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Monday, March 30, 2015

C. Lee McKenzie Meet Your Host

AtoZChallenge


The Hosts during this challenge are a varied as the stock at K-Mart. We come from all kinds of backgrounds, we're of different belief systems, we live in places all over the world.

Isn't it amazing that we can come together like this to complete such a unified and demanding task? Twenty-six days of blogging and commenting. Makes my brain tired. You've already met some of these Team Members; now it's my turn to reveal who I am.

My Work
When you were invited to ASK US ANYTHING on the AtoZChallenge Blog, the questions were as varied as the Hosts. Here are some of my answers to your questions.

Susan Scott  wanted to know what our best form of exercise was. That's so easy for me to answer. I hike or I do Yoga. For hiking all you need is good pair of shoe and water. I don't have to haul around a golf bag or find a partner to hit a ball to me across the net. It's just me and trail. Yoga doesn't even require shoes! I think you can categorize me as a minimalist.

Barbara in Caneyhead asked what we'd do if our computer bellied up during the Challenge. Don't even think that, Barbara! But if it did, I'd hock the cat and buy a new computer.

CA Heaven asked if we were skiers, and I answered I used to be. If I had to choose between skiing Breckenridge or Arapahoe Basin, I'd choose Breckenridge.

Betty asked a great question: How do we mange time during the A/Z Challenge. My answer was simple. Get up earlier . Go to bed later. Take breaks, stretch and walk. The family's on its own in April. 

Now I've planned a hike for this morning, so I'm out of here. Bye computer. Bye Internet. See you later.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet Your Co-Hosts! Fifty Shades of Nicole…

www.madlabpost.com
Dear Blogging from A to Z Challenge Participants, 

I am Nicole Ayers, a freelance writer, illustrator and media producer, who completed the April challenge four times and am embarking on my third year as one of your Co-Hosts. My tendency to write lengthy blog posts comes from a preference for painting the full picture of observations and thoughts on certain subjects, rather than an overview. It isn't unusual to find me making notes of some kind -- be that for ideas, to-do lists, troubleshooting problems, etc. on a daily basis. If I won 2 plane tickets, I would go to Italy with my grandmother because it's where many of the arts and cultural scenes that mesmerized me growing up are concentrated, and she deserves a vacation. 

The perpetual calendar in my room is a source of wisdom with reminders for approaching life with a positive and/or productive mindset, one step at a time. I enjoy watching The Walking Dead because its storylines contain lessons about developing multipurpose skills, conquering fear, being a team player, staying fit and identifying the reasons behind your actions. I’m far from a nature lover but would like to be more active outdoors and improve my agricultural knowledge. I care more about Twitter than Facebook. To this day, I dislike my inability to make an edible batch of pancakes. 

It would be great to make life a little better for someone dealing with adversity, before I die. The custom made dress I wore to the prom was based on a design I drew specifically for the occasion. I carry L'Oréal Paris lip gloss in my bag and aspire to find peace on earth but in the meantime, I’ll have BBQ sauce with my French fries, thank you! Although drawing The Gates of Hell at the Rodin Museum for my Art History class was an intimidating experience, the results were surprisingly better than I expected. Over the next 365 days, I plan to get back into the habit of creating artwork on paper.  

Connect with @madlabpost on Twitter
One thing I wish I could change in this world is the high cost of education for those who need it most. A computer is among the things I want to save up to get. Since I’m struggling with finding purpose, I think I can help it by just doing a bunch of different things that interest me and seeing what sticks. My favorite TV shows include Flashpoint and Parenthood. I seldomly favor any Holidays. At the time of this writing, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominated drama “Pariah” - about a Brooklyn teenager juggling an identity crisis while risking friendship, family & heartbreak while coming to terms with her sexuality - was the last movie I watched. 

I prefer gummy bears and nachos over popcorn. I don’t remember much about kindergarten but I do miss my friend Melissa from 1st Grade. We’ve crossed paths a few times over the years but don’t keep in touch. Still, I would have lunch with her today if the opportunity presented itself because she is one of the smartest, coolest, most ambitious people I’ve ever known from grade school. I’ve handled more guns than I’ve fired. 

The last book I read was A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and loved it! Add in A.M. Holmes’ Jack and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and you have some of my favorite books. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete is one of the saddest movies I ever watched. At this time, a Cabbage Patch Kid and a plush frog are the first childhood toys I remember having. 

http://www.redcross.org/
Posing with a stranger in my prom photos is one of the stupidest things I ever did. Looking back, I should have posed with my high school friend because now I have these pictures with a person I don’t talk to and it was a great opportunity to create memories with the person I actually knew, whom I continued to stay in touch with after graduation. That was a bad call on my part. Although I rarely celebrate Halloween, I would want to dress up in a rag doll costume. Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite horror movie. An initiative I participated in for the American Red Cross had the biggest impact on my views about giving to charity.

I like to draw more than paint but if I must do the latter, then I’d prefer tempura over watercolor and acrylics. My favorite actors include Denzel Washington, Vincent D’Onofrio, Matt Damon, Bruce Willis and Leonardo DiCaprio. My favorite actresses include Kate Winslett, Angela Bassett, Hilary Swank, Eva Mendes, and Dakota Fanning. The martial arts adventure Falcon Rising is the last live action film (I think) I saw in theaters, while Marilyn Myller is the last cartoon/animation film I watched at a laundromat during Couch Fest Film Festival. A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School teacher Scot Pankey’s “Uptown Funk” dance is one of my favorite YouTube videos.

PostSecret
I believe that many of our traditions and practices in Western culture are the result of social constructs that limit our potential for unity. If I achieved my dreams, I would be a happier person who got more sleep. An anonymous postcard (the image over on the left) sent to Frank Warren’s PostSerect project contains what has become one of my favorite quotes. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Lauryn Hill is a song that usually makes me cry. My pair of socks from The Crayola Factory hasn’t been worn in at least nine months because I’m afraid about them getting raggedy. Traveling by plane is an experience I dislike since airport security measures that passengers go through have become more intrusive and downright ridiculous. Garfield, Charlie Brown and Bart Simpson are some of my favorite cartoon characters. 

Sincerely,
Nicole who Blogs at The Madlab Post
P.S.
What you wanted to know...
The Madlab Post TV - YouTube
Do we have anything in common?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Characters Who Blog

Only one week until the start of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Hip hip hooray! I can't wait to get started. Did any of you participate in the Great and Powerful Theme Reveal Blogfest on Monday? I loved getting a taste of everyone's challenge themes. I've already bookmarked so many blogs with themes I just can't wait to check in on. I hope you found a few that excited you as well!

Well, for my last Characters Who Blog post before the challenge, I decided to go with one of the most recognizable, admired, and adapted literary characters of all time. And one of my very favorites. So get ready to read some alphabetic awesomeness from one of the great detectives of the literary world . . .


I hope you enjoyed Sherlock's take on the A to Z Challenge. I can't wait to get a look at all of yours! I'll see you all next week for the letter "A"!

Happy Wednesday and, of course, happy blogging!

S. L. Hennessy can be found over at Pensuasion. Check out her A to Z Theme: Movie Smackdowns! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Challenge Tip – How to Make Friends! Plus the Challenge Theme Reveal is Today

One of the goals of the Challenge, besides posting daily the letters of the alphabet, is to make friends.

The very first Challenge, there were only a hundred of us. We got to know one another over the course of the month and made lasting friendships.

Has that changed now that there are thousands of participants? No! The same opportunity to connect is there. And despite the numbers, I’ve managed to make many new friends every year. So can you.

Here are some tips on how to make friends next month:

Explore the list. Not everyone uses the coding system, but even with just blog titles, you’ll have an idea what to expect. We encourage everyone to visit five new blogs a day, starting with the one right after your own, anyway. Go through the list and note those blogs of interest.

When you find a blog of interest, follow it. Most blogs have one or more follow widgets, or an RSS Feed at the very least. Click on that Google Friends Connect, Linky Followers, or Networked Blogs widget. Show the blogger you are genuinely interested.

Comment on that person’s blog. Friendships are all about interacting and the exchange of thoughts and opinions. Comment on what that person posted about and let him know you read his post and it mattered. Blogging is all about community. Hits and visits don’t tell us much or lead to connections. Comments do.

Return comments on your own blog. That’s someone who stopped by and was interested enough to respond. Return the gesture. Continue the lines of communication. That’s how friendships are formed.

Connect with that person on other platforms–Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, etc.

Continue visiting after the Challenge ends. That’s the real test – who keeps coming back? Who wants to continue the communication? If you made a connection during the Challenge, don’t let it fade away in the months following.

Friendship takes effort. But it offers the greatest rewards. Next month, make it your goal to make some friends!


Co-host Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh is the author of Amazon Best-sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm, and his blog can be found HERE


And don’t forget – the great Theme Reveal is today!

Looking for some cool themes to follow during the Challenge? Here’s a great list to get you started:



Friday, March 20, 2015

A Roadside Attraction with the Mighty A-to-Z Challenge Assets!

Thanks to all who have been doing the 4th annual Post-Challenge Road Trip. While we've racked up a lot of mileage visiting blogs between May and April, the last stretch of highway is a must-see before packing it in for this season. 

Speaking of the seasons changing, Stormy the Weather Gnome took Heather Gardner into their garage to unpack their road trip co-hosting activities. They will both be missed out here on the road; be sure to keep a lookout for them during the A-to-Z Challenge, as they embark on new adventures!

In the meantime, say hello to the assets of Nicole’s Mighty Minion Bureau! These ladies were in positions #53, #63 and #66, respectively, on last year’s signup list for the A-to-Z Challenge and are returning in 2015 for another year of blogging every day in April. As members of my Mighty Minion Bureau, they are also are a carefully selected team of dispatchers who keep the alphabet juice flowing through participants of the challenge.

“Special Agent” SydneyAaliyah Michelle blogs about tattoo stories, movie quotes and contemporary romance novels – including her own Hope series and Another New Life.

Vidya Sury is doing the A-to-Z Challenge with three blogs this year, including Collecting Smiles where she writes about positive messages on parenting, happiness, traveling and food.

Melanie Shultz blogs about life as an indie author and her five-year goal of building a world class publishing company; she’s already on her way, having released an alternative diction series about a private high school where students are trained to become rulers of tomorrow.

Want to know an easy way to speed through the road trip? Here's how...

If you visit every blog mentioned in this entire post today, you’ll have completed the five-blog minimum necessary for surviving the 2015 Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge. It’s a great way to develop and exercise those blog visiting muscles for April!

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers writes about epic kissing scenes, gratitude and bathroom selfies in the workplace at The Madlab Post. Chat with her on Twitter @MadlabPost