Monday, May 12, 2014

Reflections-A to Z Blog Challenge Redux

You may have briefly seen this post last week, but that was do to pilot error. What with my scrambled April brain, a few home disasters (DISASTER POST in case you missed it) and two book events, I published this on the wrong day. I caught the mistake, but a few people saw it before I could make the change. Vacation sounds very good about now.

If you have time, Sliding on the Edge just got another REVIEW that made me happy. Always appreciate it when you chime in. And you might consider connecting with The Book Sage. He's fair, he reads, he writes reviews. Oh, and did I forget to mention. . .he buys your book. :-)

I procrastinated about doing the challenge for a third year. I had a lot going on, but then who didn’t? Once I asked myself that question, I tossed out my first excuse. 

But I had another one. I couldn’t think of a theme that I wanted to spend time on for a whole month. 

Besides, (and here’s my last excuse) what a drag to be inside at a computer when I could be outside having fun in the April weather?

Still, a lot of people I enjoy visiting were going to be in the challenge, and I didn’t want miss out. That started me thinking about all the great posts I’d read last year and all I’d learned. And bam, that’s when my theme came to me. 

Morgue Files: GaborfromHungry

I called it the Mystery Blogger Contest. I featured one blogger each day, posting what they had written for that letter in 2013. To win, visitors had to guess who the Mystery Blogger was, but to be fair to new A to Z’ers I gave points for “glibness” or for adding to the information in the posts. 

So here’s what this theme did for me: 

It saved me time. I didn’t have to actually write the posts. They were already done. I could still have a lot going on AND do the A to Z Challenge.

Because the posts were so varied, I was interested in putting them up and revisiting them.

And I had fun because each day people either guessed or gave me “glib” comments that made me chuckle.

In thinking about why I chose the 2013 posts to use for this contest, or why I’d choose posts if I repeated this theme another time here’s what I came up with. 


  • were fun for me
  • challenged my brain
  • informed me
  • had variety
  • were well-written ( I appreciate good grammar and spelling and hate it when I screw up on either)
  • were easy to read
  • had no word verification (hate WV)
  • had no form that had to be filled out each time I commented
  • were written by bloggers who returned my support with comments, tweets or fb posts (it’s good to show that the time you take is recognized)
Reflecting on this year's Challenge, I found that these were also the characteristics that pulled me back to the blogs that I visited regularly, so they will be ones I will strive to achieve in my posts this coming year.

Hats off to all who entered and finished! And thanks to those who put this together and then did a lot of work to make it successful.

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Tina @ Life is Good
Damyanti @ Amlokiblogs
Jeremy @ Being Retro
Nicole Ayers - The Madlab Post

If you've got a book coming, let ME know. This summer I'm dedicating a lot of space to people with book launches or giveaways or awards to show off.


  1. I had fun coming here every day and trying to guess. You hit upon an awesome theme.
    Glad I won one week!
    And thanks for featuring me one of those days.
    Good luck at the bookstore event!

  2. Have a great bookstore event! Wish I could be there....


  3. Your posts were awesome! I confess, I didn't know all of them, but I did like trying to figure them out. Good luck at the bookstore!

  4. A very nice review. It's great when a reviewer says such positive things about a book. I'm not surprised. I agree with him. :)
    Your posts were fun. I seldom knew the answers but enjoyed reading what others said.

  5. Very true. I too really was on the fence about doing A-Z for my third year as well. But I didn't want to miss out on meeting new bloggers. It was rough!

    Glad you did it. And your theme was great.

  6. Somebody should organize lunches for book launches :)

  7. I enjoyed your theme this year. It was a lot of fun.

  8. Thanks for visiting me, pleased you liked my little blog. Yes, I do hope to have another children's book completed in the late summer, so would love you to include it here. Kind regards, Carole.

  9. I think you had a great A-Z! And I'm so happy I had company with the pre-published blog post last week :)
    Here's to it not happening again anytime soon!

  10. I was going to refuse to comment any blogs that had word verification turned on--but I quickly found out that you can't tell until you've already typed the comment. By then I'd already typed it, so I figured I might as well solve the annoying puzzle and hit Post.

  11. I think I said this before, but I liked your theme. It was fun to try to guess the bloggers.

    I tagged you in the Writing Process meme that's going around. If you want to participate, great. If not, that's fine. The info is over at my blog.

  12. I really enjoyed your posts though I didn't know most of them. Very generous of you to offer promo help to others. Don't have a release date on my next book but I'll find out soon.

  13. I admit, I wasn't around the blog world much in April, so much of the challenge was lost on me. Congrats to all who completed it. Sounds like your theme was a winner all around.

  14. Y did a great job on a-z. It was not easy thinking of all the letters.

  15. I enjoyed your really clever theme. Wish I could have played along for more of the's nice now to be able to visit the blogs I choose first, and then hit the road later ;-) Glad we've connected.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

  16. Sounds like a great theme. I skipped most of April, and only now am I managing to feel like I'm getting back to some sense of normality.

  17. Oh, that sounds like such a fun theme!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, btw! :)

  18. Congrats on the review and event. Very exciting. I really enjoyed your theme. I'm pretty new to your blog and I didn't know a lot of the bloggers, but it helped me get to know them quickly. Thanks so much for all the introductions!

  19. I didn't know most of them, but it was fun guessing.

    Thank you again for making me one of the answers.

  20. Congrats on another review!
    Your theme was LOADS of fun!
    Thanks once again for featuring me in one of those posts, and for the Amazon voucher!

  21. very clever idea---i wish i had of known more though ;)

  22. It was a clever idea, and I got to read blogs I haven't read or ones I hadn't read in a while. Kudos. I also have a new book out that I'm failing at showcasing. It's an anthology I wrote with 6 others. I haven't received my copies yet, so I'm guessing that's why I'm less than enthusiastic. If you've got room in June, I'd wash your windows for you in return for a shout out!

  23. A to Z was hard indeed. I hardly commented on any other blogs during the challenge because of lack of time. I prefer to post at a slower pace.

  24. Your theme was great and your posts always had me thinking.

    Yay for reviews.

  25. Hi human, Lee,

    Apawlogies for such a lengthy delay in one of my eagerly anticipated comments.

    Yay to vacations and yay to ending the ridiculous alphabet challenge. A to Z, RIP!

    Congrats on a happy review, this be true.

    A reflection pawst. Just one reflection pawst and not another reflection pawst after this reflection pawst reflection about your reflection pawst! Thank you.

    Yep, your mystery guest theme was very clever, very thought provoking. And heck, you even included one blog that would rather be whipped to death with a wet noodle than join in the alphabet fanatic farce.......

    Indeed, here's a complimentary hat off to you, human, Lee. Thank you for being a special guest speaker at The Alphabark Challenge, 2014!, tribute ceremonies!

    Pawsitive, reflective wishes, your way,


  26. So proud of you for finishing A-Z and it was great to learn about how you picked your theme. I thought it was fun trying to guess the bloggers- though I didn't do very well. I learned about a lot of bloggers- which was excellent!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and hope you are getting to relax a bit now. :)

  27. Your theme was a lot of fun, and your help as an AZTech was appreciated more than you know!

  28. Yay! It was fun, but by the time I got here, my brain was pretty much a bust each day. Regardless, I thought your theme was genius. Seriously though, it hurt trying to think about who each person could possibly be. =)

    I opened up sign ups for a cover reveal today. (Scheduled in July.)

  29. Your blog was fun to visit, and I'll be back often. I loved learning about other blogs through yours, and I appreciated that I didn't have to know the answers to your mystery quizzes. My brain was too tired to think. :-)

  30. Hi. I'm late getting back to everyone's a-z reflection, so happy to see a late posting. I know how life can get in the way of blogging (my spring to be precise,...April was crazy). I thought your theme was very clever. It was refreshing to find something different. Wish I could have visited more often :)

  31. The first time I heard of the A-Z challenge, I wondered how anybody could spend that much time blogging during April. Doesn't anybody besides me do their own taxes? I spend March and April under mountains of paperwork. But the way you did it sounds both interesting and worth the time if you have enough to spare. Oh, well. Now your disasters--I can relate. They're usually why I have so little spare time!

  32. Hi Lee .. I managed to guess a few bloggers correctly - but failed on the crucial one for my own - thinking it'd be another letter .. ah well .. I got there in the end ... junketed through the A-Z ..

    Cheers and glad you joined us this year .. and hopefully next year .. Hilary


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