Tag Archives: Charles French

The Spirit Animal Award Nomination


I am honoured to have been nominated for this award by Charles French at https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/. Do drop in and visit his blog if you haven’t already. He is presently busy at an exciting stage in his writing career as he has recently released his horror novel Maledicus – Book 1 of The Investigative Paranormal Society series.


The rules of the award:
*Thank the blogger who nominated you, and link back to his/her blog.
*Post the award picture on your blog.
*Write a short paragraph about your blog and what it means to you.
*Answer this question: if you could be any animal, what would it be?
*Choose and notify ten  three nominees (yep – I’ve changed the rules on this one…)

What does my blog mean to me?
I love blogging about books. Reading is my main hobby and the fact that I can now share my thoughts and opinions with other book lovers around the world never fails to fill me with awed delight. I grew up in an era when reading was mostly a private affair and while I could discuss books with family members as we swapped our library books about, there was no way I could reach out to anyone else. However, now I can read reviews on any type of book I choose and exchange recommendations with readers who share my tastes. I am now in a position where I can request review copies through the likes of Netgalley and help spread the word about new releases that I’ve enjoyed. It is truly a wonderful time to be alive.

This other consequence is that as I exchange opinions and chat about books, I’ve got to know a community of wonderful people online – people I now count as friends. People from all over the world who I’ll probably never meet, but I now know what they read, what they do for a living and their views and opinions on all sorts of subjects. People who can have me laughing aloud as I sit reading their words, or whose kind comforting words cheer me up when I’m down. Thank you, all of you…

What is my spirit animal?
As for my spirit animal – it’s the elephant. I’ve loved these amazing creatures since I was a child and feel very sad they are being continuously hunted for their ivory. There was an excellent programme on Radio



4 about them, where I learnt that most of their communication is carried out sub-sonically, below human hearing range and that they choose their matriarch leaders for their kindness and nurturing skills. Which just goes to show how much more evolved they are, compared the sickening violence we visit upon each other by dint of choosing the most ambitious to be our leaders.

The females live in family groups and they look after each other when they are ill or injured and raise babies together. When not hunted, they can live up to the age of seventy. They are nomadic and roam across large tracts of land and their apparent destruction can help vegetation as their manure contains seeds and fertilises the land, while they snap off dead and dying branches during grazing. I just hope when my grandchildren and their children are adults, elephants will still be roaming around Africa and Asia – the outlook for them right now isn’t looking all that good.

My nominations
I’m going to nominate three awesome bloggers:-
The Captain’s Quarters – https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordpress.com/. A fabulous nautical blogger whose reviews on a range of entertaining books are a delight to read.
SCy-Fy – the blog of S.C. Flynn – https://scflynn.com/. Author Stuart Flynn is bound to have an interesting spirit animal, given the subject matter of his book Children of the Different.
Kristen Twardowski – https://kristentwardowski.wordpress.com/. A writers’ blog, whose blogs on writing are always worth reading.

Freestyle Writing Challenge courtesy of Charles French


Many thanks to Charles for nominating me to have a go at this freestyle challenge on my blog. How could I refuse, given that with my Creative Writing tutor hat on, I regularly dish these babies out to my students?
The rules are:-
1. Open a blank Document
2. Set a stop watch or mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post – DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!
4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds!
5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals
7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the time frame
8. Copy and paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy/paste these rules along with your nomination (at least 5 bloggers)

The writing prompt Charles set was:
If you could travel to any place in the world at another historical era, where would it be?

Oh it would have to be London in the Elizabethean era – the first one, that is. I would LOVE to wander the streets theglobewhere Shakespeare, Francis Drake and Elizabeth herself swished by… Though I would want to be someone with a bit of cash – I’m under no illusions that it would be a thoroughly grim place if you’re bottom of the heap socially and financially. No benefits back in those days – not with Henry VIII having dissolved the monasteries.
But the crackling sense of that society coming into its own, with the flowering of literature, alongside the uncertainty and terrible fear of invasion which somehow SHARPENED things – shook the upper echelons up and had people striving harder than ever with the belief they’d prevail. And often they did… Even characters like poor, doomed Sir Walter Raleigh.

I’d also like to be a man in this world. Or at least disguised as one. Women – even virgin queens – were definitely tolerated rather than treated with equality, although the worst of the women-hating, witch-burning oppression was yet to come with that horrible little man, James I, Elizabeth’s nasty nephew who succeeded her… But, yes, Shakespeare’s London – that’s where I’d want to visit. And breathe in the air, taste the food and catch a vibe of the generation and time that created the greatest genius who ever put pen to paper.
And then the question arises – which year would be best? Hm. That’s something of a poser. Would I find the early days of Shakespeare’s plays, when he was penning the likes of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, or would it be preferable to sit through a performance of ‘King Lear?’
275 words in 10 minutes

It was fun to do. I write a lot, but generally not against the clock, which did slightly produce brainfade, but it was definitely an interesting experience and I PROMISE that the content I’ve published is as it left my fingers in all its unedited glory.

I nominate the following to have a go at my challenge:-
Michael D. Griffiths
Mhairi Simpson
Sara Letourneau
Sophie E. Tallis
Joanne Hall

I’ll fully understand if you decide you’re too stacked out with other stuff, right now. But, hey, there’s no time limit on this one, and you may find it fun to do later in the year. In the event you do want to have a go, please scroll down only when you’re completely ready to accept the challenge… While I’ve specifically challenged certain folks, if you’re visiting and the idea has caught your eye, please do take part – and let me know. I’d LOVE to know what you’ve done with the starting line:). Good luck!
If you could travel at warp speed to any part of the solar system, other than Earth, where would you want to go and why?