Monday, July 28, 2014

Sending Ripples Downstream (A Virtual Tour Blog-Hop)

Have you ever been tagged in a blog-hop? Did it make you start wondering where the cascading ripples of tagging originally came from?

I have, and it did.  And if you allow me a few minutes of your time, I'll tell you about it.

First...  The blog-hop itself:

The Creative-Artist Virtual Tour

Last week, Dianne Salerni tagged me to take part in a blog "virtual tour" of creative bloggers who write, paint, draw, make music, and do other creative things.  I'm very flattered that Dianne thought of me. I also enjoyed reading Dianne's post about her current work and her approach to her writing.

Here's Diane's bio:  

DIANNE K. SALERNI is the author of The Eighth Day MG fantasy series (HarperCollins) and YA historical novels, The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH) and We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks). Dianne was a public school teacher for 25 years before leaving the profession to spend more time hanging around creepy cemeteries and climbing 2000 year-old pyramids in the name of book research.
Visit Dianne at

So according to the blog-hop "rules," I now have to give my responses to the same questions Dianne posted:

1. What am I currently working on?

Well, besides this blog-hop post, I have several short stories in various stages of getting-ready-ness. I also have a new mystery novel I'm in the outlining and researching stage on. Musically, I'm not getting as much time to visit wikiloops to jam lately, but I do have a new piece in my "Forgotten Voices" series that I've recently started and am working on.  I'm also spending time playing bass or guitar a couple of weekends a month on the worship team at church.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

For one thing, it was written (and/or performed) by me. Another thing is that my work tends to be hard to even fit in a single genre. I like adding diverse elements and creating interest by the juxtaposition of things that wouldn't normally be brought together.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

To rework a flippant response once given by George Mallory: "Because it's not there."  I write and make music because of a desire to create something unique and interesting; to bring to life something that's not yet there.  Plus -- highfalutin artistic pontification aside -- it's kinda fun to do.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

Sporadically, erratically, and frustratingly haphazardly. A big part of that is I have a very hard time blocking out time to do it, and when I do, it's sometimes even harder to enforce that, "you WILL be creative on this one particular thing right NOW!" nose-to-the-grindstone method of creativity.

OK.  Those are my answers. Now the blog-hop says I have to choose three other creative bloggers to tag. I can think of many, many bloggers who do amazing, creative work, but here are three that you might not be aware of:

David List

David is a writer working on his soon-to-be-released debut fantasy novel "A Sawmill's Hope," set in the land of Silexare.  He led a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the editing, illustration, and self-publishing costs for the book.  I'm eagerly waiting it's release. He blogs at Regarding Silexare about his writing and more.  But in addition to being a writer, David is also a talented and accomplished musician -- he has a SoundCloud page filled with wonderful music that he has composed and performed, all of it captivating, catchy, and enjoyable.


Suze is a writer with magical powers of transformation. She can deftly weave a spell of words that turns the ordinary into the sublime, the mundane into the mystical, and the familiar into the fantastic. I don't interact in the blogosphere as often as I would like, but Suze's blog Subliminal Coffee is a place that is always worth the visit.  Whether she's blogging about her writing craft, sharing stories about herself or her family, or reviewing books, music, and movies, Suze is always entertaining and a joy to read.

Susan Swiderski

When I want to smile, I visit Susan's blog I Think; Therefore I Yam. Susan is a very creative writer with a wonderful sense of humor.  She has written the highly-rated novel "Hot Flashes and Lemonade" and uses her blog for fabulous posts about everything from writing, book reviews, and travel to personal stories and pun-filled humor.  She has a warm, ever-optimistic, and always welcoming outlook, and -- like David's and Suze's -- I highly recommend her blog.

The blog "rules" now say that these people I've tagged need to post next week with their own answers to the questions, and to tag others.  But truthfully-- I don't care if they do.  They can if they want, of course -- but I'm not tagging them because I want them to feel obligated.  I just want to recognize them for the enjoyment their blogs have given me, and perhaps point a few more readers their way.

Exploring the Ripples

Okay. so now the "rules" of the blog-hop have been followed, and I've done my part to appease the blogosphere gods.  At this point, most bloggers would consider this post done and move on.

But I didn't.  Because, like I said at the top of this post -- my curiosity was piqued. I appreciate Dianne for thinking of me for this blog-hop, but who tagged her?  Where do these blog-hops come from? Who started this one?  Was it even possible to find out?

So I decided to become a virtual Henry Schoolcraft and, if possible, explore the river of links and see if I could trace the blog-hop back to its head-waters.

It took quite a while, a whole lot of clicking, and at some points a bit of internet detective work (thanks, Google!) to get the tagging source of a few people who didn't explicitly say or give a link on their blog.  But I found the Lake Itasca of this blog-hop.

Here are the series of taggings that rippled down through the rivers of the blogosphere to me:

Me < Dianne K. Salerni < April Lindner < Anna M. Evans < Bruce W. Niedt < Janet Rice Carnahan < Sharon E. Ingraham < Pearl Ketover Prilik < Walt Wojtanik < Laurie Kolp < Susie Clevenger < Kathryn Dyche Dechairo < Kim Stevens < Cathy Sly < Michelle Gyauch Dzema < Lisa Hofmann < Latisha Guthrie < Sara Galactica < Jory Mickelson < S J Sindu < JS Kuiken < Bran Mydwynter < Elinor Gray < Katie YoungLaertes < Sylvia Petter < Shirley Golden < Laura Wilkinson < Jenny Kane < Jane Jackson < Anne Stenhouse < Jane Riddell < Beth Elliot < Penny Grubb < Linda Acaster < Lindsay Townsend < Adam Haviaras < Luciana Cavallaro < Jay Scott < Erin Albert < Brad Johnson < Debbie Nance < Sandra Warren < Joan Edwards < Eyvonna Rains < Meira Pentermann < Anna Del C. Dye < Stephanie Fowers < Stacy Lynn Carroll < Mikey Brooks < Cordelia Dinsmore < Lisa Cole Orchard < Jodi Desautels < Virginia Wright < Diana Jenkins < Peggy Archer < Cynthia Reeg < Cheryl Malandrinos < Mary Cunningham

...and after 58 links, that's where the blogging river dries up.

Mary posted on June 17th, 2013 and said she was tagged by Cheryl; Cheryl posted on June 18th, 2013 and said she was tagged by Mary.

Huh.  I suspect collusion and a clear intent to defraud unsuspecting blog readers.  :)

But -- all joking aside -- even if they weren't entirely upfront about it, it appears that Mary and/or Cheryl started this particular blog-hop in June of last year.  I can find no reference of either of them getting "tagged" by anyone else before that timeframe on their blogs or though Google searches.

So, 13 months and almost 60 blogs later, the ripples that Mary and Cheryl started reached me.

Back then, at its headwaters, the "wandering tour of blogs by artists -- writers, painters, photographers, and more" (to quote Dianne's blog) was a "blog hop interview" entirely geared towards writers of children's books. In between, in the space of just over a year, it rippled its way through writers and poets, photographers and painters. It covered a wide range of locations across the United States, Canada, and the UK to get to me, and evolved from people who created children's books to travel through artists of many other genres, including a few whose work is clearly NOT intended for children (and borderline NSFW).

And this was just one of the many possible cascading paths the blog-hop may have taken.  Each person tagged typically named two or three other bloggers to take part, in an ever-expanding chain-reaction of connections.

So let's figure it out:

Even if each blogger only named two others to take part, and we assume all of them actually did, and that each multiplying chain has taken the same number of steps, it would mean that 2 ^ 58th power of blogs are now feeling the ripples of the stone that Mary or Cheryl originally kicked into the rivers of the blogosphere.  That would be 288,230,376,151,711,744 blogs which are now involved.

Well, clearly those assumptions are incorrect -- that's many, many times more blogs than there are people on Earth!

This blog-hop ripple has behaved like a real river -- only certain currents have found their way downstream. Others led to dead-end eddies or arid flatlands that dried up any forward progress. Not every path allows the water to keep flowing. 

Not every person tagged in a blog-hop takes part.

But I have.

And so the ripples keep flowing downstream...


  1. Chris, I'm glad you decided to participate -- and wow, a lot of research went into tracing this blog hop back to its source. I admit, I also wondered at the exponential rate of participation, if every person tagged 3 more, who tagged 3 more ... You visited a LOT of blogs to trace that list and link to them. Given time this week, I might go check out a few of them.

    By the way, I'm also starting research to plan a mystery. Good luck to you on yours!

    1. Thanks, Dianne! Yeah -- it took a while to wade through all those blogs. :)

      And good luck to your mystery, too. Mine is a bit of a historical one (1940's) -- is yours?

  2. Because it's not there - exactly!
    Interesting you traced it all the way back to the beginning. More or less anyway. I confess, I was tagged but never participated.

    1. Yeah! :)

      And I'm typically not one for blog-hops and tagging and such, but Dianne's tag happened to hit at the perfect convergence of curiosity and availability, so I ran with my impulse. Not sure how far I would have tried to go back. And I was surprised at how many layers it went through in just over a year, but I guess a rate of one-per-week would actually be about that many.

  3. Great post, Chris! Not just for the way you answered the questions, but for the research it took to seek out the roots of this hop. Very cool!

    Thanks so much for tagging me. I'll try to take it and run with it, but it won't be right away. In two or three weeks, maybe? (Maybe by then, I'll be back from vacation and can whittle all the cool bloggers I know down to only three choices...)

    And thanks for nudging my rememberer. Much obliged, dear sir.

    1. Thanks, Susan!

      No pressure at all about adding another hop to the blog-hop -- if you want to, that's great, but if you don't want to, that's OK too. I was just glad to be able to mention ya. :)

  4. Thanks for the shout out, Chris, and it's good to hear what you're up to these days! I'm listening to 'My Name is Romance' right now. Digging it, bro. I swear I hear Nugent in so many of your riffs. I know your feeling about musical works in progress. For every song I've uploaded, there are three or four unfinished works gathering dust on my computer. The relationship between me and music is far more volatile than the one between me and my books.

    I love rivers. Your analogy might have inspired me to keep this river flowin'!

    Now to find some more creators. I have two in mind right now.

    1. You're welcome David!

      And I'm glad you like "My Name is Romance". And LOL -- Nugent?!? I guess early influences tend to run deep, huh? (See my "Songs of Summer" post).

      I hear you about the volatile feelings -- It's a rare piece of mine (writing or music) that makes it from concept to completion without a few "love it <-> hate it" pendulum swings. :)

      Looking forward to seeing where the ripples flow on from you.

  5. In the tradition of George Mallory, I think you are absolutely bringing something unique to the table with both your storytelling--and its unique formats--and your music, which also bears a very unique stamp.

    Thank you so much for including me in this post, Chris. I have so much respect for you, it's an honor. And I love Susan, too!

    1. Unique. (Just had to type it one more time ...)

    2. Aww -- thank you so much, Suze! I'm very happy to point readers in your direction. I love and respect your work also very much!

  6. >>... To rework a flippant response once given by George Mallory: "Because it's not there." I write and make music because of a desire to create something unique and interesting; to bring to life something that's not yet there.


    And, CHRIS, that was really neat how you backtracked the blog-hop to find the original culprit(s). Have you confronted them with the results of your research? And if so, did they 'fess up, or deny the charges?

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Thanks,StMc! I did not confront them with it -- I thought seriously about it, but then decided to just let it go. It's better to let some waves wash over you rather than to try and fight them all. :)

      Plus -- their actions resulted in this fun post. So I can thank them for that. :)

  7. Well way to go, you. =) I participated as well, but of the people who I invited, only 1 gave me a yes, so I figured that was better than none. *shrugs* And the stream goes onward!

    1. Thanks, Crystal! And it would be interesting to see where your branch of the stream diverged from mine.

      But I've done enough blog-hop sleuthing for a while :)


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.