An Announcement

So, it looks like I won’t be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year. I love doing it, but I don’t have a theme. So, unless I think of something absolutely brilliant in the time between now and April 1st (always possible, but it is getting less likely every day), I will be sitting 2024 out. I will, however, be monitoring this blog for comments, so if you haven’t read my older A to Zs, and feel like doing that this month, I’ll be absolutely thrilled, and will respond with enthusiasm.

Here, then, for your convenience, are links to the beginnings of each of my A to Zs, with some honest commentary on how worth your time I personally think each of them is. 


A To Z 2014–Artificial Artifacts, funny, with a classic British mystery theme. I like these, but I didn’t really know how to work with images, so things tend to be blurry and weird, and some of the posts don’t display very well on smartphones.

A to Z 2015–A complete murder mystery (about 50,000 words in all), told from the POV of a different character every day, with a photo included of me dressed up as said character. This one is really good. I really did write most or all of each chapter on the day it was published, and I think that pressure got some excellent work out of me. I’m proud of this one. It is, in fact, my favorite A to Z. The link above is to my theme reveal; I also made a Table of Contents for this one.

A to Z 2016–Artificial Artifacts again, but this time not focused on a single genre. The idea here was to present a piece of a fake book (or some form of text) in a way that told or suggested a larger story. I love these, but some posts are better than others.

A to Z 2017–Stranded! A couple of adventure stories told with the help of illustrations I plucked out of The Strand Magazine. This was lots of fun to make, as many of the narrative twists were suggested by the pictures I could find.

A to Z 2018–The Lighthouse. This one would be my favorite A to Z if it wasn’t for my 2015 effort. A guide for time travelers, specifically Lighthouse Agents, on the problems they will encounter, written in 3391 by members of the various departments of The Lighthouse. I love this one. “Where time travel meets bureaucracy.”

A to Z 2019–Murder Mystery Tropes. This one is fine, but I felt while I was doing it that I was re-treading old material.

The View From Atherton Court–what I did in 2020 instead of an A to Z. My daily life during that particular phase of the pandemic. Mostly about food and movies. The closest to real blogging I’ve ever done. Not exactly an A to Z, but I’m including it on the list.

A to Z 2021–Horror Movies. All the horror movies we watched during the pandemic, reviewed. I like this one, but it is absolutely not typical Atherton’s Magic Vapour material.

A to Z 2022–Murder Motives. I make up a murder victim (Sir ABC) and then think of 26 people who might have killed him. Definitely a fun exercise.

A to Z 2023–Murder Motives, Part II. I take the characters from last year’s A to Z, gather them in a drawing room, and have Inspector Crowner (who appeared in my 2015 A to Z and also in a story I published in Mystery Weekly Magazine) question each suspect and eventually get at the truth of who killed Sir ABC. I enjoyed this one a lot, but mostly because of the dedicated participation of a handful of really wonderful commenters.

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  1. So sorry to hear inspiration has eluded you. I have enjoyed your past posts.

  2. Melanie, my gut reaction to your announcement was, “Nooooooooo!!!” I haven’t done an A to Z Challenge in several years, but I have definitely enjoyed becoming immersed in yours. Especially last year’s. I hope the Universe sends a powerful and irresistible idea your way, if not for this year, then certainly for next. Much love to you, Atherton!

    • I know! Last year was really fun, and I’m really hoping that some equally fun notion strikes me for next year. I’ll be thinking about it over the next 12 months. I may need to break some slightly new ground for the next one. I’m not even sure exactly what I mean by that, but I think it is nonetheless true. Anyway, I’m so glad you have enjoyed my A to Zs, and I am more grateful than I can say for your participation in them, especially in 2023. Thanks!

  3. Sorry to hear you won’t be participating, but I surely understand!

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