Thursday, May 30, 2013

Books to Read Aloud

I recently made the terrible error of discovering the site Buzzfeed, which is made up entirely of pointless articles to read when you should really be doing something else. Half their site seems to be cute animal gifs, and most of the other half is annoying celebrity articles. I should also mention that they do occasionally have some PG-13 articles or references (but none of my links do).

Seriously, what is it with cute animal videos? I mean they all have basically the same set of things happening: cats are insane, dogs are silly. And yet I can’t stop watching.

But from time to time, Buzzfeed has things actually worth reading and sharing. I thought the readers of this blog might enjoy the 38 Best Books to Read toKids

All the obvious ones are there (Goodnight Moon, The Giving Tree), but there are a few unexpected ones. And several more from my childhood than I would have anticipated. I almost forgot about The Hundred Dresses, but that one is absolutely lovely. I was a huge fan of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books when I was little!

The only one I'd add to the list is April Rabbits.  A wonderful story about a boy who gets followed home by a rabbit on April 1st. On April 2nd, it's 2 rabbits. On April 3rd, it's three..... 
Trust me, just pick it up at your library:

(though according to Amazon, it's out of print. Very sad)

And, just for fun, here is an article that was going around facebook for a while, and is definitely worth looking at if you need a smile:

Oh, and this one too:

What books are your favorites to read aloud?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Smashwords' Data on What Makes eBooks Sell

I have to thank Jeff Hargett for posting this link in his weekly Sunday Surfing over on his blog Strands of Pattern.  He always has some great links in his Sunday Surfing posts, definitely worth checking out if you aren’t already a reader of his awesome blog.

I think it has already been established that I am a huge nerd.  I love data, real data with charts and graphs that I can mull over, so I can decide for myself and not have to rely on other people’s interpretations. 

The whole publishing world is a little frustrating to learn about because there is so little hard data out there.  We have to rely so much on hearsay and experts feeding us their interpretations without showing us the data that lead to those conclusions.   So I’m over-joyed that Mark Coker from Smashwords shared their actual data with us, along with his very insightful interpretation.  Link here for all the details.

Here are a few things that I found interesting. 

1.  The self-publishing model is really like the traditional model where there are a few superstars but most don’t really sell that well.  I wish this wasn’t true.  I like the dream of all writers being able to find their audiences.  Where once you get rid of the gatekeepers, everyone can find success, but that annoying logical side of me never could believe the dream.   So here is the evidence.

From Smashwords blog
So this graph plots sales rank for individual titles (x-axis) versus the dollars sold (y-axis), but only shows the top 500 ranked books.  I really wish that he had shown all the books not just the top 500, and then just blown up this portion.  I would really like to know how many books are out there on Smashwords (I’m guessing hundreds of thousands to a million-ish range, but that is just a guess), and if the sell ranks continue a slow decline or if there are other big jumps (steep slopes), but this information is helpful (ETA: thanks to Pyre Dynasty at Hatrack here is the data I wanted, and yeah, it's not very encouraging).   Mark says that the 500 ranked books are still selling very well.

But we still see a huge exponential increase for those top sellers.  The #1 books is selling 37X more than #500, and that is pretty huge.  I like Mark’s interpretation of these results so I’ll quote him.  :)

Most books don't sell well, but those that do sell well sell really well.  This finding wasn't a surprise.  Just as in traditional publishing, very few books become bestsellers.”

So self-publishing seems to follow the trends of traditional publishing.  A few make it really big, while the rest struggle like mid-list writers or worse.  I know this isn’t what we writers want to see.  We want a self-publishing utopia where everyone gets to win, but I don’t think that ever happens anywhere in life.  Here’s hoping we will be one of those superstars.  Fingers crossed. 

2.  Longer books seem to sell better.  So much for the traditional publishing industry and there seemingly arbitrary word-count limits.  Readers don’t shy away from those long books, in fact they seem to prefer them.

From Smashwords blog
I think this Mark guy is pretty smart because I like what he says here as well, so I’ll give you another quote.

There will always be exceptions to any rule.   If your story deserves 50,000 words - nothing more and nothing less - because this is the length packs the biggest pleasure punch for readers, then by all means don't bloat your perfect story with extra words just because the data shows that longer books, on average, sell more.  Do what's right for your story because that's what's right for your reader."

In other words, your story is a special snowflake (I’m not being sarcastic at all; I truly believe it is), and don’t try to force it to be something it is not to fit in with the popular ebooks.  Also remember the only unbreakable rule in writing is “don’t be boring.”  But if your story is a tad on the long end, don’t stress it either because readers don’t seem to mind.

3.  $3.99 seems to be the sweet spot for pricing, at least right now since by measuring this number means that we might change this number (Yes, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle may also apply to ebook sells).

From Smashwords blog
I thought the big drop in sells of books priced at $1.00 to $1.99 was fascinating.  There must be some psychological reason there.  Anyway, it might be a good idea to play around with pricing to find your own sweet spot.

Those were the parts that I found the most interesting, but there is more data on the post, so once again, here is the link.  Check it out.  It’s definitely worth the time.


Friday, May 24, 2013

It hasn't been an easy couple of weeks. Nothing terrible has happened, just a general feeling of malaise, which happens to be a side-effect of a prescription medicine I've been taking. I plan to have the feeling disappear with a little POP when I swallow the last pill in three more days. In the meantime though, I'm seeing my world through blue-colored glasses, which isn't a bad thing to do from time to time.

I read a blog post this week by a mom whose children are just entering the busy stage. She wrote about the process of discovering how much busy-ness is right for her family. If you've ever been there, you know what a hard question this can be, since the answer affects not just the present, but your children's futures as well. This mom was obviously leaning toward simplicity, and she posted a link about the benefits of becoming un-busy. 

Although far from their original purpose, in my blue-colored fog, these articles pointed me to a truth about myself that I hadn't thought much about:

Writing has been my main hobby for five years now. For about half that time, I was writing my first novel. I didn't have much experience with writing then, and I made a lot of crazy mistakes that I don't make anymore. My writing has improved, and I should feel pleased and joyful at the realization.

But the fact that I've been writing for five years has settled like a weight around my shoulders.

Five years.

Do you have any idea how many other dreams and aspirations I've put on the back burner so that I can write? Myriads.

That little niggling idea that I might homeschool my children at some point? Vanished. 
Being crafty enough to have a beautiful house? Ha.
At least a clean home? Weed free lawn? Haha.
Impressive resume? Hahaha
Triathlon? Stop!

That published book???  Sigh.

It's a fact of life people: You can't do everything. Every time you choose one thing, you un-choose other things. Un-choose carefully. Notice! If you choose not to do something this week because you're writing, chances are you'll be choosing not to do that same thing five years from now.

So I'm here at my own little crossroads, looking back at the path I chose five years ago. It's littered with other things I would have enjoyed doing but left by the wayside.

How does one even stop being an author? Is it possible? Its like deciding to stop breathing. And how does one decide to be an author less often? That's like deciding you're only going to be a mom for a few hours a day. You don't just stop being a mom because you send your children to school. You ARE a mom, no matter where they are. Same with being an author. You can't stop just because you refuse to turn the computer on one day.

My friend Karen sent me this fantastic article that explains the way I'm feeling lately, which says, among other things:

"No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others." (Martha Graham) 
Am I more alive than the others? That sounds like a nice trade-off, but I'm not sure its true, at least not today, though again, I can choose to blame that on the medicine.

This morning I opened up my e-mail and found this blog post by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen (on The Happiness Project), entitiled "I Am Constantly, Compulsively Worrying Over The Choices I Have Made." I guess I'm not the only author who has ever suddenly stopped and wondered, "Wait a minute. Why am I doing this? Is it really worth everything I've sacrificed along the way?"

I don't know. I've tried as hard as I can not to sacrifice my family as I've taken this amazing journey. I've found a wonderful group of readers and writers that I identify with and love. I've created characters and stories that thrill and surprise me. I am mere months away from being a published author, though I've learned there won't be a portal there that will take me from "Not Worth It" land into "Worth It" land. No such portal exists, I fear. I have to hike there.

Five years from now, I'll definitely be making some money at writing. Who knows how much? Hopefully at least as much as I make at my part-time teaching job right now, which is aiming pretty low, I suppose. My dream is that my writing will add some goodness to a world that is slipping, and that it will touch hearts in need of touching. But I also hope I'll have figured out how to pick up a few of my other dreams I've let fall by the wayside. It's way past time.

Un-choose carefully.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Loaning out the Library

I knew a girl once, who didn't own any books. She had a spotless room. Or rather, I suppose it really was spotted. There was a spot for everything. Clothes, toys, crafts, each in their place. But no bookshelf. Just the occasional check-out from the school library.

That girl was not me. Our house was full of shelves, and boxes and teetering piles of print. Still is, thankfully. When I grew up and went away to college, I was blessed to fall in love with a man who always kept a stack of books by his side of the bed, too (could I have fallen in love with any other sort of man?). Every room in our house has at least one bookshelf in it - as all proper houses should.

But we also have a little nook library. It's funny how over the last little while word's gotten out about our library. Friends call (adults and kids), or knock on the front door, or simply wander up the stairs if they're visiting. I suppose it's a little glimpse into someone's soul to see what they collect.

It's also been my privilege to be able to recommend and loan out many of these little glimpses of our family. And for some reason, it makes me most happy to be able to introduce a new generation to old books written long before they were ever born. Usually there's kind of a skeptical raise of an eyebrow like, 'how could anything so ancient be any good?' But if they're willing to give it a go, a few days later they often come back asking for more, and why haven't they ever heard of that author before? It makes me feel, in some ways, like I'm keeping something alive.

So, what kinds of things are on your bookshelves, and what are you most likely to share?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Living In A World That Breaks My Heart.

The world makes me sad. I just clicked over to facebook, and I read about what's happening in Oklahoma right now. A tornado came through and destroyed an elementary school. It's too early to know anything yet, and I'm hoping, and praying for the best. I'm hoping those amazing teachers we trust our kids with, have all those little ones in a safe place. I hope they all find their way back home to their moms and dads.

Maybe the world is getting worse, or maybe the world is just getting smaller and we're hearing of more bad things. Or maybe it's just that I'm now a grown up, and am no longer kept away from the bad things of the world, but living in this crappy world sucks some times. It's amazing to me how small and simple my bubble of what I think about is. I don't realize how trivial it all is, until something like this happens. Is it just me, or is this stuff happening more and more?

How do I send my kids to school when people can walk in carrying guns. How do I love my children fully if they could just go and die on me?

I know that's a self-centered view. I also know that this world is full of people who have their own pain, their own heartbreak, their own monsters lurking in the shadows, and their own tragic stories. It's a part of growing up, I think, to realize that dragons are real. It's a part of growing a pair to try to figure out how to save yourself from them. And I think it's a part of growing wiser to realize there's nothing you can do but love fully, like your heart won't ever be broken.

Life is fragile. Life breaks my heart.

I need you to write more stories. I NEED you to finish that beautiful story hiding in YOUR hard drive that will give me a moment of peace and safety. I need you to tell me how I can survive in a world that could take my children away from me.

But whatever you do...write a story that's full of hope. Because what the world and I need more than anything, is more HOPE.

Please. I need more hope.


I'm posting this,and thinking of those third graders and their families.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More About Editing

I'm 9 weeks away from having my third baby, and I just moved into a new house.  You know, with a yard that has developed a weed problem, and a patch of mushrooms in the back that I can't get rid of, but can't keep the dog away from, either.  Writing time is precious, and almost non-existent these days.  So I'm editing, instead.

Now I think most of us Prosers have taken a crack at posts dealing with the editing process, and there are just about a billion books out there that give varying degrees of advice on the subject.  I'm not going to rehash all that this week.  Instead, I want to tackle something that I've been wondering about this last month or so, ever since I started this red-pen-on-paper-while-trying-to-eat-dinner adventure.  Namely, what are the benefits of paying for an edit?

From what I can tell, it depends on what you want to do with your story, and what kind of editing you are looking for.  Need someone to bounce ideas off of, or just get a general sense of plot and pacing?  You're probably best sticking with a critique group.  It's free, and a perfect starting point.

If you're ready to submit a story to an agent, you can stay with the critique group, but here's the problem I've had with that: you have to give exactly what you want in return.  If you're asking for a line-by-line edit, you'd better be prepared to offer the same for the other person.  You can also get stuck in a mismatched critique situation.  This has happened to me.  No matter how much you respect the other writer, you find yourself critiquing, let's say horror, when you write young adult romance.  I've heard from a few people that they enjoy this kind of feedback because it puts a fresh spin on their work, but in my own dealings, it's never quite worked out that way.  It's hard to give advice on a subject you don't read, and even harder to take criticism from someone when they have no clue what is acceptable for your genre.

So maybe you decide to invest in a professional edit before you send out to agents.  Okay, that's reasonable, but keep in mind, you're going to spend somewhere between $300 up to $3,000 for this service.  To me, that seems a bit steep, even on the low end, but if you simply don't have the time to develop a solid critique group, then it might be just what you need.

Once you start talking about self-publishing, I think it's time to shell out a little bit of money.  However, this comes down to what you hope to accomplish.  Want to be the next Hugh Howey?  Spring for the editor.  Want to finally see your name on Amazon as something other than a reviewer?  You can probably skip it, or skimp on it.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what your story needs, but in my own experience, it's essential to get someone to look at your work.  And no, not your mom.  Or sister.  Or spouse.  (Asking my husband to read for me is about equal to saying, "Do I look fat in this?"  It's just not fair.)  You might be the next Charlaine Harris or Dan Brown, but when you've spent 80,000 words (or more) on a story, you probably aren't going to be the most objective reader, so find someone that will be objective.

Yesterday, the illustrious Nathan Bransford announced that he's paying an editor to go over a how-to book on writing, and gave some fantastic reasons why.  (You can read the post here.)  He also linked to more information about whether to pay for editing or not in that post.  It goes into a lot more detail than I can, as he's speaking from his personal, first-hand experience.

So guys, what are your thoughts on professional editing services?  Better yet, has anyone out there been through the process and want to share the experience?

Thursday, May 16, 2013


A few months back, I was listening to NPR (not uncommon). On that day, I heard about the book “Brain on Fire” by Susannah Cahalan. It sounded intriguing, so I ordered it from the library, and it finally came this week.

The book is absolutely fascinating – Susannah contracted this bizarre autoimmune disorder that basically caused her to go completely insane. And for a long time, no one knew what was wrong with her. It’s very odd and creepy to think about – that you could potentially contract a virus that makes you go all psychotic, and it's so rare that the doctors won't necessarily know how to fix you.

Basically, reading this book made me realize how few nonfiction books I actually read in a given year. Granted, I read a TON of scientific articles (weight near approximate, since i recently had to clean out my office for a move to another building). But all the same, I feel like there must be more awesome non-fiction books out there that I need to try.

Here are some non-fiction books I've enjoyed in the past few years:

Song of the Dodo, by David Quammen

I'm a huge David Quammen fan - in fact, my most common internet name is inspired by one of his essays. I first learned about him through this book. It's in large part about Island Biogeography . Without getting too technical (don’t make me be technical – it’s my Friday and I’m tired)  islands are basically the most awesome place to study ecological processes, because weird evolutionary things happen when species are isolated. For example, islands tend to have gigantic versions of species that exist on continents, such as the giant tortoises of Galapagos.

Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell

My brother got me this for Christmas one year. Aside from the bizarre theory about how being born at a certain time of year makes you a better hockey player,  I liked the idea that you have to practice just about anything to be awesome. His figure is 10,000 hours – and a few years ago, when I calculated it out, I had indeed come close to 10,000 hours of writing practice.

Okay, so maybe I don’t have a pro publication yet. But by the hour count, I’m getting close! And if you’re a depressive, anxious personality like me, even those little encouragements make a difference.

That Book I read one time about the history of the English language that was probably by Bill Bryson

I don’t really remember much about it, except that it was awesome. The only reason I think it wasn’t by Bill Bryson is that I read two books about the English language at the same time, and I think I liked the one that wasn’t by him better. Not that I recall which one that was.  But I love books about the English language, and so any you all have to recommend would be much appreciated.

Wow, that's not very many, is it? So what are your favorite nonfiction books? I'd especially love to hear about books about nature, science, language, and really anything captivating. Because I think that's my one weakness with nonfiction - I tend to assume straight out that it's going to be a tedious read. 

I blame it on peer reviewed journal articles.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Failure is Awesome

I think we are all a little too afraid of failure. That big red F freaks us out, makes us feel unworthy, and the fear of failing can hold us back, keep us from ever trying.

Why do we fear to fail?

My daughter in second grade is already feeling a little test anxiety, and I tell her that all tests do is see what she has learned and what she hasn’t.  Nothing more.  I don’t think she believes me.  She is already adopting the belief that she should be instantly good at something, or she shouldn’t do it all it, and that makes me sad.

I’m not sure where this idea comes from.

How many times did we fall down before we learn to walk?  How many times did we babble before we learned how to talk?  Failure is part of learning.  We try to do something.  It doesn’t work. We try to figure out why it didn’t work, and then we try again applying our new knowledge.  This is the process of learning, and yet somewhere between learning to walk and learning to read, my daughter decided that failing was bad.  I think we all did.

There are two truths I would like to instill into my daughters. 

1.  That failure is awesome.  You learn and grow and become better through failure than you ever will through success.  Embrace your failures and learn from them.

2.  If something is really important to you, don’t ever give up.  You may never be the best, but you will always get better.

I really think that these two principles are the secret to be successful in anything.  Natural talent is great, but it’s not going to help you at all if you don’t buckle down and work hard.  And even if you don’t have a natural affinity for something, anything can be learned.  Every failure is an opportunity to learn, and success is all about persistence.   


Friday, May 10, 2013

Ender's Game

Look at this!

And this: 12 Things The Ender's Game Trailer Got Right

I've written so many love letters about Ender's Game over the years, I'm sure you've run into one somewhere. You haven't??


Well then, you probably haven't read The Authorized Ender Companion as thoroughly as you should have, because there are a bunch of letters from people whose lives have been changed by Ender, and I happen to be one of them. As you can imagine, my little fan-girl heart is excited for this movie. Excited, but a little afraid to start jumping up and down. No movie could ever capture the nuances that make the book so great.

On the other hand, there will be combat in the Battle Room, and that's good enough for me. 

I just finished reading Earth Unaware, which is the story of humans right before the first Formic War. I was hoping for the story of Mazer Rackham, but he only gets a cameo in the book. Instead, its mostly the story of Milo, a man on the mining space vessel who first recognized the alien space ships, and his attempts to warn Earth--after all, there was no ansible in those days. 

The sequel to Earth Unaware is called Earth Afire, and it will be out on June 6th.

I was in college when I discovered Ender, and he came right when I needed him. He spoke to the undeveloped places in me and whispered of potential beyond my imagination. I loved the story of Speaker for the Dead, and it still might be my favorite book not written by JK Rowling, but I craved Ender's Game the way I've never craved anything else. I've thoroughly worn out two copies. In my letter in The Authorized Ender's Companion, I wrote,
...After I read it I started over and read it again and again.  Ender’s Game became my manual for life.  Ender’s struggle to forge a place for himself in Battle School helped me reshape my college experience.  I read it when I was stressed about finishing my master’s thesis, the night before I got married, while I was pregnant, and again after my children were born.  I held onto Ender’s Game like a lifeline when my husband and I moved across the country to Maine—my own personal transfer to Command School.  I have it on my computer table right now as I struggle to edit my first novel. 
I am amazed at the way that Ender has helped to define and shape my life.    When I first read Ender’s game, I was not much like Ender.  I was too afraid to find my own limits.  Ender was the missing balance in my life.
It seems like there are zillions of stories in the Enderverse. Books about Ender, books about Peter, books about Bean. Now there are books about the Formic Wars. I know many people like the Bean books even better than the Ender books. I thought they were all great. But there is something magical about the two books that started it all.

Has Ender touched your life? Are you excited for the movie?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Face It

I recently bequeathed my entire childhood collection of Breyer Horse models (all 17 of them, complete with tack) to my daughter. And my childhood horse book collection (go Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry!) - you couldn't tell that I'd been a little horse crazy in my day and wanted to pass it on, could you?

My diabolical plan worked, and her interest in horses was piqued. In theory at least.

A week or so ago she went with three friends to her first horse riding lesson. The kids chattered and giggled all the way there, all the time they were putting on their boots, and while strapping on their helmets (who knew bike helmets are now required horse riding gear?).

And then they stepped into the stable.

I was a little surprised by the number of horses peering over the stall doors. They were beautiful!  And there was that delicious smell of horse and leather and hay, and the whiffle and huff and stamp - ah, I was in heaven.

My daughter, however, wasn't. First she looked up, up at the nose of the horse looking down at her. Then she sidled closer to me. Closer, and then grabbed my hand. Breyer models are apparently a lot smaller and a lot less alive than real horses.

Only two kids could practice at a time in the arena, and I saw my daughter shrink to the back so she wouldn't get chosen. The first horse was a large palomino gelding, the second a fairly small pinto mare with some seriously beautiful lines. As my daughter's friends sat, and then walked, and then trotted around and around, my daughter whispered to me, "Do I have to do this?"

When it was finally her turn, she picked the horse I'd expected, the small mare. She climbed the mounting block steps like she was climbing the steps to the guillotine.

Her instructor got her situated. They started at a gentle walk. And then told her to close her eyes. And put her arms straight out from her sides. I held my breath. And then she was flying! Around and around, comfortable, confident. In under and hour she transformed from a nervous wreck to a beaming equestrian (with excellent form, I might add). She can't wait for next time.

What changed?

She faced it. She shouldered through, marched on, she persevered.
Sometimes, I guess, the only way to get over something is simply to do it.

Thanks for reminding me, daughter of mine.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cover Reveal and Launch Date - CHILDREN OF THE SMOG

Publishing Funny Tragic Crazy Magic has been so much fun, that I thought I'd do it all over again. But, you know, for a new story.

I'm going to tell you a little bit about a story that none of you have heard about.

This gorgeous cover is by


A Short Story 
from the author of FUNNY TRAGIC CRAZY MAGIC.

Twelve minutes.

That’s how long Gracie could survive outside of the thick glass which keeps the Building safe from the poisonous smog. Those at the Top had decided long ago that resources should be reserved only for those who contributed to the well being of the community. Broken children, like Gracie, must be abandoned outside the Building. It only takes twelve minutes for the smog to claim them as her own. 

Unwilling to live by the law the Top commands, Gracie's parents hide her away, until one day when broken things begin to bend.

CHILDREN OF THE SMOG launches in two weeks! Friday May 24, 2013.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Reflections on the A-Z Challenge

Melanie's Thoughts
First of all, whoever noticed that April could be divided into 26 days if you skipped Sundays was a genius. I love perfect coincidences like that. 

Second, I found a few really good blogs that I look forward to following for a long time. Our blog got quite a few new followers, some of whom leave really lovely comments. That makes me happy.

But the list of participants was crazy-long, and despite my best efforts, I didn't get to many of them. In the beginning, I tried, going to as many as I could, but that was no fun. And then I started getting comments on my personal blog (I don't think it happened on this one...) that proved that people were reading the title of my post, not the actual post. That was disheartening. I didn't want to be one of those people, so I slowed down--only commenting on the posts that I really wanted to comment on. That was better, but less people came to see my blog, so it was a trade off. 

I loved the out-of-the-box thinking it required to come up with blog posts. Especially because I was only responsible for 4 letters, it stayed fun, and I really love the posts we came up with. I having those extra parameters set gave our writing some sparkle.

My favorite Proser posts:
MaryAnn: T is for Toothless
Susan: O is for Out of Print
Sheena: G is for Growth
Trisha: L is for Lois Lowry
Sabrina: P is for Present Tense
and Me: K is for Kissing

Trisha's Thoughts
This was one of the coolest things I've done this year.  It was so much fun to see all the ways people used the letters of the alphabet.  On one blog, each letter inspired a poem.  Another featured a new comic book every day.  There were so many different themes, and I got a kick out of each of them.

As a Proser, I feel like we got off a little easy.  We split our month into six contributors, so to all those that tackled the whole thing themselves, bravo.  I don't know how you did it, because I'm pretty sure I'd have given up before we hit C.  Congrats everyone!

The only thing I'd like to see next year is a list of blogs organized by category.  I tried to stay focused on blogs that featured writing as their main theme, but it was hard to dig them out from the endless list.  (That might not have been a bad thing, though, since I uncovered a lot of cool pages just randomly clicking links.)

It was a lot of fun participating this year. I'm really glad we decided to do it, and I hope we give it a shot again next year.

MaryAnn's Thoughts
I was going to comment, but I decided to add my thoughts to the post instead (I hope that is okay Melanie).

I really enjoyed this challenge.  It was fun being involved in the blogging community.  I didn't read as many blogs that I wanted to, but I did find some real gems out there.  My favorite blogs were those that had a theme.  I found myself going back to them everyday, curious about what they would do for the next letter.

A few of my favorites were:  

Multicolored Diary which did a princess theme.  I never knew how many different princess fairy tales there are.

My Baffling Brain which did a mythology theme.  Got to love Greek mythology and all that tragedy. 

Jay Noel's blog who did the 80's theme.  Who doesn't love the eighties?

And of course I loved all the posts by my fellow Prosers. There is no one else I'd rather blog with.  You ladies rock!