Posted in Blogging from A to Z 2014, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Challenges and Contests, Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing

Coffee and Conversation: Blogging From A to Z – Big Reveal and an Announcement

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

Why hello there! How’s the weather where you are?

Here, in upstate New York, spring is coming in fits and starts. It was a deep winter, and the transition is much longed for this year. The softening of soil and warming of air, the return of birdsong to the mornings and evenings, awaken me, renew me.

As the first buds appear, and our lawn reveals its first touches of green, a surge of creative energy is sprouting within me. It’s a perfect time for me to take on new projects, and to wrap up existing ones.

This April, I am signed up for two challenges:

And there’s another in May:

I am also continuing with the revision process for Chameleon’s Dish.

It’s going to be a creative spring!

And, with that in mind, I’ll be on a blogging semi-hiatus for April. Coffee and Conversation will host some visiting posts from my unschooling blog, The Unfettered Life. I thought it would be fun to revisit some days and posts gone by, and share them with folks who might have missed them the first time around.

Next week, I’ll talk more about my plans for CampNaNo.

This week, though, I’ve got a Big Reveal that stretches from A to Z…

May I have a drum roll, please?! (add drum roll video here!)

The theme for my 2014 A to Z Challenge posts is: “Kifo Island Stories”.

Last year, I wrote about “The Last House”, a secluded hut on a tiny tropical island, where a couple had gone to make a very special final journey together.

The idea stayed with me, and I expanded the concept, and eventually the plot tribbles gave me the premise of a hospice in the form of a no-cost tropical island, where people could come with their loved ones to live as fully as possible, before they died.

I imagine a collection of stories based upon those who came to die, those who came with the dying, and those who worked on or inhabited the island.

As my Challenge entry, I will explore the stories of 26 men, women, and children who reside, permanently or temporarily, on Kifo Island. Sometimes separate, sometimes interconnected, they will live and die throughout the month. There will be sunshine and shadows, love and loss, and some quirks. There might even be a bit of autobiography, and a statement or two, for those who are into those things.

It will be a journey of the everyday, the extraordinary, and the magic of each.

A month of letters...and possibilities!
A month of letters…and possibilities!

Right now, I’m still plotting out the stories, so this month will be an adventure for me, too.


Look for my A to Z posts here, beginning on Tuesday, April 1, and every day except Sundays, all month. And why not up the adventure quotient and visit some of the other challenge participants, too?


I’m excited to be giving this long-simmering idea room to play. I plan to supplement with some local travel, hometending, growing things, and getting outdoors regularly.


What are your favorite spring pastimes? Do you enjoy a creative challenge, or just taking some time to breathe in the greening air? If it’s easing into fall, where you live, what do you love about that season?

 Pull up a seat ( I’ve provided outlets for our laptops), and I’ll pour you another cuppa!  


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

12 thoughts on “Coffee and Conversation: Blogging From A to Z – Big Reveal and an Announcement

    1. Hi there, Little Princess!

      Thanks for popping in. I am enjoying delving this project. Scrambling a bit right now to get the first post up, but should be on top of it in a few days.

      I hope you enjoy my offerings.

    1. Tanya,

      Welcome! I’ve found that this challenge is not only fun and a great way to meet new folks, but it also stirs things up for me, and I get so many new ideas and inspirations.

      I’ll pop by to see what you’re up to! =)

  1. Wow! Shanjeniah, this is an awesome theme! I am really looking forward to doing this challenge with you this year. I picked something very broad, “HUMOR and HUMORISTS” as we’ve had a year of health challenges. I am feeling a mere piker with all of these terrific themes! I’m going to have to ramp up for next year! Great theme; I cannot wait to read your stories! Mary

    1. Hi there, Mary!

      *takes bow*

      The idea has been teasing me for a year, and I can tell it won’t stop till I give it some attention!

      I’ve roughed out the first story; I have a lot more backstory and potential than will fit in these posts, so that means I’ll be coming back at some point, and the pieces will get more complex…because, you know, I didn’t have enough writing projects going… =D

      I love the idea of humor and humorists. I mean, we could all use a laugh, right? If it’s the best medicine, maybe some of my characters ought to be reading your posts, for their healing value!

      This is my third time playing with this challenge. The first year, I didn’t have a theme. Last year, I played with the early seeds of two novel ideas, which became my July NaNo project, and which I will finish drafting this year (they’re about a third and close to half done, I think).

      This year, I’m yielding my space an my mind to this idea that won’t let me go, anyway.

      What I love about this challenge is the incredible diversity of its offerings. It’s a lot to take on; everyone who does can feel proud, IMO, without regard for what their subject matter is! =)

      I’m excited to see what you come up with. And may laughter bring relief for those danged health gremlins!

  2. I was here in the wee hours of yesterday (I totally dig your coffee face) and have returned to leave a coherent comment…well, more coherent that I would have then…

    I read your lovely dying flash, The Last House, a beautiful happening, and I look forward to seeing more of life and death through your characters’ eyes.

    So then, you with your joys and sorrows and me with my rabbits and toads, we can exchange spells like recipes and make a magical mess of the A to Z kitchen!

    1. Hi there, Miss Alister!

      My coffee face was for the guy taking the picture, who also supplied the coffee. He’s pretty handy like that. =)

      The Last House was inspired by my late fiance, Tim, who died in 1995, almost two years before I met the coffee guy. He didn’t die in on an island, after a magical day; he died in the hospital, after a six-week stay, on a stormy April morning. But I think he would have liked this better, and I know I would have.

      Sorry I didn’t respond sooner -my characters and my children were having their way with me! I’ve got the first story roughed out, now, and I really like it. By tonight, I should have at least two more, and and the A one ought to be revised. I’m doing a lot more prep than the challenge calls for, because I think these may be longer stories, maybe even novellas, in the future.

      Joys and sorrows and rabbits and toads. That does sound like some lovely chaos ahead! =D

  3. Ooh! Really looking forward to this. What a cool idea, endlessly fruitful.

    My own spring challenge, as soon as I’m back home next week, will be beginning final revisions of Book 2 in my series, while starting back at the bakery as a Head Baker and finding time to travel around promoting my first book. Yay for spring!

    1. Gretchen,

      It all started with reading a status post on my best friend’s Facebook wall. Something about three glasses of peach liqueur making everything better…I wrote a flash fiction based upon it, and it took me on a wild ride!

      The idea of this island was born there, but I’ve been doing other things, and it’s just been simmering away in the back of my mind.

      Now I’ve got a lot of background done, and I’m excited to start writing the first story either today or tomorrow. Stop by and see how it turns out!

      I hope that your trip home is a safe one, and that the experiences you had will buoy you as you get back to revisions, promoting, and regular life. I am married to an Executive Chef; I imagine life can get pretty chaotic at the bakery, sometimes.

      And a BIG hooray for spring!!!

  4. I love your approach for A to Z! I’m not going to fool myself that I have the time for it, but I am considering doing some kind of flexible version of Story A Day In May.

    1. Thanks, Emily!

      I plan on doing very short, cleaned-up versions for the challenge. I’ve done a lot of background stuff, though, and there will be grittier versions in the book, I think…even if only hints will appear in the A to Z posts (just getting to the point of actually writing, so I don’t know yet ow it will all pan out…).

      But I am in love with the idea, and, for me, that counts for a lot. =)

      Ahh, Story-a-Day May – when, finally, T’Pol and Trip get a chance to come out and play…I’m in the early days of developing their storylines, and tickled pink (and maybe just a bit green, too), to finally see where they go, with a whole month to do as they please.

      I loved the spontaneity of Story-a-Day, but floundered when I tried it two months ago, because I didn’t have anything beyond the sketchiest of ideas. I’m really looking forward to having a plan in place for each day’s story. I plan to freewrite perhaps before bed (I usually go to bed long after midnight), sleep on it, then edit and revise shortly after I wake up in the late morning or early afternoon, then polish in the early evening and get it posted…still don’t know whether I’ll post it at Jottings, or here…I’ll know, sooner or later.

      If you decide to play, I will be certain to stop by! =)

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