Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “awards”

Yay! An Award!!


I like awards. I especially like them when they are unexpected. Nicole over at I Am Booked unexpectedly gifted me with this lovely award and I shall now pass it forward by A) discussing how I started CricketMuse plus a bit of advice on blogging and B)nominating 15 other blogs.

The Blog Start
The conference presenter said “You have to establish a platform if you intend on getting noticed as a writer.” I took that bit of insight to heart and bounced around ideas for a blog. It had to be something I had an interest in, could sustain, and it needed to be catchy. Well, I am passionate about books, reading, writing, and teaching. So finding sustainable subjects wasn’t too much of a stretch. And in terms of catchy–that was the tough part, because I know getting the title right is an important part of blogdom, as well as grabbing reader attention. It’s competitive out there. After some different ideas, I decided upon Cricket Muse because Cricket is a nickname (chirpy little critters with a song that is either annoying or pleasant depending on your point of view) and Muse, which is what I do a lot–ruminate, didn’t sound quite as lyrical. I’ve been blogging about three years and I haven’t run out of ideas yet. In fact, I have a page full of post possibilities I constantly add to.

The Advice
As for advice, I offer two tidbits: consistency and scheduling. Bloggers come and bloggers go. I follow lots of blogs, yet few keep a consistent posting pace. I believe the most popular blogs keep a fairly visible presence. I suggest posting at least once a week, more if possible, to keep interest level up. This brings me to scheduling. I have devised a schedule of topics for different days of the month. I have a running theme of “Why We Say” which explores all those odd sayings that work themselves into our speech, as well as a Poem(s) of the Month page. I also try to spotlight a writer, a blogger, or a book. This equals about six posts a month or about every five days I’ve got something going. This diversity of topics also appeals to a variety of readers, so I am constantly attracting new viewers. If readers like what they see, and get a sense for what is offered, they will, it’s hoped, keep coming back, and perhaps become a follower. And I suggest follow up visits. It’s not only polite, but it’s also fun to go out and visit new-to-you blogs, and exchange howdies with those you already know.

The Nominations
The following blogs have a commonality in being Book Boosters. I am indeed a reader, and I have a definite soft spot for others who unabashedly promote books to their readers. I hope you check out their blogs. And once again, a big thanks to Nicole!

  1. Paperback Princess
  2. Interesting Literature
  3. BitsnBooks
  4. Books on the Tube
  5. Literary Distractions
  6. The Literary Classics
  7. The Nerdy Book Club
  8. One Minute Book Reviews
  9. Reading with Rhythm
  10. 746 Books
  11. Picture This Book
  12. 100 Books Every Child Should Read Before Growing Up
  13. Book to the Future
  14. Friendly Bookworm
  15. Blogs-of-a-Bookaholic

Not on the list? It was tough to choose, since I follow so many different blogs, I decided to keep it to the theme of Book Boosters, and I know there are more bibliophiles on my list. So, if you aren’t in the line up–you are in my thoughts, just not on my list (for now).

Happy blogging!

Blue Skies,

Inspire me or Alice don’t believe everything you read (or eat)

free speech 2

free speech 2 (Photo credit: dogwelder)

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

Well, that was certainly unexpected.  Have you tried out the “Inspire me” Wordpress widget?  Click “new post” and among the various menu options there is a tantalizing bright blue Alice link.  I say Alice because when she stared at the “eat me” tag, how could she resist?  Naturally I succumbed and clicked and the above prompt is what I received.

In terms of nervousness here is an interesting paradox to consider.  I’m a teacher, right?  I face anywhere from 70 to 90 teenagers a day.  Mostly I know my lesson plan and what I plan to say, yet I am not nervous.  Nope, not at all.  Talking in front of people is what I do. This is why I sometimes am faced with a request to speak at a conference or at a retreat or at an event.

“You’re a natural.”

“I laughed so hard the last time you gave the book talk.”

“We really need someone who is comfortable being in front of people.”

All these comments trap me with their fluttering flattery.  I say “yes” and wither a bit each day until the appointed time.  Why?  I have to face a hostile crowd three times a day (okay, not hostile– how about reluctant?) as I teach high school English.  However, knowing I will be speaking and people will be watching and anticipating information or entertainment revs up the flutterbys to flim flamming around as they ride the nervous elevator up and down until my heart freezes after it’s flip flopped about like the caught trout on the bottom of the boat.  I an hooked, lined, and sinkered waiting until I trod up to the podium. But you know what’s really weird?  Once I’m there it’s okay.  I do much better at spontaneous delivery. Epiphany: It’s that countdown that does me in.

Secondary epiphany: Maybe it’s speaking in front of adults that’s so daunting.  Considering they are more polite than teenagers as an audience I should be thrilled at the aspect of having such a nice captive crowd.  This could be a problem should my all-American novel get published and I have to go on a coast-to-coast speaking tour.

Anyone else get nervous about presentations?

On to business, get off the rabbit trail. A couple of days ago Mary of MaryMeddlemore nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and now it’s time to pass it on to other blogs that I find inspiring:
1. Speaking out about things of faith and importance

2. Fabulous photography

3. Caters to my weakness for words

4. She is a rock star among bloggers–great blog, great success and to think she stops by and visits my posts now and then *wow*

5. A most amazing motivational blog

6. Recently published his first children’s book and that is very inspiring to me

7. How does she come up with all those ideas?


Usually I don’t bend the rules (I’ve earned quite the reputation for being quite the policy stickler, in fact), yet I’ve got this Agatha Christie I’m needing to finish so I can go on to my next book in th bag. So instead of 15 blogs I’ve shouted out 7 which means instead of 7 facts I’ve done 3 (they are hidden in this paragraph.

Enjoy your holidays one and all!

Blue Skies,


The Rush of Falling Down Happy

I ran track in high school and always complained when coach made us take a long run.  “I’m a sprinter! Why do I have to practice for distance?” I would question.  In her wisdom she explained it built up my endurance.

And so it is with NaNoWriMo.  I usually don’t write every day, and I especially don’t write nearly 1,700 words when I do.  My usual writing regime is to toss down an idea, thought-drop a page or two, or a chapter, or pick apart a passage.  I tend to sprint write, in other words.  I’m not much for sitting down hours at end, pushing my muse to exhaustion.

This is why NaNo has been good for me.

Of course I didn’t think that as I realized (often) at 8:30 pm I needed to enter my daily dose of words.  I especially did not embrace the goodness of attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  And I especially wondered why I would think it a good idea to marathon write when my life was pretty full already.

Because it builds up my endurance.

I know now I can do it–oh, have I shown you my certificate of completion yet?

Day Two

Having completed the grueling word run, even in the midst of parent/teacher conferences, posting quarterly grades, preparing for Thanksgiving, and living life as usual, I now know I can go the extra mile at a pace that is uncomfortable at times, but still doable.

I don’t know if I will make NaNoWriMo an annual event; however, I do know I like the feeling, that rush, of falling down happy once done.

To those who persevered NaNo, I raise my bottled water to you in salute.  Even if you didn’t participate I know you were cheering us along the way.  Thanks, I, and we, needed that.



A Wee Bit of Housekeeping


WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Blogging is tough to keep up with when the paperload of grading bogs my time down.  I’ve managed to swim up from an arduous week of poetry notebooks and grammar packets and hope to dust off the edges of my postie.

First of all, as summer plunges into the recesses of seasonal change, as darkness and rainy days force former sunny afternoons of backyard bliss to fade away into autumnal dreariness, I can’t  help but reflect how quickly time passes.  One day I’m relaxing out in the backyard with book in hand after a long day of prepping freshmen of the harsh realities of high schoolness and the next moment I’m hunkering over my laptop planning second semester lesson forays into To Kill a Mockingbird and The Odyssey.

This is when I am glad to retreat into blogdom.

I have scant energy to work on my manuscripts once school starts again.  I don’t even have energy to skim through my writing magazines, let alone attend my critique group.  Teacherness garners every grain of my attention.  Then again, what else would I want to do for a career.? Oh, yeah, be a world-famous recluse writer.  Aah, there’s time for that when I do actually retire.

For now, blogging is my version of knitting as a means of unwinding and filling my hands with busyness and allowing my brain to channel some sort of creativity.  I may not churn out scarves and mittens, but I do enjoy tweaking out a post or two.

This is why I so appreciate getting a bit of recognition now and then.  Those fun reader awards count for hurrah applause (“yes! someone is reading my stuff! yay!!) This time I have Samirto thank for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I appreciate Samir’s comments and he has great insights on writing (and life) at his own blog.  Be sure to check out his blog if you haven’t already.  Now, as to the award regs:

1.  Thanks, Samir, for the lovely blog nom

2. Seven things about me…

  • Not a banana fan unless they are in my smoothie or come in chips
  • Prefer doing sports rather than watching them
  • I detest crinkly sounds, especially at the movies
  • Would love to live in a Bradburian neighborhood with a front porch and visit with neighbors who pop up for conversation and lemonade as we ease back in our porch swings
  • I used to adore cats, but not so much anymore (I owned seven at one time)
  • Wonder if I will ever be able to play the piano–I have the piano, just no musical ability
  • Can’t drink carbonated beverages without getting explosive, bodacious hiccups (very embarrassing)

3. Fifteen blogs I think are Lovely

ahem, well…I think a lot of blogs are lovely and so not too offend anyone I do follow, have followed, and intend on following more closely, here are a handful of new-to-me blogs.  I especially like how random these bloggers think, react, and respond to the world around them.  They are sound bites of this big blue marble we call home:

And just in case you are interested, as I was dusting and futzing about the blog I discovered a few stats lying about.  Not knowing what else to do with them I thought I would air them out.  Stats do like a turn  about now and then.

Since February when I began Musing via WordPress:

  • 103 posts
  • 5, 665 hits
  • Akimet is protecting me against 888 spam comments–this one fascinates me. How do they know what constitutes a threat versus a sincere inquiry? What if it is a legimate blogadite tapping at my door?
  • March 17 was my busiest day when I had 86 hits.  I wrote about browsing through other people’s bookcases.  Weird how some topics light a fire, huh?

Anyway, I’m worn out from dusting and futzing.  I need to get back to slumming and read my gothic romance.  The heroine is just about to become the governess to the spoiled daughter of the married man who has wretched, but attractive wife.  It should be a fast read.  Tomorrow we continue with Cyrano de Bergerac in AP English.

Happy Pages,


Cyrano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aah–a little bit of Sunshine

“I got sunshine on a cloudy day”

“Sunshine, on my shoulders, makes me happy”

“The sun is very happy fellow”

When Maribeth let me know she had nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award all kinds of sunshine lyrics started dancing in my head.  Ooh, ooh and oh my, do I like sunshine.  I am one blue Cricket once winter commences and “there ain’t no sunshine when (s)he’s gone.” Sunshine in this case being summer.  I am definitely a summer girl.  Me no likee winter cold and snow.  So, thanks Maribeth for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  That makes two awards in one week–it must be my week, as she pointed out.  

Questions to answer:

  1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
    Oddly, enough it’s the first Narnia movie.  All that winter and Father
    Christmas and good triumphing over badness makes it all work for me.

  2. What is your favorite flower?
    I adore so many!  Faves include pansies and lavender
  3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?
    Can’t resist a perfect cup of cocoa
  4.  What is your passion?
    Life!  I embrace all life has to offer: family, friends, dragonflies, hummingbirds, rainbows, dark chocolate–it’s all in one excellent package
  5. What is your favorite time of year?The ending of summer as it drifts into fall.  Indian Summer (hmm, is that politically correct these days?) It’s the loveliest combination of sunshine during the day and crisp evening air
  6. What is your favorite time of day?
    Morning, morning, morning–I’ve even been accused of being chirpy (aren’t Crickets supposed to me chirpy?)
  7. What is your favorite physical activity?
    Walking, badminton, kite flying, building sand castles–I like to moveit, moveit
  8. What is your favorite vacation?
    Any vacation that involves fun and family.

Nominees–now this will be tough since I just nominated a list for the recent Inspiration Award.  Here are a couple of bloggers among the many out there who definitely add a bit of sunshine to the world of blogging through constant promotion of books and reading.



Wait…How can I list ten when there are dozens upon dozens out there who love reading like I do.  MAJOR CHEAT: If you are a Book Booster consider yourself  nominated for all you do to get books in the hands and minds of others!

Product Image



Inspiration.  It’s a noun that can mean:

  1. Stimulation to do creative work.
  2. Somebody or something that inspires
  3. Creativeness
  4. Good idea
  5. Divine influence
  6. Breathing in

As a synonym you’ll find:

  • Motivation
  • Stimulation
  • Encouragement
  • Muse

There is also:

  • Idea
  • Brainwave
  • Insight
  • Flash
  • Revelation

Therefore, to receive nomination for Very Inspiring Blogger causes me to pause and reflect–Do I?  Inspiration is one of those words I take seriously, which means I shall endeavor to make sure my posting are up to snuff.   Letizia passed on this nomination to me and I am quite appreciative.  Letizia is an active reader, meaning she reads whenever she can.  She is working on reading and walking at the same time–something I’m hoping to do.  Kind of like Keira Knightley in the opening of Pride and Prejudice.  Walking and reading a book combines two great loves: the outdoors and absorbing words via written page. Delicious. When I finish reading a good book, especially a wonderful book, I want to get up and run off all the stored up energy from absorbing words, ideas, and the connection of writer to reader.  So, if I could walk and read at the same time–my, that would be just about perfect.

Now, on to award requirements.  I must nominate seven blogs which inspire and then list seven things about myself:

Seven blogs: (envelope please)

1. : A YA writer, she doesn’t mind sharing her passion about writing via hot tips about the publishing scene.  I like her enthusiasm and stamina when it comes to writing.

2. As a teacher her honesty about the profession inspires me because she reminds me that each student is an individual person, and as a teacher I will impact that student.

3. :  Taking on topics of all kinds, she makes me think about issues.

4. : She freely admits judging a book by its cover.  We’ve had fun keeping up on our reading lists.

5. : Another reader of merit.  She mixes it up topic-wise and I always enjoy her witty comments and replies.

6. : Pastor Jeff is willing to freely discuss his faith and issues in an open and engaging manner.

7. : A self-professed bookworm, she reminds me that rereading old treasures is a pursuit of happiness.

As for seven things about me:

1.  Adore snoozing in my backyard hammock on a middling to warm day with a bit of breeze wisping about

2.  Love old Hollywood: the Hepburns, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck…

3. I read picture books when no one is looking.

4.  Eating raspberries as I pick them fresh off the vine on a summer morning is the best way to start a day, in my opinion

5.  Playing badminton is THE way to spend a summer evening

6.  Do not put cucumbers in my salad, thank you very much

7. Blogging has become a tempered addiction for me

I Do So Appreciate My Readers

Cover of "Inception"

Cover of Inception

Cover of "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

Cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God

It is ever so wonderful to check notifications and discover the nomination of a blogger award.  This one comes  from AJ Jenner. She is doing what most of us writers would like to do–take a sabbatical from the workaday world and she is seriously pursuing writing.  Yay and hooray to live out that goal. News update: she just won a screenwriting contest.  Double hooray!

I’m a little fuzzy about the requirements of this award and so I will wing it (as usual).

First off: what have I been up to lately?  Hmmm, besides grading papers until my eyes and resolve give out, I’ve managed to smush in some fun stuff:

  • read a few books: Their Eyes Were Watching God (a possible text for AP literature), Insurgent (been waiting almost a year for the sequel to Divergent) .
  • watch a few DVDs: Inception (again). Flyboys (for my seniors as a means of emphasizing how WWI experience shifted the world’s paradigm and changed literature forever), Miracle Worker, Romeo and Juliet (both for classes, yet I don’t mind how many times I’ve watched them), Their Eyes Were Watching God (almost as good as the book), Garrow’s Law (series based on real life of the English lawyer who began defense for the prosecuted in 18th century).
  • garden–although I’m not enjoying it quite like I used to. Score? Weeds 5, Me-1
  • gelato walks: on Fridays they offer fruit flavors (strawberry on top and chocolate on the bottom…yummmmy)
  • procrastinate about editing my YA novel that needs to be sent off to a publisher I discovered at a recent writing conference.

Oh, and nap.  I turned to chocolate to relieve the stress of end-of-the year teaching, and gained two pounds.  Napping seems to be working better.  Somewhere I read that those who nap lose weight.  I still prefer chocolate though.

Another part of the award is to nominate other blogs?  I don’t know how many we are supposed to nominate so I will offer up those blogs who regularly respond and drop by:

Eagle-eyed Editor


Remco Coesel

Literary Tiger



And I do so appreciate my readers, so if I left you off the list, my apologies.  I really need to finish this so I can take my Sunday nap.  Either that or I will succumb to popping down to the store for chocolate.

Cricket Muses on The Versatile Blogger Award

Artsyarchitette brightened my day with The Versatile Blogger Award.  Being fairly new to blogging, I naturally am amazed to even be noticed among the thousands of bloggers out there, and then again secretly I’m basking in the glory of the moment because I really work hard at making each post special.

So here is the award:

And here is my 7 facts:

1.  dark chocolate

2.  Mozart preferably

3.  Summer, not winter

4.  GiGi

5.  DVD, unless there’s a strict no phones policy

6.  Audrey Hepburn

7.  Naps

As to the 15 bloggers.  Mmm, fudgeitfudgy, here’s 5 for now:






In researching the award I have discovered there is definitely a split opinion roaming around.  Some say they are just a chain letter of sorts, and others say celebrate and pass on the love.  I’m a bit in the middle.   I’ve done most of the award requirements, and hope the award police won’t yank it off my site since I’ve only 5 instead of 15 nominates.

What is your opinion of these awards?

Are they:

A.  lovely bits of affirmation

b.  meaningless

c.  more work than glory

d. somewhere in between

Anyway, I’m pleased and happy and more than willing to pass on the love

Blue Skies,


P.S. This marked my 30th posting–is there a connection?  Do I get an iPad with my 50th?

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