IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The OFFICIAL MASTER LIST: https://tinyurl.com/AtoZ22 (sign-ups are closed)

Friday, September 30, 2016

More about Music & other Fun Things (#atozchallenge)


         In last Friday's post,  Csenge offered some great ideas about the inspiration that music can offer to those who write.  If you appreciate music and missed this post you might want to go back and check it out.  In the mean time thinking about music brings to mind something else that has become a favorite blogging event of mine and many other bloggers:  The Battle of the Bands.

   
       The Battle of the Bands (#BOTB) event which is managed by Stephen T. McCarthy has been going on since 2013.  Three years is not too shabby of a record for such an intensive ongoing event, one which happens twice every month on the 1st and 15th.  A small core of fervent music lovers join in regularly to enjoy the presented battles and then vote on favorites.
        The premise is simple.  Participants find two versions of the same song by different artists or in some cases different songs with similar themes or in other cases some other variation of pitting one performance against another.  Visitors to each battle listen and then decide which performance they like best and cast a vote.  It's a lot of fun which considering that I've been participating on Tossing It Out from the beginning I guess I'm hooked on this event.

         Typically I will tie in a theme to my battles which gives those not interested in the music or who can't listen to the music for some reason an opportunity to still join in a conversation about my theme.  My upcoming battles will be themed around the U.S. presidential election, but don't worry--there shouldn't be too much that will be contentious other than what might appear in the comment sections.  My intent is to offer some food for thought plus what I hope will be music my visitors will enjoy.

          If you haven't visited one of my BOTB posts then please join me at Tossing It Out for my next one on Saturday October 1st and cast your vote or at least weigh in on the topic.  

More Events...

        A to Z'er Mary Lou Quinn from Me in the Middle asked:
Can you recommend some other Blogfests, Arlee?   I'd like to see what else is out there that fits my goals for my website. 

         Great question for which my answer may not totally address your needs, but might be helpful to some others if not you.   Frankly I've limited myself to a handful of blog events, though if I run across something that sounds interesting I might jump in because the nature of how it sets my mind to working.  But those are one time events that you just have to watch out for.

            Our long time A to Z Team associate Alex J Cavanaugh often mentions events at his site.  He also hosts the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group which has many participants.  This event is especially good for anyone who considers themselves writers.  I've participated in IWSG since its inception five years ago.  If you're like me you can probably always think of something to write about.   I guess we'd better if we're writers.  Look for the next IWSG community posting on Wednesday October 5th.  

             Two other regular blogging events are hosted by  at A Life Examined
Michael mentioned that he is looking for someone to take these over for him.   Question of the Month and FlashBack Fridays have potential for growth if someone wants to take on either of these responsibilities.  Visit his blog to leave him a comment that you are interested or leave a comment below that you would like for him to contact you.  FlashBack Friday is another I participate in on Tossing It Out so my Friday September 30th post is part of this event.  I'll address my Question of the Month at Tossing It Out on Saturday in tandem with my BOTB post. 




            
Now It's the Readers' Turn...

         Can you suggest any ongoing blogging events for those who are wishing to reach out more (or just have fun)?    Do you know of any special blog fests that are coming up?    Do you have an idea for a blogfest that you'd like to see?



Friday, September 23, 2016

Putting the "muse" in "music" - What's your writing jam?

The more I talk to other writers, the more I realize how great a source of inspiration music provides for all of us. Every year during A to Z, many people use their daily posts to share some of their favorite, most nostalgic, most deserving pieces of music, and it is always a treat to browse through those posts. In my own research, I have conversations with people who reveal the many uses music can have in the creative writing process.

Do you do any of these?

Have a playlist for a specific writing project
Do you meticulously assemble a list of songs that are somehow associated with your WIP? Do you often wish that you could publish a soundtrack CD along with your book? Do you have your go-to station on Pandora while you are busy typing away?
(Some writes are better at this last one than others. Some of us require silence when we write - but we still need out music when we are planning!)

Have a playlist for a specific character
Do you have characters in your writing who come with their own mix tape? Do you make lists thinking about what songs your heroes listen to (or would listen to, if they had the time and the means)? Do you come across songs and thing "this is totally Her/Him/Them"! Do your love stories have Their Songs?

Have characters or stories inspired by music
Have you ever listened to a song, staring out the window of a train or jogging away on a treadmill, and though "ooh, this would make a great story!" Have you ever watched a music video, saw a character, and thought to your self "I want to know about that one!" Have you ever been so taken with the mood of a piece of music that you had to put it into words?

Share your music with other writers
Have you ever said the words "YOU GOTTA LISTEN TO THIS!"?

We'll listen! Tell us what your favorite writing music is. Tell us if (and how) music inspires your writing. Tell us about that one nostalgic song that always makes you want to write.
Give us all something to listen to!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Comics, graphic novels, and diversity

With the rise of crowdfunding, and the increased demand for diversity and representation (especially in children's and YA literature), there have been more and more artistic projects that gathered a lot of support from readers to bring that diversity to the surface. In this post, I brought you some of my recent favorites from the world of comics and graphic novels. I think they are not only great reads, but also very interesting projects that deserve more awareness.

Moonshot: The Indigenous comics collection
The first volume of this wonderful series came out last year, following a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. It contains a collection of stories created by indigenous writers and artists from the United States and Canada. The artwork is stunning, and the stories are amazing and diverse combining several genres, styles, and emotions. The freebies and swag that came with the Kickstarter were also very much worth having (all of my bookmarks are from them). Since as a teacher I often run into students having only the vaguest idea of contemporary indigenous cultures and art, I think it is a very important (not to mention great) project to promote.
The Kickstarer for the second volume is running right now - it is not too late to jump in!

Elements: Fire (A comics anthology by creators of color)
This is the first installment of an anthology series, created by writers and artists of color, inspired by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement. The Kickstarter just recently ended, and the book will be out soon! The artwork we have seen so far is gorgeous, the cast of stories and characters promises amazing diversity in themes, and the volume has an impressive lineup of creators. You can follow editor Taneka Stotts on Twitter for updates!



The Secret Loves of Geek Girls
Edited by Hope Nicholson (the same lady who edited Moonshot), this collection was also born with the help of Kickstarter, and contains stories about geeky love. I can honestly say that this book changed my life. There are many types of love, and many emotions contained in the stories, all presented with humor, and empathy, and great skill in artistic expression. There is also a great range of gender identities and sexualities represented; it is indeed a diverse book. Presented with pop culture references, and all things geeky.
Nicholson mentioned that there might be a "Secret Loves of Geek Boys" in the works; keep an eye on Kickstarter and her news feed!

Sunstone
MAJOR ADULT CONTENT
I know it might not seem like at first blink that a lesbian BDSM romance would make this list of diverse books, but bear with me. I am the odd Internet inhabitant who knew next to nothing about BDSM subculture (other than "Fifty Shades of Grey is NOT it"), let alone read a graphic novel centered on it... And yet when I read a review on Hanna Givens' blog during her 2015 A to Z of LGBT+ comic book characters, it sounded like such a fun story, I had to check it out.
It really is. It is a great story. It is a love story, with a whole lot of awkward cuteness and humor and very real characters with very real problems and flaws. It does not sensationalize BDSM culture, and also doesn't portray it as some kind of a dark, deviant thing - it is simply something people enjoy doing. The artwork is gorgeous, and while it is definitely NSFW, it stays on the tasteful and suggestive side. It was originally posted on Deviantart (still available on there for free); Stjepan Šejić is an extremely talented artist, whose characters can show a range of emotions just by facial expression and body language.

Now this is, obviously, an incomplete and subjective selection. I encourage everyone to browse freely in the world of diverse comics and graphic novels, and let us know about YOUR favorites!

(Or maybe make an A to Z theme out of them? ;) )