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Friday, August 14, 2015

A-Z Road Trip Adventures - 4 Lively Bloggers to Keep You Moving

Photo courtesy of Wojtek Witkowski
Road trips are much more enjoyable when you have the momentum to keep going for miles. Are you low on gas or have become lost while driving around through our A-Z neighborhood of blogs? Here are four destinations to help get you back on Route 26, inspired by some of most basic ingredients for a great road trip – music, interesting attractions/places to visit, food and games.

Turn your radio up….
Schoolteacher Luther M. Siler at Infinite Free Time did an A-Z challenge theme on 90s Hip-Hop music. While he blogs about different subjects including creepy childrens cartoons, this Skylights author continues to keep readers jamming to tunes from all sorts of artists.

A Road Trip itinerary for this week….
Courtney Turner at Maui Jungalow provides practical information on what it’s really like to live on a tropical island. From gardening and farming to transportation, Hawaiian culture, weather, bugs and housing, this A-Z blogger gives readers a lot more in-depth view of what’s beyond the typical tourist attractions you’d find on other travel blogs.

Let’s pull over for a picnic in the park….
Netherlands native Lisa at Basil and Oil blogs about simple recipes that you can whip up in a pinch. She survived this year’s A-Z Challenge by doing a theme on Italian cuisine and has an ongoing series called “Sweet Sunday,” where she shares lots of baked goodness such as cranberry ripple cheesecake and chocolate Guinness cupcakes. Yum!

Game On! When its play time….
Stewart Lloyd and his team at Lloyd of Gamebooks incorporated the alphabet nicely into their April blogging activities during the A-Z challenge. This blog gives viewers a front row seat to different perspectives on the industry, from interviews with zine publishers and illustrators to reviews and commentary on gamebooks apps, horror books and related material.

Have a bright and shiny weekend, everyone!

The A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is hosted by screenwriter Nicole Ayers and author C. Lee McKenzie who’s traveling with Mario the dashboard buddy, so make sure you honk your horn or share a friendly wave to let them know you’re still on the road with us!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Themes That Rocked the Challenge – Jenn Ventures into The Twilight Zone!

Today I welcome Jennifer from Scribbles From Jenn. For the A to Z Challenge, she ventured into… The Twilight Zone!

Your theme was the Twilight Zone show – what made you chose it?

As a kid, I was babysat by my brother who loved Sci-Fi. Since we only had one TV, and he was the oldest, I watched a lot of Sci-Fi. I came to enjoy the Twilight Zone because it didn’t have a lot of scary images. It didn’t need to; it was able to scare the bejeezus out of me, in black and white, without using blood, guts or gore. Now, as a writer, I appreciate the genius of Rod Serling. Additionally, I’ve come to see Rod Serling as visionary who, over five decades ago, wrote on topics that are surprisingly relevant today.

Which letter was the most challenging?

In previous A to Z challenges X was the most challenging, but this time it was the letter S. Not because I couldn’t find a T.Z. episode to match, but because I had about fifteen to choose from. In the end I went with a cult favorite, To Serve Man, but it was a hard choice.

Which episode was your favorite?

My favorite? I can’t really say I have a favorite, I like them all!

What made V’s Valley of the Shadow unique?

Besides the fact that the Sci-Fi worlds collide in this episode when James Doohan, who also plays Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the engineer of Star Trek (1966)'s Starship Enterprise, is the dad of one of the main characters, I think it’s the fact that in Peaceful Valley miracles seem to occur due to technology. Again, Mr. Serling was ahead of his time as today’s technology really is creating the appearance of miracles.

What’s a great episode that most people haven’t seen?

A great, but little known, episode is No Time Like The Past. In this episode scientist, Paul Driscoll, acquires a time machine and with the help of a friend decides to travel back into the recent past to alter events and remake the present. After several failed attempts, he concludes that, “the past is sacred” and returns to his own time declaring, “… instead of continuing to fixate upon the past, he will now try to do something to positively impact the future.” With all that’s going on in our world today, I think that is still great advice.

Which episode was the creepiest?

As a mother the creepiest episode for me is Long Distance Call where a toy telephone becomes the link between a young boy and his dead grandmother. After her death she calls him on the toy telephone she gave him before her death, and beckons him to come join her. What’s creepy for me is how that episode has become a parallel to today. However, it’s not a toy telephone, it’s the internet, and it’s not dead grandmothers, it’s a variety of other things often just as bad.

Ever felt like you were in the Twilight Zone?

Yes! Haven’t we all? I wonder if that, and the thought-provoking writing, has anything to do with the longevity of the series.

What theme are you considering for the Challenge next year?

I’m not sure. I only hope I find something I enjoy as much as I enjoyed my theme this year. Blogging from A to Z on the Twilight Zone made the challenge so much fun!

Thanks, Jenn! We want the Challenge to be fun.

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Some Bloggers I Want to Visit During AtoZ_2016

There are so many bloggers who come up with amazing AtoZ Themes each year that choosing just a few is darned hard. So I thought Mario and I'd do a quick trip over to these four on a test run, then do more before we wrap up our summer touring.

J.H. Moncrief always has something intriguing and sometimes on the darkish side. Chills and burrs even in August. Take a look at the cover of her book and you'll understand. We love visiting there. And we're betting she's got some great stories to share about Romania.

J. L. Campbell writes up some super romance Jamaican style. Here's her latest.

Hilary gives and gives and gives you some of the most amazing information about her part of the world and history. Sometimes she throws in accounts of her own Road Trips.

Southpaw is a generous blogger with all kinds of solid and useable information. Then she adds some more interest when she goes into stones--from amethysts to diamond to jade. And she writes cookbooks!

Can't wait to see what themes these four will come up with in 2016.

What are your favorite themes from 2015? Any ideas for 2016? What would you enjoy reading about from AtoZ?