Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Hi, Everyone...

I know I've been quiet for a whole week. I just couldn't bring myself to post until now. I needed to reflect...  And not just on the A-Z.

This year's Challenge was an eye opener for me. I learned something about myself and my fellow writers/bloggers ....

We truly are a special group. As I wrote my intros, I realized the degree of talent in our blogosphere is ASTOUNDING. So many intriguing subjects and stories. SO many of you cursing me for introducing you to yet another book you HAD TO HAVE and added to your TBR list. Hey, my TBR is endless too! So you guys aren't the only ones. LOL. But seriously, your support and inspiring comments for these authors honestly thrilled me, especially knowing that in some small way I had helped get the word out.

I had also discovered that I really enjoyed writing in so many different voices and genres. It goes to show you what I have always believed, a writer can write ANYTHING as long as they are having fun and they are passionate about it.

Last year I had connected with several bloggers who have become "family" to me. This year, the magic continued to a few others. What's so nice about this challenge is you don't have to drive yourself crazy visiting over a thousand people, who in all honesty, you will never REALLY get to know. So concentrating on a special few and continuing to bond with your "family" is the way to go, at least it works for me.

I enjoyed this year's challenge, even though I had to overcome obstacles. I had to do MORE PLANNING as opposed to "winging it" like I normally do. I am proud of myself because I wrote well. Not just anything. I was inspired by my fellow writers and their incredible talents.

I know many writers are overwhelmed by published and famous authors... not me. I am striving to become one of them. WE must all learn from one another and continue to grow and learn. Stagnation will destroy your creativity. Never let this happen. Never fear to learn.

With only a few more days of the Florida sunshine left, I plan to soak up as much as I can before heading back to Chicago. Two days driving will certainly give me time to think for my next step in my journey.

Knowing that all of you are behind me, enables me to move on with less fear and anxiety of what is to become of my journey. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I will keep my eyes open and my fingers tapping on my keyboard and hope to create words that will inspire all of you.

Have a Wonderful rest of week, and I hope to have some pics to show you on Friday's post. I plan to get to the new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom on Saturday. I have already been there, but I was rained out twice and I want to take pics with glorious blue sky and sunshine. Those I hope to post on Monday. If I get a chance. I will be on the road all day.

Until then.... Pleasant BLOGGING!


  1. ope it doesn't rain on your Disney parade!
    I just wanted to connect with a few new people and I ended up connecting with a few older followers as well.
    Your theme was amazing and bet it really made you stretch as a writer.

  2. Glad you learned something about yourself as a writer from the challenge. You are so creative that I know you'll go far.

    Have a good trip home and hope your reflections move you in the direction you want to go.

  3. Well said and as I always say, you are like a lost 13th cousin to me.

    And family should always stick together, right Matthew?


  4. I loved your theme, Michael, and of all the posts I managed to read during the challenge, yours was one of the best. :D

    It's always great when you make new connections and friends through blogging. I just wish more people would connect their comments with their emails so we can establish new friendships.

  5. Travel Safely.

    Our little corner with each other is truly inspiring. I've learned a great deal from many of the blogs I follow and I found a few more over the challenge that I'm looking forward to getting to know better.
    Have a terrific day!

  6. Hi Michael .. you certainly stretched the boat out - or perhaps the road out for your A-Z .. but you've left us with an amazing resource ... an A - Z of 26 wonderful bloggers and books - and now I can go through and buy them ...

    The change of voice must have been an interesting take on writing up the introductions - I imagine your 'wordly' connexions could have helped a great deal with that .. apart from each blog's actual voice.

    The drive will give you time to mull - I intend to get on the road to visit friends and relatives and that 'space' is a good time to work various options through.

    Enjoy the Fantasyland without rain this time I hope and look forward to the photos of your time there, the journey .. and more mulled ideas for the future.

    I think I essentially did the same as you re-connect with old friends, and met some lovely new bloggers with an instant rapport in some cases ... it's a groovy blogging world out there .. !!

    Cheers Hilary

  7. Your post is inspiring. I agree with you about the circle of friends. I have a group of blogs I try to visit every time they post. I keep making it a little bit bigger. Have a safe trip and wishing you sunshine.

  8. Michael, You did a TREMENDOUS amount of work for the A to Z blogfest. I don't usually read the A to Z blogs because I have found most of them to be slapped together and rather uninteresting. (Sorry, participants!) Instead of writing from the heart, bloggers start churning out posts that sound like school assignments during the month of April.

    But you took the time to dig into everyone's books, their pride and joy, connect with them and create what amounted to fan fiction for each of them.

    You should have a well-deserved rest, but also -- hats off to you! I think you did more work last month than any other blogger I've seen!

  9. Blogging (and this amazing cyber family, which includes you) has become a part of who I am. I honestly don't know what I'd do without all of you. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt sentiments, Michael.

  10. As Alex said: may it not rain on your Disney parade -- but even if it does -- have fun -- and drive safely to get there in one piece!!

  11. Safe travels! I'm slowly collecting a "blog" family. It's an inspiring and exciting experience.

  12. You're absolutely right, Michael, the community here is both amazing and extremely talented!

    Kudos again on your A to Z theme, it was great :)

    Have fun at Disney and it looks like it will be nice weather last week after the awful rain we had last weekend. Stay in the sun and have fun :)

  13. Such a lovely post, Michael! I love being part of this supportive group. Imagine us all in our dotage, with all each other's books on our shelves, talking about the early years!

  14. Enjoy your last few days of sun. I think you're right about the different voices, even within the same book, you can use your skills to give each character a unique, genuine feel.

    Your A-Z posts were amazing, even if I am a wee bit

    Even before I was X, I was awed by you, Alex, and Medeia taking the time and the platform to help others out. You guys are tops!

  15. I love when blogging pushes me to become a better writer, so I'm that the challenge did that for you.

    Drive safe!

  16. Michael, I really enjoyed getting to know you better via the whacky and wonderful definitions you posted during my A to Z challenge contest. Thanks for playing along.
    Your theme was amazing... a wonderful tribute to blogger buddies!
    Have a safe journey!

    Writer In Transit

  17. I honestly can't wait until you put out a book that we can all buy. Your shorts/introductions to the books you featured from A to Z were Liberace fabulous. I loved them all.

    And as a side note, are you going to see HBO's "Behind the Candelabra?" I can't wait. Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his scrumptious lover. I'm sure I'll be doing much pearl clutching.

  18. Michael, I feel the same way about the blogging community. It's this amazing, enormous family of writers that simultaneously manages to feel so warm and cozy.

  19. I am also proud of you, hahaha. You're extremely talented, so much that I know you could tell me a story based on the phone book and you would actually hook my interest.
    I look forward for those pictures! I love pics! :D

  20. Congratulations on the completion of the A to Z Challenge and for a wonderful reflection post.

    A to Z Ambassador.

  21. May 8th, 2013

    Dear Michael,

    Well-written reflection!

    I hope the trip back to Chicago goes well/went well.

    I haven't had time to comment so much because of my class and student-teaching, but I'll get back with you in June when all of that is over.

    I'll be able to catch up on reading through the A-to-Z-posts that I've missed, including yours. So please, keep them alive, Michael!

    Best wishes,

  22. Hey Michael! It's been almost constant rain here. Believe it or not, I'm actually looking forward to some sun! Too much of a good thing :)

    I'm glad the A to Z was such a success this year. Maybe next year, I'll be in it again.

    Be careful and I hope you get to do everything you wish!!!

  23. Michael: I don't know if you got my last message, but if you are going anywhere near St. Augustine on your way home, let me know and maybe we could grab lunch. Enjoy!

  24. I agree...every year I connect beyond the superficial with a couple more bloggers through A-Z. It's truly worth all the effort involved.

    Be careful driving back! :)

  25. I think writing challenges are great. They don't only help us improve our craft. They're a lot of fun too. We also meet people along the way who become friends and supporters alike.

    Have a safe journey back home :)

  26. Nice to see you here too Michael :)

    I hope the weather cooperates for your fun day at Disney. You deserve a glorious day before returning to your home and routine.

    Have a good week, and a safe drive home.


  27. There's nothing like hitting the open road to get dust bunnies outta one's head. Hope you have a safe trip back.

    I entered your blog hop, mainly to support you, but also in hopes a close friend (who doesn't blog but reads along as a measure of supporting me) will read the posts. She was a size 8 when she married and is now a 3x plus size. Much like an alcoholic who's got to make up h/h mind to change one's lifestyle, she's got to do the same (as the slightest mention of anything healthy even in a general conversation falls on deaf ears).

    I'm clueless about how I'll post during the hop. I'm trim, exercise and cook healthy stuff. It also helps that I have a zero sweet tooth. I know, it's easy to hate me, LOL! But when my hub was in the USMC, I saw how so many wives got fat eating their way through deployments and/or fell into the habit of having an afternoon glass of wine that led, in too many cases of women falling into a habit that led to serious problems. So, I determined early on not to fall into those traps, which is how my love for gardening emerged. I rarely drink, holiday stuff, maybe a beer during the summer.

    Michael, I remember your posts about dealing with your weight issue and couldn't be prouder of you, even more so for keeping it off.

    I've got a few (HA!) years on you. Some free advice: Insecurity is self-inflicted. Put a rubber band around your wrist. Every time there's a negative or whatever thought, snap the rubber band (not really hard, just enough to stop the negative flow). One of my minors is in psychology, where I learned this trick. It works!

  28. Yes, your conclusion about connecting with a few in a meaningful way as opposed to visiting a thousand whom you'll never see again is what struck me this year as well. I loved your intros! It's a special talent, I think, to be able to write in someone else's voice - like ghostwriting. I don't think just any writer can pull that off.
    Enjoy the parks!

  29. I know what you mean. This was the first year I visited and revisited a number of blogs. There are some amazing people out there.

  30. A very nice post. I hope Mother Nature give you lots of sunshine to soak in (you've earned it). Safe trip home.

  31. Hi sweetie! You are definitely part of my family now. If had any thoughts otherwise, forget it. :) I can't wait until you are back here and we can have one of our marathon talk sessions. Be safe on the road and I will see you soon.


  32. Michael, LOVE THIS POST!!!! These are my favorite kinds of posts. You did such an amazing job with the challenge---you're honestly one of the most talented people I know. And you're one of those people who make everyone feel like your best friend. It's a gift--and WE are the ones who are lucky to know YOU!!!

    Hope you travel well & safe--and yes! We want pics!!! :D

  33. Wishing you blue skies and sunshine on your next visit to Disneyland! Looking forward to the pics too! Safe trip home, Michael. Store away that scenery, store away those impressions of those you meet, who knows, they may end up in your next book -- after BG, Amber, Chicago Noir novella, that is...You're going to break through as am I. Our time is not yet, but it's coming. Look out world!!!


  34. Enjoy what's left of your time in Florida, Michael! :)

  35. Michael?? How are you? :-)

    Such a lovely post. You have so much positive energy. It's impossible not to love you. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  36. Have a safe trip back, Michael. I hope you have some nice weather waiting for you. It's finally warm here :)

  37. What a beautiful reflections post. You are an inspiration Michael, and I know you worked your butt, fingers and creative mind off during the challenge. I am grateful that you've happily put the word out about our books.

    May you continue to be a blessing and have a wonderful rest of your vacation. :) Writer’s Mark

  38. You are right. I've been virtually kicking myself for not being able to visit as many blogs as I wanted, but lasting and meaningful interaction is far better. Thousands of "followers" can't compare to a single friend.

  39. I agree with you.
    I've been blogging for two years and now it's nice to see that, throughout this time, I built a special relationship with some bloggers, while others, although cool or kind, are not as close family as the other few!
    Well, might not be close family with you, but here's my comment!
    I enjoyed your post!