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Blogging Friends Tribute!

I’m back from my family vacation! My family traveled to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, and wrapped up our trip in Washington DC. We enjoyed nature, history and culture- but an added bonus when I was traveling was meeting some of my blogging friends in real life!

My family and I met Michael of My Comic Relief and Kalie of Just Dread-Full , who are romantic partners, for lunch as we traveled between Cuyahoga Valley and Gettysburg. They traveled close to two hours to meet us!

Kathleen, my writing partner, wanted to meet them too- but a photo of her would have to suffice.

As we arrived at the restaurant first, my daughter asked what would happen if they didn’t show. Was I going to be catfished? But they were there soon afterwards and there was no awkwardness and our conversations flowed as they do on-line.  I had been so nervous about meeting them- they both are so funny and write so intelligently, would I be super lame in comparison? But both were authentic to their blog voices and Michael was as verbose as I had expected (and hoped) he’d be. Two hours zipped by, and my entire family enjoyed meeting Michael and Kalie, but eventually we had to finish our drive to Gettysburg.

After we spent a few days in Gettysburg, my family headed to Washington DC. On our first day there we visited Mount Vernon and Arlington Cemetery. Between those two locations, we planned to meet Jeffrey from The Imperial Talker, who lives in the area. He was also accommodating to my family’s schedule, and modified his day to meet us.  He and his wife Jen met us for lunch, and he too was as awesome in real life as he is on his blog. Jeff and Michael are best friends in real life, so it was neat to be able to talk about one another, now that we all had met. We even planned for a possible meet up next year in Chicago if something we are working on is approved (hint- it has something to do with Star Wars).

Kathleen didn’t photo bomb this picture, instead our spouses did!

One of my favorite parts of blogging is the on-line friendships that I have established. Until I started to blog myself, I had doubted people’s claims that real friendships could be made without meeting one another. But it’s true! That I truly have met Michael, Kalie and Jeff is icing on the cake. Thanks to Jen and my family who were all amazingly chill about meeting people they didn’t know for lunch, so I could meet my FRIENDS!

-Nancy

(Header picture borrowed from WebDev Studios)

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Mid-Year Freak Out Tag²

I’m freaking out again! Let’s check in and see how my reading and blogging year is going:

Best book you read in 2018 so far

Chosen by my book club, I picked up this book uncertain if I would connect with it. But it grabbed me immediately, and brought up incredibly strong feelings. The compelling audio narration made me reflect on my own troubled childhood, and gave me much food for thought. This family drama set in Alaska in the 1970’s was filled with very real characters,  and this beautifully told story of survival (both physical and emotional) has stayed with me. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Best sequel you’ve read so far 

In the first volume A Well Regulated Militia, Brian Wood first gives us a lengthy portrait of the fictional character Seth Abbott and his journey from farm boy to one of the well respected leaders of the Green Mountain Boys. Then we are given shorter non-linear vignettes of other loyalists and patriots and their contributions to the war. This second historical fiction graphic novel follows suit. In These Free and Independent States, we revisit Vermont to find that Seth’s son John is a boat-making savant. Spanning the years from 1786 to 1816, John comes to age as the new nation faces several threats and a new Navy is commissioned

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I ordered this YA book for my teen department, and it is a summer reading choice for the local high school that my library serves. I have an audio edition on hold and I look forward to listening to this fantasy novel that so many people seem to be raving about.

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Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I look forward to every Walking Dead volume and both the mystery-thriller Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books by John Sandford.

Biggest disappointment

A big fan of Andy Weir’s first book The Martian, I eagerly looked forward to his next book and was pleased to find a heroine in his second novel. Imagine my dismay when my opinion of Artemis  plummeted chapter by chapter. I was hate reading it at the end.

Biggest surprise

Author Michelle McNamara was nearing completion of this true-crime novel when she unexpectedly died. Her husband and two co-writers were able to finish it, and soon after publication with the resulting renewed attention to the crime, the case was solved. It was a bittersweet surprise that McNamara’s book helped bring the killer to justice. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

M.A. Bennett wrote a twisty psychological thriller for teens that I found very appealing. Her debut novel was a strong start, so I’m willing to check out further work from her. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Newest fictional crush

I’ve been devouring graphic novels written by Brian Wood- does that count as a crush?

Newest favourite character

Enna, Sven’s traditional wife, from the Viking saga Northlanders by Brain Wood. In the first volume I hated Sven but loved Enna. She truly redeemed his character.

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Book that made you happy

I love Star Wars! I love short stories! Together this anthology was a win-win for me. From A Certain Point Of View is a must read for all Star Wars fans. It strengthened and filled in gaps in the narrative and this new canon was a treat from beginning to end.

Book that made you sad

What Happened is an apt title, for truly, what happened in the 2016 election? In this book Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what transpired behind the scenes in her election bid to be president. Spanning many years of her life, but concentrating mostly on the two years preceding the election, she shares her thoughts and experiences of what went on. She reflects on what went wrong, she owns up to her mistakes, and she gives the reader a fuller picture of who she is. I cried several times while I listened to the audio while I mourned for a future that did not happen. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year 

Ready Player One was a solid adaptation of the book, but it didn’t knock my socks off. It’s The Hate U Give that is coming out later this year that I think will end of being my favourite film adaptation. It’s first trailer looks fabulous!

Favourite review you have written this year 

Kathleen and I did a fun blog series about who is the best cinematic Chris with bloggers Michael of My Comic Relief and Kalie of Just Dread-full. My choice of Chris Pine was obviously the best, but the whole experience of writing for this series was enjoyable!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Above The Timberline by Gregory Manchess is a unique book, that isn’t quite a graphic novel, instead it is a highly illustrated book, a so-called “painted novel”. Very reminiscent of the Dinotopia book series (minus the dinosaurs but add polar bears) by James Gurney, this large sized book has 240 pages of lush paintings that transport you to another time and place.The artwork is exquisite. He vividly creates a believable tundra landscape, and paints his characters, animals and interior backgrounds with precision.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year? 

I am a member of NetGalley and try to keep my book queue to a minimum so my ratio stays high. Right now the only book I have to get to is Other People by Joff Winterhart.

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Half way through the year and I’m on schedule for my Goodreads challenge of 100 books, as I’m at 54 with a few books almost done this week. So far, so good. Bring on the last half of 2018!

-Nancy

Blog Update

Hey everyone! We have been talking about our blog in conjunction with our personal schedules. The both of us have a lot going on right now, and we just cannot devote the amount of time we’d like to the blog. Therefore, we’ve come to a decision about how often we’re going to post.

Our regular Monday and Friday posts will continue, but we’re going to cut out most Wednesday posts. Even though we were trading Wednesdays off, we’ve found it a little more difficult lately to generate new content and keep up with the schedule. We’re great about communicating with each other about what we want to write, and when, so in the meantime we will do Wednesday posts on sort of a case-by-case basis.

For our regular Monday/Friday posts, we may also not post a graphic novel review every week. Fear not, though! Reviews will continue to make up the bulk of our content. Again, we’ve found ourselves in sticky situations with trying to read and keep up with the blog schedule and our personal schedules, so we may occasionally deviate from our normal reviews to write about other nerd things to give ourselves a break. We have done this in the past, and had great feedback from you, dear readers, so we hope you don’t mind too much.

This change – we hope – is only temporary, and the Twitter account will remain active. We may revisit the blog schedule at a later date when things calm down for the both of us. For now, however, we are saying goodbye to our regular Wednesday posts.

Thank you very much for your continued support, patience, and friendship! We’re both very grateful to have such a loving following ❤

–  Kathleen & Nancy

The dynamic duo!

Sunshine Blogger Award³

We were nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Lily from Cheeky Booky! This is our third time for this award, but it never gets old, for we love getting selected since it means another blogger thought of us!

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post and/or on your blog

1. Which Disney Princess do you relate yourself with?

Nancy: Mulan!!! It’s a rare Disney movie in which BOTH her parents are still alive, plus Mulan is kick -ass. The romance at the end is secondary, because while I am a sucker for romance, Mulan and her team prioritize saving that day before that happens.

Kathleen: Jasmine! She is smart, headstrong, and independent, but she is also loving and a good judge of character. She’s not passive at all and takes charge of who she is, where she’s going, and who she loves. She refuses to conform to others’ expectations or plans for her, and I both admire and strive to be like her.

 

2. What would the world be like if you are the leader? (Be as detailed as you like)

Nancy: World peace and a beautiful environment!

Kathleen: First thing I would do as world leader would be cure all nut allergies (seriously, it sucks)! I would strive to lead a peaceful, humane, and just world.

3. Top 5 Pairings?

Nancy: Me & my husband, Eleanor/Park, Superman/Wonder Woman (ignore what Kathleen says below for the Kingdom Come pairing was perfect!), Jamie/Claire from Outlander and Ehd/Beh from Transcendence (the most ridiculous historical fiction romance book ever that I inexplicably loved).

Is this not the best OTP ever?!

Kathleen: Batman/Wonder Woman!!! Black Canary/Green Arrow, Barry/Iris from Flash. Harry/Hermione.

4. What animal is your patronus? ( Mine is a Dolphin according to Pottermore XD)

Nancy: Wolf. I love their beauty and teamwork.

Kathleen: I think mine was a terrier according to Pottermore, but I secretly feel it would be a snow leopard instead.

5. OH NO! Eric Cartman came and stole your favourite desert. What’s your favourite desert and how would you deal with it? (Yes I am a huge South Park Fan) XD

Nancy: I am a sucker for dark chocolate so Cartman wouldn’t even stand a chance of getting near it in the first place.

Kathleen: My favorite dessert is homemade chocolate cake… with 3 layers and chocolate frosting, just how my mom makes it. Consequently, I would have no qualms about punching Eric Cartman out over it 8D

6. What would you do if you won a huge jackpot from the lottery?

Nancy: Fund my children’s college educations and donate to charity. Then take some epic vacations!

Kathleen: Pay off them student loans!!!

7. What book do you think should be a videogame?

Nancy: Ready Player One!

Kathleen: I talked about this in a previous post, but among them, I really want an 8 bit sidescrolling George Perez WW game!

8. (On the behalf of my friend who would ask everyone this) Vampires or Zombies?

Nancy: Reluctantly vampire. I do not wish to be a rotting mindless zombie.

Kathleen: Neither, because they are both seriously overrated and overhyped following the eras of Twilight and The Walking Dead.

9. You have the power of re-animation to bring back anyone from the dead. Who would you bring back?

Nancy: I read the short story The Monkey’s Paw as a teen, and it traumatized me so I would never wish the dead back to life.

Kathleen: Robin Williams. I miss him so much.

10. Would you be a Superhero or a Supervillian and what would your name be?

Nancy: Hero of course! I used The Superhero Name Generator and it gave me The Silk Shadow! Sounds cool to me.

Kathleen: Superhero! I’m unsure of what my name would be, though. There are so many that are already taken =P

11. And lastly the most important question: Cats, Dogs, both or neither??

Nancy: Cats 100%

Kathleen: PUPS!!! ❤

Our questions for our nominees are:

  1. Describe your best friend.
  2. Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
  3. Do you buy or borrow the books you read?
  4. What’s the most creative thing you’ve ever done?
  5. Do you like to cook? If so, do you like to experiment?
  6. What is you most controversial book-related opinion?
  7. What would you do if you won a huge jackpot from the lottery?
  8. What is your favorite topic/category to blog about?
  9. What is your favorite T.V. show?
  10. Who is your favorite author?
  11. If you could switch lives with one person who would you pick?

We nominate:

In all likelyhood, these bloggers have already been nominated for this award, but we always like to throw some love to our blogging posse!

Michael @ My Comic Relief

Rob @ My Side of the Laundry Room

GO @ The Green Onion Blog

Shanannigans @ Reads & Reels

Danielle @ Books Vertigo and Tea

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

Thank you again to Lily for spreading some sunshine our way!

– Nancy & Kathleen

One Lovely Blog Award²

We were nominated for our second lovely award by two bloggers- My Side of the Laundry Room (a fun blog about pop and nerd culture)and Cheeky Booky (a book review blog with some cheek). Be sure to check out both wonderful sites before you go any farther!

Before we get into the actual tag here are a few rules to follow:

Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
•Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
•Share seven things about yourself
•Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
•Include this set of rules
•Inform your nominees

Amazing Facts About Us:

Nancy: I am still addicted to Pokémon GO. I wrote a post last summer about how I’m a Pokémom, and I am proud/ashamed to admit I am now at Level 27. I started out playing with my three kids, but they have all quit, yet I am still playing. I am the only Mom out there who wants her kids to play, and was sad when they stopped. At least the teens at the library still challenge me to defend the library’s gym.

So close to level 28!

Kathleen: ^ Going off that, I seem to be collecting Pokémon plushies… my boyfriend just won’t stop sending them to me! My dogs love them as much as I do. Our 5 year old, Rose, likes to cuddle them when she thinks I’m not looking. The puppy, Weber, just wants to play with them… and not too nicely, either. He rips everything apart!   (Aside from Nancy- when Kathleen & I met for dinner so she could help me through a very hard school project, we compared Pokémon captures! We both wanted a Rapidash bad)

Nancy: I am going to take a class on Graphic Novels this summer for my graduate degree. How awesome is that!

Kathleen: “01011001” used to be my favorite Ayreon album, until “The Source” came out a few weeks ago… and I CAN’T STOP LISTENING IT’S SO GOOD. I’m even more hyped to go to Europe with my boyfriend to see it live ❤

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Nancy: Our family vacation this summer will be to Florida. We will be on the Gulf side and then head to the Everglades. I will bring along my NPS passport to get it stamped 😉

Kathleen: My guilty pleasure TV show is Birds of Prey.

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Nancy: I’m a Star Trek nerd. I watch an awesome web series called Star Trek Continues (that recreates the TOS cast and continues on the original five year journey) and I am eagerly awaiting Star Trek Discovery that should be on CBS this fall.

Kathleen: I really like doing yoga! I’m not much of a runner (I will if the mood strikes, but I can never commit!), and there’s no way I’d ever set foot in a gym. It’s something I can do at home, in privacy, and where the dogs can crawl all over me and lick my face =P

Nancy: Although I share all things geek on my blog, I truly have other interests! My family enjoys hiking, and my husband and I completed the 52 Hike Challenge last fall. I take pictures of our hikes and post them on Instagram. Three pictures from my site nancyandnature have been selected and featured on the site Only in Illinois. Check out both sites!

Top L- Starved Rock, Top R- Kishwaukee River, Bottom- Waterfall Glen

Kathleen: I’m an artist, and I’m currently painting a drum head as a commission for a client – my first time doing so!

Nancy: I used to think Twitter was lame, but now I love it! There are some people on Twitter that I interact with regularly, and they have become friends that make me laugh on an almost daily basis.

Kathleen: Since I’ve developed a nut allergy, I’ve gotten the opportunity to put more thought into what I eat. I now make more meals for myself for lunch throughout the week, and cut up fruit to freeze for smoothies. It’s gotten me to try new things in my cooking and expand my culinary horizons.

Nancy: I love Goodreads. You can find me there writing shorter reviews on other genres that I read.

Kathleen: The first special edition of any video game I ever bought was Arkham City, and having this figurine in my dorm room is actually how my boyfriend and I met. I’ve since lost it and it broke my heart. The working theory is that the basement ate it and that it’ll turn up when I move out of my mom’s house, so there’s still hope!

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We decided to nominate a few of the awesome bloggers who have commented on some recent posts, for we think your feedback is lovely! They are:

Blogging for Dopamine

Perspective of a Writer

924 Collective

Sci-Fi Jubilee

The Critical Optimist

Thank you again to My Side of the Laundry Room and Cheeky Booky for this nomination! xo

-Nancy & Kathleen

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to MiRakelBooks for nominating us for this lovely award! Make sure you check Rakel’s outstanding blog, for she has well written reviews on YA, fantasy and sci-fi books. Plus, her blog’s graphics and layout are very appealing!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

Seven things about each of us:

Kathleen: Though Pokémon was all the rage when I was a kid, I never really played any of the games besides Leaf Green. When Pokémon Go came out, I fell back in love with it, and my boyfriend bought me a 3DS and Moon for Christmas so we could play together ❤

Nancy: I had a cameo in one of my favorite graphic novel series, Revival! I was drawn in as a doctor in the last issue of the this rural noir thriller. I am over the moon about it, and carry the issue around with me everywhere to show people.

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Kathleen: I don’t like the holidays. Grade A Grinch right here!

Nancy: I am the Teen Services Coordinator at my library. I started a teen volunteer program there, and have some fantastic teens who help with a lot of different projects.

Kathleen: I used to eat peanut butter every day until I developed a nut allergy last month. The worst part is no more Nutella tho *sobs*

Nancy: My Goodreads Challenge is to read 100 books this year. So far so good!

Kathleen: I didn’t have my own cell phone until I was in college – did fine without it using my friends’ phones to call my mom! =P

Nancy: I really like hiking. I don’t like to go to the gym to exercise, but I do enjoy wandering around the woods.

Kathleen: My favorite “retro” video game is Spyro the Dragon.

Nancy: My husband and I are going to see U2 in concert in June!

Kathleen: I’m an artist who hates getting dirty.

Nancy: The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan really is grand. My husband and I splurged on an anniversary trip there, and it was worth every penny.

Kathleen: ^ That hotel was featured in a Hollows novel! (It’s not a fact about me, but it’s a cool one)  **And it was the setting for the fantasy time travel movie Somewhere In Time! (Nancy)

Nancy: I secretly really like country music. Don’t judge me.

Our nominees: 

Darth Toothpick @The Nerd Cave– OMG, this guy loves ElfQuest! EQ is just the BEST comic out there!

Robert @ Reading Over The Shoulder – A lover of high fantasy

Victor @ My Poor TBR– Great reviews of thrillers and other books

Tiana @ The Book Raven – Reviews of fantasy books =D

Owls & Vowels – Fellow librarian reviews!

Britt @ GeronimoReads – Didn’t think I’d know about anyone else who heard of Daughter of Smoke & Bone 8D XD

Thank you again to MiRakelBooks for this nomination!

-Kathleen & Nancy

Liebster Award!

 

Michael from My Comic Relief nominated our blog for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much for our blog’s first award! 

The Liebster Award, for those of you who are not familiar with it, works like this:

  • Thank the blog that nominated you and link back to them.
  • Answer the questions that the blogger that nominated you wrote for you to answer.
  • Nominate other bloggers that you think deserve the award.
  • Write 11 questions for your own nominees.
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them.

The other blogs I would like to nominate are:

Heather Hobbs – Reads and reviews some great books!

A Nerdy Nook -Where nerds get their news

The Indie Comic Vault– Opening the lid on the best alternative comics around

Wanderfully Complex– Finding Clarity In My Rarity

Uncovered-Books– Because no-one likes a bad book

Normal to Nomad – This blogger is taking the 52 Hike Challenge, just as my husband & I are!

Plus, I also want to nominate our blog again, so Kathleen gets a turn to write! Her post: Liebster Award #2

** I picked a variety of blogs, not all are about graphic novels. I try to have a balanced life with other interests!

Here are the 11 questions I am bound to answer:

1)  What is one of your earliest/happiest book-related (be it comic or otherwise) memories? I love old-school books. My Mom read with me a lot, and my favorite books as a child were Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill, The Little House  by Virginia Lee Burton, Slowpoke st the Circus by Ruth Ruhman and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

2)  Is there an author you’ve found whose work resonates deeply with you?  Why do you connect so with what they have to say? I adore Rainbow Rowell, especially her book Eleanor & Park. I connect with every book RR has written, some more than others. RR really captures feelings and relationships, and every time I read one of her books I think, “Me too!” at some point.

3)  What is the point of literature (again, comic and/or otherwise) in your life?  What do you get from reading? I am a Teen Librarian- so reading is my life. As the wise Dr. Seuss states, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!”

4)  Why is your blog focused on the topics you’ve chosen?  If you can write about anything, why this? Kathleen and I met at Dominican University in a class we were both taking for our Masters Degree in Library Science. We paired up for a project about graphic novels in YA literature, since we were both big fans of that genre. Kathleen created a fake blog to go along with our project, and we wrote reviews of some books. We aced the project, and afterwards we decided to turn the fake blog into a real one since we both had fun writing the reviews. The rest is history!

5)  Do you hold yourself to any sort of schedule as a writer (for example, you must write a little every day or do a post every week) or do you just write when you feel so moved?  Why is this your chosen path? At first Kathleen posted on Mondays and me on Fridays and that was it. Then she suggested we do a Wednesday post of subjects that interested us in the “geek world” so we could branch off and not just write reviews. We alternate Wednesdays. This schedule works for us, and despite us both having crazy schedules- work, family, school- we keep up our posts. I like having a schedule, it keeps me organized, and on task.

6)  What role do you think illustrations play (as always, speaking in regard to comic books specifically or other forms of literature as well) in telling a story? Illustrations can make or break a book. It enriches the narrative and can promote literacy for a wide range of readers!

7)  Name one story (however you’d like to define that term) that’s been important to your life and discuss why. I was introduced to ElfQuest by my HS boyfriend who is now my husband, and collecting the series (still going strong) has run throughout our whole relationship. See my EQ review as to why I love it so much ♥

8)  Name one character you’ve encountered that’s been particularly important to you and discuss why. Eleanor from Eleanor & Park because I connected with her character on so many levels!

9)  I’ve always felt that writing is important.  But, given the many, many options for sharing your thoughts and opinions in the Internet age, why do you write as opposed to vlogging or simply tweeting or sharing music or any of the other options out there? My answer to question #4 pretty much determined that a blog was the way we would share our reviews. I enjoy writing  (I love to review on Goodreads) but this was a specific way to reach a target audience.

10)  Has there been anything challenging about blogging since you’ve started writing for an online audience? Although keeping to a schedule is helpful, there are weeks I am swamped with LIFE. Sometimes reading a graphic novel a week prevents me from reading other books, and I wish I had more time for other genres.

11)  Lastly, what have you found to be the most rewarding part of blogging since you began your writing venture? The INTERACTION with other bloggers! I am the nerdiest of my friends, so at times I didn’t have someone to properly geek out with. Now I have found my tribe!

Now here are my questions for my nominees:

1) What is your favorite book or series?

2)  What are you thankful for?

3)  What is your favorite place to visit?

4)  Why is your blog focused on the topics you’ve chosen?  If you can write about anything, why this?

5)  Do you hold yourself to any sort of schedule as a writer (for example, you must write a little every day or do a post every week) or do you just write when you feel so moved?  Why is this your chosen path?

6)  What would you like to learn how to do?

7)  What do you want people to remember about you?

8)  What is the reason behind the name of your blog?

9)  Which post on your blog would you like to have gotten more readership?

10)  Has there been anything challenging about blogging since you’ve started writing for an online audience?

11)  Lastly, what have you found to be the most rewarding part of blogging since you began your writing venture?

Thank you again to Michael from My Comic Relief for your support. Your blog is so awesome, well written and funny! Kathleen and I were so excited to receive this shout out! I hope all of my nominees are as excited as I was when I found out that we had been nominated.

-Nancy

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E&P picture credit: http://www.gillianberrydraws.com/illustration/

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