Tag Archive: awards


It’s Award Time Again

I received two awards last week: The Kreativ Blogger from Chris Kelworth at the Kelworth Files, and the Liebster from Cindy Brown at Everyday Underwear. I’m a bit conflicted about these awards. On the one hand, I appreciate receiving them, and I have no problem thanking the bloggers and linking back to them. On the other hand, both are the type that say “pass it on to x number of other bloggers”, and I know too much about exponential functions not to be aware that this is another version of chain letters, Ponzi schemes, population growth, or the failure to recognize limits in economic theory. (Yes, they all depend on exponentials, or rather on most people not understanding how exponentials work.)

I am not going to post another chart showing how many iterations of these awards it would take to reach the entire population of the world. I’ve already done that for awards passed on to five, seven, and eleven other blogs. And I’m going to follow my own advice on the Liebster: since this is the second time I received it, I’m not passing it on.

The Kreativ is also a “Pass it on to seven others” award. I will confine myself to passing it on to one which I really like, but I will follow the other conditions. The first, thank and link back to the awarding blog, as I’ve done above.

2. Answer the seven questions or alternatives. (I’ll provide some alternatives.)

3. Provide 10 random factoids about yourself.

4. Pass on to 7 others? Nope. See above on exponentials. I will, however, pass it on to one I like, and leave it to her to pass it on to seven if she wishes.

The Seven Questions:

1. What’s your favorite song? My alternative, Who are your favorite vocal artists? That one I can answer: Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocceli.

2. What’s your favorite dessert? Unfair to ask a diabetic, but now and then I have a chocolate cocoanut crème brulee from Wolf Run. My alternative, What’s your favorite comfort food?

3. What do you do when you’re upset? My alternative: what sort of thing upsets you? Actually I don’t get upset easily now that I’m retired—except about politics and the way the world is going, which when you really think about it ought to upset anyone.

4. What is your favorite pet? I’ll have to use past tense, because when my last Sheltie died of old age I reluctantly decided that at my age and with poor balance, I really shouldn’t try to replace him. But the one that really was my heart dog was my first, Derry. He was a singleton Sheltie who I really think never figured out that he was a dog, and there’s a post about him in his puppy days on my Sheltie site. He was my first tracking dog, had titles in three activities in two countries, and I really ought to write more about him. My alternative: what do you look for in a pet?

5. Which do you prefer, black or white? The alternative given was do you prefer white or wheat bread? I’ll go a step farther in my alternative, and say what kind of bread do you prefer? Not white or wheat bought in the store! When I eat bread, it’s what I bake myself in the bread machine – apricot-almond and ricotta cheese being my two top favorites. Or Brioche bread. Blue corn bread with sunflower seeds and ancient seed bread are pretty good, too. Maybe I should post some recipes?

6. What is your biggest fear? Blindness. At the time of my retirement, diabetic retinopathy had left me blind in one eye, and the treatments had left my other eye such that I see a straight line as wavy. It seems to be fixed now except for limited peripheral vision, but I’m still worried. The alternate given was name one of your strong points or special skills.

7. What is your attitude mostly? I’d have to say laid back, I guess. Definitely not outgoing or sociable, I’m quite happy to be left alone, and downright uncomfortable in a crowd—though that’s partly due to my vision. The alternative given was Do you think it is better to help people or leave them alone?

Finally, 10 random factoids:

1. I can’t find shoes that fit.

2. I am perfectly happy living by myself. I’ve lived by myself since my second year of college.

3. However, there are times a third hand would be useful.

4. I remember (vaguely) the election of Truman.

5. When I went to junior high, girls had to take a semester of sewing and one of cooking. Boys had to take shop. I envied the boys. In retrospect, shop would have been more useful. I didn’t learn anything in sewing or cooking I hadn’t already learned from my mother.

6. I’ve lived in Alaska for almost 50 years.

7. My first home computer was a KayPro running CP/M and relying on two (literally) floppy discs, one for system and program and one for files.

8. I learned to code FORTRAN on punched cards long before the KayPro. Dropping a deck of 1000 cards was a disaster!

9. I live on a dirt road, with my own well and septic system.

10. I wish I had a dog that would alert to low blood sugar. Which leads into the one blog I plan to pass the Kreativ award on to: Sarah at Animals Help Heal. I love her post about seeing eye horses.

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Don’t retire from – retire to!

Sue Ann Bowling

I spent most of my life as a researcher in atmospheric sciences, teaching atmospheric science and physics for non-majors (mostly astronomy.) I did research, wrote scientific papers, and for a while even wrote a popular science newspaper column published throughout Alaska. And I read – and made up my own – science fiction.

I didn’t seriously think about changing careers, primarily because I had excellent health insurance and retirement benefits and I knew that as a Type 1 diabetic changing jobs would not be simple. Besides, my specialty of ice fog and urban weather in a cold climate was not very portable. But I loved to write for non-scientists, and I loved to make up stories. Eventually, during the last decade of my employment, I began going to local writers’ conferences, taking classes in fiction writing, and writing down some of the stories that filled my head simply to get them out of there!

Fourteen years ago, the university was pushing early retirement. I’d contracted a common diabetic complication, diabetic retinopathy, and I was having severe trouble driving. The bus line in my area had been eliminated, and taxi fare to and from work was prohibitive. I was mostly getting rides with others who worked at the university, but things were getting difficult enough that I decided to retire early and write.

The writing started out just because I enjoyed doing it. The first two books started as one, became three, and finally became Homecoming and Tourist Trap. The first drafts were definitely written while I was still working, but at this point I can’t even find some scenes I later eliminated in the drafts on my computer. I’m sure some were eighteen years ago, and probably twenty years and about five generations of computers was more accurate.

I continued to make up stories in my head, but couldn’t get everything to come together for another novel until I realized that my stories would go together just fine if I changed the sex of one character. Eventually that group of stories became a trilogy. Over the next few years I sent the first two books out to several publishers, collecting rejection slips while writing the first draft of the trilogy.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’m not very good at sending things out, and the cancer and a session on self-publishing at Festival of the Book made me realize that if I ever wanted to share what I’d written I would have to self-publish. I published Homecoming through iUniverse, with the help of the editor who I’d worked with me on the Alaska Science Forum. It received 5-star reviews and took second place in science fiction in one of the contests I entered. The sequel, Tourist Trap, not only took first place in science fiction a year later in the same contest, it won best fiction book of the year.

I have to admit that I enjoy writing a good deal more than I enjoy marketing. And I’m not making any profit at all. But I still get a warm feeling from hearing from people who love my books, and I’m still hoping to publish the trilogy and possibly another novel, now in the planning stage. A second act? Not a very profitable one, but very fulfilling.

Oh, and all the indications are that we caught the cancer in time.

I Have Awards!

My blog’s been awarded! Twice, both on Monday, with my Monday blog already up and Tuesday and Wednesday queued. So I’m posting about the awards today. I’ll get them on the sidebar later in the day.

Both awards require that you thank the donor by putting a link back to their blog, pass the award on to 5 other bloggers (more about that below) and copy the badge from their site to yours. So thank you Marlene Dotterer for the Liebster (given to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers which is a lot more than I have) and Cat von Hassel-Davies for the Versatile Blogger Award.

The versatile blogger award also requires you to state 7 random things about yourself. I actually did 10 a few weeks ago, when I was “tagged” by Samanthia Stacia, but I think I can come up with 7 more.

1. I’m addicted to Shanghai (on my iPad) and Sudoku (on my iPhone.) So far I’m firmly resisting Angry Birds. I like birds, but I prefer them in a good mood.

2. I get along with horses and dogs better than with people. (I like cats, but they make me sneeze.)

3. I have a Harvard degree in physics, from the first year that we Cliffies were awarded Harvard diplomas, well after classes went co-ed,  but before the Harvard-Radcliffe dorms went co-ed. (I believe I was one of four women majoring in physics that year, 1963.)

4. Although I have no professional background in genetics, I’ve followed it as a hobby since high school and have an extensive genetics site on the web that’s been up since the late 20th century. (It actually Googles #1 on “canine coat color genetics. At least it did yesterday.)

5. I went on to get an advanced degree in atmospheric science, taught and researched it for years at the Geophysical Institute, and I follow the political debate on climate change closely. It is a scientific debate only on the details; it’s happening!

6. Although I’ve been writing non-fiction (professional papers and popular science) for years, I started writing science fiction only shortly before I retired. (Prior to that, I wrote fiction only in my head.)

No, they don’t look crowded now, but those are 2″ pots and many will mature 2′ tall.

7. I always have more house plants than I have room for. And yes, the ones I ordered from Logee’s have arrived. I’m going to give them a little time before I repot them.

Now I should point out that honors of this sort have a way of multiplying that is – well, exponential, in the strictest mathematical sense. I happen to think it’s a good way of publicizing blogs (if I can find five that aren’t displaying the award already) so I’m playing along, but if everyone who got either of these awards passed it to five others, the number awarded would rapidly exceed the population of the Earth. (Shortly after 15 passages, to be exact.) So if I pass either of these awards to anyone who already has received that award, don’t feel you have to add to the chain.  What it actually looks like is this, where “generation” is the number of times the award had been passed on if each recipient actually passed it on to 5 others:

Generation number
1 1
2 5
3 25
4 125
5 625
6 3,125
7 15,625
8 78,125
9 390,625
10 1,953,125
11 9,765,625
12 48,828,125
13 244,140,625
14 1,220,703,125
15 6,103,515,625
16 30,517,578,125
17 152,587,890,625
18 762,939,453,125
19 3,814,697,265,625
20 19,073,486,328,125
21 95,367,431,640,625
22 476,837,158,203,125
23 2,384,185,791,015,620
24 11,920,928,955,078,100
25 59,604,644,775,390,600
26 298,023,223,876,953,000
27 1,490,116,119,384,770,000
28 7,450,580,596,923,830,000
29 37,252,902,984,619,100,000
30 186,264,514,923,096,000,000

That said, here are my picks:

For the Liebster:

1000th Monkey She’s a fantasy writer whose blog proudly proclaims she uses a Mac. (So do I.)

Lauri Owen Lauri’s an Alaskan lawyer and a fantasy writer, with two fantasy books in print about an alternate Alaska, with shapeshifters and magicians.

Laurel Kriegler, a South African living in the UK (and who hosts Science fiction and fantasy Saturday each week. My posts for this are on Fridays because I’m almost halfway around the world from her.)

Pippa Jay, another science fiction writer from the UK. Yes, I’m trying to spread this around.

The Writing Reader, a blog by Liz Shaw that provides writing prompts and has just announced a new contest.

For the Versatile Blogger Award:

Since Cat gave me the Versatile Blogger Award in part for my different-topic-every-day-of-the-week format, my first honoree is the person who taught me that format, the well-known mystery writer Dana Stabenow.

Then there’s Romancing the Thrill Quill. It’s based on writing, but goes into all the things that so often get in the way. Like collapsing chairs.

Traveling Through and Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams already have versatile blogger awards, so I’ll count them for half each.

Mattie’s Pillow is an interesting blend of horses, dancing, gardening, writing and art. Posts aren’t numerous, but worth looking at.

Nexus is another blog worth looking at, with a wonderful array of photographs.

I hope you enjoy all of the blogs above. Now if I can just figure out how to get those graphics…

(Turned out to be my new OS (Snow Leopard) which reset the mouse so it thought it had only one button. It takes the right button to copy.)