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37,050 A to Z Blog Posts – So Why Mine?

The A to Z Challenge is just around the corner, and although I’m not going to be using a theme to tie all my posts together, I was thinking about how I could make myself stand out this year. Think about it…at last count there were 1425 participants…all posting for 26 days…that equates to 37,050 blog posts hitting the blogosphere in April. That’s a LOT of material for you to choose from, so what can I do to convince as many of those 1425 participants, along with the people who follow along but don’t participate, to land on my humble blog?

Why is that so important? My answer to that is another question. Why do you think we do this in the first place? Sure there’s the challenge of it…just seeing if you can post 26 out of 30 days in April…and the camaraderie born from enduring such a feat together…but most of us are in it to increase our presence in the blogoshere. An interesting theme with a broad appeal might do the trick, but if you’re not into theme’s -- what are you to do?

I know…a contest…and one that’s structured in such a way to encourage repeat visits during the challenge! Eureka!

So here’s what I’m going to do. Everybody who comments on one of my blog post during the month of April will have their name put in a hat. Each post you comment on, your name goes into the hat again, for a maximum of 26 chances. But that’s not all. In each of my post I will bury a piece of personal information about myself, so you’ll actually have to read the post to find it. Then after the challenge is over I will post a DL quiz with 26 questions, the answers of which can be found in the A to Z posts, and anybody who emails me the correct 26 answers will have their number of chances in the hat doubled. So if you commented on 12 of my post and then answer all of the quiz questions correctly, your chances in that hat become 24.

Here’s the kicker…YOU MUST COMMENT ON AN MINIMUM OF 10 POSTS TO BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR THE DRAWING. I hate to see someone who comments just once steal away the prize from others who dedicated themselves.

And the prize for simply visiting my blog and commenting during the Challenge, chosen by way of random drawing from the hat…a $75 Amazon Gift Card!

Oh…also…I will be asking the winner how they learned of my A to Z contest. If they tell me they heard about it via a Blog Post/Tweet/Facebook update that pointed them in my direction, the referring blogger will also win a $25 Gift Certificate (with proof of promotion). So the more people you convince to participate, the greater your own chances of winning.

So there you have it…that’s WHY ME. I’m not sure which is more valuable, cold hard cash or some entertaining posts sure to tickle your funny bone, prove educational, or touch your emotions, but why not go for both?

Hope to see you inside the alphabet beginning next week!

PS. Our first Blog Blitz took place on Tuesday. PK Hrezo was smothered with 150+ comments and it was really fun to watch. If you missed the notification, then you’re not checking your email often enough…or there’s something wrong with the address you left me. If the latter is the case, leave me a comment with your correct address and I’ll get it straightened out before the next mission.

I Give Good Blog

It’s true. I consider myself an above-average blogger. I write posts and come up with blog-centric projects that generate enough buzz to help keep things interesting around here. I also devote lots of time (my CP’s might say too much time) visiting other blogs to be encouraging and reassuring as I can be. And that would be fine and good…if that’s all I was really here for.

I’m an aspiring writer…like most of you…and my ultimate goal is to have my books published. I’ve found blogging to be 1) a way to create relationships with other writers for the purpose of observing and being supportive, 2) a technique to build your own presence in the writing (and future consumer) community, and 3) a venue for keeping those writing muscles limber. Sometimes it’s easy to forget all of that and lose ourselves in the fun and games we enjoy out here. I’ve done that several times in the past, suddenly considering blogging a distraction and needing to step back from the table in order to re-focus on my real objective. No…that is not the point of this post (balance is the key). Today I’m more interested in what happens…after.

There are those who believe that blogging is a means to an end and once that end is achieved, it becomes a means for staying connected to your fans. Others who make that successful leap to the publishing world continue to use it as a way to “pay it forward”. I’ve followed blogs that go in the other direction; either disappearing completely or changing into a promotional depot after the blogger achieves a measure of success. I’m not here to pass judgment on any of their actions, to each their own, but it does make me wonder what I’ll do when that milestone arrives for me.

I suspect that once I’m published I’ll have to cut-back -- imposed deadlines can have that affect -- but I’m pretty certain the content won’t change much. Certainly I’ll post more “instructional” material, that comes with attaining a modicum of credibility from being published, but other than that I’ll still be who I’ve always been. Who that is will depend on the direction the wind is blowing that day, but that is who I am now.

Yes…I give good blog. But just so we’re clear, I’m not satisfied being a good blog writer…I want to be a good writer who blogs.

What about you? When your books start flying off the shelf, what will your blog look like?

Coffee Shop Blitz

Writer Gold: Sorry I’m late.  My hair just would not cooperate this morning.  I believe there’s enough static electricity running through me right now that if someone’s heart stopped I could shock them back to life.

Writer Blue: Why do you even bother with your hair…I mean it’s just us.

Writer Gold: I want to look good for you too.

Writer Red: Like we even notice.

Writer Black: Well I do notice, and I think your hair looks perfectly fine.

Writer Blue: I think it looks fine as well

Writer Red:  You both are kiss-asses!

Writer Gold: Thank you, ladies…and bite me Red!

Writer Red:  And have you shock me?  No thanks!

Writer Gold: Who wants to discuss their chapters first?

Writer Black: Before we get into that I was hoping we could first talk about the Blog Blitz.

Writer Blue: Blog what?  

Writer Black: Blitz…like in basketball.

Writer Gold: I think you mean football

Writer Red:  No, what she really means is the state she ends up after bar-hopping every Friday night.

Writer Black: Your husband doesn’t seem to mind.

Writer Red:  As if.

Writer Blue: I’m still confused.

Writer Red: That’s right… you were in Florida last week and probably didn’t see DL’s post.

Writer Blue: What’s he up to now? 

Writer Black: We’re gonna be playing tag.

Writer Blue: Huh?

Writer Red: It’s so cool! DL calls it a Blog Blitz.  First you sign up to be a Blitz team member on DL’s blog, then at random times he will email us a target and a date.

Writer Black: Then on that date we all bombard the unsuspecting blogger with comments.

Writer Gold: If he gets a lot of people to participate we might be talking 100, 200, who knows how many comments all at once.

Writer Blue: Oh, that’s so cool.

Writer Red: I know, right?  As of this morning he already had 137 people signed up.  I posted about it on my blog this morning, so hopefully that'll bring in a few more.

Writer Blue: So how is the lucky recipient going to be chosen?

Writer Gold: At first DL is going to choose, but then after a while he will start accepting recommendations.

Writer Blue: Can anyone be blitzed?

Writer Red:  You have to be a fellow Blitz Team member.  I emailed DL and asked him how long he was going to keep the list open and he said there wasn’t going to be an expiration date on it.

Writer Black: Is anyone else cold?  If feels especially chilly in here today.

Writer Gold: Ummmmmm…maybe it’s because you chose a blouse that shows an especially large amount of cleavage today.

Writer Black: It’s my feet that are cold…smart aleck.

Writer Red: They say cold air sinks.  Probably slipped right by those Ta Ta's and settled into your shoes.

Writer Blue: *chokes while sipping her coffee*

Writer Black: Jealous much?

Writer Blue: When will the blog blitzing begin?  Wow, try to say that three times fast.

Writer Gold: DL didn’t say, but I don’t imagine he’ll make us wait too long.

Writer Red: Can you imagine what it would be like to get deluged with so many comments?

Writer Black: I'd be like Alex Cavanaugh.

Writer Gold: You're no Ninja Captain...more like a Couch Potato Private.

Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest

Last year I abstained from participating in Alex's previous version of this blogfest, primarily because I didn't think there was any way I could narrow down all of the movies I adore to just ten. I still have that opinion, but I decided to go ahead and list my top ten at the exact moment of this posts writing. Ask me again a few hours later and you'd probably get a different list. :)

Click on the badge above if you'd like to see the list of other participants.

As of right now, here are my top ten movies (based mostly on re-watchability).

1) Aliens - James Cameron is one of my favorite writer/directors (he has two movies on this list and could have many more). "Get away from her you bitch!" is one of the best lines ever.

2) Love Actually - For some reason I have an affinity for British dramadies (Comedy/Drama), and this one is planted firmly at the top of the list. "Just in cases".

3) Titanic - Another Cameron accomplishment. The music totally seals the deal here. "Do you want to hear this Mr. Bodine, or not?"

4) The Sting - A classic that is partly responsible for me wanting to become a writer.   "Sit down and shut up, will ya? Try not to live up to all my expectations."

5) The Fifth Element - Just the right amount of quirkiness. "Muli-pass!"

6) The Cowboys - I'm a huge John Wayne fan and if I'm asked to recommend one of his movies...this is it. "I'm thirty years older than you are. I had my back broke once, and my hip twice. And on my worst day I could beat the hell out of you."

7) Field of Dreams - The perfect merging of baseball fanaticism and heart. "Do you wanna have a catch?"

8) A Few Good Men - Aaron Sorkin is a genius and the showdown between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson is irresistible. This is one of those movies where if you're walking through a room where it's on, YOU MUST sit down and watch the rest of it. "He really does think better with that bat."

9) Forest Gump - If a movie gives my emotions whiplash, then it deserves to be on this list. "Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks."

10) Tangled - I love everything about this movie, and it's one where 3D actually wow'd me. When the princess lights lift away from the city over the lake. *sigh* "Frying pans... who knew, right?"

Special Mention /The Matrix - The action and special effects in this movie were so groundbreaking that it had to be included in some way. "Whoa."

WRiTE CLUB - Skirmish #12

Program Alert! Today I'm visiting my fellow A-Z Challenge Co-host -- Damyanti -- blog today talking about Comment Love.  Also, in case you missed it, I was over at the main A - Z Challenge blog Tuesday answering Everything You Wanted to Know About Co-Host DL Hammons....But Were Afraid To Ask.

This is final skirmish where I pit contestants against each other that were not lucky enough to be chosen for WRiTE CLUB 2012. And since we are at the end, and I have three writing samples remaining, their all going into the ring at once.  Whoever is left standing when the votes are tabulated will go home with a bit more confidence.

First off, welcome Denny's Fishsticks to the ring.  Here is their 413 word submission.

Left side.  Pew#1.  90-year-old man.  His heavy-duty walker almost took out asleep-walking altar boy.  He sings every song.  Stands and creeks into kneeling.  Amen for a good life.  May his family follow in his footsteps.


Left side.  Pew#7.  Boy hanging over pew.  His rendition of the Transformers’ and Power Rangers’ themes got him grounded.  The pew is his obstacle course.  Amen for a plastic jet and plush dinosaur.  May mommy forget his punishment.


Left side.  Pew#8.  Woman on edge.  Her quick hands prevented child abuse.  She is a dam. Her husband is an angry lake. Amen for public places.  May she not take the child’s place at home.


Right side.  Pew#4.  Dressed-up man.  He donated a twenty.  Went out of his way to shake nine people’s hands.  Mouths songs and blesses himself out of sync.  Amen for church.  May God grant his yearly wish.


Right side.  Pew #14.  Needle girl smothered in layers of clothes.  She’s careful with her eyes.  Will only allow them to rest on the 90-year-old man.  She responds “Aww”instead of “Hallelujah”.  Amen for protection.  May there be someone out there for her with the old man’s heart.


Right Side.  Pew#25.  Obese college chick.  Alone. Doesn’t stand.  Doesn’t kneel.  Almost blew the communion off the spoon and into the priest’s face with her rapid breathing.  Amen for Diet Coke.  May it cancel out three courses of fast food.


Left side.  Standing in the back.  Two guys bursting with estrogen.  They’re molesting everyone with their eyes, trying to figure out, “Are we even allowed to be here?”


Left side.  Pew#12.  Preoccupied guy.  Ignores participating wife.  Stares at Woman on Edge’s behind for several minutes.  Glances at Obese College Chick.  Shrugs.  Takes him two minutes to undress Needle Girl.  Looks back to Woman on Edge.  Amen for deadbeat husbands.  May Woman on Edge accept a concealed note.


Right side.  Pew#19.  Young man.  Slept for most of the mass.  Smiled after drinking most of the wine.  Amen for beds.  May his time served count for something.


Left side.  Pew#1.  Middle-aged woman.  Two friends aided her in a battle against tears.  She finally lost when the priest recounted the life of a young marine. Amen for nothing.  May this entire world rot in Hell.


Middle. In the back. Me. What was the sermon about? I have no idea—I’m just here to judge others.

Next into the ring, checking in with 498 words, is Sidym.

Jum was the youngest member of the battle troop of Kahz.  Normally he would not have been allowed to invest the city of Arslan, but his father's foot injury had prevented the older man from being present at the sacking of the village.  And rules were rules, so though Jum was only ten, here he was with his knapsack containing collars made of colored ribbons and stiff twine to bind wrists.

As he walked down the dusty lane, a small dog darted out from under a crude table placed at the edge of a shop.  The dog stopped in front of Jum and began yapping at him ferociously.  Jum grinned,for the dog was only a puppy.  Jum knelt down,and the dog stopped its yapping. Nervously, it crept toward Jum.  Jum reached out his hand and allowed the dog to sniff him, and then he rubbed the dog's head.  The dog crept closer. Jum lifted the dog in his hands, and when the dog began to lick Jum's face, Jum giggled.  Jum heard a sudden cry, and a small girl, younger than Jum, rushed out of the dwelling behind the shop and came to a stop in front of Jum.

"That's my puppy," she cried.  "Give him back!"

Jum studied the girl. She was about six years old, dirty,and wore the short wool shift that girls wore in this part of the world.

"What's your name?" Jum asked.

"Gea," the girl replied as she ducked her head and scuffed her toe in the dirt.  “That's my dog,"she repeated.

"I'm, Jum," the boy said.  "I'm a warrior of Kahz.  You’re my prisoner, Gea," he added with an air of self importance.

"You’re a warrior?" the girl asked giving Jum a skeptical look.

"Yes," the boy replied. "Honest.  Look, I have a servant collar for you to wear."

He handed the puppy to Gea and removed his knapsack.  He knelt down and opened it.  Curious, Gea crouched down to take a look inside.  Jum removed one of the collars.

"See? You have to wear this around your neck."

Gea took the collar and studied it.  "It's pink," she said.

Jum blushed. "The other colors were already taken.” Why couldn't I have gotten a red or yellow or a manly brown?

"It's pretty," Gea said as she tied the collar around her neck.

Jum removed one of the twines from his knapsack.

"This is to tie your hands behind your back. You have to wait for me by the last house in the village. A man will tell you where to go."

"But then I can't hold Zak," the girl objected,distress in her voice.  "He'll runaway."


Jum frowned as he thought over her words which were perfectly sensible.  This was a dilemma,he realized.  No one had told him what he should do if he captured a girl who was holding a puppy.  Grown-ups, he thought with an exasperated sigh, never think about these important things.


And finally into the ring with 500 words, is Selena Lane.

“Can we go now?” Alexia, my twin sister, sat on top of a trash can, examining her fingernails. I rolled my eyes. My attacker caught me off guard. He grabbed me by the throat and slammed me against the brick wall. His two accomplices pointed their guns at me. Robbers would be much easier to stop without weapons.

“Shit, ”I muttered. “Alexia, I could use a little help.”

“And I can use a manicure,” she replied.

“Who are you talking to,” the man with his hand around my throat barked. “Are you a cop? You wired?” The man began to feel around for a wire. Not cool.

“Stranger danger!” I grabbed the man’s arm and squeezed.

“Ah,” he writhed in pain. His grip loosened and I was able to break free. I took his other arm and flipped him over my shoulder. The other men started shooting. I dashed behind the garbage can Alexia was sitting on. The bullets passed right through her, one of the advantages of being a ghost.

She yawned. “You’re losing,” Alexia raised her hands in the air. The robber’s guns flew across the ally. “After you kick their asses, we’re going to the mall.”

I rolled my eyes. The men came at me throwing punches and kicks. I dodged them easily. When I got my chance I throw a few right hooks. I was holding back. I didn’t want to kill them. It was the moral code of being a superhero and all that jazz.

Ever since the accident that took my father and Alexia’s life, I’ve been coping with fighting crime. Dad was a detective. When I was younger I used to sneak into his office and read case files. With the superpowers I felt empowered to take the law in to my own hands. Well at least stopping muggers and bank robbers. I wanted to make him proud from beyond the grave.

I survived the car accident, but I was broken. There wasn’t much to remember. Dad was driving. Alexia was in the front seat. It could have easily been me who died. When our car hit the truck all I could remember was red, foul smelling liquid. I blacked out after that. The doctors said the EMTs found us all outside the car, covered with the red stuff. They said from the looks of it, one of us was able to get us all out of the car. It wasn’t Dad, he died on impact. Alexia fell into a coma. It had to have been me. I don’t remember.

After the accident I started going through some changes. Not the “becoming a woman” changes most seventeen year olds go through, more like “discovering superpower at the most inappropriate moments” changes. I had super strength, it was cool, but every time I got mad I would punch holes in my wall. I attempted to cover them up with Bieber posters, however having Justin Bieber stare at me while I undressed, decreased my Bieber Fever.
A little bit harder for the final go round, but this cleans out the cupboard.  You know the drill. Please help these writers out by telling them which one resonates with you the most? And Why? Leave your vote (and a brief critique if you have time) in the comments below.

WRiTE CLUB 2013 will return in July!



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