Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zoomin' Outta Here ( #AtoZChallenge )

Zzwoosh!  Now it's time to zoom out of another round of The April A to Z Blogging Challenge and get back to the normalcy of life...

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Z 

Zoomin' Outta Here

      Did I just say "normalcy of life"?   Does anyone remember what that was?  Or maybe there was never any real normalcy.   This past few weeks of Covid lock down is starting to feel almost normal to me, but my life hasn't really been all that different either since I'm retired and stay at home most of the time anyway.

       The diversion of blogging has been nice even though I've felt like I haven't had time for doing much of it.  And now the daily blogging grind schedule is over for me for now.  I'll be blogging at my intermittent rate of posting and doing all the other life stuff that seems to consume my time these days.

        Jumping out of the fire and back to soaking in the safety of the pond is kind of way of looking at it I suppose.  Though safety is usually one step from a danger we didn't see or expect.   It's been a fun (?) April in some ways, but I'm looking forward to that comfortable place of less stressed blogging.

        Zoom I go!  Maybe now I can think about that next frantic April to come...

      How "normal" is your life these days?   Have your summer plans changed much or do you even know?    Did you have a good April Challenge?

  Don't forget to watch for the upcoming Challenge Survey, the A to Z Reflections Post, and the A to Z Road Trip.   Dates are listed in the sidebar of this blog.    Watch this site for more details!


You can see the list of all Blogs on our Master List!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Yet Another April #atozchallenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of posts focuses on:
Featuring a Blog with 2020 Vision

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Y

Yet another April has gone by. This April was difficult for much of the world. But some bloggers rallied and brought good entertainment to those willing to look for it.

My nominee for a blog with 2020 vision is:

I'd also like to give some special shout-outs:

Ubuntu: The Unification of mankind - This is an amazing post with a positive spin on how we can best treat each other during this time. Navita Bhatia did a great job.

Frédérique of quiltingpatch, who did a great job commenting on many blogs this month.

How many blogs did you manage to hop to (comment on) this month? It's not too late to visit now!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

An eXploration of John #AtoZChallenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
A 2020 Look at the A to Z Team

12 Writing Questions for 12 years of A to Z:

1.      Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Sometimes it energizes me, sometimes it exhausts me. A lot will depend on my mood when I'm writing. If I'm in a bad mood when I'm writing, it exhausts me. If I'm in a good mood, I can go all day.

2.      If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

You don't have to get it right the first time. Leave yourself enough time to edit it.

3.      What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I'm not sure I've ever spent money as a writer.

4.      What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

"Flowers For Algernon" by Daniel Keyes. I don't remember how many times I read it when I was in high school, and I can't remember why I did, either.

5.      How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None. I'm not an author per se. All my writing is done for the blog.

6.      What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a blog?

The posts that I do the most research for are the music ones. I may look up some interesting facts about a particular artist or song from Wikipedia (The Blogger's Best Friend), Allmusic, Discogs and artists' web pages. I'd say probably no more than an hour.

7.      What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Getting it right. It's why I don't do it anymore...

8.      How many hours a day do you write?

Typically about two hours. If it's going well, three to four.

9.      Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

I don't especially care for fiction, in all honesty. I think the last novel I attempted to read was Janet Evanovich's most recent Stephanie Plum novel. I read a few chapters, put it down and haven't picked it up again. That was when I realized I was burned out on fiction.

10.   How do you select the names of your characters?

I don't have characters per se. when I'm writing a memory I'll use real names. If I need to give someone an alias, I might just use their first initial. When I'm telling stories on my brothers, I just refer to them as "my brother." They know when I'm talking about them, because they'll know the story. There have been one or two situations when I've used a full name as an alias, in which case I just pull it out of thin air.

11.   Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

One of the beauties of not having written a book is not having to cope with reviews. I'll get comments on my blog, of course, and respond to as many as I can.

12.   What is your favorite childhood book?

There were several, but the one that immediately comes to mind is a collection of the works of Wilhelm Busch, author of "Max und Moritz" and other stories that were about evil children and how they get their comeuppance from adults. Busch wrote poetry in German, and the translation was beside the original text.

8 More Questions to round out to 20 (for 2020):

13.   Do you Google yourself?

I don't Google anything: I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine. ;) Having said that, I very occasionally will look myself up, just for a laugh.

14.   Are you usually early or late?

Since I'm handicapped, Mary does all the driving, and she is an inveterate early bird, so I'm almost always early.

15.   How often do you people watch?

Not as often as I used to. I spent so much time people watching in airports that I kind of burned out on it.

16.   What do you hope never changes?

My relationship with Mary. We've been married 42 years.

17.   What job would you be terrible at?

Given the troubles I have with my arm, paper hanger.

18.   What skill would you like to master?

Playing the chromatic harmonica.

19.   What takes up too much of your time?

Reading blogs. I think I follow too many.

20.   What’s the best way to start the day?

Waking up.

Do any of these answers resonate with you? Feel free to share in the comments!

Find John's blog here

  ~Jayden R. Vincente (adult fiction writer)

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Monday, April 27, 2020

We Ask Arlee Bird Twenty Questions #atozchallenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
A 2020 Look at the A to Z Team

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter W

I sat down recently and asked Arlee Bird, who blogs at Tossing It Out and who is primarily responsible for starting the A to Z Challenge in 2009, twenty questions.

  1. How long have you been blogging? Started in September of 2009 so that means 10 1/2 years so far.

  2. How has your writing changed in that length of time? Stylistically I don't think my writing has changed much, but I think I've become lazier in my writing.

  3. What percentage of bloggers who were around when you started are still blogging? In actual statistics I can't say for sure--many have gone or I have lost track of them. But to hazard a random guess I'm going to say at least 60% might still be blogging to some degree or another.

  4. Are there any bloggers that you miss? Being forgetful as I tend to be, I can't come up with any names at the moment. The blogging relationships that I miss most are the ones who turned against me to some degree or another, became rude, and discontinued interaction with me. I guess that's a hazard of expressing opinions on my blog that some folks didn't like. Too bad--more their loss than mine I think.

  5. How much time do you generally put into each of your posts? These days, lazy blogger that I've become, my typical post requires about 30 minutes or so. Most of my A to Z posts are whipped together in about 15 minutes I'd say. Actually I'm guessing on all of this since I never bother to time myself.

  6. How much time do you spend replying to comments? The total depends on how many comments I get. Most of the time I'll spend less than a minute on a comment reply so since I get maybe 16 comments per post, I likely spend less than 15 minutes replying to comments--and maybe closer to 10 minutes total.

  7. Does what you read affect your writing? How? I'm like a monkey. Or maybe a parrot. If I'm getting into reading something then it gets stylistically reflected in what I write. That is until I read some other style that inspires me. A lot of my writing shows the influence of Flannery O'Connor because she's one of my favorite writers. One fun thing I've had a tendency to do on those occasions that I get ambitious enough to write a book review is to write the review in the style of the book I've read. I've got a weird sense of humor I think.

  8. Other than the blog, what writing do you do? About the only other writing I've been doing of late is songwriting. I've enjoyed writing songs for over 50 years now. Maybe someday I'll get one published. It'd be nice.

  9. Which social media platforms are you active on? On which are you most active? I sometimes put posts of Facebook or Twitter--that's about it and not very often.

  10. Will the kind of blogging you do still be around in 5-10 years? If we're all still here, I would guess that blogging will still be essentially the same as it is now. I've seen so many different kinds of blogs that I can see how filing a niche will likely always have some kind of interest level with others. Is there any such thing as a singular kind of blog? Gosh, it's been so long since I've explored the current blog world that I'd almost forgotten what weirdness I've found in blogs in past years. But then what is weird to me fills a niche for someone else.

  11. How much TV do you watch? What do you like to watch? I watch a whole lot more now than I did when I first started blogging--probably 3-4 hours a day, sometimes more. I like to watch news/information type shows and documentaries when it's just me. If my wife is watching with me we watch mostly old movies on TCM. She probably gets annoyed with the old movies sometimes, but she'll usually tolerate them.

  12. What was the last album (vinyl, cassette or download) you bought? At the end of 2017 I inherited my youngest brother's CD collection. He probably had at least a thousand CD's all in very good condition. A lot is music I like so I haven't really felt a need to look for more music. The last album I bought was I believe in summer of 2016 from a comic book and collectibles store in New Jersey. My youngest daughter had gotten into vinyl. I had no intent of buying anything until a ran across a like new live album by NJ band The Good Rats. I'd had the album on cassette back in the 80's and loved it.

  13. When do you usually go to bed? Had to laugh since I'm writing these answers right before bedtime. Usually I go to bed about 11 PM. I find it very difficult to sleep more than 6 hours.

  14. You were a juggler in your younger days. Do you still do it? Since you asked, my A to Z blog post talks about that. To directly answer your question, I think about juggling a lot--or should I say that maybe my mind thinks in a sort of juggling interpretation of life and the world around me--and I do keep three colorful juggling balls on our media shelf so, now and then, I can just pick them up to toss around a bit. Hmm--that wasn't very direct, but maybe there is something metaphorical to what I said.

  15. What was the worst job you ever had? Maybe because my first actual job was working in my parents' juggling act, somehow appropriate work for me should also be fun. Or maybe I just tend to be a generally positive and optimistic person I've usually found something good about every job. However, one job that came to mind was my first job (outside the family act) when I was about 14. I signed on to become a golf caddie. It might make for a blog post in the future so I won't go into details, but I'll just say that I only went out once and then that was it.

  16. Your bio on your site mentions two other blogs, "A Faraway View" about dreams and "A Few Words" for Sunday contemplation. They both appear dormant. Any chance you might reactivate them? There's always a chance which is way those blogs remain accessible to readers. There were a few years when I had all the blogs in the Challenge. I wasn't watching as much television then.

  17. If you didn't blog, what would you do with the time? One thing I don't ever feel is being bored. There are so many things I'd like to do as well as things I need to do. It seems there is never enough time in a day. Sometimes I wonder how managed my own life when I was working.

  18. Why did you decide to start blogging? At the beginning of 2009 my business branch shut down and the job hunt wasn't working out well. As I recall it was kind of a bad time--certainly for me jobwise. Then I started seeing this stuff about blogging being a way to riches. I started my blog. Maybe some people get rich with a blog--not me.

  19. Your site says that you "won" NaNoWriMo in 2009 and 2010. What happened with the two novels you wrote? They're on my computer and various other places for safety. Waiting I guess--or just being stored.

  20. If you had a chance to restart your life from a point in the past, where would you restart from? Why? Nothing would change in my life timeline, but it would be cool to travel back throughout time to visit. For me things have worked out pretty good and looking back it seems like I was a participant in some pretty interesting times.

Thanks, Arlee. If you have any questions for him, leave them in the comments!

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Saturday, April 25, 2020

2020 Vision: The Old Shelter - Sarah Zama's author blog (#AtoZChallenge)

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of posts focuses on:

A Blog with 2020 Vision

Do you like historical fiction? How about historical fantasy? Are you excited to be living in the 20s again? How about escaping into the 1920s?

Sarah Zama is a long time participant of the A to Z Challenge with her blog called The Old Shelter. This is her sixth year joining us! Since as an author she works with the past - specifically, the 1920s - I thought she would be a perfect candidate for being featured in our "2020 Vision" series!

Sarah's challenge posts are always a delight to read. This year, her theme is Living in the Twenties! In the past she has done other themes related to her research work for historical fiction:

2015 - The Roaring Twenties
2016 - Jazz Age jazz: early jazz as a social phenomenon
2017 - 1940s film noir
2018 - The Weimar Republic
2019 - Berliner Cabaret

What I especially love about Sarah's posts is that they are extremely well researched and well organized. I always learn a lot from them. And what makes her an even better participant: she always visits back!

Sarah is an author who writes historical fantasy, focusing on the 1920s - or as she describes it, 1920s Dieselpunk Noir. It's history mixed with fantasy, and some fairy tale elements. If you want to find out more about her stories, follow this link!

If you haven't visited Sarah's blog yet, stop by and say hi to her!
You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Friday, April 24, 2020

Twenty questions for JR Vincente (#AtoZChallenge)

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:

A 2020 Look at the A to Z Team

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to one of our shining team members, JR Vincente! 
I asked twenty questions, and received some stellar answers :) See for yourself!

1. You have been writing for 15 years, and you publish erotic fiction. Was this the genre you first became interested in writing?

Well, considering I started writing in High School, I definitely did not start with erotic fiction! Actually, I started with mystery. As a teen, it was a great way to channel my frustrations. There were often characters very similar to my classmates… Sometimes I look back at some of those works and chuckle at my naivete.

2. What's your second favorite literary genre, currently?

Mystery, for sure. It has had a place in my heart since my mom handed me a Mary Higgins Clark novel out of my grandmother’s closet shortly after my grandmother’s passing. I fell in love.

3. Your fiction focuses on BDSM lifestyle and relationships. What's the most important thing you'd want an outsider to know about BDSM?

That there isn’t one RIGHT way to do things. As long as everyone is safe, sane, and consensual, figure out what works for both of you or all of you and enjoy it.

4. From what I can tell, there are a lot of harmful stereotypes out there about BDSM, especially from people not involved in it at all. How do you (personally) differentiate between "good" and "bad" (poor quality) BDSM fiction?

I’ll read almost anything. I read a surprisingly small amount of BDSM fiction considering it’s about all I write anymore. I’m mostly looking for something that’s an easy read and entertaining. There are, of course, some egregious issues that I can’t handle. I recently started reading a book where the submissive’s safeword was basically treated as code for “I’m having an orgasm,” and…I don’t think I’m going to be finishing that novel.

5. Are there sub-subgenres (niches?) of BDSM fiction that are close to your heart?

That’s a tough question. There are so many things I like. I have a wide variety of kinks, I’m poly, bisexual, and a switch. So… there isn’t much I don’t like! I do really enjoy reading FemDom stories, which is something I’ve only started exploring in the last few years.

6. "Especially now, an ideal world sounds pretty damn good." - What would your ideal world look like?

Well now, if you have been reading my blog during this challenge, you’ll get a pretty good idea! But, in a nutshell: a world where everyone has equal access, there’s no prejudice, there’s lots of kindness, openness, and empathy.

7. One of the novels you published is a Choose Your Own Adventure book. What was it like, writing a narrative structure like that?

I LOVED IT! One of the things that’s difficult for me as a writer is making all the decisions for every character. Sometimes I worry that the reader will dislike my choices as an author. Writing a Choose Your Own Adventure alleviates all of that. The reader can make whatever choices they want! It’s very freeing, but also very difficult to manage details.

8. What is your favorite part of world building?

I am really enjoying the creative control. No need to worry about STDs or accidental pregnancy in my world!

9. The novel you are blogging about in this year's A to Z is a part of a series. Would you like to tell us more about what you plan for this series?

I started out building the world, then starting my main character’s story. I’ve written two books so far, and her story is nowhere near finished. I’m sure that there are some other characters we’ve met along the way who will have their own story to tell. The sky’s the limit!

10. You state on your blog that you are bi and poly. Are these identities reflected in your writing?

I am! Sometimes they do. I write a lot of bisexual fiction, whether I set out to or not. There are sometimes poly relationships, though often I don’t navigate the world of feelings in the poly relationships. I will probably do more of that as time goes on, but I certainly don’t consider myself an expert!

11. What is the best way you'd like to see these identities reflected in fiction? Or mainstream media? What are the stereotypes you want people to be done with?

I just hate that people have to judge other people’s lifestyles. Why does it matter who I go to sleep with? You aren’t seeing it. I’m not having sex in the streets, for goodness sake. But there are people who do judge, and that’s why I have to keep things somewhat anonymous. It’s frustrating. We are just normal people, living normal lives, we just happen to have other adults who help us out. It’s no different than a best friend who helps out with childcare, except we might have sex, too.

12. How do you think fiction can help with removing stigma from topics such as BDSM or polyamory?

I think a lot of stigma comes from a lack of knowledge. Maybe reading/seeing relationships people haven’t experienced will help them understand that they really aren’t that different, and certainly don’t deserve judgment.

13. If you could ask a big-name/famous/important/awesome writer (in your genre or outside) to mentor you, who would it be?

I would love to talk to Laurell K. Hamilton. In what I’ve seen of her social media, she seems like an awesome person, and I LOVE her work. I actually won’t read her novels unless I know I can devote some serious time to it because I can’t put it down!

14. What is your daily (weekly?) writing routine like?

I try to write daily. The challenge I set for myself of writing 1,000,000 words in 2020 requires about 2800 words per day. When I skip days, those words stack up quickly! My best writing times are early in the morning or when I’m out of the house. If I know I can’t set aside some time after work, I try to get up early and write. When all else fails, I make a date with my best writing friend to write together early on a weekend morning.

15. If one of your novels (current or future) would be turned into a movie, what would your dreams be for that movie?

I would love for something to go as mainstream as 50 Shades did. I know that’s not a great representation of BDSM (okay, maybe it’s a pretty terrible representation), but what was impressive to me was that many people outside the community saw it. I think that’s pretty cool. Plus, I could probably write full time off the money that made!

16. If you could write script for a TV show of your choice (existing or original), what would it be? 

Gilmore Girls. It was always such a great show, very witty. Loved it.

17. Next to writing fiction, you also blog regularly. Does writing a blog post require a different mindset? Do you easily switch between the two?

It’s definitely very different. I write a lot more easily than I blog. I actually started my blog because of the A to Z Challenge. That makes it easier – having a focus and a goal. Otherwise, I get listless. What do people want to read about? I’m not comfortable talking about my kids on my otherwise kinky bdsm blog! So… what else is there?

18. What advice would you give to bloggers about blogging adult content?

Be honest. It’s so rare to find raw honestly in the world anymore. If you’re going to blog about adult content, don’t censor yourself.

19. What is your favorite part of the A to Z Challenge?

The people! I love reading new blogs, getting comments, responding to comments. It’s such an awesome community!

20. What is something you would have never learned if it wasn't for A to Z?

A to Z wasn’t just the inspiration to start my blog. It was also the inspiration to write my Choose Your Own Adventure. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it!

Visit JR's blog here, Facebook page here, and Twitter here!

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Twenty Questions for J Lenni Dorner ( #AtoZChallenge )

Time to meet our A to Z Team captain, J Lenni  Dorner!   Here's what I want to know and maybe you might be interested as well.   Hello, J!

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter T

Twenty Questions for J Lenni Dorner:

1)  Why did you start blogging in the first place?

The A to Z challenge! I found it while surfing around and knew I wanted to take place in the next one. It looked like a great way to connect with people online, and yup, it turned out that it totally is!

2)   How has blogging been helpful to you?

To give me a place to express myself. Also, as I learned more, it became a way to refine my "author brand." Blogging has also given me a reason to write more short stories.

3)   What brought you to the A to Z Challenge in the first place?

The sense of community online. 

4)   Why would you recommend A to Z to other bloggers?

To connect with other bloggers and to set a goal for yourself. Finishing something, even a month of posts, feels a lot better than quitting your own blog. The challenge gives you a reason to write, the optional theme aspect gives focus, and the timeline gives a deadline. Hopping around gets you a community, entertainment, and new knowledge. 

5)   Besides writing, what interests consume you the most?

There are several. Reading, obviously. Being out in the woods. I was really into Pinterest (until the number of ads quadrupled). I tried photographing inanimate objects for about a year. I like to try new activities and explore new interests.

If anyone wants to suggest a new possible hobby, activity, or interest in the comments, that'd be awesome!

6)   If you could choose one place in the world to visit at this time of your life, where would that be?

Armando al Pantheon- Screenshot from Google - March 2020
Armando al Pantheon- Screenshot from Google - March 2020
This is normally easy to answer. But... Armando al Pantheon in Rome is closed right now.

I've also always wanted to go to Mount Sinai, in Egypt. (Gebel Musa / Jabal Musa) See the sites, ride a camel, climb to the top, take the 3750 steps back down. It just seems like a really interesting experience.

But travel is restricted (as of the day I'm answering this), so right now I'd just like to go back into the woods. Actually, on any given day at any given time, I just want to go back into the woods. 

7)   How do you get to your happy place?  (What relaxes you or allows you to find the greatest calm or focus?)

The woods, going there is my happy place. Go beyond where the cars go by, past the well-worn trails, into the rare spaces where the trees outnumber the people. Where nature is still wild. A place where clocks and calendars don't matter much. 🌲🌳🐇🐦🐻🐢🐺🦃🌳🌲

8)   If you could spend a few hours in conversation with any person, famous or not, who would it be and why?

The Grandfathers, the Lenni-Lenape from thousands of years ago. Our legends have been passed down. But there was a whole time period (the mid-1700's until the late-1900's at least) when our language, culture, history, and stories were outlawed. Many of my people died to keep the legends I grew up on alive. As much as I appreciate that incredible gift, I'd love to be able to go back in time and learn them first hand. So much was erased. I'd love to recover those stories.

9)   What would you consider to be the consummate form of artistic expression?

Truth, and anything that brings an unexpected truth to the audience (even if the audience is only the artist). This is why we sometimes remember creative expressions differently. (Apologies to every teacher who has had to make students remember anything creative with perfect accuracy.) I've written flash fiction where the main character was male, named after an ancient male deity; ask a dozen people who read it, ten will tell you the character was a woman. We see what we need to see to find a truth in the art, one to which we can relate. Any artist who helps their audience find that has given the world the ultimate gift. 

10)   What innovations of writing might you expect to see in the future?

The return to carving in stone. 😆 I'm mostly kidding. But if you digest too many dystopian and apocalyptic stories, you might notice a trend where all the digital information is inaccessible. And then bad things happen to paper. Break out the chisel, kids! 😉

Here are a few lightning round questions:

11)   Sweet or salty?

🧂 The majority of my favorite foods are salty.

12)   East or west?

Toward the sunrise (east). 🌅

13)   Travel or home bound?

Travel 🚅🚕

14)   New York City or New Mexico?

The original lands of the Lenni-Lenape include NYC! 

15)   Books or movies?

Text in print 📚

16)   Fiction or non-fiction?

Tall-tales  of fiction. (Though I presently have published two works of fiction, the novel Fractions of Existence and the short story Lumber Of The Kuweakunks, and two works of non-fiction, Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters and Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier.)

17)   Plays or poetry?

Taylor, Edward - poetry

Almost done!   Here are a few more to enlighten us with:

18)    What do you see in your blogging future?

The new blog needs several years of posts. I see me writing them, perhaps with a bit more focus on certain topics this time.

19)     What are you currently working on in your writing life?

Too many projects. I know I need to pick one and focus. 💎 Oh look, something shiny! 🤣

20)    What do you see as your biggest project/achievement still waiting ahead of you?

To finish writing, and to publish, the rest of the Existence series. 

You can see the list of all Blogs on our Master List!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

#AtoZchallenge Spotlight on Storyteller Csenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
A 2020 Look at the A to Z Team

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter S

1- 1- "What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Zalka Csenge Virág, A Tarkabarka Hölgy, Dr. Zalka …
How do you prefer to be addressed?

Zalka is my family name, so as much as I’d love to be addressed as “The Amazing Dr. Z” most people call me Csenge. 😀

2- Does Virág mean flower?

Yes, it means flower in Hungarian! It’s my “middle name” (Hungarians put family names first)

3- What does it mean to be the "Multicolored Lady"?

When I decided to become a professional storyteller, I was playing around with stage names that sounded exciting. Storytelling has always been a very colorful occupation in my mind, plus I love wearing bright colors, so that’s the name I ended up using early on. I don’t use it much these days, but it stuck around on the blog.

4- How did you find out you're Hungary’s first international storyteller?

I started talking to storytellers from other countries, and they told me they have never encountered a Hungarian storyteller before.

5- In how many languages are you fluent?

Apart from Hungarian, I speak English and Spanish.

6- Your words are so quotable. "I am a person. Not affiliated with any organization, political party, government agency, or secret society. Oh wait, I have a library card." I love that line! Would you share a picture of yourself at a library?

It’s a photo I took when I was telling stories at a library sleepover, and I actually got to sleep between the stacks along with the kids. It was awesome!

7- You did a TED talk in Nov 2010. Would you tell us about that?

It was a TEDxYouth event, and they invited me to talk about storytelling as a profession. Back then it was not well known in Hungary that storytelling exists as an art form and a job, and why it is exciting and useful for all ages. So I used my TED talk to tell people that storytellers still exist! A few years later I also wrote a book about that.

8- And another TED talk in 2016! Please, would you tell us about that as well?

That one was fun! It happened at the (in)famous Sziget Festival in Budapest. I talked about storytelling and representation, and the responsibility storytellers have to their communities.

9- Trinity College (Connecticut, US), East Tennessee State University (US), Bowling Green State University (Ohio, US), Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) -- That's an impressive amount of education! How long did it take you to attend all those educational institutions?

Five years at ELTE (MA in Archaeology), one year at ETSU (MA in Storytelling), four years at BGSU (PhD in Culture Studies). Trinity College was a one-year study abroad program. All in all, I spent about six years studying in the USA.

10- Would you share a fun story from your college days?

When I first attended an American college, I was 21 years old. The first time me and my Hungarian friends showed up to an official college party, we were the only ones around at 11pm, and were stunned to see all the party kegs filled with water and orange juice! It took us a while to figure out that they couldn’t serve alcohol because of underage students. It was very strange (legal drinking age in Hungary is 18). Eventually someone took pity on us and directed us to the frat houses, where the real party was happening... I was a little disappointed because I rarely ever drink, and an orange juice party sounded just fine to me 😄

11- "Hősök és pimaszok – Mit és hogyan meséljünk kamaszoknak" Google translated that title as "Heroes and Sober - What and How to Tell Your Adolescents." What is the English translation of that title, and is the book still for sale?

“Heroes and tricksters: The how and why of storytelling for teenagers.” One of my latest books, it came out last June. It is a handbook for people who want to tell stories to teenagers (who are my personal favorite audience). It also contains twenty-one of my favorite folktales for this age group.

12- "Currants at the End of the World: Old Hungarian Folk Tales for Today's Children" - How many languages has this book been translated into, and where can we get a copy?

It was only published in Hungarian so far, but I hope it will get an English translation! It ran on my blog as a series titled “Feminist Hungarian Folktales.” Right now, there is a sequel on my English-language blog titled “Feminist Folktales”, from around the world.

13- "Tales of Superhuman Powers: 55 Traditional Stories from Around the World" - How did you go about collecting all of the stories, and how long did it take to write this book?

The writing didn’t take all that long, but the research did. I made a list of popular superpowers from movies, comics, and TV shows, and I tried to find a traditional story for each of them. People have been telling tales about supernatural powers for a very long time; I wanted to show the connection between traditional storytelling and modern superheroes. I did a lot of digging and searching until I found stories that fit the criteria, and were also enjoyable to contemporary audiences.

14- "Dancing on Blades: Rare and Exquisite Folktales from the Carpathian Mountains" - It's so amazing to share the myths and legends of your home country. How did you discover these?

I found some of them in a book from the 50s that was out of print, and I loved them so much that I went digging for the same storyteller in the Folklore Archives. A lot of her stories have been collected a hundred years ago but never published. Her name was Pályuk Anna, and she was an exceptional folk teller. I love telling her tales, and I wanted to share them with a wider audience!

15- "The way stations of Nemescsó and Sorokpolány on the Amber Road" - How much of the historic amber trade route have you traveled?

A lot of it, in separate installments 😊 When I was studying archaeology, most students wrote their thesis on the artifacts of an excavation their professor gave them. I was interested in travel in Roman times (my focus was the archaeology of Roman provinces), so my advisor gave me one Roman way-station with all its documentation and finds. What ended up in that book is basically my Master’s thesis.

16- "On the way to the sky - three novels" - At what age did you publish this, and is it still for sale today?

I think it’s out of print by now. I wrote those three short novels when I was in high school, and they were published during my first year in college. They are historical fiction, my favorite genre. I haven’t published any fiction since, but I keep hoping to circle back to it eventually!

17- "Forum-Based Role Playing Games as Digital Storytelling (Studies in Gaming)" - On about how many forums have you roleplayed? What year did you start? Do you have a favorite character you've played?

Uhh, a lot of them! I have been forum gaming for about eleven years. There are a few sites where I have been present consistently, and four I specifically played on for my dissertation research (which is the basis of this book). Forum gaming is one of my favorite pastimes. I have had many characters over the years. I am currently playing on a forum based on alternative Roman history (one of the forums from my dissertation work - I loved it so much I stuck around), where I have quite a few characters near and dear to my heart.
Quote by Zalka Csenge about #atozchallenge bloggers who do not want to promote their own blog.

18- Yet another quote of yours that I love! In your opinion, why are some blog hop participants resistant to promoting their own blog?

I think people are conditioned to see any self-promotion as “awkward”, even though it’s the bread and butter of artists and freelancers. When you try to politely and tactfully promote your work, you run into a lot of negative feedback about “tooting your own horn”, and it can make people hesitant. But over the course of A to Z visiting people is everything, and sometimes I’m disappointed when I can’t trace someone who left a nice comment for me...

19- As an archaeologist, what is the most interesting artifact you encountered?

I never worked as an archaeologist apart from university excavations, so I don’t have a huge track record. I always loved finding small things - small objects that a person like you or I used in their everyday life hundreds of years ago. I once found a Roman shaving razor at one of the excavations. I was holding it, thinking of the person who held it all those centuries before. There is something magical about small personal objects, almost like time travel.

20- I cannot believe I'm out of questions already! Okay, last one…
What's your favorite part of the A to Z Challenge and your favorite part of being on our A to Z team?

My favorite part is the visiting! I always pre-schedule my posts, and spend April blog-hopping. During A to Z I read about a whole lot of things that don’t often appear in my everyday reading materials. I learn about cooking, history, faraway cultures, other people’s writing… It’s exciting to discover how colorful the A to Z topics are!
I love being on the team because I get to participate in the work that goes on behind the scenes. It is a fun group of people to work with, and it’s great to see from the inside how participants connect to us and the challenge!

Do you take the time to promote your own blog? Have you read any of Csenge's books? Spill your thoughts in the comments!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Ready for Resilience #AtoZChallenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
Blogging Hopes and Dreams for the Future

I daresay that blogging is going to change in the future. Change is inevitable, much to my chagrin. Changes in blogging are already occurring and will continue to occur. Some of you have been blogging here with A to Z for more than a decade. Some of you have had your own blogs much longer than that. But this blogging Thing (with a capital T) that brings us together is a wonderful combination of anonymity and closeness that often reveals our true selves. We hope that you will all continue your blogs for many years to come, through the good times and bad. We are here to support you for our yearly event, but we need you to be resilient! Even when you think no one cares, even when you think it’s pointless, do it anyway. The world needs your words!

Are you READY to be RESILIENT with your blog in the future?

~Jayden R. Vincente (adult fiction writer)

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Grab your A to Z gear, and other cool goodies from our graphics guy, here: