A to Z Challenge Reflection Post

Another A to Z challenge done! It went okay. I did every single letter, on time. Well, sometimes I pushed that, but I usually made it.

I only brainstormed the first few letters, so 3/4 of the challenge was done on the fly. I did that last year, too, but with slightly more planning; I prewrote most of my posts the day or two days before. I brainstormed a lot of them on Sunday.

So last year I actually had more time to actually visit A to Z Challenge blogs. This year, I mostly visited the same ones I visited last year. At least the WordPress ones I had subscribed to. I know I visited a lot on Blogger regularly, but I don’t remember which ones now. Plus a few more I discovered this year, also mostly on WordPress. (These few were very interesting and that is why I subscribed to them.)

But it was a good challenge. I think it would have been easier if I had brain-stormed ideas for posts in advance. I will do that next year. And I will try to write more of them in advance, too, preferably on Sundays.


This flash was inspired by the letter U!

She pondered the picture.

It showed a lady, dead from drowning. She knew that face.

She glanced over her shoulder at the rest of her class; they wandered the room, looking up at the photographs on the wall. Her teacher was across the room, with most of the kids.

She turned back to the picture. It was colored, but not pretty. She took a step a closer and peered closer at the woman’s face.

She took her wallet out of her bag and slipped out a picture hidden away behind her school id and transport card. The black-and-white photo was yellow with age and tattered at the edges. Grandmother was young in this picture; she grinned into the camera, knee-deep in the ocean, holding up her printed maxi out of the water.

She studied the picture on the wall, then her wallet picture and back again.

“Girls and boys!” The teacher clapped her hands. “Gather around now. I want to introduce to artist. She composed these photographs with herself as the model.”

A woman who looked exactly like the picture of her grandmother stood beside the teacher.

T is for Teleport

Today is a chilly, spring day. It is cloudy and overcast and even snowing in some places.

I found this storify of snow today: https://storify.com/cmgnationalnews/springtime-snow. I think it’s mostly lake effect snow

I am not really feeling the spring today and that is why I chose Teleport today. It starts with T, it is vaguely book-ish.

Yes, some books have people who got tech or spells that Teleport. And I suppose I could do a post about magic teleportation and techy teleportation. Or the teleportation in my own WiP! Ha!

But I don’t want to. I don’t feel like it. Right now, I seriously wish I could Teleport to someplace with sun. And heat. Someplace I could stroll in short sleeves and shorts.

S is for Series

Series abound in fantasy and science fiction. There are so many that finding stand alone books can be something of a challenge.

I guess two or three types of series.

  1. episodic series, where each book is an episode and can be read on its own without needing to read anything that came before. I am not sure there are too many pure examples of this type of series. You know, like the James Bond movies.
  2. a long long story broken up into several novels. (Because you can’t publish 50 million words worth of one story all at once!) Like Tolkien or Wheel of Time or Way of Kings. 
  3. I am not sure this counts as a separate type of series, but maybe? Anyway, the kind where the book has a stand alone-ish type plot of its own, so you have a conclusion at the end. But there is also a longer series plot and the episode plot sort of falls neatly into it. Harry Potter is like this. And so are a lot of TV shows. Maybe this is really just a subtype of 1 or 2. I don’t know.

There are also series that start out as episodic and turn into the series-as-a-long-novel. Actually, I think that’s when I fall behind on my reading.

That’s what happened with the Dresden files. That’s why I am so behind in this series, because I feel like, I didn’t get to read the previous book and now I can’t read this new book that just came out because I won’t know what’s going on.

The shift is really quite annoying.

What do you think?

R is for Rejected

The word rejected came to me from a friend on Twitter. Than I thought: I can do a post on books that have been rejected before.

Not how many times my stuff has been rejected. I don’t collect rejections. They are so depressing.

But looking at how many times other people had to try is inspiring, you know? It make you think: if you try enough times, eventually you will succeed.

Cracked has five. Flavorwire has ten, and there are many, many others. But I like Cracked’s best.

  •  Harry Potter: rejected for being too long
  • Animal Farm: rejected for because of current politics. published after the war ended and those politics ceased to matter.
  • And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss: rejected for being different and silly.
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: rejected for being about nothing. I had never even heard of this book before, but it was published after the author’s death because his mother found a publisher. It won a Pultizer.
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: rejected by  for (1) not being edgy enough and (2) no one buys short stories.


N is for Notorious

I am picking the word Notorious for this year’s Hugo awards.

It’s going to go down in history. All the people associated with it will likely be remembered for years to come. So, yeah, notorious.

I am hoping this doesn’t break the Hugo forever and ever. I am hoping it doesn’t set the tone for next year’s; I don’t like the idea of years and years of infighting, arguing and partisan politics. Just like real politics in this country, yeah? I disapprove of this mirroring of life and art.

That will destroy the Hugo.

If they don’t want that, all sides will have to cease and desist by next year. Because if one side does something, the other will have to respond. I cannot believe it will result in anything but the destruction of the Hugo.

I dread it.

But the Hugo will happen this year, because it isn’t destroyed yet. It had better happen next year, too, hopefully, with less drama. (I am not hopeful.)

And the awards haven’t even been awarded yet! I suspect this will all get worse when the winners are announced.

For those of you don’t know what Hugo are and what this present drama is about, there are plenty of blog posts on the topic. Plenty. The internet is overflowing with them.

M is for Magic

Magic is the thing I like best in books, especially in fantasy. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Micky Mouse and Sword in the Stone were probably the first fantasy I ever watched.

I loved Sword in the Stone and watched it over and over again.

These movies have no rules – not that I remember! – not like the rules of magic I countered in later books. But I love them anyway.

This is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on YouTube:

I think, despite how old they both are, these two movies are still as good as when they were first made. And The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was first made in 1940 and The Sword in the Stone in 1963.

L is for Lycanthrope

If I Google lycanthrope, it tells me this:




noun: lycanthrope; plural noun: lycanthropes

  1. a werewolf.


early 17th century: from modern Latin lycanthropus, from Greek lukanthrōpos ‘wolf man’ (see lycanthropy).

So wolf man turned into werewolf. These days, in urban fantasy, it means werelions, werepanthers, wererats, pretty much any type of animal that the author decides a person can turn into.

I also know there are so many werewolf stories that many, many people are tired of them. They abound in romance and in urban fantasy. They used to be a staple of

Jason: on my favorite werewolves from the Anita Blake series.

horror (I think they were still a horror trope) but I am not familiar enough with horror to know how often they occur now.

The thing this, I am not tired of them. I am more careful than I used to be, yes, but I would really to find more good werewolf stories to read.

I am not quite so welcoming of the werewolf story close cousin: the vampire story. I continue to read series I started years ago, but I don’t look for new ones and I think I am pretty close to burning out entirely on vampires.

I am not sure why I should be so much closer to burning out entirely on vampires, but there it is. Maybe the concept of a person who can turn into an animal(s) is just a lot more interesting.

How about you?

K is for Kill

I finished reading The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley recently.

It got me thinking: A lot of books have characters who kill. Maybe not easily, maybe not often, but in the course of the book, they kill sooner or later. Some do kill easily.

Some of them take killing more seriously: Anita Blake, Dexter, Valyn from The Emperor’s Blades and a quite a few others in the same book. Quite a few from other grimdark fantasy, too. (I like that word: grimdark.)

Someone like Anita Blake only turned into a killer later in the series; she didn’t start out killing very easily.

Dexter has been a serial killer since early childhood. Maybe he had kind and gentle feelings when he was born, but maybe not.

Valyn is a soldier. And, yeah, soldiers of all ilk kill. That is their job. And he is not without the gentler feelings. But he kills when he must.

But I wonder if, after lots of betrayal and treachery, if he manages to keep any of his gentler feelings.

I am dreading that he won’t. I don’t want to watch turn him an emotionless killer. I don’t think he will ever turn into Dexter (he doesn’t have quite that much childhood trauma!) but still. I am sort of dreading reading the next book.

J is for Journaling

Through today’s random internet browsing, looking for inspiration for this post, I found an article on what some famous authors have to say about journaling: http://flavorwire.com/367030/10-famous-authors-on-the-importance-of-keeping-a-journal

(And, also, quite a few fruitless minutes on how to spell journaling, because WordPress keeps flagging the spelling I am using.)

I kept a journal once when I was younger, but I wasn’t good at it. I could go for weeks without a single entry. Or write other, non-life-journal type things in it (i .e. new interesting words, character names, the occasional doodle, like that.) Sometimes I would forget to date my rare entries.

I don’t keep one a personal journal at all these days. And all my attempts at keeping a proper writing journal, the kind where I intended to write down plot ideas, character descriptions, writing prompts, that kind haven’t really worked out really. I had one like that once.

I lost track of it. And the one after that. The third, one, too. The last version was a binder that is stuck in a drawer somewhere that I haven’t taken out in months and months. Years, maybe. (I can’t quite recall.)

I meant to fill it with:

1) short stories

2) notes and worldbuilding and character stuff for the WiP.

I didn’t do either.

If random ideas do come to me while out and about, I whip out my phone and type them into my Google Keep. (Incidentally, that is where I brainstormed ideas for A to Z challenge. I only got as far as the letter F.) I got recipes and assorted tidbits in there, too. Very little of it has to do with writing.

No, sometimes I use my Evernote on my computer for writing stuff. Sometimes. Like whole actual short stories and setting ideas and things like that. I guess Evernote is my writing notebook, except it doesn’t feel like that. It doesn’t feel like a real notebook, not the marble ones I used to have as child, not the spiral notebooks I got when I was a little older and definitely not like the binder I still have tucked away somewhere.

It’s just . . . I don’t know. I don’t use just one app, but even if I did, I don’t think it would have the same feel. And that sounds like what a lot people say about reading physical books instead of eBooks: it doesn’t feel the same, the pages, the smell, how it feels to hold a paperback. None of it is the same.

Maybe the Evernote/Google Keep combo does work like a writing journal for me and maybe I should call it that, but I cannot quite convince myself they work like one.

And none of it is similar to the personal kind of journaling those authors are talking about. In fact, this blog is as close as I get to that.