Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Gift of a Sunflower



Have you met blogger Shantelle H.? She recently started blogging at A Writer's Heart, and already she's got some fabulous posts up! It's always a treat to welcome a new friend to the blogosphere.

Shantelle very kindly included me among the recipients of the Sunflower Blogger Award. The award image is so pretty and cheery, and the "rules" so fun that I couldn't resist putting together my "acceptance post." ;)

Apparently the "in" number is 11, as the rules are to share 11 facts about yourself, answer 11 questions, then ask some bloggers 11 new questions as you pass along the award. So let's start with the facts! Since a lot of you know the basics about me, I'll kind of use this as a way to catch you up on some news...

11 "Facts" About Me, Myself, and I
  1. I've been blogging for over 4 years here, and over 3 years at The Borrowed Book (on Mondays). I ♥ blogging!

  2. One of my goals for 2014 was to get a part-time job within the first few months of the year. And in April, I started working part-time at a local grocery store right near my house. (Yay!) While it's been quite a different experience for me (vs. only freelancing from home), I've made some new friends, learned some new skills, and definitely had some lessons in humility. :) All in all, I'm really grateful I've had this opportunity!

  3. After this week, though, I'll no longer be working at the grocery store. But you'll have to wait a bit longer to find out why! 

  4. Yes, I'm a tease. Figured I might as well make this its own point.

  5. I have an author newsletter (you can sign up HERE). I should be sending out the second edition very soon, hopefully!

  6. I've been sadly absent lately on my series blog. :( If anyone has any post requests, please do let me know! Behind-the-scenes info, character spotlights, snippets from my WIP, sales/marketing news... I'd love to know what interests you!

  7. I was toying with the idea of having a new blog for my freelance publicity business. Due to that news of which I must remain silent a little longer, plans have changed. So I'm now considering creating a blog/site for my publisher, instead. 

  8. I'm considering this because I think I'll be going a different direction with my writing after I finish "The Heart's Spring" series (well, "finish" for now, as who knows if I might want to revisit it later on down the road!). It might be nice to have sort of a "home base" for Seasons of a Story Publishing beyond my series blog. Would that be helpful/appealing to you?

  9. Yes, I realize I'm mostly rambling about my current life and asking you questions. I guess the fact that I realize this is sort of a fact about me, right?

  10. I just finished reading The Seahorse Legacy by Serena Chase, and it was so good!! I'll be reviewing the book and interviewing the author here this Friday, as one of the blog tour stops. Not to be missed!

  11. Today is my 23rd birthday. :) I'm not really throwing a blog party this year, but I thought this would be a fun celebratory sort of post for today! 
 Me on my first day of work. :)

Here's another "off the list" sort of fact: I own a book called A Handful of Flowers that lists different flowers and their meanings, and includes a lot of beautiful pictures and literary quotes. I decided to look up what the sunflower means, but the only reference I could find was to the dwarf sunflower, which apparently means "adoration." Sweet, no? And I do adore all my blogging friends!

Just for fun, if I were to pick a meaningful bouquet today, it might include the lesser celandine (even if it is considered a weed...), the bellflower, the centaury, and the sweet pea. So the message I'd like to convey is one of "future joy," "gratitude," "felicity," and "departure." And I think the yellow, purples, and pinks could look pretty together! ;)

Now, here are my responses to Shantelle's questions:

11 Responses

Shantelle: What is your favorite book (or one of them)?

Me: Oh, good - I'm grateful for the "one of them" option, as it's too hard to pick a favorite (beyond the Bible, of course)! For the sake of naming one, I'll say Entwined by Heather Dixon, which really enchanted me the first time I read it - and it's one I'd love to read again soon. You can see my virtual shelf of favorites on Shelfari.

Shantelle: What is your favorite book genre?

Me: Once upon a time I would say inspirational historical romance...and it still is one of my favorites, for sure! But I've also come to love some romantic fantasy books, as well as some contemporary romance. Young Adult reads have opened up a new realm for me, I think, along with the way self-publishing and the like have allowed Christian fiction to branch out. :)

Shantelle: Do you prefer winter or summer?

Me: While I love Christmas, I'm definitely going to have to go with summer. Summer means sunshine, day trips, family time. It feels more hopeful, a time when everything is at its peak, you know?

Shantelle: Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

Me: Hmmm... That's a tough one! When I was in high school I wrote fictional pieces on Amelia Earhart and Pocahontas, and they both fascinate me. Since reading Falk's Claim by Jon Humboldt Gates and writing about Falk in Bleeding Heart and Fairy Slippers, I'm intrigued by Noah Falk and his lumber town.

But I think I'll have to go with Mark Twain. For one, I really enjoyed The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Secondly, I loved learning about his connection with Virginia City, Nevada - and I got to see his desk at one of the museums there, which was very cool. And thirdly, the movie Mark Twain and Me was one I enjoyed watching with my grandparents and uncle. I love the way he had fun with his writing - how witty and humorous he was! And yet he wasn't afraid to write about controversial and important matters of humanity. His life, from what I know of it, was quite an adventurous one.

I'm sure I'll probably think of other historical figures after I've posted this, but really, some of my favorites of any category are ones that hold special memories for me in one way or another. Plus, I'm in love with history, period, and the ordinary yet extraordinary people who lived before this time.

Shantelle: A few movies you enjoy...?

Me: Anne of Green Gables, The Journey of Natty Gann, Tuck Everlasting, You've Got Mail, Brother Bear, The Croods

Shantelle: Do you like cake or pie better?

Me: Definitely cake! Although my mom does make a delicious chocolate cream pie. :)

Shantelle: How would you rather read, on Kindle or with paperback?

Me: Well, I absolutely love paperbacks - the look of them, the feel of them, the way you can flip through pages and stack them all together in pretty rows. I'm really rather fond of them, and I enjoy holding a book in my hands as I read.

However, I will say that the longer I've had it, the more I've fallen in love with my Kindle. I love that I can have so many reading options on one slim little device. While I'm not overly fond of the PDF format on there (the words are so small!), in general, I love how easy it is to read and click through the book. I love the highlight option (no highlighter required!); the ability to organize my books; the lightning speed of adding new books through purchasing on Amazon or downloading review files; and (echoing Kara of Flowers of Quiet Happiness) the way you can keep the reading experience a little more private, since no one can see the cover.

So...paperbacks will always have a special place in my heart, but I do rather enjoy reading on my Kindle!

Shantelle: Who are two of your favorite authors?

Me: Since I mentioned earlier about finishing her latest, I'll say Serena Chase, as well as Lena Goldfinch (my cover designer and fabulous author friend).

Shantelle: If you could live in any time period (past, present, or future), what would you choose?

Me: Well, part of me wants to say the 19th century in the American West, because that's the era of history that fascinates me the most. It's raw. It's wild and beautiful and deadly. It's full of so much to be explored.

But if this were a real choice with real consequences, I'd say I'd choose to live right here and now. Because really, this is where my life is, and it's a very blessed one. :)

Shantelle: Which do you like best, bright colors or pastels?

Me: Pastels. I'm fond of shades like lavender and periwinkle and mint green.

Shantelle: Are you more of a casual type, or do you like to dress up?

Me: Casual, for sure. Don't get me wrong - I love an opportunity to dress up! But one, those are few and far between. And two, I don't really wear makeup beyond coverup, and I don't really know how to make my hair look fancy, LOL. So...I cherish the times (like school dances) when I could dress up. I do like to wear nice shirts with pretty designs, too. But I'm a jeans gal. ;)

 A picture of Muffin Man...because he's adorable.

11 Tagged Bloggers and Their 11 Questions

Here are the 11 bloggers I'm tagging, if they'd like to participate! No pressure. :)

And here are my 11 questions for them:
  1. What's one book you already know will go on your list of favorites for 2014? 
  2. What's one book you're looking forward to reading this summer?
  3. What's your favorite type of blog post to read?
  4. What's your favorite type of blog post to write/put together?
  5. Hardcover or paperback?
  6. For paperbacks, soft cover (matte) or glossy?
  7. Which do you enjoy most: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Goodreads?
  8. Which national park or country would you most like to visit?
  9. What's your favorite genre of music?
  10. Name one movie or TV show that surprised you recently.
  11. What's your favorite flower?

Phew! This has been a long post, hasn't it? Sorry I got kind of carried away with everything...but it was fun! Thanks again to Shantelle for prompting me to write this post. :) I do so adore blogging, and I'm grateful for you, dear readers and blogging friends! Hope June is off to a lovely start for all of you. ♥

25 comments:

Miranda A. Uyeh said...

Aww, thank you, Amber!! My lips have suddenly turned "sunny-side up"! And congrats on becoming a publisher. Looking forward to it. Please let me know if there's anyway I can help at all! :) :D

Grace M said...

This was a great and fun post, and you have me intrigued with your secret! Thanks for the tag- I'd love to join in the fun.

Happy Birthday! Hope your day is full of special smiles and joy. :-D

Shantelle H. said...

Happy birthday, Amber! :) This was such a lovely post, and I enjoyed reading it!
We have some likes in common I discovered, such as pastels, summer, paperbacks (though like you said, Kindle has its benefits!), and a love for blogging! :) :)
Looking forward to hearing more about your "secret"! :)

God's blessings!!

Faye said...

Thank you for sharing with us, and for tagging me with the award! Thank you. I can't wait to do this award post :)

Rissi said...

Way to intrigue us, Amber. You've got changes coming?? And we have to wait?? ;) Excited to read what comes next for you.

Loved this post! You've got great things to say and wonderful advice to offer - thanks for sharing. What you said about a favorite genre is so true; it's cool to be able to branch out in our reading tastes and expand on what could come from trying a "new" genre.

Happy birthday, Amber! Hope you enjoy a special day - no matter how you decide to spend it! :)

Thanks for the tag - I'll try to participate soon.

Amber Stokes said...

Miranda,

Yay for smiles! :D

And thanks so much for your offer to help! It's nothing too formal/official, really...I just put my own publisher name for Kindle, then pay the $10 per book for a special ISBN on CreateSpace so that my publisher name can be listed on Amazon. The only thing new is that I'd like a home page for all my books, when the direction changes from "The Heart's Spring" series - so it would be nice to have a site for my "publisher." :) We'll see how it goes!

But now that you mention helping, maybe I should throw a blog party when/if I make a site for the publisher... Hmmm, could be fun! :) Maybe I could do a cover reveal for my next release then! (Of course, I should wait till I actually start writing it, haha.)

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Grace,

So glad you enjoyed it! I know I started to get kind of ramble-y at times. ;)

I'm so excited to share my next life step with you all! Just waiting for the OK to make the "official" announcement... Hopefully soon, but for sure by the beginning of July!

Thank you for the birthday wishes, and looking forward to your post!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Shantelle,

Thank you! And thanks once again for the award nomination. This ended up being a really fun birthday post to put together. :)

I'm happy you enjoyed reading the post, despite how long-winded I got (which is funny, as I'm sort of the opposite with my books, LOL). Yes, yay for pastels, summer, paperbacks, and blogging! :D

Looking forward to sharing my "secret" with you all - and God bless you, too, friend! :)

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Faye,

You're very welcome! Happy to pass this along to you. :) It's a fun post to write! Looking forward to reading yours. :)

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Rissi,

LOL! It's been rather difficult not to just come out and tell you all...but I'm trying to be somewhat professional about this. ;) It will definitely bring about some changes in my blogging/social media life - but I'll still be around, just in a different way! Hoping I'll get to make the announcement soon. :)

Thanks so much for the kind words and birthday wishes! You're such a sweet and thoughtful friend, and I'm happy you enjoyed the post. :) No pressure to do your own if your schedule gets too packed - but I'd certainly love to read your post if/when you can participate!

~Amber

Bluerose said...

Happy Birthday!!! I hope it's filled with lots of fun and happy surprises!

Thank you so much for the award. You've created such a fun post. I can't wait to see what changes are coming your way. Your teasing makes me smile, though. :)

I can "ditto" you on the kindle!

Buckley Bergdorf said...

It's me, Aunt Amber!! I've gathered all the other cats together here and we've got a message for you! Here goes . . .

Hummmmmmm . . .
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, Aunt Amber,
Happy Birthday to you!!
And many more . . . (that was Bogey.)

The Wise One, Miss Mokie, says you're not getting older but much, much wiser. She says age, of course is what makes people and cats more important.

Hope you have a great day. Please tell Muffin Man that it's extra hugs and tuna fish for you on your special day!

Kara said...

Always enjoy your posts, Amber, and really liked learning more about you in this one :)

Happy, Happy Birthday to you!! No giveaway is needed, such a joy to just celebrate with you and bless you on your special day :) Praying ALL your wishes come true!

Keeping you in prayer as you decide what steps to take in blogging, working, writing, and promoting other authors (which you do in such fabulous ways). Love the photo you included also, hugs and blessings to you friend!

Kara said...

*waving to Buckley/Cindy, Renee, Melanie, Tammy, Brooke, and Faye*
Congrats to each blogger who was tagged! So happy for all of you and some of these blogs are my faves to visit :) Hugs to you all!

Miranda A. Uyeh said...

Looking forward to that blog party! And, happy, happy birthday!! Make sure you have lots of fun and don't hesitate to ENJOY yourself. :)

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Awwww thank you! This is such a fun idea. :) I hope you're having a great birthday.

Xoxo,
Renee

Amber Stokes said...

Bluerose,

Thank you!!

So glad you found this post to be fun - and my teasing amusing and not too annoying, hopefully. ;) I just want to make sure I share the news at the proper time!

Happy to pass along the award to you - and happy to hear we agree about the Kindle! It really is quite handy, isn't it?

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Buckley,

Awwww, that was wonderful! Thank you so much for that birthday song, and please pass along my thanks to all those in the group. :) Miss Mokie's words are so sweet!

Thank you for stopping by to add a smile to my birthday!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Kara,

That's so kind of you to say - thank you for all of that sweet comment! I'm grateful for those prayers and for your encouragement. ♥ Thanks so much for checking out the post today!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Miranda,

Aww, thanks! ;) And I definitely did enjoy myself today - I'm blessed by my dear family and friends! *Hugs*

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Renee,

You're very welcome! Isn't it a fun award? Hope you enjoy putting something together (if you decide/want to)! :) And thank you for the birthday wishes! Yes, I had a great day. :D

~Amber

Melanie said...

Thanks for nominating my blog, Amber! Here's my post: http://christianbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-sunflower-blogger-award.html

Melanie

Amber Stokes said...

Melanie,

It's my pleasure to nominate you and your awesome blog! :) Thanks so much for sharing the link to your post and for responding to my questions - very fun!

~Amber

Kara said...

I finally joined in! Thanks for thinking of me. And so fun to read your answers! :D

Amber Stokes said...

Kara,

Yay! Loved your post. :) Shall have to leave a comment! And thank YOU for participating and reading my own responses!

~Amber