And now for something completely different…


Exciting times awaits, folks. The end of this month marks the one-year anniversary of NM’s Writers’ Bloq. Yessiree, consider me a blog pro! Well almost.

Anyhoo, so in honour of the anniversary, the month of March will see some new ‘developments.’

Firstly the Writers’ Bloq will play host to its very first Guest Blogger, so look out for that this coming Sunday.
And secondly…

I have a confession to make.

I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since I can remember. Yes, I know, that’s not really a confession and hardly a revelation, just let me continue…

When I nurtured dreams of being a writer as a young girl, I never, ever thought that I would be writing…. fiction.
How’s that? Surprised? I always saw myself writing articles and when it came to books, the only kinds I imagined myself publishing were textbooks and celebrity autobiographies (I’m being serious). Hey, I was young- I was allowed to dream big.
I only started dabbling in fiction writing about three years ago, hence my lack of confidence sometimes with regards to my stories.

Non-fiction, however, is what I consider my comfort zone. I’m not saying it’s easy, in fact, it can be just as difficult even with all the information at your disposal. I enjoy reading and writing it however so I’m hoping you would humour me in this regard.
See, I’ve decided to start a new feature on this blog. I’m calling it History, Myths and Legends. I think that pretty much speaks for itself. There is already a category dedicated to this, as you can see on the side but I’ve decided to up the ante. If you are into historical events, true life mysteries and the supernatural then you’re in for a treat!!!

Once a month, I will dedicate one post to a famous legend, myth or piece of history with/without a supernatural twist. I can’t promise that they will have some literary link but I will try. Therefore to all my writer buddies, if this isn’t your cup of herbal tea, I do apologise. You will just have to wait for another one of my regular posts where I moan about editing. 😉
Also if you have a sensitive disposition and a natural aversion to the supernatural, I will understand if you make yourself scarce. I would hate to think I was the cause of nightmares or sleepless nights. I have affectionately abbreviated the feature to HML (not to be confused with the web-link abbreviation!) so you will recognise the article.

As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts about my new blog feature. My very first HML post will be next week : Spring-heeled Jack, the Scourge of England.
See ya then!

NM 🙂

All these Blog Awards – great idea or great nuisance?


It just seems like every week more and more blog awards are being created. If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you’ve probably received one yourself. And as pleased as some people are when they are presented with one, there are some who are not so grateful and find it a complete nuisance.

I recently read a blog post (I won’t mention the site for obvious reasons-it was not from a blogger I follow or who follows me if you must know) which gave me a good giggle. The blogger ranted about how much she hated these awards with its spam-like quality and made a direct appeal to her followers never to present her with any.

I can’t imagine how hurtful that might have been to some of her followers who had presented her with some of these awards in the past. On closer inspection however I tasted a hint of sour grapes. I’m paraphrasing her here but she moaned about how annoying it was to read an entire (long) post, only to find in the end, her name not mentioned on the list of awardees! Oh gasp.
Hence the good giggle. 😀

I did not agree with her reaction to the whole thing but I can understand why some might be annoyed. Having to pass an ‘award’ on to 10-15 bloggers and for them to pass it on to a further 10+ people and so forth, is reminiscent of the days when chainmail was trending over the internet and if you did not forward that email to X-amount of people within seven days, you were either going to die, be abducted by aliens or get peed on by a poodle.

But there is a difference here and that is: intention.

Bloggers, who create these ‘Awards,’ are only thinking of others and trying to spread the love. They are well-meaning and I guess good intentions can sometimes be misplaced. What’s also different is that there is no obligation with these blog awards, there is no ultimatum. You don’t HAVE to pass it on if you don’t want to. So to all those who whinge about these awards, instead of moaning, if you receive one, accept the award graciously, thank the blogger for thinking of you in the first place (which I think is a nice gesture in itself) and then move on.

Personally I quite like Blog Awards even though I don’t always pass it on. I like receiving them because it’s proof that this blog of mine is not a complete waste of cyber space and I also like to be introduced to other bloggers. You see, since my TAG Surfer has dropped off the face of the earth (that’s a hint WordPress!) I’m finding it hard to discover new blogs. So these Blog Award Posts actually help me in a sense.

In hindsight, I also realised that I discovered some of you guys via these Awards. So it can’t be all bad now, can it?

NM 🙂

One Lovely Blog Award


Sharon at FigmentsAndImagination has been awfully kind to me this month. She has nominated me once again for another award – The One Lovely Blog Award.
Thank you Sharon, you are just too sweet! If you guys are into poetry, go visit her at her blog for some bardic words of inspiration.

What’s great is that this blog award has no rules so I can pass it on to as many people as I want. Oh, wait, I don’t play by the rules anyway so this doesn’t matter, ha ha! 😉

Anyway, I’ve been checking out some great new blogs over the past couple of months and have decided to pass this award onto the following people. Though I must admit, I did wonder whether there was any point highlighting some of them, especially MJ and Lauren, whom EVERY WordPress blogger seems to be following! They are probably sick to death of receiving awards but hey, never mind, a little bit more acknowledgement wouldn’t hurt anyone. There is a reason these guys are popular, you know. So go check them out if you haven’t already…

MJ Monaghan
LScott
PoeticJourney
Day I started Reading
– Barb at Before Morning Breaks
As the Raven flies

Thanks guys for adding some much needed excitement to an aspiring writer’s dreary life. Keep those awesome posts coming… 😀

The Candle Lighter Award


Just as I was recovering from my Liebster Blog Award, I received another nomination, much to my surprise.

Thank you so much to blogger Sharon over at figmentsandimagination for awarding me the Candle Lighter Award. Guys, you must and go check out Sharon, a real humanitarian, who’s doing great work on the African continent and who really has an awesome blog.

I never heard of the Candle Lighter Award so I did some research and traced its origins back to a blog called Believe Anyway. Its blogger created the award for people who light a candle in the dark with their blog.

I really love the concept behind this award:

This award belongs to those who believe, who always survive the day and those who never stop dreaming; for those who cannot quit, for those who keep trying and if you’re in this category, you are Entitiled to this Award.

I found this so inspirational that I really couldn’t bring myself to single out anybody and leave others out. The above applies to all my blogger friends(you know who you are), so I am not going to pass this on to anyone in particular. Instead I dedicate this to you (YES YOU!), thank you for supporting me and remember to always keep that candle of hope burning brightly.
And thanks once again Sharon for your acknowledgement!

NM 🙂

The LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD


Happy New Years y’all!!!!!

I trust that you’ve had fun over the festive season. I certainly have and am looking forward to a great year in 2012. I could not have thought of a better way to start the new blogging year than with another blogging award. My good friend Becky awarded me the Liebster Blog Award last month. She’s always singing my praises, is benevolent Becky, so there’s no words to fully describe my gratitude to her except to say, a big, hearty THANK YOU!!
And if you love books, which I assume you do (and if you don’t, what on earth’s wrong with you?!), Becky is THE best book reviewer in the blogosphere. That is my opinion of course but I happen to rate my opinion very highly so go check her out at Blogs-of –a-bookaholic.

Obviously, as with all blogging awards, it is required that I pass this award on to others.
The rules are thus:

Upon receiving your Liebster award, you should:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. (some say just 3 or more blogs of less than 200 followers each)
5. Let them know they have been chosen, by leaving a comment at their blog.

It’s been awhile since my Versatile Blogger Award and I’ve met so many great bloggers since then. Of these, I’ve chosen my top 5, in no particular order:

Martin Shone
Even if his short stories weren’t so darn entertaining, I would still give Martin this award just for being a Sherlockian like me. In my opinion, to be considered truly awesome, you HAVE to be an Arthur Conan Doyle fan, so he definitely meets the requirements. He’s also a great poet so check him out here.

Nelle
I don’t mean to play favourites but Nelle is definitely one of my favourite commenters here on the Writers Bloq. An intelligent writer, who’s life experiences and musings I really enjoy reading over at her own blog Ramblings of a Daft Writer.

Happiness Stan Lives here
This is actually a cooking blog but still one of my favourites. If you love good food, love to cook and have a sense of humour, go here right now!

Chris
Chris is a young writer to watch out for. He’s a prolific blogger with excellent insights on the writing process. Check him out at Write to Perfect.

Jennifer Neri
Jennifer’s musings about her writing experiences hits very close to home. Her down-to-earth style and honesty is refreshing and will appeal to writers. Go and pay her a visit here.

Once again thank you to the Great Beckster (sorry Becky, that’s your nickname from now on 🙂 ) for my Liebster. And to the bloggers mentioned above, go on now, and spread the love. You know you want to.

NM 🙂

YULETIDE Greetings


I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my subscribers and fellow bloggers a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
It’s been a great year. Starting this blog way back in March has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve met so many wonderful, like-minded people from all over the world and it’s been a pleasure getting to know you all.
To my loyal commenters, thank you for your support. You have no idea how much your comments and ‘likes’ mean to me, so from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU!!
I look forward to seeing you again in the New Year!

Best wishes

NM 🙂

Welcome to Spam-alot!


Last week my WordPress Dashboard kindly informed me that Akismet has protected my site from 100 spam comments. Woo Hoo! No matter what the occasion, one hundred always seems like a great milestone that calls for a celebratory punch in the air with shouts of ‘Woo Hoo!’

After my so-called “celebration” I became quite concerned as I thought that 100 spam messages was quite a lot considering that I only had 52 posts to my name at the time. That’s an average of almost 2 spammies per post. And I didn’t even consider those that got away and really did find their way to my Pending Inbox, hoping (stupidly) that I wouldn’t notice.

Monty Python-inspired spam

Speaking of those messages that managed to escape Akismet, I have to confess that even though 99 per cent of the time these comments don’t make any sense, I sometimes approve a few of them because they seem quite encouraging and sincere. And when your self-esteem is a bit lacking like mine, every bit of praise helps, like a booster shot of confidence to help you get through the day. Or in my case a couple of hours.But like I said, these ‘spam-like’ comments really don’t make any sense and I wonder if they are meant for me at all.

On one of my posts I got called a genius for no apparent reason – the commenter gave no explanation as to why he/she thought this and did not allude to the post at all! I kept the comment anyway because I quite like the idea that I might actually be a genius.

There is also another type of comment that leaves me confused. I say ‘type’ because I get quite a few messages with very similar phrases. The responder will state how much they loved the post and that it ‘saved them much time.’
Really? Wow, imagine that. If the reader had not stumbled upon my humble blog, think of all the hours they might have wasted, doing God-knows-what.

Not all responses are this harmless though. A few months back I wrote a poem-it’s probably somewhere there in my archives. I was pissed off at the time, so the poem was actually a rant but I got the following response:

so tell me how you really feel

What is it about a non-punctuated sentence with no Capital letters that’s so creepy?
Thankfully I never got a comment from this spammer again. That’s the good thing about spammers. They get you once and then they leave. They are like bees. Except they don’t die after they sting you but just disappear. Unfortunately, also like bees, when you trash one spam comment, there are millions more in the Internet hive waiting to take its place.
Comments like these I have no trouble sending to the Trash. It’s the non-creepy ones I have a problem with.
On this blog of mine, I try to approve and reply to every single response I get (That off course is standard blog etiquette) and I sometimes feel awful to delete these ‘spam-like’ comments, in the off chance that one of them might actually be a genuine response from an internet-user but non-blogger.

So my blogger homies, how do you react to your spam comments? Do you trash them quickly or do you consider each one? And what is the funniest/strangest/creepiest response you ever got?
And just for kicks, if I receive any spam for this particular post, I will not only approve it but I will leave an equally strange response in return. That should show those spammers…

NM 

Addendum:
I got the idea and drafted this post last week and it seems that the Spam Gods, on foreseeing my actions, have hatched an evil plan to thwart me. Since planning this post, an alarming amount of spam has escaped Akismet. On Thursday I received a whopping 8 messages….all spam. Plus I’ve been getting quite a few very day since then. As of today, Akismet has protected my site from 172 comments. That’s 72 in one week! From 100 spam comments in seven months of blogging to over 70 in one week, may I kindly ask, what the f*ck is going on?

NaNoWriMo? Is that a new type of IPad or something?


I have decided to take part in NaNoWriMo 2011……………….Ha! Ha! Gotchya!

Yeah right, like I have the discipline to pull that one off.
But I must admit that with every writer/blogger talking about National Novel Writing Month, I feel like a sad schoolboy, who doesn’t have the latest Playstation game all his classmates are talking about and therefore cannot get excited about it in the same way as his friends are. What I’m basically saying is that I feel decidedly ostracized and even considered, for a fraction of a second, to take part. Off course, I do know my limits and therefore exercised my better judgment.

Even though I’m not participating, I feel strangely motivated. With all the hype, it seems NaNoWriMo is having an indirect effect on me.Maybe it’s the thought of all those brave souls, who are deliberately putting their entire lives on hold – locking themselves in their houses, switching off their television sets, the internet and other social media for the entire month in an attempt to eliminate all distractions so they may undertake the admirable task of writing their novels in 30 days (strange how they find the time and means to blog about this though!). This has motivated me to work just a little bit harder on my own stuff. It’s an incredible lesson in discipline and it’s rubbing off on me. I seem to be winning a little-and I’m not even taking part!!

I have to confess that if I had not started blogging, I would never have known such a thing as National Novel Writing Month existed. Only when I did, did I realize what an incredibly small bubble I was living in. When I first heard the term “NaNoWriMo”, I thought it was some new piece of technology out on the market, like a new type of IPad or those Tablet PC thingies. I even delayed finding out what it was because I figured since I don’t even own a Kindle as yet, there was no way I would be able to afford a NaNoWriMo, which sounded very expensive.
Ah, the beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand, as Frank Herbert once said. My ignorance certainly has been betrayed since blogging, I won’t lie. That’s the purpose of ‘web-logging’ I suppose, to open up yourself to the world around you so you become less of an idiot.

So will I ever take part in NaNoWriMo in the future? Probably. Maybe. Nah, highly unlikely, maybe in my next life. But if you are taking part now, here’s a hearty good luck to you. I truly admire your spirit so go break a leg, or finger and remember to have some fun in the process. If possible…

NM 🙂

Birthday Girl


The beautiful roses that were delivered to my house on my birthday, courtesy of the Boyfriend.

Last Saturday the Boyfriend took me to a fancy restaurant in Durban to celebrate my birthday. I thought I’d blog about this since I’ve been getting quite a few requests for a ‘birthday post.’ Okay only two people asked me but still, 2 is more than zero and I don’t want to disappoint so…

Anyways, we drive to a place called Roma Revolving-yes, you read right, it is a revolving restaurant and no it doesn’t spin fast like a top.
It completes one revolution every 70-90 minutes, so as you eat, the restaurant is actually turning! A pretty cool concept if you ask me.

The establishment is situated at the top of a building that’s thirty storey’s high so we caught the sights of Durban central from all angles. We even had an excellent view of Moses Mahbida stadium which I sadly failed to capture on film. In fact I didn’t get many pictures from up there although I did manage to capture a pretty view of the harbor when it got darker.
Some of you curious peeps might want to know what I ate. For starters, Boyfriend and I shared a seafood pancake which was absolutely to die for!I had the spinach ravioli (yummy!) for mains and for dessert we got to choose from the dessert tray which they carted around. What was cool was that we could choose half-portions of two desserts so we get to try two different things. Our choices were the chocolate mousse and hazelnut gateau-both were divine. 😀

A big thumbs-up to a great dinner, and thank you to the Boyfriend for spoiling me.
And for you guys, here are some more pics…

A seafood pancake with bechamel sauce 😀

View of the Durban Harbour at night.

That's me, at the entrance to Roma Revolving, trying to look up a Roman legionaire's skirt! Sadly it was a statue so there was nothing to see... 😉