Monday, July 27, 2015

One Blog at a Time - Simple Goals for High Mileage on the A-Z Road Trip

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Arduini
It’s time for another pit-stop on the A-Z Road Trip. Check your tire pressure, fill up that gas tank and pack in some snacks as you continue on our highway adventure of visiting blogs on the 2015 April signup list! 

While you tune-up that browsing engine, remember the way to gaining the most mileage on this road trip is by driving in the lane that suits your ability be effective without any fuss. 

Dave Roller, who completed the April challenge at Home School Dad before transitioning over to YBD: Your Basic Dave, demonstrates that the key in making the most progress is by keeping things simple.

Rather than focus on a set number of blogs per day or week, Dave’s one-blog plan for his road trip activities call for visiting multiple posts on the same blog and then moving on to the next one. If you are looking for some ideas on how to have a more in-depth A-Z road trip experience, here is his recipe for creating maximum impact with plain and simple steps.

Visiting a new blog on the 2015 A-Z signup list and read posts in the following order...
  1. Reflections post
  2. An April blog post, going backwards from Letter Z to A
  3. The most current blog post
  4. Rinse and Repeat the cycle, starting with the reflections post on the next new blog to visit.
Having a simple plan allows you to get (and give) the most out of the A-Z road trip by visiting as many blogs as possible, at your own pace, one blog at a time. Dave’s one-blog approach is about as casual as they come while providing a chance to really dig deep into each new blog you visit and get a more well-rounded feel for what it’s all about. This is especially helpful when visiting blogs that may have done the challenge with topics that differ from what they’re normally blogging about during other times of the year.

So if you ever find yourself running low on gas in the fast lane, switching to cruise control can make your road trip activities a little easier to handle!

 5th Annual Post A-Z Challenge Road Trip

The A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is hosted by screenwriter Nicole Ayers (The Madlab Post) and author C. Lee McKenzie (The Write Game), accompanied by dashboard buddy, Mario, who finds thecoolest attractions during roadside rest stops. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mario the Muse Contemplates His Next Road Trip

Mario had a great time in Oregon this year. He toured Ashland, sipping wine and taking in shows. He crossed bridges, strolled the beach and even coached the writer with him while she tried to bring in a decent draft.

He was one busy muse, but he held up under the rigors of travel. He not only came up with some inspiration, he took me on a car tour. It seems he's a car nut. Who knew? But he gave me an idea. If I could find a car with a name starting with X, Q and Z, I might consider this as a theme. Do you know of any X,Q,Z cars?

Here are some he fancies and says he wants to take his next trip in. Want to help him narrow his choices by telling him which one to buy?

So which one gets your vote? Since I'm the designated driver (Mario can't reach the pedals) I'm going for the canary yellow one. Raked and ready to roll.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Characters Who Blog

Yay, it's FRIDAY, the best day of the week! And what better way to celebrate it than with the first post-April installment of the Characters Who Blog series? I have a special one today, a character who takes me all the way back to my childhood. He's the man who taught us that we have everything we really need to accomplish our goals within us, we just need to realize it. 

So without further ado, take a peak behind the curtain and inside the blog of . . . 

I hope you enjoyed the blog of one of the most famous wizards in the literary world. And I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Happy Friday bloggers, and as always, happy blogging!

A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy can be found blogging at Pensuasion

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hot Days in the Blogging Time

Here in the US of A, we're into the Dog Days of Summer (which has to do the stars and not with
From Wikipedia
dogs suffering in the sweltering heat). This year those days characterized by humidity and late day thunderstorms, run from July 3rd to August 11th. A great time of year to spend those hot hours inside and writing. Unless you're like me and love this time of year.

I attended a great writing conference in May. On the first day of the conference, participants are offered separate choices for the lunch time speaker depending on their status as published or not. The not yet published attendees usually have a speaker that fits their needs. The published authors' speaker is nearly always someone offering advice on promotion.

This year our speaker was Jane Friedman. Jane has a great blog with lots of information for writers of all levels. She's offering a  live webinar tomorrow, July 16th on How to Blog Meaningfully and Grow Your Audience. It's pretty pricey for me (about $30/hour) but I'm sure she has lots of good ideas.

But do A to Z 'ers need to take a class on how to be a successful blogger? I don't think so. There are so many terrific bloggers in this group, all willing to offer advice and lead by example. Haven't we all heard about SEO? Don't we know including images improves our posts and the dangers of including images we don't have the rights to?

I've also seen a few bloggers worried as they take breaks from blogging because of deadlines, vacations or personal issues. Will they lose followers? Will the WWW collapse or live on if a blogger takes a week or LONGER off? I believe a blogger can take a short break, especially if they let their faithful followers know they're going to be off line for a while. And if that blogger continues to visit and comment on other blogs while they're on break, they'll keep their connections alive. Check out some info Alex J. Cavanaugh shared on Monday about blogging frequency.

Would you pay for a webinar to help your blog grow? Are you taking a blog break this summer or do you take one during another time of year? Think it's okay to do that? Do you enjoy the dog days?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Themes That Rocked the Challenge - Disasters with Author Chrys Frey

Today I welcome author Chrys Fey! Her theme came from her Disaster Crimes series, and she explored disasters that occur from natural disasters to manmade disasters.

Find Chrys - Blog, Facebook, Website, and Goodreads.

What made you choose the theme of disasters?

I borrowed the disaster theme from my Disaster Crimes series. The first book in that series is Hurricane Crimes (a short story) and the upcoming sequel is Seismic Crimes (a novel). I am currently working on book three with an all new disaster, so as you can see disasters are on my mind all the time. I was learning a lot and having fun with my research, so I wanted to share that with the AZers.

Which disaster happens most often?

I could be wrong, but I think that would be lightning storms. Places all over the world experience lightning storms and they can happen just about any time of the year. I know some people don’t consider lightning storms as disasters, but consider hundreds of strikes in one region during one storm, getting stuck by lightning, fires caused by lightning, power outages...I can go on.

Which one is the most deadly?

This is a tricky question because all of them could be deadly. And a few could be considered the most deadly. For example: eXtinction (my X disaster) and Judgement Day (based after the Terminator movies) would be the end of the world as we know it. And a Zombie Apocalypse would be the end of humanity. Funny thing is two of those are fictional disasters. So I suppose eXtinction would be the most deadly followed by war, which I discussed in my Y post, because the deadliest war (World War II) resulted in over 70 million deaths.

I’d never heard of limnic eruptions. Can you tell us more about them?

Sure. Limnic eruptions are rare natural disasters that occur when dissolved carbon dioxide erupts from deep lakes, similar to volcanic eruptions. The carbon dioxide suffocates nearby wildlife, livestock, and humans. Good thing it’s rare, huh?

What are the chances of a quasar explosion affecting Earth?

For anyone not familiar with this term, a quasar is a compact region of electromagnetic energy in the center of distant, young galaxies surrounding a supermassive black hole. Now I’m not a scientist, but galaxies are said to act as quasars only during the early stages of their lives. Although there is a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, it is considered a middle-aged galaxy and the time for a quasar to occur is probably long gone.

Which disaster surprised you the most?

Oil spills surprised me the most because it’s not a disaster I think of a lot, but the impact is huge. Specifically, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion in 2010 that dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, how long it took them to cap the leak (87 days), and the fact that the Gulf still isn’t oil-free today.

How many of those disasters have you experienced? (And obviously lived to tell the tale!)

Well, let’s see...I’ve been through quite a few hurricanes and wildfires here in Florida. Those are probably the biggest disasters I’ve experienced. Hurricanes Charley, Francis, and Ivan from 2004 inspired my story Hurricane Crimes. For my Wildfire post, I share a personal story about a fire that almost took my home when I was a kid. Some disasters I’ve experienced on a smaller scale are hailstorms, floods, and lightning storms (of course).

What theme are you considering for next year’s Challenge?

I know some people will be sad and disappointed that I am saying this, but I might not participate in 2016. This past Challenge was a doozy and I still feel like I’m recovering from it. However, because I love A to Z so much, I will be doing an A-Z feature on my blog next year with 2 posts a month. As for 2017, you might see me then and I have a theme in mind, but you’ll have to wait to find out what that is. ;)

Thank you, Alex, for featuring me on the great Blogging from A to Z Challenge blog! I am truly honored that you thought my theme rocked. :D

Thanks for joining us today, Chrys!

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


I didn't do a very good job in meeting my Road Trip Deadline. I was sure I could post on July 1, but I was so jet lagged that I wound up face in pillow instead.

Sorry, Trippers! 

However. I'll make some amends by showing you a great game for road trips. Remember that was one of my promises for the summer. I found this game in Ireland and brought it home. This would be a great way to keep you and the kids occupied and happy. It kept my friend and me very happy during our flight.

You roll the dice, the images are your route to a story you create. Simple and fun. All you need is pie tin or other way to keep the dice from spilling and you've got several hours of fun.

Happy Road Trip. Are you thinking about what your AtoZ Theme will be next year?