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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z - Is "Z" the END?

Not the World, just the...
A to Z Challenge" for 2013
--------------------------------
So another challenge has come to a close, were you able to make your post, did you make them on time and did you have a great time meeting new friends?

Did you have fun!
Jeremy [Retro]
Oh, No... Let's Go CRAZY!

If you get a chance please stop over to my site and say "Hello" and thank you for another great challenge!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yep, that's all folks!

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge. Did YOU survive? YES? Oh good, but wait, there's more!!!!! 


The A to Z Reflections Post!

        This tradition started with the very first Challenge in 2010 and has continued every year since.  Some of you may be wondering what this Reflections post is all about, so I will tell you.

        On Friday May 3rd an A to Z Reflections Linky List will go on line for you add the link to your post of your Challenge reflections.  This is the time when you can share your thoughts about the Challenge.  Tell all of us your likes and dislikes.   Let us know how the Challenge benefited you and what aspects bothered you. 

         You can also share highlights such as new blog discoveries you made, certain posts that you enjoyed, or things you learned from other bloggers.  The Reflections post is your time to tell us what's on your mind about A to Z so we know what we did right and what we should change next year.  Also you can feel free to provide any ideas that you think might enhance future Challenges.

          When the list goes online, please wait until your post is up before adding your link to the list.  Unlike the Challenge itself, for the Reflections list we want you to link directly to your post.  This list will remain open for the week following May 3rd so you'll have plenty of time to add your link and you can post your Reflections any time during that week.   You can post your Reflections any time after April 30th, but list will not be available to you until May 3rd.

          We look forward to hearing from you.  And this gives you an added week of doing some more visiting.  We hope you have fun and we all become more informed.  Any questions?  Just ask.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Project X




Those of you who are aspiring writers (and probably a few of the established as well) know what I’m going to be talking about here. No, it’s not your WIP. This is that one project that has been tucked away in the back of your brain, nibbling away at your imagination, patiently waiting for its day to come. You’ve not spoken of it to a single sole because…frankly…you’re not sure if you can pull it off. Its breadth and scope frighten you so much that anytime it creeps into your forebrain you shake it off and push it back into its shadowy corner.

So, how do I know about this if nobody talks about it? Because I’m a writer…and an average-Joe, no different than a lot of writers…so naturally I would expect that if I have a Project X then most everybody else does as well. I imagine for some there’s no name for their project -- because it’s barely a cohesive collection of ideas loosely tied together into a plot -- and for the others all they might have is title and a broad concept. That’s where I’m at. I have a title, and a general notion of what the book could be, but I’m scared to death of it.

In my case I lack the confidence to tackle Project X, for several reasons. The first, it’s a genre I have never written in before, Adult SCI-FI/Horror. Secondly, it will require a level of research beyond what I have previously devoted myself to, and time availability will be a factor. And finally, until I have a couple of published books under my belt I don’t believe my voice will be strong enough to tell this story.

What about you? Do you have a Project X? Care to share anything about it here today? Let me take a bold step and lead the way. The title of my Project X is – Apollo’s Ghost.

Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge on my own blog, Cruising Altitude 2.0? You can read all about it HERE, then stop over and join the fun.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for...Winning & Warriors


As Charlie Sheen would say...Winning!  (Geez, that's SO two years ago...)

We're almost to the end now. Hang in there. You've got this!

Congratulations on making it this far. And if you didn't? You still deserve congratulations for going outside your comfort zone and giving a challenge like this a try. Either way, don't let yourself get discouraged. Let's make it through these last few days together.



You're all Warriors for taking on this challenge. Let's keep that momentum going!

How are ya'?

May you find your Muse.

Shannon L.
The Warrior Muse



Image of W courtesy of Ashley at clker.com: Monogram
Image of warrior on horse courtesy of OCAL at clker.com: Warrior Horse Sword


Join us for the A to Z Reflections post starting Friday May 3rd.   For more details be sure to visit this post

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Very, Very Near to the End... ( #atozchallenge )

   


   The time is getting closer.  An A to Z Victory is almost yours to claim.  So what's next?

The A to Z Reflections Post!

        This tradition started with the very first Challenge in 2010 and has continued every year since.  Some of you may be wondering what this Reflections post is all about, so I will tell you.

        On Friday May 3rd an A to Z Reflections Linky List will go on line for you add the link to your post of your Challenge reflections.  This is the time when you can share your thoughts about the Challenge.  Tell all of us your likes and dislikes.   Let us know how the Challenge benefited you and what aspects bothered you.

         You can also share highlights such as new blog discoveries you made, certain posts that you enjoyed, or things you learned from other bloggers.  The Reflections post is your time to tell us what's on your mind about A to Z so we know what we did right and what we should change next year.  Also you can feel free to provide any ideas that you think might enhance future Challenges.

          When the list goes online, please wait until your post is up before adding your link to the list.  Unlike the Challenge itself, for the Reflections list we want you to link directly to your post.  This list will remain open for the week following May 3rd so you'll have plenty of time to add your link and you can post your Reflections any time during that week.   You can post your Reflections any time after April 30th, but list will not be available to you until May 3rd.

          We look forward to hearing from you.  And this gives you an added week of doing some more visiting.  We hope you have fun and we all become more informed.  Any questions?  Just ask.


Here are a few more bloggers who could use a last minute boost with followers.  Can you please help by visiting, following, and letting them know you stopped by?:

Tales of the Rock

Ramblings of a Silly Girl

Rabbit Trails

DeeCoded

Reflex Reactions

Warped Nerdiversity

Embracing Dawn

Writing Women's Fiction

My Crazy Family Circus

Lyre's Musings

Mainely Write

Flat Stanley and Friends

The Ninja Librarian

Simply Sarah

Bookish Geek

Ordinary Never Sleeps

      Let's ramp up visits, comments, and follows in these last few days.   And don't forget to subscribe to the blogs that you would like to keep following after the Challenge if they are on Wordpress or some other format that doesn't use Google Friend Connect.

      Let's put the Varoom! into the last few days!


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Ubiquitous



From January until May the A-to-Z April Blogging challenge is ubiquitous.You see it all over the place. Mentioned on a blog here, a blog there, a Facebook page, and even on Twitter. You understand how amazing the challenge can be.You also know how unpredictable it seems. Even if you are the underdog during this challenge, and though it may take time, ultimately you decide despite it's untimeliness, that you will sign up and participate. 

Then you must choose to do a theme, or just write each post day by day. And you want to post something unique so you scour the internet for unheard of words even if it means writing about unicorns or ukuleles.  And then day one is upon you and your post isn't finished or perhaps it is already live. Either way you begin visiting other blogs and realize all that you learn from them. 

By day two you are having a bit of fun but by day ten it is upsetting. Maybe comments aren't coming in despite all your work and you're uber disappointed. Or maybe your own blog became unavailable at one point and you begin to understand why those comments didn't come. You being to come undone. But now it is day twenty-one and the challenge is almost through. And you see all the progress you've made it to. 

And that ultimate decision to join in the fun appears when you discover all that you've done. 


Hope you're all enjoying the challenge! 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for TIME!


Time. I don't know anyone who has as much as they want, do you?

I think as bloggers, we as a subculture have an especially short amount of time. Most bloggers, or at least those I'm familiar with, have a day job, a family, all while we are trying to work on our novels, or our music, our pieces of art, our humor, our crafts, or whatever our passion is, yet still attempting to maintain sanity. It ain't easy.

Then, to all of the above, let's add changing our blogging frequency (for most) add more visiting, more return/recognition of comments, and you've got a person stretched pretty thin.

Yet, most of us are loving it! Why? I think what we all have in common, regardless of what type of blog we have (and sorry if I didn't mention your flavor...but these daily posts are supposed to be short...) is DETERMINATION. Hmm, someone wrote about that at D...

TIME (whatever we may have) + Determination = Success

If you've made it this far, you're going to make it all the way! Six posts left. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

What I'd really like to know though is what have you learned? How did it go? Now that it's all over, what advice would you give others? (Yes, I know it's not over...I'm advertising...we take liberties...) How has participating changed your blog? You'll get a chance to tell us during our traditional Reflections Posts. Don't worry right now about when or where or how...just finish The Challenge. We'll let you know later what the rest of the scoop is.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stars!!

That's right. The ones out there in space. That's where you've been aiming the past few weeks, right? You set your goal of completing the Challenge and aimed for the stars.

Well, guess what? Only seven more letters to go. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That's not just faint twinkling anymore. That's the bright glow of the Challenge's end.

And when we reach it, we'll be stars. Super stars!

Now, let's get it done.


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

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R - The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe

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The Raven
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What is one of your favorite Edgar Allan Poe reads?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more." ...

"I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat."
 -Edgar Allan Poe
"With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion."
-Edgar Allan Poe
 

... And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Long post, maybe... well it could have been?
Jeremy [Retro]
Oh, No... Let's Go CRAZY!

Friday, April 19, 2013

QUICK! Let's Do Something Now! (#atozchallenge)

 
Badge from 2012 designed by Ada Z


    Here we are past the halfway mark and I'm still finding some blogs with a lot less followers than they should have.   So today I'd like for everyone to try a little exercise in social media networking.

       Since a big part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge has to do with networking, building communities, gaining followers (who you hope will become your regular readers), and discovering new blogs to follow, let's try to give a power boost to everyone we can today.

        Below I've listed some blogs that have a Friend Connect widget.  Some of these are below 50 followers and I like to see us get them to that number.  In the second list there are blogs that are on their ways to 100 followers--let's get them there today.  And if you see that they've already hit today's goal then help them get to the next level.  If you don't see the widget first off then scroll down until you find it.  As of this writing these blogs all had a Friend Connect widget.

         How will it help you besides maybe giving you a good feeling that you helped others?   If you follow any of these, leave a comment letting them know that you've done so and invite them to visit your blog as well.  If everyone is following the blog etiquette of reciprocity then you'll both get a new follower from your actions.

        So how about it A to Zingers!   Give the community a boost today and let's see how much growth we can all experience in our blogs at the midway part of the Challenge.

         Extra Bonus:   If you want to take it even a step further, when you visit a blog to make a comment, visit the other bloggers who have already commented on that blog and join their blogs.  You can see some very serious blog building action with this added step.   This is a bonus move for those who have the time to do it.  I think you may have fun with this one.

      Here are the lists--take a look and spread the blog lovin':

Help these bloggers reach 50 followers:

Little Moments

In My Own Words

Profiling Great Americans

A Devotional Mosaic

CRE8TIV Glory

Diary of the Sunday Visitor

Maui Jungalow

Random Musings from the Kristenhead

Kids Math Teacher

Designs By Row

Me-anders

The Sun Will Rise

Mammajenna Says It

Random Thoughts From a Random Guy

Reading Practice


Help these bloggers hit 100 followers:

The Written Word of Yvonne Lewis

Unveil the Other Side

The Occasional Adventures of a Hermit

Live at the Moment

Lynda Grace An Hour Away

Awakenings and Reflections

Joanne Clancy

The Ruralhood

It's a Joy!

CHill Thoughts

Wilderness

.Naturally Sweet

 
        Is your blog not on this list and you think it should be?   Please tell us in the comments.   Now let's get out there and do some quick networking.   Quick!

        And thank you all for helping make this push today!



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Thursday, April 18, 2013

PMA!

PMA - Positive Mental Attitude!

You know what? You’re going to need one to finish the A to Z Challenge. At least finish sane and in one piece.

Yes, it can feel overwhelming. The list is huge and daunting. Your comment section explodes. All these new bloggers start following you. You realize you are falling behind with every aspect of blogging.

Your attitude will determine how you handle it.

You can grow frustrated. Maybe even angry. You tire of trying. Maybe instead of feeling overwhelmed, you are underwhelmed. You want to quit because your efforts don’t appear to be netting any results. A negative attitude takes over, and no matter what happens now, you view the situation through jaded eyes and a closed mind.

Or you can a positive approach. You take a deep breath, determined to take a proactive response and find a solution. No one is visiting your blog? You reevaluate your posts and set a goal to visit even more blogs on the list. More visitors than you can handle? Visit as many as you can and don’t sweat those you can’t. Regardless of the task or obstacle, you are determined to find a way to make it work and on your terms.

Which approach will garner better results?

Your attitude is all you can control. A PMA won’t make the problems go away, but it will equip you to better handle the situation. Choose a PMA whenever possible!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for ... Other Blogs!

What? I know I did something similar for L, but so what? It was awesome.

Now that we're over half way done with the challenge, how are you faring? So far, I have posted every single day except Sunday, and have visited at least ten blogs on the list every one of those days. It's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun.

Anyway, here are some blogs related to the letter O that I have been enjoying during the challange:

Michael Offut has been posting about Star Wars: The Close Wars, the animated TV series.

Oh Frog It! has been embroidering song lyrics.

Tim Brannan, from The Other Side, has been covering all kinds of monstrous topics.

Duncan, at Our Home Called Kuantan, has a nice series of Keep Calm.

Outside Perception had a lovely tribute to Boston yesterday.

Do you have any blogs you've discovered through the Challenge that relate to the letter O? Feel free to share them in the comments, and make sure to visit my five, follow them, and tell them I sent you. Oh, and you can find my blog here: The QQQE, if you'd like to follow me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Neck and Neck - #atozchallenge

There are 26 laps on this alphabet track with 14 down and 12 to go. We've traveled far and wide beyond our wildest expectations -- of ourselves and fellow blogathon contenders. Many of us had to make pit stops along the way -- some to adjust and others to regroup. There were even some crashes (shout out to Stephen Tremp workin' that phone and tablet!) that caused a blog or two to spin out of control but many drivers on this track prevailed and remained on the leading lap, as a result.

It does not matter who is in the first, ninth, fiftieth or eight hundred and twelfth spots because everybody is aiming for that checkered flag, or rather -- badge, representing their survival through one of the wildest events to ever hit cyberspace. There's no one winner in this race to the flag. In fact, this isn't even a race. It's more like a multi-caravan cruise along the letters that link us together from different states, countries, time zones, viewpoints, hobbies, experiences and generations.

At times, some of us were way ahead of others while the rest was just trying to keep up. The ones who have perfected their visiting, posting and commenting down to a science have started just coasting along and riding their comfy wave in the winner's circle, but now...

We're all pretty much Neck and Neck.

So, let's keep it that way and meet each other at the finish line!

Your A to Z Challenge Co-Host,

Nicole @MadlabPost on Twitter
www.madlabpost.com

Monday, April 15, 2013

Motivation!

We are halfway through the A to Z Challenge - are you still motivated?

True motivation comes from within. We can read something exciting, listen to a speech, or hear a motivational speaker, but unless the desire gets deep into our soul, we won’t stay motivated.

You’ve come this far. If you’re growing weary, it’s time to dig deep and remember why you began this journey. To improve your blogging skills? To make new friends? To draw attention to your blog? Whatever the reason, only you can motivate yourself to keep going.

Motivation is a goal in action. Recall why you joined the A to Z and place that in front of you as a goal. And don’t stop until you hit the target.

Believe in yourself - and get excited!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Love

Blog love, to be specific.

After all, isn't that kind of the point of the A to Z Challenge? I mean sure, part of it is to push yourself to write a lot of posts, but mainly the idea is to visit a lot of blogs, and show them some love.

So here are a few of the blogs I've been reading during the Challenge:

Shannon Lawrence has covering Histories Mysteries.

L. Diane Wolfe has been sharing a lot of great Promotional Tips for Writers.

Joe Lunievicz has been writing about swordfighting.

Laura Eno has been writing about cats! Who doesn't love cats?

Andrew Leon has been posting about How to Be ... any number of things.

Do you have any blogs you've discovered through the Challenge that relate to the letter L? Feel free to share them in the comments, and make sure to visit my five, follow them, and tell them I sent you. Oh, and you can find my blog: The QQQE, here if you'd like to follow me.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy your Sunday off!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kick-off Time Is Coming -- #atozchallenge

A to Z Logo 2011

         What!  A to Z has already started hasn't it?

          Sure, but now the second half is going to be starting soon.  Some bloggers have been getting weary, worn-down.  A few have even given up (don't give up!).  We're almost down by 100 from the original 1969 that we had when the Linky list closed.  Some are gone because we had to clean them off the list for one reason or another.  But some others just gave up.  Don't let yourself become one of the quitters, especially if you've already gotten this far.

         Next week starts the kick-off for the second half.  Time to get your second wind.  Revitalize.  Stoke the creative furnace for the down-hill ride to the end of the alphabet.  You can do it!

        And don't forget the social media networking.  I've been seeing a lot of you making rounds and making new friends and encouraging regular friends.  Don't slack off.  Now's when we all need more encouragement with comments.  And when you can, be sure to follow the bloggers you really like and want to stay in contact with.  We all like more followers don't we?   Follow others, or subscribe to their blogs, and you may be adding to your own following.

        Now, the second half is coming.  Let's get ready for the kick-off and finish the Challenge bigger than we started.


Here are some blogs that I hope you'll visit, comment on, and then follow:

Nouveau Scarecrow

And Then...a bit of this, that, and the other

A Day in the Life of Patootie

The Written Word of Yvonne Lewis -- She lost all her followers on her previous blog and would like them to come back.

STFU for a Better Relationship

Nebraska Family Times

Lea's Enchanted Cloth

A Writer's Musings


      Keep posting, keep visiting, keep joining, and keep commenting.

      Have a great kick-off in the second half of the Challenge!




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Thursday, April 11, 2013

J ~ Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming...


This post will be short and sweet because I just discovered no one wrote a J post. So as a co-host awake early, I'll just jump in. We do that. Don't be surprised if you come back and it's the real J post – we do that too.

When I discovered this, I immediately thought of Dory. I LOVE Finding Nemo, it's my 2nd favorite animated movie. Can you guess which one is my favorite? Swedish chick, from Scandinavia, proud of her heritage...How to Train Your Dragon!

However, it doesn't have my favorite line in it:

JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING...

Dory had an amazing attitude throughout. She was cheerful, helpful, positive, and never gave up. No matter what happened, she

JUST KEPT SWIMMING!

No matter what has happened to you or your blog so far in the Challenge, it's behind. Adopt Dory's attitude, and starting from here:

JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING...

You've got nothing to lose, friends to gain, and we're nearing the half way point. Dory never knew how close they were or if they were going to succeed. That never stopped her. Don't let mid-challenge ANYTHING keep you down.

~Tina, Fierce Viking Chick, and co-host

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Influence




It's one of the most commonly asked questions during author interviews. "What novelists would you say influenced your own writing when you were growing up?" Most of the time the answers are comprised of the usual suspects, high profile writers who've sold oodles of books. For me it would be Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ed McBain, Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, Pat Conroy, and many many more. But every now and then there are a few who make the list who...well let's just say they've flown under the radar.

There's another question that's asked in a lot in these interviews, and its "What was it that made you want to become a writer?" For me, the answer to that question is forever linked to the first.

I write because I love the feeling of seeing how my words/story affects others. I adore pulling at my readers heart-strings, making their heart race, forcing their hand to fly to their mouth in shock, or how they're unable to suppress a laugh in a quiet room. In my own small way, I am influencing them.

Some would say that influence can often lead to imitation (which could have easily been my I word today). Though it is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, I'm not trying to imitate the way that King, Koontz, McBain, Christie, Spillane or Conroy write. I'm trying to imitate the way they made me feel when I read their work. Every one of them held me hostage, manipulated my emotions, and left me the better for it. That is the nuts and bolts of why I write.

It's beyond my wildest dreams to become as influential as the writers above, and many others like them, but to be one of those authors who fly under the radar and possibly influence some other future writer? That would be a gift indeed.

Did you know that I'm running a contest over at my regular blog, Cruising Altitude 2.0? No? You can read all about it HERE, then you can hop right on over there.

DL