Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insecure Writers Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge shout-out to our fearless leader, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, for starting this group and giving anxious writers everywhere an outlet for their fears and way to connect with one another. If you're an insecure writer or just looking for a little support, click here to join us! 


This month I'm a little anxious about time. Not just managing it, but having enough in the first place. I've been dealing with some health related issues which suck away at the vast majority of my time. Added to that I've got A to Z coming up (my first year as a co-host, yay!), blogging, and my own sorely neglected writing. Sometimes it feels a little overwhelming. 

Do any of you IWSG-ers feel the same way? Any tips? Pieces of advice? 

I hope this month goes well for all you writers out there. Keep up the good (sometimes exhausting) work! And don't forget to sign up for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (which starts April 1st) and The Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest (happening March 27th). Sign ups are still going on NOW! Just click on the links to enter and join us. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

A to Z Theme Reveal and Calling All Minions

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge is around the corning and coming up fast. For those of you who haven't signed up already, there's still plenty of time. Just click here and you can be on your way to some alphabetic awesomeness! 

For those of you who have signed up already, themes are a great way to dig into the challenge and help you come up with interesting and cohesive posts from A to Z. Themes are by no means mandatory, but I've found over the past three years that they add an element of fun to my daily blogging. If you plan on using a theme this year, consider participating in the Theme Reveal Blogfest on March 23rd. It's a great way to spread the word about your particular niche and gives you a preview of what other bloggers plan to write about. If you're interested, sign-ups are below. 

Last but not least, I'm still looking for a few Minions to help out during the challenge. It's a great way to get involved in the A to Z Challenge and connect with other bloggers. If you're interested, please let me know! 


The Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest!

Sign-ups for the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge are already under way. If you have done it before, you know how much fun it is (good for you!) and if you have not, this is your chance to give it a try! You can sign up to participate here.

One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: "Should I have a theme?"
Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, and help you create posts that line neatly up from A to Z. They also have an added bonus: They let you participate in a whole separate blogfest!

Two years ago A to Z participant Mina Lobo started the Theme Reveal, and we thought it was such a great idea that we made it tradition. It is now our very own, grand and festive way of rolling out our themes together!

Here is how the Theme Reveal Blogfest works:

Sing up on the Linky list below, and on March 23rd (Monday) publish a post on your blog in which you reveal your theme, tell us why it is exciting, and give us a hint of what to expect from it! Then, once your post is up, use the Linky to visit all the other blogs announcing their themes. Enjoy!


This is a great opportunity for all of you to get a jump start on your A to Z experience. You can link up with fellow bloggers, scout out and bookmark themes that you look forward to, and set out delicious themed bait on your blog to lure in wandering participants! This way, by the time the frenzied posting begins on April 1st, you will already have an audience eagerly awaiting your posts.



Sign up below, ready your theme, and post March 23rd on your calendar!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A big thank you to our fearless leader, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for starting this group and giving writers a place to voice our fears. If you're an insecure writer or a writer looking to give support to others, check us out here

This month I have one very specific writing concern, and it's related to blogging -- the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in fact. I'm one of the co-hosts this year, and I'm super excited for the chance to work with the incredible A to Z Team. But as it's my first year as part of the team, I'm a little anxious about doing the job well and making sure that I make ever participant feel welcome and encouraged. It's a lot of work, but I can't wait!

[Shameless A to Z plugging -- if you haven't signed up yet, there's still time! Click here to join us!]

If anyone is interested in helping me overcome this month's insecurity, I could use a few awesome Minions on my team. If you're interested in becoming involved in the A to Z Challenge, please let me know. 

Good luck this month to all my fellow insecure writers. And as always, happy blogging!

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's Here!

I am thrilled to announce that today is a very special day. Why? It's Blogging from A to Z sign-up day! Sign-ups are officially opened and we're putting out a call to all bloggers to join us in the best blogging challenge in the blog-o-sphere! If you're interested in learning more about the challenge, check us out . . .

Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE

We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.


Blogs must be on an open platform – no Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – and comments enabled.


To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Blogs on the list showing no activity once the Challenge starts or miss five days in a row will be removed.

Please note your blog name and number in all correspondences. Remember that as blogs are removed, your number will change.

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. See the first few blogs on the list for examples. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows:

ANIMALS: (AN)
ART: (AR)
BOOKS/REVIEWS: (BO)
CRAFTS: (CR)
CULINARY: (CU)
EDUCATION: (ED)
FASHION: (FA)
FILM/MOVIES: (FM)
GAMING: (GA)
GARDENING: (GR)
HISTORY: (HI)
HUMOR: (HU)
LIFESTYLE: (LI )
MEMOIR: (ME)
MUSIC: (MU)
MYTHOLOGY: (MY)
PERSONAL: (PR)
PHOTOGRAPHY: (PH)
POLITICS: (PO)
SCIENCE: (SC)
SOCIAL MEDIA: (SO)
SPORTS: (SP)
TRAVEL: (TR)
WRITING/STORYTELLING: (WR)
ADULT CONTENT: (AC)

Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the A to Z Challenge Blog.

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts
Nicole Ayers @ The Madlab Post
Author Stephen Tremp
Heather M. Gardner
AJ @ Naturally Sweet
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian
Matthew MacNish @ The QQQE
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
S. L. Hennessy @ Pensuasion
C. Lee McKenzie @ The Write Game
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
Susan Gourley @ Susan Says
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing
Lisa Buie-Collard, Author

We also have a Facebook Page
Email address is contactatozteam@gmail.com
Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z

Sign up below and join us for a month of alphabet fun!



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Friday Night Lights

I recently started watching NBC's 2006-2011 series, Friday Night Lights. I remember seeing the original film in theaters and, apart from my appreciation of Billy Bob Thornton's depiction of Coach Gary Gaines, didn't think it was much to write home about. However, when I was shopping around for a new TV show to watch in my off-time, Netflix recommended that I give Peter Berg's series a second look. 

I'll admit that initially I had very little interest. I come from Texas, and actually went to college about ten minutes away from the filming location, so watching a TV series about small town Texas seemed a little redundant. But Netflix has rarely lead me astray, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Boy ever am I glad I did. 

The series is, to put it lightly, complex. It deals with a multitude of series issues, everything from socioeconomic disparity to rape, abortion to domestic abuse -- and it does so with a poise I hadn't really expected of a mainstream television show. With the controversy surrounding Ferguson making media headlines the last few months, the light this show cast on racial tension within the United States seems more salient than ever. 

And as for the cast, I don't think I've ever been more impressed with such an ensemble before. I fell in love with just about every character, though I have a special place in my heart for the tragically stoic Tim Riggins, played to perfection by Taylor Kitsch. The characters feel real, much more than the stereotype I'd come to expect from sports dramas.

It's a show that goes beyond mere entertainment. It has something to say. And with every frivolous sitcom, hyper-dramatic "reality" show, and vacant drama about teen vampires or lawyers skirting the justice system, my appreciation for a series that talks about real-world issues grows. If you haven't seen Friday Night Lights before, I'd recommend giving it a look.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Top 14 of 2014

I can't believe that another year has come and gone, and we're already into the fifteenth year of the new millennium. It was just one hundred years ago that World War I was still going on. Crazy, right?

I'll admit this year gave me some big disappointments. Movies I expected to love and didn't (X-Men: Days of Future Past). TV shows I've been waiting for but instantly fell flat (I still can't even talk about how much I hated the How I Met Your Mother series finale). However, there were some serious high notes as well, and I wanted to take a moment to highlight what I considered some of the best this year had to offer. (Side note: some of these are not new to 2014, just new to me.) So without further ado, I give you . . .

The Top 14 of '14:

1. Guardians of the Galaxy
This one surprised me perhaps more than any other this year. The Marvel bar was set high with The Avengers (2012), but Guardians had no trouble keeping up. In fact, this movie set off quite the argument in my friend group as we tried to pick a favorite between these two superhero ensembles. All I can say is, game on Avengers 2. 

2. Awesome Mix - Vol. 1 (aka. Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack)
In some cases a soundtrack can enhance the film. In this case, the the soundtrack was the film. Amazing.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I wasn't a huge fan of the first Captain America film (probably more to do with my aversion to movie portrayals of WWII and Nazis than anything else), so I didn't know what to expect from The Winter Soldier. But it really blew me away. Perhaps one of my favorite Marvel movies to date.  

4. Big Hero 6
I can say little more to describe this movie than it was simply heartwarming and fun. 

5. Edge of Tomorrow
As I understand it, this movie received mediocre reviews. I struggle to understand that, as it was my second favorite movie of the year after Guardians. The end was perhaps a little muddled, but I found it entertaining beyond measure. 

6. Heroes of Olympus: Blood of Olympus
My heart hurts a little to see this series come to a close, but it ended with a bang. Au revoir Percy Jackson and company. 

7. Selfie
Poorly named, but a fun concept. It didn't do well enough to make it past the first season (darn you ABC), but my husband and I got a real kick out of this Pygmalion/My Fair Lady adaptation. And a big thank you to Hulu for airing the entire season. 

8. All About That Bass
I don't know whether I love this song or hate it, but one thing's for sure. It's catchy as hell.

9. Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1)
I never know what to expect of these YA novel film adaptations (you could't pay me to sit through another one of the Divergent movies). But the third installment of the Hunger Games series was really great. And I'm looking foward to next winter's Mockingjay (Part 2). 

10. Friday Night Lights
This show aired it's final season in 2011, but it wasn't recently that I gave it a try (and by "gave it a try" I mean binge watching all five seasons via Netflix). Stay tuned for my review later this month, but it's one of the best series I've come across in a long time. 

11. Uptown Funk 
This goes down as my favorite song of the year. 

12. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
I'm always hungry for more Firefly, and was thrilled to hear a new comic miniseries was on the way. I felt a bit skeptical when I hear it was being written by Zack Whedon rather than Joss, but it scored well in my book. It didn't quite meet the same level of perfection as the previous works, but was a good read nevertheless.   

13. Twelve Days of Pottermore 
More backstory into Harry Potter. Enough said. 

14. Godzilla 
Maybe it's the child within me, but I'll just never stop loving a good monster movie. And this new addition to the Godzilla franchise was a great throwback to some of the original movies. Definitely a crowd pleaser. 

Well, that completes my list of 2014 favorite. Are there any other TV shows, movies, books or songs you think should have made the list?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A big shout out to our fearless leader, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for starting this amazing group where writers can connect with one another. If you're an insecure writer or a writer interested in supporting others, check us out here!  

Today each IWSG member has been asked to write a little introduction before their post, so keeping that in mind, my name is S. L. Hennessy and I'm an insecure writer. I double majored in English Lit and History in college, and reading is my absolute favorite activity. I've completed my first novel, a middle grade piece about superheroes, and I have an agent representing me. As of yet, I have no publisher, but fingers crossed. 

As for my insecurities this month, well, they are legion. But it's the dawn of a new year, and the perfect time for fresh starts. I encourage everyone who struggle with writing last year (as I certainly did) to brush off their past troubles and dive in with a newfound sense of determination. That's my goal for 2015!

Happy blogging fellow IWSG-ers, and a happy new year! Can't wait to check in with everyone and read some of your introductions.