Despite some initial confusion, a few comments back and forth, here and there, and a glass of wine or two, I learned Catbird365 nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Firstly, I wish to thank her for such a prestigious award amongst bloggers. I feel humbled, especially considering I am relatively new to the blogging community; and to be selected among literally thousands of bloggers. This award is a tremendous honor and means I am finally doing something right.
While I have been writing my blog for a few months, no one outside of my immediate family and/or friends were actually reading it, at least that I know of anyway. Of them, only one or, three maybe, all family, subscribed. What was the trick to getting other people to read my blog? I had no idea. What I did know? I knew blogging and webpages are powerful tools to promote business, writing, photography, and whatever reason a person might find one useful.
This leads me to the first person on my list for this award. And while, I am certain she has hundreds, I wanted to pass the love around, if you will. I have been a successful business woman my entire life, in the past I always out-sourced all computer related business to the computer wizards. They were the experts. I had a webpage, but I had no control over who read it or anything pertaining to it other than I had one to promote my business. And people did follow it. I never had to advertise to gain business. The webpage did it all. This time however was different. Outsourcing was not an option. I was on my own, with a little help from my husband. He helped when he could, but essentially we both were at the same level when it came to websites. So, I was on my own. I pulled the website together, then I was off to the blog. This was a challenge. Let me say while I did it- ‘it’ being I created a website and two blogs (now), none have been doing what I wanted them to do – bring readers to my sites (so I really didn’t do ‘it’, if you get my drift). How does one promote oneself on-line with such powerful tools? News to me. I wanted to know. No, I needed to know. It was driving me nuts! This, because I had always excelled in my endeavors. Not this one. I was worse than a cat pawing at the glass trying to catch the fish inside the tank. A huge tank at that. I either had to give up (which wasn’t going to happen) or figure it out and quickly or I would die of frustration. What does all this have to do with the Versatile Blogger Award, a lot! I promise I will get there. I began blogging as a means to promote the newly launched photography business, my husband and I began, as I believe we have wonderful photos and while they are not at the level of Art Wolfe, we have good photographs all the same. The second blog was completely my baby, initiated to promote the novel I wrote while seeking an agent and or publicist to publish the book. More on that later.
This said, I was virtually the cat sitting on the outside of the fishbowl looking in, while continually pawing away at the glass, not knowing how to grab hold of that darn fish. While I continue to grow finally, I have miles to go. I have at least managed to refrain from falling in the tank with all the sharks. I picked myself up from the bottom of the tank, and jumped out. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for Lesley Carter. Many of you may know her, as in my mind she is practically a phenom. She began a blog and literally became an overnight success. While I might exaggerating a bit, it is a fact that she has taken the blogging world by storm, and founded with her husband, Bucket List Publications. In a little over six months she has captured 2-million hits (readers) and continues to grow (I believe I have that right.) In any event, for me, she is a guru in the blogging world. Me, I am lucky to be back in the fish tank, no sharks please.
This leads itself to the Versatile Blog Award. From what I am to understand, I am to of course give thanks to the person who nominated me – Catbird365, for which I have over and over again, and hopefully pass on the link to her blog. I hope I did so correctly. Thank you so much for the award and thinking so highly of me. Now I really have to perform! I need to continue to grow readership and gain recognition for another reason I will get to in the 7 things you need to know about me part of this award.
As part of the VBA, I am to select bloggers that I’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. And Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. Considering I am relatively new at this, I am presenting 10, plus a few extras, just in case. A few of which, or many, may have already earned this award in the past well, congratulations you win again! The list is as follows:
1. Lesley Carter, founder of Bucket List Publications. I have chosen Lesley as I stated above (which will bring you full circle in a minute), I would still be the cat looking in the fish tank, without the courage to finally take the plunge. She is one amazing woman. Thank you Lesley.
2. Catbird365, I am not sure that I am suppose to nominate the person who gave me the award or not but, I am because, she posts fabulous photographs, makes me laugh, and inspires me each and every day. I look forward to seeing her daily posts of photographs 365 days a year.
3. Kiwi Campervan – I love the Kiwi Blog bus – camper van. The Kiwi Blog Bus is written, photographed and compiled by Vicki Annison, a freelance writer and journalist based in Cambridge, New Zealand. She and her family jumped ship from the UK to New Zealand a few years back and now they travel around New Zealand where Vicki shares photographs and adventures from road trips with her and her family. She tells great stories which more than once made me laugh. For me, she is amazing. I find her especially unique, to travel around in their-souped-up camper-van with her family of five, where they travel all around New Zealand. And as transplants to boot. She deserves this award. I know she also has 2 cats and 2 dogs, I am not sure if they travel too. Wouldn’t that be a hoot!
4. Ann Novak – I love Ann’s articles on environmental issues. They really bring to light many important issues that need to not only be addressed, but need attention and action. We simply cannot standby and watch our planet disintegrate, as we are. We not only affect and impact the millions of creatures living on this planet, we are effectively impacting ourselves. It is most certainly past time to pay attention. Thank you Ann for getting the word out there. Hopefully people who have the decency and political clout will pay attention and act. Sadly, though, they likely will brush the issues under the carpet, with all of the other important items.
5. The Beachchair Scientist – Ann McElhatton is an excellent read. I love her blog as she, like me, is a scientist. But what I love about her blogs is that she basically makes marine science and all science exciting to those without science degrees or those who have never science in the first place. I am impressed how well she manages to speak to her audience and tells her stories in easy to understand manner, not at the kindergarten level, (not that there is anything wrong with that) and has done so since 2008. Wow! I didn’t even know what a blog was in 2008. I enjoy reading her blog not merely because I am a scientist, but because she makes it exciting and fact filled without being preachy or pushy.
6. Ramblings – Mona writes wonderful and insightful blogs, and takes lovely photographs that tell amazing stories. I love to look at photos and have the story visible for my eyes to connect with the picture without words.
7. Taylaac – Tayla is a young, innovative, and cheery girl who brings out the inner teen in me. She picked up her life and moved to a new country and made me realize anyone whether they have a terminal illness or merely have their entire life ahead of them, everyone needs a Bucket List.
8. Bama – I fell in love with his “national geographic” photo and thus was hooked. The post is called “What an amazing World.” What can I say. If you see the photo you too will be hooked.
9. Saviix – Savannah is a young lady who is likeable and writes from her heart and I feel the emotion in her words. She reminds me a little of me at her age. I wish I would have had an avenue like this growing up. I believe I might have changed my path in life. That said, I guess I have the best of both worlds as I will always be an accomplished scientist. Now I am working toward becoming an accomplished author and photographer. Savannah, keep up the great work. She is deep, baring her heart and soul with her words. She helps me whether she realizes it or not in my own writing, by keeping in touch with the younger mind.
10. Nathanmenkveld – I related with this guy the moment I noticed he was going on a trip to Costa Rica. It brought back such wonderful memories of when was a young grad student studying and touring the fantastic country. I always told myself I would go back, but never had the time. I now live those adventures vicariously through others, ‘Pura Vida”.
Okay, I chose 10 I know there are others I have begun reading and I will list them and provide their links.
Finally, I am to tell 7 things about myself. These seven things will bring us full circle. My story is not all that amazing, but it takes off from where I left off with Lesley and the bucket list.
1) Let me begin by saying I believe things in life happen for a reason. We may not know or understand at the time what those are, if we keep an open mind and look for the signs our journey will be apparent. I came across a blog Lesley Carter wrote which moved me tremendously. I had no idea, she was co-founder of the on-line publication “Bucket List Publications,” or the fact that she was so successful. I merely was interested in her blog and how she became so successful with the number of hits on her blog. Why I thought to write to her, is likely fate.
We all know that blogging is hard work, and when I learned Leslie went from jumping in the fishbowl to grabbing the grand prize – 2 million followers in roughly six months (when I wrote to her I thought it was merely in the thousands)! Yes, this was who I was writing too. (I had no idea she was so popular, hey why start small, when I might as well start big). I can embarrass myself with the big fish as easily as the little ones. I wrote to her inquiring a few things, never really believing or expecting she would write back to me. Imagine my surprise when she did, and not only did she give me a few pointers, (which have helped), she also asked me if I would be interested in submitting an article for ‘Bucket List Publications’. I nearly fainted. Thankfully, if I had I wouldn’t have far to fall as I spend my days sitting in ‘Delores’ my wheelchair these days. I seriously had to read her email several times, to make sure I was reading it correctly. The name of her on-line magazine is ‘Bucket List Publications’, Seriously? What are the odds? Only a while ago, did I realize everyday people had bucket lists. Not only ones who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, but real people. I was fascinated. Now I am writing an article for this on-line publication (and did) Fate.This brings me to number 2.
2) The day I learned I needed a bucket list was the day I was sitting face to face with my doctor, with my husband by my side as we learned together I had an incurable motor neuron disease similar to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This diagnosis not only forced me into an early retirement at age 47, it caused me to rethink my entire life, and formulate a bucket list. My list was blank. Largely because I felt I was entirely too young to need a bucket list, that and only people who were dying had bucket lists. Well, I fit into one of those categories. And since, have learned neither is the case – Anyone can have and do have bucket lists regardless if they need one or not. I needed one. Boo.
My world was crushed. The only thing I could think of at the time, and struggled to gain the composure to speak intelligently, was I want to go to Egypt and see the pyramids and have my novel published. Simple. As I have mentioned at least twice is, I have always believed things in life happen for a reason. While we don’t always know or understand at the time, why, we eventually learn or figure things out if we keep an open mind and learn to pay attention to the signs. For me, finding Lesley, was a sign. I needed a bucket list, and realized I only had two items on that list. I am happy to say, my husband, Lloyd, and I made it to Egypt to see the pyramids. I nearly wet my pants when I saw them, that and cried like a baby. But I saw them. The best was riding a camel at sunset on a camel through the dunes seeing the Giza Pyramids under the full moon. (not as romantic as it sounds, but it surely sounds like it. My ass hurt for days afterward. Not a lot of padding on those rug colored saddles, or padding.
3) My number three is to have my novel published. I wrote a book, called ‘The House of Thoth: a Novel” which is a science fiction/fantasy/supernatural suspense thriller. I actually completed the book before I learned I was ill, while preparing the query letters. When we returned from the trip, I was pretty ill for a while as the doctors tried to find medications that would help me be more comfortable. It took a considerable amount of time, now I have more good days than bad, and have been able to function in a capacity which allows me to write and convey the importance of Motor Neuron Diseases, and that even if you are essentially given a death sentence, you don’t have to allow the disease to dictate to you what you will do with the life you have remaining to live. I refuse to allow that happen. So with each day, good or bad I live life to the fullest. I have a lot to be thankful for. And after one year passed after the doctor had given up hope, I am still around as feisty as ever. I keep myself, my mind and body busy each day. I began another blog for the book. And over the course of a couple of months, I essentially posted chapters of the book on-line for people to read free of charge. The problem was the only followers were people who were in my family, or friends. While, grateful of their loyalty, I want to expand my audience. It was a good idea, that in reality, really bombed. All because I had no idea how to gain readers. I am still learning this. The list is growing but it is taking the slow train, not the fast supermodel. I am hopeful that people will visit both of the blogs, and when the book is published, those people and others will hopefully buy the book as I would like a portion of all proceeds from our website sales of photography, the book and any and all sequels slated to support Motor Neuron Diseases. And yes, I am still working on finding a publicist and agent to help in this endeavor and get the book published in print. I am working on the sequel as well, while that process is moving slower than I do, and would like, I have been trying to get the blogs rolling and photos up on our website. While most are up, there are many that are not.
4) I am a scientist with a PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, who after 20 plus years living the high life, burned out, and decided to change careers which just so happen to coincide with news of my illness. I now am a free-lance writer, author, and photographer who spends most of her time writing, working on the sequel to ‘The House of Thoth’, which is called ‘Benandanti: Rise to Power’. It is a full-time job and then some. The difference here is I love doing it. Period.
5) My number five is to travel as much as possible to interesting places to relax and be pampered, places which offer fantastic opportunities for utilizing my camera, and enjoying life with my wonderful husband, great friends, and family, and extended family of Mr. Perkins and Lady Morgana our two cats we rescued when they were itty-bitty-kitties.
6) My number six is I have a silly crushes and admiration for Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Richard Branson (Virgin everything), and Sara Blakely (think Spanx) among others. And have wanted to meet each. Will never happen, but a girl can dream. This goes back to why dream small, when you can dream big!
7) This brings me to my seven. As I have stated above, I believe all things in this world happen for a reason, it is the scientist in me. While we don’t always understand at the time why certain things happen; we may not like them or agree with them, but with an open mind and open heart one will eventually see the signs and learns which path holds their destiny.
So there you have it. So congratulations to my fellow bloggers! Yay! I look up to each of you and hope that at some point in the near future, I will be able to boast a few hundred thousand followers of my blogs. Thank you again Catbird365!