Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Letter L for Loneliness #AtoZChallenge guest post

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter L #AtoZChallenge2024 badge1

The letter L in my mind is associated with the word Loneliness. A sad word, to be sure. Unfortunately, many writers are afflicted by it. I am. I’m an extreme introvert. I live in my head most of the time. I communicate with my fictional characters on a deeper level than I do with my neighbors or even family. With my characters, I’m open. I don’t feel constrained to hide my quirks or my oddities. Just the opposite: those quirks make my characters unique, my writing original. Often, the heroes of my stories become my best friends, at least until I’m done writing those stories, while my few real-life friends feel baffled by my insistent ‘daydreaming.’ Thank the stars for the internet and for my blogger friends.
It was on the internet that I finally found like-minded people, the community of other writers. They blog about hearing voices of their characters, and I think: yeah, me too. They blog about their research into the best poisons for their upcoming mystery, and I think: ditto. I did online research once for a homemade bomb. For the same reason, of course: my heroine needed to disarm a bomb by magical means. We are united in our half-humorous concern that the police might be interested in us because of our ‘dangerous’ research topics.  
The positive outcome is that my online writer-friends alleviate my Loneliness. They frequently understand me better than my kids or my sister do. We are sailing the same boat, weathering the same storms, heading towards the same shore. We want to be read. When the visitors of my blog comment on my posts, I feel happy. Understood. Appreciated. I’m not alone anymore.
For many introverts like me, our digital friends’ blogs are a lifeline. They make us all feel connected. Blog away, friends. I want to read your blogs. And comment, so you feel appreciated too. 
On a distantly related topic, I want to say that Loneliness is often a theme of science fiction stories. Case in point: The Martian by Andy Weir. Cosmonauts are often alone. As I’m not only a writer but also a book cover designer, I recently made a couple of pre-made book covers with the theme of Loneliness in mind. I didn’t know at the time I worked on those covers that I would be writing this guest post, but they fit perfectly, and I want to share them with you. I hope you enjoy them.

Olga Covers

All the images I used in both my composite covers come from the free image site   
Olga Godim is a speculative fiction writer and book cover designer. Her website and blog:  


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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

#AtoZChallenge K Is for KNIGHT RISE

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge #AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

The team's theme of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year is:



Hat’s off to J, Arlee, and the others for allowing me to commandeer the blog (and the letter K) for a little self-promotion. I participated in the A-Z Challenge many moons ago and I remember what a fun time I had.

This year’s theme of Accomplishing Your Dreams is very appropriate for me, which is why I’m choosing to talk about just that with the letter K. I started my publishing journey a dozen years ago, right about the same time I began my own blog. Six novels and numerous short-stories later, it’s finally happening. It was a long road getting here, but it was a journey I thoroughly enjoyed (even if it was a bit frustrating at times). Making your dreams come true isn’t something that necessarily happens over night — I’m living proof of that — so stay committed!

KNIGHT RISE is my first foray into publishing. My mystery/suspense novel debuted last November, published by Wild Lark Books, and I’m pleased to report it has been well-received (4.80 rating on Goodreads). The reception was so positive that a follow up book (FALLEN KNIGHT) is scheduled for a June 1st release.

What’s the first book about? Here’s a summary – 

A picture containing Knight rise cover

A group of middle-aged friends embark on a sentimental quest.

A female Private Eye obsessed with a decades-old unsolved murder.

A killer trying to erase an old mistake, along with anyone in his way.

Twenty-nine years ago, Lee Hamilton was a college student having fun with friends on Spring break in sunny Florida. It was there that he met the beautiful and unforgettable Andi Taylor. They spent a magical week together. Lee was confident it would go somewhere. Then, months later, he received word that she had died.

Many years later, Lee is a widower, his own children now away at college, and after having fallen out of touch with his old college friends, Lee turns to his blog as an outlet. Taken by nostalgia, he writes about his week with Andi and unexpectedly sets off a dangerous string of events that will reunite him with old friends but could cost them all their lives.

KNIGHT RISE is a fast-paced, intriguing page-turner with a lot of heart. Follow this crew of enjoyable characters through stunning plot twists for a thrilling ride you won't forget!

Sound like your cup of tea? Here is where you can find it.

Wild Lark Books Online Shop


Barnes & Noble



If you’d like to know more about me and/or my writing journey, you can visit my previous debut author spotlight on Operation Awesome, where J Lenni Dorner interviewed me. (Link)

Thanks again to J for this opportunity.

What's a big dream you are working to achieve right now?

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

#AtoZChallenge D is for Doors #flashfiction Drabble

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge #AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

The team's theme of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year is:

The WEP team has accepted the challenge to write for the A – Z. This time we’re playing tag with the letter “D”. We’ve decided D is for Door/s. As we’re lovers of #flashfiction, we’re writing in the form of “Drabble” = flash fiction of exactly 100 words. (Yolanda Renee is on hiatus).
WEP 2022

Behind the Door

I’ll be lighthearted some time and peer in -
behind the door will be the ball you forgot,
neat hooks to hang things, walls that look too clean -
except a backpack-shaped amorphous spot
where that hung for years. A square rim of grime
will mark out a photoframe and passing time.
I’ll be lighthearted someday again between
your coming and going, growing, nothing caught
on the wardrobe shutters, bedclothes pristine.
Just some odd scraps of poems I once wrote
for some vanished milestone, in half-slant rhyme
will claw at my days and at passing time.

Nilanjana is a bi-lingual writer, blogger and market researcher. She specialises in poetry, panic and tinkering with bucket lists. Her physical address keeps changing now and then but thankfully her online home is constant at Madly-in-Verse.

They Told Her

She sat in front of the hedge where everyone told her there wasn’t a door. It didn’t lead to anywhere other than the neighbour’s yard. And Mr. and Mrs. Harrison wouldn’t appreciate either a hole in their hedge or a girl’s footprints on their perfect grass.

They told her the hedge was made only of leaves and branches. They told her there wasn’t a land full of wonder and magic beyond. They rolled their eyes and laughed. There definitely wasn’t a door in the hedge.

She pushed to her feet and opened the door anyway.

Jemi Fraser writes small-town romantic suspense stories filled with heart and humour.

Behind the Basement Door

It's also inspired by real life tornados that went through my state recently.
Huddled under the table, Mable cuddled into her mama’s side. The basement door rattled 
on its hinges. The wind howled.
Mama stroked her hair. “It’ll be okay, baby girl. The storm will pass soon.”
Mable knew what a tornado was. She’d seen pictures of them and the damage they could do. 
She never dreamed she would have to hide from one.
She covered her ears as the roar outside grew louder. She couldn’t block it out no 
matter how hard she tried.
The storm would pass soon, she hoped, but what would await them when 
they opened that basement door?

L.G. Keltner writes many things, though primarily sci-fi, while also caring for 
her energetic children. She lives in a small town in Iowa.

Romi Ran

Romi ran. If the enemies caught her, they would shoot her. Their boots trampled behind the corner, loud in the silence of the night. The houses stood dark, afraid. She didn’t dare knock on doors. Nobody would let her in, not against the occupants’ orders. Suddenly, stairs to a basement yawned in a narrow lane between two houses. At the bottom of the short staircase, choked with garbage, a half-door was ajar. Romi stumbled down and crawled in. She pushed the door shut, leaned on it. The enemies’ boots slapped past, their barrage receding. Safe for now. She started shaking.

Olga Godim is a speculative fiction writer from Vancouver, Canada. 
When she doesn’t write, she reads and makes book covers.

Vampire Hunter

The crumbling bricks of the castle behind me, I happen upon a twisting stone path below street level. I follow its twists and turns, sheltered by branches above which shake and whisper in the evening breeze. I imagine they warn: beware. The moon gives enough light for me to see. Around the curve, a door appears.  I stop. Look. See no one. See no thing. Where does this door lead? The hairs on my arms raise. To the subterranean tunnels beneath the surface where the vampires live? I feel the heft of steel in my hand. I push open the door.

Denise Covey is an Australian author of contemporary and paranormal romance. When she’s not dreaming up stories based on her travels, she loses herself in the pages of books.

Do you ever write flash fiction?

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

#atozchallenge L is for Ludo ~ Guest post by Jemima Pett

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter L

L is for Ludo

Ludo is a board game derived from the ancient game Pachisi. Most of us have probably played at some time! 2 to 4 players roll a die in turn and move their piece around the board accordingly. You have to get all your pieces home first to win.
I also played it as Kappit - probably a version of the German Coppit.
ludo board
Picture by Micha L Reiser (via Wikipedia)

Ludo as a character

Ludo is the name I gave to the Pirate King in the second of my series The Princelings of the East. He was eventually exiled in that book. I interviewed him in 2012, and realised he would return to cause trouble, which he did, from book eight, The Princelings of the North, to the final one, Princelings Revolution, which came out last October.

This is part of that interview: you can see why I wanted to write more about him… now who asked if I had more spin-offs to write?

Jemima meets Ludo, the Pirate King

I’m sitting with Ludo at a beach table under a cloth awning, drinking the local wine. I ask how the pirating business is going. He glares at me a lot.
“I was the legitimate crown prince of Castle Marsh, going about my business according to the rules laid down by others. They were happy for me to take their produce across the water and bring them the profit, with a little charge for the service. They accused me of smuggling. Then they closed off my source of business and I formed a plan to survive in spite of them. And they called that piracy.”
There was nothing about this that came out in the trial.
“Pah, trial. One step away from a lynching to save certain people’s skins.”
I ask him to name names. He is a big chap, an imposing presence. His tan is an even deeper red than it was when I last saw him, at the trial. His black eyepatch is just as rakish. I’m not sure he actually needs it. He has a very stylish hat with a wide brim, which currently lies on the bench next to him. 
He declines, after consideration, so I ask him how he came to take up sailing. 
“Got in with a sporty crowd who raced small boats, then got onto one of the big ships and loved it. Told grandfather I was going to take a year to sail on these big ships, then come back and be crown prince properly, and he wasn’t bothered, so I did.  Took me six months to get my own ship and crew together, get the business going nicely, earning lots of gold, then someone turned everyone against me.”
“So you think you should still be king of Castle Marsh?”
“Of course I should. Although I’d rather have the ships. Free to roam, no responsibility except to your crew, and they obey you anyway. I’m doing well now, thank you!”
So while he doesn’t want any responsibility for Marsh, he still wants the recognition and the title.  
He doesn’t have any contacts in the realms he wishes to keep up, “although Uncle Vlad is a good sport.” He surprises me by recounting an embarrassing moment; I had expected him to be one of those that didn’t have them.
He’d most like to change the power play in the realms so he can be king again. He does not explain what he means by ‘power play’. The Kings’ Council, which unites the various castles, deems that he could not live in harmony with them. So is he an outsider who sees authority working against him, or is there actually someone in the Council working to undermine the peace? I am unsettled by Ludo’s accusations—or are they merely insinuations? 
I feel increasingly uncomfortable in his presence. The ferry is docking at the quay, so I have an excuse to finish.
We exchange formal thanks for the interview, and I get up, relieved. He has a casual manner that could lull you into thinking he’s a playboy, an anachronism, playing at being a pirate. But he’s not. He’s the real thing, and he’s dangerous.

About Jemima Pett

Jemima writes fantasy and science fiction, and is writing the third in her scifi series during the April AtoZ. Check on her progress at her blog She also has several books of her flash fiction coming out in time for summer. Get Critters and Crises at Amazon now, and pre-order Greed and Retribution, out 6th May.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Guest Post from Winner C.E. Flores

I was honored to be awarded a guest post with the A to Z Challenge folks today. I’d like to talk a little today about how participating in the A to Z Challenge has strengthened me as a blogger and writer.

I’ve participated twice from beginning to end. This year I was hesitant about signing up. I had several other writing obligations and just wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up the commitment. I’m glad I did.

I choose the topic Blog to Book Project: How to turn your blog posts into a book. During the course of writing these informative posts, I learned even more about the publishing process. Of course, now I’m applying those useful tidbits to my own blog to book projects while I turn this series of posts into an ebook and maybe even an ecourse down the line.

I have also participated in the A to Z Challenge as part of a blogging group. The SOTB Bloggers  Bloggers blogged Mexican adventures last year which we compiled into a FREE downloadable ebook that you can get here. (

This year, we tried to be proactive and scheduled our first Writing Challenge in March in order to get a jump on our A to Z posts for April. We were a little overly optimistic with our goals, but most of us managed to meet at least 50% of them. In a few weeks, I hope to have our joint efforts in the 2019 A to Z challenge converted into an ebook, so stay tuned!

So here’s my fun A to Z list of what I learned from participating in the A to Z Challenge both as an individual and as part of a group.

A--Alphabetical creativity. Some of those letters are tricky!
B--Blogging stamina.
E--Editing skills.
F--Writing is Fun!
G--Group effort makes a long list shorter!
H--Huffing and puffing along certainly encourages Humility!
I--I can do it!
J--Just about half-way!
K--The Key is organization!
L--Letters make for random and awkward order for some topics.
M--Made it to the middle positive Mindset!
N--Need to work on days off to get these posts finished!
O--Organization is key!
Q--Quality and Quantity are both important.
R--Research skills!
S--Spell check is life-saving!
T--Blogging challenges are Therapeutic!
U--Never Underestimate what you are capable of!
V--Value the process.
W--Write like you are a real Writer, every day!
X--eXcited to read other blogs!
Y--Yippee, the end is near!
Z--Zounds! Finished!

-- C.E. Flores

Monday, April 8, 2019

G is for Guest Post by Jemima Pett #AtoZchallenge

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

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.

Hello! This is a guest post, and I’m Jemima Pett. I won this post in the A to Z Book Review Tour Giveaway in February. Like you, I blog—at Jemima Pett, author. I also write and publish books, and occasionally do guest posts on other people’s blogs.

What are guest posts? 

Someone who is not a part of the blog, like a co-author or regular contributor with access rights, writes a post for it. If that's you, you tailor your post to what suits the blog.

Who hosts them? 

Anyone can host them, but blogs generally need a good number of followers to attract guests. Although some well-known guests have many followers, most guests are hoping to raise awareness. A blog with fewer followers would be unlikely to do that. It’s probably better to look for author interviews and join blog tours than canvas people for guest posts if you need blog content.

How do you decide on a topic? 

Some bloggers want specific topics—or list some to avoid. Others leave the choice up to you. The A to Z asked me to select a letter to post for this month, and I offered a choice of letter plus topic.

G is for Guest Post by Jemima Pett #AtoZchallenge image-The Story Reading Ape — TSRA

I have a regular guest slot at The Story Reading Ape—TSRA—every second Sunday of the month. The Ape leaves it entirely up to me, although is happy to discuss ideas. TSRA is an eclectic place, and most things relating to stories, writing, blogging, books, travel, adventure, and humour are welcome.

If you like Scifi or Horror, the Scifi&Scary website offers guests a chance to post on particular subjects. They list on their blog what they’d like, and have guidelines for any speculative approaches.

Sue Vincent welcomes artists, writers and photographers who want to talk about their work, include a news or promotion item, and maybe tips for others. She has guidelines on her website.

At Smorgasbord Magazine, Sally Cronin welcomes author interviews, and often invites people to do guest posts. Which leads to…

What’s the difference between a guest post and an author interview? 

Author interviews

  • for authors (and other creatives) with products they wish to promote 
  • some blogs extend this to artists, craftmakers etc, others focus on books with or without illustration 
  • blog usually sets questions, like ‘why did you write this book’ and ‘how did you get started?’. The author may be asked for tips for their readers. 
  • biography, headshot, and buying links are expected 

Guest post - with wide variations… 

  • the guest may not have a product other than his/her own blog 
  • topic may be free or defined 
  • topic should be tailored to the interests of the blog’s readers 
  • generally should not talk much about their products 
  • headshot and very brief biography often included, with contact/follow links, rather than buying ones 

Is there any etiquette you should follow?

  • read the person’s blog and see if they ask for guest posts 
  • follow their instructions 
  • get your post in on time 
  • submit it in the agreed file format 
  • make sure it is free of typos and poor grammar 
  • use the right spelling for the blog 
  • provide pictures of appropriate size for the post, and make sure you have the right to use them. Include copyright links if possible. 
  • Visit the post on the day, and for a week afterwards (or get emails of comments), to interact with the blog’s readers 
  • If you get a reblog to someone else’s site, it’s polite to visit that too, in case there are more comments there 

How do I discover more? 

Any blog you visit, look to see whether guests are writing posts. Is there a menu item showing they accept guest posts? Don’t be afraid to contact people to ask, but look first!

Check the guidelines they have for posting. Since you’ll be going to the Story Reading Ape now, start with this post highlighting good practice!

Follow instructions, and meet deadlines.

Take the plunge!

Jemima Pett and where to find her… 

G is for Guest Post by Jemima Pett #AtoZchallenge

Jemima has been writing publishable stories since 2008, and blogging since 2010. Her Princelings of the East series now runs to eight books, with the last two in progress, and her science fiction Viridian System series is awaiting its third and final volume. She also runs websites for all her titles, and manages a blog for her guinea pigs, George’s Guinea Pig World, who are tackling the A to Z Challenge for the fourth time this year.

This is Jemima’s eight April A to Z Challenge. Follow her on Twitter @jemima_pett, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords

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:

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

A to Z Tips for creating a non-fiction book from your blog posts Guest Post from C.E. Flores

Hello everyone!

I was honored to be chosen as a guest blogger by the A to Z challenge committee. I’d like to talk a little about my experience with the A to Z challenge.

Two years ago, I signed up for the 26 day blogging challenge for the first time. It sounded like fun! I decided that I wanted to write about how to survive disasters in Mexico to go along with my overall blog topic of Surviving Mexico--Adventures and Disasters.

It was extremely labor intensive as you all probably know. I started about 6 months before the challenge, researching and writing posts ranging from the apocalypse to zombies. (A to Z challenge remember?) I took the precaution of pre-writing my blog posts and just editing and checking links when the letter of the day came up. Although it was overwhelming at times, I really felt like I had a segment of good quality blog posts.

After the contest, I compiled the posts into a book. In honor of my honor as a guest blogger, you can download A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Place to be in Any Disaster FREE for the next few days from Amazon.

The second year I participated in the A to Z challenge, my blogging group and I decided to write about our favorite places in Mexico. We split up the task so that it wasn’t as overwhelming. I know, it’s a little bit different having the entire group work on the challenge. It required even more organization than completing the challenge as a solo blogger. But we did it! And now we’ve compiled a book entitled Playing Tourist in Mexico highlighting 45 interesting attractions throughout Mexico which will hopefully be ready for release in March.

The book bug bit me as a direct result of the A to Z challenge and I published 5 books last year, all non-fiction, most based on blog posts. One is a blogging planner so that this year I can publish even more posts and later more books.

So how can you convert your blog posts into books even if you don’t write fiction? Glad you asked. Here’s my A to Z list tip list:

A- Appendix. All your sources and funny video links will go here.
B-Book--you are aiming for a printed book not just an ebook. Yes, you are. Trust me on this. Consider how everything will look in print.
C- Citations. Make sure to properly cite all your sources. Best to use APA or MLA format and include this information in the appendix.
D-Don’t forget an About the Author page with links to your other books.
E-Edit your work. Then ask someone else to edit your work. Then edit your work again.
F- Format your posts as if they were chapters of a book.
G-Glossary. If there are words that the average person won’t understand, include a glossary.
H-Hyperlinks now will be found in the appendix not throughout the text. Have you ever accidentally hit a link while reading on your kindle then had backtrack? Annoying isn’t it?
I-Interesting title. Something better than My Book of Blog Posts.
J-Judge your book by its cover. Does it hold your interest? Would you buy it based on just the cover?
K-Kindle books are great and easy to create!
L-Learning curve. There is a learning curve. Each book you publish will be better than the last.
M-Make sure to take the time to preview your book and Make the appropriate changes so that it looks fabulous when it is published!
N-Page numbers. Ebooks don’t have them but print books do.
O-Organize your chapters into some sort of logical order.
P- Pictures are still worth a 1000 words, however you need to rethink how many you really need.
Q-Questions. All those call to action questions in your blog posts probably aren’t relevant to a book.
R-Readability. Those pictures you want to include? Either put them at the beginning or end of the chapter. Otherwise you’ll end up with white space, hanging sentences, and formatting nightmares.
S-Select a publishing site. There are oodles to choose from.
T- Table of Contents. Use a book template. It will save you SO much work.
U-Upload your stuff to a book publishing site.
V-Videos. Nope, not gonna happen in a book. If you must, you can still include a link in the appendix.
W-Watch your royalties accumulate!
X- Get eXcited and start planning your next book!
Y- You did it! You are a published author!
Z-AmaZe your friends and family with a signed copy of your book.

There you go! My suggestions for creating a non-fiction book based on your own experiences or blog posts.

This year my blogging group will concentrate on our favorite blogs about, you guessed it, MEXICO! Can you see a pattern here? We’ve begun making our list and so far have 32 blogs between us that we are planning on featuring come April. And then of course, we are going to make a BOOK out of those posts so stay tuned!

Here’s hoping the 2019 A to Z challenge will be as fun as previous years!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Making Resolutions with Wendy of Wendy's Waffle Guest Post

Happy New Year everyone! I was thrilled to be chosen to write a guest post for the A - Z team. I stumbled across the challenge in 2015 through one of my blogging friends. I sometimes feel an imposter taking part - so many participants are clearly writers who blog. I am definitely a blogger who blogs and would quite like to write but gets caught up in waffle, hence my blog's name: Wendy's Waffle. You can find out more about me there, including my previous attempts at the A-Z Challenge but beware, you'll probably find yourself down a rabbit hole and struggle to find your way out. I've managed to complete the challenge 4 times times now and fully intend to do so in 2019. Yes it's that time of year for making resolutions. I always make resolutions but I'm not very good at keeping them. The first year I took part in the challenge I didn't even know it existed at New Year so I fell into it and waffled my way through. Actually I had a theme of Family and Relationships that worked well for me because I'm part of a very large extended, but extremely close family. For 2016 I resolved to be more ambitious and plan ahead and the theme of London Underground stations got me out and about taking photos so I was pleased about that but still wasn't as prepared as I needed to be. Lessons to be learned! 2017 was a particularly challenging year. Even though I started out probably more prepared than before, life sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Our first Grandchild arrived on 31st March. You could be forgiven for thinking if I was prepared I had factored his arrival in to my planning and all would be well. Except his arrival was not supposed to have been until mid June! But he and I both survived some challenging times and since then 2 more Grandsons have arrived and they take up a lot of my time. Lovely, enjoyable time like this: A bracing walk on Christmas Eve 2018. So if 2017 was a lot of random waffle 2018 became a lot of waffle about sport. Quite an achievement considering I'm not in the least sporty! Hmm where was I. Oh yes resolutions. See what I mean about waffle? In 2018 I made a list of 18 things to try and achieve during the year. I failed miserably but it hasn't stopped me making a new list of 19 things for 2019. (19 in 19) Many of them are the same things, a few are new. Actually I've called them objectives. I'm definitely not into saying things like I'll give up chocolate (or even eat less chocolate) because I would fail, big time. The list will hopefully improve some areas of my life and of course it does include completing the 2019 A-Z Challenge. I'm aiming to do more of a writing theme this year and I have already started work on it. (I even left a clue somewhere in this post.) Well I think that's enough about me and my resolutions. What about you? Resolutions - love them or hate them? New Year or any time? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. If you've made it here thanks for reading and thanks to the A-Z team for the invitation.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Holidays Aren’t Always Easy Guest Post from Mike of Tupeak Hope

Holidays Aren’t Always Easy

I truly wish that you are enjoying the holidays, regardless of your belief system. I wish you the best of health, happiness, financial stability, and good fortune throughout the holidays and all the days yet to come in the coming years.

The truth of the matter is I’ve been struggling incredibly in trying to compose this particular post, much more than I would like. For many, the holidays are an enjoyable time of year during which they get to spend time with friends, family, and those they love. Maybe they even get paid for the holiday. Maybe they get to see those people that are too far away to visit regularly.

Unfortunately, for others, the holidays are a tremendously challenging time of year for any number of reasons from personal health challenges, those of people close to you, or even the death of a friend or family member. Perhaps you find yourself struggling financially, for reasons beyond your own control, and like me have had to make the difficult decision to inform friends and family that there would be no gifts this year due to the horribly adult task of prioritizing what funds you have towards bills. Perhaps none of the above applies to you but rather you are faced with depression or other mental health issues which are often notably worse during the holiday season.

Then again you could be like me and fall into multiple categories. I have multiple complex medical and physical issues that are impacting my health this year more so than many previous years to the extent that I spent the better part of October in the hospital as well as some time in September and November as well and the medical community still hasn’t quite figured out what all is going on with my body. My mother passed away suddenly two days after Christmas many years ago. While Christmas obviously was never the same, we all tried to carry on for our own respective families.

As we mature into adulthood and even parenthood if we so choose, we realize that nothing in life is static and that it can all be gone in an instant. Some, like me, have been witness to this not only on a personal aspect but through being in emergency services most of my teen and many adult years.

See, sometimes we have to experience the difficult and troublesome things in order for us to appreciate those things in life, which we often take for granted. Nobody ever promised us life would be easy. Life is full of challenges and sometimes of the year are full of more than others. These are the times when we must make more than average efforts to truly take time to be appreciative of the good things that exist in our lives as opposed to the things over which we have no control. Let me see if I can put this into a bit more perspective for you.

See, I could be a miserable grumpy old guy during the holidays because of the various things affecting my perception of the holidays, including things I have not shared here, but to what end? What would be the point of being miserable both to myself and those around me I care about, not too mention to strangers I may encounter. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t depressed, and anyone who knows me well, knows that I most certainly am for a variety of legitimate and verifiable reasons.

However, despite having good and bad days like any person I’ve ever met, I choose to make a conscious effort to be mindful of my mood and the impact it can have on both my physical and mental health, as well as how others may perceive me. If I am constantly negative, then what will that accomplish? It will simply perpetuate the negativity and make those around me miserable as well as making me feel even worse. Now, I need to be clear here I am not telling you to “fake it”, but you do whatever gets you through the day.

I choose to try to recognize the things upon which I have absolutely no control and try, to the best of my ability, to not let those things negatively affect my mood or how I react with or to those around me. Sure, I still think about these things that are weighing on me but realistically I cannot change them so dwelling on them accomplishes nothing other than getting the pharmaceutical companies rich by ensuring I need more than the three different medications I already take for my blood pressure.

I try to acknowledge the negative items in that I allow myself to know that they exist, and then push them from my brain. It doesn’t always work, but it’s sure better than dwelling on them and frees my mind up to try to focus on the positive things in my life. Sure, I may not be able to buy gifts for those I care about, but I am also lucky enough to be able to be present in order to spend time with them. Many people no longer have that chance or ability.

I could be obsessing about the as yet unknown health diagnoses, but that would again accomplish nothing save give me a heart attack or stroke. Instead, I choose to try to take some time each day to try to clear my mind in whatever way works that day, be it listening to music, some breathing exercises, or even meditation. The trick is to find whatever works for you and try to keep things in perspective, so that you don’t torture yourself or others unnecessarily. Sometimes journaling helps, other days trying to think of how to put things into words is more of a stressor. The trick is to find a few things that work for you so that you have more tools in your toolbox for those tough days.

Life is hard enough without us punishing ourselves, so take a moment to breathe, smell the fresh air, coffee, flowers, or whatever makes you smile, then keep doing that. Don’t take a single moment of life or health for granted and don’t sweat the small stuff. Be grateful for what you have as opposed to upset at what you don’t have and while we will all have a bad day do your very best to minimize it to maybe a bad few minutes, refocus on what’s truly important, and then continue forward through the journey of life. Maybe you can even make your own A to Z list of things for which you are grateful!

Best wishes for health and happiness to all who read this, all participants and visitors of the A to Z Challenge, and the team members who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that the A to Z Challenge continues each year. Special thanks to the A to Z Team for all they do!

Mike from Tupeak Hope



T: @TupeakHope

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Jubilant Guest Post from Jill of J-Dub's Grin and Bear It

Hello everyone. My name is Jill and my blog is J-Dub's Grin and Bear It. I began blogging in earnest in July of 2016 as a way to deal with the newness of an empty nest. I had no idea then just how much I would gain from the blogging experience. Opened up a whole new world. Cheers bloglandia!!!

This month, I was lucky enough to be chosen for a guest spot on the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Pinch me I must be dreaming. I feel just like Sally Field (no s).

You Like me! Right now, you like me!

Um don't get ahead of yourself Jilly beans. "They" whoever "they" are don't even know you yet. Trust is earned. Ya-da, Ya-da. Blah, blah, blah. So on and so forth.

Any Who, what was I thinking by dropping my name in the virtual hat?

You weren't thinking at all. Yep! Most likely you silly, silly girl. You who needs to learn to slow her roll. You were thinking that you wanted to show off. Perhaps? You were thinking that you have a desperate need to be liked. Maybe?

C'mon, we're all friends here in bloglandia. You can admit it. You want human connection. And you are not alone! Check out this article The Science of You Like Me.

Go on, click the link and take a quick read. We'll wait!

You're back! Wasn't that great?

And now you can feel the theme developing.

Drum roll puhleese!

rata-tat-tat, rata-tat-tat, rata-tat-tat

The Mandela Effect

What the what have we here? That Oscar Speech and more. I could get into a real rat hole. Mass mis-remembering as in Sally Field (no-s) and what she really said in her Oscar speech is captured above compared to what people remember. There was no REALLY in the line. See the following eight examples of the Mandela effect phrased in question form:
  1. Did Nelson Mandela die in jail?
  2. How many states does the America have? Hint NOT 51 or 52 :)
  3. Berenstein or Berenstain Bears?
  4. Jif or Jiffy Peanut Butter?
  5. Forrest Gump – Life IS like a box of chocolates, or Life WAS like a box of chocolates?
  6. Looney Tunes or Looney Toons?
  7. Oscar Meyer or Oscar Mayer?
  8. Did Rich Uncle Pennybags aka the Monopoly man have a monocle or no monocle?

So let's play a game shall we? Please answer in the comments what you think the correct responses are to the questions above? No fair using Google. Yes I know that Mr. Google is our friend but that'd be cheating. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Delight in this Guest Post by Debbie from Dibzzen

Hello, fellow 2018 A to Z Challenge bloggers!

I'm Debbie from Everyday Delights ( I was delighted to be one of the survey respondents who won the chance to write a guest post for the A to Z Challenge. The brief for the post was open. I thought it would be good if I could find a way to link it to my A to Z challenge and the alphabet whilst hopefully making it interesting! I also wanted to give readers a sense of what my blog is all about. Not as easy as you would think!

2018 was my first A to Z challenge. My little Lego friend Dabelle went on a quest to understand South African English and she did very well. She found at least one word for each letter but was completely exhausted at the end of it. She discovered that she needed to fall back on her Feel Good List to help her feel less frazzled. All her A to Z adventures are available from one post. Click on the image to access it.

Dabelle A to Z 2018 © Deborah Ann Stott 2018
Dabelle A to Z 2018 © Deborah Ann Stott 2018

Dabelle tends to get all the fun adventures, so I decided to go on a quest of my own. We all need adventure at some point or other, right? My quest would be to come up with a Feel Good List based on the letters of the alphabet. I've talked about my Feel Good List on my blog before. I have a list already, but not one that uses all letters of the alphabet! The list reflects the small things that I do often that bring me joy, make me feel better when I need a boost in energy or to find some balance in the hectic-ness of life.

Some background

For readers who don't follow my blog, let me give you a little background. A few weeks ago I had an epiphany about joy in my life. I decided that rather than fighting it or waiting for some arbitrary time in the future for my life to be joyous and/or happy, I could really just start living joyfully! Right now! I plan to document when and how these moments occur on my blog of course. I suppose you could call it research into Living Joyfully. My research is not limited to my own experiences either and I am eager to hear other views about what brings joy to your life and how it happens for different people.

A to Z Feel Good List

Ta da! So here's the list. It took me a few days to come up with ideas for E, K, V and X, but I got there. I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to see / hear about your Feel Good List if you care to share it!A to Z feel good list © Deborah Ann Stott 2018

I'm looking forward to next year's A to Z challenge, although I don't have the faintest idea of what I will do! I read in the survey feedback, that some people plan way ahead and even write the posts way ahead. Aikona, eish - I'm super impressed, that's organisation for you!

Debbie blog sign off 2018
If you want to know more about me or my blog, click on my signature.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

#AtoZChallenge After Survey and May Announcements

#AtoZchallenge 2018 May

Welcome to May, A to Z bloggers! Here's what's going on right now.

  1. The link to the after survey is below. Please fill it out if you did the challenge, didn't complete the challenge, thought about doing the challenge, did the challenge in a previous year, might do the challenge next year, etc. In other words, WE WANT YOU. Listen, the last few months were a real bear for the team. We had to adapt and come up with creative solutions to a lot of behind-the-scenes problems. Your feedback is the ONLY way we can know what we're doing right, doing wrong, or not doing at all. PLEASE, make time before May 18 to take the survey. Thank you.

  2. GUEST POST SPOTS GIVEAWAY! What!?! Yeah, you read that right. We're giving away guest spots as a prize. To enter, fill out the after survey and check YES, that you wish to have a chance to win. Write your own, have team captain J Lenni Dorner interview you, or pitch us another idea. Use it yourself or auction it off. Any all-ages content, up to 2000 words, 7 images max. This blog has an impressive reach, as you probably know. The prize must be used between June 4, 2018 and March 3, 2019. Dates on a first come, first serve basis.  

  3. Bonus good news! Filling out the survey can help you write your reflections post. It has been known to inspire discussions about what you did or did not like about the challenge. And it can remind you of what you've learned this month. For that reason, the SIGN-UP for reflections WILL REMAIN OPEN until May 18. (The same day the survey closes.) For those of you who don't know what a reflections post is, stop by on May 7 for the post with the details
    #AtoZChallenge reflections logo 2018

  4. The ROAD TRIP is coming back! This year, we're asking bloggers to pick ONE post from your #AtoZChallenge 2018 offerings and link it up. Which post that you published this year was your favorite? Start thinking about it, because the Road Trip is coming on MAY 23. (The Road Trip is where bloggers continue to visit each other from May thru March. Often, people will comment on one A to Z blog post and then surf to your latest post to leave a comment there as well.

  5. Tee-shirts for sale. Our awesome graphics guy, Jeremy, made a tee-shirt for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Think how cool you'll be strutting your stuff in the only official gear of the #AtoZChallenge! Impress people with your month of blogging and blog hopping fortitude by wearing a shirt that showcases your passion for this challenge. Post selfies in your shirt using our hashtag! Randomly find each other on the street. Wear it to remind yourself that you're part of an online community. Or wear it when you're going somewhere and need something that no one else is likely to wear. Perfect attire for rock concerts or the first day of college! It also makes a cool conversation starter among those who don't know what the challenge is. 

  6. Former team member DL Hammons has WRiTECLUB voting still going on all month. It's your chance to make a difference for aspiring writers. Please check it out frequently!

#AtoZchallenge 2018 friendly new badge logo
To take part in the survey, please click:

This form will close on MAY 18.

The A to Z team recommends TimeAndDate or WorldTimeBuddy for your time zone calculation needs.
We use Midnight GMT.
Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the standard by which all time zones are based. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the time zone used for UTC. That's why we use it.

#AtoZchallenge 2018 traditional badge logo
Click for the MASTER LIST
of all participants who signed up for the #AtoZchallenge 2018!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Lessons from the Failure (#atozchallenge)

      And now for a bit of a confessional with some lessons for all from blogger Amita Gulia who can be found at Amita's Pen and Quotes.  Amita was also part of the 2016 Arlee's Ambassadors Team.  Don't feel too badly, Amita, at least you did some things right and most importantly you understand what some of your errors were.   Read on and enjoy...

Lessons from the Failure

         I first heard about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in May 2014 and was bit disappointed since I was late. I subscribed to the A to Z Blog and waited patiently for 2015. A to Z challenge 2015 was my first participation in the challenge and I was determined to survive it. I finalized on a theme and did some research. With some hiccups, I managed to complete the challenge and went on to write my reflections post. I was so proud of myself. Posting every day with relevant content on the blog made me feel bravura.

       My confidence touched no bounds as I managed to pull it off on two blogs simultaneously. Amita's Pen where I blog more often saw some great Indian women who made the road clear for future ladies in various professions. The other blog - Quotes, made me pen down at least one self-made sentence on Pregnancy. That section is very close to my heart and the words came directly from inside as I was expecting my second baby at that time.

       Then came 2016 and I was very confident of completing the challenge again. "If I can do it on two blogs at the same time while being eight months pregnant, nothing's going to stop me now", were my thoughts at the back of mind. I went a step further and went on to be on the team of Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge Ambassadors. I had a great theme and finalized more great topics for each letter. April 2016 started and so did my challenge. After 10 days, I actually gave up. I knew I had failed it this time. I was sad. I felt embarrassed on not being able to contribute to Arlee's team - I volunteered myself for it and I was not doing anything. Honestly, I still feel bad more about being a non-active helper more than being a non-survivor.

I asked myself, "What went wrong?' 'Where did I lack?” My inner self shouted the following answers:

1. You did not Schedule the Posts

Plan, draft and schedule the posts. This is the top advice or tip anyone would get when it comes to any blogging challenge. And there I was an existing survivor and still ignoring this important advice. Mark it in bold letters:  If anyone want to survive the challenge with flying colors along with good content, scheduling the posts is a must.

2. You did not Seek Help

I have never had guest posts on my blog. May be this was the time to let the curtains up. I could have approached my friends and I am sure many of them would have helped even if I gave them the topics. But, I did not even try it. So next time, if you are having a hard time coming up with enough of your own original posts, try calling your friends - bloggers and non-bloggers both might be willing to lend a hand.

3. You were Over-Confident

Remember - success is never guaranteed. Just because I succeeded last time, does not mean I would continue to do so without more effort. Challenges often get tougher with each passing moment. Be prepared for them so they won't become insurmountable.

So, does that mean my failure was all my fault? Actually, I would not be so very harsh to myself. In my defense I had a very, very busy month at work. I was writing programming scripts at work all day long throughout the month of April and each day I when I took time to work on my blog posts, I got more behind at work. The official work pays me and needs to be completed at any cost. Thus, I forgive myself--just this time--for ignoring my dear blog. I would keep the learning in mind and definitely take up the challenge again in 2017.  Next year I hope to heed the lessons I learned in 2016 to make my life as a blogger far less stressful and uncomplicated.

PS - I hope I would still be chosen to assist on a team next time - Guilty me!  I'll do better next year!

        Thanks, Amita!   I'd be happy to give you another chance on my team.

         We're accepting guest post proposals for the A to Z Blog.   If you have something that you think might be of interest to the A to Z community of bloggers, contact us with your idea.   I'll be happy to work with you on a post for this site.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Some Good-Anytime Tips for Blogging (#atozchallenge)

       The following guest post comes to us from Sneha Sasikumar who blogs at Life As A Potpourri!!!  Currently she is working on a possible series to appear at the A to Z Blog over the upcoming months, but be sure to visit her site to learn more about her and read more of her fine work.   

 Key takeaways from the #AtoZChallenge:

1. Preparation is a must : 
Whether or not you have chosen a theme for your challenge, deciding it way before the challenge starts makes half the challenge easier. At least the 26 words or ideas that you would be using should be jotted down before heading into April.  This is something you can actually begin now for the 2017 Challenge.

2. Look and Feel of the Blog Posts:
If you have in mind to follow a particular style of font, images and other cosmetic customization for your posts prepare that well in advance. Also, consider drafting of all your posts with these basic things as a framework where all you would be left to do during or prior to the challenge is to post your content

3. Follow for a follow, comment for a comment:
The #AtoZChallenge is all about collaboration and networking. When so many people with so many topics have been registered for the challenge there is no point if you are just focused on your blog alone. Try to reply to all of the comments that have been posted on your blog (if not the same day, as soon as possible). Follow folks who have followed your blog, read their posts and leave them a comment as to what you liked about their posts. Mutual encouragement is very important during the challenge.   Who doesn’t like the appreciation of the hard work they put into their posts?

4. Stick to the deadline:
Ohh yeah, we are all so used to procrastinating things in life but having a deadline helps you to avoid this bad habit if you don’t already have your posts scheduled for the challenge way beforehand. There might be times when you’ll face the writer’s block, but don’t let this stop you from blogging. Just write even if it’s about how the writer’s block is not letting you come up with ideas but just do it.

5. Read Read and Read:
The knowledge base that is formed during each challenge is immense. One should spend more time in reading other blogs to gain knowledge in just 26 days and also do a lot of reading for your own topic if required.

Personally the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge has helped me in many ways: 

  • It helped me organize and plan my posts. 
  • It made me think how unique my next blog post could be and how much better than the previous one. 
  • Picking up a theme like #Emotions helped me understand each of these 26 emotions personally as I did research on them. 
  • The challenge helped me interact with so many old and new friends. <3 

I would also like to thank all the guest bloggers who took time from their blogging challenge to post on my blog and share their thought and views.

About Sneha

     A strong willed Sapiosexual / Cheerful person and a true Cancerian!!! I am a passionate dancer. I enjoy travelling, trying everything possible in life..I don't want to regret when I am about to kick the bucket. Besides cooking and writing, I enjoy all kinds of sports. Sadly none of these are my profession. I am a techie working with a product based firm and for the last six years have been in Bengaluru (aka Bangalore- which is the capital of India's southern Karnataka state).

       If you're interested in contributing to the A to Z Blog please email us at one of  the links on the Contact Page or shoot me a message at   We are interested in articles about blogging or anything of general interest to the A to Z community.