Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shelina: I Miss April, How About You?

I Miss A to Z April, How About You?

So you had this fabulous daily blogging regimen and then April comes to an end and you’re exhausted from the hectic life that is daily blogging. But your jazzed at the idea that you could do it and no one caught on that you had no idea what you were doing. You figure, going down to two or three blogs a week will be easy in comparison. You’ve balanced a full life and your blogging life at   last. A week or two passes and you start losing steam. You're barely getting out a post a week. Why?
Business Calendar & Schedule
( Business Calendar & Schedule (Photo credit: photosteve101)

You stopped writing daily.

That’s the easy answer but it’s the truth. If you wrote every day like you did during April you wouldn’t be here now, thinking, what happened? So if you’re in a blogging funk the easiest fix is to do exactly what you did for April. You don’t have to hit “publish” everyday, but you should still create posts everyday or close to it, if you want to hold on to your momentum. What I did for April was planned my posts for the month and then I had something to work from during the month and I was able to keep ahead of my posts by a week or two. That was one of my easiest blog months ever, because I planned ahead. I've gone back to that. I don't have all them blogged and scheduled yet but I have them planned out and I know what I want to say and how. It's given me more time to work on some other projects that I've been wanting to get to: editing two finished novels, my YouTube channel and a new blog concept coming out shortly. I even did my first giveaway. Don't worry it's not to late to fix things.

Writing Exercise:

If you’re a blogger or thinking of starting a blog, try to get ahead by a month you’ll feel the comfort and stress free feeling of being on top of your blog giving you more time to focus on giving your readers quality content and timely responses.

Just in case you missed my A to Z posts under the theme "Get Writing" you can download them in book form here.

Shelina – these are great words of advice! Thanks for being here to share.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tasha Beren on Fan Fiction

First of all I'd like to say thank you to the A to Z blog for hosting my post and especially to Tina from Life is Good for organising the blog hosting.

I survived the A to Z challenge this year and it was great fun taking part, I hope everyone had as much fun as I did. Although I've only been on Blogger for a little over a year and interacting with the professional writing blog community, I have been blogging one way or another for longer than I'd care to reveal and today I would like to talk to you about one of my loves: fanfiction aka fanfic.

Please don't groan and run away, fanfiction does not begin and end with 50 Shades of Grey, I promise :). If you are not familiar with 50 Shades of Grey and wonder why I mentioned it, it is because the books originally started out as fanfiction for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight.

I thought it might be helpful to define what fanfiction is first, so there are no misconceptions.

Very simply put, fanfiction is fiction written by people about a universe and/or characters they did not personally create, of which they are a fan.

It can be a fictional universe, for example Harry Potter (to the left is some fanart for one of my Harry Potter fanfics called Gold Tinted Spectacles), or it may use real people, for example The Beatles. Usually this fanfiction is written for the consumption of other fans for free, with a few notable exceptions (this link goes to a superb article with a list of fanfics you probably never realised were fanfics).

There have been a lot of misconceptions in the media recently about fanfiction and 50 Shades really hasn't helped. Fanfiction is not all about the porn. As I have mentioned before on my own blog, the fanfiction medium is definitely not afraid of sex and explores sexuality and sex in many and varied ways, but fanfiction is not just about that. There is a whole subgenre of fanfiction called Gen which has no relationships and no sex in it at all. Something the media never seem to mention in their reports about it. (Of course there is Rule 34 - if you can think of it, there is porn for it, but that goes for everything as well as fanfic ;)).

I have been a writer all my life, scribbling in notebooks all through my tweens and teens and even before that, but I did not really spread my wings with writing until I found the internet, fandom and fanfiction. One of the greatest things about fanfiction is it brings people together with shared enjoyment and, in my experience, the community is a fun, nurturing and vibrant place to explore writing and concepts and, well, just about anything you want to explore. During my stay in fandom writing fanfiction I cannot begin to explain what I have learned, everything from how to be a better writer, to social tolerance, feminism, racial awareness and so much more.

Ideas are very powerful things and the fanfiction world is full to bursting with them in easily accessible, easily digestible packages. I also firmly believe that anything that encourages reading, writing and creativity has to be wonderful.

Admittedly, I am quite glad there was no internet when I first started writing, because all my really big disasters are very firmly in drawers never to see the light of day again. I will admit I have one story in the depths of that drawer where my lead female character was totally a self insert and a Mary Sue (female character who is best at everything, saves the day, marries the hero etc) and ended up with Wesley Crusher. I've always fancied the characters with brains :). My shame is locked away, but the youth of today is writing their own first terrible fiction and throwing it straight onto the internet.

Now I'm not saying they shouldn't, everyone has to start somewhere and there are people out there who love reading such stories, but I am very glad no one can ever dig up mine from Google and laugh as loudly as I do when I occasionally glance at it. I do have one piece of advice for all would-be fanfic writers, however: find yourself someone to read it before you post it to correct any hideous errors. In fanfic land we call these people beta-readers and they are very wonderful and very helpful.

I, myself, am mostly a slash writer when it comes to fanfic. This means I write mainly male/male pairings, although I have been known to write het (male/female) and ménage (threesome or moresome). This does not mean all my fiction has sex in it, just that most of it has relationships of some kind. I usually write fanfic because I'm a shipper, this means I ship (want to see two or more characters in a relationship) when they are not together in canon (the official events of the universe). I have also made it my goal in life to write at least one vampire story in every fanfiction world I choose to play in. My pairing du jour is Loki with just about any of the Avengers and if I tell you my Harry Potter pairing of choice is Harry/Draco you can probably tell I enjoy pairing the bad guys with the good guys.

People write fanfiction for numerous reasons, too many to list here, but most of all I think the majority of people write it to have fun and enjoy themselves in a warm and friendly community.

Amazon have just announced Amazon Worlds where fanfic writers can earn money selling their fanfic for the few American TV shows they have licensed. Personally I think this is a grab to gain content cheap without paying professional tie-in writers and is a truly horrible idea. I wouldn't touch it with a fifty foot pole. I also believe that moneterising fanfic in any way is asking for trouble because when money becomes involved so do lawyers and they always try and spoil people's fun. /Climbs off soapbox

Some fanfics stick closely to canon and read like another episode from the series, book or film. Some diverge so far they are known as AU or Alternative Universe where recognisable characters are placed in new circumstances, for example the characters from X-men First Class as regency ladies and gentlemen (very popular since both leading men have played regency characters) or, closer to the original, Erik and Charles meet a different way, causing a different outcome to the film. Some people also use the term Alternative Reality, but there is much debate even within the fanfiction world over which one means what, so a lot of people stick to AU.

One of my favourite sub-genres is the crossover where the author takes two or more universes and crosses them together. As with rule 34, if you can think of two universes, someone somewhere in fandom has probably written that crossover. N*SYNC meets Harry Potter is by far not the strangest. I love a good crossover (although there are some truly terrible ones out there as well), because I adore stories where characters are confronted with situations they just have no way of comprehending. I enjoy writing them too and the one I am most proud of is a Harry Potter/Anita Black crossover called Black Magic by Moonlight where I plonk Harry and Draco in the middle of Anita's preternatural St Louis.

There is such amazing creativity in fanfiction and all the media seem to be interested in is the sex or the authors/creators who have a rabid hatred of it. I honestly cannot understand the professionals who try and vilify it. If someone wanted to write fanfic of my stories I would be utterly overjoyed. I wouldn't read them, so no one could try and accuse me of copying them, but I would still be totally flattered and glow with happiness that they existed. I have never understood the idea of 'MINE, you can't play!' when people have been doing it for centuries and you can't demand people experience your work exactly the way you want them to. Reading and writing is an individual experience and that's the amazing thing about it. Fandoms that have fanfic tend to survive a very long time.

If you would like to dip your toe into some fanfic the best place to go is Archive of Our Own. It's run by a non-profit group called the Organization for Transformative Works and is very well set up and monitored. You don't need an account to read, you will just be asked if you wish to proceed if you click on a link with adult content. Most of my fanfic can be found there under my fanfic pen name Beren.

Are you a fanfic writer, if so, what do you write? If not, have you read fanfic, did you enjoy it? Also, if you have any burning questions about fanfic I would be most happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

Thank you very much for reading, I hope you enjoyed the post.

Natasha Duncan-Drake
Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Livejournal | G+ | Wittegen Press Author Page

About the Author: Tasha started writing as a pre-teen and has never stopped. She used to be a software engineer and database designer before she decided to follow her dream to be a writer full time. With her twin sister she created Wittegen Press, a small e-Book press for publishing genre fiction. Her books include novels in the contemporary fantasy, crime and horror genres as well as many short stories and novelettes in every genre from sci-fi to romance. When she's not writing she's usually reading, watching vampire movies, baking or polishing her Photoshop skills.

Monday, June 24, 2013

MaryAnn Millington: Fitting In

From our beginnings most of us are trying to fit in, in one way or another.  Sometimes within our family dynamics.  Often at school where clicks are around every corner.  Usually at work, trying to fit in to the office politics.  For me all of the above is true and after all these years I feel like I am still trying to fit in.

Back in November of 2012 I started my blog on a whim, really trying to get some exposure for my Etsy shop.  My intent was to feature my designs and maybe some HOW TO, instructions.  Well something really crazy happened along the way.  I found I loved to write.  So instead of featuring my items I was writing about my life and then one day in February, I  fell upon the A to Z Challenge.

I immediately asked myself:
Can I really find something to write about everyday?
Where do I fit in to the writing world?

So, my quest to fit in returned but I decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.  There were suggestions on the A to Z blog to pick a theme which would make it easier but I could not really think of something that I was interested in to write about everyday.  So I just decided to wing it.  I started making an A to Z list of topics that would correspond to the letter hoping that would help my thought processing going forward.  I even wrote a few ahead of time, thinking this would give me a good head start. At first it did help but in the end, as is my way, I just blogged about what just came to mind a few days before or sometimes the day before.  It certainly was brain taxing at times.  Midway through I was ready to throw in the towel but I just kept going and was happy and proud to finish.  I even started an everyday May challenge but by day twenty I got blog block and decided that I had, had it.

I totally enjoyed visiting others like PoketheRock and Pigeonhousehandmade but as I visited other blogs the burning question for me was still where do I fit in?  I am certainly not an author or want to be one.  I am a crafter but I love to also write so I really do not fit in there.  I love home decor and like to sometime display my home improvements but I am really not part of that group.  I have grown children so I am way past how to keep your children busy during summer vacation blogs.

So the question returns Where do I fit in?

Still really not sure but I am having fun writing, meeting new people and learning lots of new things along the way.

MaryAnn, you fit in right here with us: The alphabet loving, April Challenge folks! So glad you joined us in April, and thanks for being here today.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Debra Mauldin: B is for Bashful Betsy

Hello to all my fellow A-Z Challenge Bloggers!

This was my first A to Z Blogging Challenge and I was determined to finish. I kept my pace slow and steady, as I only did one A-Z post a day and took Sunday’s off to recuperate. That seemed to have worked well for me.

Hats off” to the encouraging A to Z Team. They were available, if needed, to answer questions.
I didn’t get to visit as much as I would have liked, even participating in the A to Z Road Trip. I will participate in the A to Z Challenge in 2014 and I encourage you to participate, also.

Fellow Challenge Bloggers were very encouraging and supportive. I loved getting their feedback and comments.
I would like to share a short story with you that I got a lot of feedback on:

B is for Bashful Betsy

April 2, 2013 by D. B. Mauldin

Betsy had been dreading college. She was very bashful. She did not enjoy meeting new people. She had argued with her father to go to Breman’s College. Betsy had chosen Breman because it was the farthest college, away from home, her father would agree to. She was, also, trying to overcome her bashfulness and clumsiness. Being clumsy and bashful was not good. Her clumsiness always put her in bashful situations.
Finally, the big day came. Betsy’s father and mother drove her to the campus and helped her get settled in. There were lots of hugs, lots of reminders, more hugs, and then Betsy found herself alone in her new dorm room. She sat down on the bed and wondered what her roommate would be like.

Betsy fit right into college life on the big campus. She was able to blend in, learn, and observe. Her grades were good and she had time to write every day. It was near the end of the 1st semester of her 2nd year of college and her thoughts were full of final exams. With her mind full of thoughts and her natural clumsiness, Betsy ran into the corner wall leading to the staircase. She blushed with embarrassment as her books fell to the floor and scattered. Betsy felt a stab of fear pierce her stomach as she saw Roland walking toward her with the purpose of helping her recover her strewn books.

She had developed a huge crush on Roland the first day she had seen him. It was her first year of college, second semester, and one of her classes was World History. She had spotted him going into the door of the class just ahead of her.

He looked up at her from the scattered books on the floor, his large blue eyes locking with hers. She felt an ache in her heart. Her bashfulness caused her to blush even more.

Here you go”, Roland said as he handed the books to her. Betsy managed to mumble, “Thank you”, as she quickly turned and fled up the stairs. Betsy bit down on her bottom lip, upset with herself for acting so bashful. She feared her bashfulness would never go away.

Betsy was rushing to her last class of the day when she noticed Roland up ahead. She slowed her pace so that she wouldn’t run into him. Roland went up the steps of the building ahead of hers and Betsy hurried on to her building.

After class, Betsy headed to her dormitory room, but heard someone calling her name before she got there. She stopped and turned to see who it was, then froze in fear as Roland jogged toward her. “Hey! How are you doing?” Roland asked. Betsy stared into Roland’s blue eyes and became dizzy as she was consumed with bashfulness. Roland reached out a hand to help steady here and asked, “Are you okay”?

The touch of his hand on her arm stabilized her. She was no longer dizzy, she just felt bashful. “I guess it was the cold” she said while shaking her head up and down.

Well, let’s get you out of the cold first and then talk” Roland said as he placed his arm around her protectively and led her up the steps of her dormitory house.

Once inside, Betsy shrugged out of Roland’s arm and with her back toward him began to take off her coat and gloves. “What do you wish to talk about?” she asked bashfully over her shoulder.

Well, for starters, let me introduce myself” said Roland. Betsy turned around and took Roland’s extended hand into her own. “My name is Roland Barrett and I’m a senior majoring in English.”

Betsy gave him a bashful smile. “I’m Betsy Robertson, a sophomore majoring in English” she said.
Well, imagine that, two ships pass in the dark, both majoring in English. What do you plan on doing with your major, Miss Robertson?”

Betsy didn’t have to think twice. “I’m going to be a writer. Maybe teach some high school English and write on the side. What about you?”

I want to be an English teacher and write on the side” Roland replied grinning.

That grin brought Betsy’s attention to his mouth. What a beautiful mouth, she thought. Before her thoughts could go on to how kissable that beautiful mouth looked, Betsy roused herself.

Seriously?” she asked.

Seriously” Roland responded. They stood for a moment, both feeling that they had just met their soul mate. Roland broke the reverie.

I know we have just met, but I have watched you often from afar. I feel like we are old friends. Anyway, I wanted to ask if you had a date for the Valentine’s Dance yet.”

No” Betsy replied as she felt a blush rising to her cheeks.

Well then, I would like to ask you to be my date” said Roland.

Yes. Yes I will.” Betsy said bashfully.

Great! I will pick you up here at 7:00 pm. Until then, I will see you around.” Roland left before Betsy had a chance to reply back.

Betsy sat down in the lobby of her dorm house. “A dance,” Betsy groaned, “How will I ever make through a dance with my bashfulness and clumsiness?”

I am a professional writer, aspiring to publication. Wife; Mother to 3 beautiful daughters; Grandmother to 5 (soon to be 6, and just found out a 7 is on the way!). My grandchildren are my world! I’m a Certified Aromatherapist with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services.  Writing has always been a part of my life. My passions are writing, reading, helping others, gardening, nature, and spending time with my grandchildren.  My blog is Mama Bear Musings.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Editing The A-Z Challenge by Kate from Another Clean Slate:

Kate from Another Clean Slate has been blogging for only three months. A former lurker, her introduction to writing her own blog coincided with the start of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. She said it was a great way to jump in head first and really embrace the blogging community right away. She is sharing with us her "E" entry from the challenge- Editing the A to Z Challenge

During this Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I began to think about what other challenges we could do and blog about from A to Z in upcoming months to share our experiences. Some of my favorite challenge edits are:
  • Eating my way from A to Z- Some people could do this with full course meals, cereals, fruits, exotic foods or cutting their food into shapes. I can imagine their families would be thrilled for "Frog Leg Friday." Although, I've had frog legs on several occasions and they really do resemble the taste of chicken.
  • Falling in love from A to Z- Did you ever see the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? This would be along the same lines but the goal would be just to have a date with a day whose name starts with a letter consecutively from A to Z. It might backfire when you meet your future first ex-husband at the bar and decline a date just because his name is Mike and you already are all the way to P- searching for Peters, Pauls and Pasquals.
  • Hobbies from A to Z- This would be good for anyone who wanted to have a chance to try being an acrobat or zoologist. They would be able to join this challenge and spend a day going through each of their potential passions by letter. Beekeeping anyone? Ghost hunting?
  • Send a gift to Kate @ Another Clean Slate from A-Z- This is my personal favorite. Everyone could use their creativity to send me gifts- anything from Alcohol to Jewelry to Zumba soundtracks.
What are some edited challenges you can think of? Maybe one of ours could go viral like the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Imagine the possibilities!

Thanks to Kate for contributing today! You can find Kate almost every day on her blog, Another Clean Slate, as well as her Twitter and Facebook pages. Follow away and share your own ideas for editing the challenge!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

#Writers Helping Writers: Get Your #Book Featured

During my A to Z Challenge on Daily (w)rite I featured authors, through posts like this one. Had April not turned out to be the personal nightmare it became for me, it would have become an even bigger success.

I regularly read bunches of books by author friends and from time to time, I feature them on my blog. This exposes my audience to new books to read, and brings the authors some sales. I'm now planning to make this a regular Wednesday post on Amlokiblogs.

If you're an author looking to get more publicity for your latest book, or buzz up an old one, send me the following at atozstories at gmail dot com:

1. Title of Book, Genre, Author Name
2. A one to two sentence elevator pitch (Not more than 50 words)
3. Author's fave excerpt from the book (Not more than 250 words)
4. Links from where the books can be purchased.
5. Blogpost-sized Book Cover

I'd like an email expressing your interest first, before you send out the above.

The elevator pitch and the teaser excerpt need to be well-polished, ready to be showcased. This is for books only-- novels and short story collections. I'd like to feature non-fiction as well, but no poetry or erotica (sounds horrible, grouped like that, I know, but I run fiction-based, PG13 blogs).
I have June covered, and some of July, but slots are still open. If you need your book featured urgently, I might also feature them on Daily (w)rite.

I look forward to reading your excerpts, and if intrigued enough, featuring them and buying your books!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rhonda Albom: Focus, Fun, and Adventure!

Focus is the buzz word of the day around our house. I am focused on our upcoming Alaska travel plans in an effort to avoid some of the mishaps of our last adventure. Hubby is focused on what ever it is that rocket scientists do in their spare time, our teens are focused on our soon to arrive house guests and, of course their education. I should introduce myself, I am Rhonda from Laugh Quotes. com. I am a travel photographer, humor writer, homeschool mom, American expat based in New Zealand and I race yachts in my free time.
Rhonda Albom from Laugh-Quotes

Our life is an exciting adventure and I try to live by my favorite quote (attributed to Mark Twain):

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Rhonda Albom from Laugh-Quotes
Here we are on a dragon boat in Beijing, China

If you are wondering why I write a travel humor blog of randomness entitled Laugh-Quotes, don't worry, so am I. In 2012, as we laughed our way around the world the focus changed, yet it retained its stupid name.
To bring the focus back to AtoZ, I thought I would share my reflections poem from the 2013 AtoZ challenge. I went for a theme - Travel Tips I Learned the Hard Way. Another year finished. Before I sign off of the AtoZ Challenge 2013 Can I tell you my views? Don't run away. Everything is cool, Funny, fabulous and filled with new friends all Going the distance. Humor and travel were my focus, Idiots that we were on the road. Joining in to AtoZ, Keeping a focus on one topic, Laughing as I go, Made the blog hop that much more challenging. Never a dull moment. Opportunities to meet new friends. Pausing for a breath or Quiet time Rarely happened in April. So we all pushed to the end. Tired, Unnerved, Victororius. When we finished Xtatic at learning how to use X without the E. You did it too? Now it's time for . . . Zzzzzz

Now that the Challenge is but a memory, what are you focused on?

PS: I also write a blog called Kibitz Spot, but is so far off this topic I wasn't sure I should even mention it.

Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and love of adventure with us! Best of luck in all your travels!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Elizabeth Demers: Breaking Down the Wall...Naked

Another A to Z challenge comes to an end--- another collection of posts and poetry have been written, another deep breath of relief is released. For my fellow bloggers that survived as well, it's another 'challenge-completed' notch carved into the writing desk.

I've come to enjoy my yearly foray into the world of all things alphabetical. This was my third year, though it was only the second year I had a workable theme (which made the challenge substantially easier than the first year I attempted this challenge.) And, though my first year was difficult because my focus was so scattered, I found this year was more difficult because I lost the enthusiasm that came with the first year excitement----excitement which helped me plug along until the end of the challenge.

Year 3 was a success in the sense that I completed the challenge, though, this was the year that almost wasn't----

Somewhere about a third of the way through the challenge, I seriously considered giving up.... there weren't enough hours to get everything done, the way I wanted to get them done. My poems were getting harder and harder to compose (I mean, there's only so many supernatural poems you can write before they all start sounding alike). I haven't been able to visit near as many fellow A-Z challengers' blogs as I had wanted. Though, I'm hoping to amend this in the days/weeks to come.

Time and time again, I would find myself saying, what's the point? or, I don't care enough about this subject to write anything about it, it just happened to start with the requisite "letter of the day."

Life and work and family and more life, kept getting in the way. I could feel myself teetering between the edges of apathy and despair. I HATE not finishing a writing challenge----- even if I had all 26 posts left to do on April 30th, I'd still give it a go....

But, then I'd push through a couple of posts...find a couple of cool pics and suddenly the poems weren't just 'cereal-box-ingredient-lists'.... And, then I'd remember....

There's a reason we do what we do, we writers. And, it's when things feel past the point of restoration and repair, that our basest and truest form emerges. We aren't caught up in the grandeur of ourselves, wrapped tightly in our own self-assurance, exuding the confidence of the never-failed.... Instead, we're exposed and raw and vulnerable-- we are naked to the world, and more importantly, we are naked to ourselves.

Being naked (especially when you didn't intend to leave the house without your pants) is more than a little scary. We can't hide in the comfort of the background when there's a neon sign hanging over our heads that tells the world and their brother to look at us because we're starkers.

And, when we turn the mirror to ourselves, we are, at once, all too aware of every flaw and imperfection... every blemish screams, every scar burns. But, instead of looking into the mirror long enough to grow accustomed to---and perhaps to even love--- what we see, we build view-blocking walls around ourselves that have no window and no door.

It's here we stay until the claustrophobia (read: innumerable ideas clogging the space around us) becomes too much and we begin the frantic scramble to tear down the stone and mortar.

It's when we push ourselves past the wall, fighting every crumbling brick to make it to the other side, that we are reminded, we can do this. And, it's the relief/respite we feel from the first piece we've written outside the wall, that we are reminded, we want to do this. It's the joy/exhilaration we feel once the words are flowing again, that we are reminded, we MUST do this!

I apologize that this got up late in the day. My bad. A case of a person juggling too many sorry Liz. Thank you for taking the time to be here!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rinelle Grey: Life Without Technology?

Life Without Technology?

Most of us are so used to the technology we use in our modern life that we don’t even think about it. A room is well lit at the flick of a switch, we can talk to anyone in the world immediately and see news as it happens around the globe, food is kept fresh in refridgerators or mass produced sealed packages, clothes are mass produced and available to buy in air conditioned shopping malls, and our waste products are either flushed down the drain or collected and carted away.

Most of us are dependent on this technology—we can’t imagine life without it. And the stories we read of life before it was developed doesn’t make it sound pleasant! Chamber pots, the long drop, trying to read by candlelight, or having to grow and prepare all our own food, none of them seem that appealing.
And yet, does it need to be this way? What would life be like now, without electricity for example? Would we be instantly transported back to life a hundred years ago?

I don’t believe so. While most of our current lifestyle is dependent on electricity, there is also a lot of research put into alternative technologies.

Composting toilets are an efficient, odour free method of dealing with waste that requires no electricity. We’ve learnt a lot about preserving food through safe canning or drying methods. And you can find plenty of plans for making solar ovens, that cook your food using only the sun’s heat. Pinterest is full of excellent tutorials on how you can sew your own clothes without complex patterns or huge sewing knowledge. Given time to prepare, and the information we have available now, living without electricity can be a lot more enjoyable than we imagine.

The characters in my novel, Reckless Rescue, had to learn to live without electricity and other modern conveniences when they had to flee their planet when it was destroyed by a meteor impact. Luckily they were able to print out many resources from their databases before they lost power. Being rather resourceful, they’ve managed to make life on their barren planet as pleasant as it can be. Except for the anysogen pollution, which means that most of the population is unable to reproduce.


Thanks, Rinelle, for this glimpse into the world you created for your novel. This is right up my alley ~love stories of colonization and what life would be like in post-apoc0lyptia! Best of luck to you.

Friday, June 7, 2013


For this A to Z challenge, which was my third, I had two ideas. Because I wasn’t sure which one to pick, I incorporated both into my theme. The one idea was what I called an “alliterative-styled alphabetical greeting”, which I posted at the beginning of each post. Some greetings were long, some were short. Some of them didn’t make any sense. Well, they weren’t really meant to. Some of these greetings turned out to be a string of mumbo-jumbo, incoherent rambling... Bottom line is – it was all about fun! And the posts were super-short! 

The other idea was my whacky definitions! For the whole month of April, I posted  a word –the meaning known to me -  BUT I also posted my own definition with accompanying nonsense. 

The participants were invited to have a go in the comments section. They were encouraged to also leave their own definition for the day's word. Have fun with it, too. If readers knew the real meaning then the request was -  make something up anyway!! The point was to take some time away from the everyday humdrum blogging schedule and S-T-R-E-T-C-H the imagination!

At the end of the project, I  posted a collection of my favourite comment definitions, for everyone to vote on. And it was soooooo difficult to choose. I started off with approximately 60 definitions, and then cut them down to 18 for the final reader votes.

Bloggers had to choose the best–most creative, fun, and/or ridiculous comment! The winner would get a gift equivalent to the letter. For example, if an E commenter won, then the gift would equal 5 units/items. If a J commenter won, then the gift would equal 10 units/items. The units/items remained a mystery until the 01 May.

By the way, the winning letter was S, which means that there were a total of 19 items/units in the prize that I eventually posted. For want of a more suitable explanation, I called my prize: A Hamper Filled With Oodles and Caboodles of South African Goodies!

As the challenge progressed. I began to respond to blogger definitions by posting my thoughts; or what I imagined the commenter was trying to say (that sounds crazy… I know) I certainly didn't plan to do so. During the challenge, time is soooo precious. You never have enough.  But I just couldn't resist. It was spontaneous and in the moment…. and sucked most of my time. But the interactivity was PRICELESS and I had a blast doing so, and wouldn't go back and change anything! This is the main reason why I didn't get around to many blogs (my minion duties also meant that I was responsible for checking in on a certain section of the A to Z list…)

I have never ever had so much fun, or laughed so hard, like I did during the month of April. I'm talking about ROTFL moments. Tons and tons and tons of ROTFL moments. I think I had the most fun during the challenge. And that's what consumed most of my time. As a result, I didn't get a chance to visit too many new bloggers. I just about managed to keep up with my regular blogging buddies. A positive note: I forged stronger connections with certain bloggers who I've known for a while, but never visited on a regular basis. I look forward to maintaining better contact with these bloggers. I did find a few brand new blogs, which I will be visiting on a regular basis as well...

Here are the “alliterative-styled alphabetical greetings” that I posted every day.

ATTENTION ALL: a hearty welcome to all you amazing and anxious A-post arrivals who are making an appearance at this humble abode today! All aboard? Away we go!

Blistering Barnacles! (I've always wanted to say that) *giggles* I was up bright and breezy on this B-Day to browse the writings of you bloody brilliant, busy-bee batch of brave bloggers. If the barrage of bombasticity begins to bore you, I'm begging you to bear with me… don't burst my bubble…
Anyway, stay busy… break a pencil… or something like that…

Crikey! It's C-Day! Come, come, come… join the cool conversation my creative counterparts! Are we not a crazy collection of clever creatures?
Caveat: continued commitment to this challenge will lead to a celebratory conclusion… so blog on! Have to cut the chit-chat due to chronometrical constraints. Cheers!

Dudes and Dudettes!
I declare: your daily dose of diligence, dished out to de-stress, and destined to destroy your dampened spirits and downheartedness…
D'oh to doomsayers who declare us to be dotty, self-deluded dimwits. Dare I say, don't disregard us daring and dazzling dreamers!
Dang! Duty demands I gotta dash!

Eureka! Happy E-Day to every energetic, ecstatic entrant! Endurance is essential in this epic challenge. Expose and eradicate expected emergencies quite easily! Enquire early… there's help everywhere! On with the entertaining episodes!

F-Day is upon us! Flabbergasted? Frazzled? Frantic? Fiddlesticks! You can do it! My fanatical friends and followers, forget about being finnicky and have fun! Feel free to be freaking foolish and follow the festivities. Some folk favour a dash of finesse and flair ! Flippin' heck is what I say folks!

Greetings! Gadzooks! It's G-Day! Did I hear gasping, gulping and gnashing of teeth? Get a grip, get a grip! Good grief got a gazillion blogs to get to! Grab some grub. Got to gobble and go! Goodbye!

Hurrah! It's H-Day. Hang in there! Have hope. Humour helps. Hostility hampers healthy progress. Ask for help. No heart attacks please. I have a hunch that hundreds of hearts are harbouring heaps of happiness which is heating up the blogosphere. Hasta la vista.

Are we irrational idiots, insisting on immersing ourselves, in-depth into this intense yet impossible and irksome challenge which is imaginative and innovative. It is definitely an industrious journey which is incredible, insightful, inspirational and indescribable...

Jumpin' Jehosophat! This joyous journey has produced some jewels and a certain je ne sai quoi. Jeepers Creepers! I'm just jabbering in a jolly jumble of words that mean jack! But I'm still jovial and jubilant on J-Day so join in the jollifications!

Kickstart your K-Day at your keyboard with a keen and knowledgeable, killer, knockout, kick-ass attitude. Kapow! Keep at it!

Listen A to Z labourers, leave out the lazy and lame attitude. Laugh out loud. Liaise with others lest you become lethargic and lackadaisacal… lose pace… lag behind by lengths… you are liable to be labelled loser…

Mama mia! The massive and mean A to Z machine marches merrily along on M-Day. It moves minute by minute with a mixture of mediocre and masterful minions and messengers. It's the mid-way mark! Mazel Tov!

Notification! N-Day is here, all you nervous and normal narrators and novelists! This is a noteworthy newsflash to nip and neutralize the negativity of the narrow-minded, non-supportive, nasty naysayers… who had the nerve to say:  never, no ways, it will come to naught and you are all nuts, numbskulls and  nincompoops and not likely to nail the challenge. The notorious A to Z nomads are still navigating new territories and discovering new neighbours!

Ooh-la-la! O-Day is on! Order! Order! Order, I say! All you open-minded, outstanding, outrageous, obliging bloggers and the obstinate, obnoxious oddballs too. If only we could continuosly overflow with optimism, omit negativity and operate in the original and organised way we did when the challenge began… Ooopsy Doopsy… I don't think that's gonna happen though… Need something to keep you going? Breathe deeply and ——- Om…. om… om… om… om… om...

Pssst… P-Day promises plenty of possibilities. All you puzzled plotters and pantsers, please practise patience yet playfulness with minimal panic, as you pledge to get those poems, paragraphs and pieces polished, then proceed to press publish. Is your P-post up? No? Get to it. Pronto! Procrastination prohibits progress!

Que sera sera… to this quirky, quintessential and questionable challenge...

Righty-o! Let's rock-'n-roll. But first… rapid revision required. Are you relieved, rattled, or revved up and ready to rendezvous on R-Day? It rushes in and raises the realisation that rest, relaxation, refreshment and rejuvenation are required to recover as the the raw and rattled nerves resist… reluctant and resenting the daily ritual. Reminder: responsible posting = roaring results. You'll reap the rewards.

Sheesh! S-Day settles slowly… Summoning all scribes who are still stressing, struggling silently… and those super savvy, high-spirited ones, smiling smugly as they sail smoothly into S-Day sharing stylish snippets, skilfull sentences and sparkling stories… show-offs! So, if you are stuck, then a speedy solution to strengthen, support and sustain spinning senses is sorely needed. Shazaam! Or spontaneous scribbles should save the day...

Ta-da! It's T-Day! Todays twisted thoughts are trapped in a tormented turmoil… a total tizz… tsk. tsk. tsk… thanks thus far for the tremendous tidbits, tall tales and tip-top theories that you've posted. Think positive! Triumph takes top place. Toodles!

U-Day is upon us! Are you up-to-date? Then utter uncontrollable ululations with urgency and uplifted spirits because only five units remain in this ultimate universal blogging challenge. This unique and unending journey is unravelling quickly. This is an unavoidable fact for all participants, whether unconcerned, uncertain or unruffled...

Viva! All you A to Z voyagers, or should I say valiant vagabonds who have wandered around in this vast sphere, visiting various versatile blogs. Blow your vuvuzelas! VOILA! V-Day is vanquished. Va-va-voom! Va-va-voom! Victory in view. Will your verdict be Veni Vidi Vici?

Welcome to all you wonderful wordsmiths who, at this stage, are also weary, washed-out, wrecked worrywarts and waffling along to the end of the challenge. Well done to all you whacky, wise-crack writers who are wavering and wringing your hands in wild wonder as you whoooooooosh warmheartedly across the blogoverse. Wow! Three days left. Whoopee! *whistles*

X marks the spot… that's all I can say. I have xero fancy words for this post… sorry...

Yakkety yak… yada yada yada… yesiree… yippee yippee yo, yippee yippee yay… that's all that's left to say!

Zippidee-doo-dah Zippidee-ay, My oh my what a wonderful day, End of the challenge, Nothing to say, Zippidee-doo-dah, Zippidee-day!   ZING-BA-DA-BING!!

(I would love to share some of the whacky definitions with you, but this post is already tooooooo long. Maybe another post?)

Challenge Participant Michelle from Writer-in-Transit