My A to Z Wrap Up

A-to-Z_Reflection_[2014]I signed up for the A to Z blogging challenge in March because I tend to work better with deadlines and expectations, so the challenge of blogging 6 out of 7 days a week seemed like a perfect fit.

Along the way, here’s what I learned:

Blogging consistently is hard work. Time and effort go into each post and on many days there seemed to be a shortage of time.

A theme might have helped me. Perhaps I’ll try that next year. Yes, I did say next year. I will so do this again.

There are a lot of clever and talented bloggers out there. The community aspect of the challenge overwhelmed me. A special thanks to everyone who stopped by and offered encouragement along the way.

I didn’t have a favorite type of blog to visit. I liked the diversity of jewelry, flash fiction, notable women, movies, books, random thoughts, and everything else under the sun. It was awesome to see the different thought patterns, interests, and talents.

Now that the challenge is over, I intend to continue blogging on a regular basis (am shooting for 5 days with two days off :)) and I intend to wander around and find other blogs to read and perhaps follow.

A special shout out to the hosts of the A to Z challenge! They spent so much time and energy helping create an environment where would could all learn, gather, and grow. Please visit their blogs.

Arlee Bird: Tossing it Out
Alex J. Cavanaugh: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Stephen Tremp: Author Stephen Tremp
Tina Downey: Life is Good
Damyanti Biswas: Amlokiblogs
Jeremy Hawkins: [Being Retro]
Nicole Ayers: The Madlab Post
M. J. Joachim: M. J. Joachim’s Writing Tips
Heather M. Gardner: The Waiting is the Hardest Part
AJ Lauer: Naturally Sweet
Pam Margolis: An Unconventional Librarian – 

If you’re an A to Z participant, will you do it again?

Z is for Zero

Z is for Zero and that’s how many days are left in the A to Z blogging challenge.

Photo Credit: Flickr by Anne

Photo Credit: Flickr by Anne

Zero, like other numbers, represents more than just a quantity. It can also represent a goal, a tolerance, or a thresh hold. And reaching this number can elicit different responses.

Zero can be a disappointment when:

it’s the balance of your checkbook, it’s the amount of weight you lost during a week of dieting and strenuous exercise, it’s the number of rsvp’s returned to an event you’re hosting, or it’s the amount of work you accomplish when a deadline approaches.


But by the same token, zero can be a reason for celebration when:

it’s a countdown to a special visit or trip, it’s the number of items left unchecked on your to-do list, it’s the percent error on your lab calculations, or it’s the balance left on your credit card.

Today, I’m celebrating zero because it signifies the completion of a challenge. And wow, what a month this has been.

Congratulations to all the A to Z challenge participants! And thanks to everyone who stopped by and left encouraging words during the blog challenge. I hope you’ll be back.


no eXcuses

no eXcuses

Change, whether it is associated with your virtues, your accomplishments, or your abilities, does not magically appear.

Change occurs as a result of action.

Photo Credit: Flickr by Live Life Happy

Photo Credit: Flickr by Live Life Happy

 It’s Monday. Make no excuses.

Carpe Diem.

Quotes about eXcuses

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. ~Henry Ward Beecher

There is no such thing as a list of reasons. There is either one sufficient reason or a list of excuses. ~Robert Brault

We have more ability than will power, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible. ~François de la Rochefoucauld

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts. ~Edward R. Murrow






Vulgar talk – a case for profanity

My mother always referred to profanity as “vulgar talk.” Even though she used a few of the choice terms herself, she had a name for those words. I grew up hearing them and eventually adopted some terms into my own vocabulary. I’m not sure if using that language was a rite of passage or more of an evolution.

But all that changed one afternoon in a small classroom.

Several students had volunteered to help me set up Chemistry labs for the following day. (They were an awesome bunch of kids. My academic equivalent to the Fab Five. Best students ever.) Anyway, during setup, my bangle bracelet brushed up against a charger on my desk and delivered a nice shock to my wrist that shot up my forearm like a rabid fox with lightning bolt fangs. Too bad it wasn’t a lab set up for conductivity.

Cue the scene from “A Christmas Story.” You know the one, with the flat tire, the bowl of lug nuts, and the panicked wishes that the word that had rolled out would have been FUDGE.  My students snickered, I mean, I cussed loudly, on the cusp of yelling without restraint right in front of them. But I was embarrassed that I let that word slip in a school setting. (Luckily, it was after class. I might have crawled under my desk had the classroom been full.) I apologized to the group, none seemed offended or even cared. But I made a very conscious decision to trim those words from my vocabulary. And it was similar to smoking. Once I quit, I was really done.

But when I began writing, I found that some of my characters used profanity. And I couldn’t stop them. I mean, technically, I could, but I shouldn’t. Profanity serves a function. It can help set the tone of a scene or help develop character.  It summarizes sentiments in fewer words. It’s adaptable; some of the terms can be verbs, adjectives, adverbs, or exclamations. And sometimes it provides humor. (My Cousin Vinny would be half as long and not nearly as funny if they cut the profanity.) It’s like spice in a recipe, each dish requires a different amount and sometimes none at all.

When it comes to profanity, I don’t mind hearing, seeing it, reading it, or using it in my writing. But I’d be more convincing using a British accent than throwing around the f word.

Does profanity impact what you read or write?





A to Z Blogging Challenge

A-to-Z Blogging Challenge

In less than two weeks, the A to Z blogging challenge begins. For the month of April, I will post a blog everyday (with the exception of Sundays). My first post will begin on April 1st with the letter A and I will move through the alphabet, one letter at a time.


Do I have a theme?

Many participants chose themes and revealed theirs yesterday, but I decided to be one-who-shall-remain-themeless. I’m not against a one-theme blogfest, but have chosen to go the miscellaneous route. I plan on blogging about my favorite movies, my writing experience, recipes, and more. There is a road map for my miscellaneous madness and I might just share it with you before April 1.

Why am I participating?

Over the past two months, edits for my YA PNR have demanded a lot of my time and energy, and I haven’t blogged as much. (But I see a light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂 ) The A-to-Z challenge will help me get back into the swing of things.

Are you joining the A-to-Z challenge? Leave me a note and I’ll visit your blog. Interested in participating? Click here to read more about the A to Z Blogging Challenge.