Never has a word more mundane had such an amazing sound; a perfect lilt upon the lips as it is spoken. Zephyr, merely a gentle breeze, invokes a certain satisfaction, a certain contentedness in the world around us––a light and invigorating freedom in life.
So, I guess, it actually is aptly defined.
Today is the last day of the Blogging April A to Z Challenge, and I thought there would be no better way to conclude the event than to share with all of you some of the most amazing bloggers I’ve gotten to know over the last month. I didn’t ask anyone ahead of time if they would mind being mentioned, so if any of them want to be removed, feel free to let me know. So! For the last day of this challenge, and in the spirit of zephyr, I present to you my personal list of the 2014 Blogging April A-Z Challenge’s Must-Reads.
As a rule, all of the following bloggers wrote such awesome posts that I didn’t want to miss a single one, and will be playing catch-up in May for the posts I didn’t get a chance to read this month.
I followed a LOT of blogs for this challenge––close to 300 of them. I didn’t get to all of them, obviously, but there were a lot of really awesome ones in there who unfortunately didn’t complete the challenge, so I’m not mentioning them here. However, Jelly-Side Up gets a mention anyway, because she’s simply amazing. (Seriously, check her out!) I’ll divide them by platform, since some blogs are easier to follow depending on what service you use.
- Bigger on the Inside: I absolutely adored this poetry blog. Kell was participating in National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) concurrently with A-Z, so her theme was appropriately all of the different poetic forms, A-Z. Rather than just write the poems, Kell also included wonderful explanations for each form which helped me understand poetry a lot more. An absolute must-follow. Check out “Nonsense Verse” and “Iambs, and Other Metric Feet” for samples from her amazing month of poetry writing.
- Caro Ness: Born in Jamaica, but now a resident of England, Caro Ness writes an incredibly wide range of accessible and fun poetry that sometimes takes dives into the more subdued. I loved her blog a lot, and I’m not a huge poetry person, so that should tell you something! My favorite posts of hers were “Let’s Go to a Hotel” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain?“.
- Claire Gillian: Oh, I eagerly anticipated every post from Claire’s amazing series of parody romance covers and blurbs. She was one of the gems of the A-Z challenge I really would have liked to have seen get more notice. Filled with enough snark and wit to keep me following for a long time. Check out her posts “Panda Mine” and “The Lacemaker’s Husband” for samples of the genius she shared with us this month.
- D Lonely Stoner: An amazing flash fiction writer, D Lonely Stoner had a strong month of fiction and poetry that I thoroughly enjoyed savoring. On her own bio, she quotes “Being the odd one out may have its temporary disadvantages, but more importantly, it has its permanent advantages.” Check out her posts “Yours Truly (poem)” and “Antithesis (fiction)” as starters.
- Editorial Stand: You can never follow too many editors, and Editorial Stand is definitely one of the ones that stood out to me in the last month. The theme Laura took on was, unsurprisingly, editing and publishing, and I loved every post I read. Simple, easy-to-digest definitions of everything made this blog a pleasure to read and share with other writers. Check out her posts “E is for Editors” and “D is for Dashes“.
- Linda G Hill: Linda’s frankness and humor was a refreshing treat every day during the challenge, and I highly recommend following this power blogger (if you can keep up!) Always a laugh to be had. You can check out some of her posts at “Y is for … Yodeling and Other Strange Noises” and “Q is for … Quagmire“.
- No Page Left Blank: I found a lot to relate to with Author Tracey Lynn Tobin, not least of all being our mutual fondness of the X-Man Gambit. I’m looking forward to following more of her geeky, insightful posts about characters and fandom. I’m also in love with her term “pre-published author”, because that’s about the best mindset ever. Check out “A to Z Challenge Day 19: Sherlock Holmes (the High-Functioning Sociopath)” and “A to Z Challenge Day 9: Iron Man (the Smarmiest Avenger)” as primers to her awesome blog!
- Onomastics Outside the Box: One of two blogs entered in A-Z by Carrie Anne Brownian, this blog focused on unique and rare names from around the world. And what author doesn’t need more names in their catalog? Both of Carrie’s blogs were great, but this was the one that really stuck with me. Check out a few of her great name posts here and here.
- Ramblings | On | The | Wall: Another blogger that I would definitely count as a friend made from the challenge, even though she isn’t quite finished with the challenge yet, I couldn’t help mentioning her. Sam dresses up her posts with fun reaction gifs (which makes her blog pretty unique on WordPress), and in general has a lot of fun, interesting stuff to say. Be sure to check out “Word Porn Wednesday : Letter of the Day – T” and “P is for … Patience“!
- Sayling Away: One of the most visually appealing blogs I followed during the challenge (it certainly kept me busy on Pinterest) was the series on classical artists curated by Noelle A. Granger (whose name doesn’t actually appear in her bio, but I found through one of her published works). Feast your eyes with these posts on W = Van der Weyden and U = Ucello.
- The Playground: One of WordPress’s own Freshly Pressed, The Childlike Author’s posts on emotions were thoughtful and amusing, with plenty of eye-catching original content and discussion-starters that made his blog a wonderful read. Check out his posts on “The Childlike Author Feels… Yearning” and “The Childlike Author Feels… Flirtatious” and see for yourself!
- The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society: Six amazing writers for the price of one blog? Yes please! Not only a cool blog name, RRFS is also a wonderful blog that discusses the publishing industry in all of its various facets. Of the many indie collectives I’ve seen in the last few months, RRFS is definitely the one whose energy I enjoy the most. Check out their posts on Vampires… Before They Were ‘Cool’ and especially Choosing the Best Opening Scene for Your Story.
- There and Draft Again: A blog I was following before the challenge, this fellowship of fantasy writers took on book recommendations and the craft of writing (geared towards fantasy writers). I’ve been following them for almost a full year and can without a doubt say follow! But, if you need some more persuading, you can check out their posts on Review: Meet the Wizarding World of Destruction by Sharon Bayliss and Judging Books By Their Covers.
- Veronica Sicoe: A science fiction writer with a clean, fun blog, Veronica’s A-Z topic was all about, you guessed it, writing. But like I said, I followed over 300 blogs in the (WR) category of this challenge, and Veronica’s blog stood out. I liked her opinions about genre and creative ways of discussing common topics. Be sure to check out her posts For the love of SPACE OPERA and The flexible definition of LIFE.
- WORDS from SONOBE: Probably my FAVORITE theme of the year, Words from Sonobe’s topic was “Letters to My Younger Self”, an inventive and intimate look at self-evaluation and all of the little trials and successes that make up one’s life. I hope this series eventually turns into a book. It was so wonderful. Here are a couple of her posts to get you started: Mired in a Mad Woman’s Madness and Lessons from Leaping.
- Lexa Cain: Not much more needs to be said beyond Lexa Cain’s theme being “Hauntings”, but I’ll add that they were written so well that I got the creeps on several of the posts, and I’m the type of person who giggles during horror movies. Be sure to check out all of her posts from April, but here are a couple highlights: “Hauntings: Waverly Hills Sanatorium” and “Hauntings: La Laurie House“. Note: Her website does take a while to load sometimes, just so you know.
- StrangePegs: The blog home of Andrew Leon, a wonderful author whom I used to blog with on Out of Print, a free fiction blog. I’ve been a long time reader of his blog, where he reviews movies and talks about writing. His theme this year was “Abandoned Places”. It was a thoroughly researched, thoroughly enjoyable series. My favorite two posts were “Abandoned Places: Shi Cheng, the Sunken City” and “Abandoned Places: Qasr el Baron“.
- On Writing and Riding: This was a really awesome blog that not only discussed grammar and various other elements of writing, but also the many various horses the blog owner, GS Marlene, has owned in her lifetime. As a lover of horses, I couldn’t resist following her for the equestrian and educational updates. Well worth a follow. Here are some of her beauties: “Santana” and “Kit Kourageous“.
Custom Domain Blogs
- Patricia Lynne (YA Author): Patricia was kind enough to visit my blog every day during the challenge, and even retweet my posts (THANK YOU!), but that doesn’t mean I’m simply favoring her. Patricia took on one of my favorite topics for A-Z 2014: Words. Basically every single post she made is going to eventually make it into my Dictionary of Purple Prose (in the tabs). Also, her Skittles avatar just made me happy. For whatever reason. An awesome lady; be sure to check out her awesome lexicon! Good places to start would be Nugatory, Seriatim, and Witzelsucht. She also contributes posts at Story Dam, which was in the challenge as well.
That’s it! YAY! Finally! (Wow, this post took me over five hours to compile…) In any case, did you find any awesome blogs not mentioned here? How many new blogs did you find that you will keep following after this challenge?
If you want to make your own list of must-reads, feel free to steal the graphic above, and use the twitter hashtag #atozstars on Twitter so I can find you!