Useful Advice for AtoZ Challenge

If you’re doing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, I encourage you to read this excellent post at Tasha’s Thinking:

3 Top Tips for the AtoZChallenge 

A challenge veteran, Tasha offers suggestions for newbies and returnees to the challenge alike. The comments section of the post provided even more useful tips.

Speaking of tips, if you aren’t already reading the Blogging from A to Z Challenge blog, you should be! I picked up tips there this week for finding images, creating a signature for my comments, and keeping organized when responding to posts during the challenge.

I can’t wait until April! Are you ready for the challenge? Have you found any other A-Z Challenge tips you’ve found useful? I can use all the help I can get!


Checking Out the Competition: Flash Fiction Contests

computer desk

home-office-workstation-office-336378 by Unsplash @

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately writing very short fiction. I can’t say I’m very good at it, but some of the people whose work I’ve been reading online are teaching me some great techniques. I’m learning!

One of the ways I like to test my learning is by entering the occasional writing contest. I came in second in one such contest a couple of years ago, so I know it’s a good way to see how my writing compares to the competition.

I started a Pinterest board today specifically for flash fiction contests. If you’re a writer, you may want to check these out. Please note that several are closing very soon (one closes on Monday, I believe). Also, while I’ve looked through these links, I can’t guarantee that they are all legit. Please read the fine print carefully and consider whether the contest fee is worth your time and effort. One more FYI: Most contests won’t take work that is already published, including work published on a blog.

If anyone finds this useful, let me know, and I’ll make an effort to add and update the information regularly. If you have suggestions for contests you keep an eye on, I’d love to add them to my list. 

Who Am I & Why Am I Here? – Blogging 101

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to participate in WordPress’s Blogging 101 this month. To that end, my first assignment is to write a post explaining “who I am and why I’m here.”

Who I Am

My name is Amy Morris-Jones, and I’m a Michigan women’s fiction and short story writer.

Why I’m Here

I started a blog because writers are told they need to have an author platform. Writing is more a hobby for me than a profession, but I decided I should follow that advice, and my blog was born. But once I started the blog, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to write about.

  • Should I write about my writing process? That’s not the most exciting thing in the world, and there are those who are far more experienced and have plenty to write about. However, I do sometimes write about writing when I have something to contribute to the conversation.
  • Should I write about what I read? Since reading is so integral to the writing process, I write the occasional book review as well as chart my progress on PopSugar’s 2016 Reading Challenge.
  • Should I post my own writing? I’ve found a great group of flash fiction writers online, and I’ve been participating in their weekly challenges, which keep my creativity flowing and get my work into the world more often.
  • What else should I write about? It occurred to me one day as I was researching that others might be interested in what inspires me. My home state of Michigan is my writing muse—the lakes, forests, people, struggles—so I often post tidbits of Michigan history and activities that act as the inspiration for my writing.

Thank You

Thank you to all of those who have been reading my rambling thoughts here. Your kind words, advice, and suggestions are helping me find my way!

Thanks for the love #adobepost


January Reads – 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Each year, the creative people over at POPSUGAR publish a reading challenge. I printed the challenge and sort of haphazardly checked things off of it last year. I also printed the 2016 list, but it got shuffled into a pile of other papers on my desk. As I was reading the blog over at A Reading Writer, I saw that challenge again.

Inspired, I’ve decided I’m going to attempt a monthly reading challenge check-in here on my blog. The list includes 40 books, so my goal is to check off just one item per book. Here’s the challenge and an overview of what I read in January that fit the list. You can also see what I’m reading right now via the Goodreads widget to the left—if you have any ideas on what item a particular book could check off the list, let me know if the comments. I need all the help I can get!

January – 2016 Reading Challenge

  • A book set in your home state: Freshwater Boys by Adam Schuitema is a collection of eleven short stories set in west Michigan. The protagonists are all male, which got a bit monotonous for me, but I loved reading about places I know and love.
  • A book set in Europe: Juliet by Ann Fortier is a book I read for my book group. Our mission was to read a book about a place we want to travel, and this book is all about the city of Sienna, Italy. Sienna is definitely on my dream travel list.
  • A book that is published in 2016: Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a book I received in a giveaway from the Facebook group Reader’s Coffeehouse. The book will be published in June 2016, so I got a sneak peek. The book is a great story of a teen boy who learns important lessons about himself and human relationships as he attempts to find his father who is lost in the Blythe River Range.

I didn’t get off to a great reading start in January. I started several books, but these were the only three I started AND finished in January. Here’s to a more productive February!

What was the best book you read in January?

Who’s Up for a Blogging Challenge?

I’m really bad about writing deadlines. I have a day job and a family, and writing always takes a backseat to those things. I tell myself I need to set aside writing time, but somehow that time gets taken up by an assortment of other things.

If you’re anything like me, you appreciate opportunities like the Blogging From A to Z Challenge for a swift kick in the you-know-where. 26 days. 26 blog posts. Plenty of visits to the blogs of other challengers. I can do this! I *need* to do this!

This is a new challenge for me, but it’s been around for quite a while. It doesn’t officially begin until April, but you can sign up now. Come on! You know you want to try it!