A to Z Book Launch & Give-a-Way: Updated with Winner (#AtoZ)

I’ve had a blast with this years #AtoZChallenge and my theme of “Seriously Silly Poetry”. And the response from all of you has been amazingly supportive. To celebrate, I’ve compiled the series into a beautiful 100-page book, which I’ve dedicated to the child in all of us. Also, I’m going to give one copy away randomly to one of you that comment on this post*. Thank you for all of your encouragement.



Link to Buy


*The book give-a-way will be either paperback or e-book (choice of the receiver) and can either sent to the “winner” or anyone of their choice as a gift of silly love. We’ll figure out the logistics when we get to that point. I’ll select the “winner” on 9am May 4th (China Standard Time).

UPDATE

Based on random* selection, I’m happy to announce that murisopsis from A Different Perspective is the winner of the book give-a-way. Congratulations! I’ll be in touch so that we can figure out the logistics. I hope you enjoy your copy of “Apples Eating Zebras and other seriously silly poetry”.


Be well,

Monty

My First A to Z Challenge Reflection (#AtoZ)

Well my first A to Z challenge has come to a close and I must say I’m pretty impressed with what I managed to put together for my theme of Seriously Silly Poetry. Each post included a silly (or sometimes a bit more sweet than silly) poem with a fun illustration.


Three Most Popular Post (by views):

#1: A is for Apples Eating Zebras (56 views)

#2: B is for Butt in the Air (53 views)

#3: I is for Icky (43 views)


Most Overlooked Post (by views):

U is for Upside Down (13 views) – this is worth a look if you missed it!


New Blogs Discovered & Followed (WP)

The Sound of One Hand Typing

Outside Perception

This is Another Story

Musings of a CowCorn

Christina Dankert

This is Another Story

Enchanted Words

Hopes & Dreams


Blogs I Read A to Z:

No Love for Fatties

What Sandra Thinks

The Confusing Middle

MidLife Cat Lady

Martha Reynolds’s Writes


Proudest A to Z Achievement:

I wrote and published a book! Apples Eating Zebras and other seriously silly poetry is a compilation of my A to Z posts (with a lot of editing and some refinement). This 100-page fully illustrated book is fun and beautiful. Check it out!

Up till May 4th I’m running a launch celebration book give-a-way. Check here for a chance to “win”.


Did you enjoy this series? Let me know! I hope that you stick around as I’ve plenty of more content coming up. Best wishes to you all!

Be well,

Monty

Monty’s Scribbles (Sunday Scribblings)

Peckapalooza over at The Confusing Middle runs a weekly prompt called Sunday Scribblings. This weeks’ theme is storytelling. Check out his post and join in the creativity!

Sunday Scribblings #98 – Scribble

I launched Monty’s Scribbles back in the Spring of 2020. I’d just started creative writing in January when we were stuck at home during the beginning of the Covid epidemic in Shanghai before we ever knew it would turn into a world-wide pandemic.

My first attempts at sharing my writing was on Instagram. I only chose that platform because I knew it from my daughter who had a sizable following and thus I was already on it as an observer. It was a total mess trying to post writing on Instagram and I got barely any engagement. I spent more time trying to configure my writing into square images then actually writing.

My next experiment was to try and live into the purpose of Instagram and I started creating visuals to go along with my writing. I’d never drawn before beyond mandatory art classes growing up in school. So I had absolutely no skill, but I had a new iPad that allowed me to create digital images and a lot of time due to Covid so I started to play with it. It’s funny to think that the only reason I ever became an illustrator was to try and gain traction on Instagram.

My engagement level on Instagram never passed miserable so my next experiment was to set up my own website to host my writing and drive traffic via Twitter. For this, I needed a website name. I’d already identified Monty Vern as my nom de plume. It’s a play on “Vermont”, where I grew up and the subject of a lot of my early writing. I decided on Monty’s Scribbles. I felt “scribbles” had an appropriate level of informality to match my unskilled writing and drawing. I was trying to “keep it casual”, but at the same time I pondered the possibility of future publishing so I set up the site as a prospective author’s site. It was actually a lot of fun to create the site and it’s still up and running. Feel free to check it out. It was only this past January when I moved my blog, “Monty’s Blahg”, over to WordPress to improve engagement further.

At this point, I’ve published five books. One of which, Monty’s Very Short Shorts, actually contains many of the very first “scribbles” as it chronicles my journey of learning how to write and draw with an illustrated “very short story” for everyday of 2020.

“My Child” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts
“366 Days” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts

For me it’s very interesting to go back and read through this “messy diary” and see the progress (and sometimes digression) of skill across the year. It was a wonderful journey and perhaps the most transformational of my adult life as I found a passion that I can indulge in long after the kids have left the house and (hopefully) retirement.


Be well,

Monty

Daily Droppings: “Title”

Special thanks to Sandra from What Sandra Thinks who created a series of daily prompts for the month of February which are the source of inspiration for this series.


The prompt: “Title”


Can you forgive me for another day of shameless plugs? I mean with a prompt like “title” how can I not?

Currently I have five titles available for your enjoyment (please, pretty pretty pretty please! – no, I’m not above begging…it’s been over six months since my last sale so I’ve no pride left – no, I’m not above playing the pity card either…)

One thing you may notice…I was so excited about my titles and illustrated covers that I actually forgot to include my name on almost all the covers. Now that is putting the art above the artist…hehe (or just poor thinking…or both).


Monty’s Almanac 202x

Monty’s Almanac 202x is an autobiographical collection of short stories, poetic prose, and quirky cartoons.
Monty’s Very Short Shorts an illustrated collection of 366 very short stories, one for each day of the very strange year 2020.
Thirteen Words is an illustrated poetry collection. Each poem is constructed of exactly thirteen words. This is the first volume in a three volume series.
Thirteen Words II is an illustrated poetry collection. Each poem is constructed of exactly thirteen words. This is the second volume in the series.
Thirteen Words III is an illustrated poetry collection. Each poem is constructed of exactly thirteen words. This is the final volume in the series.

If you do decide to pick up a copy, do let me know and I’ll slather you with globs and globs of gratitude (or just a simple thank you, if you prefer).

Be well,

Monty

Daily Droppings: “You Won’t Believe It”

Special thanks to Sandra from What Sandra Thinks who created a series of daily prompts for the month of February which are the source of inspiration for this series.


The prompt: “you won’t believe it”


ANNOUNCEMENT!

I’m excited to introduce my new work-in-progress project – a children’s picture book. It’s still in it’s prenatal phase and there is no due date, but I’ve got a cover ready and it’s development is in progress. Can you believe it?

This cover inspired by the title piece “Apples Eating Zebras”, first published right here on Monty’s Blahg.


Be well,

Monty

Daily Droppings: “She Didn’t Come”

With #bloganuary out of the way, it’s now time for something fresh as we (hopefully) ease out of winter and into an early spring. Luckily, I’m not the only one that’s been thinking about this and Sandra from What Sandra Thinks has created a series of daily prompts for the month of February. Looking over the prompts, I felt they had a lot of promise so, let’s do this!

Thanks to Giggling Fattie at No Love for Fatties for her post that introduced the opportunity. And, of course, special thanks to Sandra for all of the inspiration.


The prompt: “She Didn’t Come”


Excerpt from Monty’s Almanac 202x

Be well,

Monty

Daily Droppings: “Drunk”

With #bloganuary out of the way, it’s now time for something fresh as we (hopefully) ease out of winter and into an early spring. Luckily, I’m not the only one that’s been thinking about this and Sandra from What Sandra Thinks has created a series of daily prompts for the month of February. Looking over the prompts, I felt they had a lot of promise so, let’s do this!

Thanks to Giggling Fattie at No Love for Fatties for her post that introduced the opportunity. And, of course, special thanks to Sandra for all of the inspiration.


The prompt: “Drunk”


“Intoxicating” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts

Be well,

Monty

The Blogger Games II – Week 1

Paul, over at the Captain’s Speech hosted the first ever blogger games last year during the Summer Olympics. It was a fun time. The competition was fierce and although I made the podium once during the five week games, I didn’t place in the end. Well, the time is nigh for that to change. Peckapalooza from The Confusing Middle, one of my fellow contestants in the first games, has negotiated organizing rights with Paul and is hosting The Blogger Games II just in time to coincide with the winter games. Enough said. Let’s play!

The Blogger Games II – Week 1 (The Confusing Middle)

THE 10 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

1. Which of the following foods will Peckapalooza refuse to eat under any circumstances? A) Chocolate B) Spinach C) Broccoli D) Peanut Butter

Answer: B) Spinach. I reject Peckapalooza’s claim to being a grown-up adult.

2. What is most frequently Peckapalooza’s go to bowl of cereal? A) Frosted Flakes B) Cinnamon Toast Crunch C) Rice Krispies D) Honey-Nut Cheerios

Answer: A. Frosted Flakes. It’s a toss-up between Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch so I went with my gut (and avoiding two B answers in a row). My personal go-to cereal is Cheerios (standard, but China’s variation on the cereal which is much more crunchy and robust. Vastly superior to the US version in my opinion).

3. Peckapalooza [claims] he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but which kind of pie does he consider the best? A) Apple B) Pumpkin C) Key Lime D) Lemon Merengue

Answer: C) Key Lime Pie. After Lemon Merengue, this is one of the worst pies in my opinion. Too sweet. That’s right! I’m throwing down and risking it all by challenging the judge. Just call me reckless. I’m a Pumpkin and Apple pie kinda guy.

4. What is the only drink Peckapalooza will order at Starbucks? A) Pumpkin Spice Latte B) Caramel Apple Spice C) Caramel Macchiato D) White Chocolate Mocha w/ Raspberry

Answer: D) White Chocolate Mocha w/ Raspberry. I’ve never even heard of this one, but it’s the least coffee-like drink on the list (and white chocolate isn’t really chocolate). Also since Peckapalooza is a monster and doesn’t prefer pumpkin or apple pie, that eliminated two of the other options. Oh, and who knew Raspberry had a “p” in it??? I certainly never did. When the red squiggle line came up I was convinced some one messed with the editor’s dictionary.

5. Which condiment would Peckapalooza never put on a hot dog? A) Mayonnaise B) Ketchup C) Mustard D) Chili

Answer: A) Mayonnaise. Because despite my contentious comments earlier I don’t believe Peckapalooza is a monster. Also Chili is a topping not a condiment in my book.

6. As a kid, when enjoying a glass of chocolate milk, what did Peckapalooza use to change the white milk to chocolate? A) Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup B) Ovaltine C) Nestle Quik D) Swiss Miss Cocoa Mix

Answer: C) Nestle Quik. Because Peckapalooza is a child of the 80’s. Would Swiss Miss even work in cold milk?

7. Which fast food chain did Peckapalooza avoid until his early teens because he mistakenly believed that, as a picky eater, he could not specially request what he wanted? A) Burger King B) Taco Bell C) Subway D) Wendy’s

Answer: A) Burger King. Because it’s reasonable as a kid to think you can’t make demands of a king. And while Peckapalooza’s food tastes are a bit unreasonable, he is actually a very reasonable guy.

8: What is Peckapalooza’s favorite flavor of Pop-Tart? A) Apple Cinnamon B) Grape C) Frosted Strawberry D) Unfrosted Strawberry

Answer: D) Unfrosted Strawberry. Because there has to be at least one instance that backs up Peckapalooza’s claim of not being a sweet-tooth.

9. What is Peckapalooza’s preferred salad dressing? A) Thousand Island B) Ranch C) Honey Mustard D) Italian

Answer: A) Thousand Island. Because it is the best at hiding the vegetables (a toss-up with Ranch to be honest).

10) Which of the following topping combinations does Peckapalooza like on his pizza? A) Chicken, Bacon, and Sausage B) Pepperoni and Mushrooms C) Ham and Pineapple D) Peppers, Onions, and Sausage

Answer: B) Pepperoni and Mushroom. A classic. And mushrooms are the least vegetable vegetable there is. Option A, which is all meat, is a red-herring.


Monty’s Turn:

When Peckapalooza asks for a food story, you gotta deliver (in 30 minutes or less):

Ode to Soy

by Monty Vern (originally published in Monty’s Almanac 202x)

“Iron Sponge” – this is what you get when you source your tofu from a co-op’s bulk tofu barrel in Vermont during the 80’s and fry thick slabs of it seasoned only by the cast iron skillet.

“Iron Sponge”

Also known as “Torture by Tofu”, these healthy meals were a scaring introduction into the curdish world of soy. 

“Tofu Patties” – this is what you turn to when you take an ethics class about animal rights during senior year in college and are too lazy to read the counterarguments.

“Tofu Pattie”

If not for the illicit juices infiltrating these babies from the tortured cow patties cooked on the very same cafeteria grill and heavy overdoses of condiments all squeezed between bouncy buns, these might have cured me of senioritis. But to this day I haven’t read the counterarguments…I’ve just “conveniently forgot” the arguments in the first place.

“Silk de le Soy” – this, my friends, is a spiritual awakening in tofu form. A delicate tapestry of flavors and textures that serenade one’s tongue. A gift from the Sun gods to the chosen people.

One shouldn’t  complain or be too envious – they did after all give us  Mario, Luigi, and magic mushrooms. For me, this tofu epiphany came presented in a humble miso soup prepared by the mama-san of the company dormitory. Perfection.

“Silk-de-la-Soy”

“Dofu Delicacies” – having been enlightened, it was time to move on to the OG of soy (and seemingly all culture as we know it). It doesn’t take long when your living in China to learn that a delicacy is more about delighting the spectators of the poor laowai struggling to keep their stomach from turning upside down than any sort of culinary pleasure. Dofu is no exception. What’s beautiful about the Chinese is that they don’t mess around with euphemisms , with names like “stinky dofu” from Zhejiang to “hairy dofu” from Anhui , you know exactly what you’re getting.

A picture containing athletic game

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“Stinky Tofu”

So, there you have it. My life in tofu. Wherever you are in your tofu discovery journey, I raise my glass (or more accurately my bowl) of soymilk to you wishing you health and joy and ever’ soy.


Be well,

Monty

Oh Two, Oh Two, Twenty Twenty Two

This post is brought to you by the number Two.

“Shit Show” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts

Be well,

Monty

Happy Lunar New Year of the Tiger

Let’s kick of this new year with a little topical self-promotion!

Have you ever wondered what your Chinese zodiac sign and fortune are? Well you could google it…or, better yet, you could pick up a copy of Monty’s Almanac 202x. It won’t be accurate, but it will be fun!


Monty’s Almanac 202x is an autobiographical collection of short stories, poetic prose, and quirky cartoons about a young boy and his comic misadventures growing up on a commune in Vermont during the 80’s. Structurally and aesthetically inspired by The Old Farmer’s Almanac, this collection is arranged by the four season (published June 2021)

Written and illustrated by Monty Vern

Not convinced? Well, you could just pity me as I’ve only sold a couple of copies to date…I’m not beyond a pity purchase. Besides whether you buy this because of the awesome content or because you pity me the result is the same. Guaranteed* laughs!

*Disclaimer: My publisher (i.e. me) is requiring me to clarify that this guarantee is legally meaningless. If you don’t laugh you get nothing back in return. But I do encourage you to really take some stock in life and make sure your enjoying yourself. If you can’t laugh at this comic gold than I’m worried for you. Seriously concerned. You may need to seek professional help.**

**Disclaimer about my disclaimer: Once again my publisher is putting his foot down. I’m now required to clarify that I’m not a medical professional and I’m not qualified to diagnose your lack of laughter as any type of disease. For that you should seek a real medical professional (which is what I said in the first place)!

Be well,

Monty