Thursday, 1 May 2014

A to Z Challenge 2014 - Ghosts - A Summary & Resource Links from My Posts, plus Reflections

A to Z Challenge 2014 - Ghosts
This post is
suitable for all
So that's it, the A to Z April Challenge is over for another year! Congratulations to everyone who survived! :D And thank you to all those who organised this great blog hop!

I don't know about anyone else, but it's been a month that has been a mixture of a whirlwind and a marathon. I've really enjoyed visiting a huge selection of blogs this year, and I've listed some of my favourites below. And it has also been brilliant fun talking to the visitors to my blog, hearing their own ghost stories and talking about the weird happenings the length and breadth of Great Britain.

I've been recommending authors and linking to books and movies throughout my posts, and some folks were interested in going back over my posts to find those references. I've made lists below of my resource materials for anyone who wants to check them out. Plus, if you didn't get a chance to read The Burning Web, my own ghost story exclusively written for the A to Z, during the month, then I've listed out the parts below if you want to check it out now :).

Well, as I already mentioned, I think the A to Z is both a time for preparation and a time for frantic activity. April is a long month when visiting lots of blogs, so I pre-scheduled about half of my posts with the rest all planned out, I started planning in Feb. This meant I could pace myself and have a few days off of writing blog posts and just concentrate on hopping round the blogs.

The suggestion to start from under my name in the blog list and doing 5 to 10 blogs a day worked really well, although towards the end I was sometimes less than 5 as fatigue set in, but then at the beginning I sometimes hopped to more than 10, so I think it evened out. I ended up with a spreadsheet of blogs I was visiting regularly, sometimes every day, sometimes with a couple of days gap in between, but ones from both the mini supernatural hop and the main list that I really enjoyed (all of those are listed below). I would not have managed all the visits without the spreadsheet, it helped me remember the places I enjoyed the most.

I tried to leave a comment on every blog I visited, an encouraging comment about the post I had read, since I found it a little difficult to engage with comments on my blog that didn't actually mention the content of the post in some way. :)

Finally, I didn't keep my posts to 100 words, which was an A to Z suggestion, but I did split the content down into four sections, each of which, apart from the serialised fiction, I kept fairly short and I linked to each section at the top of the post, so if anyone wanted to ignore one or more sections, they could jump to the one they wanted to read. I thought this was a satisfactory compromise. :)

My Favourite Blogs from A To Z 2014
So, I followed the advice from the A to Z team, which was to start from my own link in the A to Z list and work my way down five to ten blogs a day, and I found some great blogs that way, ones which I would not have thought about reading. Plus a bunch of us during the theme reveal this year, also discovered we were all doing supernatural themes, so we got together and made a mini list of our own to keep track of each other. The list below is made up of all the folks I found myself going back to over the month, who were engaging, interesting and just generally great to talk to :). (this list is in no particular order, just folks I made note of as I found them and I'm sorry if I missed you out, I visited so many great blogs this month that I couldn't keep track of them all)
  • Patricia Lynne, Independent YA Author, introduced me to a swathe of new words by embedding them in some fun, spicy short fic.
  • Author, Lexa Cain, has been entertaining us with the tales from haunted locations, something, naturally, I really enjoyed!
  • The eclectic mixture of content over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup has kept me laughing, or going 'oo, yum', all month :).
  • D Biswas at Amloki Blogs has been sharing useful tips on writing, with quotes from famous authors.
  • My Baffling Brain, written by Laura Clipson, has been posting about a subject I've long been interested in, Egyptology.
  • I couldn't make this list without mentioning my sis. Tasha, who has been entertaining me with info about vampires (another subject close to my heart), and a great vampire fiction over on her blog,  Tasha's Thinkings
  • It was Timothy Brannan and Tasha who came up with the idea of the mini Supernatural A to Z, and Tim's been talking about witches this month, I learnt quite a lot - this is a useful resource for writers and gamers alike. His blog is called, The Other Side
  • Dianne Riggins over at A Creative Mind shared some supernatural monsters with us.
  • Anna Tan has had me hooked all month with her fey-based part-work fiction of humans venturing into the fairy kingdom.
  • Making Believe is author and illustrator, Dianne Lynne Gardner's blog, and she's been introducing folks from fairytales and literature.
  • Sara C Snider has also regaled us this month with fairytale characters and their stories, I hadn't heard of them all.
  • Mina Burrows picked a subject close to my heart, monsters, talking about them in movies from the golden age of cinema.
  • Julia Matthews has been talking about all things occult, from the Tree of Life to the magical properties of numbers.
  • Who doesn't love zombies? Well, author, Jolie du Pre has been sharing her special love for them over at her blog, Precious Monsters
  • Stacy Claflin has been introducing us to different aspects of her Transformed series, vampires, witches and intrigue :) 
  • The Multicolored Diary blog belongs to Zalka Csenge Virág and has been great his month as I learned all about lots of different folktales related to different colours.
  • Tracy Lynn Tobin over on No Page Left Blank has been talking about her favourite characters from page and screen, some I'd heard of, others not.
  • It has been brilliant fun over at the Spirit Called blog all month, because we've been trying to guess the film from particular quotes. I haven't been very good at it, I have to say ;P
  • Lady Jai over at Write Backwards has been inspiring me this month by writing about the positives in herself.
  • The Shellshank Redemption is a blog belonging to Madeline Mora-Summonte and she's been writing us short, sharp little fics.
  • Author, S D Neeve, has been talking about the Mysterious Islands of Alphabet Cove, where creatures and children are matched together for adventures and learning.
  • If you want some useful hints and tips about world building, check out Rebekah Loper' blog
  • Another story that has kept me reading all month is from Katie Doyle in her blog, Writing, Reading & Life - a story of a young witch who will risk everything to save her brother.
  • Laura Marcella over at Wavy Lines has had another fun guessing game all month, this time books and authors - the hints have been really tricky sometimes :)
  • Tara Tyler Talks has been sharing some writerly tips and some fun stuff too!
  • Ida Chiavaro on her blog, Reflex Reactions, has been talking frankly about the greatest loves of her life, some personified, some more abstract :)
  • Michelle Stanley has been doing some delightful spinoffs to classic fairytales this month. 
  • Charlotte Comley on her blog, Aiming For A Publishing Deal, has some great checklists for writers when both creating and editing their work.
  • Chris Votey made my brain ache some days, since he's being teaching us about literary terms and concepts and, yes, I learnt something :)
  • Mee-eep has been writing some wonderful cute and feel good fics over her journal this month.
  • Carrie Anne Brownian has been taking us on a tour of locations she uses in her books and she has some beautiful photos of different cities in her posts.
  • Charis has also been entertaining with her spicy flash fics and drabbles.
  • Inger over at Desery Canyon Living has been talking about good things, inspirational and friendly :)
  • Elizabeth Darkley has been giving some writerly advice on her blog.
  • Author, L G Keltner, has been impressing me with her drabbles this month as well.
  • Karen Jones Gowen over at Coming Down the Mountain: Expat Writer Living Abroad has been talking about her life in Guatemala, fascinating!
  • Fairytales are the order of the day over at Pensuasion and author S L Hennessy
  • Write With Fey, where author, Chrys Fey, talks about writing.
  • Shelley Munro has been telling me about New Zealand, its wildlife, landmarks and folk lore as well.
  • Hilary Melton-Butcher over at Positive Letters has been talking about the coast and I've learnt some stuff about my country's own coastline I didn't know.
  • I came late to Stephanie Faris' blog during the challenge, but her posts are well worth a read too.
As I said above, this is a list of the blogs I went back to regularly this month, if I missed you off, I'm sorry, but if I commented on your blog, it was because I liked what you have to say :).

The Burning Web
So I wrote a story especially for my theme and serialised in each post. If anyone is interested, I'm turning it into a full eBook at the moment, editing, tweaking since it doesn't need to fit into 26 parts now, and developing a front cover. :) The links for each part are below if you want to read it.

Tris, an ex-police officer, is haunted by the moment he shot an Asian boy, Abdi, during a night of terrible rioting in London. He has been tried and found innocent of the boy's manslaughter, but that is not the only life-changing event he undergoes. Recovering from a stroke caused by the stress of his situation, Tris and his husband, Xander, have chosen to take Tris' settlement from the police and create a new life in the country at Berwick House, a Victorian Gothic mansion. Only Tris begins to discover that they are not alone in the old house and his illness has given him eyes to see their companions.

Part 01    Part 02    Part 03    Part 04    Part 05    Part 06    Part 07    Part 08
Part 09    Part 10    Part 11    Part 12    Part 13    Part 14    Part 15    Part 16
Part 17    Part 18    Part 19    Part 20    Part 21    Part 22    Part 23    Part 24
           Part 25    Part 26           

Books & Other Reference Material From My Posts
I recommended a lot of authors this month and also I used a lot of reference books to collect the information about the haunted places I talked about, plus there's plenty of information out of the web and I've recommended some movies as well, so here is a list of all those sources:

Reference Books
Fiction (eBooks and online reading)

Reference Sites

A few of us discovered that we all had supernatural themes for the AtoZ so we got together and did a mini list. If you also have a supernatural theme (ghosts, monsters, witches, spells etc), please feel free to add yourself to the list.

get the InLinkz code to add to your blog


  1. Wow, you had a lot of resources in your posts. I didn't really notice that while reading. Thanks for the shoutout and for visiting. I'm glad I stumbled upon you and your sister's blogs.

  2. Yay! New bloggers to check out. Going through the list now.

    1. I need to add you to the bottom too (I compiled this post before I found your blog during the challenge ) :)

    2. Thank you for adding me! That was a surprise. I was so disappointed I didn't find you 'til the end, but I went back and read some of your past posts. I love ghost stories, so yours was one of my favorites!

  3. Hello! Thanks so much for the shout-out! I had fun checking out your blog (s) too!

    1. Thanks for making this A to Z so much fun :)

  4. Holy mega blog! Awesome lists. Thank you so much for including me on your blogger list. It was a pleasure reading your comments and your blog posts. I your site bookmarked so I'll be sure to come visit now and then :) Hurray to surviving the A to Z Challenge!

    1. I look forward to you popping by :) Well done for surviving as well :)

  5. Thank you for the shout-out! I had so much fun this A-Z Challenge, and it was a pleasure to meet you and Tasha. :)

    Thanks, too, for the reference list. During the Challenge, I found myself making notes of books and articles and stories etc I read about on so many blogs - I'm drowning in post-it notes! :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

    1. :D It's been such fun this A to Z :)

      Glad the references are useful - I know what you mean about drowning in a note here and a bookmark there ;P

  6. You have done such an excellent job with this A to Z, I am happy I found your blog! Also, amazing list of resources. As a storyteller, I love lists of resources :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

    1. I'm glad to have found your blog as well :) Happy to help with the resources :)

  7. That is a fantastic list! I am going to book mark this page and come back to it often.
    Just too much great stuff here.

    Thanks also to both you and your sister for getting this mini-hop going. It was my favorite thing about the A to Z this year!

    Oh! And congrats on surviving the A to Z challenge!

    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

    1. Glad you're gonna find it useful :)

      The mini hop was a lot of fun.

      Congrats to you too :D Keep in touch!

    2. Multiple visits do not lessen the awesomeness of the is post.

      If I ever do a book on Ghosts I am coming to ask for your help!

  8. Thanks for including me in your list, I loved your theme as well :)

  9. wow! that is an fantastic list of references. i'm going to have to pop back over on my brother's tablet and go a little nuts!

    this has been a wonderful adventure. love every ghost and will definitely come back and finish the story. (i nearly didn't finish my own! heh heh heh!)

    1. I have a few eBooks stacked up to finish as well :)

      Thanks for popping by and Congrats on finishing the A to Z - it's been fun!

  10. Hi Sophie,

    thank you for putting me on your list, I'm honoured! :)

    I had so much fun reading your blog, not forgetting your sister Tasha as well. I will be back for more, don't worry. :)

    On a side note, I sent you a message via the little contact box-thingy up there on the left, hope it reaches you.

    Well have a great weekend, and thanks again,

    Sarah x

  11. Sprint and marathon indeed! lol It was quite the month but so glad I participated. Was fun finding some new bloggers to hand out with :) I definitely didn't meet all of the ones you listed but am gonna start checking them out :) And thank ya for the mention!

  12. I love your "a to z ghosts" image. And the blog post rating is a cool idea. Is that a "thing" somewhere, or did you make it yourself? (And, if you did, is there a pin board or something to see them all?)

    Post of only 100 words? Hmm... yeah, I don't think I managed that.
    Ohh- fav blogs found-- it's like the Liebster for A to Z. That should be a thing. Is it a thing? That should be a thing! Also, your descriptions are short blurbs of theme, which is what I'm suggesting there be a list of in my own reflection post. Quick and easy keywords, nice and searchable. I already clicked on 4 from your list!
    Supernatural A to Z- cool idea as well.

    Stopping by after the #atozchallenge to check out your reflection post!

    1. Thank you - no it's not a 'thing' :) I just wanted to represent my theme this year as well as the A to Z. The rating is something I use on both my blogs rather than restrict them to them being listed as either adult or general.

      I think the listing favourite blogs was a suggested on the A to Z blog. I was planning on it anyway since it's a good reminder list for me as well ;)

      I'm with you on the keywords thing (obviously), it does make it easier to find things - there were a couple of blogs I visited where I wasn't sure what their inspiration word, or idea actually was :)

  13. I didn't mind posts that were longer if they had engaging content. Some stuff was a little more stream-of-consciousness, or long excerpts from people's own fiction, and that usually lost me. I'm going to visit some of your suggested blogs since it's tough to visit so many during April.

    Here's my A to Z wrap-up post. I also have an End of Challenge book giveaway going on for either contemporary romance or contemporary YA

    1. Content is key - and I know what you mean - if a post has a point and direction, it usually didn't matter how long it was, I read it.

      I'll pop by and check out your post :)

  14. I liked how you sectioned your blog. I thought it was very effective for the hop. I also really enjoyed The Burning Web and am glad you'll be making it into an ebook. :) I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog!

  15. Thank you, Sophie for including me in your post. I also love your blog and couldn't wait to read the next post. The references you included in this post is most appreciated. I shall have fun with them. Michelle

    1. Glad they'll be useful/fun :) It was good to meet you!

  16. Hi Sophie - you and Tasha have been so efficient in your participating in the A-Z and then all the links and stats etc .. congratulations ...

    Thanks so much for including me in your list - appreciate the shout out .. and I'm glad you're putting your book together .. I'd like to do the same ..

    Cheers for now - incredible resources here .. Hilary

  17. Enjoyed reading ur ghost stories. As you said it was a marathon and we finished as champions. Congrats, Sophie:)

  18. Wow, that's a lot of reference material, not to mention lots of interesting blogs to visit. I hopped around so much that I only had a small number of blogs I visited each day.

    1. I'm a hoarder, if I find something I like, I just can't let it go, and that includes blogs :)

  19. You are one well prepared writer! Your blog was one of those that I came upon late in the game and wished I'd been able to follow from the start. I read the first part of the story, tried to play catch up, and then just resigned myself to read it after the challenge was over. Though we didn't really connect over the challenge, I've got you on my Bloglovin' and you can bet I'll be back to read more of your wonderful words.

    1. Even if we didn't connect during A to Z, glad to meet you now :)

  20. that was jam packed with fantastic & spooky goodness! love that you found some shared interest bloggers and so many awesome friends, like i found you too! thanks for the mention! and good luck with the ebook!

    ps i awarded you!

    1. Thanks :) It's been good to meet you and I'm looking forward to popping by your blog in the future :). Good luck with Broken Branch Falls.

      Thank you for the award :D

  21. Whoot, I finally caught up on the last of your A-Z posts today! I really like the happy ending 'ghost' story for Z. So many of them are morbid, but hopeful ones are equally as enjoyable!

    Thanks for the link back to my blog!

    1. It's good to have a happy ending :) Thanks for taking the time to finish all the posts. And glad to have you on my list of favs :D.

  22. You must be an incredibly organized person. I love how you kept up with the blogs you wanted to revisit by using a spreadsheet.

    TaMara @ Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

    1. I'm a project manager to earn a crust, so some of that organisation must have rubbed off into my other career :) I did regret losing track of some of the blogs I liked when I did A to Z last year, so I knew I had to do something about it this year :) Thanks for stopping by.

  23. Thanks so much for the mention, Sophie! I really enjoyed visiting your blog during the challenge and I'm glad we met! :)

  24. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Thanks for sharing. I'm just stopping by briefly as I try to navigate the twists and turns of the AtoZ Road Trip…don't forget to wave when you see me drive by. (lol)
    Entrepreneurial Goddess


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