365 days – one year ago today!

The Flight of Fantasy Award

How time flies when you’re having fun?! 😀

Exactly one year ago today, on a rather chilly and snow-covered afternoon much like this, I decided to dip my toes in the shifting sea of blogging. Being not just an technophobe but also a certified techno-idiot, I severely doubted my skills in this area. SAM_2255

When it comes to computers I tend to push random buttons and hope for the best!

However, I am a quick learner and a tenacious little bugger so I keep trying and trying and by some mysterious force and the wonderful support of YOU, my lovely internet supporters, friends and family, this personal little blog has grown into something rather special.

So, what aims did I have when I started this blog?

594Probably much like any other I suppose. For me, this was always going to be a personal blog, not a commercial site, a buy buy buy me site, I find most marketing sites a complete turn off. No, this was an odyssey of self-expression, a way of making sense of an increasingly bizarre world, and a way of sharing poetry, short stories, travelogues, writing tips, a little philosophy and my experiences with others. Octavia's Bookshop signing 2012

As a writer, we all have very different paths and journeys to follow which take us in different directions. No author’s journey is ever the same, that is what makes it so special and so unique. Advice is wonderful and helpful, but of course as with life, one size doesn’t fit all. Take what you need and leave the rest. Decide what is important to you, what works and what doesn’t.

To thine own self be true.

Try not to be derailed or bullied into producing someone else’s vision. Your vision is your vision. Be proud of who and what you are, warts and all. Nobody is perfect. As a perfectionist myself, I know that to be true especially of myself, but strive and never stop striving!

Remember, nobody ever truly fails from having high expectations, from pushing themselves that little bit harder. You may not attain the dizzying summits you are aiming for, but at least having them in your sights will bring them damn close. But if your dreams are limited, your expectation low, then so will be the results of your endeavours.

To strive and never give up no matter the odds or obstacles, believe me, there will be A LOT of them and from unexpected quarters!!!!

Yeap, one thing I can promise is that the life of a writer is never easy. Much of the time you will feel utterly alone and like you are constantly swimming against the current. You’ve just got to grow fins and be a bit of a salmon, keep swimming upstream, over waterfalls and harsh terrain until you reach your goal!

Life ain’t easy, but I guess nothing ever is. Just remember, no matter how difficult things get, you are NEVER alone, there are thousands of other little fish swimming upstream along side you. So when you can, stretch out and lend them a fin and share your journey with them. A trouble shared is not only a trouble halved, but it reminds us of our collective humanity and the ties that bind us all.

Again, a little kindness goes a long way… 😀

In the shark infested waters of the book business, where even the great can be easily swallowed by the tides and sink without a trace, it’s good to be a strong swimmer and help your fellow minnows along. There’s safety in numbers, right? 😛

To that fact, as well as thanking the 9,000 or so lovely visitors who have graciously visited this little blog over the last year and left their indelible presence behind (and to whom I owe so much), I must thank those wonderful talented fellow fantasy minnows that I first met back in November 2010. I speak of course, of The Alliance of Worldbuilders, brainchild of the Dark Lord himself, creator Tristan Mander (TRM)!!!

When I joined the Harpercollins writing site, Authonomy back in 2010, I had no idea what a profoundly wonderful experience I chanced upon. A collective group of truly amazing writers, each imbued with a generosity of spirit, a wicked sense of humour and a talent and passion for fantasy writing. These inspiring individuals have since gone on to not only take over Authonomy as by far the largest group and thread on the site, but have produced a staggering range of excellent fiction!

I am immensely proud to call myself a member of The Alliance of Worldbuilders (AWB), as Tollam (Thane of Fyrrens), and though I don’t visit my talented AWBer’s as often as I’d like, they are never far from my thoughts. Their friendship and support have been simply amazing! Thank you so much guys!

Please check out The Alliance of Worldbuilders website: http://theallianceofworldbuilders.weebly.com/

and Authonomy where the magic all began: www.authonomy.com and the AWB thread itself: http://www.authonomy.com/forums/threads/99758/the-alliance-of-worldbuilders-part-iii/

So, in reverence to these amazing individuals, I (techno-idiot extraordinaire) have decided to really commemorate this special one year blog anniversary, by creating my very own blog award – The Flight of Fantasy Award. 😀

The Flight of Fantasy Award

This award is specifically intended for fantasy writers only – creators and destroyers of worlds, fantasy authors who inspire us, who thrill us with their dark imaginings, ignite our dreams and fuel our imaginations. They can be writers of urban fantasy, high/classic/epic fantasy, comic fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy horror, paranormal fantasy (ghosts are fine but no vampire stuff please) and sci-fi fantasy.

If you are lucky enough to be nominated for this award, then CONGRATULATIONS you officially ROCK!!!

The Rules of the Award are as follows:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 11 things about yourself (it’s a Spinal Tap thing!), including why you love fantasy and your first or favourite fantasy book.
  4. Nominate 7 bloggers for this award and link to them. (If you want to link back to me as well, that would be lovely but isn’t required!)
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

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Now, as the creator of this prestigious award, I’m going to get the ball rolling by nominating the first fantasy bloggers…and yes, I’m being naughty and am nominating more than 7! 😀 xx

Please check out these extraordinary blogs and writers (in no order)!:

A.F.E. Smith  http://www.afesmith.com/

Lindsey J Parsons http://lindseyjparsons.wordpress.com

Will Macmillan Jones http://willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com/

Kay Kauffman http://suddenlytheyalldied.com/

Katrina Jack http://kateannejack.wordpress.com/

Lisa Wiedmeier http://lisawiedmeier.blogspot.co.uk/

Ryan Holmes (Griffin’s Quill) http://griffinsquill.com/

Tricia Drammeh http://theclaimingwords.com/

Ashen Venema http://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/

Andrea Baker http://www.andreabakerauthor.com/

Gretchen Steen http://thedragonladyofraevencliffcastle.weebly.com/

Jeremy Rodden http://www.toonopolis.com/

Hazel Butler http://aadenianink.com/

Tamara Hickman http://tamarahickman.wordpress.com/

Sam Dogra http://indigolightning.blogspot.co.uk/

Emily Rebecca McKeon http://www.theabsenteeblogger.blogspot.com

AMAZING writers and bloggers one and all, check em’ out guys! 😀 xx

The Flight of Fantasy Award

Very Inspiring Again?

Three days ago, in a maelstrom of emotions – more than a little ploughed under with work and the weather, which looks gorgeous but as we all know is utterly treacherous to drive in, I found a truly wonderful surprise waiting for me!

It really couldn’t have come at a better time, a little ray of sunshine in these wintry blustery days.

Tricia Drammeh, fellow fantasy writer, blogger extraordinaire, interviewer, reviewer, mother of four, hugely talented wordsmith and all round lovely person, nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!!!!!

http://blog.triciadrammeh.com/author/authortriciadrammeh/

If you haven’t already checked out her mindbogglingly wonderful blog, well, you’re really missing out! Get over there now folks you won’t regret it! 😀  http://blog.triciadrammeh.com/

She also has the most fantastic website: http://www.triciadrammeh.com/

I’m truly humbled and honoured to be nominated for this award by an author and blogger of such talents! A HUGE thank you to Tricia Drammeh!!! 😀 xx

*****

The Rules of the Award are as follows:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Okay, so we go…

  1. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of weird facts, especially world geography, just don’t ask me where the counties of England are!
  2. As a child I wanted to be an astronaut, writer and mermaid (2001 Space Odyssey and…er…the Splash movie had a huge influence!). Well, one out of three is pretty good?
  3. I’m happiest when I’m outside surrounded by nature, staring at the sky, horizon or the sea. It’s as important to me as breathing. Cities make me quite claustrophobic.
  4. As a young child, I started writing and drawing before I was even steady on my feet. I still have terrible balance. As I’m very bendy, I can do most of the yoga poses but cannot balance to save my life!
  5. I don’t drink at all – my taste buds are still as immature as they were when I first tried wine and I’m allergic to most of it. Yuk! But chocolate has an almost hypnotic effect on me!!!! 😛
  6. I love animals and can’t stand cruelty of any kind. I’m a member of most of the animal charities and used to campaign against circus cruelty to elephants.
  7. In fact, I can’t stand cruelty of any kind…To me there’s nothing worse than bullying and aggressive behaviour, there’s just no excuse for it. Why be rude and horrible when you can kind and tolerant? None of us are perfect but as my dear Granny used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.” A simple lesson we could all learn from.

Now for the nominees! Wow, this is really hard. Firstly a lot of my choices were quite rightly chosen by Tricia. Secondly, it’s hard picking just 15 bloggers, there are SO many great ones out there!

So…in no order at all, I nominate the following blogs for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Please DO check out all their amazing blogs!

  1. Ryan Holmes http://griffinsquill.com/
  2. Morgen Bailey http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/
  3. Lindsey J Parsons http://lindseyjparsons.wordpress.com/
  4. Ashen Venema (Course of Mirrors) http://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/
  5. Andy Szpuk http://andyszpuk.wordpress.com/
  6. Lisa Scullard http://lisascullard.wordpress.com/
  7. Gretchen Steen http://gretchensteen.blogspot.co.uk/
  8. James Shortland http://fantasybastion.com/
  9. ashsilverlock http://ashsilverlock.wordpress.com/
  10. M T McGuire http://www.mtmcguire.co.uk/
  11. Dominick Swennen http://fantasticalimaginations.wordpress.com/
  12. Jane Dougherty http://janedougherty.wordpress.com/
  13. Freaky Folk Tales http://freakyfolktales.wordpress.com/
  14. Moment Matters http://momentmatters.wordpress.com/
  15. atoasttodragons http://atoasttodragons.wordpress.com/

Gosh…that WAS hard. I also need to mention Sheryl Browne http://sheryls-ramblings.blogspot.com/ , Debbie Young http://youngbyname.wordpress.com/ , Mandy Ward  http://welcometowherever.wordpress.com/ and the wonderful Lisa Wiedmeier http://lisawiedmeier.blogspot.co.uk/ 😀

A truly AWESOME collection of books, to fulfil every fantasy fan’s wish list! You see? Christmas CAN come more than once a year!

I’m so honoured and proud to be included amongst them! Huge thanks to Kate! 😀 xx

Please check out Katrina Jack’s wonderful blog guys! http://kateannejack.wordpress.com

KATE JACK'S BLOG

You might want to add these to your personal library. All available from Amazon!

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High fantasy, YA urban fantasy, humorous fantasy, they’re all here!

Miss ’em – miss out 😀

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Barren Island Books – My Eighth Interview!

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For those of you familiar with that lovely long-standing stalwart of BBC Radio 4, Desert Island Discs, let me introduce to you an idea of pure majesty…

Talented fantasy writer, blogger, interviewer, mathematical genius, vegetarian, mystery, enigma wrapped in a rather lovely riddle, new mum, piano playing, fellow member of The Alliance of Worldbuilders, multi-talented book lover – the wonderful A.F.E. Smith has created somewhat of a stir. http://www.afesmith.com/

Forget Desert Island Discs, we’re talking about books not music here…so let me introduce you all to her wonderful, magical ‘Barren Island Books’! What a stroke of genius! SUCH a clever idea! 😀 http://www.afesmith.com/1/category/barren%20island%20books/1.html

Anyway, I have been very honoured and rather humbled to be invited and interviewed by A.F.E Smith, my eighth interview and the first of 2013.

If YOU were consigned to a barren island, albeit a rocky sanctuary or a green haven in a sun-kissed and bejewelled ocean, what 5 books would YOU bring for company and to keep the hounds of tedium at bay?

Please check out my new interview and A.F.E. Smith’s wonderful blog! : http://www.afesmith.com/1/post/2013/01/barren-island-books-sophie-e-tallis.html

😀 xx

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Passing 8,000 and looking to the future…what will 2013 bring you?

This is none of your business, get a life!

Well, 2013 is here, all shiny and new and wanting our attention like a hyperactive puppy.

But before looking to the future, take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months. What kind of a year was 2012 for you?

For me, it was a mad year, a one-off never to be forgotten year. Full of incredible hard work, a lot of stresses, but some truly amazing highs.

The year started in a chaotic fashion. I’d literally moved house two days before Christmas. Having bought the last scrawny looking tree for ÂŁ8 in B&Q, I was putting it up Christmas Eve amidst a sea of boxes! Although moving house is always exciting, the Christmas of 2011 was a difficult one. Everything that could go wrong with the house did. We lost our electricity, had no central heating, the oven imploded, the plumbing leaked if it worked at all…basically we were cold and hungry, oh, and we had no phones until the second week of January. It’s weird, but you never know how much you rely on phones and the internet until you have none, especially at Christmas time!349

But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Things get fixed, better than they were before. Our money pit of a house turned into a dream home and my gorgeous white wolves have never been happier!

But 2012 really kicked off with my childhood dream of becoming a published writer coming true…!

Amazon UK

And of course, I started this little unassuming blog on January 26th, as a way of charting my life and experiences to date, my journey towards publication, sharing writing tips and ideas, poems and stories, little life lessons learnt etc. Writing, fantasy, epic storytelling, life, creativity and everything in between!

THAT was my motto and still is.

Well, in less than a year that ‘little unassuming blog’ has enjoyed tremendous success with over 8,500 views, far beyond anything I could have envisioned!

2012 rolled on…and with each passing month came a new milestone.

My first book, my first interview, then my second and third and fourth and so on. Long before my debut novel, White Mountain, was even published the pre-orders started pouring in. A HUGE thank you to all those wonderful early supporters, my Dragon Friends, thank you thank you thank you! Chapter Eighteen - Turn Of The Blade

Then came blog awards, newspaper articles and feature interviews. The momentum had taken on a life of its own.

Then, a few weeks after my birthday came the day I’d been waiting for since I was a 5 yr old kid. My first novel, White Mountain – Book 1 of The Darkling Chronicles, was published 30th September 2012. A date indelibly imprinted on my brain and SUCH a good time to publish, part of that magical infamous Autumn push!

A week later and I had my book launch at Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester, a very prestigious independent bookshop which was voted runner-up in the Best Small Shops in Britain Awards by The Telegraph and was then shortlisted for Best Children’s Independent Bookshop in The Bookseller Industry Awards. It’s owner, Octavia Karavla, is a real mover and shaker in the book business and was shortlisted for Young Bookseller of the Year and has just been named one of The Bookseller’s ‘Rising Stars’. http://www.octaviasbookshop.co.uk Octavia's Bookshop signing 2012

Well, despite my nerves at my very first book signing event, the book launch was an enormous success and we SOLD OUT in just under two hours!!!! Not a single copy left! I just couldn’t believe it. Customers had to have their orders taken by Octavia and make do with a chat from me and a look at my illustrations!

thumbs_sophie-e-tallis[1]What a bizarre dream. The book had clearly found its feet and the buzz about was growing.

More interviews, more newspaper articles, a listing in The Cotswold Life Magazine, then I was approached by Readathon UK, a national reading charity supported by the likes of Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen, Anthony Horowitz, Julia Donaldson etc. THEY were interested in talking to me? Really? http://www.readathon.org/blog/2012/11/author-teacher-joins-forces-with-readathon/

I was dreaming…

The first reviews started coming in, no family members or sock puppets, no, genuine reviews and they were all loving the book. At one point and to my utter delight, White Mountain even found itself at no.9 of Amazon’s epic fantasy books!!!!

A hugely successful Waterstones book signing tour followed with high sales, a growing following and a real buzz about the book…my wildest dreams had come true!

That was my 2012…wow! I’m still waiting to catch my breath. 😀

Now to the New Year.

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions…do we ever really keep them? But amongst the chaos, I’m busily writing Book 2 of The Darkling Chronicles due out this Autumn, then the whole crazy game starts over again! 😀

Another goal for the year I’m intent on keeping, is to keep blogging.

So what will 2013 bring to YOU?

😀 xx

What a year! 2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.