Showing posts with label Arlee Bird. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arlee Bird. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2019

A to Z 10th Anniversary! ( #AtoZChallenge )

You can still sign up (until April 6) at this link...

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter A

We're celebrating our Tenth Anniversary here at the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZchallenge. The blog hop that made an online community by asking bloggers to spend the month of April using the English alphabet as inspiration for their posts. We're glad you stopped by today.


A is for A to Z

        "A" can be for Arlee--that's me!--but better yet "A" is for A to Z Challenge.  Since this is the opening post at the A to Z Blog for the 2019 Challenge I'd like to welcome everyone who is joining us as a participant or as a supporter reading our posts.

          A to Z is mostly about fun, but it can help bloggers in many ways.  Whether you are reviving a dormant blog or building content for an active blog, you can probably think of many good reasons to participate.  You might even end up with a book compiled from your April posts!

          So let's dive into the alphabet for the month of April.  Visit as many A to Z posts as you can each day and leave comments so that those bloggers will know you stopped by.  If you haven't prescheduled your posts, don't get stressed--keep your posts short so you don't tax yourself as well as overburden your readers.

           But that's my suggestion and it's your blog so you know best about your situation.  No matter how you approach A to Z we want everyone to have a great time. 

            And away we go!

That's the link to the Master List. You can find, and hop to, all the blogs officially participating on that sheet.

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

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A is for Amazing Alphabet Team #AtoZchallenge

#AtoZchallenge 2018 A is for Amazing Alphabet Team

For our team A post, we present a brief interview with the 2018 Amazing Alphabet Team!

(The fine folks who volunteer their time, energy, and skills to make this challenge happen for you. There will be a seperate post to honor our Amazing graphics guy, Jeremey, later this month.)

1- What's your passion in life?

Arlee-  One passion that consumes much of my thinking is road tripping.  I hate to think of a time when I wouldn't be able to drive.

J- Writing is my passion. That's how I relate to the world.

Csenge- Storytelling. It is both my passion and my profession, which makes me incredibly lucky.

John- Music. Roughly half of my posts outside the A to Z Challenge are about music, and a couple of years ago I had two themes (quite by accident) and one of them was music.

Jayden-Writing, of course. It's therapeutic. But music is a close second. Singing is like sharing a story through song and I love that.

2- What are your goals during the A to Z Challenge 2018?

Arlee-  To keep a balance in my life between blogging and other stuff around me.  But I do want to get my posts done before April.

J- My goals are to make this year really fun for all participants, to complete the challenge, and to leave comments on 300 blogs. On my own blog, I have a short story told in parts, which my goal is to get people to think about life. (If you do too, check out the stories of A to Z post!)

Csenge- My goal is to write posts that people find both entertaining and informative. Also, to make some new blogging friends! I have found marvelous blogs through the challenge in the past, I am looking forward to more.

John- To have all the posts done by April 1 and do as much visiting of other blogs as I can during April.

Jayden- My goal for this year is to have all of my posts ready to go before April 1st so I can enjoy exploring new blogs! I have found some awesome writers I am excited to catch up with this year and I look forward to finding even more!

3- What was your biggest accomplishment in the last 12 months?

Arlee-  It's become a yearly tradition--driving back east to see family, friends, and especially my grandkids including the newest girl child, Logan Lego.  This past year I made the trip twice.

J- Publishing my debut novel, Fractions of Existence, was my biggest accomplishement in the last 12 months. One of the coolest parts was being interviewed on the Debut Author Spotlight at Operation Awesome. (That's what I usually do on Wednesdays, so it was fun to switch to the hotseat.)

Csenge- Finishing my PhD, and publishing Dancing on Blades, my new folktale collection!

John- Continuing my streak of consecutive days posting to the blog, now close to 1500.

Jayden-Publishing my first Choose Your Own Adventure Erotic Novel: Runaway. I couldn't believe how much fun I had writing it for NaNoWriMo last year. I released one iteration of the novel in last year's A to Z Blog Challenge. Publishing the whole novel April 30th was incredible!

4- What about a blog will catch your eye and turn you into a regular visitor?

Arlee-  Interesting material written in an accessible style--and preferably in black print on a white background.

J- A blog with a subject I enjoy written in captivating manner will always keep me coming back for more.

Csenge- I like blogs with interesting topics or themes. Bonus if they are related to folklore, mythology, or role-playing games.

John- Humor. I like to laugh.

Jayden-I love a well written story. I enjoy characters whose lives are compelling, particularly if it's an ongoing story!

5- Besides your blog, how can you be reached online?

Arlee-  I'm not on social media very much, but I can be found on Twitter @ArleeBird

J- Twitter is my favorite method of online communication. I'm also on and most of the other major social media outlets.

Csenge- Twitter (, and the Facebook page for my "Following folktales around the world" series.

John- I have presences on Facebook (, Twitter (, Pinterest (, and Instagram ( Probably the best way would be through Instagram, as I don't check the others that frequently.


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"I enjoy challenges. If a challenge is in front of me and it appeals to me, I will go ahead and conquer it." - Conor McGregor

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Labour of Love

In more ways than one, this Challenge is a labour of love—not only for Arlee Bird, the conceptualizer behind this phenomenal blogging extravaganza—but for all you wonderful participants.

It takes discipline and dedication to create 26 posts for a month, as most of us don't blog that often. Many of us do research, if we select a theme, to ensure we have all the facts we need before we write a word and then there's the editing and fine-tuning.

Others will spend hours going through pictures and various sites to be able to pull everything together for a well-organized and attention-grabbing line-up.

Hearty congratulations to all of us who have made it this far. Blogging from A-Z is no mean feat and we all deserve a pat on the back for the labour or love we've undertaken this month.  

Friday, April 1, 2016

Away We Go! #atozchallenge

         Are we ready!  

         Can you keep up the enthusiasm throughout the entire month?

          The opening day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is always the biggest one.  There's lots of blog action and optimism heading out of the starting gate.   It's important to pace yourself over the next few weeks.   As the cliche goes, this is not a sprint it's a marathon.

          Those who have prepared posts ahead of time will be in pretty good shape for the month, but if you don't have your posts finished the race is not lost.  Now what you have on your hands is the essence of what a Challenge is all about.

          No matter how you've approached the A to Z Challenge, it can be done and done with great success.  Personally my first time around I started without posts prepared ahead of the game as well as in later Challenges with the entire month's posts completed before starting day.  It's a matter of willingness to finish and the fortitude to get it done.

         Do you have what it takes to succeed this April?   I think you do, but the bottom line is that you have to believe that you've got it and then show the rest of us that you can do it.

         Forget about discouragement and fear of failure.  This is a Challenge.  Overcoming the negatives of your thinking is the point of staying in the game to the very end.   Not getting the visits and comments that you'd like to have means that you need to get out to visit and comment on other sites.   Like any job, if you don't do the necessary work, you don't get your payday.

          This April the A to Z Challenge is your second job and for some maybe even your full time job.  If you're working to make your blog great then you should work as hard as you can to be successful.  If you're here to have fun then that's fine as well--we emphasize the fun factor of A to Z.

          However you approach this Challenge, in the end you get as much as you put into it.  You can finish and you can finish big if you set your mind to that aim.

          The A to Z Team is rooting for you and we're here to help you.   Stay focused on that finish line.  You'll be glad you met the Challenge and you'll be a better blogger in doing it.

          Let's go A to Z Bloggers!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A as in Arlee & All


       The time has come.  Already the first posts of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge have been flooding the internet as bloggers from India and other parts of that side of the globe have been publishing their posts for the letter "A".   As many of you are reading this now, more bloggers from other time zones have published their blog posts.   I've seen some quality work so far which gives me high hopes for this year.   As of today I'm giving the bloggers of A to Z at big A+ grade for the work that's being turned in.


        Even if you don't have your post up or prepared you can still gear into action and start writing.  Listen all you bloggers, you are also writers (even if you don't think of yourself as such) and you can write off the cuff, spur of the moment improvisational pieces.   A to Z is a test of your blogging abilities and I have no doubt that you've got what it takes to start and finish this Challenge.  Give it all you've got and let's see this thing through!

All of Us!

        We are the mighty A to Z Community and we've got unity, comradery, and a spirit of support for each other.  Now in it's 6th year, A to Z has shown how we bloggers can help each other out when help is needed.  We are all in this together.  Visit as many blogs as you can and comment often.  This is a good investment of your time and as you continue blogging onward into the future you will see how your actions in April will pay off in the coming months and even years.

Ask Arlee!

       All of the co-hosts have been doing their "About Me" posts so here is mine.

        With a lifelong interest in writing, I discovered blogging in 2009 and realized it is a great way to get ones writing out before the public without having to submit it all over the place to face numerous rejections and maybe never get published.  It's been a wonderful writing adventure for me so far.

        After a couple months of being mostly unnoticed on my blog, I started catching on to the social networking game and the not-so-secret secret of getting blog followers.  This discovery led to my starting the first Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in 2010.   It worked and now here we are with six fantastic years and thousands of adherents, fans, and followers.  A to Z has gained an admirable reputation and we've had some of the best bloggers in the world joining us since its inception.

        I currently blog at:

        Tossing It Out

        Wrote By Rote

        A Faraway View

        A Few Words

        I have all of these blogs operational for A to Z in April.   I hope you will take time to visit them.

>>Some questions asked by A to Z community members:

Susan Scott from the Garden of Eden Blog asks "Do you remember your dreams?"  Much of the time I do remember my dreams.  I've been interested in dreams since childhood and have at times kept a dream diary.   Now I write about dreams and dreaming at my blog A Faraway View.  Be sure to visit Susan's blog as well as she also will be writing about dreams as her A to Z theme for April.

Barbara In Caneyhead asks: 
"What is your favorite pastime other than writing/reading/blogging?"   For many years I worked in touring theatrical productions as a manager, actor, and juggler.  I'm still very interested in show business even though I've stepped away from that life for now.  I continue to have a passion for travel and take long road trips whenever I can.  I love traveling the roads of the United States.

Loni Townsend asks:
"You are one insane guy... four blogs for the A-to-Z challenge?? Okay, here's my question for you: How do you find time to do it all?"   In order to take on the four blogs for the Challenge I plan ahead as much as possible.   Short posts are also vital.  I highly recommend that everyone keep their posts short for A to Z if they can.  In fact, I've grown to be rather a fan of shorter posts all the time.  Oh, I still get wordy at times, but don't most of us?

Nicole asks:
"What I'd like you to blab about is:
How did you propose?"   Actually I don't exactly remember the how of it.   Since we were both older and had gone through previous marriages I think we just kind of came to a mutual agreement that incorporated logic and, of course, love.   My wife and I have now been married for going on 18 years.
"Aside from blogging, what do you do for fun?"   I enjoy movies and music.  And my wife and I like to dine out.
"If you could only have one condiment for an entire year, what would you pick?"  That's so difficult since I'm a condiment crazy guy.  One of my absolute favorites though is Tabasco sauce.  That could take the place of a lot of other things for me.

Dixie@dcrelief asks:
"Oh, and a question? What finally made me say yes to the challenge?? I don't know, this is 'ask Arlee' today... right?!!"   Well yes, it is "Ask Arlee" day, but I can only guess why you said yes to the Challenge.  My guess is that you needed A to Z in order to Challenge your abilities, you wanted to be part of a great community of bloggers, and you find me utterly irresistible.   Isn't that why every one does this A to Z Challenge?


     And now, my thanks to all of you for stopping by and being a part of A to Z.  Also, a magnanimously huge thanks to my great team of co-hosts as listed in the sidebar and all of our individual teams of helpers who you can find listed in the tab at the top of the page.  These are the people who really keep A to Z advancing onward and I'd be lost in this Challenge without them by my side.  Be sure to visit all of them and express some gratitude.

     Now let's get busy wrapping up our blog posts and visiting all the wonderful bloggers out there.  Don't forget to leave comments!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

English: jkklglh
English: jkklglh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I'd like to wish all of you mothers out there the happiest of Mother's Days!

If your own mother is still living, thank her for all that she has done for you and tell her that you love her.

I've composed a very special Mother's Day message on my blog A Few Words.   I hope you will pay a visit.  Please share so that it reaches as many as possible.   It's an important message that many need to read. 

Thank you for reading and thank you to all mothers everywhere.

Arlee Bird
A Few Words

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Up, Up, and Away #atozchallenge

English: Hot air balloons, San Diego, California
English: Hot air balloons, San Diego, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


       So you're thinking that it's time to wind down with the blogging?  April has been grueling for some of you.   Some got stuck a ways back and linger on a letter from earlier in the alphabet.  But you who endured are ready to hang it up and give it a rest...

         Not so fast!  The A to Z jig may be up but now it's up, up, and away with better blogging!

          Do you feel like your blogging and writing has gotten better during the month of April?   I hope so because that's partly what the Challenge is all about.   Did your follower numbers go up?   They should have if you were networking like you should have.    Did your comments go up?  Again it's a matter of networking in the proper way.

          Bottom line is did you learn anything new in April?  About yourself or about blogging?   Or how about all of the great information presented in the participant posts?   There was a real wealth of learning experience to be had on all accounts.

          What's up next?   How about the Reflections Post coming up on Monday May 5th.  If you choose to participate in this event--and I encourage you to do so--on May 5th you can sign up your link to your post reflecting on your A to Z Challenge experience.  

           Tell us about how your April went.  Offer your suggestions for making the next Challenge better or just let us know what's so great about the way it is now.   You can link to your favorite posts on your own blog or those on other blogs.  Tell us about blog discoveries you made during the Challenge.  What you say is up to you.  It's your Reflections Post.

           Later you'll want to be watching this blog to hear about the A to Z Post Challenge Road Trip.   The Blogging from A to Z Challenge doesn't have to end at the beginning of May.  You can stay with the community for the rest of the year.   Stay tuned to this blog for more information.

             In fact you'll want to keep coming back to the A to Z Blog throughout the year for more updates, more useful blogging tips, and more fun.   We will be accepting proposals for guest posts as well.  See the contact page for information on how to reach us.

            Don't feel down because the April Challenge is almost over.   Keep looking up!   There's still more to come.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Look at me! Look at me! #atozchallenge

        I hope everyone's raising a lot of "L" today!

---Arlee Bird

The "Look At Me Syndrome"

      There are a lot of things we do to call attention to ourselves.  The clothes we wear, the cars we drive, or the way we might talk loudly on our cell phones when we're in public.   Often we might deny that we're doing something to get others to notice us.  "I'm doing this or wearing this or whatever because I like it--it's something I'm doing to please me".

       Okay, believe that if you want to, but if you're putting it out there for all the world to see there is some desire to show off what you like or what you feel like or whatever it is that the inner you is itching to make known to others.

        This is especially true with blogging.   How many times have you heard a blogger say "I don't care how many followers or comments I have, I'm blogging for myself"?     Thank goodness I don't hear this too often, but it's been often enough to make me roll my eyes in wonderment.   If this is the case why aren't those blogs private?   When you put up a public blog, no matter what you say, there's a part of you that wants someone else to read it.   Each post says "look at me!".

         Even more so this is true for you who have signed up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  You've got your blog on a list and you're waiting for someone to click your link, visit your blog, and leave you a comment.

   How to Get Noticed

          Feel like you're getting ignored?   Not getting the number of visits you expected during this Challenge?

          Let me lay it straight to you.   That list is a lot of blogs and it's easy not to stand out on the list so don't count on your just being on the list to get you regular visits  There are other ways to boost the numbers that come to your blog and to receive more comments.

  •  Post good content -- if you hook your audience with something they like you're more likely to get repeat visits.   If you're not getting those repeat visits then maybe you should reexamine your content and try a different approach.
  • Use intriguing titles-- The post starts with the title.  Many times that's the most important thing that draws visitors.  
  • Include fascinating images-- Pictures catch the eye before the words do.  Even if your focus is on the writing, a related image can cause the visitor to pause long enough to read what you've written.
  • Advertise on social media-- There are many places you can share your blog links with others.  Find the ones that work best for you and let others know when you've put up a new post.
  • Link to other blogs in your posts--tell your readers about other blogs that you find to be interesting. You'll help those bloggers and will usually in turn draw some attention back to your own blog.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY!!--Visit other blogs, follow them, and leave a comment.  If you leave a good comment that pertains to what they've written then you will stand out more to that blogger and to visitors on that blog who read the comments.  Leaving a comment will typically result in a reciprocal visit from the blog where you left the comment and can lead to an ongoing blogger relationship that can last long after the A to Z Challenge has ended. 

          Don't try to kid any of us.  If you're on the list and your blog is open to the public, you want to be noticed.  There's nothing wrong with saying, "Look it me!" if there's something worth looking at.

Look At Yvonne Lewis!

        Here's a bit of A to Z Challenge history for you.   When I put out my Challenge to bloggers in 2010 to blog with me from A to Z, the first person to take the challenge was poetry blogger Yvonne Lewis who blogs at Welcome to My World of Verse.   She's been a dear friend ever since.

        She's back again for this year's Challenge so I hope you'll visit her and while you're there join as one of her followers.  She's had some blog problems but hopefully this new one is here to say.  She's got some wonderful A to Z entries again this year.

          And just in time for April Yvonne Lewis has released her third volume of poetry.  The book is Moments of My Life and distribution rights are in the works.    I'm particularly stoked about this release because I'm on the cover!   That's me with Yvonne at the bottom of the cover.  Plus I've written a few words about Yvonne in the book's Introduction.  Wow, it's so cool to be sharing the stage with this poet whom I've admired for so long.  Show Yvonne some support and order her book.  Wouldn't it be cool to see an A to Z blogger in the Top Ten of poetry books on Amazon!



      What is your best method of drawing attention to your blog posts?    What do you see as the biggest mistake that bloggers make that causes them not to be visited often enough?     Besides blogging what are some of the things you do that say "Look at me!"?   

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bring It On! #atozchallenge

    Are we off to a great start or what!    The sign-up list closed out at #1969 which is up from all previous years.   This event just keeps getting BIGGER.

         Keep in mind that the numbers will change as we continue to eliminate non-participants and other bad links from the list.   Watch your number as there is a good possibility that your positioning might go up a notch or two or more.  If you're telling others where to find you, make sure that number hasn't changed.

         And whatever you do, don't be a BAD LINK.   Keep your posts up to date as best you can.  We will be patrolling the list and removing non-participants.  If you are having a posting problem please make a note of it on your blog so we don't remove you.  Let us know if you need any assistance.

        The Challenge just keeps getting BETTER and we want to make it fun and rewarding for everyone.  Try your best to visit back to those who have commented on your blog.  Try to go through the list at least five a day starting with the blogs immediately below yours.  Be nice.   Follow the blogs you enjoy.  And try to leave a comment at each blog you visit.  Remember--in order to get comments it helps when you give comments.  This is social networking so let's be social.

         April is underway now so BRING IT ON!    Have a great Blogging from A to Z Challenge!

Arlee Bird

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Alphabet Remix - Stop Staying Silent about Suicides

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

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

After reading recent news reports about NFL player O.J. Murdock's suicide -- and talk of a grim trend of suicides among players, I couldn’t help but wonder if the story will quickly lose traction in media outlets since everybody appears to be focused on the Olympic Games. So today, S is for Suicide and we’re remixing it to find topics that you can blog about during the next Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Surprising Suicide Statistics
Write about a suicide statistic that you either just learned about or think that many people are unaware of. This means covering something other than what the average person may already know such as the common statistic that women are less likely to commit suicide using firearms, compared to men who kill themselves. Instead, find a statistic that may surprise your readers -- like, more or less suicides occur in a particular state/town/city/country or job, etc. than in any other industry or location.

Suicide Stigmas
Since some men and women who are considering suicide hesitate to seek help due to stigmas associated with this act, try blogging about ways that people can change their perceptions regarding mental illness, depression and bipolar disorder.

Your Stance on Suicide “Selfishness”
It is not uncommon to hear people labeling suicides as a selfish act because of the pain caused to people left behind. So, write a blog post that summarizes or explains in detail, your position on the matter -- tell readers whether you agree or disagree with viewing suicides as “selfish.”

Suicide in Sports
Highlight little known sports related suicides that have taken place during a regular season or during the off-season. You could also write about suicides among female athletes, which is a topic that your blog readers may not be familiar with because the media does not seem to cover it as much as it does suicides among male athletes.

Now, on to something bright. The WINNER of last week’s Silver Screen Alphabet Soup game is...

Marta Szemik who writes at her Self-titled Blog

Marta correctly unscrambled all ten Silver Screen related terms that start with Letter S. Her prize packages includes: Title of Alphabet Wizard, the authority to pick the letter for the next Alphabet Soup game and the option to pick the Monday Movie Meme topic for an upcoming day on my blog. I’d also like to send a special thanks to Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out for unscrambling five of the ten correctly.

Congratulations Marta!

Here are the Answer’s to Last Week’s “Silver Screen” themed Alphabet Soup:

1. cdnSuatork is Soundtrack.
2. tamnntuS is Stuntman.
3. rpoSrpsetrvuiciS is Script Supervisor.
4. neSec is Scene.
5. lSaet is Slate.
6. uSgadtenso is Soundstage.
7. uqelSe is Sequel.
8. rSotodbyar is Storyboard.
9. tuebsSilt is Subtitles.
10. rrudonSduunoS is Surround Sound.

Happy Friday, everybody!

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

@MadlabPost on Twitter

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Improvement or Not? The On-Going Debate

          Today's A to Z Challenge analysis comes to you from Arlee Bird:

A to Z Badge by Ada Z from

 Where We've Been So Far

          We've been listening to your thoughts about the Challenge and mulling over some of our own.    I'm sure the debate will continue.   Over the past few weeks on this A to Z Blog I've been taking a look at the good and the bad of the A to Z Challenge.   I also asked for your thoughts on the misunderstood and somewhat neglected A to Z Video Contest.   If anyone reading this post today missed any of those three evaluation posts, I hope you will go back and check them out.  I also hope that everyone checked out the excellent comments on those posts to get a better perspective of what others thought.

 The Biggest Problem That We Can Control

          The general response to the A to Z Challenge is positive.  But as with anything involving so many people with so many different ways of approaching things, problems do arise.  For the nuisances such as CAPTCHA, blog platform incompatibility  (such as WordPress versus Blogger), bloggers who don't reciprocate with visits and comments, and other negatives that rest on individual bloggers or internet specific sources, there is probably not much we can do.

          However, there is one problem that seemed to be cited more than any other--THE MONSTER LIST! Repeatedly participants have cited that the list was intimidating and too massive to tackle.  Our suggestion of visiting at least five blogs a day starting on the list with the blog following yours was heeded by some and worked well for many of those who tried this method.    But this was not favored by everyone.

           Here are some of the problems that were cited about the big list as it was:

  • Too much time wasted on blogs that were not participating or had quit.
  • Didn't like finding advertising blogs and blogs too heavy on self-promo.
  • The overwhelming numbers mean it is just not possible to visit everyone for those of us with limited time.
  • Encountering blogs with offensive subject matter.
  • Don't have time to keep visiting blogs in which I have no interest.
  • Would prefer to just visit blogs in my interest range.

           On the other hand, many of you love the big random list.  It provides an element of surprise and allows you to discover excellent blogs that you might normally not visit.  The large blind list provides an adventure that is part of what makes the A to Z Challenge to exciting and rewarding.

          I will admit that I like the big list as well, but as a co-host I realize how much work is involved in maintaining a list such as the one we have been using.  There are two sides to this story so how do we find a solution that can please everyone?   I believe that I have one that will come close if not completely appease all camps.

My Suggested Solution

        The plan that I have would require special programming and possibly a separate web site--I don't know that it can be done on Blogger or any other blog hosting site.  I don't have specific details on how to achieve this but I'm going to lay out the general concept to get some feedback from you readers.

         The sign up process would be a bit more complex than merely adding a link to a Linky List.  There would be a screening process that would verify email addresses and blog links which would start us off with a clean list with no broken links that might have to be fixed later and would possibly eliminate more of the spam blogs.  

          As a part of the screening process entrants would be required to choose a category or categories in which their blog would be placed with a designated limit decided beforehand.  Blogs (such as my own eclectic site Tossing It Out ) could be listed in multiple category lists    Possibly some of the categories such as writing could even be broken down into subcategories.  We could also possibly add a rating system such as the kind done for movies and television.

         A screening registration process might even allow for information (probably optional) such as location (as was suggested by one of the British bloggers), blogging platform, blogging experience, interests, or what have you.   Information of this nature might help bloggers with common goals and interests to meet up and connect.    The NaNoWriMo site offers this sort of thing and participants in that event even have regional meet-ups.  As A to Z grows, we might be able to do similar things.   It might be fun for those who are interested to meet up in a local coffee shop or the like to share blogging help and camaraderie.

       After the initial screening registration process the blog links would go first into a master list where all the blog links are listed blindly as they are in the Linky List.   This list would appear on a main page.   Separate pages would contain the lists of the different categories.  This could be as vast and intricate as we cared to make it, but the final outcome would be that we would have a number of lists that would pertain to more specific things that would help those with limited time or patience to deal with the larger list.

         In essence we'd have a random list for those who like the big list and simpler lists for those who like that idea better.   And for those who really like the element of randomness we could always include the popular "Surprise Me" button that Marcus Clearspring developed for us.

        What we would probably lose in doing this central list would be the mobility that we have with a Blog Hop list.  The list would probably be confined to only one site, although it's probable that we could have the capacity to register on any co-host site if that were desirable.   My feeling is that a link list in one location is probably better anyway since as it gets bigger most of you probably would not be using it on your own blog.

         I can see many other advantages of doing the list as I have suggested, but for now I'll leave you with this initial presentation.   Let me emphasize that the registration would require only basic information needed to place you on the list.  In other words, we wouldn't be asking for extreme personal data and we wouldn't be collecting data.   The sole purpose would be to find you placement on the list and make sure as best we can that you are a legitimate blogger who is serious about participation in the Challenge.

          Now I open this up to you.  Do you think this sounds like a reasonable solution?  Would you have a problem with a simple registration process if it meant achieving what I've described here?   Do you see any possible flaws with what I've described?   What are some of your suggestions?
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

#atozchallenge: Getting to Know Me -- Arlee Bird

         Some of you may not know all of the co-hosts of the A to Z Challenge so we thought we'd do a series of getting to know us posts.   We'll give you some basics about each of us and answer some of those questions you've all been dying to know.


Name:   Arlee Bird--it's a phony writer name.  If you want to know my real name it's not too difficult to find, but I'm not gonna say here.

Blog:   Tossing It Out is my main blog where it all started.
I can also be found at Wrote By Rote (memoir), A Faraway View (a blog about dreams), and A Few Words (a contemplative blog inspired by Psalms).

Other Online Info:  I do have a page on Facebook and I'd be happy if you signed up to "like" it.   


1. What is the most daring thing you've ever done?   I once gave up everything to walk from Tennessee to California.  Well, actually I didn't make it very far on that trip, but 17 years later I did end up in California after an adventurous life.

2. What is your favorite article of clothing?  Hmm---Depends on the time and place, but I do like Hawaiian shirts.

3. What is your favorite monster?   Godzilla was the first monster movie I ever saw.  I saw the film in the theater when it first came out in the mid-1950s.  I was a very young kid then but I was fascinated.  Godzilla was my first monster love and has remained my favorite.
4. If you had to dress up as your favorite literary character, who would it be?   Well, heck if I know!  I actually usually don't think about the way characters are dressed.  And I can't think of anything for this--Huckleberry Finn maybe?  

5. What is your favorite fairy tale, urban legend or nursery rhyme?  This certainly covers a lot of ground.  I guess I'll go with first loves again.  Here is the first rhyme I ever memorized and I can still recite it:
Deedle, deedle dumpling, my son John
Went to bed with his stockings on.
One shoe off.  One shoe on.
Deedle, deedle dumpling, my son John.

6. What is a cause near and dear to your heart?   The greater appreciation of juggling and classical music.

7. What's the strangest item you've used as a bookmark?   Candy wrappers?  I used to use them as bookmarks all the time when I was in college.  

8. Do you have any nicknames?   What are they and how did you earn them?   A few guys in high school used to call me "Juggler".   I have no idea why--well, I guess I do know.  The name didn't really come into common use though. 

9. Name one habit you want to change in yourself:   I have a terrible nail-biting habit that I've had since I was a small child.   My parents tried to stop it by putting some sort of hot sauce on my fingers.  I guess that's how I developed my love for hot sauce and spicy foods.

10. Tell us something interesting or shocking about yourself:   I've revealed so much about myself on my blog that it's difficult to think of something I haven't said.  But let me toss this one out:  I love musicals--especially Rodgers & Hammerstein and old Busby Berkeley extravaganzas.  I know, shocking!


1. What was your favorite A-to-Z post from 2011?    Not fair!  That's like asking which of my kids is my favorite.  But okay, I'll play this one.  I'll go with my X post II x X=XX.  It's a tough letter and I felt like I came up with something fairly unique. 

2. What brought you to the A-to-Z originally? Tell us about your first A-to-Z:  Short story: 200 followers and I had an amazing time.  You can find the longer story here.

3. Are you doing a theme?  I'm doing at least 3 themes and I'll be saying more about that later on those 3 blogs.  Not sure what I'll be doing on Tossing It Out yet.   I will be doing some blog juggling for sure.

4. Are you writing & scheduling posts in advance?    My 3 themed blogs are mostly done.  I will hopefully have Tossing It Out written and scheduled before the Challenge begins.

5. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet, and why?    What letter do you like least?   Favorite letter is probably "A" since it represents excellence.  "F" represents failure, but I can't totally knock the letter since it also represents fun and fantastic.   Actually I guess I like all the letters.

I hope you've enjoyed these questions and answers. Don't forget, you are welcome, even encouraged, to ask any additional questions you might have in the comments section. Or feel free to answer the questions yourself! We won't tell.


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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year--New A to Z Challenge! -- so says Li Vooght

       One year ends and a new one begins.  Li Vooght of Flash Fiction has offered to usher out 2011 as we head into the year of a new Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Let's make 2012 the best ever!  Now let's let Li do what she does so well--tell us her story.

New Year – New A to Z Challenge!

January marks the one year anniversary of my blog, Flash Fiction; and the April A to Z Challenge of 2011 is at least partly responsible for my still being here to celebrate. (In a virtual sense, of course. The Challenge didn't keep me from dying of Woompah disease or leaping from a high-rise.)

Starting a blog is never easy, and when I began I had no online “presence” whatsoever; no Facebook page, no Twitter account, and no blogger friends with whom to commiserate. It was a lonely place at first, although I somehow picked up a handful of followers who offered support and encouragement right from the start. I can't thank them enough.

One day I stumbled on a mention of the A to Z challenge while randomly surfing blogs. I had no idea what a blogfest entailed, but it seemed like a good way to both meet people and to shift my writing into high gear. Although a few people mentioned outlining or writing posts ahead of time, or choosing a theme, I wanted to up the ante for myself. (I really do like to make things difficult.) I wouldn't just post something everyday, it had to be an original fiction or poetry piece. And I wouldn't auto-post or write anything ahead of time; nope, I had to climb out of bed and come up with something that morning.

Then I did a dumb thing. I put it in writing. People took note. And it dawned on me that I couldn't possibly go through with it. And yet...perfect strangers told me that I could. Others expressed the same feeling of “sign-up remorse”. I discovered that by linking up for the challenge, I had joined a community of warm, funny, talented writers/bloggers who were just as interested in reading and helping others as they were in promoting their own blogs. Maybe more so.

I completed the challenge by posting each day with the proper letter, although I failed my own rules at least twice by posting pics with a few words instead of stories. I often generated ideas by randomly opening books and choosing a word or phrase, or by looking around the house for an object or picture. Some days I had a cold hard knot in my stomach, wondering if I'd ever think of something. But it was a tremendous exercise in writing under pressure, and I slowly built up my confidence. In the meantime, I invariably read at least a dozen challenge posts a day that made me laugh out loud – or realize that I'm not the only person in the world with strange habits.

Since then I've polished a few stories and hope to have them included in an upcoming collection, along with some new works. I've made lots of great friends, learned a lot about writing, and figured out how to install those darn widget thingies. I've even co-hosted a blogfest, The Rule Of Three, which opened my eyes to the amount of time, effort and sheer stamina that goes into planning these challenges; I can't imagine how much goes into executing (and reading) something as massive as the A to Z challenge. And so my hat is off to our intrepid hosts!

If you ask me if I'll participate in the 2012 A to Z, I'll say “probably not”. I'll think about it, vacillate, waver, shake my head and dig in my heels. Then the linky will go up, and my finger will hover over the ominous “you're next!”. Chances are I'll press it and sign up. Then I'll second-guess myself, moan, wring my hands, get excited, slip into despair, and finally decide that maybe I can do it, and if not, well it won't be the end of the world.

I wonder if there are 26 Ways That The World Might End. Hmmmm. Now there's an idea.

Happy New Year, everyone, and see you at the 2012 brand spankin' new A to Z Challenge!

Thank you to Arlee Bird , creator of the A to Z Challenge, for hosting me today, for beginning this awesome blogfest, and for being one of my earliest followers. You rock, Lee, you really do. Thanks for sticking by me and supporting me.
        And thank you Li for inspiring, entertaining, or scaring us.  It's like some of those stories she tells.  If you haven't read Li's stories make haste and read your New Year's Eve away.  Now that's one heck of a way to celebrate the New Year!


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