Showing posts with label getting to know you. Show all posts
Showing posts with label getting to know you. Show all posts

Friday, April 24, 2020

Twenty questions for JR Vincente (#AtoZChallenge)

#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

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. πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ‡πŸ¦πŸ»πŸ’πŸΊπŸ¦ƒπŸŒ³πŸŒ²

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. πŸ˜† 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! πŸ˜‰

Here are a few lightning round questions:

11)   Sweet or salty?

πŸ§‚ The majority of my favorite foods are salty.

12)   East or west?

Toward the sunrise (east). πŸŒ…

13)   Travel or home bound?

Travel πŸš…πŸš•

14)   New York City or New Mexico?

The original lands of the Lenni-Lenape include NYC! 

15)   Books or movies?

Text in print πŸ“š

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. πŸ’Ž 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!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet Your Co-Hosts! Fifty Shades of Nicole…
Dear Blogging from A to Z Challenge Participants, 

I am Nicole Ayers, a freelance writer, illustrator and media producer, who completed the April challenge four times and am embarking on my third year as one of your Co-Hosts. My tendency to write lengthy blog posts comes from a preference for painting the full picture of observations and thoughts on certain subjects, rather than an overview. It isn't unusual to find me making notes of some kind -- be that for ideas, to-do lists, troubleshooting problems, etc. on a daily basis. If I won 2 plane tickets, I would go to Italy with my grandmother because it's where many of the arts and cultural scenes that mesmerized me growing up are concentrated, and she deserves a vacation. 

The perpetual calendar in my room is a source of wisdom with reminders for approaching life with a positive and/or productive mindset, one step at a time. I enjoy watching The Walking Dead because its storylines contain lessons about developing multipurpose skills, conquering fear, being a team player, staying fit and identifying the reasons behind your actions. I’m far from a nature lover but would like to be more active outdoors and improve my agricultural knowledge. I care more about Twitter than Facebook. To this day, I dislike my inability to make an edible batch of pancakes. 

It would be great to make life a little better for someone dealing with adversity, before I die. The custom made dress I wore to the prom was based on a design I drew specifically for the occasion. I carry L'OrΓ©al Paris lip gloss in my bag and aspire to find peace on earth but in the meantime, I’ll have BBQ sauce with my French fries, thank you! Although drawing The Gates of Hell at the Rodin Museum for my Art History class was an intimidating experience, the results were surprisingly better than I expected. Over the next 365 days, I plan to get back into the habit of creating artwork on paper.  

Connect with @madlabpost on Twitter
One thing I wish I could change in this world is the high cost of education for those who need it most. A computer is among the things I want to save up to get. Since I’m struggling with finding purpose, I think I can help it by just doing a bunch of different things that interest me and seeing what sticks. My favorite TV shows include Flashpoint and Parenthood. I seldomly favor any Holidays. At the time of this writing, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominated drama “Pariah” - about a Brooklyn teenager juggling an identity crisis while risking friendship, family & heartbreak while coming to terms with her sexuality - was the last movie I watched. 

I prefer gummy bears and nachos over popcorn. I don’t remember much about kindergarten but I do miss my friend Melissa from 1st Grade. We’ve crossed paths a few times over the years but don’t keep in touch. Still, I would have lunch with her today if the opportunity presented itself because she is one of the smartest, coolest, most ambitious people I’ve ever known from grade school. I’ve handled more guns than I’ve fired. 

The last book I read was A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and loved it! Add in A.M. Holmes’ Jack and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and you have some of my favorite books. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete is one of the saddest movies I ever watched. At this time, a Cabbage Patch Kid and a plush frog are the first childhood toys I remember having.
Posing with a stranger in my prom photos is one of the stupidest things I ever did. Looking back, I should have posed with my high school friend because now I have these pictures with a person I don’t talk to and it was a great opportunity to create memories with the person I actually knew, whom I continued to stay in touch with after graduation. That was a bad call on my part. Although I rarely celebrate Halloween, I would want to dress up in a rag doll costume. Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite horror movie. An initiative I participated in for the American Red Cross had the biggest impact on my views about giving to charity.

I like to draw more than paint but if I must do the latter, then I’d prefer tempura over watercolor and acrylics. My favorite actors include Denzel Washington, Vincent D’Onofrio, Matt Damon, Bruce Willis and Leonardo DiCaprio. My favorite actresses include Kate Winslett, Angela Bassett, Hilary Swank, Eva Mendes, and Dakota Fanning. The martial arts adventure Falcon Rising is the last live action film (I think) I saw in theaters, while Marilyn Myller is the last cartoon/animation film I watched at a laundromat during Couch Fest Film Festival. A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School teacher Scot Pankey’s “Uptown Funk” dance is one of my favorite YouTube videos.

I believe that many of our traditions and practices in Western culture are the result of social constructs that limit our potential for unity. If I achieved my dreams, I would be a happier person who got more sleep. An anonymous postcard (the image over on the left) sent to Frank Warren’s PostSerect project contains what has become one of my favorite quotes. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Lauryn Hill is a song that usually makes me cry. My pair of socks from The Crayola Factory hasn’t been worn in at least nine months because I’m afraid about them getting raggedy. Traveling by plane is an experience I dislike since airport security measures that passengers go through have become more intrusive and downright ridiculous. Garfield, Charlie Brown and Bart Simpson are some of my favorite cartoon characters. 

Nicole who Blogs at The Madlab Post
What you wanted to know...
The Madlab Post TV - YouTube
Do we have anything in common?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Meet the wHooligans!

Happy St. Patty's Day, everyone!

Hope you are all enjoying the day of green, orange, and blarney! Since my team is the wHooligans, and hooliganism is a favorite Irish pastime, I figured today to be the perfect day to introduce ourselves!

My name is AJ Lauer. I'm an author and educator based in the Front Range of Colorado. You can find me at my site, or on Twitter @ayjaylauer. I wrote an interactive apocalyptic fiction novel called Armageddon: Pick Your Plot in a crazy two week writing spree with a friend. It's great fun. You should check it out :)

Here are my answers to some of the questions posed by our readers a couple weeks ago:

Q: What is THE Tip you would like to share with the people who would be doing the A to Z Challenge for the first time?
A: Visit, visit, visit! Our list contains so many talented people with great ideas. Go see what is out there :) 

Q: How do you manage your time during the A to Z Challenge? 
A: Very carefully! So usually I've got about 60% of my posts written before April starts, and I do the other 40% on the fly. This year my theme involves audience participation, so I'll be writing every evening. I find that visiting folks is great to do during my lunch hour at work. It's a nice way to pass an hour.

Q: After you successfully complete the 2015 A to Z, and they stick television cameras in your face and ask "So, what are you going to do now", what will you answer?
A: I just did something that is perhaps a little crazy. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is also occurring in April. So I will probably just grunt and grumble something about words before shoving my head under my pillow.

Q: Isn't it phenomenal?
A: I am awed by how phenomenal it is. I get out to appreciate our world whenever possible. (see the above picture!)

And now... A brief introduction for my wHooligan team!

TaMara Sloan @peedeemama
Shilpa Garg @shilpaagarg
LuAnn Braley @kentuckygal
Kripali Kulkarni @precarious_me

These ladies are fantastic. They'll be working hard all month to say hi to as many participants as possible, so go pay them a visit to say thanks in advance! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Making friends through Blogging

It's December, in case you hadn't noticed.  All around me people are sorting out gifts for friends and family, and making arrangements for seasonal celebrations, both in our homes and on our blogs.

One of the things that I didn't expect from the A to Z Challenge was that I'd make friends.  It seemed strange, the idea of blogging friends, but of course, once you get people you meet regularly, it's just like any other community.  You may start by passing someone in  the street.  Then you smile, or even just nod.  Then maybe something happens and you speak.  If that goes well, it may develop - you may stop and chat, and perhaps even share a coffee break if you're in the right place at the right time.

It's not until you have to do something together that it changes from an acquaintance to a friendship.  Thinking about the place I used to live, what suddenly bonded a street together was fighting an unwelcome development in the old school playing fields.  In my new home it has been building a new village hall, and setting up new activities.  On my website I made some friends through discovering shared interests during the A to Z Challenge.  Some of those are like people I've known for years and still exchange Christmas cards with - I visit during the A to Z and wonder why I don't visit more often (I could do that with the Road Trip!)  Others I follow more diligently, and love the range of their posts and the experiences they share with me - and with other readers.

BookElves AnthologyI've had two experiences that I really wanted to share - things that I feel have made a real difference to me, and I hope you will find the equivalent in your blogging lives.  The first was when a writer, Sally Harris, invited twelve of us to join her in a Valentines Day project - putting out a chapter of our books in one volume, with a puzzle hidden within it.  Readers who solved it were eligible for a draw for a major prize.  Working with these other authors has led on to other projects - this year we brought out an anthology of short stories for readers aged 8 and over, the BookElves Anthology Volume 1.  One of my 'physical' friends asked about the 'Volume 1' bit.  I just love the optimism of thinking it might be the start of something regular, worth repeating.  I hope so, anyway.  If you write, I hope you find a community you feel you can work with on projects too.

The other experience I wanted to share was the fun and friendship I gained by being one of co-host Damyanti's team for the 2014 A to Z Challenge.  I worked closely with six other blogging enthusiasts (and most of us write), and we still share our activities and support each other's blogs.  You saw last month that the Challenge 2015 co-host team has been announced.  They will all need minions, so if you feel you want to get involved, do.  I assure you it'll be worth it.  You'll make some real friends.  Even if you never meet them face to face!

Thank you all for your interest through this year, and very best wishes for 2015.

Have you made friends through blogging?  Tell all!

Jemima Pett writes fantasy for younger readers in the Princelings of the East series, and is working on an adult scifi series. Read her blog, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting to Know Your Co-Hosts for #atozchallenge: Tina @ Life is Good

Hi, I'm Tina, the super-shy one on the team.  Ahem.  SO not true.  If you've ever read my blog, Life is Good, you know I'm pretty much an open book.  I have no on-line persona.  I'll talk about anything (and have).  I write embarrassing stories about myself.  I talk about my family, my life, my struggles, fears, hopes and dreams.  

I know some think that doing so is dangerous, that I'm opening myself up for stalking, identity theft.  Kidnapped children.   Have at it people.  You can come take my medical bills, my asthma, my messy house, my struggles with contentment.  You can come finish all the still-in-progress projects at my house.  You won't find much of material value here, and my life is eternal, so if you take my earthly one, well then, it was my time.  I have a strong faith, and though I'm a very bossy, take charge, schedule oriented "let's get this done" type of person, I have no illusions that I have control of my life.  God's in charge.  

I do like the questions, so here you go:

How far in advance do you prepare your theme and complete your A-Z before the Challenge begins? (Yvonne)

Um, I usually don't.  I try to get the first three or so set up, and if I know I'll be out of town, then I'll write the posts for those days.  There are several reasons for this.  One: I'm so stinking busy from January to April with behind the scenes stuff of a co-host, that I don't have the time.  Two: I really like the spontaneity of daily writing, the pressure, the deadline. I know that sounds crazy, but it's totally doable if you have your theme and topics for each letter picked out. So yeah, none of mine are done yet...but I picked my theme in January and have been working on matching the letters and the topics since then.

At the end of a long day…wine? beer?? Walk?? Chocolate?? Pet your pet?? Sex?? (SammyD)

SammyD and I have been getting to know each other.  It started with the info@ email and went from I will not shy away from a question with the word sex in it.  This does not make this question (AC) so feel free to keep reading.

I love wine and beer, I can't walk very far right now because of my severe asthma but it's getting better.  Can't eat chocolate because I'm hypoglycemic.  Can't have pets because of the asthma.  Sex is one of the best stress relievers I know, so at the end of the day, you'll find me with a glass of chardonnay in my hand, and a gleam in my eye ;-)

Do you believe in Sasquatch? (JoJo)

Absolutely.  I also believe we still have some aquatic dinosaurs.  My husband, The Engineer, and my dad, The Swede, and I were on a sailing trip on the Chesapeake Bay.  We each individually saw the head of a plesiosaurus come up and say hi, about a 100 yards away. The Engineer saw it first and asked my dad what it was.  We watched some more.  It came up again. We looked at each other in awe.  We thought maybe we'd had too much sun, but we kept watching and theorizing, and in the end, it was the only conclusion which made sense.  Then The Engineer and I watched a NOVA about dinosaurs and saw what they looked like and it was exactly what we saw.  NOVA said they're still out there.


I blog at Life is Good, and have had two short stories published.  I'm a columnist for a newsletter, and have been writing my first novel for too long. I'm also the mom of two teenage boys and the wife of a nutty-professor inventor-engineer so life is never dull, nor does it have much free time.  But life IS good.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meet Your Co-Hosts - A Word (or Two) about Nicole #atozchallenge

I am Nicole Ayers and this will be my fourth year doing the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge at The Madlab Post as well as my second year in a Co-Host position. 

In addition to hosting the Monday Movie Meme – a weekly blog event challenging you to pick films you've seen that fit various themes, I pimp out my short film "ABYSS: The Greatest Proposal Ever" in hopes of finding my place in the world. You can connect with me on Twitter, Watch videos on my YouTube channel and Follow my boards on Pinterest – but many of you all knew that already, so let’s get down to business where I tell you what you probably didn't know about me.
  • I favor action and adventure movies among most all other genres. If I’m going to the theater, something has to start exploding within the first half or somebody (preferably Bruce Willis or Matt Damon) better be jumping off of moving vehicles on the highway. Otherwise, I tend to lose interest quickly.
  • Right now, my Top 5 movies (in no particular order) are:
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
The Town
Bad Boys II
Schindler’s List
A Beautiful Mind
  • My fascination with movies comes from the invention of video cameras. During childhood, I was always fascinated with recording devices -- being able to capture moments and play them back on television or a boom box stereo system. 
An uncle used to bring his huge VHS camcorder to most of my family’s’ events and I was always excited by how he could get everything on tape for us to watch later for amusement or remembrance. I later developed interest in learning how films were made.
  • If I was forced to choose between spending the rest of my life without books or without films, I would say goodbye to films. Books would be my best friend forever because they can be enjoyed as-is whereas we need so much more resources to watch films such as hardware & utilities. 
Films require high maintenance, even as a pastime. People don’t need DVD players, iTunes, electricity or data plans and other first-world luxuries to read a book. Plus, it would be silly of me to ignore how much more beneficial reading is compared to watching movies.
  • What I like best about co-hosting the A-to-Z Challenge is the chance to give back to Arlee Bird and his event that helped me step my blogging game up, saved me from existential despair and helped me build so many quality friendships.
  • My philosophy on life can be described in the following sentence:
Each day is a blessing, so make it count!
  • The weirdest thing I've researched is vesicovaginal fistulas, for a freelance writing assignment, which made me even more apprehensive about childbirth.
  • The last book I really did not enjoy was The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. I had high hopes for this book but it pissed me off by being so difficult to read that I stopped after only a few pages in.
  • If I could describe my short film “Abyss: The Greatest Proposal Ever” in one word, it would be: Propositions
  • In a classroom full of creative, sporty and geeky children, the artistic group is where I would fit in. I was a creative kid who could usually be found drawing pictures, painting and writing short stories at any given time. I also played “school” while managing a home library. While sports weren't my thing, I was pretty good at soccer but if I could turn back the hands of time, I’d repeat my cheerleading days in a heartbeat.
  • I’m still prepping a theme and am not even at the halfway mark for completing my A-Z posts in advance. Add to that my spontaneous plan to do the challenge with two blogs this year and it’s just one big ol’ pickle of madness that could very well be a recipe for disaster. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking!
  • Telling someone my darkest secret would defeat the whole purpose of it being a secret, would it not? I think so.
  • Sometimes I blog in one of the student lounges at a local University and other times I blog in the (dis)comfort of my kitchen.
That’s all for now, folks! I would like to thank my Mighty Minion Bureau Assets – Dale at Smurfin’ the Web, Andrea MusicFan at Twelve Steps to Cloud Nine, Melody-Ann Jones-Kauffman at MAJK INK, Deniz Bevan at The Girdle of Melian, Sydney Aaliyah and SA Larsen for helping me come up with material for this “About Me” post for this year’s Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge. 

Also, shouts out to Yvonne, Susan Scott and Rob Tobor for obliging in Tina Downey’s (at Life is Good) request to hit us all with your best questions. Stay tuned for additional nuggets of stuff about me, which I’ll be putting up over at The Madlab Post.

Monday, March 18, 2013

#atozchallenge Getting to Know the Hosts - Nicole Ayers

Name: Nicole Ayers
Blog: The Madlab Post
Other Online Info: My Twitter, My Pinterest, My IMDB, My Flickr, My Tumblr and My YouTube
Films: ABYSS ; Lighten Up
Publications: The Madlab Post Zine and Bulletin; My Journey to Bare Bones

1. Where do you hail from? (D.G. Hudson) 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or otherwise known as The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection – which is a questionable nickname, depending on who you ask.

2. Would you rather have your own personal sailing ship or spaceship? What would you name your ship? (L.G. Keltner)
I’d rather have my spaceship named Captain Data, as homage to two of the coolest “Star Trek” characters ever!

3. How do you comment? - if someone posts 5,6,7 times a week .. once - or 3 times .. then each time or once or twice .. then each time I can't keep up .. but hate not supporting everyone .. (Hilary Melton-Butcher)
I comment in a manner that directly correlates with the amount of time available to complete all tasks laid out in my day. If my time is limited, I just comment on the most recent blog post. If I have more time to spare (or if I really like the blog), I’ll read through a few of the recent post titles and then comment on the ones that peak my interest.

Just because a blogger posts multiple times a week doesn’t mean that I’m going to comment on them every single time. It also depends on the frequency of my visits to a blog. If I visit more often, then it is more likely that I would comment on most, if not all of the blog posts but if I only visit the blog every now and then, I will usually comment on whatever is present on the page.

4. How do you use those HTML tags? .. and I've yet to learn about the signature line too ..(
Hilary Melton-Butcher)
I searched for the HTML tags and then tested them out by creating a draft post under the HTML tab and not the “Compose” tab, in one of my least active Blogger blogs. When I got to a point when the links worked and appeared to my liking -- after previewing them in “Compose” and also as a live post preview, I created a document file with the proper HTML tags that fit my needs such as text links, bold, photo links, etc. and I keep that file handy so that I don’t have to keep searching or reaching through tutorials every time I need to create a hyperlink quickly.

It’s sorta like my own HTML Template file that also includes a template of code that I made for my signature. So now, all I usually have to do is go to the file, copy the tags that I want to use at the moment and then paste it in the comment box or blog post draft page or online forum or wherever I need to create HTML links.

5. If you were a contestant on the CBS show "Amazon Race" and could pick ANY movie character to be your partner, who would it be and why?
It’s a toss-up between Jason Bourne from “The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum” and Bryan Mills from “Taken.” Bourne keeps himself in shape, meaning he can run fast, lift heavy things, climb building structures and bounce back quickly if he falls. Mills on other hand is very meticulous about gathering information -- a quality that could be very useful in our team’s ability to complete tasks that involve assembling items that contain several different pieces of a puzzle or gathering activities that involve repetitive routines where I could easily forget a key step.

Bourne and Mills both have a very special set of skills that they’ve acquired over long careers and would each be an asset in helping me advance to the next Pit Stop. I’d be more likely to go with Bourne, however, because he knows how to live off the grid and get himself out of a jam without always needing aid from technology, friends in high places and fancy gadgets.

6. Describe the last Halloween costume you wore.
I dressed as Uhura from Star Trek, complete with the red dress and black boots. Now, I wonder if I should have worn a homemade costume because I have this Star Trek dress sitting around and no reason...or place to wear it.

7. What is the most unusual thing you have ever given as a gift? (Matt Conlon)
A fanny pack; and get this...the recipient gave it back to me!

8. If you could make a recommendation for a book for World Book Night (awesome event on 4/23), what book would it be? (Tracy Bermeo-A2Z Mommy)
How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston. It is a funny, insightful and surprisingly relatable read.

9. "Where do you go to "Get away from it all"?" (Matt Conlon)
To the land of alcohol. It’s cheaper than health insurance, requires less of a commitment than therapy and the bartenders/cashiers never ask for a referral when ordering a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon! When that fails or is not available, I simply rock out to Lenny Kravitz.

10. "When writing, do you prefer to compose your first-draft by hand, on your computer, or using Morse Code?" (Mina Lobo)
My writing methods vary by the nature and purpose of whatever it is I’m working on. I tend to write blog posts on a computer so that they’re ready to be published when necessary. I do jot down random notes for future posts in notebooks as well as on napkins and store receipts. I write the first drafts of my screenplays by hand because distractions like email, Words with Friends and YouTube aren’t a click away. It’s healthier to spend hours in front of a notebook than a bright computer screen. I also write songs on both and would be down to try some Morse Code for a project, just to get the experience.

Writer and Director Nicole Ayers on the Set of "ABYSS" 
If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. In the meantime, I’d appreciate your contribution to my film festival campaign for ABYSS and convincing of your friends to do the same!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Getting to Know Your Co-Hosts - Tina, Life is Good


Name: Tina Downey
Blogs: Lifeis Good
Publications: Until They Have Faces, an anthology of stories of the homeless, a fundraising coffee table book
Other Places to Find Me: Twitter: still can't believe I did it...@TinaLifeisGood. I don't do other social media, it's just too much to keep up with. I'd rather write...


1. "Where do you hail from?"
I'm a first generation immigrant, born in Sweden. In 1974 when I was almost nine, we moved to America for “just a year”. We lived in Silver Spring, MD. However, for my senior year of high school, The Swede got a big promotion and we moved to Colorado. Well, he dragged me kicking and screaming across the country is more like it... I shouldn't have wasted that energy, though. Colorado is my dream home. I love almost everything about this state except the hot summers. The smallish community (formerly farming, now high tech silicon valley stuff everywhere) with the magnificent view of the foothills and Longs Peak/Mt. Meeker is a wonderful place to raise children. They're living my childhood in Sweden – go knock on a door and see who's free. Or what happens more often, there's the knock on OUR door. We're THAT house where everyone gathers and I love that.

2. Would you ever join a team that was headed off to colonize Mars?
Yes, I actually would. I'm a die-hard sci-fi fan, and The Engineer is an inventor, and dreams of doing this. So how could I say no. It's a pretty safe “yes” though...I can sound like the supportive, adventurous wife, but with little risk of ever leaving my beloved Colorado. There are parts of this adventure that DO appeal to ME too though: the whole fresh start thing...and space travel...

3. "Who is your favorite fictional character and why?"
I should probably pick some Jane Austen or Mark Twain or other “classy classic” character, but I like Eve Dallas of JD Robb's futuristic cop series. She's my exact opposite, so that's probably why. When I need a break, I splurge $7.99 and buy the next book in the 35+ book series. I think I'm seven behind...good mind candy, and since I'm hypoglycemic and can't eat REAL candy, it's my justification.

4. "If you were a contestant on the CBS show "Amazing Race" and could pick ANY movie character to be your partner, who would it be and why?"
James Bond. Let's be more clear, Daniel Craig's James Bond. C'mon, who else could do ANYTHING they'd throw at us? I love this race. It is amazing (haha) to see places and cultures I might never, ever see. I don't have much time for TV anymore, and we don't have cable (got data plans for smart phones instead, something had to go...) so I haven't seen it in a while. I'm confident he could “carry” me, and I love martinis, too. We'd both be seeking the same thing at the end of the day.

5. What's your biggest frustration in blogging?
Not enough time. I'm a schedule woman, so I try hard to carve out my time for it, but I'm also a wife, a mom, a volunteer teacher, and there are only so many hours in a day. Setting priorities is hard, but it's life.

6. "Have you ever wanted to be a rock star?"
No, but I wish I could sing on key. What I REALLY want is to be a best-selling author...sigh.

7. You're house in on fire, assuming your kids, pets, and other living things are safe, what do you grab as you head out the door?
My mom has made me some amazing Creative Memories photo albums, and I've made some myself, waaaay before the blogging bug infected me permanently. I'd grab those. Two of them are the boys' baby books. Of course, they're not done. The Transporter is 6 months old, and OYT has ONE picture affixed in it, the rest lying loose on the pages...some day...

8. "Where do you go to "Get away from it all"?
We go camping in our 1968 Forester camping trailer. The Engineer has redone all the systems, so it's still peddling along despite its need of another new paint job. We pull it with our prison van. Not kidding. The van still has the outline of the “Colorado Department of Corrections” logo that adorned both front doors. It seats twelve and then has a huge cargo area behind it. Nothing like having two teenage boys separated in the car by an entire bench seat...We prefer state and national forest parks with bigger sites, no hook-ups, and more privacy. The only thing I don't like about camping is pulling out of the site and heading home...I could seriously be a campground host.  I think. I've got enough bossy in me to do the job...

Thanks for making it this far. We're supposed to do 10 questions, but I'm so far over the word limit you get 8. I promise to be more brief during the challenge, but it's hard to get to know someone in a few words. Especially a wordy, talky person such

I'll be writing about “Adventures in America” - what it was like my first year as a Swedish immigrant. Last year's #atozchallenge I taught a word or two of Swedish a day, included a picture and a childhood memory. I'm thinking this will be similar, but you won't be learning a foreign language...hope to see you then!

~Tina, and yes, Life really is Good

Friday, February 8, 2013

Getting to Know Your Co-Hosts - Shannon, The Warrior Muse


Name: Shannon Lawrence
Blogs: The Warrior Muse, Writing From the Peak (as Managing Editor)
Publications: Sunday Snaps: The Stories, an anthology
Other Places to Find Me: LinkedIn, Facebook (blog), Facebook (personal), Twitter (@thewarriormuse), She Writes, Google+


1. When writing, do you prefer to compose your first-draft by hand, on your computer, or using Morse code?  While I wish I knew Morse code, I usually compose in a mix of pencil and computer (but never the two together...that would be messy!)  For novel writing, I prefer that go directly onto the computer.  A specific computer, in fact.  For short stories and such, I will often write on paper first, though not always.  It really just depends when and where the mood takes me, and if I feel like paper and pencil or computer keys.

2. Who would win a fight: Jiminy Cricket or Tinkerbell?  Tinkerbell, hands down.  That girl is feisty.  She's pretty scary.  J.C. is a bit of a softie, and I feel like he'd run and hide when he saw the pixie dust flying.

3. Cake or pie?  Cake.  Always cake.  While I won't turn down pie (for the most part), a moist delicious slice of cake is impossible to say no to.

4. Describe the last Halloween costume you wore.  I was a rainbow faerie this year.  I'd intended to go with something different, but found a rainbow wig and colorful wings that I couldn't resist.  Below is a pic of hubby and I (he made that Batman costume).  I also had on rainbow striped leggings.  Fun!

5. Where do you hail from?  All over!  I was born in California, and have lived in Oregon, Maryland and Colorado.  Not as many places as some, but good enough for me.  We've had opportunities to move, but have so far passed them up; some of those opportunities were for overseas.  Maybe some day.  I really love it here in Colorado, though.  I AM a Coloradan.

6. Do you know how to Gangnam Style?  Heck yeah, I do!  I like to bust it out to humiliate my children.  That's why we have them, right?  Unfortunately for my son, he's very easy to embarrass.  My daughter, on the other hand, is impossible to humiliate.  I imagine my son will adjust, as both his parents are smart alecks (I can never figure out the proper spelling for that word...).

7. Where do you go to get away from it all?  I like to hike, and I back up to a place called Ute Valley Park, so I can go there if I need a walk or to hide myself.  If I'm okay with being around other people, but want gorgeous views, I'll go to Garden of the Gods.  It relaxes me.  Both places do.

Garden of the Gods in the fall
Can you see why?  That's Pikes Peak in the background.  I know I'm home when I see Pikes Peak.

8. What makes life worth living?  So much.  My kids, my hubby, my family, my writing, nature, my surroundings, my kitty, my friends, movies, books, the simple pleasures.

9. Who inspires you to write?  My fellow writers.  My friends and family.  My writer's groups.  Nature.  I find my inspiration all around me.  I love writing!

10. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Cone or cup?  Sprinkles or hot fudge sauce?  I like anything chocolate, but chocolate and marshmallow make me supremely happy.  I prefer a cup.  I don't like the taste of cones, and I'm always sad when that is the flavor I'm left with.  I prefer whipped cream, hot fudge and a maraschino cherry.  Not the mediciny ones I always manage to get from Baskin Robbins, though.  What's up with that?

I hope you feel like you've gotten to know me a little better!  What are your answers to these questions?  I'd love to see your views in the comments.

May you find your Muse.

Shannon L.
The Warrior Muse

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Help With our 2013 Co-Host Questionnaire!

We're hard at work preparing for the 2013 A-to-Z Challenge, and we need your help!

Last year, each of us co-hosts answered a set of questions in a Getting to Know You post, so participants could learn a little about us and know who it was they'd be talking to or dealing with throughout the challenge.  You'll find last year's list of questions below.

This year, we want to know what YOU want to know about us.  We're asking you to create our questionnaire for us.  What would you like to ask us?  Leave a comment with your question(s).  You can suggest as many as you'd like.  Have fun with it!  No question is too silly.

For ideas, see the list below or click on the names of last year's co-hosts to read our answers to last year's questions.  Maybe you'll get some ideas based on what we said in 2012.

If we get enough questions, we'll each be choosing a set number to answer for ourselves, rather than answering all the same questions.  This way, you get a little variety.

Last year's Getting to Know You posts:

Alex J. Cavanaugh
Arlee Bird
Damyanti Biswas
DL Hammons
Elizabeth Mueller
Jenny Pearson
Jeremy Hawkins (Retro-Zombie)
Konstanz Silverbow
Matthew MacNish
Shannon Lawrence (The Warrior Muse)
Stephen Tremp
Tina Downey

Our 10 Getting to Know You Questions:

What is the most daring thing you've ever done?
What is your favorite article of clothing?
What is your favorite monster?
If you had to dress up as your favorite literary character, who would it be?
What is your favorite fairy tale, urban legend or nursery rhyme?
What is a cause near and dear to your heart?
What's the strangest item you've used as a bookmark?
Do you have any nicknames?  What are they, and how did you earn them?
Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
Tell us something interesting or shocking about yourself.

And our 5 A-to-Z Questions: 

What was your favorite A-to-Z post from 2011?
What brought you to the A-to-Z originally?  Tell us about your first A-to-Z.
Are you doing a theme?
Are you writing and scheduling posts in advance?
What is your favorite letter of the alphabet, and why?  What letter do you like least?

What questions do you want us to answer?  What do you want to know about your 2013 A-to-Z co-hosts? Can you get us to tell our deepest, darkest secrets?

May you find your Muse.

Shannon Lawrence
The Warrior Muse