Friday, May 27, 2016

Flashback Friday with Michael D'

Michael G. D'Agostino, the same fellow who brought us The Question of the Month bloghop, is starting a new hop in which to share some oldies, but goodies, from our personal blog libraries.

Today, I'm going back to Thanksgiving 2010, when my older daughter (nickname Big Bear) was 5, and our younger daughter (nickname Little Bear) was 3. The title was: Things To Make You Snort Cranberry Through Your Nose.

Image Courtesy: richcianci

Good Evening, Bloggers. The season of thanks is upon us, so let me say I’m thankful for my family, especially when they make me laugh:

Little Bear

1. Best mispronunciation from a three-year-old telling her older sister she may not have any of the towels on the floor: “No! You can’t! I’m shitting on them!”

2. Best show of empathy from a three-year-old:

Mommy to Little Bear: “You are so charming! It’s alarming how charming you are!”

Daddy to Mommy: “What about me?”

Disgusted Mommy to man who needs way too much attention: “Eh.”

Little Bear running to hug Daddy: “You’re charming too!”

Big Bear

1. First word: “Blog.” (Prophetic?)

2. Best toddler approximation: ‘bobo-lizard’ for bulldozer

3. Best deflection of Tickle Monster:

Daddy as Tickle Monster: “I’m hungry for . . . belly-button!”

Big Bear: “No, no! Get hers (Little Bears)! It’s juicier!”

4. Best drill-sergeant-in-training-line from two-year-old:

Daddy in deep—obviously fake—voice as he enters darkened two-year-old’s bedroom for good night kiss: “Hello there, it’s me, Papa.”

Little Bear: “You’re not Papa, you’re Daddy, now get your butt over here!”

5. Best correction of pronunciation by a three-year-old to Grandma:

Grandma looking a DVD box of Disney’s Lilo and Stitch: “What it this? Lie-low and Stitch?”

Big Bear: “No Grandma, it’s luh. Luh. Lee-low and Stitch.”

The Good Husband

1. Best unintentional come-on line by woman who stayed at same hotel as husband—a hotel where using their semi-catered gym came at a price: “Is that your eight dollar banana?”

2. Best unintentional come-on line by female coworker (at a dance) whose grasp of English had not fully matured: “Do you swing?”

3. Best come back by husband in Lowe’s parking lot to attendant running after him with a pair of scissors as husband realizes there is a hell of a long length of twine running from his bundle of lumber across the lot and back into the store: “Glad you caught me before I drove home!”

4. Best Freudian slip by husband-to-be when he inquired about the style of wedding dress I’d chosen: “Is it topless?”

5. Best Freudian slip by his high school English teacher about upcoming paper: “On Monday, bring me a fully-fleshed out virgin. I mean version!”

Happy Thanksgiving! May your holiday come with extra giggles.


Note: I will be away from my computer until Saturday or Sunday.

Monday, May 9, 2016

A to Z Reflections

How was the A to Z this year? Not too shabby. Weird science was my follow-up to 2015's Mad Cool Math Nuggets. My posts weren't always as short as an ideal A to Z entry should be, but it was fun (if not maddening) to discover the topics. They worked well as a launching board to promote the speculative fiction anthology Parallels: Felix Was Here.

Parallels had its own blog participating in the A to Z Challenge and it was my duty to handle days L, X, and Y. Getting visitors to comment on one blog is a job. If you can get people to comment on more than one during this challenge, please let me know your secret.

Being a cohost's helper was wonderful. (Give it up for the hosts and co-hosts, in particular Heather Gardner, Stormy the Gnome, and his reattached tootsies!) This gave me twenty blogs to visit periodically, and since inactive blogs were being removed, this group changed with almost every check-in. (Whoever was working behind the scenes to keep things updated: Kudos to you!)

I also found a dedicated group of bloggers who believed in paying back comments with comments, so that added another 20 or so bloggers to visit. Do I wish I visited more? Of course. Hopefully I can get my blogs done in advance next year (fingers crossed) and spend even more time reading and commenting.

Most of the blogs I visited did a fantastic job. I loved learning about werewolf cats, phobias for every letter, and visiting exotic places. Leaving a blog link in the comments helped me a ton. A few A to Z list links sent me to a website page instead of directly to a blog, and a few I just could not find the comment button to save my life.

Will I be back next year? Oh, yeah. I'm already thinking of a theme, and hopefully I'll have my short story collections up on Amazon to promote in a fun way that isn't repetitive. 

How do you feel about blogs that promote books (or other things) during the A to Z challenge? Annoyed? Intrigued? Have you bought books because of the A to Z challenge?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG, May 2016

Good morning everyone! All blogged out from the A to Z challenge? Me too. But I must blog on. And on and . . .

For this year's A to Z, I chose the theme Weird Science as a tie-in to the release of the IWSG anthology Parallels: Felix Was Here. For ten of the letters, I featured an aspect of science relating to one of the stories, such as virtual reality internet, mirrors, rabies, etc. Since my writing time for the entire last three weeks of April went up in smoke due to sick kids and vacation, I did have to blog as I went, which cut into my visiting time.

Another regret was not getting at least one of my short story collections posted on Amazon before (or during) the challenge, so there went that marketing opportunity. Blast it! However, I think rushing the project would've been a bad decision. 

I've found YouTube extremely helpful as I tip toe through this self-publishing process, in particular for adding hyperlinks in the table of contents and making a cover in Word. My version of Word is kind of old (2010, version 14), so it doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles, but here are some of my prototypes:

1. The Basic Skull

2. Skull plus Soccer Girl

3. Skull plus Surgery Scene

The colors are fun in this version, but there's something about having the image of the girl that I like. 

4. Skull plus Soccer Girl and Surgery Scene

This is my daughter's favorite and it is more creative, but I wonder if the casual viewer can tell that the little image is a surgical suite. But if I enlarge the skull too much, it might not look like a skull anymore.

Which cover do you think works best? Have you ever made a cover? Hired someone to make a cover? Did you enjoy the A to Z challenge this year?

A big shout-out to Ninja Captain Alex. Not only has he created this wonderful, supportive group, he visits regularly, and gave me an opportunity for publication! And do visit this month's cohosts: Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Debut to Remember

Something fresh, new, and exciting has made a grand debut this week. Something faster than a cheetah, smaller than a breadbox, and able to fly upside down!

It's . . .

Image Source: Screen Shots from streaming video. Check out Beauty and Dot today!

Baby Peregrine Falcons! Right here in downtown Rochester, cameras have been spying on a nesting pair of Peregrines and this week they are busy, busy, busy gathering food for their three new powder puffs of joy.

Peregrine Falcons were nearly eradicated by pesticide use, but they are making a comeback. These birds can be found all over the continental U.S., but are more common on the coast. In a hunting dive, they can reach up to 200 mph, making them the fastest animal on the planet. To receive prey from her mate, a female peregrine will fly upside down. (Talk about a cool chick!) (Source: 14 Interesting Facts About The Peregrine Falcon)

And there's something else going on today. What was it? Oh, right. Parallels: Felix Was Here! This ISWG anthology features ten mind-bending tales set in parallel universes from authors L.G. KeltnerCrystal CollierHart JohnsonCherie ReichSandra CoxYolanda RenĂ©eMelanie SchulzSylvia NeyMichael Abayomiand some crazy chick going on about baby birds while her short story is trying to get promoted.

Congrats to Bish Denham from Random Thoughts for winning a copy through the contest on the Parallels website.

Here's the how to nab your copy (and you don't even have to fly upside down):


Barnes & Noble




Barnes & Noble



Need to know more? Go to the Parallels website.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Question of the Month with Michael G. D'Agostino

Today's question is thus:

“If a friend came to you looking for advice on starting a blog, what three pieces of advice would you give them?”

1. Run away from your computer right now.
2. I mean it.
3. Why are you still sitting there?

Okay, maybe not. But I did just finish the A to Z challenge and my brain is slightly fried. (And here I am, blogging again, already?) 

Seriously though, here's what to do:

1. If you want to get 20 comments, go out and give 40 comments.
2. Having trouble finding blogs? Steal Click on people in the comment section of other blogs.
3. Join bloghops. This will give you a topic, a built-in audience, and a schedule. I only do bloghops these days. And volunteer to cohost. This will bring even more traffic to your blog.

You can start by joining this bloghop! Click here for A Life Examined.