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Z is for Zo Long

Yes…I’m cheating. Sue me! This is my A to Z goodbye post and here I am...stumbling across the finish line. I must say I have mixed feeling about this year’s wonderful ride.

A LOT of things tried to pile on me in April, doing everything they could to keep me from fulfilling my commitment. You already know about my wife’s tribulations, but then my father was put in the hospital, and then we had to put down one of our family pets of 13+ years. Despite all that I posted for all 26 letters (let’s not talk about J), but I’m not looking for a medal! I tell you that to explain why you didn’t see me at your own blogs much, and I’m sorry for that.

On the flip side I was forced to take a good look at myself this month, and I'm pleased with what I found. I am close...really achieving my publishing dream, but more importantly I came face to face with adversity and although I've stumbled at times, I'm still standing. How can you feel negative about an event like A-Z when it ended up helping me find a little clarity?

To those of you who found me during the challenge, I sure hope you’ll continue to drop by and become a regular. Now that the posting every day has ended, I promise I’ll be dropping by your blogs real soon to close the loop. :)

The ones who have been following along for the contest, I will post my DL Quiz on Friday, along with a summary of who’s in the running. Comments for all of the A-Z posts will close at midnight (central time) on Thursday, May 2nd. The contest winner will be announced Monday, May 6th…along with the quiz answers.

You now have my permission to go take a long nap! It has been well earned!

Y is for Yin and Yang of the Blogosphere

The most effective, dynamic systems are those that apply complementary forces moving in seemingly diametrically opposed directions, interacting with each other to form a whole greater than its separate parts. The give and take. Yin and Yang. The blogosphere is no different -- and it’s those bloggers who figure this out that have an opportunity to really maximize their time here.

I’ve spoken many times about the importance of reading other blogs and commenting as frequently as you can. Without the outgoing show of support, the incoming feedback on your own blog cannot reach its full potential. One of the misconceptions newbie bloggers are afflicted with is the impression that they don’t have anything to offer, so they read and remain silent, inhibiting the Yin/Yang and subsequently their own growth. The blogosphere is a vibrant community and one of the things that make it special is that the information flow does not move in one direction. It’s introduced randomly (the origination is never important) and then it passes back and forth between thousands of blogs. The dispersal of knowledge (i.e. facts, tips, best practices, etc.) never follows the same path and is completely dependent on what I consider to be the tide of the blogosphere. Its ebb and flow is in your hands.

This June I will be married 30 years and one of the secrets for marital success -- I believe -- has been our smoothly flowing exchange of concerns and feelings, in both directions. The Yin and Yang. If you've been holding back from taking part in this wonderful writers playground, now's the time to dive in.

Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.

X is for Project X

Those of you who are aspiring writers (and probably a few of the established as well) know what I’m going to be talking about here. No, it’s not your WIP. This is that one project that has been tucked away in the back of your brain, nibbling away at your imagination, patiently waiting for its day to come. You’ve not spoken of it to a single sole because…frankly…you’re not sure if you can pull it off. Its breadth and scope frighten you so much that anytime it creeps into your forebrain you shake it off and push it back into its shadowy corner.

So, how do I know about this if nobody talks about it? Because I’m a writer…and an average-Joe, no different than a lot of writers…so naturally I would expect that if I have a Project X then most everybody else does as well. I imagine for some there’s no name for their project -- because it’s barely a cohesive collection of ideas loosely tied together into a plot -- and for the others all they might have is title and a broad concept. That’s where I’m at. I have a title, and a general notion of what the book could be, but I’m scared to death of it.

In my case I lack the confidence to tackle Project X, for several reasons. The first, it’s a genre I have never written in before, Adult SCI-FI/Horror. Secondly, it will require a level of research beyond what I have previously devoted myself to, and time availability will be a factor. And finally, until I have a couple of published books under my belt I don’t believe my voice will be strong enough to tell this story.

What about you? Do you have a Project X? Care to share anything about it here today? Let me take a bold step and lead the way. The title of my Project X is – Apollo’s Ghost.

Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.

W is for WRiTE CLUB 2013

In November of 2011, I tried an experiment…it was called WRiTE CLUB. I solicited and received 250 word writing samples from my readers, written under anonymous pen names, and pitted them against one another in bouts over a twelve week period. Twelve winners were picked by the most votes left in the comments and they continued on into succeeding rounds until an ultimate champion was chosen in February. You can see a synopsis of the entire first season, including the rules it operated under, right HERE.

The experiment was a success! Participants and readers alike applauded the anonymous nature of all the writing which prevented the endeavor from turning into a popularity contest. Some truly creative writing was put on display, everyone received some helpful feedback about what worked and what didn’t, and the best part is that the winner (Tiana Smith) and runner-up (Julie Dao) ended up becoming critique partners. :)

In 2012 WRiTE CLUB returned with a few key modifications and some very thrilling enhancements. We increased the writing samples to 500 words, but the biggest and most exciting change was that the final round, where the two finalists faced off against one another…was judged by a panel of publishing industry professionals. That’s right; a team of agents, publishers, editors, and successful authors voted for the final two submissions. The interest went through the roof (100+ submissions) and forced me to modify how often we had bouts and how long the season ran. Mark Hough was the winner last year and Chris Fries was the runner-up. You can see a synopsis of the second season right HERE.

WRiTE CLUB will be back once again for 2013 with more thrilling changes and I’m expecting interest to sky-rocket. I can’t spill any of the beans today about the exciting changes (there will be a prize contest for voters…but shhhhh…you didn’t hear it from me), but you should definitely watch out for the official announcement coming in June.

Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.

V is for Vocation

I’m pretty sure that very few of us write for a living. In that I mean the sole source of income comes from writing. Most of us have other occupations…and YES, I consider staying home to raise a family an occupation…and our pursuit of publication takes place in our spare time. My own tag line use to read – A full-time bread winner with a part-time passion for writing. You know why I took it down? I didn’t like the impression it might leave on prospective agents if they were to read it.

My passion for writing is not a part-time thing…but the amount of time I get to spend on it is because of my everyday responsibilities. Raise your hand if this fits your situation. How different do you think things would be if writing was your only vocation? I’m certain that I would already be published (one way or the other) if all I did was work on my projects! But writing full-time is a dream that will never come to fruition, so I plug away doing what I can do, robbing sleep and family time to feed a hunger that is never satisfied.

My situation also makes me wonder what might happen when the brass ring lands in my hand and one of my books interests an agent…and then a publisher. How will I deal with edits, deadlines, marketing and promotional events, additional books on a pre-determined release schedule, all while maintaining a blog presence and working at a day job that is as demanding as it is challenging? I can tell you that I don’t have the answers right now, but I’d sure love to try and figure it out!

Although only one of them gives me a check right now…I have two vocations. During the day I’m a Customer Services Manager for a prominent food manufacturer, but at night and on the weekends I am a writer. What about you? What is your vocation?

Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.


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