Blog, Career, Creative, Graduation, Happiness, Life, Open University, Positivity, Teaching

Graduation!

Heyy,

Hope you’re having a good day!

So, I did a thing in early November this year…

I graduated from The Open University with 2:1 in BA (Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing!!! πŸ˜€

It has been an incredible year for me, jam-packed with wonderful experiences and achievements I never believed possible, even in my wildest dreams. But, as I bid goodbye to undergraduate studies, I embark on brand new learning adventures in the form of a full-time role in education. I now work for the ALN department in a secondary school, where I am about to undergo a transformation from LSA to SpLD Co-ordinator as I take on the professional development opportunity to cover a colleague who is off on maternity leave.

Through my new role in the realm of literacy, cognition and learning as part of the ALN umbrella, I hope to be able to support many, many students to ensure their experiences of learning while at school are the best they could possibly be. I’m also excited to use the exciting training opportunities and responsibilities of the role to further enhance my literary endeavours, as I strive to create books for young people who are reluctant readers and/or have dyslexia and other associated superpowers πŸ™‚

Although my new role means less time for blog writing during term time, I truly hope to make a difference through the work I do – and I look forward to sharing my future books with you all!

Many thanks for reading – you are awesome πŸ™‚

Best wishes,

Dannika <3

Blog, Happiness, Honeymoon, Life, Magic, Nature, Photography, Positivity, Self-Love, Wedding

Our Amazing Honeymoon

Hi,

Hope you’re well and that you’re having a lovely week πŸ™‚

So, Gareth and I embarked on our wonderful honeymoon in late September – it was my first ever trip abroad, and it couldn’t have been more amazing!

We ventured to Rhodes, where the crystal clear sea sparkled under blazing autumn sun…

Upon our arrival at the incredible hotel, we were greeted with champagne and the fantastic staff gifted us with a fabulous room upgrade – which meant we enjoyed a shared private pool and a beautifully decorated suite πŸ˜€

The food was excellent, especially given my lactose intolerance, vegetarian preferences, and general fussy eating – the hotel staff were so accommodating and welcoming; we couldn’t have asked for better; they even organised a cake on our last day, as it was my birthday!

Another benefit of the setting we chose for our honeymoon was the abundance of exotic wildlife and the spectacular scenery that took our breath away at every turn…

I also fought against my body confidence issues by trying out some new clothing styles, and even wearing bikinis!

Gareth and I also ventured to Lindos – what an incredible place. Lindos is steeped in history and aglow with Greek mythology…

What an adventure my husband and I had in Rhodes – we’re incredibly lucky and infinitely grateful to have found each other and be able to enjoy such awe-inspiring experiences together <3

Thank you, once again, for your continued support πŸ™‚

Best wishes,

Dannika

Adventure, Author, Blog, Happiness, Life, Magic, Positivity, Wedding, Writing

Our Magical Wedding

Dearest Reader,

Sincerest apologies for not writing to you sooner, life has been pretty hectic!

(Although I’m not apologising for the ‘Bridgerton’ vibes, because I felt very ‘Bridgerton-esque’ in my wedding dress with my hair and make-up professionally styled :D)

I hope you’re well and enjoying the countdown to Christmas πŸ™‚

My husband (:D) and I got married in early September, and we couldn’t have wished for a more magical day…

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook in celebration of the best day of our lives:

“My husband (😁) and I are incredibly grateful to all who worked tirelessly to make our magical wedding so perfect πŸ‘°β€β™€οΈπŸ€΅β€β™‚οΈπŸΎπŸ₯‚

Our family and friends are beyond awesome, and there isn’t a moment we aren’t thankful for their support – you are wonderful, and both of us know how lucky we are to have you as part of our next, exciting chapter πŸ’

We’re also thankful for our amazing guests, who made sure our wedding was the fantastic celebration it turned out to be – we are so glad to have been able to share our wonderful wedding with you, and we hope you enjoyed it too 🌷🍰🏩πŸ₯³

Infinite thanks for the fabulous wishes from everyone sending messages, texts, cards, and gifts as well – we’re eternally grateful for your kindness and support 🎁🎊

After all the trials and tribulations of our respective pasts, Gareth and I know how truly fortunate we are and we couldn’t be happier… πŸ₯°πŸŽ‰

Thank you all for your continued support 😁

Lots of Love,
Mr & Mrs Johnson ❀”

While Gareth stayed at our house with his best man, I stayed at our wedding venue with my mum. The hotel room was gorgeous – straight out of Beauty & the Beast!

In fact, the entire venue was lovely – we certainly made the right choice. The staff were absolutely fantastic and we couldn’t thank them enough πŸ™‚

The excitement of marrying the man of my dreams far outweighed the nerves of having a hundred pairs of eyes watching me walk down the aisle – that was, until it was actually time to walk down the aisle. With the corset of my wedding dress pulled so tightly to keep it from slipping (it was still too big), the lengthy wait to be called, the heat, the dizzying striped carpet, and everyone talking to me at once, I very nearly fainted! However, while I was trying to keep it together, Gareth was pacing nervously in front of all our guests – so I imagine we were feeling about the same. Thankfully, the moment the doors were opened and I walked onto that aisle, I focused on the ground so as not to trip over or make awkward eye contact with anyone, and I didn’t feel so faint anymore. Then, I saw him. I saw Gareth and my nerves melted away; I was finally safe.

It was an incredible feeling, standing with the man I love as we made our vows to one another in front of family and friends. I can honestly say that marrying Gareth fulfilled a long-awaited happiness I’ve never felt before. Our wedding day was the most magical of our entire lives, and I couldn’t be more grateful than to have married my best friend in the whole entire universe ❀

Once the ceremony was over (in the blink of an eye!), photos had been taken, and speeches had been absolutely smashed out of the park, the party started – and what an amazing party it was! Those of our invited guests who gifted their time to support us, as we embark on the next exciting chapter of our lives, were treated to the most wonderful night of music, dancing, laughter, and joy as we all celebrated the power and the magic of love – thank you, all πŸ˜€

I’m hoping to write a full account of mine and Gareth’s wedding one day (when I can find the time to), although I’m always so busy it’s taken 4 months to write this blog post, and it still feels half-written! Haha. I hope you’ve enjoyed this account of the best day of our lives anyways πŸ™‚

Thank you for supporting my journey, literary and otherwise!

Best wishes,

Dannika <3

Adventure, Author, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Teaching, Writing

End of an Era?

Hi Everyone, I’m sorry it’s been so long…

How are you? How have you found the last few months? I feel this post is all about me, so please share anything you’d like to celebrate about your own life in the comments!

TL;DR – A lengthy essay detailing recent happenings and life changes. Honestly, I’m not expecting you to want to read the entire post, it’s more for my own ‘journal of life experiences’, so in the future I can look back to appreciate how far I’ve come. If you do manage to read this entire blog post, congratulations! You now know more about what’s going on in my life than most of my own friends and relatives do πŸ™‚

After four years of hard work, my BA (Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing with The Open University is complete! While I longed to achieve a First-Class degree, I may just miss out and am predicted a 2:1 classification – which I’m told is still pretty impressive, considering my status as a mature student who works full time and has a hectic home life. I hope that my experience will inspire others to embark on a degree, if it’s something they’ve always wanted to do, because if I can do it so can you πŸ™‚

However, I have found the last few months – well, last few years if I’m being honest – overwhelming. My schedule has been so saturated with work that I’ve felt time slipping by uncontrollably. While I love writing, adore reading, and enjoy studying, I underestimated how much time would be taken working for myself as a ghostwriter while studying towards a degree full-time. I am still passionate about writing, though recently, I’ve been forced to reconsider my ambitions…

I’ve always been fascinated by education; the science behind it, learning processes, and the incredible opportunities brought about by collecting new skills. In fact, some of my favourite ghostwriting projects have been based in children’s literature.

As a teenager, while I was told by a few of my high school teachers – and high school careers advisor, and relatives, and friends, and basically anyone I discussed careers with – that I’d be a great primary school teacher, I toyed with the idea but never felt confident enough to pursue that career path. Initially, I was training to become a horse riding instructor and equine behaviourist, since – aside from writing books by myself, which, unfortunately, will never guarantee an income – being around horses was the only place I felt truly confident and comfortable. One painful hand injury, seven years, and countless trials in various career paths later, I cannot seem to shake that longing to be involved in the education sector.

Therefore, I re-considered becoming a primary school teacher and sought advice to that affect from wherever I could – I even work as a classroom assistant for a local tutoring company one to two evenings a week, to gain valuable teaching experience and refamiliarise myself with a classroom setting – yet still didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of managing a class of thirty unruly children by myself. My experiences working with young people have, however, reaffirmed that feeling that I should be working with them to make a difference for the better. But I kept wondering how could I possibly do that unless I became a teacher?

Luckily, my love of books led me to read the Guide to Writing for Children and YA, which I discovered in the hope of improving my craft as I work on my own YA sci-fi series. Within the pages of that invaluable book, I learned of an entirely new realm of children’s literature – and it has opened my eyes to the possibilities available to me in the world of educational publishing! I intend to pursue work in a school (preferably library-based or as part of a reading/literacy intervention role, though I’m certain working as a teaching assistant will be equally rewarding), in hope of gaining amazing insight into the young people I intend to write for, before I embark on creating exciting books for reluctant readers and children whose reading levels don’t correlate with their curriculum age groups. I am beyond excited to – after many, many years of uncertainty and deliberation – have finally found a route to utilise my literary skills and experience to support young people in developing a love of reading and appreciation of books. It may take a few years to accomplish, though I am truly looking forward to the wonderful literary challenges ahead!

Therefore, is the completion of my university course the end of an era, or the beginning of an exciting, new adventure? I hope it’ll be the latter πŸ™‚

Anyway, in other news…

Unfortunately, despite the lifting of restrictions, the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for many businesses:

First, I was represented by the fabulous company Top Rated Ghostwriters for two years, though they sadly had to close down due to unforeseen losses caused by the pandemic. It was an honour to have been represented by such a fantastic company, and having the opportunity to work with a team of amazing ghostwriters was brilliant – I cannot thank Top Rated Ghostwriters enough for their support and encouragement.

The loss of an agent is another factor that has forced my decision to limit the ghostwriting projects I take on in future – because I no longer have a ghostwriting support system in place if ever I need help, advice, or encouragement. However, I do intend to continue working on smaller-scale ghostwriting projects when I have time, such as those for charitable organisations or memoir writing, because there are so many fascinating stories out there just waiting to be told – I’d love to use my experiences to bring those stories to life, especially for people who may not otherwise be able to afford to do so πŸ™‚

Second, Wordcatcher Publishing became a victim of the pandemic, too. Not only did Wordcatcher Publishing traditionally publish two of my books, but the company also gave me the opportunity to work as a publishing assistant – which provided me with invaluable experience that I may never have had otherwise. I learned so much while working for Wordcatcher Publishing, from proofreading and working with authors on various editorial projects, to typesetting manuscripts for print and managing book metadata. I am incredibly grateful for the publishing experience I gained at Wordcatcher, and it was a pleasure to work with so many wonderfully talented authors – several of whom have become my friends!

As a result of the closure of Wordcatcher Publishing, however, I now have to re-publish my debut novel – Larry – and series of short stories – Animals’ Guide to the Human Race. Although I have now completed my university studies, my time is still extremely limited, so I have decided to edit Larry and AGTTHR for the very last time in every spare moment I can find, with a view to self-publishing them through either KDP or Ingram Spark in the very near future.

A little bit of good news – for those who enjoy my writing – five years in the making, I still haven’t given up on my series of YA sci-fi novels! I am crafting a dynamic cast of characters for my sci-fi series that, I hope, will help readers feel more confident within themselves, alongside the inspiration to act with greater compassion towards others – my novels will also be packed with mystery, suspense, conspiracy theories, and super-advanced tech that requires significant research to write coherently. So, please ‘watch this space’ for updates…

Thank you, once again, for your continued support! You are incredible, and I am honoured that you’ve chosen to spend your time with me (well, with my words, which is pretty much the same thing) πŸ™‚ <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Adventure, Creative, Edinburgh, Engagement, Happiness, Life, Magic, Positivity, Uncategorized, Writing

Our Edinburgh Engagement!

Hi, hope you’re having a fantastic week πŸ™‚

I am writing this blog post to document our magical holiday in Edinburgh…

I love him, infinitely <3

We travelled to Scotland anticipating a tiresome, lengthy drive and sooo many restrictions, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the drive was pleasant and offered sweeping views of incredible landscapes, and the main restrictions included booking restaurants before eating there and having to book visits to places such as Edinburgh Castle. Despite being unable to book a visit to Edinburgh Castle, we couldn’t help but admire the stunning architecture as we wandered through the streets of Scotland’s iconic capital city.

We arrived at the hotel to a friendly welcome, and settled into our room before freshening-up, booking somewhere to eat, then making our way to the hotel bar to enjoy a drink before walking to the restaurant. It was our first evening in Edinburgh; I had no idea it’d end in euphoria! Gareth and I enjoyed our meal, though it started tipping down as we left the restaurant and we’d forgotten our coats – so we raced through the winding Scottish streets back to our hotel room, where Gareth claimed to have left something in the room’s safe. For those of you aware of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Gareth had joked earlier in the evening that he wanted to put his sandwiches in the safe like Captain Holt did, so, naturally, I expected to open the safe to find sandwiches, socks, or something equally silly. However, Gareth had changed the code on the safe to the date we first met, and, as I opened the door I was presented with a delicate, sparkling engagement ring! I turned around, in shock, and almost tripped over as Gareth was down on one knee. I may be a writer, but there are simply no words to explain how amazing that moment was; I didn’t have to think twice about saying “Yes!” to the most wonderful man in the universe πŸ™‚

The euphoric haze in which we were cocooned was enhanced by the awesome food, glorious architecture, and breath-taking sights spanning Edinburgh’s spectacular skyline.

Gareth and I strolled through the glorious park and historic streets as we soaked in the atmosphere, relishing every moment of our dream engagement without the pressures and expectations of everyday life. We couldn’t have wished for a more magical beginning to our future together πŸ™‚

Happiness is being with him πŸ™‚

After the disappointments, the struggles, the betrayal, and the tragedies we’ve both experienced, we realise how incredibly lucky we are to have found one another. Gareth is my other half, just as I am his. We’re excited to be planning our future together, and we are beyond thankful for the chance to do so <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Adventure, Author, Book Publishing, Book Review, Creative, Fiction, Reading, Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

A Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Welcome to my ‘Dannika Writes… A Book Review‘ series! πŸ™‚

As a writer, I have a natural affinity with words. So, it makes sense that I enjoy reading the literary creations of others, too. I began writing book reviews many moons ago; I was in a book club and it was suggested to me by a kind person there that I share my reviews online, as they believed others would appreciate my honest approach to reviewing reads both great and not-so-great.

Being a published author myself, I also realise how awesome it is knowing someone has taken the time to appreciate your efforts to entertain and/or enlighten them, then gone above and beyond to tell others about it as well. Reviews are vital to the success of every book in every genre; and that isn’t necessarily tied to positive reviews and recommendations. From an author’s perspective, constructive criticism plays an essential role in the development of one’s writing, and ultimately, it becomes something every writer appreciates (even if they don’t realise it at the time!).

I only read paperbacks, by the way – which is the reason I include links to the paperback copies of books I’ve reviewed. While I know eBooks are amazing – and that maybe, one day, I’ll get into reading them too – I’m afraid that, for me, nothing beats the delectable scent of a fresh, new paperback or that sensation of being able to actually hold a literary masterpiece #literarynerd (I advise against falling asleep whilst reading though; being thumped on the head by a book is not so fun…). However, should you feel that fellow readers would appreciate a link to the eBook version of a book, please include it in the comments below.

Before you delve into this blog post, I believe it’s worth mentioning that I do not apply ratings to my reviews. In my opinion, every writer is an individual and, to be honest, I don’t believe it’s fair to compare their works – how would one even rate the work of mystery writer in comparison to a romance novelist, or a sci-fi aficionado in comparison to a non-fiction biographer? If you’re happy to place a rating value on a particular book, however, please feel free to include that in the comment section of this blog post πŸ™‚

(Please note that I will be adding a brand new Book Review page to The Emet. Review website, for those of you who have emetophobia.)

In this post, I will be reviewing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams…

Description:

An international phenomenon and pop-culture classic,Β The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyΒ has been a radio show, TV series, novel, stage play, comic book and film. Following the galactic (mis)adventures of Arthur Dent, Hitchhiker’s in its various incarnations has captured the imaginations of curious minds around the world . . .

It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace express route, and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed, in large friendly letters, with the words: DON’T PANIC.

The weekend has only just begun . . .

With exclusive bonus material from the Douglas Adams archives, and an introduction by formerΒ Doctor WhoΒ showrunner, Russell T Davies.

The intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent begin in the first volume of the ‘trilogy of five’, Douglas Adams’ comedy sci-fi classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

My Review:

One of my favourite books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a work of literary genius. This book is so incredibly ridiculous that I have laughed out loud at the hilarity of it time and again!

If you enjoy straightforward stories with a clear beginning, middle and end, this is not the book for you. This book is about as unconventional as advising the use of a towel in emergency situations, but that is exactly the catalyst of its brilliance.

Where to begin about the plot, storylines, and characterisation? Adams has created an incredibly diverse universe packed with complex detail, yet the complexity of it all is overcome by the ironically down-to-earth style in which the narrative is written. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy follows Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect along a series of misadventures following the destruction of Earth to clear the way for a Vogon hyperspace bypass.

I cannot decide which character is my favourite, as they’re all so wonderfully written, though I can’t help but empathise with Marvin – the Paranoid Android. He’s a fascinating character whose astounding level of intelligence is continually underestimated; in a way, I wonder whether he’s a subtle reflection of the reaction to humanity’s inability to realise their own intelligence…

Dialogue is realistic, scenery is cleverly crafted, and the characters – whilst wildly wacky – are so believable that it’s difficult to imagine that they don’t exist out there, somewhere.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a truly inspirational work of science fiction that I recommend if you enjoy sci-fi, comedy, or out-of-this-world adventures!

Adventure, Animals, Author, Ghostwriting, Nature, Relationships, Studying, Uncategorized, Writing

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry I haven’t written a blog post for a while, though I have been *super* busy.

I hope you’re enjoying the festive season, despite COVID-19 pandemic restrictions πŸ™‚

There’s been a lot happening in the world of D.E. Kendall!

First of all, the lovely laptop I inherited from my late grandmother sadly stopped working :'( Thankfully, I’d already saved all my work on a back-up hard-drive. Therefore, I had to find the right laptop to replace it. I found a really pretty (pink!) Acer Swift that is performing well so far – though the last couple of months have meant extra hours of work catching up on the two weeks I didn’t have a laptop. I did take the opportunity to enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, dog, and horses; as well as writing my own novels (that have been neglected lately thanks to such a busy schedule) – which helped me take a much-needed break, even though I was anxious because I wasn’t getting any university or ghostwriting/proofreading work done πŸ™‚

I also had my hair cut, then a couple of weeks later added a splash of colour πŸ™‚

I dressed as a witch for Halloween and discovered Mary Higgins-Clark novels…

The weather got freeeezing cold, so I have spent the last two months or so working in a blanket or in the living room near a radiator! I also dealt with some crippling writer’s block and headaches from staring at screens for too long without a break. Thankfully, I took the advice of loved ones on board, and those issues soon resolved πŸ™‚

I also moved in with my boyfriend, so life has been exciting and more positive than it has been for many, many years – for which I am infinitely thankful πŸ™‚ Fast-forward to Christmas – it looked pretty different this year due to pandemic restrictions, though was magical not only because it was my first Christmas living with my boyfriend, but also because I was too poorly to enjoy any of it or see anyone last year when I was struck down with a ‘B-strain’ of flu according to my GP (which I now believe was possibly the coronavirus, it was just misdiagnosed because it hadn’t been as well researched by then!). Here are some photographs of us over the last couple of weeks… πŸ™‚

Aside from my already hectic home life, I plan to complete more writing projects of my own this year, between two second-year university modules and plenty of ghostwriting/proofreading work – I am definitely looking forward to lots of new literary adventures…

Wishing you a wonderful 2021 πŸ™‚

Sending lots of love! <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Animals, Author, Ghostwriting, Mental Health Awareness, Uncategorized, Writing

Something

Hi πŸ™‚

Apologies for the vague blog post title – my creativity decided not to extend that far today…

**Exciting News Alert** I’m now represented by fantastic ghostwriting agency, Top Rated Ghostwriters πŸ˜€ I am honoured to be represented by such a brilliant company, whose work ethic complements my own and empathetic ethos guarantees a compassionate yet successful connection between ghostwriters and clients. They have welcomed me into their dynamic, talented team – for which I am exceedingly thankful!

Anyways, how are you? Now lockdown restrictions are easing across the world, are you coping?

As I am emetophobic, anxiety surrounding hygiene and illness transmission is constantly ongoing. It’s a battle I face every day, and whilst that battle used to be demoralising, I am coming to terms with the fact it actually gives me opportunity to prove my inner-strength time and again. So, if you’d like any advice on dealing with anxiety during these challenging times, please don’t hesitate to get in touch πŸ™‚

On a lighter note, I am delighted to have finally spent some quality time with my boyfriend – it’s been a long few months, though our dog was super excited to finally be able to see him too!

Whilst out and about on walks and adventures, I always take photographs of things I find inspiring. I thought I’d share a few with you… Do you take photographs to help inspire your writing, or is it just me?