Thanks very much Esme for your kind invitation to be a guest here with you.
All about your BLOG:
Tell us about your lovely BLOG.
- What is the name of your blog and how did you decide on your blog name?
My blog is titled Smorgasbord Invitation. I was looking for a name that implied variety and referred to food and health. Smorgasbord, being the very delicious Scandinavian buffet, and one I had enjoyed several times, seemed appropriate. I also wanted to invite people in as readers, and guest posters, which is how it all came together.
- What prompted you to start on this blogging journey?
We had recently returned from the UK to our home in Madrid after a break from writing for a few years. I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to leap straight into a full-length novel. So I decided to write about my work which was in nutrition, and found that by writing post length articles, it soon got back into swing of things. Also I missed the one to one contact that I had enjoyed with my job, and the friends I made living back in my hometown for a few years. I wanted to reach out and connect with like-minded people online, to build new relationships. I had also neglected the marketing of my existing books and a blog was a good place to pick that up again.
- To date, what blogging achievement/s are you most proud of?
I was very honoured to be nominated for Best Overall Blog this year for the annual Bloggers Bash in the UK. There are several blogging friends that I have made online, also nominated and it is wonderful that our readers have felt we merited an award. Also I am very pleased to be coming up for my fifth year of blogging, and to have met such interesting people in the process. I am also proud of my Café and Bookstore that I began in 2016, which promotes authors, mainly Indie authors several times a week. As an Indie author myself, the blog is a perfect platform to do that.
- How would you describe your own blogging style?
I blog every day and sometimes several posts. They cover a number of topics and I also have contributors who share their areas of expertise. My aim was to create a blog magazine that people could pop into and browse through, reading the posts that were of most interest to them. I don’t follow the conventional rules that are often offered, which usually suggest only one post per day maximum, of a certain length, without any colour text for example. I would like a wide spectrum of readers as possible which means a wide variety of topics to choose from on any given day. I have wide ranging interests and that is reflected in the posts that I write and share.
- What excites you most about blogging?
Definitely, the people that I have met from all walks of life, from many different countries. I have lived abroad and travelled extensively, and I miss that multi-cultural element of my life. Whilst one does not meet face to face, there is no reason why you cannot form friendships and collaborations that benefit each other, and also provide interesting content for visitors to the blog. William Price King is an American Jazz singer, songwriter and composer who has written the music column for four years now. And Carol Taylor, who also writes a monthly post for your blog, lives in Thailand and has contributed fabulous recipes and food articles for the last year. Paul Andruss, an amazing talent is Writer in Residence and also is responsible for the Gardening Column which is a hit. We would never have met if it was not for blogging.
- What platform do you use and why?
I use the free WordPress platform for my blog as I find it the most flexible and versatile of the ones currently offered. I find some other platforms very reader unfriendly when it comes to sharing posts, and sometimes even commenting. I realise that part of that is down to the blogger to manage the settings, but WordPress does allow more options. Also whilst there might be some editing issues, I prefer the straight forward approach on this platform.
- What genre/topic/theme do you blog about? Do you ever deviate from that theme?
There is no fixed genre or theme… there are regulars such as health, author promotions, food, short stories, poetry, music, gardening, literature and humour. In the series Posts from Your Archives, many different topics were covered from architecture, adventures, travel, writing and short stories. If someone wishes to write about something they are passionate about, they are more than welcome. I respect bloggers who focus on one aspect in particular and I don’t believe there is a right or wrong approach. That is what makes blogging such a diverse and interesting form of writing.
- How often do you blog per week or month?
On average I blog four posts a day, with two or three a day at the weekends. And I also reblog other posts that I feel my readers would enjoy. Because of this I have a warning at the front of my about me page. Don’t sign up for email notifications! Instead I have a weekly round up on a Sunday of all the posts, and usually people will pop into that and pick the posts they want to read. I did tell you that I do not follow the rules!!
- Do you have any wisdom or tip/s regarding blogging to share with us?
As you now know, I am not big into rules!! However, everyone has their own reasons for blogging and I have shared some of mine. It is down to the individual to blog in their own way.I would suggest that it is a good idea to remember that there are two main aspects involved. One is the outward action of writing a post and you do need to remember who you are writing it for. Put yourself in a reader’s shoes, and before hitting post, read through and check that it is something you would want to read yourself, and is it really representative of your writing skill.The second aspect is the inward action of responding to comments, making readers want to come back for more because they have bought into you, not just your post. Very often I read a great post but have no idea what the blogger’s name is, where they are from, what their interests are. It is very difficult to interact with the blog name when commenting. If someone wishes to be incognito, then make up a name! At least give people a little background even if it is just where you are from, what your interests are, the books you like, movies etc. You don’t have to give personal details. People buy People first…And a couple of other points I would like to mention. The first is to make it easy for people to share. Most blogging platforms, including WordPress, have share buttons that appear at the bottom or top of a post. Even if you do not have accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, your readers probably will and if the button is there, they can share across their social media networks and bring you more traffic.
The second is to make it easy to comment. You can moderate comments on WordPress. The first, and then they can comment when they wish… or all comments which just causes a slight delay in the comments being viewed. However, like me, many people are reluctant to fill in forms which include email addresses, and certainly are not keen on chasing road signs over several panels of Captcha. By definition if you are blogging you are inviting interaction and expecting readers to jump through too many hoops might well deter them coming back again. You can limit your exposure by moderating.
- Do you participate in linkup parties? How do you feel about it?
No, I don’t to be honest. So much going on already on the blog and on social media, but I will throw a summer or Christmas party which is a good excuse for a knees up and to drop some links in the comment.
All about YOU:
Tell us something about you, the real YOU.
- What do you like to do other than blogging?
I love cooking, music and movies. We have done a lot of traveling but these days we are happy exploring our local area of long coastline and great pubs to eat lunch. Both of us love books and reading is one of my greatest pleasures alongside writing. We enjoy entertaining and meeting up with family and friends who all live reasonably close by.
- Where do you reside?
We live just up from a coastal holiday town in County Wexford in Ireland. We have been back for two years and the countryside and the people are terrific. We had been away for 17 years and whilst we had forgotten how much rain there was… we also had forgotten how very beautiful the countryside is.
- Are you an indoor or outdoor person?
I used to be more of an outdoor person when the sun shone 300 days a year. I have to admit that being back in Ireland where it rains for 300 days a year (or so it seems) I have become more of an indoor person. This extends to a treadmill but it does look out over the garden!
- Do you still work, and if so, what is your trade/profession?
Actually, I consider my blog and social media my job. It is certainly full time, and is an important part of my own book marketing and the promotions that I do for other authors. Which might be free, but helps build an effective platform for all of us. I spent 25 years in the hospitality, retail and telecommunications industry and the skills that I acquired over that time are just as viable in this context as they were before. I have also spent the last 20 years working in nutrition and whilst I might not work with clients now, I do like to share my knowledge and experience on the blog. My motto is to waste nothing and that includes past training and experience. I see no reason why I cannot work at this until I pop my clogs… hopefully not for another 30 odd years or so.
- Do you wish to be 20-something or the age you are now and why?
No thanks… been there, done that and got the t-shirt. I love knowing what I know now, and whilst there are still many things to look forward to… there is also a lifetime of highs and lows, adventures, people, countries, love and loss to look back on. As a writer that is gold dust and that is who I am today and very happily so. And if I take my glasses off and look in the mirror I can almost imagine I am 20 something again anyhow.
- What makes your day a good and happy one?
Getting up and switching on the computer and enjoying a cup of tea that my husband always makes a good day for me. Reading comments and tweets that have come in overnight and boosting the post that went out at midnight. Then popping out for coffee or lunch along the coast and watching a movie in the evening with a glass of wine. A really good day contains a lot of laughter, some good debate and very luckily having my best friend working away at his desk behind me.
- Describe yourself in 3 words.
Committed, Funny and Bossy
- Share with us 3 interesting facts about yourself.
– I love to sing and wanted to be an actress, preferably in musicals from an early age.
– I love sports cars and have only got rid of my last one two years ago when we left Madrid. A red Alfa Romeo…. Wish they didn’t make them so low to the ground!
– I can swear in four languages.
- Do you have any other tidbits to share with us about yourself?
Thank you very much for allowing me to chat with your readers today Esme and I look forward to answering any questions that they might have for me.
Last but not least:
- Please share with us your social media links, in order for our readers to follow you!
I know you want to do the 20 + 1 Interview Questions I look forward hearing from you!