Friday, November 30, 2012

Letter Play - Wickedly Wrecked and Weary

The following roundup is brought to you by Nicole at The Madlab Post...

It’s time for Letter Play - Where DIY activities, cinema and life offline collide!

Items in and around the house featuring Letter W have been hard to come by when working on today's post.  Add to that the fact that I'm tired and wiped out from a long, hectic, stressful week -- the last thing I want to do is look at a computer or take photographs. So instead of going through new W's, let's take a look at some of the previous letter play posts that followed this series' metamorphosis:

First glance clues: Two of the W's are from food items while the remaining one is from a printed publication.

First glance clues: All of the C's are from items found in the grocery store aisles but one of them is also sold at locations that house goldfish and turtles.

That's all folks!

Have a Happy Friday...

@MadlabPost on Twitter

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Special Challenge Participant - Sydney Aaliyah and Australia

Today’s Special Challenge Participant Feature is Sydney Aaliyah! Her Challenge theme was “Traveling in Australia.” So if you’ve ever wanted to explore the land down under, here are some highlights from Sydney.

When did you make your trip to Australia and why did you select that theme?

My trip to Australia was on April 14th to 21st, 2012. It was a birthday present for my boss/friend who was turning 50.

M was for musicians – name some Australian musicians.

Australia has a lot of great musicians from the 80’s that I loved. Icehouse, and Crowded House (not sure what’s with the house theme) had some good songs. Savage Garden I discovered because my hometown radio station was one of the first in America to play their song.
But, the ultimate Australian band had to be INXS. I saw them in concert twice and was a big fan.

Icehouse called Australia the “Prisoner Island” – is that true?

Australia has a unique history in that it was a penal Colony for England back in the early 1800’s. England would send all their murders, rapist and seasonal criminals there. A lot of them died in transit as well. It must not have been easy to get from England to Australia back in those days.
As far as today, I spent my whole trip in Sydney and didn’t notice much of a criminal element. I did meet one guy who said he had been trying to leave Australia for years, but couldn’t. I think that was more of a personal economic issue.

Tell us about the area known as The Rocks.

The Rocks was a great neighborhood in Sydney. Near the water front. It reminds me of The French Quarter in New Orleans and Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Like the neighborhoods I mentioned above, Sydney’s the Rocks as the following characteristics;
1st floor old and new retail/restaurants and bars (Ralph Lauren next to an art gallery that has been there for 100 years)
2nd floor apartments/condos w/balconies (in the quarter, rent is still reasonable, but in GT and TR expensive)
alley ways that have the coolest shops (Alley Cat Jazz, Blue Note Club, I will find out tonight)
Wine bars/coffee shops (not Starbucks)/brewhouses
tourist shops
One great breakfast spot – (Clover Street Grill, Peacock Cafe, Pancakes on the Rocks)

What was your favorite place?

The views from the top of the Sky Harbor Bridge was my favorite.

Since I’m all about the movies, who are some of Australia’s movie stars?

Why are their so many great movie stars from Australia? My all time favorites are all from Australia:
Cate Blanchett – favorite role, Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator – Oscar win
Russell Crowe – favorite role, Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator – Oscar win
Hugh Jackman – favorite role, Charlie Kenton in Real Steel – I got crap for this pick, but I stand by it. Robots, a boy and his father.
Heath Ledger – favorite role, William Thatcher in A Knight’s Tale, but I have to mention his performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight. –Oscar win

Did you have a vegemite sandwich while you were there?

I didn’t only because a couple of my employees are from Australia and they had introduced me to Vegemite before. No a big fan. The taste is unexpected. If you’ve tried it and didn’t grow up on it, you know what I mean.

If you do the Challenge next year, what theme will you tackle?

Wow. Yes, I will absolutely commit to doing it next year. It was my first blog hop activity that I every participated in and it was where I meet Alex and Arlee and the rest of the crew. They have my continuous and undying support and devotion.
But, a theme, this early, I haven’t a clue. I am open for suggestions. Go ahead, challenge me.

You heard her - challenge Sydney!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waiting: a story of love, sacrifice, and regrets

Please join me in welcoming today's guest poster, Lubaina Ehsan of Pakistan. She blogs at When it Rains, and took time from her studies to share this story. In her words, “It's about something that typically happens in Pakistan as the youngsters shift to cities our go abroad to pursue higher education, leaving their parents behind.” Enjoy.


The mud-bricked homes set as close as Lego pieces, illuminated by the full moon, it was a quiet tribe in interior Sindh, known for its date supplies to the city of Karachi. A short owl hoot could be heard in the stillness of the night, a sudden chirp of the crickets breaking through the quiet that engulfed the area, one could see stray dogs roaming in the fields surrounding the living quarters as everybody slept soundlessly. At that moment, it did not matter to him what place or time it was, he did not notice the fireflies in the bush next to him where he stood, all that mattered to him was the money he was clutching tightly in his fists. His earning for the month after working at the tribal elder’s home as a cook, this money was the concluding piece to the mighty tower of sending his son to the city for his studies.

His son was the only one he could call is own, his sole support. He lost his wife and two daughters in the flood that hit their tribe’s village two years ago in the year 2010. Now, his son was old enough to fend for himself in the city of Karachi and pay his tuitions for pursuing his Bachelors from a renowned University in Karachi. He was glad that they had a college and school near by where his son had completed his intermediate education and he had to part with him not sooner than the coming week. Now, he had the money to pay for the fares of his son’s travel and his initial accommodation and semester fee. The thought of seeing the light of his eyes all settled comfortably in Karachi and calling in his father who has always wanted to experience city life made the man smile as he pulled aside the curtains to his entrance and stepped in. His son will soon hear the good news.

“I’ll let you know the specifics for the seminar by tomorrow, only the timings have to be sorted out”, I answer my assistant over the phone as I speed towards my bungalow situated in a comfortable town of Karachi. As I park the car in the porch I can see Hassan, my two-year old son, peeking out the window. It’s his birthday today and he knows that his dad will come home with presents. I pull out the wrapped boxes from the trunk of the car and enter my home. “Daddy!” cries Hassan as he jumps at the sight of all the gifts. A suddenly nostalgia grips me; Hassan’s happiness reflects my joy as father had entered home with the money to send me to Karachi eleven years ago and I probably have the same special smile that father had that night. His smiles were mainly lost after mother, Aliya and Aisha passed away. He must be really alone these days. I make a mental note to plan a visit to the village pretty soon, I take out my cell phone to call father but just then my wife calls me in the kitchen to finalize the guest list for Hassan’s birthday party. Call to father can wait.

It has been eleven years now, he lays on his bed which is creaking even beneath his light weight staring blankly at the only frame on the wall which has his family’s picture. He pulls up his blanket as a chilly wind blows in the room, he has to get up and make tea to soothe his shivering self but he feels devoid of all energy. Due to his old age he can’t work at the fields anymore, he still works as a cook; a job he had taken up years ago to get the financial backup for getting Ali settled in the city. He knows Ali will visit one day and call him to stay at Karachi, it’s just that his son is caught up with all the work these days. The bulb in the room throws dark shadows across the walls, light falls on the telephone at his bedside just as it rings, he picks up the phone from the cradle with shivering hands and recognizes the voice on the other end. “Abbu* jaan, it’s me Ali” tears roll down the old man’s cheeks, he is listening to Ali’s voice after three months now. “Abbu are you there? I’ll be visiting you tomorrow with my wife and little Hassan. Hassan wants to meet his grandfather” the old man smiles. He has found bliss.

I have cancelled my meetings in the coming week, I need to visit my tribe’s village that I took to going only once in the past eleven years. I just got a call from our tribal elder, it was sad news. It’s funny how one realizes the importance of something only when one has lost it. I lost my father last night. Yes, I lost the man who had brought me up and made sure I was living a good life while he had to face the hardships of an elderly life without the support of his family at the village. He died with a blanket in the hot night of June. He was down with pneumonia since a week now, the medicines given to him by the tribal elder remained sealed in his cupboard. He had the phone’s receiver in his hand as he passed away, even though I was told that the phone lines of the village were dead since the past two weeks. I wish I had called him to live with me in the city. I wish.
Thanks, Lubaina for being with us today. We look forward to seeing you in the 2013 challenge!
- Tina

Friday, November 23, 2012

Alphabet Remix - We Were Warriors

These blogging prompts are brought to you by Nicole at The Madlab Post....

It’s time for The Alphabet Remix - A Writing Prompt Idea Engine Treating A to Z Blogging Avoidance Disorders

Today, W is for Warriors. Partly because I feel like fighting so many things right now, partly because of the people who changed lives by going to battle for a cause or injustice and partly because it’s just such a powerful term. So, here are some topics about Warriors that you can consider when writing a blog post for Letter W during the next A to Z Challenge.

A Warrior’s Wardrobe
List one warrior each from different decades and compare their wardrobes, paying close attention to whether what they wore had any impact on their battle methods. You could also compare historical warriors from different countries, cultures or generations of men.

Words of a Warrior
Find quotes in autobiographies, magazine articles or other literary material, that were written or said by someone who is considered a famous warrior of his time. Share the quote with readers on your blog and then write about whether you think there is a certain meaning or perspective  from the comment that can be useful to you or your readers, and in what capacity.

What makes a Warrior?
Write about your definition of a warrior and list some examples that reflect your definition. The examples do not have to be famous or fictional warriors from books or from historical wars. They can be regular people who you know in real life or regular people whom you haven’t even met.

Now, onto other Friday Fun Time news:

The winner of last week’s Alphabet Soup game titled Watching Westerns is...

Loca4Crafts who also blogs at The Drunken Vegetarian.

Loca correctly unscrambled all four movie titles from films in the Western genre. Loca’s prize package includes: the title of “Alphabet Wizard,” first choice of the next letter to be used for an upcoming Alphabet Soup game, and the option to select a theme for a future Monday Movie Meme on my blog. Congratulations to Loca!

Here are the answers from last week’s Watching Westerns game:

1. iWiedstdWllW is Wild Wild West.
2. cilBWhhnedTu is The Wild Bunch.
3. rueiGtTr is True Grit.
4. hoCosdaebmtsetiJassAatdarTeesbifrowJsnehonoResrFy is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Have a Fun Friday, everybody!

Find Me @MadlabPost on Twitter

Sign up for the Monday Movie Meme, a weekly group blogging series that inspires discussion about entertainment in a whole new light and provides recommendations for your DVD, on-demand or theater fix. New topics are posted every Monday at The Madlab Post!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Guest Post: Sue Travers on Desert Springs, Australia

Please join me in welcoming our special guest for today, Sue Travers, who blogs at her new place, jumping aground, and at Traverselife. In her profile she describes herself as, Playing around with words and photos has been missing from my life for too long. Here, I'm exploring what fun it can be!” She's sharing some amazing info about Australia for us today.  

A cloud of zebra finches rises from their improbable home, flocking to a stunted, spindly bush amongst the dusty shrubs and trickle of water that passes for an oasis in this desolate, unforgiving landscape.

Crystals of salts and minerals encrust the impossibly flat land for acres around, save for the insignificant mound which I earlier referred to as a hill. When you're desperate for geographical features, the rise of a metre or so justifies the term hill, and you can certainly see for a huge distance from the easy stroll to the highest point.

The crisp crunch underfoot, remarkably reminiscent to the sound of snow under snugly warm boots, is a fine layer of dry, bright white minerals, which hides the sinking softness of fine dust.

Our footsteps leave clear tracks across the plane. Other tracks tell stories of rabbits scuttling quickly from bush to scraggly bush ... and well fed dingoes.

This fragile landscape with natural springs, possibly millions of years old, has been securely fenced to protect the precious ecosystem from sheep and cattle which would trample the plants tenaciously clinging to life.

Few others venture here. From a distance, these springs appear lifeless and boring, yet in reality they're breathtaking. There's a stark beauty, solitude, and the sense of time stood still.

A piece of grass pulled from out of the mineral encrustation clearly shows the density and size of the crystal growth, it's surprisingly hard and feels a bit like a seashell.

The Great Artesian Basin is the only reliable source of water throughout enormous areas of inland Australia, bores have been drilled since white settlers occupied the region. It lies under 23% of the continent, (some 1.7 million square kilometres) including large parts of Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory as well as South Australia. The springs enabled Aboriginals to survive throughout the region for around 50,000 years give or take a few thousand years. The water is ancient - between a mere several thousand years up to nearly 2 million years old! Its existence now allows towns to flourish and vast cattle stations to operate.

The naturally occurring mound springs provide the only permanent water source in this arid region of South Australia. They're home to a number of unusual and rare plants, fish and other creatures and provide refuge for a range of animals in times of drought.

Despite their importance for biodiversity and their fragile nature, a massive uranium mine, Olympic Dam, is allowed to remove 42 million litres of water per day for free from the Great Artesian Basin which feeds the natural springs, resulting in a drop of pressure and complete drying up of the springs in some cases. This is in addition to coal mines and coal seam gas (CSG) which also use large volumes of the water. According to government estimates, the CSG industry alone could extract 300 billion litres over the next 25 years.

Australia, the driest habitable continent on earth, regularly experiences extreme, devastating droughts, encourages mining operations which extract more water than can be replenished. Coal seam gas, fracking, open cut coal mines and uranium mines are dotted above the Great Artesian Basin, all using the water, and disposing of waste - not always in the most desirable ways.

To read that companies "will be held accountable" and that they must specify how they'll respond  to, and repair, a leak or spill doesn't inspire confidence.

As Murphy's Law says "anything that can possibly go wrong, does" except perhaps in the minds of politicians or the mining industry.

Is it worth the risk?
Image from:
I took the photos above in SA near Lake Eyre.
Here are some links if you'd like to explore this subject further.

Thanks again Sue for being with us, and sharing something so obviously important to you.  Looking forward to seeing what you'll do in the 2013 Challenge!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Alphabet Soup - Watching Westerns

This word puzzle is brought to you by Nicole at The Madlab Post...

Although Westerns are not exactly my all-time favorite genre of movies to watch, they still make for some good ol’ Friday word-scrambling fun! Today’s Alphabet Soup game comes with a twist -- many of the following movie titles do not include words that start with the letter W. It’s all about genre this week.

Unscramble the following four movie titles for films that are categorized as Western. The first commenter who is able to correctly unscramble all or most of these screen credits at best wins this weeks’ Alphabet Soup game. Answers to the game and the name of the winner will be posted here at the A to Z blog during the next Friday Fun Time - Alphabet Remix.

1. iWiedstdWllW ________________________.

2. cilBWhhnedTu ________________________.

3. rueiGtTr _____________________________.

4. hoCosdaebmtsetiJassAatdarTeesbifrowJsnehonoResrFy _____________________.

Happy Friday Everybody!

Also @MadlabPost on Twitter

Sign up for the Monday Movie Meme, a weekly group blogging series that inspires discussion about entertainment in a whole new light and provides recommendations for your DVD, on-demand or theater fix. New topics are posted every Monday at The Madlab Post!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Gap Theory

Okay, let’s take a bit of a breather and think outside the box. The Gap Theory tries to bridge the gap between two camps: some Creationists who believe the universe is 6,000 years old (counting back in time to the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve) and science which claims the universe is around 14 billion years old.

Basically, the theory states there is an undetermined amount of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (insert Gap Theory). And the earth was without form, and empty; and the darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.

God created everything in Genesis 1:1. Following verse two, He simply spoke the world as we know it today into being since all the elements and forces had already been created in verse one. “And God said let there be …..”

This Gap Theory would allow for dinosaurs, cavemen, and the universe being 14 billion years old according to science. People in both camps make valid arguments for and against the Gap Theory and can be very passionate in their beliefs. Even hostile.

Me personally, I lean in the direction of the Gap Theory. I’ve heard both arguments in great detail and do not see a problem.

Question: What do you think of the Gap Theory?

You can find Stephen Tremp, Author of the Breakthrough Trilogy, at Breakthrough Blogs where we rights about all things science, science fiction, writing, and promoting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Special Challenge Participant Feature - Nick Wilford

Today’s Special Challenge Participant Feature is Nick Wilford from Scattergun Scribblings! His Challenge theme was “26 Things that Made Me a Writer.” There was a lot of inspiration in his posts, and he’s here to share some of that with you today. So please welcome my blogger buddy, Nick!

What made you decide on your theme?

I was casting around for an idea, and I'm kind of always fascinated by the make-up of writers - not necessarily things that caused them to become a writer, but maybe things in their past they draw special inspiration from. So I made a list of 26 things that inspired me or helped me to grow as a writer. Some of the things seemed a bit random, so I tried to liken them to writing in some way!

How important is “Globetrotting?”

It's not essential for a writer to be well travelled as I believe you can go anywhere in the universe in your imagination, but there's definitely loads of inspiration to be drawn from seeing different cultures and ways of looking at the world. It can open your mind up, especially if, like me, you come from somewhere like southern England - we can tend to be quite insular! I really credit my round-the-world trip at 21 as a massive turning point for me, as it was when I decided to pursue writing as a career - initially in the form of journalism, but having trained in that, my first book was about a journalist, so one thing led to another.

Your choice for K was unique! Describe it for everyone.

Ha! This was the post that I really felt was the most tenuous - I decided to compare writing to kiteflying. I was glad when a lot of people responded with positive comments and likening their writing to their own hobbies. I think at this point, I was out of pre-written posts and was writing them the night before or the day of... so this was a bit last-minute, but after the comments, I felt the analogy did work. Amazing things can happen in the blue sky of our writing if we pull the strings just right!

“I” was for immortality – how DO you want to be remembered?

You're really grilling me on these! I'm having to go back to refamiliarise myself with what I wrote. There is a certain attractive kind of immortality that comes along with writing, as it's possible your stories could still be enjoyed hundreds or thousands of years after your death. But in terms of how I want to be remembered as a person, to the people that matter right now, I'd hope it would just be as someone who tried to do their best - whether as a writer, husband, dad, possibly a grandad... That's all you can do! “B is for Balls!” You definitely have to tell us about that one.

Erm, OK! Well, I guess what I was trying to say is that it takes guts to go after anything in life. Especially if it's something that's very personal to you, and you're putting yourself up for criticism. So, that could apply to a musician too, for example. Luckily, so far, everyone I've met in the blogosphere has been very nice! It was also about having the balls to try something even if your first book doesn't turn out to be perfect. You shouldn't be disappointed in yourself, you should treat everything as a learning process.

How would you describe your “Voice?”

That's a tough one! I have to go back and read what I said here too. Hmm... I'd like to think my voice is easy to read, although I do have to work hard at not being too long-winded. It's a funny thing because I don't think your basic voice changes that much even if you write in different genres. It's just sort of "there", and it's very hard to describe your own! I'd like to think my voice leans towards good characterisation and evokes a reaction. Writing something in first person might challenge me more in that area.

What theme are you considering for the Challenge next year?

I hadn't thought about it too much until I read this question! For a while, I did consider doing an A-Z of the 90s, because a buddy of mine, Susan Oloier, did the 80s this year which I enjoyed. I was born in 1980, so the 90s holds more resonance for me. But then after the image copyright debacle I thought getting the images might be tricky, and there's been a 90s blogfest recently. I then thought about doing something more creative and decided that I'd like to make a story. Another friend, Jessica Salyer, composed a story by setting a word for each day which commenters had to use in a sentence to continue the story. I'd like to flip that by getting commenters to suggest a word for the next day's letter, which I would choose from at random to use in the next sentence of my story. Maybe I'd select three for an even greater challenge! It'd be interesting to see where that would go.

Thanks for the interview, Alex! I had fun answering these. :)

Thank you Nick for appearing here!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE

Friday, November 9, 2012

Letter Play - W's for Wordsmiths

The following blog photos are brought to you by Nicole at The Madlab Post...

It’s time for Letter Play - Where DIY activities, cinema and life offline collide!

I'm curious to know how close you fellow A to Z folks pay attention to products, designs and signs that we may come across throughout the day. Can you guess where the following Ws are from in these photos?

If you are a blogger, you have my permission to use these alphabet images so long as the usage is made during the month of April and is a part of a blog post that pertains to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. As always, if you do display them on your blog, feel free to credit me and link to my blog or link back to this very A to Z Blog, where you found the photo!

Have a Fun Friday, everybody!

Sign up for the Monday Movie Meme, a weekly group blogging series that inspires discussion about entertainment in a whole new light and provides recommendations for your DVD, on-demand or theater fix. New topics are posted every Monday at The Madlab Post!

Also @MadlabPost on Twitter

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ePublishing: Questions to Ask Before You Decide to Self Publish an Ebook.

ePublishing: Questions to Ask Before You Decide to Self Publish an Ebook. (via ePublish a Book)
Fiction books are almost always a good match for ebook publishing, and the word “almost” is only there to be on the safe side. Fiction is story telling, and story telling is now moving fast to ebook format.  So the question is most relevant when it comes to epublish a non-fiction book. Does your…

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guest Poster: Li Vooght ~ Great Ideas for A-Z 2013

Please join me in welcoming Li Vogt, two-time challenge participant, who works in the field of special education, adores history and science (especially
the weird and the gross), and admits to being a terrible procrastinator. She also does a little folk art painting in her spare time. While she'd like to publish a collection of flash fiction at some point, right now she's concentrating on honing her writing skills and getting individual pieces published. She's got some great ideas to get our creativity flowing for April 2013. 

Hi A to Z ers! 2012 was my second year of the challenge, and I had a great time both years. I met a ton
of people, and found some really great blogs to follow. The A to Z community is a warm and welcoming place to be throughout the year.

Since it's never too early to start thinking about the next one, here is my A to Z list of possible topics and resources to get your creative juices flowing.

A. Almanacs have lots of cool trivia and stats to give you ideas.

B. Beneficence. Highlight charitable organizations throughout the world.

C. Cliches. Love 'em, hate 'em, explain their origins.

D. Dictionary. As writers/bloggers, we can all benefit from an expanded vocabulary.

E. Eating. We all do it. Feature exotic foods, cool restaurants, worst cooking disasters.

F. Fiction. If you've always wanted to try your hand at short stories, the A to Z is a friendly environment
to give it a whirl.

G. Guinness Book Of World Records. Lots of people/events you could feature.

H. Home improvement. Any DIY whizzes out there? Give us a few pointers/projects.

I. Inventions. From the practical to the wacky, there are plenty. Or, make up your own!

J. Jokes. We can all use a laugh.

K. Kings, real or fantasy.

L. Languages. Feature a word each day in a particular language – or several!

M. Movies are a popular topic. Suggest alternate casts/endings, or dig up little known trivia.

N. News. My local newspaper generally has at least one odd/weird/interesting tidbit each day.
(Drunk Bicyclist Arrested After Hitting Police Cruiser!)

O. Origins – of words, folktales, customs, etc.

P. Prompts. There are several sites which feature writing prompts on a daily basis.

Q. Quotes. I thought that it was a lame idea, and yet I am still getting plenty of hits on that post.

R. Rare anything – elements, animals, plants, diseases.

S. Superheroes

T. Torture through the ages, for those with a slightly macabre bent.

U. UFOs or unexplained/paranormal phenomena.

V. Vintage. Choose a particular time period in the past and write about clothing, customs, everyday life.

W. Weather, wars, wines,'s a fun letter.

X. Xerox this list if you want, but for x ideas you're on your own.

Y. Yiddish words, expressions, and terminology.

Z. Zombies. Of course. Give us an A to Z prep list in case of attack.

Right now, I'm planning on writing flash fiction again for the 2013 challenge, but in creating this list I generated two ideas that I might pursue instead. I hope you find some inspiration here as well! 

See you at the 2013 A to Z Challenge...

Li @ I Write At Flash Fiction

P.S.  I of course find her "L" idea the best.  Ahem...probably because that's what I did last year.  (Shameless self-promotion...sorry.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Alphabet Remix - Wrestling with Writing

These blogging prompts are brought to you by Nicole at The Madlab Post....

It’s time for The Alphabet Remix - A Writing Prompt Idea Engine Treating A to Z Blogging Avoidance Disorders

Today, W is for Writing -- probably one of the most commonly topics addressed prior to, during and after the Blogging from A to Z Challenge each year. I have encountered a bit of writer’s block trying to find one topic of interest to Remix for writing prompts that all of you can use when developing a blog post in April. So rather than talk about Wrestlers, Water or Weather (all of which could be a useful topic for some of you who are looking for an entire theme for the next A to Z Challenge), here are subjects about writing that can be covered in April without making your blog look like it’s singing the same old tune as all the other A to Z participants.

Written by...

Publish a list of all the guest posts that you have written for other blogs in the last year and then share some tidbits on the how and why you structured them in one way or another. If you do a lot of guest posting, just pick out a few of your favorite ones and then go from there. Another way to approach the “written by...” topic is by uploading a photo of a poem, essay or short story that you wrote during grade school. This is a fun way to get a blog post up quickly while also reminiscing on your earlier writing and noticing how it has either changed or evolved over the years. You could also compare two photos of handwriting -- one written by your younger self and one as an adult -- to see if it has improved, stayed the same or declined in time.

Writing Weaknesses

Are you a sucker for a certain type of writing? Do you gravitate toward works written by specific authors because of their writing style? If so, highlight some of them in a blog post that either evaluates similarities between the authors or, at the very least, cause readers to do some self-reflection on the writing styles that peak their interest most. If this particular angle for “Writing Weaknesses” doesn’t excite you, then try another approach: Critique your own writing, specifically, pointing out areas where you either know you could have done better or you feel you should have but have no idea how. This particular approach to the topic could open your blog post up for discussion and constructive feedback from readers -- a plus, if you’re still working on the work that you are critiquing.

Who Wrote What?

Use the A to Z Challenge as your opportunity to dispel some myths about where a famous poem, story, magazine article, song, novel or other piece of literary material actually originated from -- as in, who really is the source of it. Or, remix this to quiz your readers on their knowledge of old written works. Ask a question such as “Who wrote ‘nothing gold can stay’ -- Margaret Mitchell or Robert Frost?” and then sit back to find out which of your readers knows this without having to do an online search for their answers. Make sure, however, that you DO actually know the correct answer before quizzing others on such works.

Now, onto other Friday Fun Time news:

Since no one unscrambled any of the motion picture companies in last week’s Alphabet Soup game titled Big Wigs in the West, Tina at Life is Good remains the Alphabet Wizard, by default.

Here are the answers:
1. The Weinstein Company (Django Unchained; Silver Linings Playbook; Seal Team 6)
2. Warner Bros. Pictures (The Dark Knight Rises; Wrath of the Titans; Cloud Atlas)
3. Walt Disney Pictures (Brave; The Muppets; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides)

Have a Fun Friday, everybody!

Find Me @MadlabPost on Twitter

Sign up for the Monday Movie Meme, a weekly group blogging series that inspires discussion about entertainment in a whole new light and provides recommendations for your DVD, on-demand or theater fix. New topics are posted every Monday at The Madlab Post!