Victor BartonMy name is Victor and I’m the barman of the Inn of the Seventh Happiness in Jemima’s stories.  I’m also her oldest guinea pig now that Fred, George and Hugo have passed on.  I try to keep George’s Guinea Pig World up to date and I did the A to Z Challenge last year. 

This year the AtoZ organisers have suggested that Jemima should do her Reflections post in the same style as her blog theme for the month.  Well, that was stories, so I’ve decided to interview her and get her reflections. Then Jemima will link it up with all the other A to Z participants’ reflections.  That sounds like a lot of mirrors to me.

So, Jemima, what did you do for the A to Z Challenge this year?

Hi Vic, I did a lot of short stories, some from my writing class, others were extracts from future books, or stories written that I’ve been meaning to write. And book reviews and some guest posts.

How did that go down?

Well, on the whole, I think.  Some are really too long for a blog hop, but others were just fine.  Lots of people visited.  The most visitors were for my writing buddy Jon Curran’s great story for Y, Yukon Gold.  I think he told a lot of people about it, but also tagging it Jack London and Call of the Wild might have helped.  All the best posts were guests or book reviews!

Did you write about me? 

Yes, you got a new story, or an extract of one, that might turn into something following on from The Talent Seekers.  That was V for Vacuums and Vehicles, of course.  Not many people read it though 🙁

But what about the book starring me you started ages ago?

Er, well, that’s still in progress. It’ll be published one day, don’t worry, sweetheart.

OK.  What did you enjoy and what didn’t you enjoy about this year’s challenge?

I enjoyed doing the stories; it was great to be pushed to finish some new pieces.  This tells me that I ought to join in one of the many challenges I found on my visits to other blogs, like a Flash Fiction Friday or something like that (the rhyming acrostics looks like fun – and hard work).

I didn’t enjoy waiting for some of the blogs to load, but that’s mainly because I live in an area with a very bad connection at times but there’s nothing anyone can do about that.  It was also a little frustrating to find myself visiting blogs that hadn’t participated, clocking up my numbers of blogs visited but then a few days later they’d been deleted and my tally of visits had dropped right down again.  I got past my low target of visiting 600 blogs though (667 on the sign-up list).  I probably loaded more than 750, counting both non-participants and people I followed from their links, not the sign-up list.  Because of the hop, though, I spent a lot of late nights hopping and had to more or less give up Twitter for the month, other than tweeting blog posts.  I hope my Twitter buddies don’t mind.

That all sounds complicated and technical.  Which blogs stood out – did you meet Rob Bear again?

Aww, no I didn’t see Rob Bear, although I looked for him before the Challenge started and meant to find him again when it was on.  I found loads of outstanding blogs.  It’s very hard to go back and visit them regularly when you’re trying to visit new ones.  But I have liked, followed and pinned quite a few blogs and I hope that’ll help us keep in touch.

Special mention has to go to Damyanti. She was one of the co-hosts, so I expect she had a group of us to look after, but I found her visits and support very helpful.  And she featured my book too.  I am so sad she had a family tragedy just towards the end.  She still visited us when things were going bad leading up to that.

What ideas will you use next year?

  • Pictures help – especially for thumbnails on links, etc. If nothing else, use the Alphabet letters for the Challenge
  • Although the stories are good, they need to be shorter ones. I think the stories that are part of Princelings are ok, but I visited some blogs had a serial or were talking much more in depth about their characters.  If you didn’t know the characters it wasn’t interesting.  So I need to think about that.
  • Book Reviews were popular – especially the Classic one – Wrinkle in Time.
  • I liked blogs where you could relate to what they were saying – I liked the travel pictures and recipes.  I don’t know how I’d fit that with my blog theme though.

Did the Giveaway work?

I think so – we had as many people enter as I’d hoped, but using fewer options.  Maybe I’d reduce the options, but it’s not difficult to set up and if people like different options then why not?  I’ve contacted the prize-winners and as soon as I’ve heard from them all I’ll post the results.  I’d like to thank those people who donated ebooks – Sally Harris, Julie Anne Grasso, Krista Michelle Breen, Rebecca M Douglass, and Stanley and Kristina.

Well, thank you for talking to me Jemima, and I think you did a splendid job with your A to Z Challenge 2013.  Good luck with your next book The Talent Seekers and I hope you finish one starring me, Victor, very very soon!

The statistics

New views on the blog – 1227 (in AtoZ 2012 – 670)

Visitors to the blog – 419

New followers – 28

Best day for views (new site record) – 99 views – 29 April (published Yukon Gold)

Top 12 posts by number of views:

Home page / Archives 385
The Princelings A to Z Giveaway! 107
Yukon Gold 79
Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle 42
Spring will be a little late this year 37
Quicksand – The Mysterious Disappearance of Dakotaroo 32
Librarian; the Ninja Librarian by Rebecca M Douglass 32
Kanizo 25
About the Author 24
Diary of a Penguin-napper by Sally Harris 23
Explosive Mixture 22
Rajah of Nilgiri 22
Pickpocket 21

Reflections on the April A to Z Challenge 2013
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