The 777 Writing Challenge, Or a Peek into an Untitled Sequel . . .

When Sherri Matthews invited me to participate in the 777 Writing Challenge, I was honored–as I always am when anyone in the WordPress community invites me to join in on a blog hop.  But with Sherri, it was even more special, as she has been a supporter of The Eye-Dancers almost from its inception, two and a half years ago.  Sherri is a fantastic person and writer whose blog should not be missed.  Be sure to catch her on her wonderful website, A View From My Summerhouse.

The 777 Writing Challenge is very simple:

‘The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.’

writingchallenge

 

As those of you who have read some of my other blog hop posts know all too well, I am a rule-breaker, and proud of it!  The same will hold true here, as I fudge (quite!) a bit on the sample size of the excerpt and also nominate nine bloggers rather than seven!

rulebreaking

 

The excerpt I am selecting is from the sequel to The Eye-Dancers (still, sadly, untitled!), the events of which occur five years after the conclusion of the first novel.  Page 7 of this work-in-progress lands near the end of the Prologue, where Monica Tisdale, the “ghost girl” from The Eye-Dancers, learns the hard way that she is able to tap into other dimensions, other realities, and experience those places through the eyes of her alternate selves.  The problem with this?  She is bombarded with sights, sounds, images, memories, as she experiences the onslaught of an infinite number of shared lives.

multipledimensions

 

Here is the excerpt (far longer than just the seven lines requested!), beginning on page 7, line 7, and then, after omitting several paragraphs, picking up again and carrying on to the end of the Prologue . . .

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She closed her eyes. She remembered feeling a powerful surge, as if struck by lightning. She remembered the screams and the cries and the unending echo of voices upon voices, filtering through the tunnels and tributaries of existence. There were layers of her that extended without end.

What she did not know, and did not remember, was which Monica Tisdale she was. She was all of them, all of her. She was a single storehouse for an infinite number of lives. Their consciousness was her consciousness. Their joys and torments were hers.

And she dreaded the next onslaught, the next deluge of images, of pain and laughter, tears and jubilation without end. It was too much. Far too much. . . .

 

Monica squirmed, violently, as if having a seizure. The nurse rushed out of the room, calling for assistance. In a moment, a doctor would come in, probe, prod, examine her like an alien specimen in a scientist’s laboratory. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.

She was in so many places, undergoing so many things . . .

From somewhere, a universe away, and yet inside herself, she heard the buzz of a dentist’s drill, and the dull, thudding pain of its tip as it bored into her upper front tooth. She shouldn’t have felt anything, but the dentist hadn’t given her enough Novocaine.

Somewhere else—she heard laughter, taunting, jeering, as a handful of bigger girls pushed her into a mud puddle. “Get up, you little freak,” they said, and she felt a wet glob of spit land on her face.

Somewhere else again, she was in a gloomy, shadow-filled room, thin streaks of sunlight filtering in through the gaps of brown window slats. She stood up, tried to open the door, but it was locked. In the hallway, beyond, she heard a man’s loud, angry voice, and then the smack of his hand striking flesh. A cry, a scream. Another slap. And a sense of utter helplessness, entrapment, no escape.

“No!” she yelled, from that locked room worlds away, and from the hospital bed where she thrashed and jerked and spasmed. How could she shut off the images and sounds and feelings?

“Please. Please . . . stop . . .”

Mercifully, it did. Her mind went blank for a moment, and then, she was only here, in this one room, this one place. But for how long? When would the next episode occur? And when it did, would she be able to stop it? Or would she remain, simultaneously, in an infinite number of worlds forever, without respite or reprieve?

She didn’t want to think of that. She just breathed a sigh of relief that it was over, if only for a moment. Outside her door, she heard the approaching footfalls of doctors and nurses. She could read their thoughts, know what they were going to say before they said it.

If only they could help her. It didn’t seem possible, but maybe . . .

She shook her head. She was past that now. “Maybe” wasn’t good enough.

She had to contact those others, those boys. But who were they? Where were they from? She had to remember. She concentrated, blocking out the rush of thoughts all around her. A picture formed in her mind. At first it was blurry. Then the colors and lines and contours took shape. Yes. She had done it—she knew them. They were from another world, a world where she herself did not exist. She’d been in trouble (once, somewhere), and had called out. They were the ones who heard. They were the ones who helped.

She did not know if they would want to help her again. But it didn’t matter. The decision wasn’t theirs to make.

It was hers.

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The following bloggers, talented wordsmiths all, have fantastic websites, and I hope you’ll pay them each a visit and delve into their imaginative and captivating worlds.

I also hope they will take up the 777 Writing Challenge . . .

https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com/

https://jkmarsh12.wordpress.com/

http://gentleandquiet.com/

https://awriterslifeformeblog.wordpress.com/

https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

https://theywalkthenight.wordpress.com/

http://ipunablack.com/

https://jemsbooks.wordpress.com/

https://sonyasolo.wordpress.com/

Thanks again so much to Sherri for including me!

thanksunset

 

And thanks so much to everyone for reading.

–Mike

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Once again, I have been invited to participate in a blog hop, and once again, I thank you, the WordPress Community, for all of your ongoing support.  It’s a true pleasure being a part of the blogosphere, and having the chance to virtually meet so many great people from around the world has been a richly rewarding experience.

This blog hop–the Writing Process Blog Tour–is one I am particularly intrigued by.  Discussing the writing process is always fun for me, and I want to thank Ipuna Black for tagging me to join in on this tour!

Ipuna writes YA fantasy and is in the process of querying agents with her completed novel. You can follow her on Twitter @IpunaBlack, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ipuna.black, or on her website at ipunablack.com.

Thanks so much again, Ipuna!

And now, on to the questions . . .

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What am I working on?

I am in the midst of writing a sequel to The Eye-Dancers, which, honestly, was not planned.  When I wrote The Eye-Dancers, I really thought it would be a stand-alone novel, but then a funny thing happened.  The germ of an idea struck.  At first, I brushed it off.  There was no need for a sequel!  There were other writing projects to tackle.  But the idea hung around, expanded, became more real.  Muscles and tendons, living cells and nerve endings attached themselves to the bare bones of the frame.  Again, I tried to shrug it off, but it latched on tight, like a poodle yanking on my pants leg, unwilling to let go.  And that’s when I realized–this was a story I had to write.

idea

And so I am, and really enjoying it.  The sequel takes place five years after the conclusion of The Eye-Dancers, and it’s been fun delving back in to the characters’ lives now that they are older, on the threshold of their senior year in high school.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That’s an interesting question, but, honestly, it’s not one I spend any time thinking about.  Just like with The Eye-Dancers, I have a story to tell.  It came to me, not the other way around.  Whatever differences or similarities it has with other stories of the genre are not by intrinsic design.  I am just writing the story the best way I know how.

One thing I will say, though.  The majority of YA sci-fi/fantasy novels do not include four boys as the protagonists.  In this sense, The Eye-Dancers, as well as the sequel, stand out a bit.  Whether in a good way or a not-so-good way I leave to the readers to determine!

fantasy

Why do I write what I do?

Ray Bradbury once said, “Love.  Fall in love and stay in love.  Write only what you love, and love what you write.  The key word is love.  You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

And, in a nutshell, that’s why I write the things I do.  With The Eye-Dancers, Mitchell, Joe, Ryan, and Marc were inspired by friends I grew up with.  The themes in the story are based on ideas, concepts, ways of looking at the universe that have always resonated for me.

I remember talking with my friends when we were boys, when the pathway to adulthood seemed long and winding, the destination so far away we couldn’t see it, didn’t even think about it.  Sometimes we’d go outside at night, look up at the stars, and openly wonder, “Are we alone?  What’s up there?  What is the true scope of the universe?”  And, to the best of my ability, The Eye-Dancers tackles these questions from my youth.

stars

Why do I write what I do?  I have things to say, I guess.  There are things that mean much to me–people, places, ideas, relationships.  And putting these things down on paper in story form (or on the screen, as the case may be) has always been my preferred way of expressing them.

How does your writing process work?

Generally an idea strikes, unasked for, unplanned.  If it’s a short story, I’ll jot a few notes down–essentials I want to make sure I don’t forget.  And then I’ll write the story.  For a standard-length short story (say, between 3,000 and 5,000 words), I usually finish the first draft in a day or two.  Then the hard part–the editing, revisions, rewriting.  This stage may take up to a week.

For a novel, I will also jot down some notes–perhaps two or three pages’ worth–on the characters and the overall arc of the story.  But nothing too detailed.  Without exception, writing a novel is a journey of discovery, and, for me, I have found that if I cling too tightly to preconceived notions about characters or plot, I restrict the story from being told in its own, natural manner.  What I think might happen five chapters down the road rarely does.

That is, simultaneously, the most exciting and most insecure aspect of the writing process.  When we being a long work, we can’t know for sure just how it will turn out or, in truth, that it will turn out at all.  All we can do is dive in, head first, and let the story take us where it will.

windingroad

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And now, the best part of the blog hop!  It is my pleasure to pass the baton on to three authors whose work I greatly admire.  Please check out their wonderful websites, delve in to their creativity, and enjoy your stay, as I’m sure you will . . .

“Catnip” at Life with Catnip

Barbara Monier

Abby Jones at A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Thanks so much to Catnip, Barbara, and Abby for participating in the blog hop!  And thanks so much to everyone for reading!

–Mike

Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

The Eye-Dancers blog will turn two years old later this summer (time does fly!), and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  And the number-one thing about blogging for me has, undoubtedly, been the many virtual friends I have made here in the WordPress Community.

One of those friends, Sherri Matthews, recently tagged me to take part in the Meet My Main Character Blog Tour.  Sherri, who is currently working on her memoir, is a wonderfully talented blogger and a great person.  For any of you who have not yet visited her blog, I strongly encourage you to do so.  I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I do, and will want to pull up a chair and stay for a while.

Thanks so much, Sherri, for including me in this tour!  Please check out the other writers she has tagged for the tour as well!

For this blog tour, we have to answer a series of questions about the main character in a work-in-progress.  My WIP is the sequel to The Eye-Dancers, and, just as in the first novel, the sequel (still without a title!) has four main characters–Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski.  Not to mention the “ghost girl,” who is back as well!  And, in fact, it is the “ghost girl” I will feature here.  She is a major force in The Eye-Dancers, and even more so in the sequel . . .

 

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

The “ghost girl,” so called by Mitchell and his friends in The Eye-Dancers, is actually a girl by the name of Monica Tisdale.  In The Eye-Dancers, she is seven years old.  But when the sequel takes place, five years have now passed; she is older, on the cusp of being a teenager, much more aware of her strange, dimension-busting abilities, and facing a problem of, literally, infinite implications.

infinity

Monica Tisdale is strictly a fictional character.

2. When and where is the story set?

Five years after The Eye-Dancers–in contemporary western New York State.  (At least that’s where the story starts.  But, just as in the first book, the boys are transported through the void again, into the “ghost girl’s” world.)

void

3. What should we know about him/her?

Monica Tisdale is a very unusual girl.  She is able to tap in to phenomena many people aren’t even aware of.  But now, at the onset of the sequel, she is perhaps a bit too eager to take her uncanny and ever-evolving abilities to the next level.  Bored with the everyday routines around her, the “ghost girl” gets herself caught up in an endlessly layered problem of her own making . . .

endlessproblem

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Well, as mentioned above, she kind of messes up her life.  Since the conclusion of The Eye-Dancers, she has honed her paranormal abilities, understands them better, and feels she is ready for something huge.

She is fascinated with the concept of parallel worlds–especially so, considering Mitchell, Joe, Ryan, and Marc, all from a different plane of reality, journeyed to her world in The Eye-Dancers.  Now she wonders.  How many Monica Tisdales are really out there, across all of the known (not to mention, unknown) universes?  Are there a million versions of her?  A billion?  An infinite number?

multipleworlds

She is determined to find out . . .

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

Once she steps over the edge, once she swirls the mixture of cosmic stardust and does indeed tap in to worlds upon worlds, she realizes (too late) that it is all far too much for one person, one brain, to absorb.  She must somehow undo what she has set into motion.  But she can’t do it alone.  She needs help.

stardust

And that’s where Mitchell and his friends come in.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

At this point, there is no working title.  Hopefully one of the characters will provide one soon!

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

Hmm.  I am shooting for sometime in 2015!  It’s still fairly early in the game, but that’s the (rather vague!) goal.

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And now, it’s my pleasure to pass the baton on to four authors.  I am a big fan of each of these talented wordsmiths–gifted writers all.  If you haven’t yet visited their websites, now is the time!  They represent a true treasure trove of creativity, and I thank each of them for wanting to participate in the Meet My Main Character Blog Tour!

I will look forward to seeing your Main Character posts a week from today!

Melissa Hazelwood at Today, You Will Write

Teagan Geneviene at Teagan’s Books

Jennifer K. Marsh

Joanne Blakie at Writeaway

Thank you again to Melissa, Teagan, Jennifer, and Joanne for participating!  And thanks so much to everyone for reading.

–Mike

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.

itsawonderfullife

 

clarenceandgeorge

 

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.

lifeworthliving

 

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!”

cominghome

 

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.”

money

 

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.

end

Thanks so much for reading!

–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.

sunrise

 

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.

blogofyear

 

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!

stars

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.

som

 

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.

tgiving

 

Thanks so much for reading!

–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.

harvest1

 

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

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