You may remember that one of the surprise outcomes of me starting this blog two years and ten months ago is that I have ended up writing and publishing a bunch of books! Never expected that when I started blogging! Hardly know what came over me!
The amazing thing is, I managed to do most of the writing and editing before the Pandemic began, which was good because work has been bonkers with this virus. Work has been incredibly taxing and for every right reason, I have had to cut back on the amount of time I spent blogging and writing. But it has always been a hobby I have enjoyed whenever I had the opportunity.
Too often I don’t get a break at work, we are often just too busy. But when I am able to sit down for ten/minutes (or on the rare occasion half an hour) I have pulled out a paperback copy of one of my books and a red pen and circled corrections I needed to make. Slowly slowly I have continued to make corrections and update my manuscript. At last that process is complete! I now feel my books will not embarrass me with really silly mistakes. So I am trying to find a way to add pictures of my books with Amazon links to them to my site.
However, I have realized….I cannot do that with my current WordPress theme. So….I am dreading this….but I am going to start messing around with finding the right theme to allow me to do what I want. That is going to be a complete nightmare! I know it. I should have done it before now. But I could not face it.
There was a stage when I was on top of all the widgets and menus on my site – but I gave up about a year ago when things started getting too busy. But I know that changing my theme is going to be a momentous task – momentous! I am going to be searching for a theme that allows me to stay that blue colour I like so much and that allows me to to have a few simple widgets. I don’t want lots of them. I just want some kind of easy navigation widget (is there one?) and to be able to feature my books.
Playing about with the theme is something I am frankly terrified about. I do believe my site will be a mess for a while. But now is the time it would seem. So…while I play around until I find what I want….I do sincerely apologise for any confusion I cause. Caramel is decorating her site – yikes! This could be one of the craziest disasters ever seen on WordPress – are you ready for this?
Well….by now you may have noticed that I have taken on the challenge of reviewing the books published by other WordPress bloggers – which was a terrifying prospect before I began, but now I am enjoying! I began publishing reviews back in August 2020 – roughly one every two weeks.
In case you want to check out some of the fabulous books – ALL WRITTEN BY WORDPRESS BLOGGERS! – featured on CARAMEL’S CORNER, I have put together a little list of the 2020 CARAMEL’S CORNER posts:
There is more to come in 2021 – in fact I have a long list of reviews that need to be completed in my drafts folder. There are books I have read and reviewed from Ritu Bhathal, Stephen Black, Tom Burton, Esther Chilton, Nora Edinger, Sarah Fennell, Iain Kelly, Jenna Kirkpatrick, Gabriella Marie Milton, Frank Prem, Kevin Morris, Julia Tannembaum and more!
If you are a WordPress blogger and you have published your own book – please free to drop by and say hello and please tell me about your book! I am always interested in coming across other bloggers who love to write (as opposed to the countless robots than seem to be following me). I do have my limits, so I won’t always be able to read your book if it is graphically violent or glorifies demons etc. But I do like to support other bloggers, just as I have been encouraged and supported by other bloggers. Please feel free to leave a comment on one of my posts.
…I have an announcement to make! It’s about the scheduling of posts on my blog over the next few weeks.
I have a thousand ideas, and literally over two hundred unfinished posts in my drafts folder. But I really do have an frightfully busy month ahead and I think I need to give attention to some projects at home I have been neglecting.
Therefore…over the next few weeks I will be balancing my blog out with some fresh content – CARAMEL’S CORNER BOOK REVIEWS and SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY – with some republishing of some of my older posts. That will just help me to take the breather I need at the moment to get on top of everything and also everyone who would like some attention from me right now.
So….are you ready for some highlights from CARAMEL (LEARNER AT LOVE) published over the last two and a half years? I truly hope you enjoy these flashback posts as much as I do!
I am very pleased to be reviewing one of the books I have bought and loved, written by one of my very favourite bloggers, Paula Light, the creator of Light Motifs II. Today I am reviewing “Switching Positions”, her romantic comedy set amidst the build up to THE American presidential election.
My biggest enjoyment factor from “Switching Positions” was the humour and energy that started from the very first page and flowed right through to the conclusion. This is why I love Paula’s blog and her books – she has what sometimes seems like an effortless comic touch. I often read just before bedtime when I am very sleepy, but I found when I was reading Paula’s rom-com than my heart was laughing so much as I read the dialogue between characters and the inner thoughts of the main characters, I did not want to sleep – I just wanted to keep reading because it was so refreshing to read such light-hearted clever wit.
So does politics drag the storyline down? Nope, not at all. I don’t even understand American politics, but Paula very cleverly and also carefully painted some of the main political leanings in what seemed like a fair and yet very funny way. I actually found it very interesting that she referred so much to how every day Americans may perceive politics and how their own changing circumstances may perhaps prompt them to weigh up their political opinions. I did feel as if her main characters are very interesting examples of how a young person may at some point ask themselves – are their ideas based simply on that of their family and friends? Or are they using their own mind, researching for themselves and making a decision that reflects their outlook on life, people, work, values?
But I want to repeat, Paula skilfully juggles the scenes in which her characters think over or voice their political opinions so that the story never becomes weighed down. Every internal conversation, and every passage of dialogue gives you a wonderful opportunity to laugh. After watching the media reports of the 2020 election, I think it is an extraordinary feat for Paula to have tackled a political setting and pulled it off in a way that makes this book so joyously playful to read.
I grew very fond of the two main characters quickly and could happily have read another twenty chapters of their developing relationship. Paula captures all the excitement, nerves, uncertainty, and wonder of a couple falling for each other and thought there are some very sweet moments, the humour is always right behind.
2020 has been depressing at times – so if you want a refreshingly playful, genuinely romantic tale, full of clever comedy and a well rounded view of the different political views that people hold in the USA (but all within that light hearted comic framework) – I would heartily recommend “Switching Positions”.
It is a delicious read and great fun! We all need more fun in 2021!
You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.
If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.
It struck me a few days ago – am I supposed to do one of these HIGHTLIGHTS OF 2020 posts I have seen floating around? Deep breath. Let me say that again…the “highlights of 2020” – aaaaah sigh! Should we laugh or should we cry?
At least there has been one part of 2020 that has never failed to delight us – WordPress bloggers have been amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!! So my 2020 round-up is dedicated to the bloggers who have made this year on WordPress one to remember!
THE BLOGGERS WHO BECAME VLOGGERS DURING 2020!
While many of us were tested to the limit of our patience just trying to figure out how on earth to use the new block editor, some bloggers have ventured into the realm of videos to bring something extra special to their blogs. Here are two of my favourite bloggers who have delighted us with video productions:
Jeanne the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen has been recording videos of her culinary creations and they are just brilliant.
And to my absolute delight Kristian, the creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, has been recording songs and broadcasting them on both his YouTube channel and on his blog. I cannot tell you how much Kristian’s videos have lifted my spirits throughout 2020!
What an inspiration these talented bloggers are! What are you planning for your WordPress blog in 2021? Will you venture into video productions too?
THE BLOGGERS WHO BAKED IN 2020!
One of the highlights of 2020 on WordPress for me was “THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF SUMMER PICNIC” – an entire weekend of baking and picnic creations from our magnificent international blogging community and a huge shout of support from so many WordPress bloggers who joined the party!
It was a pure joy to open up my inbox day after day and see more and more photos sent in from other bloggers. The response was tremendous! I am so grateful to all of the fantastic bloggers who were a part of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC – whether you were baking or cheering on all of those who baked. It was just so joyful!!!
If I had to pick my personal favourite, I should pick Jack of course, however, as he got to see his family last week, and I did not, I am going to pick another blogger who I was just overjoyed with. You may remember that in the 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF, Amanda Cade baked a chocolate cake that although clearly delicious had some issues with gravity! But Amanda was not going to give up easily! In 2020, she smashed THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF producing not just one but an array of sensational cheesecakes.
…but I cannot thank you all enough! What a perfect weekend that was – a real highlight of 2020 for me without doubt! I always choke up when I hear the line of this song “you just keep me hanging on”.
As you may know 2020 for me has meant a lot of work. The NHS like other health services has been put to the test. So many times I have come home from work feeling exhausted and deflated. But it has always been a delight to see the heart-warming and uplifting posts of bloggers on WordPress.
I know many of you have had a very tough year. I know some of you also work for health services or are key-workers in other vital sectors. I know you have had to deal with an increase of stress and frustration from customers as well as adapting to adjusted working practices. I know some of you lost loved ones during this year. I know some of you lost your jobs. I also know that many of you have found it hard to be separated from your nearest and dearest for long periods.
But I also know that the vast majority of you have been brilliant! You have been a positive influence on others. You have kept our spirits up! You have encouraged people to take the warnings seriously, to be diligent in applying the safety guidance issues – YOU HAVE BLOGGED ABOUT WASHING YOUR HANDS, WEARING FACE-MASKS, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND THE MANY SACRIFICES YOU HAVE MADE TO PROTECT OTHERS.
That is special!
2020 has been a year where unselfish love has been shown on an enormous scale!
During 2021, please keep up the positive influence. We are an international team who can make a difference. We can support and encourage others. That might involve being honest about what we are finding challenging, but also commending others for all of their unselfish sacrifices.
Please remember that some are overwhelmed with their challenges – A LITTLE KINDNESS CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE to a person. Even though you are often interacting with strangers, the power of your words in your posts and in your comment can be constructive or it can be damaging. Please CHOOSE KINDNESS. Do not crush others at a time they may feel as if their whole world is falling apart around them.
What will you do with your blog to encourage and inspire others during 2021?
THE BLOGGERS WHO SUPPORTED MY BOOKS!
Something that was new to me and also very exciting for me during 2020 was seeing three novels and one poetry book leave my WordPress blog and be transformed into real Kindle and Paperback publications available on Amazon.
What started as a short story written in response to a blogging prompt became a series of over one hundred posts. But the story of Annabelle Riley became a three part novel series: LEARNERS AT LOVE.
Back in the spring of 2019, I published a series of little ditties – poetic verses that were expressing the range of feelings I experienced on losing the tiny life growing within me. Well as I wanted a permanent record of such a momentous event in my life, we turned my little ditties into a poetry book.
So many bloggers have been encouraging throughout my journey in starting out with writing fiction to finally holding paperback copies of my books and seeing my friends reading them and hearing their feedback (everyone seems to love rock star bad boy Dean Mathers!)
I am especially grateful to the bloggers who very kindly reviewed my books! Ashley, the creator or Mental Health @ Home who has read and reviewed all of my books has been such a phenomenal support and encouragement. It is so touching to receive that level of support! But she is not the only one. I am also deeply grateful to Iain Kelly and Paula Light, who also read and reviewed my work.
As I am sure anyone else would agree, publishing your writing is a personally rewarding process. I know this is something I would probably never have done without the inspiration, support and encouragement from other WordPress bloggers.
THANK YOU FOR MAKING WRITING SUCH A JOY!
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE TO MAKE WORDPRESS A GREAT PLATFORM TO BE BLOGGING ON! THANK YOU FOR HELPING US GET THROUGH 2020!
I have just made the most wonderful discovery. I don’t know how it escaped my notice before now. I went out for a walk earlier and came home and was very pleased to find an old movie called “Baby Boom” starring Diane Keaton. Then I started flicking through the scheduling to see if there is anything else worth watching this weekend.
Well…to my absolute delight, it was up there on the screen. At 3:45pm tomorrow – that is Sunday 27th December – BBC1 will be broadcasting the greatest film ever made – ever! Ever ever!
The film with the biggest heart lifting, heart warming, heart singing factor. The movie that captures spunk, courage, conviction in the most challenging of situations but sets it to one of the best musical scores of all time.
If you have plans for tomorrow afternoon – cancel them. Make yourself comfy on the sofa, get yourself some snacks and drinks (it’s the BBC remember so there will be no commercial breaks for three hours!) Prepare to be not just entertained, but to be inspired. Prepare to have your spirits soaring – and to find an uncontrollable urge to want to sing out and possibly even stand up and twirl during the epic “Do-Re-Mi”.
I know it’s been a tough year, and the weekend has been a disappointment to many – but now all that will be forgotten for three hours. The sensational Julie Andrews is on hand to give you the best possible finale to the weekend. 3:45pm Sunday BBC1 – “The Sound Of Music” – how big is the smile on my face right now!!! Thank you so much Beeb!!!
Don’t even try to call me Jack – my phone will be on silent!
I was up late last night. I kept on wanting to crawl to bed, but then I had an email from Goldfinch and I wanted to reply, and then Jack called and it was way past one o’clock in the morning when I finally drifted to sleep.
Then at half past six this morning, Jack called again to check how I was doing – sigh. He is so lovely, but…well, I was so enjoying my sleep! Bless his cute little dimples!
Well, I struggled to muster any appetite yesterday. I am not sure why. But this morning, my appetite was back to normal. So I used more of the fresh produce in my fridge – why did I buy so much spinach?
Toasted bagel, vegan cheese, poached egg which burst as you can see, sautéed mushrooms and onions and wilted spinach.
Now I am going for a walk! Storm is rolling in tonight! Want to get out there while the weather is still fair!
“Grease” the musical is on the box this evening – I am going to put my phone on silent for that! I do love my darling Jack, but I am almost thinking of blocking his number! Hopelessly devoted….!!!