story, science, technology and creativity


Liebster Awards: discover new blogs!

liebsterWhee! This blog has been nominated for a Liebster Award! Yay! A huge thank-you to Brittany of the super San’in Monogatari who nominated me. It’s my first ever blogging award 🙂 🙂

The Liebster award rules are as follows:

1] Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
2] Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you.
3] Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4] Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination.
5] Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.

Yikes….It’s a serious business, this blog awards thing! Still, it sounds like fun, so here goes…




1. What inspires you to blog?
My stats page. There you go. I’m that shallow. When my readership dips under around a certain number of reads/day, I know it’s time to publish some new-and-incredible morsels of wisdom. Ahem. But I do think authors have to treat writing as a business, which means taking social media and blogging seriously. Since I’m rubbish at Facebook and mostly-rubbish at Twitter, this leaves blogging for me to be more serious about. 🙂

2. What do you hope readers take away from your blog?
I hope they leave with a burning desire to read and buy and gift my books. And I hope they’re inspired to try writing their own books. And I hope they feel like they just met a nice person who’s having fun living their life.

3. In a world without the internet, how would you try to accomplish the above?
Teach writing workshops. Which I also do. Writing is the best fun. It’s creative and endless and free to enjoy. Like the beach. Or the mountains.

4. Would you rather live in the mountains or by the beach?
Both? Is that cheating? Probably the beach, if I had to choose.

5. What food are you proud you tried, but would never eat again?
Natto. It’s fermented soybeans and The Best Hangover Cure Ever when mixed with soy sauce to make it vaguely edible. But seriously, I’d rather be hungover.

6. Do you have any interesting stories behind any scars?
My guts were pretty much ripped apart by surgery in Japan to remove a gangrene appendix. It looks like I was attacked by a crocodile and then shot several times. After this near-death experience, I decided I didn’t want to expire doing something I wasn’t passionate about, and so became a writer. Voila!

7. How would you pitch your favorite travel destination to someone who has never heard of it?
Ogasawara: a set of tropical islands, 24 hours south of Tokyo by boat, virtually untouched. Scuba heaven, foody heaven, slow-life-no-frills heaven. (Or at least it was ten years ago :-))

8. Your camera breaks while you’re on an exciting vacation. What do you do?
Buy a crappy disposable that’s also waterproof, use all the film, forget to develop the film when I get home. Discover the film years later and still don’t develop it.

9. However big or small, what’s something you have always wanted to try doing?
There’s lots of travel stuff I’d like to try: the Inca Trail… Kilimanjaro… Bluff Knoll with my kids… Actually, don’t get me started…

10. A favorite childhood memory?
Camping in New Zealand, back when I didn’t feel the cold.

11. What person, in any place or time period, would you trade places with for a day?
Dr Who. (Is that cheating?)



With thanks to Alphabet Soup magazine, Kid’s Book Review Curly Questions and of course San’in Monogatari for inspiration on the questions.

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.  

2. What’s a children’s book you’ve read recently that you’d recommend as a good read?

3. Describe your writing style in ten words.   

4. What book character would you be, and why? 

5. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?  

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?   

7.  How do you deal with rejection?

8. What’s your advice to someone trying to make it in your field?

9. What’s something you once read in a fictional book and assumed to be true?

10. What do you hope readers take away from your blog?

11. What person, in any place or time period, would you trade places with for a day?


And…MY NOMINATED BLOGS: Go visit them now!


…in no particular order…

…and apologies if you have more than 200 followers: I’m not sure how I’m supposed to figure that out?…

Hyakumonogatari: Translated Japanese Ghost Stories and Tales of the Weird and the Strange Awesome insights into Japan’s spooky culture and history care of super translator and Japanophile Zack Davisson.

Demons and Folklore of Ancient Japan: You won’t believe what goes bump in the night More spooky Japan from a talented teenage newcomer and freelance writer.

Writing in the Margins: A blog about writing young adult and children’s fiction, and other random observations Author Julia Lawrinson was a mentor for me when I first dipped in my pen. Her blog is personal and honest and her books are fantastic. Check them out.

As In Egg: News, Events and a Healthy Dash of Random from Children’s Writer and Poet Meg McKinlay Delivers exactly what it says with charm and quirk and all the things we love in Meg’s writing, as well as insights into Meg’s writerly process.

Mish Gittens: Writer, Psychologist, Parent, Other Things Hilarious and honest and inspiring. Well worth the visit!

Hiragana Mama Great Japan-related activity and craft ideas, perfect for younger kids.

Leza Lowitz Love Japan but tired of reading about girls in kimono trailing after the boys? Check out Leza’s debut YA: an action-adventure about the last living female ninja. Woot woot! A Japan-based author and yoga teacher.

The Rosie Black Chronicles: Lara Morgan’s young adult series Lara is a new mum and YA writer and I love reading of her successes and thoughts and ideas. Another writer with strong female protagonists. YAY!

HATBOOKS: Holly Thompson’s blog on writing, teaching, living and learning, mostly in Japan Another blog from an author living in Japan. I know how hard that can be, so love reading about Holly’s trials and successes.

Tom Avery: Some thoughts of mine on my blog Tom is a terrific teacher and children’s writer and also a winner of the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award.

Christchurch Kids Blog By, for, and about children living in New Zealand (but a great read for anyone who loves children’s books). A fab place to link up with some of Australia and New Zealand’s most interesting children’s authors.


Ta da! Hope you discover some fabulous new places to browse, be informed, inspired and entertained. Go forth and Liebster!