Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hopping For Health!

This blog hop isn't only good, but it's good for you! Trust'll see!

Hosted by Stephen Tremp, Alex J. Cavanaugh, L.Diane Wolfe, and Michael Di Gesu this hop is, obviously going to focus on getting, and staying, healthy.

As the Ninja Captain, himself, put it....

The Objective: Share with everyone something you have done that affected your health in a positive way. You can share an awesome low cal low fat tasty recipe. Post simple tips to lose weight. Or a testimony on what has helped like joining Weight Watchers. Recommend a routine like P90X or Insanity. Or stretches one can do while sitting in their office chair working or writing.
I'm sure my pick for a 'positive health choice' won't really surprise anyone who's been reading this blog for a while and has seen a few of my Healthy Writers Club posts.

I'm going to go with vegetable/fruit juicing.

After the wife and I watched Hungry for Change (also on Netflix Streaming) and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead we really came to appreciate the effects and health benefits juicing fruits and vegetables could have on our lives. It also really opened our eyes as to what we were eating and made us more aware of just how bad some processed foods can be for the body.

Even if the whole concept of the "juice fast/reboot" isn't for you, having one fruit and/or veggie juice a day can really give you a huge nutritional benefit.

In my opinion, healthy eating is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and something I wish I had picked up a long time ago.

My wife, the gal who doesn't like to read or write, even started a blog about our health journey. It's called Don't Just Know....Do!, so drop by if you get a chance and see how we're doing in getting healthy.

Thanks to Diane, Stephen, Michael, and Alex for hosting this and, please, check out the other folks hopping around in the name of better health.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Take A Sec And Thank A Vet...

Not really much has been going on at the old Means Ranch, at least anything blog worthy, so I wanted to just take a minute to thank all the veterans of our Armed Forces (of which my wife and dad are included), past, present, and future on this Memorial Day.

Without your service and sacrifice we wouldn't have half the freedoms we enjoy today.

So, while you're out there grilling some hamburgers, hot dogs, or whatever else tastes good over the open coals, please don't forget to remember those who helped make this country great.

Take a sec and thank a vet.

I also found this nifty little info graphic highlighting some Memorial Day facts and figures:

Since it's also Monday, I'll leave you a topical selection for Music Monday. Billy Ray Cyrus: Some Gave All

I hope you all have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fitness Friday!

Since I forgot last week, I want to do another installment of The Healthy Writers Club...which is hosted by Shallee McArthur. The particulars of which can be found over at her awesome blog.

Exercise Update: To be honest, over the past few months my exercise regimen has slowed to a crawl with the fault lying squarely on my own shoulders. We had done a couple of "juice reboots/fasts" and they recommend not exerting yourself, too much, so I took that advice to heart....hehe. Anywho, I'm back on a weight routine and am even throwing in some cardio.

We have some decent equipment, so no excuses:

Culinary Lifestyle Change: (Because I hate the word "diet") We're still least one veggie and one fruit a day. Sometimes, we'll throw in a fruit smoothie to mix things up a bit. Overall, though, we're doing pretty good at sticking to this. We've also cut out almost every sugary drink from our choices, mainly sticking with water, sometimes opting for a bit of sweet tea so things don't get too boring for the taste buds. We've also been using organic sugar, steering away from the processed, granulated, variety and substitutes like Splenda. I didn't like some of the things I had been reading about aspartame, so better safe than sorry.

My wife wanted to start a blog to help track our journey towards getting healthy, which I found a bit ironic because a). she doesn't like to write, and b). she doesn't like to read. In fact, she doesn't even read my blog....not that I'm really faulting her, that much, for it. :)

Anyway, I think it's a great idea to help motivate not only us, but maybe anyone else who happens to drop by. So, if you're interested, drop by and say "hi". We're calling it Don't Just Know....Do! because we know it's easy to know how to do something, the challenging part coming in actually getting it done.

Oh, and since it fits so nicely, this would also be a good post to remind everyone about the Get Healthy Blog Hop, (scroll down on the link for the info) which is happening this coming Wednesday, the 29th. Check it out and sign up!

So, how about you.....any fitness news or goals that you're striving for?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

3 Ups Blog Hop!

I know, I know...."Come on, Mark, not another blog hop!!" Now, before you start burning me in effigy....or Cincinnati......or New Jersey.....or wherever else you're from, read below :)

While this is "technically" a blog hop, it's not your typical blog hop. Randi Lee, over at The Emotional Process of Writing a Novel (say that three times fast...I dare ya!), came up with this great idea to help 'community build' while giving everyone a chance to find some new and different blogs.

Here's how Randi put it:
"Over the next week or two (depending on how much interest I get) I’d like to generate a list of people who want to participate. Once this list is at a good number we’ll get started. The way it will work is like this: each blogger will pick the blogger listed below them, visit his or her site, read a post or two, and then tell them three things they like about the person or his or her blog. Easy enough, right?"
Yep...easy enough! Checking the list, today, I saw my 3 Up partner was M.J. Joachim. I've been following a couple of M.J.'s blogs, for a while now, so this won't be difficult at all. In fact, the most difficult thing will be limiting myself to saying only three nice things about her and her blog.

So, here true, old school, Nintendo video game fashion:

1 UP! Extremely Interesting Blog Achievement: Unlocked!

I've said this before, in other posts, but the whole reason I got into blogging in the first place was that I really enjoyed reading about people's lives. Why this is, I don't know, but I just find it very interesting to hear about the ups and downs people go through. For me, M.J.'s blog is one of the most interesting out there. Her topics always hook me in and I can always relate. Her writing style flows well and is very conversational...something that's always a plus with me.

2 UP! Passionate Soul Achievement: Unlocked!

Just read one of M.J.'s posts and you can see that she pours her soul into each and every one of them. It's this kind of passion for, not only writing, but living that's also a huge draw. Never preachy, but always thought provoking.

3 UP! Great Looking Blog Achievement: Unlocked!

This should be a given on any blog out there but, unfortunately, it's not always the case. M.J.'s blog, though, looks great. The background is crisp and clear, her text and background color don't clash (believe it or not, I've seen some very hard to read blogs out there) and her columns are well organized and not cluttered. Overall, it's just a nice site to navigate and that's something I always appreciate in a blog.

So what are you waiting for? Don't just take my word for it......go check out M.J. Joachim's place and see for yourself! You'll be glad you did, I promise :)

A big 'thank you' to Randi for hosting this little hop and, if you'd like to see the list of folks involved, check it out HERE.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Encouraging Bloggers/Music Monday

Last week Brandy, over at Brandy's Bustlings, was kind enough to think of my lil ole blog for the Liebster Award.....thank you very much, Brandy!

Brandy has won a place in my blogging heart as she simplified things, just a bit, and only posed five questions. She also based things, loosely, around D.L. Hammond's great Blog Blitz idea...which is where she got her nominees, as well.

Brandy was curious about the following:

1. If you have published a book (most of these nominees have, some more than one), describe in three words how it felt that first time? If you have not published a book, how do you think it would feel?

I haven't published a book....yet. But, when I do, I have no doubt it will be one of the highlights of my life. It's always nice to see your efforts come to fruition.

2. Have you taken part in Blog Blitz before or is this your first time?

This is my first rodeo, yes.

3. Have you ever run a contest/blog hop from your blog?

No, but you know I've been thinking of doing one for a while now. I think the whole process of writing is very interesting and, even more so, where people write. I'd like to do a hop highlighting what everyone's "writing spot" looks, descriptions, etc. Hops are a lot of work, but maybe I'll organize it and give it a go, here soon.

4. What is your favorite genre to read?

Science Fiction/Fantasy

5. Where is your favorite place to write?

My desk, where I have a 32"'s real easy on the eyes :)

Thanks again, Brandy, I appreciate you thinking of me!


The lovely and talented Sheena-kay Graham, from Queendsheena, also gave me some kudos in the form of the Friends for the Journey Blog Award Encouragement. No real strings attached with this one, just passing it along and recognizing fellow bloggers is the gist of this one, it seems.

It's nice to have such great blogging buddies and their encouragement, in any form, really does help , so thank you again, Sheena!

I'd like to forward this one on to five other blogging pals who, I think, need more blogging pals of their own.

Dee at DeeCoded.  Dee is all over the place, in terms of her blog, but she's always entertaining and I always enjoy seeing how things are in her corner of the world. 

Jennifer over at A Creative Exercise. A focus on writing, but also this and that from here and there.

The Capillary, located in England, always has an interesting take on things.

Jasmine at A Yellow Rose of Texas always has fun and interesting topics and you never know just quite what you're going to see over a good way.

Rebecca Green Gasper A YA author who is always looking to raise awareness on issues affecting young people.

So, if you get a chance, drop by these great gal's blogs and show them some encouragement!


And, for a quick Music Monday selection, here's something to help get the blood pumping...some Billy Idol and a "Pop Up Video" version, no less.

Cradle of Love

Have a great Monday.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Best and Worst Movie Remakes Blogfest

When I saw this, my first thought was...."Ugh, a blog hop so soon after A to Z?". Then, I read about it and found it was right up my alley, so I just had to participate :)

Thanks to Alex, Stephen, Livia, and Father Dragon (Al Diaz) for hosting!

If there's one thing I'm saying about Hollywood, on a constant basis, is that there are never enough original ideas coming from them.

In comes the (sometimes) dreaded "remake".

When it comes to the movie "remake", the term always makes me cringe because it's such a double-edged sword....especially if the original was a movie you really liked. A lot of times you're rolling the dice when you plunk down your money for one of these.

Now, when I think "best" and "worst" in terms of movie remakes, here are the first ones that spring to mind...

The Worst:

Superman Returns: I know this wasn't touted as an actual "remake", but anyone who saw both this and the original could attest to it being one. Even Kevin Spacey's great Lex Luthor couldn't counteract just the sheer "fail"-ness of this flick. They make Superman out to be, basically, a stalker.....following Lois Lane around like a lost puppy. Parker Posey's character was just annoying, but not near so much as the almost verbatim use of some of the lines from the original.

I think this one qualifies as a 'worst' because, even though it had so much potential, I was so disappointed in it.

In this case, I would have been happy if Superman hadn't returned.

The Wild, Wild, West:  While, technically, not a movie remake, it was a remake of one of my favorite television series of all times times and was so bad that it made me want to punch Wil Smith and Kevin Kline in their respective noses.

O.k, well, maybe it wasn't as bad as all that....but this one was pretty terrible.

First of all, the casting was waaaaay off and it doesn't even have anything to do with skin color. I didn't have a huge problem with James West being a 'buffalo soldier' as much as I did seeing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air pretending to be a Secret Service Agent. I mean, honestly, Wil Smith's acting chops are pretty extensive, but he just phoned this one in. Honestly, I think he was just in it for the paycheck and, unfortunately, it showed.

Kevin Kline, who I think is a great actor, honestly was no better. Even worse than Smith because he wasn't even credible as a 'whacky inventor' much less a Secret Service Agent. I'm sure Ross Martin was spinning in his grave over this one and I know Robert Conrad wasn't any happier. Kevin Branagh was, also, sorely miscast as a parody of the original Miguelito Loveless character portrayed by the great Michael Dunne. He must've been hard up for a paycheck, too.

This film should have stayed out West....far, out West.

(Dis)Honorable mentions for 'worst' also go out to:

The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Nutty Professor

Now, on a brighter note, here are....

The Best:

The Manchurian Candidate:  While I've never been a huge Denzel Washington fan, I thought he was great in this remake of the old Sinatra classic. The story flowed nicely and, even though a few things were updated to reflect today's society, it still made sense and was a compelling story.

I've also never been a big Meryl Streep fan, either, but have to admit she nailed the part of Shaw's evil mother, originally portrayed by Angela Lansbury.

I had seen the original film in bits and pieces, but gave it a full watch before going to see this one. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

This remake has my vote.

Ocean's 11: This "Rat Pack" remake hit all the marks for me. Nice pacing, some cool twists, colorful characters and great leads. Clooney and Pitt worked well together. Now, granted, I could have done without Julia Roberts, but even her presence didn't take away from the slickness and tight story of this one.

While the cast didn't have the same savoir fare of the original, they still came off as pretty darn cool.

This remake hit the jackpot.

Honorable mentions for "best" also go to:

The Mechanic
True Grit
Planet of the Apes

So, how about you? What are your favorite...or least remakes?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Testing, testing...1,2,3....

This is only a test.....BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog posting.....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't happy...

O.k, I'll admit...I never liked that old Bobby McFerrin song, but it seemed like a good title to run with.

Anyway, my blogging buddy Mark Koopmans gave me a "Happy One" shout-out the other day, which I'd like to now thank him for, so...

Thanks Mark! Oh, and if you don't (by some crazy circumstance) know or follow Mark, do yourself a favor and check out his won't regret it!

Now, part of this thing is to mention five things that makes me happy and then tag five others who I feel embody that same sort of happiness. (And, yes, I'm going to follow suit and not mention my wife or family because, well, those should be a given)

Things that make me happy....

1. As strange as it sounds, a fat cheeked baby can always bring a smile to my face....

Come on, how can you not smile at this face?

2. The beach. There's always something calm and serene about watching the ocean meet the sand.

3. Music. Whether it's a tune from the 80s that brings back some great memories, some rockin' Surf Music, or a mellow John Denver tune, music is another thing that can always make me smile.

4. Time spent with friends. Since moving down to Florida, I don't get the chance to see/talk to my friends nearly as much as I used to and it's definitely impressed upon me just how much I miss that. Any chance to visit with old friends is a sure fire 'pick me up'.

5. Even though it, sort of, goes along with music, I also really like nostalgia. It's not that I always live in the past, but sometimes a reminder of simpler times (at least the way I see it) can bring a smile to my face. 

The five Happy folks I'm tagging for this are....

1. Ella at Ella's Edge
2. Tyrean at Tyrean's Writing Spot
4. Samantha May at Writing Through College
5. Tara at Tara Tyler Talks

Now, go forth and spread the love and happiness!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Smorgasbord!

It's been one of "those" days....for about a week now.

O.k, well it's really not as dire as all that, but it has been one of those kind of days where I couldn't really come up with a decent topic to blog about. I had a couple of things in mind, last night, but when I got behind the keyboard, they just wouldn't flow like I wanted them to. Then, for some reason, I started thinking about food (shocking, I know!)....then my mind went back to a place we used to go when I was a kid, called Duff's Smorgasbord. It was a buffet style, all you can eat, joint where I certainly used to take advantage of the term "all you can eat".

As a kid, I used to be able to put it away and I'm sure a night out to Duff's probably put the grocery budget in a better place. Anyway, I've always been a big fan of 'choices', so I figured it might be nice to translate that into some blogging as well as give me something (anything!) to talk about.

So, today, I give you all a smorgasbord of topics. Don't worry, none are too filling and they'll be even lighter on the calories.

I saw a couple of lighthearted stories on the local paper's website. The first of which is....

Yep...I kid you not. It's a real sign and the story behind it can be found HERE.

There was another odd story about a man jailed for throwing eggs at courthouse workers.

As odd as these stories were, they were both written in a pretty whimsical style. It was like the reporter's editors said 'just have fun with it'....which they, obviously, did.

Since Google Reader is going  the way of the dodo July 13th, it looks like Feedly (free for now) is testing the waters to see if we're willing to pay for their service. In all honestly, I'm not that thrilled with its free offering and, sincerely, doubt I'd pay for it should they go that route.

If they do decide to go to a pay model, I may have to give Bloglovin' a harder look.

Just in case you missed it during Once Upon A Time, ABC ran a short promo for their new S.H.I.E.L.D series. I have to admit, it looks pretty cool and should give Joss Whedon's band of Browncoats something to cheer about....even though, supposedly, he's only working on the first episode. My only reservation being that some of Whedon's Dollhouse alumnus will be heading this one up....and I wasn't a fan of all.

Still, I'm willing to let bygones be bygones and give it a shot.

And, finally, since it's Music Monday I'll leave you with one of my favorites from that awesome era in music known as the 1980s. You can really tell this was made in music video's

Honeymoon Suite-- Feel It Again

There you have smorgasbord offering for today. Of course I guess this probably isn't the best time to mention that Duff's was closed due to Health Department infractions, right?

Hope your Monday was a good one!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Flashback Friday!

The always awesome Jaybird reminded me to tell my 'jellyfish story', that I had mentioned in her comment section during the A to Z Challenge. So, here it is a quick all it's cheesy glory....

I must have been about seven…maybe eight…years old and we were living on the Naval Base in Pensacola, Florida. As we often did on the weekends, we took a trip to the beach. I can still remember the white sands and blue-green waters of the Gulf…it was a great beach.

On this particular day, though, as we made our way to find a spot to lay out our towels and umbrella, I noticed a lot of people up by the lifeguard stands. Many were rubbing ointment or some such on their legs and arms. I even saw a couple of grown men crying.


The reason, we found out , was due to an unusually large jellyfish infestation that had moved in and the guards were cautioning everyone who was going into the water to be careful. While I was a bit worried, I still decided to risk it and head into the water. My mom, of course, tried to make me sit on the beach, but my dad (the Navy man) wasn't worried.... “Ah, let the boy go in the water…he’ll be o.k…”. So that’s what I did.

The ocean was clear, so I figured I could see any crafty jellyfish trying to sneak up on me and I was pretty vigilant. The more the time went past, the more I figured I was safe and things were going to be o.k….no jellyfish were coming for me this day….so I began to run and swim around a bit more.

I forget, exactly, what I was doing, but as I stood in the water…about knee high…I felt something slowly wrap around my leg. I looked down and, sure enough, saw a clear jellyfish wrapping itself around my leg. Of course, the first thing I did was scream bloody murder and take off towards the beach. I kid you not when I say I was almost running on top of the water. Whatever happened I did NOT want to get stung, so I had to get this thing off of me!

Like a shot, I took off and got to the beach….still screaming “Get it off me, get it off me!!”…all the while remembering those grown men crying from the sting that I knew was coming. I ran towards my parents while my mom was running towards me. I then noticed my dad start to laugh.

Here I was, about to get the worst sting of my life. A sting that brought grown men to their knees…..and he’s standing there laughing!

It was about then that I looked down and noticed it wasn't a jellyfish at all, but a plastic bag that had been floating in the water and found it's way to my leg.

Of course, I laugh about it now….but, back then, it was no laughing matter. I was madder than a hornet, but thankful it wasn't a real jellyfish all the same.

My parents still think this is a pretty funny “Mark” story (and they have quite a few of them), second only to the “Mark, the Puppy, and the Leash” tale that I’ll save for another day. :)


I know it's not Monday, but I'll leave you all with some music just the same. A little Electric Light Orchestra because we should always 'hold on tight to our dreams'.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

And the winner is....! Woohooo!

Recently, I've been the recipient of two very nice awards from two thoughtful bloggers and, now that the A to Z Challenge is over, I'd like to recognize them.

The first is the Liebster Award.

 The lovely and talented Nicki Elson over at Not-So-Deep Thoughts was kind enough to give me this one, so a big "Thank You!" to her.

So now, in keeping with the spirit of the award, I'm going to let you all in on 11 "fun" facts about yours truly, answer Nicki's questions, come up with some of my own, and then pick some well deserving bloggers to pass it along.

First...11 facts about me (pardon me if you've heard some of these before)

1. Apparently I used to talk... a lot....when I was younger. My dad had an aunt who talked a lot and he used to always tell me that he was going to lock us in a room together and see who could out talk the other.
2. My ambition, when I was ten years old, was to become a syndicated cartoonist.
3. My very first "crush" was Melody from the Josie and the Pussycats cartoon.
4. I grind my teeth so badly, at night, that I have to wear a mouth guard.
5. I used to suffer from severe migraine headaches until I reached puberty.
6. I have a fitness goal to have six pack abs in a year.
7. I went through a phase where I preferred to date only tall women. I dated a girl  5'11" and the one after that was 5'10". My wife is 5'5"
8. My first "online experience" was not via a computer, but via WebTv.
9. I love Native American culture.
10. If I had to do it all over again, I would have tried to become a professional wrestler.
11. I weighed 9lbs 13ozs at birth....I was a chunker!

Now, onto Nicki's questions:

1. Les Mis or Sweeney Todd? I've never seen either, but I know enough about each to say Sweeny Todd because.....well...crazy barbers and stuff :)

2. If you were a comic book superhero, what wold your name be? It would have have to be something that wouldn't give away my powers or abilities (not that I've ever given this any thought or anything ahem)...I'd keep it sort of generic....something like The Marauder or The Ranger....something like that.

3. What are the toppings on your dream hamburger? Mayonnaise, mustard, onions, pickles, tomatoes. Sometimes Frisch's Big Boy tartar sauce in place of mayo/mustard. It's good....I promise!

4. What city (that you've never visited) do you most want to visit? London, England

5. Favorite city (that you have visited). Key Largo, Florida

6. Which Disney character is most like you? Darkwing Duck!

7. Why? (in follow up to question 6) Many times I've had people tell me how cool and calm I've looked/acted in certain situations when I really had no idea what I was doing. DW tends to do this...a lot! :)

8. You can only choose one: would you rather write a book that's a best seller or a book that's highly acclaimed? A best seller....that way I'd have the time and means to write other books and, maybe, one of those could be highly acclaimed.

9. What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to grammatical mistakes in a published book? The dreaded "Your" and "You're" debacle.

10. If you could live permanently in any decade, which would it be? Probably the 1940s.

11. Who's your favorite fictional romantic couple? Nick and Nora Charles from "The Thin Man" films.

My questions are:

1. Who would you get to play you in the movie about your life?
2. Aliens land and demand that you 'take them to your leader'. Who do you take them to?
3. Cowboys or Indians?
4. Big Mac or Whopper?
5. The government approaches you with the chance to gain superpowers, but you have to fake your own death and never contact your family/friends again. Do you do it?
6. Alaska or Hawaii?
7. Favorite childhood cartoon?
8. Favorite book from your childhood?
9. Do you think it's ever 'too late' to find love?
10. How's your steak cooked? Rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, well done?
11. What feature do you find the most appealing in a potential mate?

Now, for the last part I'm going to cheat jusssst a little bit. Instead of naming 11 bloggers to pass this onto, I'm going to put it out there as a general call. If you've never received the Liebster Award before (and Liebster Clause will know if you have, or not), please feel free to take it and answer the questions accordingly. If you do, please make sure to let me know as I'd love to see your answers :)

The other award was given to me by the mega-awesome Christine Rains (who gave us snippets of her great book during April) and it's the "Zombie Rabbit Award". Usually, I'm not a big zombie fan but, in this case, I'll make an exception :)

This is a pretty straight forward one where you list your ten favorite blogs from the past A to Z Challenge. Now, this was a hard one because I enjoyed a metric ton (I kid you not) of blogs this past April, so narrowing it down was quite a chore. If I had to chose ten (and I do, I guess), without duplicating anyone from Christine's list, my list would be....

1. The Bird's Nest: Jaybird never ceases to make me laugh and blogs like hers are the reason I started getting into blogging in the first place. I like reading about people's lives...both the good and the bad. And, in Jaybird's case...the jacked up! :) Her A to Z was a very entertaining hodgepodge and I mean that in a good way!

2. Alex J. Cavanaugh: The Ninja Captain had a pretty ambitious theme going. He featured a blogger that corresponded with a movie that started with the day's letter. And, on top of that, he put a song to the person and movie. All this while still doing his "Ninja News" stuff and throwing in book shout outs. If nothing else, you have to hand it to him for the sheer scope of his theme and he managed to pull it off flawlessly.

3. Manzanita over at Wanna Buy a Duck devoted April to ballroom dancing. While that sort of thing, usually, isn't my cup of tea, she really made it interesting and gave me a better appreciation for dance and the work it takes to make it look easy.

4. Tara Tyler Talks: Tara devoted the month to a bunch of great tips for all sorts of things...from writing to cleaning. A lot of very good ideas were shared and her blog was one of my 'must visits' during April.

5. Tyrean from Tyrean's Writing Spot spent April telling us the ins and outs and nuances of the great sport of Fencing. She knew her stuff having trained in it for years and fencing is something I've always wanted to try. Through her theme, I got a taste of what I've been missing. 

6. The Capillary had a lot of very cool posts about movies and her reviews of them. Very entertaining stuff and it was fun to check out each day. Definitely one of the blogs that I thought should have gotten more love.

7. The Write Game: Lee had a great theme where she taught us a different word each day. Now, I have a pretty good vocabulary, if I do say so myself, but I found myself learning a few new words in April, thanks to Lee.

8. Gary over at klahanie never failed to put a smile on my face with his "Z to A Challenge". His tongue in cheek theme had some great entries and were, always, entertaining.

9. Sheena over at Queendsheena gave us some insight into her upcoming book release Sacrifice Her. A very interesting and, it seems, harsh tale of angry gods and how the people of Faux City deal with appeasing them. It looks like it's going to be a good one, for sure!

10. Lisa Buie-Collard spent April talking about some of the ins and outs of writing. The lady really knows her stuff and it was, definitely, a topic that interested me during The Challenge. This was another blog I thought deserved more love...she had some good stuff.

Thanks again to Nicki and Christine for the awards, I really appreciate the thought!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A to Z Reflections from Left to Write....

(First off, I'd like to apologize for being M.I.A for the past couple of days. The wife and I went to help a friend with her craft show and I was, pretty much, without reliable internet access in a Florida-Georgia border hotel.I'll be trying to make my way around to see all of you later today and tomorrow. )

A to Z Reflections

So, this was my very first "official" year of doing the A to Z Challenge and I say "official" because I found out about last year's challenge half way through, but didn't sign up or visit others or even totally complete it, for that matter. 

Anyway, I would say the experience was 99.9% positive for me. I found a bunch of great new blogs to follow, met a lot of awesome new bloggers, and gained about 40 new followers (something I never really expected).

As I've mentioned (countless times), blogging every day has been, pretty much, standard operating procedure for me (between here and my other blog) so doing a post a day wasn't really a huge deal. The issue came with trying to visit and comment on my regular blog buddies as well as trying to visit new blogs from the list. It was a learning experience, though, and I should be better prepared for next year.

I had a theme and my days plotted out (as well as pictures downloaded), so I was doing o.k. in that aspect. I was, usually, a day ahead with my posting and had Sunday as a 'catch up' day, just in case. A couple of my days I switched up so that meant a bit more work, but it kept me writing daily.....which was my intention. 

I noticed a few people went a bit long with their posts, but I did too so I can't really gripe about was still a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the community building this whole thing fostered.

Once again, I tip my hat to all of you who stuck it out with me, dropped by, and commented on my crazy theme. 

Another big thanks to all the hosts who made it a smooth and fun event.

Music Monday

And, because I haven't done one in a while.....a musical offering from Ms. Ross and the Supremes. It's kinda/sorta on topic.

Have a great Monday :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG: May, 2013

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the blog's that time again. Yes, the A to Z Blogging Challenge may be over, but the blog hoppin' ain't through yet! It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means it's time to ruminate on things that give us, as writers, the heeby jeebies.

Yes, it's time once again for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post!

Hosted by our Ninja Captain, the Blogfather himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG is a little thing we like to do to talk though some of the things that just don't sit right with those of us who like to.....write.

This month I'd like to just touch on something that's been nagging me for a while now.

It's my work in progress....I'm not sure if it's worth my time to even work on, anymore. It came about as my NaNoWriMo project for 2011 and has been sitting ever since.

I have gone back and tweaked it here and there....doing some editing and revising...which it still needs quite a bit more of, no doubt. It also needs an ending.

And that's where my problem comes in....I'm not sure how to end it. Also, ending it means I need to read the whole thing over again, but when I try to do that I'm just shaking my head in realizing just how much work the whole thing really needs.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy the story and really like the concept, but I'm just not sure it's viable anymore.

Now, is that a sign that I should move on to something else....or that I should really slog through and just get it done?

I guess my insecurity is stemming from my questioning whether my work is good enough. Is it worth the time to work on something I think might not be that great, or do I go in and try to polish it up, so I can wrap it up with a nice, neat, bow?

I forget who said it, but there's a quote that goes something to the effect of 'writers don't only write...but they finish what they write' which I agree with....for the most part.

Then again, I just have to ask myself if it's worth finishing for any other reason then finishing what I start....


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