Z is for Zephyr

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.

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Graphic by Alex Hurst; free-use. Just link back to me so I can read yours!

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.

WordPress Blogs

  • 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“.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Blogspot Blogs

  • 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.

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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!

Thank you, everyone, for an awesome month!

42 thoughts on “Z is for Zephyr

    1. Not at all, Priyanka! I really do love your blog. I’m hoping to finish reading all the posts I didn’t get to in the next few days. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the awesome posts! I’m sorry I fell behind… but they’re all on my bloglovin’, just waiting to be read! 😉

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  1. Alex, how generous you are as a blogger! And I shall now return the favour by following all the excellent blogs you recommend and attempting to write a poem about them, including yours! I did this for the Universal Blog Challenge with favourite bloggers if mine that I discovered!

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    1. That sounds like an amazing––and daunting––task! I can’t wait to read it! I had so much fun with your blog this month, so it was no trouble at all for me to write up a few words in the hopes that others will find you too. Thanks for being so cool! 😀

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  2. Congrats on completing the A-Z Challenge, from a fellow participant. I will be checking out some of the blogs you’ve listed.

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    1. Thanks so much, Mahala! I’m glad we got to meet on this last day!

      Just so you know, I’m an ESL teacher in Kyoto, and my school (and students) are IN LOVE with Barefoot Books! I am so happy to know that someone involved with such an awesome company visited my blog!!

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    1. Not at all! I have a serialized hard sci-fi planned for release at the end of the year, and your blog was super inspiring, so thank YOU!

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    1. Thank you! I love your blog co-op. It’s awesome. Looking forward to continuing to read it in the future. ^_^

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  3. Alex, thanks so much for the shout out. I enjoyed putting my Renaissance artists posts together and learned a lot myself along the way!

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    1. Not at all! I didn’t get a chance to visit you for the whole challenge, but I have about 18 posts from you waiting for me to read in May. 😀 I loved your theme!

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  4. Thank you for the mention! I think I visited 2 of the other ones you mentioned: Jelly Side Up and Veronica Sicoe’s (multiple visits I loved her sci fi tips so much). I’ll be checking out some of the other blogs and like you reading well in to May and beyond.

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    1. Both awesome ladies. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more from you in the future. You’re certainly stuck with me! 😉

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  5. Yay! Great post! There are hundreds of blogs I didn’t have time to visit over the course of the month, so my summer goal is to travel through blog land. Love the suggestions. 🙂

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    1. Sounds like a great goal! Thanks for stopping by. As i said on your blog, I’m excited to get back to my personal writing, though, haha.

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  6. Ah, Alex, you’re definitely the sweetest. I’m so glad to have formed such a good bloggership with you and I definitely appreciate the shoutout even though I slacked off near the end. We’re in the same boat with needing to go back and read a bunch of posts. At least I’ll have something to keep me busy at work! 🙂 Congrats on finishing the challenge!

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    1. No worries at all. Life does happen with or without us. 😉 I saw you post some catchup posts, so I’m looking forward to reading those. I’m looking forward to reading more from you from here on out. 🙂

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  7. Whoa! Hey, thanks! Unless, of course, your use of the word zephyr implies anything about blowing hot air. 😛
    Actually, zephyr is one of those words that I really like.
    And some of those blogs have great titles that would prompt me to go there for that alone.

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    1. Not blowing hot air. I do genuinely enjoy your blog, and the theme was a great one. Zephyr is a really fun word. I love it so much I named a character Zephyr several years ago, haha.

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  8. Zephyr is a great word and someday I’ll name a horse that. Thanks for mentioning my blog. I had a great time writing the posts and getting to meet so many new people. Although I couldn’t follow 300 – that’s really impressive! Great job Alex and see you next week on my Writing Process blog hop post.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

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    1. See you on Monday! Excited to read your hop. 🙂 (And take part!) Following 300 blogs wasn’t easy. My entire April was just “blogs, blogs, blogging, blogs, blogs”…. I’m ready for a break. 😉

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  9. Thanks for the personal recommendations! I’m going to visit all of them. I’m doing a last day blitz of commenting. It helps to have some recs since sometimes I click from the Big Ole List and find blogs who abandoned the challenge after letter D or they never started. I know the hosts do a lot of work to clean up those links but it’s tough with over 2000!

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    1. Yeah…. that list was quite cumbersome. What I did before the event was just follow every blog with the (WR) tag on bloglovin’ and hoped for the best, lol. I think they should probably give poetry its own tag next year though.

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  10. Thanks for the recommendations, and congratulations on completing the challenge, Alex! I greatly enjoyed reading all your posts.

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    1. Thank you for putting up with a new post every day, Miranda! Haha. I’m happy to get back to my 1-2 times a week schedule. 🙂

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    1. You totally should! There’s no requirement that it needs to be your Z post. 😉 And I’d love to learn about some more blogs from you and others. It’ll help my network of Amazing People grow. 😀

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  11. Thanks for the shout-out, Alex! 🙂 I’m thinking of turning my 26 letters into an e-book too so you read my mind. It’s been a hectic A to Z for me with delayed posts and comments not yet responded to but yay! we survived!!! But I think now I need a little break ;P Will you be doing a Reflections post?

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  12. What a fantastic accomplishment, Alex. The monumental effort, the endless exhaustion, the amount of alcohol it must have required. Amazing.
    And now between you and Nicky’s recommendations, I shall never see the rest of spring. Much to enjoy. My many thanks for the links!

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