A TO Z REFLECTIONS…

This post is only due on Monday 07 May, but I'm posting it early, since I will be too busy next week… plus this is quite a long post. Please bear with me. And I will link up again on Monday.

A BIG THANK YOU TO MR A TO Z HIMSELF, ARLEE BIRD, AND HIS AWESOME A TO Z TEAM! THEY DID AN EXCELLENT JOB!

The 2012 A to Z Challenge has come and gone. I say this with mixed feelings of delight, relief, sadness… and a sense that a life-changing event has come and gone. A never-to-be-repeated experience, since I am certain that each A to Z challenge is never the same. And I’m so glad that I had the privilege to be part of it.

The variety of responses to my 26 musically-themed fiction posts have given me new insights into my writing abilities and writing style. I’ve also grown in confidence and the knowledge that, as a writer-in-the-making,  I have SOME degree of writing talent that needs to be worked on, improved, polished…

My reflection post is an outline of each post, with accompanying reader responses taken from the post. I have a thing about comments and decided to pay tribute to bloggers whose comments stood out because they were either encouraging when I felt "down and out", inspiring when I needed a boost, entertaining and made me laugh, or just something that resonated with me at that particular moment, for whatever the reason… so a heartfelt thank you for these gems…

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My musical journey through the alphabet began on a solitary note, with an unaccompanied solo performance in A CAPPELLA – which echoed each participant’s start to the journey – only you and your ideas, the 26 unknown days stretched before you with all its possibilities of success/failure…

COMMENTS: "… sometimes adversity brings the passion back in us which an easy life tends to scuttle away…"  REKHA from A CHRONICLE OF DREAMS.

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BOSSA NOVA introduced a funky character, whose body and beads swished and swayed, this way and that, in time to an unheard beat.      

COMMENTS: "… very cool how you made the beads part of the music and therefore part of the woman's magic." JOCELYN RISH.

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As the challenge forged ahead, and many bloggers battled to “find their feet” and settle into a balanced,  flowing pattern of daily posting and visiting other bloggers, CADENCE added a rhythmic dimension to the entire process.                  

COMMENTS: "the rhythm of your writing matched your word of the day." JOCELYN RISH.

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At this point, the challenge was well on its way, accompanied by tension in the distinctively naked, yet vibrant sounds, of DJEMBE DRUMS which stirred a memory…       

COMMENTS: "I like the drumbeat of tension in this." DAMYANTI from AMLOKIBLOGS (CO-HOST OF THE A TO Z CHALLENGE).

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Enter the nerd-inspired ENSEMBLE which changed the mood once again, restored it to a more even and light-hearted one, complete with a touch of irony and thumbs-up in favour of the under-dog.  

COMMENTS: "… you are a creative machine! Such great words and stories to match…" PAT CARROLL MARCANTEL aka MS. PAT from LIFE'S AUTUMNS.

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Just when things appeared normalised, the dark and eccentric FIDDLER crept into the picture under the guise of a normal and unassuming, ‘green-fingered fusspot’ of a character.  

COMMENTS: "… (how many full-fledged books will she get out of this one- month challenge)…" PAT CARROLL MARCANTEL aka MS. PAT from LIFE'S AUTUMNS.

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As the challenge entered its seventh day, the dark mood continued in GONG which revealed a procession moving along… a slow and inexorable passage towards an unknown destiny… within a Zen-like environment.    

COMMENTS: "I finished reading The Hunger Games yesterday, so I'm imagining something like that experience." MARY AALGARD from PLAY OFF THE PAGE.

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At this stage, a mixture of light-heartedness with a dark twist, took centre-stage in HARP, a tale of revenge, which results in the character “getting her own medicine” and gives a different meaning to the gentle, soothing perception of the musical instrument.    

COMMENTS: "Oh Matilda! If only you'd known. Ha! Super. I loved reading about Matilda getting what she gave. I can see her wide-eyed face in my mind's eye." ROBYN CAMPBELL from PUTTING PEN TO PAPER.

"Love the idea that a harp can be lovely strains … or discordant 'harping'. TEXAS PLAYWRIGHT CHICK.

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The typical tug-of-war that all writers experience at some stage or the other, is featured in the IMPROVISATION post, the result of not knowing what to post for the topic. 

COMMENTS: " clever improv! keep inking ingsta!" TARA TYLER aka TTT from TARA TYLER TALKS.

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The piece on JINGLE had nothing to do with radio/tele adverts as would be expected, but tells of a single, level-headed, “money-wise” character, who leads a “hum-drum” existence, but is about to be tricked by a red-headed siren.   

COMMENTS: "I think his hum-drum life is about to get more exciting than he thought." PAMELA JO from THERESJUSTLIFEYALIVEIT.

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The musical description of laughter is painted in KEY SIGNATURE with the synchronisation of ebony and ivory piano keys…    

COMMENTS: "That was beautiful, dreamy and poetic." ELISE FALLSON.

"Love the way all the words swirled around like laughter in the rain." CHERYL KLARICH from WRITING REMNANTS.

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The lilting, calming LULLABY is a reflection story of fond memories, experienced by an old piece of furniture which has been passed from one generation to the next.  

COMMENTS: "lullaby memories are some of the best memories of all, whether one is the luller or the lullee." BETH STILBORN from BY WORD OF BETH.

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The even-tempered, calming nature of the last few pieces changes again, to reveal the creepy and morbid mental faculty of a skilled and heartless, food-obsessed psychopath in MAESTRO.   

COMMENTS: "You are indeed a maestro orchestrating some great stories." DEBBIE from ABRACADEBRA DESIGNS.

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As you recover from the chill, the mystery of a dream-like NOCTURNE blurs the boundaries between fantasy and reality.

COMMENTS: "So mystical and pretty. I like it." JESSICA MARCARELLI from VISIONS OF OTHER WORLDS.

"The word has always attracted me because of its poetic sound. Now it will mean a bit more to me, and inspire further writing about a Nocturnal Angel… love it!" NOVEMBER RAIN ~k aka LADY MYSTIQUE from A-Z BLOGGIT WRITE.

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This sense of uncertainty, of being neither here nor there, continues in OSTINATO with a confused character experiencing conflicting emotions on the topic of abandonment and  life’s direction…      

COMMENTS: "Almost sounds like a driving lesson." ALEX J. CAVANAUGH aka CAPTAIN NINJA.

"Oh, how sad! Though it sounds like the character is preparing to move on to something else." GOLDEN EAGLE from THE EAGLE'S AERIAL PERSPECTIVE.

"Fantastic quality to the piece, longing and bitterness in the right measure." REKHA from A CHRONICLE OF DREAMS.

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PRIMA DONNA is a vivid close-up, on a larger-than-life character, who is condescending and full of her own self-importance.   

COMMENTS: "I love all the wonderful details that you've woven in down to her Jimmy Choos!" JULIE from EMPTY NEST INSIDER.

"So many references, all bound up in a sensual musical dance." SUSAN KANE from THE CONTEMPLATIVE CAT.

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A sea-side setting, with two characters who have re-connected after many years apart, is the poignant and multi-coloured QUARTET, where dialogue reveals heart-breaking memories and a couple who have been torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. 

COMMENTS: "I like the addition of a storyline to your musical words. This has been a good way for me to learn a few of the terms that I was not familiar with, but more fun to see what you will do with them next." NOVEMBER RAIN ~k aka LADY MYSTIQUE from A-Z BLOGGIT WRITE.

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REVERBERATE is a sad echo of somebody whose mental landscape has been altered by a tragic experience which is buried deep in the recesses of a broken mind. 

COMMENTS: "I really think you need to write "behind the scenes" for some of these posts, letting us know what you were thinking about when you wrote it! Very cool post. STEPHANIE from CLAY BABOONS.

"Twisted but I like it. I can picture the poor soul rocking back and forth on a bed while her mind is tormenting her… great job on this one!" ELISE FALLSON.

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The sadness continues in STACCATO which questions the workings of a machine which “dictates” life or death situations.

COMMENTS: " That's a sad way to think of the staccato. A fleeting blip. The final blips on the heart monitor. Then, flatline." MARY AALGARD from PLAY OFF THE PAGE.

"I had never thought of staccato that way. It always seems so full of life and energy. A new thing to think about." SHERRY ELLIS from MAMA DIARIES.

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A saucy, sexy, sensual and seductive TANGO/TUTTA-FORZA weaves a spell and keeps you wondering until the last frenzied moment.   

COMMENTS: "This is one heart-thumpin' post. Is it hot in here?" LESLIE ROSE from YES, THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST.

"Oooo, very, very sensual. *waves fan* ROBYN CAMPBELL from PUTTING PEN TO PAPER.

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A positive, strong-spirited and UPBEAT character keeps the momentum going, at this stage of the challenge, with only five more posts left, and also provides some thought-provoking and life-saving reflections on good, old-fashioned physical work.  

COMMENTS: "Mildred is my kinda girl. Didn't know Upbeat had a different meaning. Didn't know about downbeat either." J.L.CAMPBELL from THE CHARACTER DEPOT.

"You are now officially the queen of the intriguing twist end." STEPHANIE from CLAY BABOONS.

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The word “sorry” is the feature of VIGOROSO/VIVACE in which a character gives somebody the “third degree” in a sarcastic one-sided outburst!     

COMMENTS: "Snarky! I like it." ALEX J. CAVANAUGH aka CAPTAIN NINJA.

"Love it. Get your sorry ass out of here, pronto. You tell 'em, sista!" MINA BURROWS.

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Memories surface and are erased in WINDCHIMES as the character watches the colours whirling round and round…         

COMMENTS: "I so want to know what happened when those windchimes arrived, and also who brought them there." DEBBIE from ABRACADEBRA DESIGNS.

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 There is a definite sadness in the last few posts: the last, dying thoughts of a prisoner are explored in the explosive X-PIRANDO…      

COMMENTS: "What a moment! I got chills and teared up at the transition from pain to bliss." LESLIE ROSE from YES, THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST.

"Poignant and powerful. I'm glad you decided to do this challenge." DAMYANTI from AMLOKIBLOGS (CO-HOST OF THE A TO Z CHALLENGE).

"Excellent post. I can practically hear the low chanting in my head as I read it. The involuntary jerking of the body sent chills down my spine." CATHERINE NOBLE.

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…the haunting sound of a flute-player is the focus of YENTL

COMMENTS: "Your writing is always wonderful." SHELLY from THE LIFE OF A NOVICE WRITER.

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…an annual end-of-year reflection, accompanied by the migrationary patterns of doves, is always associated with tragic news for the character, and concludes the challenge in the mournful ZENAIDA DOVES.

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There were lots of other wonderful and encouraging comments, and thank you to EVERYBODY who took time out of the hectic schedule to visit my blog. If I had to add any more, then this reflection post would have lasted a week….

And that is that. The end of another wonderful challenge. And yes, I will definitely be participating in the next one… SEE YOU ALL AT THE 2013 A TO Z CHALLENGE!

60 Comments

  1. Jocelyn Rish on May 6, 2012 at 8:02 am

    What a wonderful way to do your reflections post.  Thank you for including me!  You should take some of your favorite flash pieces and exand them into longer stories.

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for your constant support during the challenge! i also enjoyed your Monday to Friday themed posts (even though I didn't comment on all of them)… and also your "entourage of fur-assistants" – they were too cute!

      • Jocelyn Rish on May 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        Thanks for your sweet comment on my reflections post.  You were definitely one of the quality people I was talking about!  And the pups appreciated the shout out. 🙂

  2. k~ on May 6, 2012 at 8:32 am

    This is a fantastic way to summarize of month of heavy posting and reading. The alphabet resonates with the harmonies you created along this magickal journey. Fantastic!

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      What a beautiful comment… and I really enjoyed your haiku posts. Thanks for visiting my blog as well, Lady Mystique!

  3. Rekha on May 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

    A fitting tribute not a farewell wave to accompany your beautiful stories. It was a pleasure to read and the comments came from the heart as can be seen above. 
    I hope to see your name on print someday. Enjoy your Sunday and have a good week ahead. I 'll be aroud  as often as I can. 😉

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Your encouragement and wonderful comments have inspired me and given me a new perspective on my writing…During the challenge, I actually looked forward to your comments on a daily basis… I've said this before – you always respond to my writing with a special sensitivity… thank you so much! And thanks also for the wonderful photos you posted for the challenge!

  4. Elise Fallson on May 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I meant every word. 🙂
     

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      … and that's so encouraging… it makes me feel so proud to be a writer… I'm so glad that I met you! 🙂

  5. tara tyler on May 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    love the review of your reviews! all raves! you did awesome with the challenge!

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      … and I loved your innovative and crazy word verification/ book blurb posts… awesome stuff TTT! 🙂 🙂

  6. Robyn Campbell on May 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    You did an awesome job on the challenge. Tha nk you for including me. I have you included on mine too. I did my post on the themes that intrigued me and yours was on the list. BTW, you should definitely think about expanding these pieces into something more. You write well!  Mine is scheduled to go up tomorrow morning. (((Hugs)))

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      I really enjoyed your company during the challenge, Robyn. I'm gonna miss that burst of energy that accompanied your visit, as you'd whoosh in and out—- thanks for including me on your wonderful list of peeps! 🙂 Keep in touch!

  7. mary aalgaard on May 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I think you could publish this in a collection of short stories. Add to some, but others are great as they are. Well done. I say, Brava!

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

       Did you say publish?  *blushes*  🙂 I'm just finding my "writerly feet" and I'm certain that there's lots of work still to be done on these pieces… plus I wouldn't know where to start… *sighs*  thanks for the thumbs-up, Mary!

  8. Beth Stilborn on May 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you for posting this wonderful overview of your oh so creative posts. I, too, hope we'll see these worked into published format at some point. And thanks for the shout out!

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      As I said to Mary, I wouldn't know where to start… but I will definitely do some homework… some investigation… and see what I come up with… 🙂

  9. Catherine Noble on May 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    What a lovely way to round up your A to Z Challenge 🙂 I feel honoured to be included in your comments!

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      I really had a blast during the challenge! You posted some wonderful and inspirational comments, Catherine!  🙂

  10. Julie on May 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Michelle, You went above and beyond in your A to Z theme, and your comments certainly reflect it. Thanks for including me, and for all of your support throughout the challenge. I agree with everyone that you should publish these creative short stories.    Julie

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      I think it's because, as a "late bloomer" (only writing fiction for just about 1and half yrs), I've felt the need to really work extra-hard on my writing, to make up for all the "lost years" (whatever that means)… I really enjoyed your entertaining posts and your sense of humour. A visit to your place, is a guaranteed "pick-me-upper" experience…

  11. Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Glad you had a good time with the Challenge! And look, I actually said something intelligent.

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      *bursts out laughing* Ah Alex, you don't have to be anything other than what you already are… just your wonderful self!

  12. Sherry Ellis on May 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    That is quite a reflections post!  What a wonderful way to do it.  Thanks for including me in it.  I'm so glad I met you through this challenge!

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      I'm glad I met you too… 🙂 Keep in touch!

  13. The Golden Eagle on May 7, 2012 at 12:09 am

    This is a wonderful way to reflect on the A-Z Challenge.
     
    Thank you for the mention!

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks Golden Eagle. Your posts were really educational! Sometimes my "layman's brain" just couldn't wrap itself around all that wonderful info you shared… I suspect that some of the questions I asked were silly… did I make a fool of myself? 🙁

  14. Shelly on May 7, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Like I said, your writing is always wonderful. I enjoy coming over and reading your diddies.

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Shelly, a bajilion thank yous for ALWAYS believeing in my writing… 🙂 🙂

  15. J.L. Campbell on May 7, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Reading through your post and the comments made me want to go back and read all of them. I think you've done very well when you can share knowledge and also tell a story while you're at it. and yes, I like how you've formatted this post. Cool format. Nicely done.

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you for the compliment! I didn't get to comment on all of your posts… though I did read most of them. I'm thinking that I'll have to return to some blogs, and spend some time reading through missed posts. So, if you see an A-to-Z-lurker, it may probably be me… 🙂

  16. Mina B. on May 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    An excellent reflections post!  These comments are unbelievably inspiring.  You should be proud. 🙂

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Mina, I'm beyond proud! 🙂 🙂 It's such a feeling to know that there are people out there who believe in my writing… means I have to have SOME sort of talent? I can't be THAT bad, after all…? Thank you for your support!

  17. Pat Carroll Marcantel on May 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Ah, dear Michelle, thanks for the comment on my "wrapping it up rant-post. And thanks also for including my comments to two of your posts. You did an outstanding job with the A-to-z Challenge. It was a pleasure getting to exchange thoughts and ideas with you. Let's not let it end, okay? Okay. Oh, almost forgot. Check out my Every Wednesday poem on my latest post. This is an ongoing thing on Wednesdays with the prompts provided by Writers Digest editor Robert Lee Brewer. Fun. 

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Ms. Pat… you are stuck with me – for better or worse! *chuckles* I will check it out!

  18. Stephanie on May 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    See…even your recap was more involved and well-written than most!  Glad I found you during this challenge.  🙂

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Stephanie, you say the most wonderful things… 🙂 You really do. I loved your posts too… your clay-peeps are something else!! I'm glad that we met! Yes. I will keep in touch… pop in to see what further mischief the clay-people are up to… 🙂

  19. Gina on May 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    This is a great reflections post. I really liked how you did this post.

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Welcome to my place. Thanks for the visit!

  20. Jessica Foster on May 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    What a clever way to do your reflections post. I'm glad you got so many amazing comments from your posts. Part of the fun of the A-Z challenge was seeing my writing grow. I'm glad you experienced that too.

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks for the visit and the follow, Jessica. *waves*  My original reason for choosing 26 fiction posts was to challenge myself as a "writer-in-the-making…" and leave the readers to decide "if" I have the potential to "make it"…  I'm not sorry that I did so…

  21. Leslie Rose on May 8, 2012 at 3:49 am

    What a great response post, and I'm not just saying that because I'm in it.

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Love your comment, Leslie! *chuckling* Don't worry, I don't doubt your sincerity, not one bit…

  22. Arlee Bird on May 8, 2012 at 4:32 am

    A very comprehensive overview of your contributions.  Oh, and thank you for the title you gave me.  I'm glad this was a positive experience for you.
     
     
    Lee
    <a href="http://afarawayview.blogspot.com/&quot;
    > A Faraway View</a>
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Yes, it was * * * * *  five-star experience!! Thank you Mr. A to Z…

  23. Jeremy [Retro-Zombie] on May 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Reflection is a good thing, You have done a great job on the A to Z Challenge…

    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
     

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you Retro-Z… for everything you did… especially all the banners/badges… awesome!

  24. Kela McClelland on May 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    This was a great reflection post. I missed a few of your posts from the challenge, so I'm going to go back through them. Have a great day 🙂

    • michelle on May 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks Kela. I'm also gonna spend some time "stalking" certain blogs from the challenge! I know that I must have missed some "gems" in all the A to Z madness… 🙂

  25. Evalina on May 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I didn't visit all blogs during the challenge but I'm visiting every single one with a reflection post. They're the winners! Congratulations on finishing the challenge, hopefully we will do it again next April!

  26. michelle on May 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Welcome to my place, Evalina! Thanks for popping in. I know what you mean… there were too many blogs to visit… it was super-hectic! I'm off to your place now————– *whooshes away*

  27. Carolyn Brown on May 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    A very clever way to write your reflections post! It sounds like you really enjoyed the challenge too! Although I was kept very busy, I still found April an enjoyable month and will certainly sign up again next year!

    • michelle on May 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      I visited your place for the first 2/3 posts, which I found intriguing, and then the frenzy of A to Z crept in! BAM! It became hectic… There wasn't enough time to check out all the blogs I really wanted to visit, plus new ones too… I will pop in to read your reflections on the challenge.  And yes, I had a great "journey through the alphabet" and will definitely sign up again next year! 🙂

  28. Theresa Milstein on May 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Ha!  Clever A to Z post! 

    • michelle on May 12, 2012 at 12:49 am

      Thanks Theresa!

  29. nutschell on May 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    You did an awesome job with your A-Z posts! You deserve an award and if you scroll down several posts to my A-Z May 7 post, please feel free to download the blogging nut award!
     
    Happy weekend!
    Nutschell
    http://www.thewritingnut.com

    • michelle on May 12, 2012 at 12:50 am

      What a wonderful gesture… thank you Nutschell!

  30. Jarm Del Boccio on May 17, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Sorry I didn't get to your blog in the Challenge, Michelle, but, I love your theme!  Congrats on finishing!

    • michelle on May 17, 2012 at 7:01 am

      It was far too hectic anyway… thanks Jarm!

  31. Pat Marcantel on February 16, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Hello, Michelle. I've had a few rough patches in my life since we last made contact (how many eons ago?) and I just want to let you know that I haven't forgotten you. You're doing so well with your writing. Hope the music is going well too. I haven't been able to get into my website where we first met, and don' have enuf computer savvy to figure out what to do. I just get more paranoid every day re: Blogger. They must hate me; it's a plot; etc., etc., etc. My latest project is setting up a website where I'll try to sell some of my paintings and sketches. (I can't handle Blogger and now I'm taking on a business website. Make perfect sense to me.) Let me hear from you via e-mail. Would love to know how you're doing. Don't forget!

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