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Pleasant surprises have a way of cropping up without fanfare or warning. The other morning, as a chill, steady rain washed away the last of the weekend’s snow, I opened my e-mail and found that fellow blogger Tom Kepler. (Thank you, Tom.) had placed me on the receiving end of a Versatile Blogger Award. How delightful, I thought, not having the slightest clue of what a VBA was (a lack of knowledge remedied with the click of a mouse). More to the point, how unexpected. You see, I am a neophyte when it comes to blogging. It was barely three months ago when I heeded the urgings of publisher and friends and waded into the blogosphere’s swirling eddies. (I am sure there’s a mixed metaphor in there somewhere; c’est la vie.) That my ramblings about writing and Dragons and creatures wild and not (and, yes, my book) struck chords with others is both gratifying and, frankly, amazing. And while there are times I am clueless what to do next, there are others when I see a canvas just begging to be splashed with light and shadow, color and whimsy.

Which brings me back to the Versatile Blogger Award, a simple and fun way of making the vast world of blogging a little more personal, and, in the process, a little more manageable.

The rules are very simple:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.

• Thank the person who gave you this award. Include a link to their blog — if you can figure out how to do it.

• Next, share 7 things about yourself.

• Finally, select 5 blogs/bloggers to nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award, and pass it along.

So first, thank you, Tom Kepler, for nominating me for the VBA. Tom is an author, teacher, blogger, and spinner if great tales. His novel, The Stone Dragon, is a layered story of magic and self-discovery and well worth the read. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (for those of you who have Amazon issues.) His blog is positively versatile and always intriguing.

Now comes the hard part: 7 things about moi.

  1. I believe much of what we don’t see in the world is a matter of our imaginations being out of focus, not our eyes. (Yes, Virginia, there really are Dragons!)
  2. When I was 12 I thought I’d be a poet—thank goodness I outgrew that! When I was in college I thought I’d be a playwright—I outgrew that, too.
  3. Nothing grounds me more than a walk in the woods, taking my shoes off, and digging my toes into the forest loam.
  4. Nothing dismays me more than the proliferation of self-published dreck posing as literature. Just because the technology is there, doesn’t mean everyone should use it; just because you can text a tweet, doesn’t mean you can write a novel.
  5. Animals and history fascinate me. If I was not a writer, I would want to be either a zoologist or an archeologist.
  6. Every year I treat myself to watching Peter Brook’s Mahabharata, The Ruling Class, and The Lord of the Rings.
  7. If I were to make a list of perfect things it would include: autumn in Vermont, cats, chinchillas, good books, and single malt Scotch.

And, finally, the five bloggers I am pleased to nominate for VBAs are:

  1. John Goodrich: author of deliciously wicked horror.
  2. Kana Tyler: writer, wild spirit, and “book dragon.”
  3. Karen S. Elliott: writer, editor/proofreader, and all-around word shark.
  4. Nellie Sabin: friend, wise woman, wit, and author.
  5. Ollin Morales: a young scribe with a lot to say.

Thank you all for your blogging largesse and inspiration.