This time last year my very first blog post went out to the world! It was my review of Play Dead by Angela Marsons (you can read it here if you want while I cringe at the thought of one of my very early reviews) and if I’m honest I didn’t know what to expect from setting up my blog. I’m not particularly tech savvy and I was clueless about Twitter (I still am and tend to wing it!). I thought it would while away some hours but that nobody would ever actually look at it.
The blog came about following a difficult period in my life. After years of weird and wonderful symptoms, blood test after blood test, numerous visits to less than helpful neurologists, I was finally diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, a name I hate as this illness goes way beyond being tired!). With years of not knowing what was wrong with me and, therefore, not knowing how to deal with it, my illness got steadily worse culminating in seizures and periodic loss of vision. Following diagnosis, my employers of 12 years dismissed me on medical grounds. My whole life had turned upside down, I had lost my health, my way of life, my identity and with it my confidence.
The last thing I want is any kind of pity party or sympathy but I suddenly realised I had set the blog up in May which is ME Awareness Month. This now, with hindsight, seems a bit of a weird coincidence as the blog has been such a positive thing for me and would, in all honesty, not have come about if I didn’t have ME. It was really born out of me wanting to find something I could get into as the things I previously enjoyed doing had become pretty much impossible. I guess that’s why I’m telling you this stuff.
I have been astounded by the friendliness, generosity and support offered by fellow book bloggers, authors and publishers. A huge thank you for the support, sharing of posts and advice over the past year. You guys really do rock! Without this turning into something resembling an Oscars’ acceptance speech I want to give a huge thank you to Noelle at crimebookjunkie, Joseph at Relax and Read Reviews, Emma at damppebbles, Lorraine at The Book Review Café, Mairead at Swirl and Thread and last, but most certainly not least, my blogging buddy Jen at Jen Med’s Book Reviews. You have all been such a support, sharing my reviews, offering advice and being an ear at times. It really is appreciated. There are so many others I want to thank and feel bad for missing out so many wonderful people but I want you all to know how much you are appreciated.
I guess when I started Bloomin’ Brilliant Books my hope was that at least one person may read one of my reviews and go on to read and enjoy that book. It has gone beyond my expectations! I never thought for one minute that part of my reviews would be used in actual physical books, and I still feel as thrilled when it happens as I did the first time. I also found out on Thursday that I have been nominated for Best Newcomer in the Blogger’s Bash Awards! I am still shocked and I’m honoured to be included in a list of really great bloggers. A huge thank you to anyone who nominated me. What really means the most, however, is when I am told that people have read a book based on my review and really enjoyed them.
So the future for Bloomin’ Brilliant Books? I hope at some point this year to have a month solely dedicated to indie authors and publishers but I haven’t yet got this fully organised in my thoughts. And basically to continue to share my love of books.
I also have some news I haven’t told anyone (I’m quite shy… until you get to know me!). The reviewing has slowed down a little, and the number of blog tours I take part in has reduced as I’m currently training to be a proofreader with the help of the wonderful Karen Sullivan and West Camel of Orenda Books…and I LOVE it! Karen has given me the opportunity to help out with some proofreading which has allowed me to see how it works in practice, ascertain if it is something I could do properly in the future and fit around managing my illness. I am incredibly grateful for the chances that Karen has given me to try it out ‘for real’ and I can’t possibly thank her enough! I’m not sure I could ever express just how much this has meant to me. It’s steady steps and hopefully something that will come firmly to fruition in the future. A huge thank you to West too for his guidance and feedback, if I ever become half as good as he is I will be a happy bunny. I know it can be a bit of a pain when you are busy and you have a novice’s stuff to look over, so I want to let you know how much I appreciate this. I am super proud to be part of the amazing Orenda family.
I guess what this post shows is that when one door closes another one opens, and the seemingly negative aspects in your life can suddenly turn into something beyond your wildest dreams. I could probably run off a whole load of other clichés at this point, but it’s not really me so I won’t!
I hope you will join me in my second year of blogging. As a thank you for the support over the past year I have a one hell of a giveaway…
One lucky person could win a copy of A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone (it has been read by me
but is in great nick), Sealskin by Su Bristow, Exquisite by Sarah Stovell, Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and … wait for it … A SIGNED HARDBACK COPY OF RUPTURE BY RAGNAR JONASSON!!!!!