Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Anthology for a Great Cause, Two Awards, and Summer Sluggishness

As you can tell from the title, this post is a bit of a hodgepodge. Maybe more than a bit.

First off, I visited Cherie Reich's Surrounded by Books today, and learned of a great anthology that is now available for purchase. It's called Stories for Sendai, and all proceeds will be donated to Global Giving for the continuing earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan. The book is available on Amazon here.

Twenty authors, including Cherie, contributed their inspirational stories to the book. This seems like a great opportunity to discover some wonderful writers and read great stories, while also helping a very worthwhile cause.

Second, I want to thank Brenda Sills and Lisa at Diary of a Square Toothed Girl for awarding me with the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award!

I've been fortunate enough to receive this award two weeks in a row thanks to Brenda, who was kind enough to pass it on to me last week, and Lisa, who gave me the award just yesterday. I just met Lisa last weekend through the Media Mayhem hop, and it was so thoughtful of her to give me this award. I am so grateful to both of these ladies, and I really appreciate the awards!

Finally, I've been struggling with terrible laziness so far this summer, and I can't seem to get focused to write or even to visit blogs. I've been working on catching up with my blog visits and I'm almost there, but the writing is not coming back as easily.

For most of June I was totally focused on writing my article for publication in Cat Fancy, as it had to be submitted by July 1, and this was the first time I was working with a writing deadline. I finished the article with time to spare, but my other writing has definitely suffered.

I was at Bards and Prophets today and LG wrote a post about summer doldrums, and that seems to be what I am experiencing. Maybe it's just the time of year, those "lazy days of summer," but I do hope to get more focused and disciplined for the next few months. Lately I seem to just be in a fog when I sit down with the laptop to write.

Another part of my problem might be that I have become obsessed with the show Game of Thrones. Did anyone else watch this? I did not watch as the season aired, but just watched a marathon On Demand. Wow is all I can say. I loved the show and can't wait for next season. But watching the whole season in little more than a week may have contributed to my overall laziness! Now that I'm finished I may have more inspiration to turn off the tv and get back to the laptop.

I think it's time to wrap this hodgepodge up before I end up going off on too many ramblings. I hope everyone  is having a fun and happy summer so far! (And to my southern hemisphere friends, happy winter!) I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a productive July and August for me. I really want to get out of these summer doldrums.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Media Mayhem: Blogs

The third and final theme for the Media Mayhem Blog Hop is blogs. I decided to choose three blogs I just discovered this month.

1) Life by Chocolate

I discovered Robyn's blog during the Fun & Games Blogfest a few weeks ago, and I'm so glad I did. Robyn is a great writer, and at times her posts make me laugh out loud. At other times, I find myself completely touched by her poetry. In short, a visit to Robyn's blog is never a wasted trip!

2) Diary of a Square Toothed Girl

I found Lisa's blog this weekend thanks to the Media Mayhem hop, and found out we are both fans of the Indigo Girls. Lisa and I both picked the song Closer to Fine as one of our song choices, and it was funny to think we picked the same thing out of all the billions of songs out there. Lisa's blog is fun and includes some great photography from what I have seen so far, I'd definitely recommend a visit there.

3) Wagging Tales

Wagging Tales is the blog of Charmaine Clancy, who writes YA and children's fiction. I just came upon Charmaine's blog by chance this weekend, and it is filled with great writing tips. Plus, thanks to my dog Clancy, I couldn't resist her name or her blog address, clancytales! I'm really looking forward to following Charmaine's blog.

So that marks the end of the Hop! I really had fun doing this, and want to say thanks again to RJR Daydreamer. It was great to discover some new blogs, movies, and songs, and also be reminded of some favorites I hadn't seen or listened to in a long time. Thanks also to everyone who visited here!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Media Mayhem: Movies

Today's theme for the Media Mayhem Blog Hop is movies. To go along with yesterday's song theme, I decided to pick three movies I like that are either based on music or include music as part of their story.

1) High Fidelity

I'm a huge John Cusack fan, and High Fidelity is one of my favorite Cusack films. I love the various "top five" lists and the funny asides to the camera, and I think all of the scenes in the record store are hilarious. Basically the combination of music and John Cusack is a can't-miss situation for me.

2) Walk the Line

I was never a fan of Johnny Cash before I saw Walk the Line, mostly because I had never really paid any attention to his music. But I loved all of the songs in this movie, and it gave me a new appreciation for Cash. It's one of those movies I can watch any time I come upon it, and I'm always entertained.

3) The Lion King

I saw The Lion King with my nephew when it first came out, when he was about 3 or 4 years old. When the movie was over, he was so excited he jumped out of his seat and applauded, giving the movie a standing ovation. It was so cute, and thinking of that memory always makes me smile. Since I was a kid I've always loved the Disney movies that have animals as the lead characters, and this one is no exception.

Next up for tomorrow, blogs! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Media Mayhem: Songs

Today's theme for the Media Mayhem Blog Hop is songs. Since this blog is about focusing on new goals and making changes to my life, I decided to pick three songs I like that are about change.

1) David Bowie, Changes

When I was a little kid, I loved listening to my brother's music when he wasn't at home. My favorite to listen to from his collection was David Bowie, and I especially loved the song Changes. I may have been the only little kid listening to Bowie, but I loved his songs, and still do. And I love singing "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes..."

I've always loved these lyrics:

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same

2) Tracy Chapman, Change

I've been a fan of Tracy Chapman since her first album back in the 80s, and I love her song Change. You know how sometimes you get in a mood to listen to a song all the time, and it seems to always have a home on your playlist? That was how I was with this song last year for a while. And, it ended up being inspiring to me, and helped me take steps towards reaching my goals and making changes. For that reason, it will always be special to me.

I love the whole song, but these are probably my favorite lyrics:

How bad, how good, does it need to get?
How many losses? how much regret?
What chain reaction would cause an effect?
Makes you turn around
Makes you try to explain
Makes you forgive and forget,
Makes you change

3) The Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine

I first discovered the Indigo Girls back when I was in college, and I was a big fan. I think they both have great voices, and I love their harmonizing. I kind of forgot about them for a long time, and didn't listen to their songs for years, but re-discovered them a few years ago.
Closer to Fine is one of those songs that just makes me feel good when I listen to it, and I always find myself singing along when I hear it. It's another song where I really like all the lyrics, but I always found this part easy to relate to:

Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it

So those are my three songs. Thanks again to RJR Daydreamer for hosting this fun hop, and I'll see you tomorrow for movies!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Media Mayhem Blog Hop

RJR Daydreamer is hosting the 3 Day Media Mayhem Blog Hop this weekend, and I think it seems like a great hop. Here are the details, from RJR's site:

What... A 3 day, weekend blog hop.
Why... Well I enjoyed taking part in the A-Z April challenge so much that I felt I wanted to do something similar, but shorter.
When... 25th 26th and 27th of June, thats Saturday to Monday.
Theme... Rather than just hopping to random blogs, I thought it would be good if the three days could each have a theme, relating to media.

Saturday - Songs

Post about 3 songs you like, they may or may not be your favourite. Blog how you want, include Youtube clips, or written lyrics, its your blog you choose the style, but tell us why you chose them and let your creative side be free !

Sunday - Films

Post about 3 films you like, again you choose how to present, but the idea is to to let us know why so we can get to know you a little better.

Monday - Blogs

Here is a chance to share something about 3 blogs you follow and why, it may be one that you have found on Saturday or Sunday, or one you have followed for a while.

I love the three different subjects, and I think a short hop like this is a great idea. RJR says this is the first hop that he has organized, and I think he did a fantastic job coming up with the media theme.

If you want to participate, click here to sign up.

Thanks to RJR for hosting, and thanks also to Tara Tyler for sharing about the hop on her blog, I first saw the link on her page and I'm really glad I found out about it.

I'm looking forward to reading about everyone's choices for songs, movies, and blogs!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Travels With Clancy: Alms Park

My car has fallen in love with my mechanic, and seems to want to spend more time with him than it does with me, so between that betrayal and the seemingly endless rain we have had, Clancy and I have hit some roadblocks on our Travels project. But since I had the day off work today and we had some nice weather for a change, we made a trip to Alms Park, which is nestled in the hills on the east side of Cincinnati.

I read that the park was once called "Bald Hill," as the Native American tribe that lived in the area cleared away trees to have unobstructed views of settlers coming down the Ohio River. Now, the park boasts a beautiful overlook with an impressive view of the meeting of the Little Miami River and the Ohio.

One of the bloggers I read recently wrote about visiting places, and imagining who else has stood where you are standing. That's a habit I have always had, and today when I stood at the overlook, I couldn't help but think about that tribe, looking down and seeing the boats carrying the settlers. I can't imagine what a sense of foreboding they must have had. Conversely, I can't imagine being on the boats either, setting out to a completely unknown and hostile world.

While standing there, I looked down and saw this compass in the stone.

I really liked it, and had to laugh as well, as anyone who knows me knows I have the worst sense of direction on the planet. A compass is always a good thing for me to come upon. Anyone who relies on me for directions is making a terrible mistake.

Across the street from the overlook is a pavilion, similar to the one at Ault Park. Apparently, the pavilions were designed by the same architect and thus have similar styles, although this Alms Pavilion is smaller and much less ornate. Still, I thought it was stately and very pretty and, as the park was not at all crowded, quite peaceful.

I loved the architecture of the pavilion.

And the view from inside.

In addition, the landscaping around it is lovely.

Clancy and I continued wandering around, and I ended up finding my favorite part of the park right as we were about to head home. When we walked back to the car and retraced our steps, I noticed a wooden bench near the overlook. The bench was engraved "For Betsy - My Princess."

I was totally taken by this bench, and immediately wondered who Betsy was. Anyone who sat on the bench would have a spectacular view of the river and the valley below, and I couldn't help but wonder if Betsy had loved sitting in this very spot.

The bench reminded me of the scene in the movie Notting Hill, when the main characters find an engraved bench in the garden. I found the bench very romantic, and also felt like there was a story hidden in its wood. I can feel ideas spinning in my head about Betsy and her prince.

While I was enchanted by the bench, Clancy couldn't have cared less about it, and was quick to remind me that we were supposed to be heading back to the car, and the air conditioning. We did, and said goodbye to Alms Park.

It was good to get back to our travels, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my car will stick with me, and we will finally get a prolonged break from the rain. We have pages of places to visit so, with luck, I'm hoping we can get our project on track.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hanging Out Under the Tiki Hut

I want to give a shout-out to Carol Kilgore, who has graciously opened her blog, Under the Tiki Hut, to guest bloggers every Wednesday this summer. I'm signed up to be her guest on August 3, and I'm really excited about the opportunity. August 3 was the only Wednesday left when I asked to participate, so I'm glad I e-mailed Carol in time and made it in just under the wire.

Carol is a great writer and has published numerous books and short stories. She is also a big dog lover and supporter of animal rescue. If you are not already familiar with the Tiki Hut I would highly recommend visiting there! I always enjoy Carol's posts, and she has a lot of great writing advice to share.

Also, the photo at the top of the blog always brings a smile to my face. I imagine myself sitting on the beach under that umbrella, and I can almost hear the ocean in front of me.

This is the Tiki Theme that Carol set up for the guest bloggers to follow this summer, copied from her blog:

"You brought your laptop to the Tiki Hut for some peace and quiet.
What drink do you order? Any snacks?
You're writing away when something catches your eye.
What is it? How do you stay focused on your writing."

I think this scenario provides tons of possibilities, and I'm excited to have the chance to share my take on the theme. I'm also glad I have some time to get something written, the August date worked out perfectly for me. I'm looking forward to reading all of the guest posts over the summer, as it seems like a great chance to discover some new bloggers and writers, and I'm curious to see what other bloggers come up with for the theme. 

So thank you again to Carol, and be sure to visit the Tiki Hut. You won't regret your trip! :)

Monday, June 20, 2011


I was tagged last week by the wonderful Brenda Sills at The Startled Spyglass. This is the first time I've been tagged, so I can add this to my list of "firsts" for June. Thanks for thinking of me, Brenda!

Now I'm supposed to answer the following:

1) Do you think you're hot?

I know I am at the moment, as we are having a heat wave and the ac is broken at work. Every day when I leave work, I look like I've been at the beach, except that I'm wearing work clothes! I hate heat and humidity, and I'm not a happy camper.

2) Upload a pic you're using at the moment

I'm not actually using this pic for anything, but it's so nice to look at, I couldn't resist uploading it. I know I mentioned in my Giveaway post that I'm a fan of True Blood, and that is even more true now after seeing this photo of Alexander Skarsgard, who plays the vampire Eric Northman, in the latest issue of Vogue. Oh my!

3) When was the last time you ate chicken?

I honestly don't know. I like chicken, but I can't think of when I've eaten it recently. But I can tell you that my favorite chicken dish is chicken curry. I'm supposed to be going out to eat at a local Indian restaurant this weekend, and I know this is what I'll order. I love, love, love curry.

4) What songs have you listened to recently?

Fallen Angels, by my nephew's band Black Veil Brides (so proud of him!), Backstreets by Bruce Springsteen, Wild World by Cat Stevens, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2, If I Only Wanted To by Melissa Etheridge, Holiday by Green Day, Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

5) What are you thinking about while doing this?

I'm thinking about the lucky souls I'm going to tag when I am done. :D

6) Do you have any nicknames?

Not really, although some family members call me Jules and Julius. And I've also been called Orange Julius, after the beverage stands.

Now it's time to tag others! So, here are my tags. These bloggers are all fabulous and I always enjoy my visits to their blogs.

You're it, ladies! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

A-Z Follow-Up, and A Short Fiction Contest

It's great to see so many have signed up for the A-Z Visitors Blog Hop for this summer! Has anyone started making their visits yet? I confess, I have visited exactly ZERO new blogs from the A-Z Participants list. I am planning to rectify that soon though, as we are supposed to have a rainy weekend here and it looks like it will be a great time to curl up with my laptop and get back to work on my blogging and writing goals.

Also, I came across this Short Short Story Competition from Writer's Digest, and I thought I would pass it on in case others have not seen it yet. The deadline is not until November, so there's plenty of time to enter if you are interested.

I wrote a flash fiction piece for the Women On Writing contest back in the winter that made it through the first round of cuts, but no farther. I like the story though, so I think I am going to tweak it a bit, and enter it into this contest now. The WOW contest was limited to 750 words, which was difficult for me, so I'm hoping to expand the story since the limit for this contest is 1,500 words. Anyway, I never finished the story I had planned to enter in the Writer's Digest annual competition back in May, so I'm glad to have another opportunity with this new contest. I'm promising myself I will be more disciplined this time!

Finally, I'm having problems with Blogger again, and have once again lost all of the blogs I am following on my dashboard. I'm also having a terrible time getting pages to load. So I apologize if I am behind on keeping up with blogs, I hope to get caught up soon. This Blogger situation is frustrating to say the least!

Happy Weekend, All! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Much More Than A Hearing Dog: The Story Of Jane And Sita Biehl

I'm really excited to be able to share my article that was published today at Thrive In Life. This article is a big thrill for me as it is my first paid credit! It also means a lot to me as I met Jane and her dog Sita through Circle Tail, and I admire that organization so much. And, I am totally in love with the spectacular Sita, she's such an amazing dog. :)

This is the start of the article. (Photo courtesy of Jane Biehl)

Jane Biehl resisted getting a hearing dog for years. Biehl, a counselor and professor in Canton, Ohio who has been deaf since childhood, felt that she had managed fine without a hearing dog for decades, and she could easily continue to do so. 

Her attitude changed after a friend was robbed and beaten in his own home. Biehl felt vulnerable, and set out to change that by getting a hearing dog. As with so many things in life, the timing was fortuitous. If Biehl had decided to get a dog sooner, she wouldn’t have been partnered with Sita. And if there is one thing that has become clear in the nearly four years they have been together, it’s that Sita and Jane were meant to be.

Click here to read the rest:

Much More Than A Hearing Dog: The Story Of Jane And Sita Biehl

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

I'm very happy to announce the winners of my first ever giveaway!

Grand prize winner of the Amazon Gift Certificate: Caren of Cat Chat with Caren & Cody

First prize winner of the True Blood box set: K.C. Woolf of The Woman Condition

Runner-up prize winner of 'Salem's Lot: Talli Roland of Talli Roland

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you again to everyone who participated. This was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to doing another giveaway in the future.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So Excited!

I've been on cloud nine all week, as I signed a contract to write an article for Cat Fancy magazine!! This will be the first time I will have an article in a print magazine, and I'm beyond thrilled about it.

I couldn't believe it when I got the e-mail saying my query had been accepted, as I sent the query way back in January, and had completely written it off after all this time without a response. I was totally shocked when I saw a reply in my e-mail. For a few minutes I just stared at it without opening it as I was sure it was going to be another "thanks, but no thanks" response and, as I was having a good day, I didn't want to ruin my mood with another rejection.

I finally opened the e-mail, and needless to say it did not ruin my good mood. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that it was a personal reply from the managing editor, and she was interested in my article! I started doing a happy dance around my place, and I haven't really stopped dancing yet. (If you'd ever seen me dance, you would know what a scary spectacle this is. :D )

Anyway, I got the contract and it's all official, I'm going to write an article for the November, 2011 issue. I'm so excited I'm just bouncing off the walls, and I know when November comes I will buy up every issue of Cat Fancy that I can find. The people at my local Barnes & Noble will probably think I am more than a little crazy. Or that I just REALLY like reading about cats. :D

As I had shared in my Anniversary Giveaway post, June was already going to be a big month for me as it is my sixth month anniversary of blogging, and my first paid article in an online publication is scheduled to be published in June. Now, June just got even better! I still have to pinch myself to believe this is all true and my query really was accepted.

This writing journey has been such a thrill for me, and these past six months have been so wonderful, I honestly can't remember the last time I felt this good. I'm excited to see what comes next, and I am so grateful to have the chance to share this experience with my blogging pals!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Travels With Clancy: Sharon Woods Gorge

Clancy and I got back to our Travels project last weekend by making a trip to the Sharon Woods Gorge in Sharonville, Ohio. The Sharon Woods park is north of Cincinnati, and is one of the largest parks in the Hamilton County, Ohio park system.

I'd never heard of this Gorge, which seems crazy since it is only about 40 minutes away from where I live. But that is part of the fun of this project, as I've already discovered several nearby places that I was not at all familiar with prior to starting my Travels with Clancy.

As we seem to have skipped spring and jumped right into the dog days of summer, Clancy and I got up early Sunday morning so we could walk the Gorge before the intense midday heat. Due to his thick black coat, the afternoon sun is not Clancy's friend.

We got to the park and, after asking directions from the man at the gate, parked in the shade near the start of the Gorge Trail.

The trail is .7 miles long each way, so it's an easy 1 1/2 mile walk to complete. It starts in the Buckeye Falls area of the park.

Clancy and I started down the trail, and quickly came to another waterfall.

This area of the trail is simply beautiful, and there is a nice overlook with a bench where walkers can sit and enjoy the falls. It's quite peaceful to sit on the bench and listen to the sounds of the rushing water, and the morning songs of nearby birds.

Clancy wasn't interested in sitting for very long, but he did agree to have his picture taken at the overlook.

As you can see from the picture, the drop is steep. Since Clancy and I are both as clumsy as you can get, we had to be extremely careful near the edge.

Not far from the falls, we came upon this "Blueprints of the Past" sign. The sign informed us that the Gorge used to be covered by the Ordovician Sea, which was a tropical body of water.

Apparently, the Ordovician time period was more than 4 million years ago, and is considered part of the Paleozoic Era. It is named for a Celtic tribe called the Ordovices. According to the sign, the Gorge is filled with fossils from this era, and I would imagine it is a great place for geology students to visit.

The trail continues along the limestone creek bed, and I was struck by how lush and green everything was.

While it was a very bright and sunny morning, the trees were so dense that they functioned as a canopy, only allowing peeks of sun to get through. As a result, the trail was quite cool regardless of the day's temperature.

We kept walking, and eventually came to a quaint wooden bridge.

After crossing the bridge, the trail makes a fairly steep ascent, and the cliffs reach a peak of about 90 feet.

Once again, my partner in clumsiness and I needed to be very careful.

I was surprised to come upon yet another waterfall, probably the tallest of the three.

Not long past the final waterfall, the trail ends at Kreis Dam and Sharon Woods Lake.

There is a paved trail that circles the lake, but the sun was a bit much for Clancy by this time, so we returned to the shade and headed back the way we came.

The Sharon Gorge is an absolutely beautiful trail, and feels like stepping into a forest in the middle of the city. I intend to return to the Gorge in the fall, as I have no doubt that the foliage will be stunning.

As we left Sharon Woods, we passed a few mastodons near a "Mastodon Crossing" sign, a cute nod to the geologic history of the area. Fortunately, we didn't have to stop for any mastodons crossing the road. 

Clancy and I had a fantastic morning at the Gorge, and enjoyed meeting other dogs and walkers along the trail. It's safe to say that our second Travels project was a success, and we're looking forward to trip #3 this weekend.

We hope you'll continue to follow us on our adventures!

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's All Fun & Games Blogfest

Hello and welcome to my fellow Fun & Games bloggers!

My three games? Euchre, Oh, hell, and Yahtzee.

1) Euchre
Source: Wikipedia

I love playing cards, and have ever since my brother taught me to play poker when I was a little kid. When I was in college at Ohio State, I learned to play Euchre. It's been my favorite game ever since.

Euchre is a trump game, and is played with four players, who pair off in sets of two. The highest card is the jack of the selected trump suit, called the right bower, and the second highest card is the jack of the same color, the left bower. All other cards are ranked according to face value. The hand above would be the perfect, unbeatable hand for a round with spades as trump.

I've never been particularly great at the game, but I've always loved it. While I usually end up with a hand full of 9s (the lowest card in Euchre,) nothing beats picking up your cards and seeing those jacks and aces.

2) Oh, hell


I learned to play Oh, hell as a child, when I was about 12 years old. My mother's cousins were big card players, and I remember visiting them and learning to play Oh, hell. Even though I was only 12 and the other players were adults, I took to the game at once. It became a family joke as I was so serious about the game, I acted as if I was in Vegas playing high-stakes poker. Unfortunately, I didn't win, and my 12 year old self was not the least bit happy about that.

I don't take it seriously any more, but I still enjoy the game, which involves taking tricks. The object of the game is to bid the exact amount of tricks you think you will be able to take in each hand. I often play the game now with family members on holidays, and we always have a lot of laughs while playing.

3) Yahtzee

Source: Wikipedia

This is another game I've loved since childhood, and the picture above brings back wonderful memories. This is the original Yahtzee game that was sold back in 1956, and the set my family had when I was a kid looked just like this. We would bring the game with us to Martha's Vineyard each summer, and play while we sat around the table after a day at the beach. I loved rolling the dice in the little wooden container, and keeping track of my score with the little golf-style pencils. I have no idea what happened to this set, but I'd love to find it again.

So those are my games. It was fun to pick these, and I want to say thanks again to Alex J Cavanaugh for hosting this blogfest!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's All Fun & Games Blogfest and The A to Z Followup

I just learned of the It's All Fun & Games Blogfest, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, while visiting Bards & Prophets over the weekend. I'm glad I learned of it in time, as it seems like a great blogfest. The Fun & Games are tomorrow, June 6th, so there's still time to sign up if you want to participate.

Here is the description of the Blogfest from Alex's sign-up page:

"It’s All Fun & Games Blogfest, June 6, 2011 - list your three most favorite games and why. Board games, card games, RPG, video games, physical games, drinking games - even mind games! If it’s a game you enjoy playing, it’s worth sharing."

To sign up, visit Alex's page here. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's choices for their games. Thanks to Alex for hosting this fun event!!

Also, I'm thrilled to be co-hosting a follow-up to the April A-Z Challenge. Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Tina at Life is Good came up with the idea to challenge ourselves to visit all of the wonderful blogs we missed during the crazy days of April. I thought this was a fantastic idea, as my favorite part of participating in the April Challenge was meeting so many great bloggers. There were so many participants that I know I missed tons, so I'm excited to go back and catch up now.

There's no official start or end date for this challenge, but the intention was to make it a summer event. I know Shannon wrote that her goal was to work on this from June to September, and that sounds like a good plan to me. So I am looking forward to meeting many new bloggers over the summer!

I'm delighted to have the chance to co-host, as this is the first time I've ever hosted any type of blog event. I'm still figuring out how to add the linky to my site so I don't have the sign-up list here yet, but if you want to sign up, visit Shannon at The Warrior Muse. You can access the list of A-Z participants through the Tossing It Out page here.

Thanks again to Alex, Shannon, and Tina for these fun opportunities!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Giveaway Reminder, a Blog Award, and a Free Book!

Just a reminder that the deadline to enter my Sixth Month Anniversary Giveaway is Saturday, June 11th, at midnight, Eastern Standard Time. If you want to enter for a chance to win an Amazon gift certificate or some great vampire books, just leave a comment here. Thanks to everyone who has already entered or commented in the thread!

Also, I was thrilled to win a giveaway myself earlier this week. Amy at The Ramblings of Amy gave away some copies of her book They Walk, which is the first in a trilogy. I haven't had the chance to start reading it yet, but I've no doubt it will be great, and I was very excited to win a copy of the book. So I wanted to send a big thank you to Amy, and encourage everyone who is not already familiar with her blog to check it out!

Thanks are also due to L. Carroll at Lor Mandela. She was kind enough to surprise me with The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award, even calling my little home here "the cat's meow." :D I am very grateful and appreciate the award so much. Lor Mandela is another great blog and I would encourage everyone to take a look if you are not already a follower.

So thank you again to Amy and L. Carroll for bringing smiles to my week with these great surprises!

Happy weekend, everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011