It’s A Wonderful (Award)

In Frank Capra’s enduring classic It’s A Wonderful Life, some of the most well-known and memorable scenes feature Clarence, the bumbling angel who has yet to earn his wings.  Clarence is assigned the task of trying to help the movie’s hero, George Bailey, realize that his life is worth living.

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To achieve this, the angel restructures the very fabric of reality, and allows George to see what the world would have been like if he’d never been born.  Clarence’s brainstorm succeeds–and George does indeed come to understand that he’s really had a wonderful life.

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But the ending of It’s A Wonderful Life, while not as fantastic or mind-bending, offers the kind of feel-good (some would say corny) moment Capra became famous for.  Corny or not, it remains one of my all-time favorite scenes.

One of the main reasons George Bailey had been in such dire straits to begin with, and why Clarence the angel’s services were needed, concerns a weighty matter of lost money for the family business–the Bailey Building and Loan.  If George can’t find the money, he will go to jail.

But upon returning home from his extraordinary adventure with Clarence, seeing the bank examiner there ready to deliver the grim news, and hugging his children, thankful to be alive and a real person again, despite the pall hanging over him, George is surprised when his wife, Mary, steps inside and tells him, “It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle!”

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One by one, friends, neighbors, residents of the town stream in after Mary, donating whatever money they can spare to help George pay off his debt.  Within minutes, it becomes clear that, not only will the debt be paid and prison avoided, but, in the words of Harry Bailey, George’s younger brother, George has become “the richest man in town.”

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The kind of community spirit and support depicted in this classic film is, in very real ways, kept alive through the WordPress community.  I can’t thank all of you enough for your ongoing encouragement and support of The Eye-Dancers blog, and for continuing to read and comment on these ramblings of mine. You are the best.

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I want to thank Sherri for nominating me for The Shauny Award.  If you’ve never checked out Sherri’s wonderful blog (or even if you have!),  A View From My Summerhouse, I hope you will take a few moments now.  It’s a great place to stop in for a virtual visit, so please take your time!

Before accepting The Shauny Award, I want to thank two other bloggers for recently nominating The Eye-Dancers for two awards–The Sunshine Award and The Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  I was lucky enough to have been nominated for these awards previously, but thanks so much to Dear Kitty. Some blog and to Janice at jemsbooks for the nominations!  After pulling up a chair at Sherri’s blog, I hope you will visit both of these great blogs as well.

I also wanted to take this time to thank Teagan Geneviene.  Teagan was the winner of the recent Eye-Dancers promotion, and she was gracious enough to include me in her fabulous blog, inviting me to participate in her very fun and creative Three Ingredients serial.   Please check out Teagan’s site–you will be glad you did!

And, while you’re at it, I hope you’ll buy her book Atonement, Tennessee, available on Amazon . . .

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shaunyaward

The Rules for The Shauny Award  are quite straightforward:

Show Humanity, Show Love, Be Yourself, Don’t Be Others, Don’t Gossip,

and Share the Love by giving This Award to 10 others.

As readers of The Eye-Dancers blog probably already know, I have a penchant for breaking the rules.  (Kind of like the maxim to never, ever split the infinitive, and how the passive voice should be avoided!)

As such, I am going to break the rules again, simple as they are, for The Shauny Award.  Rather than narrowing the nominations to 10, I would like to nominate every single follower of The Eye-Dancers site.  You are the number-one reason blogging is so much fun for me, and I hope all of you will accept this award.

I may not have been about to jump off a bridge, as old George Bailey was in 1946, but when I began The Eye-Dancers blog, I was hesitant, not at all sure how my posts would be received.  From the first, you all made me feel accepted and welcomed, and for that I thank you.

Because of you, It’s A Wonderful Blogging Life.

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Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

A Journey into 2014, an Eye-Dancers Promotion, and Jumping Off of Cliffs

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

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A year ago, at the start of 2013, I had a distinct end in mind.  I wanted to spread the word as effectively as possible about my new YA sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Eye-Dancers.  Admittedly, generating a readership for the novel was my chief aim when I launched The Eye-Dancers website.

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But then a funny thing happened along the way.  I began to enjoy blogging in and of itself, for no other sake than for the joy of interacting with fellow bloggers, a virtual worldwide meeting of the minds.  Now I won’t lie.  I still hope you will all buy a copy of The Eye-Dancers!  (More on that in a bit.)  But, far more important, 2013 showed me what a wonderful endeavor blogging can be.  I was blessed as the year went on to make many new online friends, share some tremendously enriching conversations, both on WordPress and through email, and to read so many great posts throughout the WordPress community.  This has been a fantastic year, and I thank each and every one of you for it.  You are the reason why The Eye-Dancers site is still here, and why I love doing this.

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One of the things that has truly humbled me over the course of the past year are the awards The Eye-Dancers blog has received.  Recently, I was nominated for several awards that I had been lucky enough to win previously, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the bloggers who thought of The Eye-Dancers . . .

Thanks so much to D-Anna at Style Salvation for nominating me for the Best Moment Award; to Jennifer K. Marsh for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the WordPress Family Award; and to Sandra at the Quirky Books Blog for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, the Sunshine Award, and the Shine-On Award.  D-Anna, Jennifer, and Sandra have provided ongoing support to The Eye-Dancers over the course of this past year, and I can’t thank them enough.  I highly encourage everyone to check out their fabulous websites!

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On two separate occasions this year, I decided to run a promotion for The Eye-Dancers, and now, as we make the leap from 2013 to 2014, I thought it would be a good time to run another one–very similar to the promotion that took place over the summer.

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Just as with that promo, whoever purchases a copy of The Eye-Dancers during the promotional period will be eligible to win a gift card. . . .

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Beginning today (December 27) and ending February 10, 2014, if you buy The Eye-Dancers, wherever it is sold, please notify me–either with a comment on this website, or via email at michaelf424@gmail.com.  I will keep track of  each person who buys the book during this time frame and then, on February 11, the day after the promotion ends, I will randomly select one winner.  The selected person will be awarded a gift card–to anywhere!  It could be to Amazon, a favorite restaurant or department store . . . it doesn’t really matter.  The choice will be yours.

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The amount of the gift card will be based on the number of overall purchases of The Eye-Dancers during the promotional time period.  For each purchase, $2.50 will be earmarked toward the gift card.  (This is an increase from the $2.00 that was earmarked for each purchase during the last promotion.)  So, for example, if there are thirty purchases during the promotion, the gift card would be for $75 (30 purchases x $2.50 per purchase).  The gift card amount, in other words, will be determined by you!  The more purchases, the higher the amount on the card.

Please just remember that if you do purchase The Eye-Dancers during the designated promotional period to make sure and contact me so I can enter your name into the gift-card contest.

The previous winners of The Eye-Dancers gift-card promotion were Mel Fowle and Katie Sullivan.  Now it could be your turn!

The Eye-Dancers is available for purchase at the following online retail locations . . .

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Eye-Dancers-ebook/dp/B00A8TUS8M

B & N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-eye-dancers-michael-s-fedison/1113839272?ean=2940015770261

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/255348

Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/books/The-Eye-Dancers/nKFZETbWWkyzV2QkaJWOjg

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So, yes, as you can see, I still am indeed hoping to sell many copies of The Eye-Dancers!  But just as Hemingway suggested, having a goal to aspire to is good, but the journey, yes, the journey . . . that is where the true joy and fulfillment are found.  And, because of you, the bloggers of the WordPress Community, this has been a truly rewarding year for me.  I can’t emphasize enough how welcome you made me feel when I was just starting out, how you encouraged me to keep writing and posting through your comments, Likes, and overall support.

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I genuinely thank you, and look forward to what 2014 has in store.  I am eager to read your future posts, share in more conversations with you, and continue on this fascinating journey.

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One of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, also penned one of my favorite quotes.  It goes something like this: “Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.”

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At the start of 2013, The Eye-Dancers website, fledgling, new to the blogging world, had in the neighborhood of 25 followers.  By the start of 2014, that number has grown to nearly 1,600.  It is that kind of support, that kind of community that makes all of this possible, and it’s why I can’t wait to begin 2014.

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One year ago, I was standing at the edge of the blogging cliff, not sure if I should jump, take the plunge, take the risk . . . I am so glad I did.  Any wings this Eye-Dancers blog has been able to unfurl on the way down have taken form and spread because of you.

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Thanks so much for reading, and for all the great and ongoing support.

Let’s make 2014 our best year yet.

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–Mike

Some of My Favorite Things (Blogs) . . . (Or, the Blog of the Year Award 2013!)

Just shy of one year ago, when The Eye-Dancers site was a fledgling neophyte in the WordPress community, I received my first blog award.  Sheri from The Other Side of Ugly awarded The Eye-Dancers with a Blog of the Year 2012 award.  It was a wonderful moment.  Just starting out, unsure of even the simplest steps to take in the blogosphere, it was a tremendous boost of confidence receiving Sheri’s nomination.  I truly appreciated it then, and truly appreciate it now.

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So it seems fitting somehow that Sheri has again nominated The Eye-Dancers for a Blog of the Year Award–this time for 2013!  Thank you very much, Sheri!  Your continued support over the past year has meant a lot.  For those of you not familiar with Sheri’s blog, The Other Side of Ugly, I hope you’ll take a look.  It is a gem of a site, and should not be missed.

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Before going on, I would like to take this opportunity to pause for a moment, and thank the wonderful bloggers who have nominated The Eye-Dancers for several other awards over the past few months . . .

Thanks so much to Reshu Malhotra who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Reshu has a great blog where she writes about health and beauty, sharing with her readers very knowledgeable tips and helpful advice.  Hers is a  beautiful blog, in every sense of the word!

Jennifer Marsh nominated The Eye-Dancers for One Lovely Blog Award.  Jennifer is a very talented author, and I am a big fan of her site!  Please take some time to browse through it.  I’m confident you will become a big fan, too.

Leslie from lesliesholly nominated me for The Sunshine Award.  Leslie has a very eclectic blog, where she talks about a variety of topics, and always keeps her readers engaged.  Her blog is a great place to visit!

Ampbreia’s Space nominated The Eye-Dancers for The Leibster Award.  Ampbeia’s blog is diverse, well written, thought-provoking, and just plain good.  I hope you will stop in for an extended visit!

And Sherri from A View From My Summerhouse nominated The Eye-Dancers for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  Sherri’s site is a treasure.  I promise you–if you stop by, you’ll want to stay for a while!

I was lucky enough to have already been nominated for each of these awards previously, but I wanted to thank all of the great bloggers above for their nominations!  I really appreciate it.

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The instructions for the Blog of the Year 2013 Award are simple:

1-Select the blog(s) you think deserve the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award.

2-Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required- and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3-Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions or the badges!)

4-Come over and say hello to the originator of the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award via this link :http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2-/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/

5-You can now also join the Blog Of The Year Award Facebook Page.Click the link here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear

Share your blog posts with  an even wider audience.

6-And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award-and then proudly display the award on your blog- and start collecting stars!

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Who doesn’t love collecting stars? I can see a bright smile on your face and stop being shy. Come on! It’s all yours and grab the awards

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once-this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award- and every time you are given the award by another blog- you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs- and even if they have already been given the award by someone else- you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum of 6 stars! You can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award- or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award 6 times!

You can find all the badges and banners and information you need via this link: ‘Blog of The Year 2013′ Award Badges.

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In the celebrated Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, a defining moment is when Maria sings “My Favorite Things” to the von Trapp children.  It is one of the first moments of true bonding Maria shares with the children, and is one of my favorite scenes of the production.

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So, without further delay, I would like to nominate some of my favorite blogs for the Blog of the Year 2013 award!

http://stormy1218.wordpress.com/

http://stylesalvation.wordpress.com/

http://honeydidyouseethat.wordpress.com/

http://thebondingtool.com/

http://lolarugula.com/

http://oilpastelsbymary.com/

http://charronschatter.com/

http://dadialogues.wordpress.com/

http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/

http://awaywithwordsblog.com/

http://wannabephotographer87.wordpress.com/

http://beebeesworld.wordpress.com/

http://jkmarsh12.wordpress.com/

http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/

http://whenibecameanauthor.wordpress.com/

Some of Maria’s favorite things in The Sound of Music include “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens . . .”  The blogs listed above are some of mine.  And I’m sure they will be some of yours, too.

In this season of thankfulness, I also want to extend a hearty thank-you to all the great followers of The Eye-Dancers website.  You are the reason this is so much fun for me.

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Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

A Milestone, a Book Tour, a Thank-You, and a Prince of an Island

On the day I sat down in front of my PC to begin page one, chapter one, of The Eye-Dancers, little did I know where the journey would take me.

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I had a general idea where I wanted the story to go, and I had a need to tell it.  It felt like a cyclone was bottled up inside of me.  Years earlier, I had dreamed of the wraith-like little girl with the blue, swirling, hypnotic eyes.  And she scared me–just as she scares Mitchell Brant in the opening scene of The Eye-Dancers.  But I wasn’t able to write her story.  Not at that time, anyway.

Then, nearly two decades later, I dreamed of the “ghost girl” again.  She was as real, as vivid, as she had been during that restless night years earlier.  She stood there, in the road, beneath the light of the streetlamp, half there and half not there–the light filtering through her.  And this time, upon waking, I had it!  Somehow, some way, after so many years, the story came to me, unasked for, like a surprise gift from a capricious muse.

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I felt energized, high on creativity.  I had been wanting to write a novel about growing up, facing the challenges of adolescence, of peer pressure and fitting in and learning to accept yourself for who you really are and what you have to offer the world.  Little did I know the two would intersect.  The “ghost girl” would lead the way, and Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski would follow.

As I began the story, the journey, I wrestled with the same questions and doubts every writer struggles with:  Is the idea any good?  Will I write a hundred pages and then get stuck?  Will anyone want to read it?  Will it be a failure?  And so, when, two years later, I typed the words “The End” on the last page, I felt a wonderful sense of relief.  It was done.  (Well, not really.  There was still the editing and the revising and rewriting, which would take months to complete.)  There is always a sense of loss when you complete such a long and personal writing journey.  But there is also a sense of accomplishment, and, for one brief, glorious moment, there is almost a belief that you can soar, riding the currents of the wind like some space traveler in a Ray Bradbury story.

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When that moment passed, however, I realized the journey was far from over.  Yes, the story had been written.  But the adventure . . . the adventure . . . that had only just begun.

Shortly thereafter, I created this blog, not knowing what to expect, not knowing who, if anyone, would want to read about ghost girls and inter-dimensional voids and dreams and Twilight Zone episodes and old movies and comic books and ideas about writing and creating.  In the beginning, I was clueless.  I didn’t know a thing about blogging, or how to go about it.  But as I soon learned, the WordPress community is a wonderful and welcoming place.  My nervousness quickly departed.  I was like a stage performer, on his opening night, heart racing, breath coming in short, choppy gasps, worried about messing up–but then discovering that the audience is patient and kind, generous with their support, and eager to lend a helping hand.

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And now, all these months later, I have arrived at a milestone.  This post today marks the 100th post on The Eye-Dancers blog.  And I can’t thank you all enough.  Your ongoing support, encouragement, and interest in these ramblings of mine are the reasons I am still here.  You make blogging a joy.  I enjoy every minute of it, and hope you all know how much I appreciate you and thank you for the ways in which you’ve made me a member of this great blogging community.

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I also wanted to announce a new development for The Eye-Dancers, the novel.  Beginning yesterday, and carrying on straight through November 21, The Eye-Dancers is being featured in a book tour.  It’s sponsored by Fire and Ice Book Tours, and I hope you’ll take a look at the schedule and perhaps follow the tour as it makes its rounds through the month of November  . . .

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/book-tour-the-eye-dancers-by-michael-s-fedison-ya-teen-sci-fifantasy-tour-dates-11713-112113/

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When I was in the eighth grade, my English teacher surprised the class one gray, nondescript February morning.  She announced that, for the next several days, we would watch a movie in class.  Students cheered.  A movie?  We were all in!  When she said it was Anne of Green Gables, a recently released adaptation of the famous novel written by L.M. Montgomery in 1908, I wasn’t sure what to think.  I had heard of the classic, but had never read it.

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Throughout the week, I found myself riveted by the movie.  I smiled many times at Anne’s antics, and cried more than once, my tears hidden in the dim lighting of the room.  Some of the other boys in the class proclaimed they didn’t really like the movie.  “It’s for girls,” they groused.  I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them now.  They liked it.  And I . . . I loved it.  It inspired me to read the book, and then other books by L.M. Montgomery.  And I couldn’t help but notice that many of her stories took place on her native Prince Edward Island, in the Canadian Maritimes.  As time went on, I got the itch to visit Canada’s “Garden of the Gulf.”

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In 1994, my family and I went.  We drove from Rochester, New York, to PEI–a two-day, 1,000-mile trip.  We stayed a week.  To this day, I maintain PEI is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  Sometimes, when I’m out in the yard or sitting at my desk or taking a walk, I close my eyes and imagine myself strolling along one of the Island’s red dirt roads, flanked by the wild lupine that bloom seemingly everywhere, a magic carpet of color.

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Or I picture myself on one of the Island’s many beaches.  Or on a particular beach, at a particular moment . . .

It was early one morning, midway through our vacation.  Our hotel was close to the sea, and, not being able to sleep, I decided to walk down to the beach.  The previous day, the temperature had soared to record-breaking heights, but now, in the silence of an Island morning, the sun rising over the water, the sand between my toes, a lone seagull calling out, its cry echoing along the beach and the dunes, it was cool, almost chilly.

I looked out over the waves, shielding my eyes from the sun.  There was no one else around–just the gull and me, and a solitary crow pecking at something in the grass a few hundred feet behind me.  And then, even the gull flew away, leaving in its absence the gentle murmur of the sea.  I peered toward the horizon.  I couldn’t tell where the ocean ended and the sky began.  They seemed to merge, melding into one silent entity–timeless, eternal.

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I listened. For what I didn’t know.  Maybe, in the quiet of the morning, the sea whispered its secrets to those willing to hear them.  But more than anything, I felt a sense of exhilaration.  There was so much out there, beyond the horizon, so much to do and see and discover.  I smiled, eager to travel along the back roads and highways and hidden woodland paths on this journey.

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As I stood there that morning, two decades ago, I had not yet been online–the Internet was in its infancy.  The term “blog” hadn’t even been invented yet.  If I had known then what I know now, if I had known I would be fortunate enough to discover such a wonderful community on a place called WordPress, in the twenty-first century, I am sure my smile would have been even wider.

Thank you to everyone for all the  support of The Eye-Dancers’ first 100 posts!  I hope you’ll stick around for the next hundred . . .

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Thanks so much for reading!  You are the best.

–Mike

An Anniversary, An Award, a Reminder, and a Thank-You!

One year ago yesterday, I published my first post on The Eye-Dancers site.

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At the time, I really had no clue what I was doing or if anyone would even read the post.

I had visions of it floating in a dark, forgotten corner of cyberspace, existing but not existing.  My mind concocted variations on the old tree-falling-in-the-forest riddle:  “If a post is published on the Web but no one ever sees it, is it really published?”  I was so new to blogging, I didn’t even think to use keywords or categories (I have since added them to my initial post!).  I just wrote a brief synopsis of The Eye-Dancers, held my breath, and hit the “Publish” button.

I didn’t have much of a plan at the time.

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I wanted to introduce the four main characters of The Eye-Dancers, too–each in their own post.  Within a span of a few weeks, character profiles for Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski were created.  After publishing Mitchell’s post, I received an email.  A blogger, somewhere, Liked the post!  (Yes, even now, I still remember that first Like!)  A couple of weeks later, I discovered that, indeed, it might be a good idea to tag posts with keywords and organize posts into categories.  I was, literally, learning as I went.

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For the first few months of The Eye-Dancers site, up until the book was released in mid-November 2012, I was utilizing the blog strictly as a promotional tool for The Eye-Dancers.  A character profile here, an update on the release there–that sort of thing.  But then I got to thinking.  This website could be so much more fun than that.  Why not write about the things I’m interested in, create posts that can talk about the book, yes, but that also explore other topics–writing, quantum physics, comic books, movies, Twilight Zone episodes . . .  The possibilities seemed endless.  My main concern was–would anyone want to read my musings?  I thought it over, then decided to take the plunge into full-scale blogging.  The results have been, to put it mildly, much more rewarding than I ever dared to imagine–and that is because of all of you.  I know I’ve said it before on previous posts, but it merits repeating.  You are the reason why I blog, and you are the reason it’s fun and enjoyable.  You made a blogging neophyte feel welcome and at home here in the blogosphere, and I can’t thank you all enough.

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I have been fortunate enough over the past several months to be nominated for several blogging awards.  And even though I’ve neglected to do an awards post lately, please know that all nominations are very much appreciated.  It’s really a great feeling knowing one of your blogger friends chooses to nominate you for an award.  And I wanted to take this moment to thank those who have nominated The Eye-Dancers in recent weeks . . .

Thanks to Briana from When I Became An Author for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  Briana is a fellow author, and she maintains an exceptional blog.  Please check out her site!

Thanks to the Ambitious Poet and to Sherri at A View from My Summerhouse for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the WordPress Family Award.  I truly appreciate it, and highly recommend that everyone check out their fantastic websites!

Thank you to  Violet Wave and Mary at Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel for a Supersweet Blogging Award nomination!  Two very talented and creative individuals who author wonderful blogs!  I hope you’ll visit their sites.

Many thanks to Josey from Joseyphina’s World for her nomination of the Dragon’s Loyalty Award!  I can’t recommend Josey’s site highly enough.  Please take a look!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Thank you very much to Lucia at Luminous Blue for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Lucia has a captivating blog!  You will be glad you stopped by.

And thanks so much to Mary at Oil Pastels by Mary for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Sunshine Award.  Mary’s site is a treasure trove of creative energy and talent.  It’s a privilege receiving this nomination from her.

I was lucky enough to have already been nominated for each of these awards previously, but I wanted to thank all of the great bloggers above for their nominations!  I really appreciate it.

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The Eye-Dancers has also been nominated for The Inner Peace Award!  I want to thank Jane at Jane Dougherty Writes, Joanna Fay, Samina at Samina’s Forum for Police Support, and Sherri at A View from My Summerhouse for their nominations!  If you’re not already acquainted with these wonderful bloggers’ websites, please take some time to do so.  I am happy to wait . . . !

The Inner Peace Award is an award that comes with no rules, no questions . . . no conditions.  As such, I will do what I’ve done a few other times in Awards posts, and pass the award on to all followers of The Eye-Dancers site.  (Even when there are Awards rules, in other words, I tend to break them!)  I hope you will accept this award and, even if you do not post on it, I hope you’ll put the image onto your blog . . .

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I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that The Eye-Dancers gift card promotion is still running–the last day is August 22, so there is still time to take part, if you haven’t already!

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But mostly, I would like to say one big, hearty thank-you to all of you.  Thanks for reading these off-the-wall posts of mine, for continuing to stop by The Eye-Dancers site, for your great and thoughtful comments, for your ongoing support.  I created The Eye-Dancers site one year ago, on a late-summer day not unlike this one, with the intention of marketing my book of the same name.  And I did.  (And as the previous paragraph attests, I still am!)  But I’ve discovered along the way that the blogging experience is richly rewarding in and of itself.  I genuinely enjoy coming up with posts that I hope will contain some small kernel of truth, interest, or intrigue.  And I enjoy the WordPress community more than this post is able to express.

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It’s been a great first year for The Eye-Dancers.   Here’s hoping the second year will be even better.

Thank you as always so much for reading.  You are the best.

–Mike

A Harvest of Friends

In the first-ever episode of the iconic, long-running television series Little House on the Prairie, titled “A Harvest of Friends,” farmer Charles Ingalls and his family move to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

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Immediately, Charles gets busy, working several jobs, until he can bring in the harvest.

landon

 

But then misfortune strikes, and Charles loses money and breaks his ribs in a fall.  As things deteriorate from bad to worse, and it appears the Ingalls may lose their farm, the community of Walnut Grove steps in and helps the family through to the harvest.  As the episode ends, Charles realizes the truth.  Yes, he will keep the farm, and yes, his crops will grow and the family will make it, after all.  But, more than anything, the real harvest is one of new friendships and community support.

I have said it before, and will say it again.  When I began The Eye-Dancers site late last summer, I had no idea what I was getting into–I had never blogged before.  All I knew at the time was that I wanted  to create a website to help get the word out regarding my new young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Eye-Dancers.  Beyond that, I didn’t know what to expect, and didn’t know what the response would be.

Like Charles Ingalls when he moved to Walnut Grove, I have quickly discovered what a great community I have joined.  A harvest of friends, indeed.  Today The Eye-Dancers has reached the 1,000-follower milestone, and so it’s a perfect time to say thank you to each and every one of you.

I am honored that The Eye-Dancers has been nominated for more blogging awards–The Most Influential Blogger Award, The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, and The Interesting Blog Award!

But first, a shout-out to Kavita at Talking Experience for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Tag You’re It! Award;  the Ambitious Poet for nominating me for the  Liebster Award; and Kristy at Family, Friends, and Everything in Between for the nomination for the Shine On Award!  I was lucky enough to have received these awards previously, but I wanted to encourage everyone to visit these wonderful blogs!

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A hearty thank-you to Samina at Samina’s Forum for police support for nominating me for a Most Influential Blogger Award.  It is a privilege being nominated for an award like this from someone who has such an influential blog herself.  Thanks you, Samina!

most-influential-blogger-e1364230844577

The rules for the Most Influential Blogger Award are as follows . . .

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer seven questions.
  • Nominate (no limit on the number of nominations) [an aside–this is good, since, for this one award, I am not technically breaking the rules!] other bloggers for this award and link back to them.
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award requirements.

The seven questions are:

1. If you could create your own planet what would it look like?

A. It would look a lot like Earth.  Our planet is full of natural wonders and variety.  I think it would be difficult to create a more naturally beautiful planet.

earth

 

2.If you could visit one nation you have never visited before. What nation would that be?

A.  Scotland, probably.  But it’s hard to choose just one!

scotland

 

3. Have you ever taken a long distance train trip?

A.  I have!  From Rochester, New York, to Denver, Colorado . . .

amtrak

 

4. What is something you would collectively change about humanity?

A.  I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind.  Nothing is impossible.  Many of the great inventors or thinkers were ridiculed in their day.  Be open to possibilities, potentialities, and the unity of all things.  Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it “wrong” or “foolish.”

openmind

 

5. What is your favorite song?

A.  I don’t really have one that stands out, head and shoulders, above the rest.  It’s hard to choose just one!  I have always loved the song “Edelweiss,” from The Sound of Music.  And I enjoy some of the classic ’50s songs–“Only You (And You Alone)” by The Platters, for example.

edelweiss

 

6. If you could meet one person who is still alive who would you choose to meet?

A.  The person around the next corner.  I wouldn’t know who they are until I meet them . . .

aroundthecorner

 

7. If you could choose one symbol to represent you, what would that symbol be? Why?

A.  Probably an image of the universe–something vast, infinite, mysterious.  I always want to keep searching for the unknowable, and reaching for the stars . . .

universe

 

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Thank you very much to Joseyphina at Joseyphina’s World, Lisa at She’s Losing It!, and Katie at the D/A Dialogues for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award!  You all have great blogs, and I very much appreciate the nomination!

wonderful-team-membership-award

The rules for this award are  (and I will break them!):

The Nominee of the Wonderful Team member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.

The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.

The Nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during 7 days.

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And another thank-you is in order to Katie at the D/A Dialogues for nominating me for an Interesting Blog Award!  If you haven’t checked out Katie’s site, please pull up a virtual chair and do.  It is a delightful, fun, and very engaging place to spend some time!

Interesting Blog Award

 

The rules (meant to be broken??) for the Interesting Blog Award are as follows:

Thank person who nominated you.

List 5 random facts about yourself.

Nominate 5 other blogs.

Answer the 5 questions the blogger awarding you The Most Interesting Blog Award asked you.

Ask 5 questions of your own to nominees.

Here are 5 random things about myself:

1. When I was a kid, I never had to move.  In fact, even to this day, my parents still live in the same house where I grew up.  That’s a rare and special thing these days, and it makes “going home,” when I visit Rochester, NY, that much better.

2.  One of my favorite all-time shows is Jeopardy!.  I remember, growing up, I would watch it with my parents, and we’d try to guess the answers to the questions.  Or, seeing that it is Jeopardy, the questions to the answers!  Like any true geek, I used to keep a personal scorecard, tallying up how many questions I got right, each show, every week . . .

jeopardy

 

3.  I have never Skyped!

skype

 

4.  I am an introvert by nature, very much an observer.  I’m fascinated watching people–at parties, out on the street, at work, in stores . . .  And I have always loved to listen to conversations–the manner in which people talk, their accents, their pet expressions.  It never gets old.

5.  I do not like heights!  I wouldn’t say I’m terrified of them, but I avoid high places if I can.  You will not find me up on the roof!

heights

 

The five questions for me to answer (from Katie):

What is your favorite moment in history?

Any time a decided underdog has stood up to, and bested, the favorite.

If you could eat one food item for the rest of your days, what would it be?

Easy.  French fries and ketchup!

fries

 

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Honestly, I can’t choose just one.  I was lucky.  I had a wonderful childhood, all in all, and I am always grateful for that.

If a madman in a box whisked you away and said you could go anywhere and anytime in the universe, what would you choose?

Tough choice!  But if I had to choose just one, I would like to have the best seats in the house in Yankee Stadium on October 8, 1956, the day Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history.

larsenp

 

If training, ability, and money were not an issue, what would you like to be when you grow up?

A best-selling novelist, of course!

My questions for the nominees of this award are:

1. Seinfeld or Cheers?

2. Country music or heavy metal?

3. You have a chocolate muffin and a piece of cherry pie before you, but you can choose only one.  Which do you choose?

4. What city, anywhere in the world, would you like to visit and why?

5. There is a zombie movie on one channel and a James Bond movie on the other.  Which do you watch?

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Rule-breaking time!  I would like to nominate all of my followers for the above awards.  If you want to accept all of them, please do!  I hope you do!  Or perhaps you’d only choose to accept one or two of the awards.  Or none.  It doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that you know how much I appreciate your comments, feedback, and support.  You are the ones who make blogging fun and worthwhile.

I thank you, very much, for reading these ramblings of mine!

–Mike

A Super Sweet Blogging Award, and Tag! I’m It!

It continually amazes me and fills me with gratitude that The Eye-Dancers site has been nominated for so many blogging awards.  It’s been such an enjoyable ride, and I can’t thank you all enough.  WordPress is a wonderful place to be, and I am honored by your award nominations.  It really does mean a lot.  You are the reasons why blogging is so rewarding and so much fun.

I have been nominated for two new awards–The Super Sweet Blogging Award, and the Tag!  You’re It Award.

But first, I did want to thank several great bloggers for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the following awards, as well . . .

Thanks to Reshu at Reshu Malhotra.com for a Best Moment nomination.   Thank you to Kathmandu at lmoktan for a Sunshine Award nomination!  Thanks to Janice at Jems Books for a Shine On Award nomination.  And thank you very much to Mary at Oil Pastels by MaryThe Clumsy Fool, and D-Anna at Style Salvation for a Versatile Blogger Award nomination!  The Eye-Dancers has been fortunate enough to win each of these awards in the past, but I wanted to give a shout-out to these fantastic bloggers.  Please be sure to visit their sites!  I am sure you will enjoy them!

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A very warm thank you to Janice at jemsbooks, Jackie at Jackiewriting, Kristy at FamilyEverything, Lyn at The Encouraging Scribe, and Katie at The D/A Dialogues for nominating The Eye-Dancers for The Super Sweet Blogging Award!  You all have magnificent sites, and I appreciate the Sweet Award!

cupcakes-super-duper-sweet-blogging-award

The rules for the Super Sweet Blogging Award are as follows . . .

1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you

2. Answer five super sweet questions

The 5 sweet questions:

Cookies or cake? —  Hmm.  Well, it depends on the kind of cookies and the flavor of cake!  But, as a general rule, I would go for the cookies.

Chocolate or vanilla? — Definitely vanilla!

vanilla
Favorite sweet treat? — Tough to pick just one, but if I had to, I might just go with the old-fashioned, simple piece of apple pie!

applepie
When do you crave sweet things the most? — Probably at night, when I shouldn’t be eating them . . .
Sweet nick name? — My aunt used to call me Polly Wolly when I was  a kid, and she used to sing a Polly Wolly song every time she saw me.

3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in your blog post

4. Nominate a dozen other bloggers. The following list is in no particular order. You all have amazing, sweet, thoughtful blogs.

1. http://suaaddartistry.wordpress.com/

2. http://kelihasablog.wordpress.com/

3. http://ididnthavemyglasseson.wordpress.com/

4. http://shiro51144.wordpress.com/

5. http://fashionskyfall.wordpress.com/

6. http://bondingtool.wordpress.com/

7. http://myfavesjournal.com/

8. http://depressionexists.com/

9. http://wannabephotographer87.wordpress.com/

10. http://cowboysandcrossbones.wordpress.com/

11. http://warmtoastymuffins.com/

12. http://everydayinadress.com/

Thanks again to Janice, Jackie, Kristy, Lyn, and Katie for the nomination!  And I hope everyone will check out their great blogs!

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And now I would like to thank Perpetua at The Seeker57 and Shaun at Praying for One Day for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Tag!  You’re it Award.  It is an honor being recognized by two such prolific and talented bloggers!

tag_your_it_xlarge

The rules.

1.  Post a picture of the award on your blog

2.  Tag back to the person who tagged you to let them know you’ve accepted the award.

3.  Share 11 facts about you.

4.  Answer the 11 questions I’ve asked you.

5.  Tag the same amount of people as their are letters in your name.

6.  Ask your OWN 11 questions to the people you’ve tagged.

7.  Contact the people you’ve tagged to let them know they’ve been tagged.

Questions for me to answer (from Shaun at Praying for One Day):

1. What is your favorite color?  Green.  The color of a Vermont field . . .

vermontgreen

 

2. Where have you been to in the world, away from your country?  I have never been overseas.  I have only been to Canada, which I really enjoy visiting!

canada

 

3. If you had a time machine where would you go and why?  The 1950s.  I’ve always been drawn to that era, and always wished I could have experienced it.  The characters in The Eye-Dancers do get a chance to “live” the ’50s–after a fashion . . .

1950s

 

4. What food do you love most?  Probably my favorite treat of all is French fries.  I’d have answered the same way when I was 8!

fries

 

5. What is your favorite TV show?  The Twilight Zone, without a doubt!

tzone

 

 

6. Who is your favorite Actor?  I would have to go with Jimmy Stewart.  He always brought an “everyman” quality to the screen, and he was very talented and likeable.

jstewart

 

7. When was the last time you were in the Hospital (No reasons needed):  I have been fortunate, and have never been an in-patient in a hospital.  I’ve gone for routine check-ups and tests, but never for an overnight stay.

8. When did you 1st fall in love, if not, when would you like to?  Well, I always say my first love was writing, and that happened at a very young age!  Way back in the second grade.  Writing and I, we’ve had a very rocky relationship at times, but it’s always been love . . .

9. Do you understand String Theory?  A little–some of the basic concepts.  But whenever I need clarification, I just ask my pal Marc Kuslanski . . .

10. Where IS Waldo?  Search me!!

11. What type/make of Mobile phone do you have?  I have an outdated, archaic Tracfone that never fails to elicit laughs.

tracfone

 

My 11 questions for the nominees below:

1. You are going to a remote place–no TV, no cell phone, no electronics.  And you can only bring along one book.  Which book do you choose?

2.  You have a plate full of French fries and a plate full of apples before you.  Which plate do you go for?

3.  What is your favorite season of the year?

4.  What is your favorite sports team (or player) in any sport?

5.  Which do you prefer?  Rocky or Rambo?

6.  What is your favorite old movie (“old” here being defined as any movie prior to 1990)?

7.  What celebrity are you the most tired of?

8.  There is a romance movie on one channel, and a sci-fi movie on the other.  Which do you watch?

9.  What is the most outrageous dare you ever accepted?  Did you follow through and do it?

10.  Do you believe there is life “out there,” in outer space?

11.  Which decade from the 20th century do you think had the worst fashion sense?

Here are 11 facts about me . . .

1. I never wash my car.  When you live on a dirt road in Vermont, as I do, washing your car is a futile activity.  It will just be dirty again the next day.  When is it washed?  When it rains!

dirtycar

 

2. William Faulkner is often cited as one of the greatest American authors.  While I appreciate his talent, I have never been a fan, and have found his signature work, The Sound and the Fury, to be nearly unreadable . . .

faulkner

 

3. I have always been drawn to the “off-season,” the quiet times, like the woods in November, stripped bare, the baseball stadium in winter, silent, the field hidden under a blanket of snow.  Or the summer amusement park in January, empty, the rides vacant and still, the food stands bare, the crowds a memory.  And yet, amidst the silence and solitude, there is the promise of tomorrow, the anticipation of laughter and fun and activity. But for the moment, all is hushed, and still . . .

emptypark

 

4. Much like with Faulkner, I am not a huge F. Scott Fitzgerald fan either.  I have often heard people cite The Great Gatsby as the greatest American novel ever written.  Certainly it’s in the news of late, with the new movie.  And again, while I clearly can see and appreciate the talent, Fitzgerald is not a favorite of mine.  I much prefer the prose of Truman Capote, John Knowles, or Harper Lee.

gatsby

 

5. My mother has not purchased a single donut since 1980.  The reason?  She says if she buys one, she’ll buy a dozen, and eat them all at once.  I am the same way with ice cream.  I rarely buy it, and when I do, I eat it very quickly!  It’s a twice-a-year-treat.  I can’t trust myself to get it more often than that.

donut

 

6. My favorite Shakespeare tragedy is King Lear.  A masterpiece.

kinglear

 

My favorite Shakespearian comedy?  A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

amsnd

 

7. I love baseball history, but don’t really follow baseball very closely today.  Ask me about the 2013 Yankees and I’ll come up blank.  But ask me about the 1927 Yankees, and I can give you all the information you’d want.

baseballhistory

 

8. I recently created a Twitter account.  I’m enjoying it, but still learning about it!

twitter

 

9.  I have never traveled abroad, though I’d love to.  Maybe someday . . .

overseas

 

10. When I was six years old, I went to a softball game to watch my father play.  While at the plate during his first at-bat, teammates kept shouting “good eye, good eye!” to him as he took several errant pitches.  From that day on, I called him “Good Eye.”  The thing is?  I still do . . .

11. I am not a big fan of air travel, and, in fact, have not been on a plane since 2000.  I wouldn’t say I’m afraid to fly, but I prefer not to.  But, as mentioned in #9, I would love to travel overseas.  And in that case, I’d gladly hop on a plane . . .

airline

 

Well, since my full name has 14 letters, here are 14 nominations for the Tag!  You’re It! Award!

1. http://willowdot21.wordpress.com/

2. http://familyeverything.wordpress.com/

3. http://jackiewriting.wordpress.com/

4.  http://soulofspice.wordpress.com/

5. http://dadialogues.wordpress.com/

6. http://cncfimoparadise.wordpress.com/

7. http://theencouragingscribe.wordpress.com/

8. http://honeydidyouseethat.wordpress.com/

9. http://poeticparfait.com/

10. http://likeitiz.wordpress.com/

11. http://foodflavorfascination.wordpress.com/

12. http://khmazzola124.wordpress.com/

13. http://feralc4t.wordpress.com/

14. http://fictionalmachines.com/

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Thank you again to the great bloggers who nominated me for these awards!  And thank you very much to everyone for reading!

–Mike

Three Awards and a Very Big Thank-You . . . !

Over the past month, The Eye-Dancers site has been lucky enough to be nominated for several awards.  I thank everyone for continuing to read and follow these ramblings of mine.  You are fantastic.  You are, in the lingo of one of the awards posted here–epically awesome!

The three awards I have been nominated for are:  The WordPress Family Award, The Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness, and the Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award.

I also have been re-nominated for The Liebster Award, The Versatile Blogger Award, and The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  I was fortunate enough to have been nominated for these awards previously, but I wanted to thank Kristy at familyeverything, Mary-Ann at likeitiz, Lorna at lornadounaeva, Christy at poeticparfait, Robin at witlessdatingafterfifty, and mummyshymz.  Thanks so much to each of you for these nominations!  I definitely urge everyone to visit their wonderful blogs.  Please take your time–there is much to enjoy!  I promise, I’ll wait till you come back . . .

Okay, onward!

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Thank you very much to Joseyphina from Joseyphina’s World and Kelsie from tenshishouoni11 for nominating The Eye-Dancers for The WordPress Family Award.  This is a very nice award to win because the community here at WordPress is welcoming, talented, and very much like family.

wordpress-family-award

 

The rules: (I am going to break one of these rules–more on that later!)

1. Display the award logo on your blog.  
2. Link back to the person who nominated you. 

3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family.    

4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them.

5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people who have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

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Thank you very much to Kimberly at words4jp’s blog for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness!  I highly recommend Kimberly’s blog.  She is a poet and wonderfully gifted wordsmith.  I am honored she nominated me for this award.  Epic!

The rules for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness are – (and again I will be breaking one of the rules–more later!  Can you stand the suspense??)

1. Tell 10 epic and/or awesome facts about yourself

2. Pass along some epic and awesome love to 10 blogs

3. Let everyone know that they are Epically Awesome

4. Thank the Epically Awesome person you received your epically awesome love from &

5. Of course, do not forget to add the Epically Awesome bling to your site.

Okay, here are ten things about myself–though I’m not sure they qualify as epic or awesome!

1. When I was a kid, I had a love/hate relationship with the basement in the house where I grew up.  I liked how cool it was on hot summer days, and I sometimes retreated down there to be alone or write.  But at night?  You wouldn’t catch me down there alone then!  There was (still is–my parents still live in the old house!)–a particular window that leads out to a crawl-space area.  Looking through the window, all you can see is darkness.  I used to call it “The Window to Nowhere,” and I would tell my friends about it–of course making up stories as I went along.  “Never, ever go through The Window to Nowhere,” I would warn them.

No one ever did.

2. Some of these same childhood friends were actually the inspiration for the main characters in The Eye-Dancers, and we still keep in touch, all these years later.  When we were kids, I used to write ridiculous stories that featured them (and me) in starring roles–adventures, mysteries, sci-fi thrillers, and I would then read these stories aloud to them.

readaloud

They were pretty bad, but a lot of fun.   Those were the days . . .

3. I have always been a fan of James Bond–both the books and the movies.  And my favorite Bond movie is From Russia with Love.  It stars the best Bond, Sean Connery, features Robert Shaw as a memorable villain, and the hand-to-hand fight scene between Connery and Shaw on a moving train is as good as it gets.

frwl

 

4. One of my favorite Stephen King books is It.  Over 1100 pages long, the novel, admittedly, should be much shorter, and I’ve always hated the ending.  But I have always loved the characters in the book–the Losers Club.  And the effortless manner in which the story follows two time lines–1958 and 1985–had me riveted from the opening page.

it

 

5.  Keeping on with books, if I had to choose a single all-time favorite novel (a very difficult thing, choosing just one!), it would probably be Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  The prose in this book is just about perfect, and the “voice” the author creates for protagonist Scout Finch is more than just endearing.  It’s unforgettable.

mockingbird

6. I have long been a fantasy football geek.  For many years now, I’ve been commissioner of a league featuring family and old friends.  I always go back home to Rochester, New York, over Labor Day weekend for the fantasy draft.  It’s a lot of fun, and one thing’s for sure–when you’re in a fantasy league, it changes the way you watch football . . .

fantasyfootball

7. For the past decade, I have done a great deal of freelance proofreading for a handful of book publishers.  In other words, much of the reading I do is assigned!  I enjoy the work, and consider it a privilege serving as the “last line of defense” against typos, grammatical mistakes, and formatting issues.

proofreading

 

8.  Believe it or not, I have never drunk an entire cup of coffee in my life.  I tried a sip of coffee when I was twelve, didn’t like it, and haven’t tried it since!

coffee

 

9. I remember once playing a game where you had to answer certain questions about yourself.  One of them was–“What was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?”  I answered, “Legislative Aide.”  I briefly served as a Legislative Aide for a city councilwoman in Rochester, New York, shortly after I graduated from college.  It was an eye-opening experience, and I learned a lot.  One thing I dealt with on a daily basis?  Irate phone calls.  Constituents of the councilwoman’s ward would call her office with complaints.  The thing was–she usually wasn’t there.  I was.  So I took the brunt of the criticism.  Every day was an adventure!

angrycallers

 

10.  I enjoy the board game Scrabble.  But I have a confession to make–I’m no fun to play against.  I hoard the U’s!  This way, whoever gets stuck with the Q can’t use it.  Dirty pool, I know.  But effective!

scrabble

 

Thanks again so much to Kimberly for this great nomination!

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And I want to thank Sam from bondingtool for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award.  Sam’s blog is a delightful place full of mouthwatering recipes and a spirit of fun and creativity.  Please browse around her great site!  I am sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

abc-award-600x100-banner1

To participate for the ABC Award:  Upload the award image to your website, use each letter of the alphabet to share something about yourself, and nominate one or more new fellow bloggers!

Okay, here are more tidbits, as we go through the alphabet!

A–Action Comics number 29.  This is the oldest comic book I have ever owned, dating back to 1940.

action29

B–Bill Gray’s restaurant.  This is a local restaurant chain in Rochester, New York, famous for, in their own words, “The World’s Greatest Cheeseburger.”

billgrays

Being a vegetarian, though, I don’t eat the famous Bill Gray’s cheeseburger.  I go for the veggie burger, which is incredibly good!  Just be warned–Bill Gray’s is not the place to count calories!  Their food is greasy, rich, and, well, just not all that healthy!  But awfully tasty.

C–Charlottetown.  The capital city of Prince Edward Island, Canada–my favorite vacation destination, and the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  Charlottetown is a pretty, compact little city full of charm.

D–Doctor Doom.  The Fantastic Four’s arch-villain, and my favorite villain in all of comic books.  Doctor Doom made his debut in Fantastic Four # 5, from 1962 . . .

ff5

E–The Eye-Dancers.  There’s this really cool book out there called The Eye-Dancers!  I highly recommend!  (Okay, I apologize!  Couldn’t resist.)

eyedancers

 

F–The Fantastic Four.  My favorite comic book title–the original FFs from the 1960s are unsurpassed in the genre.  And I know Mitchell Brant agrees with me on this one!

ff1

 

G–Galen, from Planet of the Apes.  When I was a little kid, I had a fascination with Galen.  I wanted to be Galen.  And I would only answer to that name.  One day, when we were at a playground, my mother called for me.  “Michael,” she said.  “We need to go.”  I ignored her, blissfully continuing to play.  She called again.  Again I ignored her.  She finally said, “Galen, we need to go.”  Immediately, I stopped what I was doing, and dutifully went to her.

Thankfully, this was a phase I soon outgrew!  I know my mother was embarrassed that day.  Other parents were listening.  So, years later, but better late than never–“Sorry, Mom!”

H–The Honeymooners.  This classic show from the 1950s is my favorite sitcom.  Art Carney as Ed Norton makes me laugh every time I watch him.

I–Irondequoit.  My hometown–a suburb of Rochester, New York.

J–Joe Marma.  Of all the characters in The Eye-Dancers, I probably relate least to Joe.  I tend to be methodical and a stickler for details.  Joe, on the other hand, is impulsive and likes to wing it.  He was refreshing to write for, and he is a reminder to me that sometimes we just need to let go, and not overthink.

K–Killington, Vermont.  Killington is the nearest major Vermont ski resort to the town where I live.  The thing is, though–I don’t ski!

killington

 

L–Live and Let Die.  Roger Moore’s debut as 007!  I am not a big Moore fan, but he played the role well here.

M–Morse Farm.  The Morse Farm, in Montpelier, Vermont, is a nice place to visit.  They have an educational feature on maple sugaring, a gift shop, an expansive acreage, and the best maple ice cream you ever tasted!

N–Notorious.  One of my favorite Hitchcock films, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman . . .

notorious

 

O–On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  An opportunity missed, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service may be the best Bond script, but the actor who played 007 here, George Lazenby, has about as much charisma as a soggy old two-by-four.  A great movie with the wrong lead actor . . .

ohmss

 

P–Poopsie.  In my family, growing up, all our dogs were named “Poopsie.”  Poopsie I.  Poopsie II.  Poopsie III.  And Poopsie IV.  This wasn’t my idea!  It was my mother’s.  Hmm.  I wonder if that’s why I came up with the “Galen” . . .

Q-Q.  What would an old 007 movie be without Desmond Llewelyn in the famous supporting role of Q?  He has always been a favorite of mine. . .

Q

R-Robot comic book covers.  There have been some classic robot comic book covers over the years.  The 1950s, perhaps, was the high point for these covers.  For example, Journey into Unknown Worlds # 49 from 1956 . . .

journeyunknownworlds49

S–Paul Simon.  A true poet, Simon is my favorite all-time songwriter.

T-Twilight Zone.  My favorite television show, featuring many unforgettable episodes.

tzone

U-Upstate New York.  As a native upstate New Yorker, I have always appreciated the rural beauty of The Empire State.  Sometimes, New York is strictly thought of as urban, but, in actuality, the heart of the state is rural.

ruralny

V–Vermont.  The state I currently call home, Vermont is a wonderful place to live.  And, of course, The Green Mountain State takes no backseat when it comes to scenery . . .

vermont

W–Weather.  I have always been fascinated by, and interested in, weather!

X–The X-Men.  For a long time, I had no interest in this comic book team.  But then, finally, when I gave them a chance, I was hooked!  Another Marvel Comics triumph.

xmen

Y–You Only Live Twice.  For me, You Only Live Twice begins a downward trend in 007 movies.  Even with the previous installment, Thunderball, the Bond movies began relying more and more on gimmicks.  You Only Live Twice takes this reliance to a new level, one that would continue  straight through the Roger Moore films.

Z–Zombies.  Zombies are a big hit these days, spurred on by The Walking Dead.  But the phenomenon that started it all was George Romero’s black-and-white 1968 cult classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Thanks so much, again, to Sam for this nomination!

************

And now–the rule-breaking part . . .  I am not going to nominate specific blogs for any of these awards.  All of you in the WordPress community are great, and I appreciate each and every one of the bloggers who continues to stop by The Eye-Dancers website.  (And if you’ve made it this far reading this long-winded post, you deserve more than a blog award.  You deserve a medal!)

So, I would like to take this opportunity to share these awards with each of you.  I am nominating every follower of The Eye-Dancers blog for all three awards.  Whether you’d like to accept the nomination or not is of course up to you.  But please accept my thanks for all the support and encouragement you’ve given The Eye-Dancers.

You are, well, epically awesome!

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Best Moment Award and a Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

Once again I am humbled and grateful to be nominated for more blogging awards.  I really didn’t know how The Eye-Dancers blog would be received when I launched the site late last summer.  I was brand-new to blogging, and, frankly, a little intimidated!  I had no idea if anyone would really want to read my ramblings on The Eye-Dancers the novel, comic books, The Twilight Zone, old movies, writing, and other often odd and sundry tidbits.  If I had only known how welcoming the WordPress community is, I’m sure I would have started this blog long before I did!

So, to begin, a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who follows, reads, peruses, and visits The Eye-Dancers site!  I’ve said it before, but it certainly bears repeating.  I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, your comments, feedback, and support.  You’re the best.

The Eye-Dancers has been nominated for two new awards:  The Best Moment Award, and The Dragon’s Loyalty Award.

I have also been re-nominated for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award and a Versatile Blogger Award.  I was fortunate enough to have been nominated for these awards previously, but I wanted to thank Jenny from  It’s Jenny the Wren, Mandy from mandyevebarnett.com and Josephine at  Joseyphina’s World for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award nominations.  And I wanted to thank cookingwithsapana, Meridith at tinkerbellproject, and Perpetua at theseeker for the Versatile Blogger Award nominations.  Your ongoing support is much appreciated!  And I certainly encourage everyone to visit these first-rate and very engaging websites.

********************

Thank you very much to  Erica and Joseyphina for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Best Moment Award!  They each have wonderful blogs, and I make sure to stop in often for a visit! 

Awarding the people who live in the moment

The noble who write and capture the best in life

The bold who reminded us what really mattered

Savoring the experience of quality time

best-moment-award

The rules:

  1. Create an acceptance speech either by video or a written speech post
  2. Pass the award onto 15 other bloggers and their posts

An acceptance speech?  Wow.  This strikes me as a very daunting thing!  So, I have asked for a bit of help from four individuals without whom this website would not exist–Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski! . . .

Mitchell: “Thanks, everyone!  I am really psyched to win this award.  It’s a big honor.  It kinda reminds me of the time I won the Pulitzer Prize for best short story written by a junior-high student.  That was just a month ago, and I had to give a speech in New York City.  My mom and dad drove me to Times Square, and we-”

Me:  (clearing my throat) “Uh, Mitchell?”

Mitchell:  (looking surprised)  “What?  Okay, okay!  I guess I do have a tendency to exaggerate–just a little.  But, really.  I appreciate this award a lot.  Thank you to everybody!”

Me: “Joe?  Do you have something you’d like to add?”

Joe:  “Yeah.  This is freakin’ great.  I never really won an award before.  Usually, all the awards go to my brother, Bob.  The lucky creep.  Can’t wait to show this to him.  Thanks, buds!  This is awesome.”

Me:  “Thank you, Joe.  I’m sure Bob’ll be proud.  And now, Ryan Swinton . . .”

Ryan:  “Yeah, uh . . . thank you, everyone.  I’m kinda like Joe.  I mean, I never really won an award before.  I don’t really know what to say.  What would you all like to hear?  You wanna hear a joke?  I got a million of ’em.  But . . . I’m not sure which one I should tell . . .”

Me:  (aside to everyone, so Ryan can’t hear) “Ryan sometimes has a hard time deciding on a course of action. ”

Me: (To Ryan):  “That’s okay, Ryan.  Don’t worry about it.  We need to keep this moving along, anyway.”

Ryan:  “Oh.  Okay.  Sorry.  Um, thanks again!”

Me:  “And our final statement belongs to–Marc Kuslanski!”

Marc:  (adjusting his glasses):  “Is it just me, or are the lights inordinately bright in here?  Okay, anyway.  I really appreciate this award.  Thanks.  My gratitude is high–something along the lines of ten to the seventh power.  This is fantastic.  Thank you, everyone!”

Me:  “Thanks, guys.  I appreciate your help with the acceptance speech!  And I want to thank Erica and Joseyphina again for the nomination!”

And now to nominate 15 great sites for The Best Moment Award:

http://cncfimoparadise.wordpress.com/

http://freeurcloset.wordpress.com/

http://pachofaunfinished.wordpress.com/

http://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com/

http://martaperegrina.wordpress.com/

http://zehirablog.wordpress.com/

http://witlessdatingafterfifty.wordpress.com/

http://peacelovegreatcountrymusic.com/

http://joannafunk.wordpress.com/

http://fashionassist.wordpress.com/

http://fortyoneteen.wordpress.com/

http://failuretolisten.com/

http://cynthiajacksonblog.wordpress.com/

http://insearchofitall.wordpress.com/

http://picturemereading.wordpress.com/

Please pull up a chair, as the great Vin Scully likes to say in his baseball broadcasts, and browse through each and every one of these outstanding websites!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

*********************

The second award nomination, the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, comes from Tazein at her wonderful Transcending Borders Blog.  Thank you, Tazein, for all your support of The Eye-Dancers and for creating such an inspiring blog!

Dragon's+Loyalty+Award

The rules for The Dragon’s Loyalty Award are as follows:

Display the  Award Certificate on your website.

Announce your win with a written post and link to whoever presented your award.

Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.

Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have liked them in the post.

Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Without further delay, here are 7 things about me . . .

1.  My favorite season is spring.  After the long Vermont winter, there is such a level of excitement and expectation for the season of rebirth, and a longing to see greenery and flowers and leaves again.  This, despite the fact that I have seasonal spring allergies!

allergies

 

pollenallergy

 

2. One of my all-time favorite movies is Forrest Gump, inspired by Winston Groom’s novel of the same name.  To me, it is a film for the ages, and Tom Hanks gives, arguably, one of the greatest performances in the history of the Silver Screen with his portrayal of Forrest.  Director Robert Zemeckis said of the screenplay that, as he read it, he couldn’t put it down, because he had no idea what was going to happen next.

One of the many reasons I love this movie is–on the one hand, it’s a simple fairy tale, an imaginary adventure that takes the viewer on a fun and wild ride.  But on a deeper level, it is a poignant and meaningful story rich in metaphor and symbolism.  It is, in short, a coalescence of the whimsical and the profound, and it’s that rare gem that makes the viewer laugh as well as cry.

“Life is like a box of chocolates . . .”

gump1

 

gump2

 

gumpicecream

 

3. As readers of this blog are probably aware, I am a fan of vintage things–old comic books, movies, TV shows, and history in general.  So it’s likely not a surprise to hear that I really enjoy old black-and-white presentations.  Take my favorite all-time show, The Twilight Zone, for instance.  What would those old masterpieces look like in color?  I shudder to think of it!  The black and white lends a moody, atmospheric presence, a level of creepiness and intrigue that color, counterintuitively, perhaps, would all but negate.  Certain movies or TV shows are better in color, no doubt.  But for shows like The Twilight Zone, or movies like Psycho, the black-and-white format adds much to the visual effect and milieu.

tzoneshatner

 

psycho house

 

4. One of my favorite writers is Truman Capote.  For sheer elegance and mastery of the English language, Capote is hard to match.  His prose is at once straightforward and concise as well as lyrical and mellifluous.  Capote would agonize over his work, examining every sentence, wanting it to sound just right.  When you read his writing, this attention to detail and quest for excellence is very apparent.  A true master wordsmith.

capote

 

tiffanys

 

5. It is sometimes said of the state of Vermont, “There are more cows than people.”  In actuality, this is not true.  There are over 600,000 people residing in the Green Mountain State, while there are “only” about 300,000 cattle.  However, in the small town where I live, in central Vermont, there really are more cows than people!  Just up the road, there is a working dairy farm with well over 300 cows.  That alone tops the human population, and doesn’t even include the other farms in the area.

dairy1

 

dairy2

 

6.  I enjoy listening to the occasional baseball game on the radio.  Not all sports play well on radio, but baseball sure does.  The relaxed pace of the game, the stops and starts, the long gaps between pitches, lend themselves to storytelling and anecdotes, where broadcasters can paint word-pictures for their listening audience.  Some of the best announcers in baseball history started on the radio:  Vin Scully, Harry Caray, Red Barber, and Ernie Harwell, just to name a few.

radio2

 

scully

 

redbarber

radio1

 

7. I have always been fascinated by the poetry and life of Sylvia Plath.  A tortured and talented soul, her output of poems is among the most powerful and haunting of the twentieth century.  When I was a graduate student of English, I wrote a long paper on Plath’s early work, and had the wonderful opportunity to visit Smith College, her alma mater, for a day, and go through her archival collection there.

plath

 

plathariel

 

And now it is my privilege to nominate the following 15 websites for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

http://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com/

http://theinnerwildkat.wordpress.com/

http://channellewrites.wordpress.com/

http://natycalinescu.wordpress.com/

http://urbantraveltales.wordpress.com/

http://poeticparfait.com/

http://willowdot21.wordpress.com/

http://lovemen.org/

http://mauldinfamily1.wordpress.com/

http://k9trackersblog.com/

http://1munchingmomma.wordpress.com/

http://carmenisabelgonzalez.wordpress.com/

http://yopinks.wordpress.com/

http://bondingtool.wordpress.com/

http://jamieayres.com/

I hope you’ll visit all of these great blogs, and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy them!

Thank you again to Tazein for the nomination!

*************

And thank you, everyone, for reading!

–Mike

A HUG Award and One Lovely Blog Award

When I began The Eye-Dancers site, I never thought of blog awards.  In fact, I didn’t even know they existed!  I remember how surprised I was the first time I was nominated for an award.  And as I’ve been fortunate enough to be nominated for others in the months since, the feeling is always the same–grateful, touched, and humbled by all the fantastic bloggers and wonderful people in the WordPress community.  So, thanks to everyone who has visited and supported The Eye-Dancers blog!  You’re the ones who make this fun for me.

Recently, I was nominated for two new awards–The HUG Award, and One Lovely Blog Award.

I was also nominated for a Very Inspiring Blog Award by grbxxenormyn and Lipstick and Chaos.  Even though I was lucky enough to have been nominated for this award in late 2012, I wanted to thank both of these great bloggers and encourage you to check out their sites!

**************

Thank you so much to Tazein at the Transcending Borders Blog for nominating The Eye-Dancers site for the HUG Award!

HOPE UNITES GLOBALLY -The ‘Hug Award’

It is truly an honor receiving this nomination from Tazein, who, just as her blog title states, strives to transcend borders and cultivate peace in the world.  I highly encourage everyone to visit her wonderful website!

Following is information on the HUG Award . . .

The HUG Award© was initiated by Connie Wayne at A Hope for Today at http://ahopefortoday.com,which promotes hope, love, peace, equality, and unity for all people.

hug-award1

The HUG Award©

  • is for people with an expectant desire for the world, for which they:  Hope for Love; Hope for Freedom; Hope for Peace; Hope for Equality; Hope for Unity; Hope for Joy and Happiness;Hope for Compassion and Mercy; Hope for Faith; Hope for Wholeness and Wellness; Hope for Prosperity; Hope for Ecological Preservation; Hope for Oneness
  •  recognizes and honors those who help keep hope alive in our current world, which is plagued by war, natural disasters, and economic recession.  They nurture hope, in any of the above areas (in italics),  by the work they do, or in their personal lives with things such as blogging, public speaking, charity work, etc.
  • is for people who, without giving up or compromising their own religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, are able to nurture hope and respect the dignity of all people. 
  • is for those who, without bias or prejudice, use their resources and gifts to make the world a better place for everyone.
  • is for people who have a hope or an expectant desire that the work or talents they use in things such as blogging, public speaking, charity work, etc., will make a positive impact on the world.

These people do not have to actively use the word “hope” in their work or creative talents.  They only need be conscious of their desire to make the world a better place for everyone.

These people use their available resources–a smile, a hug, a helping hand, a listening ear, a voice, time, money, possessions, education, personality, talent, websites and blogs—to make a positive impact on the world and make the world a better place to live.


I would like to nominate the following websites for the HUG Award.  Each of these blogs, in their own unique way, brings something worthwhile and special to the world.  I very much hope you will settle in and browse through their sites!

http://theothersideofugly.com/

http://familyeverything.wordpress.com/

http://cariwiese.wordpress.com/

http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com/

http://gorjaeous.com/

http://thekatandthefallingleaves.wordpress.com/

http://yourinnerfeathersbyruby.wordpress.com/

http://oursunshines.wordpress.com/

http://shiro51144.wordpress.com/

http://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/

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The next award is One Lovely Blog Award!  I want to thank Joseyphina for this wonderful honor!  Joseyphina has a very creative and, well, lovely, site!  It is a great feeling being nominated by her.

The rules for One Lovely Blog Award are very straightforward:  thank the blogger who nominated you and link the post to their page, and then state 7 random facts about yourself and nominate those you feel are deserving of the award.

Here are seven things about myself . . .

1. Like any true Vermonter (albeit not a Vermont native!), I enjoy pure maple syrup.  And we’re in the heart of maple sugaring season right now.  There’s nothing quite like Grade A maple syrup on pancakes or waffles.

vermontsyrup

 

Also, an interesting tidbit.  Even though there are only five states smaller than Vermont, the Green Mountain State is the nation’s #1 producer of maple syrup!  Bon appetit!

mapleproduction

 

waffles

 

2. Throughout high school, I really enjoyed Math, and was under the impression that I was pretty good at it.  Then, in my Senior year, I met Calculus.  To put it mildly, it wasn’t a pleasant relationship.  I soon discovered that, whether I studied hard or not at all, either way I had absolutely no clue what I was doing!

calculus

 

3. There are so many terrifying scenes throughout movie history.  From Hitchcock to modern-day horror films and many movies in between, Hollywood likes to scare us.  But of all the scenes I’ve witnessed, nothing creeps me out more than the two ghost girls from The Shining.   In Stephen’s King novel, if memory serves, they do not appear in the hallway of the haunted Overlook Hotel.  But in Stanley Kubrick’s eerie 1980 film they do.  And Danny, the little boy with “the shining,” sees them, and knows who they are and what they represent.

“Come and play with us,” they say.  “Come and play with us, Danny.  Forever, and ever, and ever . . .”

For me, it doesn’t get any scarier than this . . .

girls

 

danny

 

4.  I am a big tennis fan, and have enjoyed the sport since I was a kid growing up in the ’80s.  But the generation of top players we have today is. arguably, the strongest group we’ve ever seen.  Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal are incredibly gifted players, all playing at a high level simultaneously.  It makes for riveting tennis.

That said, I miss the serve-and-volleyers of decades past.  Very few players rush the net these days.  It’s a lost art, and that’s sad to see.  There is nothing more exciting on a tennis court than watching a gifted net-rusher going up against a pinpoint-accurate baseliner.  I miss the daring, attacking style of Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter, John McEnroe, and, the best pure volleyer and greatest net player I ever saw, Stefan Edberg.

edberg

 

5.  One of my favorite writers is Ray Bradbury.  I consider him the best short story writer of all time.  He enjoyed a seemingly endless well of ideas, inspiration, and enthusiasm.  He had the rare ability to make everyday events, like buying a pair of sneakers, seem magical.  Whenever I’m lacking ideas or feeling burned out, I turn to Bradbury, read a few of his gems, and almost instantly feel recharged again.

bradbury

 

6.  I was born, and grew up in, Rochester, New York.  And one thing Rochester is known for is its lilacs.  Each May, Highland Park, on the city’s south side, is host to the Lilac Festival.  There are live entertainers, tons of high-calorie foods, and all manner of activities going on. But more than anything, people come to see the lilacs.  Highland Park is home to over 1,200 lilac shrubs, and during the festival, with the flowers in bloom, it is a breathtaking sight.  (Fragrant, too!)  It’s not for nothing that my hometown is often referred to as “The Flower City.”

lilacfest

 

 

lilacfest

 

lilacfun

lilacs

 

7. In a previous Awards post, I shared some of my favorite vintage comic book covers from my collection.  Here are a few more . . .

hom134

 

ff72

 

sa95

 

sa2

 

hos97

 

tos29

 

And now it’s time to nominate some of my fellow bloggers for One Lovely Blog Award.  I hope you’ll have a chance to explore these sites.  They’re intriguing, informative, and eclectic.  In short (something this post has most assuredly not been!), they’re great!

http://freerangecow.com/

http://fashionmayann.wordpress.com/

http://bookmust.wordpress.com/

http://catherinesherman.wordpress.com/

http://dishingitoutwithclarissa.com/

http://kelihasablog.wordpress.com/

http://tommiastablet.wordpress.com/

http://mummyshymz.wordpress.com/

http://likeitiz.wordpress.com/

http://failuretolisten.com/

http://bettysbrownies.wordpress.com/

http://laurenlfleming.wordpress.com/

http://sheslosingit.net/

http://annechia.com/

http://bringmorebooks.wordpress.com/

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Thank you again to Tazein, Joseyphina, grbxxenormyn, and Lipstick and Chaos for the nominations!

And thanks so much to everyone for reading!

–Mike

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