’m a fan of video games, and have been since I was old enough to know what they were. Megadrive (Or Genesis for Americans), Playstation, Gamecube, various iterations of Xbox, all these consoles have existed in my home. I don’t play nearly as much as I used to though, due to an affliction called ‘slightly growing up.’ Also, I’ve got music to practice and writing to do!
  9. When I wasn’t playing video games as a kid, I was probably out on my bike. Summer was pretty much lose half the day in front of a screen, cycle for three or four hours, do more video games.
  10. I generally dislike travelling. If someone told me I had to stay in England for the rest of my life, I would be totally ok with that. I’ve gone on holiday abroad (Paris, Prague, Budapest, Venice, Holland), but I think my home country still has plenty of wonders to divulge to me. Plus, it’s generally cheaper. On a musician’s income, that is a very big deal.
  11. There’s a small bump on the side of most human wrists. I don’t know why, but it freaks me the hell out. I hate looking at it/touching it/the fact that it exists at all. I’m clenching my teeth just thinking about it right now. If I went to an interview and was completely honest, this strange dislike would definitely go on the list of my weaknesses.

Questions For Me From Nicole

1. If you could choose one author to be your best friend (we’re talking giggling at sleepovers and having brunch on Sundays to talk about the latest tabloids kind of best friend), who would you choose and why?

1. Neil Gaiman. He’s really smart, and his books are the right kind of twisted, sometimes horrifying, sometimes heart warming (The Graveyard Book needs adding to your reading list if you’ve not been through the pages already). I think there’s a lot of genuine warmth to him, and he would be brilliant to talk to.

2. Favorite kind of cheese?

2. Halloumi. It’s cheese that you grill, yet it doesn’t melt. It also kind of squeaks when you eat it!

3. What book series should be adapted into a video game and why (I’m thinking a la Witcher here)?

3. I’d love a game set in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law world. The books are gritty and have plenty of characters you love to hate, as well as people who question their actions while doing them anyway. A Telltale Games series from the point of view of inquisitor Glokta would be horrifyingly gripping.

4. If it were my birthday and you were buying me a puppy, what kind of puppy would you get me (pictures preferred)?

4. I’ll just let the picture do the work here.happy_puppy_194311.jpg

5. What are you most excited about writing wise right now?

5. I’m continuing to move forward with revising my unpublished novel, The Fractured Isle. It’s 11am and I’ve already done 1,000 words on it this morning. I have loads to do to move the 2nd draft into a completed 3rd draft, then I need to go through and hardcore edit it. However, I’m doing it, and each day moves me a tiny bit closer to a completed manuscript.

6. What is the plot of the ultimate dream story you want to write (or have written or are too afraid to write)?

6. The Fractured Isle has been bouncing around my subconscious for over a decade. It was my dream to write it, so I guess I’m living the dream? It’s the dream of an unpublished poor musician, but that’s what I’ve got right now! The plot involves religious zealots, a race of sea dwelling people (the sirens) that don’t get on with humans, and a few murders to solve. Oh, and occasionally, there are giant scorpions.

7. How do you plan to better the world?

7. I’d love to make more diabetics aware of the wonders of a low carbohydrate diet. This way of eating has literally saved my life. Before, my retinopathy was progressing to maculopathy (Where the part of the eye responsible for central vision is damaged). The maculopathy has now reversed, and the retinopathy is no longer progressing. For anyone interested, look up Dr Richard Bernstein. I read his book, Dr Bernstein’s Complete Diabetes Solution. I owe that man my life. He’s been shunned by the medical profession because he goes against the standard high carbohydrate diet. However, he is a healthy type 1 diabetic now in his 80s. That is incredibly, incredibly rare. I won’t go on further here, but this is one of the most important things I have ever experienced so I had to dedicate this answer to it.

8. What “rule” do you break in writing (purposefully or otherwise)?

8. I know you should not begin a sentence with ‘and,’ or ‘but.’ But I do it anyway. And I don’t care :).

9. Which fictional characters make you question whether you’re actually fictosexual, i.e., who can I swoon over?

9. I’m afraid I’m a bit boring in this respect! I don’t really get attracted to fictional characters. I’m too busy screaming ‘You two characters, I can see both of your thoughts. You clearly love each other, just hurry up and get together, you’ll be so much happier!’ However, I want to give some sort of ok answer. When I was six, I wanted to marry April from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons.

10. What fictional language do you wish was actually commonplace?

10. Perhaps one from one of the countries Cecil from Welcome To Night Vale visited on his tour of Europe. Possibly not Luftnarp, the inhabitants there speak in mostly guttural rattles. If you have no idea what I’m referencing, go and find Welcome To Night Vale Right Now! The precise episode I refer to is Episode 21, A Memory of Europe.

11. Lurtz is about to kill you. What do you do?

11. I’d take some VERY strong rapid acting painkillers. I don’t know where I’d get these, but I also don’t know why I told an Uruk-hai he looked stupid and he’d look even worse in a hat. Once he’d finished killing me, I’d find a nice bench outside the halls of Mandos. When Gandalf turned up after his chat/deadly battle with a Balrog, I’d ask him to bring me back to the world of the living with him. If he gets to flout the rules and come back to life, I should be able to as well. Otherwise that’s just wizard class privilege gone mad.

Questions for Nominees

  1. A wizard has taken away your writing talent, and is going to make you equally talented at something else. What do you choose, and why?
  2. What writing project are you working on at the moment?
  3. A train leaves at the same time as Bob the prehistoric cave dweller. One of them has time travelled to the other one’s era. Which way round would make for the more interesting story?
  4. I’ve got to put at least one important hypothetical issue in here: Pogs are about to make a comeback. To what extent would this affect your life?
  5. There’s a book that you hated reading. It’s been made into a film, and got extremely good reviews. Do you go and see it?
  6. Do you listen to music while you write?
  7. A big spider has a fight with a wasp. Which one are you rooting for?
  8. If you could spend a day as another animal or even a plant, what would you choose? (That’s 24 hours, with a guarantee of survival and reverting to your original form at the end).
  9. You are given the ability to bring the dodo back from extinction. However, you will have to spend an hour every day hanging upside down for the rest of your life. Do you go ahead with it?
  10. If you could move to any fictional world, which would you choose? That could be a world from a book, video game, film, podcast, or something I wasn’t smart enough to think of.
  11. How much planning do you do before you start writing something? Pages of notes? Intricate backstories for everyone down to the janitor of the school down the road that never makes it into the book? Scream of enthusiasm followed by diving into the great creative unknown?


So here are the fantastic people I choose to pass my questions on to, in alphabetical order:

  • Briana Morgan is the author of Blood and Water. She’s also working on other material, and I have had the pleasure of beta reading one of her WIPS. It’s a YA urban fantasy involving shapeshifters. It was great, and when she’s finished editing it, I recommend grabbing a copy. Her blog is also good, insightful and honest.
  • C.M. Spivey is the author of From Under The Mountain. It’s a great fantasy book, as I mention here. They have a lot of stuff planned for the same fantasy world. I have beta read one of the prequels they’re working on. Even in draft form, it convinced me to go and grab From Under The Mountain, as I needed more from that world! They also have some impressive art skills, which also makes me jealous.
  • Dyrk Ashton is the author of Paternus, a novel set in this world, that manages to feature an enormous range of gods/myths/monsters. He’s probably getting tired of hearing this, but it’s one of the most fantastically researched novels I’ve ever come across. I loved reading it, as mentioned here. Also, he’s led a fascinating life. One of my favourite facts about him is that he traded a horse for his first car. Plus, he’s just generally an ace person, really gracious and sociable.
  • Jesper Schmidt is an aspiring author with the hard work ethic to make his publishing dreams happen. He’s currently writing the first book in The Keystone Bone Trilogy. He has a book out on fantasy mapmaking. Anyone who is any good at world building is a genius in my opinion. Jesper values the social side of social media, and actively seeks to engage with other writers. He also post videos documenting his journey as an aspiring author, making him a braver person than me!
  • Rhianne Williams has a whole heap of useful writing tips over on her blog. She also has several books of her own that give further advice on how to make those stories come to life. Plus she’s a fellow video game fan!
  •  Shadow Summit is working on stories set in the fictional world of Ryllia. She also has a great website (It’s way prettier than I can manage) and does all sorts of great art work and short stories.

So there you have it. Thanks again for the nomination Nicole, I hope you enjoy my answers! I hope my nominees like my questions if they choose to take part, and I’m looking forward to their responses.

Happy reading/Writing,



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