Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Awards (and a Hidden Update)

And the awards keep coming...

I.  Stylish?  Me?

Tonja at Tonja's Musings graciously awarded me a Stylish Blogger award.  Thanks, Tonja! I really appreciate it!

For this award, I have to share about the last time I dressed up.

Well, I'll take "dressed up" as meaning in a full suit and tie.  You know, there was a time when I could have  just said, "today at work."  In the early 1990's, I worked for EDS (Electronic Data Systems) at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan and I had to wear a suit each and every day.  One of the old jokes was that EDS used to stand for "Everyone Dresses in Suits" or "Everyone Dresses the Same".  Back then I was doing PC support, and so it was a lot of fun to get to crawl under desks connecting and disconnecting power cords and cables when I was wearing suit pants and a tie.  Thankfully, saner heads have prevailed in the business world, and now my 'work clothes' are pretty much khaki-based "business casual," with jeans on "casual Fridays". So now I only wear a suit when I'm out with the wife on a special social occasion.  It's been a while, but I believe the last time was for a special dinner with my wife  (the last wedding we went to was much more relaxed, so no suits involved other than on the bridal party).

Now I get to award five other bloggers.  Here are five of my favs who don't already have this award (as far as I can tell):

-- Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic 

-- Nicole at  Write Me a World  

-- Christine Rains at her self-titled blog   

-- Plus, I'll also award L.G. Keltner at Writing off the Edge because of my next award:

II. Versatile Blogifyin'

As, I just mentioned, L.G. Keltner at Writing off the Edge awarded me the Versitile Blogger Award.  Thank you very much, L.G.!

For this one, I have to list seven random things about myself.  I just shared a bunch in my last post, but I'll try and come up with seven others...

  1. I used to have to wear a suit everyday to work, but no longer do (hey -- that factoid from above can still count towards this list of seven, can't it? It's from the same post after all...).
  2. I've yet to get a story published, but I think I keep getting closer all the time.  I'm currently working on a couple of requested revisions and resubmissions, so hopefully I'll have some positive news for you soon (see, this IS supposed to be a writing blog, so I see no harm in squeezing in a writing update disguised as a "random factoid", right? I even mentioned it in the title of this post).
  3. The first record I ever bought was a 45-rpm record (any of you other olde pharts remember those?) called "Hitchin' a Ride." I was 10 years old and played that record a bazillion times.  And yet, I've never wanted to hitch-hike in my entire life.
  4. The first movie I ever saw in a theater was at a Saturday afternoon matinee that my mom took me to back in like 1965 or 1966.  It was the classic horrible movie, "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians".  
  5. While I was too young to realize how bad that movie was (I thought it was awesome seeing the picture covering a WHOLE WALL!), it would have probably still qualified for "the worst movie I ever saw in a theater" for most of my life, until it was overthrown by the wretchedly horrible Tom Green movie, "Freddy Got Fingered" which I took my stepson to at his insistence in 2001 or 2002.  This is the only movie I've ever been to where there were signs in the auditorium warning you that you would NOT get a refund if you decided to see the film.  This movie made "Santa Claus conquers the Martians" seem like "Citizen Kane".  It's been over ten years and yet my eyeballs still burn.... 
  6. My favorite off-shoot about being a Trekkie?  When I lived in the Detroit area, a good friend and I used to play "Star Fleet Battles", based on the Star Trek universe.  It was one of the best table-top strategy games ever.  The rule books (yes, there were multiple ones) took up a massive three-ring binder. 
  7. My most favorite guitar solo/performance?  How about Jimi Hendrix doing "Machine Gun" with the Band of Gypsies, New Year's Eve 1969/1970 at the Fillmore East. None of what you might expect from Jimi live -- no behind-the-back, no playing-with-his-teeth, no pelvic-thrusts-into-the-amp.  Just a phenomenal range of emotional context -- from screaming, feedback-laced, take-your-head-off intensity, to soft, mournful, ethereal moments.   Simply amazing.

So there you go -- seven more tidbits about me.

Now, from what I've seen on L.G.'s and other blogs, I'm supposed to pass this award on to from 5 to 15 other bloggers.  Well, I like my list of five from above, so I'll double-dose them with awards:

-- Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic 

-- Nicole at  Write Me a World  

-- Christine Rains at her self-titled blog  

Be sure to visit each of them and offer your congratulations  -- Twice!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Post-Blogathon Catch-Up

Whew. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I just have not had the time to stay as active on my blog as I would like. Thankfully, today is part of a long relaxing holiday weekend and I'm getting a chance to try and get caught up on some things.

I have three things I'd like to hit today:

I. Blogfest Wrap-up:

First off, thanks again to everyone who visited and commented on my submission in Cherie Reich's Second Annual Flash Fiction blogfest. I really appreciated all the kind and supportive comments! There were many, many excellent pieces of flash posted by all the participants, and Cherie announced the six finalists yesterday HERE.  Congratulations to the writers who had their work selected – there were some extraordinary entries. Each of you deserves to win! I urge everyone to visit Cherie's blog and vote for your favorite.

Also, I mentioned in some of my entry comment replies that I'd talk more about my story after the finalists were selected. I didn't want to sway Cherie's opinions beforehand. So OK, here's the deal:

When I signed up for this blogfest, I had visions of me carefully crafting an entry well in advance and then tweaking, refining, and honing it over several days until it was razor-sharp. Well, uh – that didn't happen... Real-life intruded, and then there I was, 10 PM the night before the start, scrambling to throw something together. So I borrowed an idea from another short story that I currently have out in submissions, focused in on what is only implied in the short story, moved the setting to the old-school backwoods crossroads, and added the dialogue.

So then was my blogfest entry a legit, original piece of flash? Well, I stole the concept from myself and added and revised, so I'm going to argue that, “yes” it met the guideline. And as for the choice that Vince had to make and what he decided? Ah – that's something that you'll have to read about in the original short story, should it ever get published. ;^)

II. Kreativ Blogger Award:

Next, I've been (twice!) nominated for a Kreativ blogger award and I'd humbly like to acknowledge and accept that now.

Both Gina over at the Diary of a Writer in Progress and Charity at Charity's Writing Journey awarded me a Kreativ Blogger Award!

Thank you so much, Gina and Charity – I really and truly appreciate your support and kindness!

So here are the award rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award.

2. Answer the ten questions below.

3. Share ten random facts/thoughts about yourself.

4. Nominate seven worthy blogs for the Kreativ Blogger Award

Well I definitely and deeply thank Gina, and encourage everyone to visit her awesome blog. She stirs together an entertaining and enlightening mix of interesting topics covering writing, novels, fiction, movies and videos. She's also a wonderful person. Follow her blog – you'll be glad you did!

So now the ten questions:

1. What is your favorite song?

– Geez, I love so much music that it's hard to pick just one song as my single 'favorite' but to stick with the spirit of this award, I'll say “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” by The Allman Brothers. HERE's a old version from 1970 with Duane recorded at the Fillmore East. Horrible sound and video quality, but a kick-ass song with some amazing guitar playing.

2. What is your favorite dessert?

– How about some awesome moist German Chocolate cake with dark-chocolate frosting and some Hagen Daz chocolate ice cream on the side?

3. What ticks you off?

- Conceit, arrogance, bigotry, pomposity, pretentiousness, bullying, snobbery, and hate.

4. When you're upset, what do you do?

- Stew and brood about until it either goes away or until I finally start snapping. Luckily it rarely happens. I try not to let too many things get to me.

5. Which is/was your favorite pet?

– Wow, that's like asking which was my favorite child. I've loved all my pets deeply. I currently have a black lab / border collie mix named “Max” He's very energetic and high-strung, but extremely loving.

6. Which do you prefer to wear, black or white?

- Well, I guess this is better than then the “boxers or briefs” question, but I wear both, although I guess I lean more towards white.

7. What is your biggest fear?

– Bad things happening to those I love. I tend to worry more about others than I do about myself.

8. What is your attitude mostly?

– Optimistic and easy-going. Or at least that's what I strive for...

9. What is perfection?

– Usually an unobtainable ideal for us mere mortals. The secret instead is to cultivate contentment – the richest man isn't he who has the most; it's he who is most satisfied with what he has.

10. What is your guilty pleasure?

– I try not to feel guilty about the things that I like, but among my broad tastes, I do enjoy some things that others might think are 'uncool' or not edgy enough – Star Trek, Jeopardy, Supertramp, Sade, fantasy football, and others. But if you feel elitist and think less of me for the things I enjoy, see my answer to number two above.

OK, now ten random things about me:

  1. I was born on the same day that a swamp in New Jersey was established as a protected area.  I'll let you gather your own inference about the cosmic significance of the two events occuring on the same day.
  2. I was a National Merit scholarship award winner based on my ACT scores, but then dropped out of my scholarship-funded college to try and 'make it' as a guitar player. Sheesh, was that a stupid mistake that was, lol!
  3. I've never seen the Rockies or been west of them – traveling is one of the things I would very much like to do more of.
  4. I grew up and lived most of my life as an only child, but then discovered only just a few years ago that I actually have a half-sister (Hi JoAnn! Love you!).
  5. I was married on my wife's birthday, which is also April Fools Day. Now I can never think of 4/1 as a day of inane jokes or lame pranks – instead, for me it's a celebration of the best thing that ever happened (Love you, Tracey!).
  6. I am blind as a bat without glasses. Wore them since kindergarten, although I had contacts for most of my life. But now that I've joined the bifocular crowd, I'm back to glasses.
  7. The first concert I ever saw live was Kiss with Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band opening. Musta been like 1975 or so, I think... My tastes have evolved a little since then, lol! But I do remember it as an amazing show.
  8. I enjoy a wide range of taste when it comes to eating, and love so many different kinds of food, but I cannot stand mushrooms or bleu cheese.
  9. I got my first car at 16 (in 1977 – my grandfather's used 1970 Chevy Malibu), and have owned a car ever since, but I've only owned a total of six cars in my life (counting the ones I've owned with my wife as 'mine' if I'm the primary driver and 'hers' if she is). That's six cars in thirty-five years, an average of almost six years per car... I drive them until they drop!
  10. I wish I could sing. I've tried many times, but while I think I have a pretty good ear for music and pick up things quickly on the guitar, I can't sing my way out of a wet paper bag. I make Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joe Walsh sound like the Three Tenors.  ;^)

And now, I'm supposed to nominate seven other blogs for the Kreative Blogger Awards. Well, this is hard, because most of the blogs I would nominate already have this award, or are new bloggers I've just met through this most recent blogathon. It seems a little presumptive to nominate someone who I've just started reading. But I will mention two blogs that I've followed for at least a while who don't already have this award, and who surely deserve it:

– Jes at “.a sort of mental squint” She's been a bit AWOL recently due to having bought a house and other things, but her blog and her writing are definitely creative!

– Tonja at “Tonja's Musings”. She has an engaging, entertaining blog and I want to recommend her to you also.

III. Writer's Lucky Seven Meme:

Finally, Mina Lobo tagged me with the “Luck Seven” meme in the comments to my blogathon post.  Thank you for the recognition and your kind thoughts, Mina!  So according to this meme, I have to:

-- Go to page 77 of your current MS

-- Go to line 7

-- Copy down the next 7 lines as they're written-- no cheating!

-- Tag 7 other writers

Well, my current WIP MS is kind of a combination mystery / father-son relationship / delayed coming-of-age story. Going to page 77 is a slight challenge because I have each chapter in separate files right now. But if I add up the chapter pages, my SWAG ciphering tells me that page 77 should be a page near the end of chapter 6, and so jumping down seven lines, we get a conversation between Detective Clark and my main protagonist Justin:

"(...we're) hopeful that someone will tell us that they saw something."

"But so far no-one has?"

Clark scowled. "Unfortunately, no. Not yet." He pulled a small spiral notebook out of his pocket.

Justin looked downward to hide his smile. As a kid, he'd seen his father carry the same stupid notebook with him wherever he went.

"Did your father ever say anything to you about his job?" Clark asked.  "About the people he was working for? The neighborhood?"

Justin looked up.  Clark held a pen at the ready.

"No, not really. We didn't talk that much."

So now I have to tag seven other writers... But I think I'm going to wait a bit. This post is more than long enough, and I also want to build the suspense, lol.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Flash Fiction Bogfest: A Choice at the Crossroads

Today through the 23rd is the Second Flash Fiction Blogfest sponsored by Cherie Reich.  You can see all the entries HERE.

Below is my 300-word piece of flash fiction -- a riff on the old Robert Johnson legend, with a minor allusion to Faust.  I hope you enjoy it.

A Choice at the Crossroads

Lightning flashed; the jagged bolt behind Vince was reflected in Mel's dark sunglasses.

Perfect, thought Vince as a pulsating rumble of thunder swept over the two men. Almost like the crazy guy had planned it.

Come on, it's going to rain,” Vince said. “Let's get back into the car. This is asinine. Why the Hell are we way out here on these back roads anyway?”

Mel smiled, a sneer almost as jagged as the lightning. “This is my little salute to tradition. I think a rural setting always works best when it's time to collect on an arrangement like ours.” He snorted. “I do appreciate some old-fashioned ways. It was no coincidence that I first approached you in Indianapolis.” He bobbed his head slightly, as if he were winking. His glasses were so black that Vince couldn't tell. “It is the Crossroads of America, after all.”

What are you talking about? You're insane. I knew I never should have left the club with you.”

Oh don't play coy with me, Vince. I kept my part of the deal - Mel Phisto always does. You were nothing when I met you. You could barely play two chords. Now you're Mister Bigshot, the idol of millions of pimply-faced kids struggling to learn the guitar. Who do think made that happen?”

So what do you want, then? My freaking soul?” Vince laughed.

The sneer returned. “No, Vince. That's too easy. Now days, everyone's so self-centered there's no sport in that deal. Instead, someone close to you will die and I'll take them.”

Another bolt of lightning flashed across the sky. Mel removed his sunglasses. His eyes were as black as the glasses had been. “And you get to decide who.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Flash of Inspiration!

You may have noticed a new blogfest button on the right side of my page.  Cherie Reich is sponsoring her Second Flash Fiction blogathon this year, to be held between May 21st and the 23rd.  

And there are CASH prizes! 

All that's required is to sign up HERE and then post a single piece of flash fiction (300 words or less) on your blog during those three days.  The only limitation on your story besides length is that it must start with the words "Lightning flashed." Cherie will visit and read all the entries and then announce six finalists on May 25th.  Then voting for the finalists will take place until the 28th and Cherie will announce the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, as well as a random winner selected from the list of the participants -- so even if you don't make the finalists, you can still win something.

It may seem strange that I've signed up for another blogfest so soon after the A-to-Z marathon of madness, but there are many things that I like about this:

  • I only have to make ONE post, not 26!
  • I'm actually creating a piece of writing, and not just blogging about writing.
  • Did I mention cash prizes!?!?  OK, truthfully that's not a major factor for me, but it is extremely gracious of Cherie to offer the prizes, and I salute her for taking that extra level of commitment in sponsoring her blogfest.
  • Most importantly, I really enjoy flash fiction.

I love being able to get a 'complete' story in just a few words.  I think it's awesome both as a reader and as a writer, although Flash can be a bit of a challenge for me as a writer.  I tend to be wordy by nature and typically want to ADD words, not subtract them, lol!  So it can be tough at times, but I like the constraints flash forces on me -- by limiting the word count, I have to focus on precision in creating my story.  I have to paint word pictures with delicate dabs of the brush, not splash words all over with a roller, hoping that some of them stick.  The challenge of the constraints makes it fun.

I hope you all will visit on the 21st to see what I come up with for the blogfest.  I already have the first two words written...  ;^)

In related news: On May 16th, just before Cherie's Flash Fiction Blogfest , it wil be National Flash Fiction Day in the UK.  I heard about this from the blog of Lisa Vooght ("Li").

If you don't want to take part in Cherie's blogfest, maybe you can help make Flash Fiction Day an international one, by writing, posting, or supporting Flash Fiction in some way.  Maybe try to learn more about it, or make it a point to visit some of the great sites out there that highlight it like Flash Fiction Online, Every Day Fiction, or EDF's associated Flash Fiction Chronicles.

And if you still want more, the Flash Fiction Chronicles maintains a FABULOUS LIST of markets for Flash Fiction, all of which offer the reader some excellent fiction in small and tasty morsels.

Take some time throughout May to browse, explore, and enjoy the fabulousness of Flash!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A-to-Z Blogging Challenge Final Thoughts

With the end of April's A-to-Z Blogging Challenge a week behind us, today is the day for some final thoughts.

This was my first endurance blogathon, and there were many things I liked about it:

  • I stayed committed and met the goal, finishing each post early so that all twenty-six letter posts could be scheduled for a consistent 5:00am post time. I am proud of the fact that in spite of several times of hectic scrambling, I proved that I could meet a consistent writing deadline.

  • I met many other writers and bloggers who I would have otherwise never met. I became a follower of many other awesome blogs of creative, talented, and inspiring people. I've met fellow writers in all stages of their journey, from early-stage wannabes like me to authors who have been published many times over. Without a doubt, this was one of the best things about the challenge.

  • My blog and my writing were given exposure to many new A-to-Z visitors, several of whom graciously became my followers. I am honored and pleased by this show of support, and I gladly welcome each and every one of my new followers.

  • I learned about my writing. Choosing the topic I did, I had to come up with repeated posts about what was important in my writing, what I strove for, and what kind of writing I actually wanted to create. Being forced to do this definitely helped organize and prioritize my thoughts about the work I want to create, and really served to clarify many things for me in regards to my writing.

But while there were many positive things, there was also one big drawback, too:

  • Being so focused on writing my daily blog posts and visiting and commenting on as many other A-to-Zer blogs as I could, I found essentially no time to actually write. I enjoy blogging, but this blog wasn't meant to be an end in itself – I created it to share my development as a writer and to highlight the stories I write. If I'm so busy blogging that I'm not actually doing any writing, then things have become skewed. What's the point of highlighting a writing blog of someone who isn't writing?

Overall, I enjoyed the A-to-Z Challenge, but I'm not sure I'll do it again next year. Or if I do, it will be in a much more streamlined manner. It took quite a bit of time to create each of the custom dictionary images for the posts, and the posts I wrote were maybe a little too long at times. I'm not sure I want every April to be a month of no writing output because I'm too busy blogging, so if I do it next year, there were certainly be a reduction in the amount of effort I put into the challenge. Either that or I will begin preparations much sooner...

But as a few final words: A deep “Thank you” to DL, Arlee, and all the other A-to-Z hosts who set the challenge up and oversaw it. There was a tremendous amount of work that went into this, and I appreciate all the effort you did. Also, and most importantly, I again want to offer a sincere and heartfelt “THANK YOU!” to every one who visited, commented, and became a follower of my blog during the A-to-Z. I greatly appreciate it!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Writing Sample: "A Fresh Start"

With the deadline-driven insanity of April's A-to-Z blogging challenge over, the good news is that I'm writing again.  I have a couple of new pieces in the works, and am blowing the dust off several others and getting them ready for re-submission.

I'd love to be able to tell you about all the acceptances I received while the A-to-Z challenge was going on, but unfortunately there haven't been any.  Perhaps that's because the bulk of the things that were out in submission were pieces that had been rejected previously -- so I'm hoping the fresh-eyed 'dust-off' I mentioned above will breathe some new life into them.

Meanwhile, I've also reacquainted myself with the Creative Copy Challenge site and have created a quick piece for yesterday's prompt, just to help flex the writing chops a bit.  So I thought I'd post it here as well.  The ten words from yesterday's prompt were:

  1. Office
  2. Early
  3. Hidden
  4. Blind
  5. Stout
  6. Heading
  7. Drab
  8. Flow 
  9. Feed
  10. Silent

What I came up with is below.  I hope you enjoy it!


"A Fresh Start"

The office was on the twenty-sixth floor of a sleek tower on North Michigan Street across from the Wrigley Building.  An expanse of windows offered an impressive eastern panorama of the Chicago River, the NBC Tower, and Navy Pier stretching out into Lake Michigan, but the view was mostly hidden behind shades that had been lowered to reduce the glare from the bright morning sun.  Jen busied herself organizing the few items in her sparse cube while she waited for her boss to arrive. 
She'd shown up early, eager to begin the first day of her new life; anxious to move past the horror and madness of New York.  As she adjusted the position of her stapler, she silently prayed for everything in her past to remain hidden.  She wanted nothing more than to quickly and quietly assume the mundane day-to-day existence of Jennifer Wilson, commercial insurance claims adjuster. 
A phlegm-filled flow of coughs from the cube next to Jen announced the arrival of a stout man in a drab and wrinkled black suit. He dropped his briefcase onto the desk with a thud and peered over the low cube wall at Jen.  She gave him what she hoped was a friendly smile.
"Good morning," she said.
"Morning," he replied.  "You must be the new adjuster.  I'm Paul Darden."  He stepped around the wall and into Jen's cube, offering his hand.
She stood to greet him.  "Jennifer Wilson," she said, taking his clammy hand and giving it a brief shake.  Up close, he reeked of cigarette smoke and too much cologne.
"Nice to meet'cha.  I'm --" he said, but his words were interrupted by another cluster of coughs.  He tried to cover his mouth with one hand, raised a finger with his other, and then backed out of her cube and headed down the aisle, hacking each step of the way.
Jen didn't know if he was heading for a drinking fountain or outside for another cigarette, but she didn't really care.  The main thing was that he'd seemed completely blind as to who she really was. 
That was perfect. 
She wanted nothing to hint of exposure or danger; nothing to feed her barely-contained sense of dread; nothing to even remotely remind her of the terror she so desperately wanted to forget.
A smooth and deep voice intruded on her thoughts.  "Hi there.  You're new."
Jen turned to see a young man with a crooked smile and powder-blue eyes.  His red tie was loosely knotted around the collar of his pinstriped shirt.
"Hi," Jen said. "I'm the new adjuster.  Jennifer Wilson." 
"Anton Rivera," he said.
He offered his hand and Jen took it, feeling a brief tingle from a spark of static electricity. Then, as she broke the contact between them, she saw the corners of his mouth sag slightly, and noticed his bright eyes cloud for just a moment.
"It's great to meet you," he said.  "I'm sure you're going to like it here.  We're a pretty good group."
"Oh, I'm sure you are," she said, trying to ignore what she'd seen.  Or at least what she thought she'd seen.
"I guess you'll be in our eight o'clock department meeting," he said.  "We can talk more then."  He gave her a wink before leaving.
Jen fought to maintain her smile, but she felt like the floor below her had just given way.
He knew. 
He'd done nothing obvious, and had been completely silent on anything that would have made it apparent, but Jen was certain of it none the less.
Damn it, he knew.
She had hoped Chicago would be a clean break and a fresh start, but it was clear that there would be no escaping.  No relief. No peace.
He would have to die like all the others.

# # #

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Loose Ends -- Thanks and Liebster Award!

There are a few loose ends I would like to address following the A-to-Z Blogathon:

First of all, let me offer a heart-felt "THANK YOU!!!"  to all who visited, commented, and became a follower of my blog during the A-to-Z Challenge!  I will post a more detailed follow-up for the May 7th Feedback Post Day, but I wanted to be sure to let you know how much it meant to me to have your support during that month of insanity and deadlines, lol!

Also, back on S-Day, Lisa Vooght ("Li") at Flash Fiction awarded me a Liebster Blog Award.

During the Challenge, I thanked her in the comments, but I didn't interrupt the A-to-Z flow to do it properly in a dedicated post.  So I'm doing it now:   

Thank you very much for the Award, Li!

I've done some searching, and while its origins are spotty, evidently this is a blogging award that has been around for quite a while, and is passed on to "new and upcoming" bloggers (those who have less than 200 followers), in order to give them more exposure.

Well, I'm not really blogging to win awards, but I definitely appreciate the recognition, and I gladly accept -- in big part because the "Rules" of the award are that I have to nominate five other deserving blogs, and I'm very happy to pass some recognition on, too.

I have met so many wonderful fellow writers and bloggers, and I would like to nominate each and every one of you, but in keeping with the spirit of the award, I'm limiting it to those who don't already have the award, have less than 200 followers, and have been consistent visitors and commenters on my blog since I've met them (several of whom I've met during this A-to-Z).

So with these guidelines in mind, I would like to nominate:

--> Jessica at A Sort of Mental Squint 

--> Susan at I Think Therefore I Am  (OK she currently has 203 followers, but she doesn't already have this award, and if I'd passed on the award back on S-Day when I'd gotten it, she might have still been under the limit).

--> Nicole at Write Me A World

--> Guilie at Quiet Laughter

You each have something unique and awesome to offer the blogosphere, and I'm very happy to help spread the word!