Liebster Awards

Ohhh, boy. The Liebsters.

The idea, basically, is: answer eleven questions, nominate eleven (!) people, ask eleven questions for those people to answer. Here we go.

I got nominated by two great guys, with two great writing blogs: Gabe, over here at Gabriel to Earth, and Dave, over this way at On Writing Dragons. I’m going to answer both sets of questions, because it occurred to me: I NEVER talk about myself on here. At least, when I’m not puking in the street somewhere, or cooking something particularly tasty. So I want this to be a sort of introductory post to me, as well.

This is me, today, shitty hair and all. Fuck pretty. Fuck it so hard.


My name is Emily. I’m twenty six years old, very short, and slightly plump. I have a magician boyfriend, I’m struggling with a coffee addiction, and I write sweet gumdrop fantasy stories about people getting drunk and putting poles through livestock. My job is arts-related, and because of this I’ve more or less stopped painting in entirety. If you met me on the street, you’d probably look right past me.

That’s okay. I’d probably look right past you too. Because, you know, I don’t know what you look like.

My hobbies include cooking, drawing, reading, word collecting, thrift store diving, frame restoration, singing quietly to myself in the shower, making horrible puns, thinking about exercising and then deciding not to, and recreational drinking, which, really, should be the only kind. I’m decent at beer pong. I dropped out of college in my junior year, and love it when people make quiet tsking sounds and judge me about it, because then I get to smile sweetly and ask how long it’s going to be until their loans are paid off.

Now that you’ve had some information about me dumped into your laps, back to the Liebs.

I’m gonna start by saying something similar to Gabe: I don’t usually do these. They do have a whiff of the chain letter about them. And I’ll be straight up honest: most of the people I’d recommend have already been recommended. (Two of them, as it happens, nominated me). So my nominee list is a little shorter than most and consists of two people:


1) Chris, over at Modern Fantastic. Because I miss you, buddy. And maybe if you get some prompts in you you’ll write a new damn blog. ๐Ÿ˜›
2) Allison, who wrote this wonderful mystery novel, over here, called The Fourth Descendant. Because these eleven questions are going to be all writing, and you might enjoy them.

Everybody else who reads me frequently, and who I read: if you wanna answer them, consider yourself nominated, even though you already have been. ๐Ÿ™‚

1) Why do you blog/write?
2) What keeps you from enjoying a book?
3) What does writing mean to you? Is it escape, release, a way of thinking on paper, a way of reaching/teaching others, etc?
4) What made you decide to write the last thing you wrote?
5) What makes it difficult for you to write?
6) Are there any themes that keep cropping up in your stories? If so, do tell.
7) What would you want to hear someone say MOST about your writing?
8) How private do you keep your writing? Do your friends/coworkers/families know you write?
9) Stealing one from Dave here. What would be your perfect job?
10) Do you have any writing rituals? Anywhere you particularly need to be, music you need to hear, food you need to eat, etc? What do you write on?
11) Favorite words?


1) Why do you blog? Because the internets told me I needed to blog to sell books, mostly.
2) Favorite music? First wave, post, and old school punk. Some metal, trance, bluegrass and folk. And, okay. Let’s be honest here. Justin Timberlake. I don’t know WHY the hell I love Justin Timberlake. But I do.
3) What would be your perfect day? After waking from a night of restful sleep in my Roman villa, I would retire to the soothing pastoral atmosphere of Pompeii or Herculaneum to enjoyย  political discussion and cheeky verse over a magnificent cena with my very bestest of Roman statesman buddies. We’ll have multiple meats and elaborate clothing and generally enjoy our vaccuous and sybaritic existence, screw sumptuary laws.
Realistically? You mean ‘realistically’ DOESN’T involve lark’s tongue and positive auguries?
4) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I’ve always wanted to go to Greenland, honestly–from pictures it looks like the most beautiful place on earth. However, I recognize that I am a total sissy when it comes to cold, and that this is an issue, as the places I most want to go–Greenland, Antarctica, Finland, Western Russia–are, one and all, ridiculously freaking cold. So I’ll settle for Thailand or Tokyo, Japan.
5) Favorite author? This is one of those lemme give you a list types of questions. I’m a big fan of Ursula K. Leguin, Russell Banks, Terry Pratchett, Nikolai Gogol, Wilkie Collins, Lev Grossman.
6) Coke or Pepsi? I’m a Dr. Pepper girl, at heart.
7) What is your favorite historical time period? Another toughie. I’ve always had a deep love of Imperial Rome, particularly the Julio-Claudian dynastic era (I’m a nut for Suetonius). I’ve been recently working on a fondness for the Victorian Era as well–I think we take the popular ‘repressed’ definition of it too much from Freud, and a lot of the stuff that happened in there is a result of the world changing too quickly for our values and societal conventions to keep up. Things like The Great Stink happen. And you guys know how I feel about The Great Stink.
8) Read on a Kindle or paperback book? Kindle all the way. I have my Kindle with me constantly, and it’s nice to know that, if I finish a book somewhere out and about, I can just start another one willy-nilly without looking like a crazy booked-up bag lady.
9) Who would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island? My Kindle, a charger, and a single source of electricity. If I have to slowly starve to death, my body turned to fruit leather consistency by heat and dehydration, I’d like to at least have some time to read.
10) Favorite color? Yellow. Because I’m cheerful.
11) What do you hope people get out of your blog? A new appreciation and worship for myself as a minor household goddess.
Just kidding. Well, kind of kidding. I mean, let’s face it, most people blog secretly in the hopes someone will see their blog and just be floored by JEANEEYUS. There needs to be a word for ‘honesty so uncomfortably direct it’s a joke’. Here, I’ll make one up for you. Forthwrongfulness. There you go.

2) What is one of your core values? I aim for delicate honesty. I want to tell the truth–lies irritate me–but I want it to be pretty truth, and I want the metaphors of my truth to carry all the way through the story.
3) If you could work anywhere, where would that be? I just saw a show about a guy who makes knives in his own little forge. I could totally do that. I imagine it’s immensely satisfying.
4) If you had the opportunity to ask 1 question of any author who ever lived, who would you ask, and what would your question be? I actually wouldn’t do this. I think it’s better not to know the answers from the horse’s mouth. If a book makes you think, that’s what it’s supposed to do.
5) What inspires you? Random things. Little bits and pieces. I saw a clip of a woman on a talent show balancing an incredible amount of sticks on one finger, and The Balancer was born. A scene in Little Bird involving bogs came from the taste of Laphroaig scotch. I had a dream about a bush made out of grasping hands and I wrote an (admittedly, shitty) story about it. Long story short, it’s the little things, and mulling them over for a day or two.
6) If you were to be remembered in this world from 1 piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t let someone else’s bullshit stop you from being yourself, or being happy with yourself.
7) Favorite beverage? I’ve been trying to cut down on the coffee here lately. It’s made me a sad, sad shell of a human being.
8) Do you have a favorite font? Baskerville, but I go sans serif for headlines and bold writing. I’m tired of seeing Papyrus. Please, please, please, people. Stop using Papyrus. It’s sooooo early 2000s.
9) How do you deal with rejection? Poorly. I admit freely to being a sensitive little turd, and recognizing that the heaps of fecal matter that make up my consciousness shiver and tremble with the thought of rejection. This is, being honest, probably the real reason I self-publish.
Seriously. I don’t even like not being invited to parties. But, as a grown-up, I try and keep it within the bounds of human decency by not talking about it, ever.
Except right now.
…shit. I talked about it.
10) What is your current or most recent project? Hahahaha. Oh. This is a bucket full of teehees. Here’s the list:
1) Death Dealer, the third book in the Sundering Trilogy, begun with Aurian and Jin.
2) Things That Go Bump in the Night, that story about vampires and poltergeist dads and stuff.
3) The King’s Might, which I’m releasing pretty soon here, btw.
4) The Balancer, a story about Riftings and Skylings and people who capture dreams and stuff.
5) The Apple and the Tree, which is about magicians and alchemy and good old fashioned Southern Gothic family twisties. Learned a lot about alchemy for this, more or less have to finish it or discover the Philosopher’s Stone, one or the other.
6) Hesperides, a story of Erasure.
That’s everything I’ve got 30+ pages on in Word, and thus plan to finish. I’ve got a few Aurian and Jin related shorts I’m kicking around, but you know how it goes with those.
11) What do you hope people will get out of your blog? I’m doing this one twice because there’s two answers. The first is the above flippant one. The second is this:

I hope somebody benefits from my advice, my strengths, and my mistakes. I’m not a Pulitzer prize winning variety of writer, but I’m damn clever and the words flow pretty fast for me, so maybe I’ve got something somewhere that can help somebody, right?

The compliments that I like to hear most lean more towards ‘helpful’ or ‘insightful’ than ‘I agree’. I don’t particularly care if anyone agrees with me, but I’d like to make people think a little more about ‘The Craft’ (hurrhurrhurrimportantlaughterfancymoustache) and go beyond easily uttered writing axioms and governable ‘make yourself a better writer’ territory. I think that, rather than easy tips and tricks, a writer should search out open-ended advice that begs the question ‘will this work with what I do?’ rather than ‘am I doing what I’m already doing right?’.

‘Cos here’s the thing, see: you’re doing what you’re doing, and it’s not going to get any wronger or righter whether you add an adverb into it or cut it loose. Your style is your style, and your choices your choices, and you need to figure out how to make what you’ve got work for you and not the other way around.

Also, recipes.

3 thoughts on “Liebster Awards

  1. I absolutely benefit from your advice… and as for being a household name, my wife and I often have these long discussions about writing and very many of these include sentences beginning with ‘Well Emily Russel said…’ So, that’s one household.

    1. Sweet! I’m a Koster Household Name! Thank you for contributing to my narcissism and delusions of grandeur. ๐Ÿ˜€ (Apparently, none of the fifty or so ways I’ve tried to spell ‘narcissism’ are right here, so I’mma just gonna go with my favorite).

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