Melissa Maygrove’s Follow Fest!

Click to DANCE!

It’s time for Melissa Maygrove’s Follow Fest, which means it’s also time to DANCE!

Remember my post during the Gary Fest Anti-Fest Blog Fester’s Fest? It festered, I guess.

You must confess, Follow Fest is similar to the Speed Dating Fest I made up for that…um…er…fest (what do you want? gala? fête? extravaganza?). Writers go meet and visit other writers briefly, however, Melissa’s is for real and NOT one to miss!

Click for the Linky list. 

She removed that awkward goodbye kiss at the door, which improved it tenfold, and took out the trolls. As a matter of fact, if you weren’t purposefully following the link list, you’ve stumbled across the fes…er, event now.

I’ll keep this brief so we can move along, visit, meet, and follow others. Try out some people you don’t know. It’s all about mixing and mingling.

DING! The start bell sounds and we’re off like a herd of turtles.

What’s your name?

Lessee…My pen name is M.L. Swift, but my friends call me Mike. Yes, the last name, Swift, is real. Someone once asked, “Mike Swift…did you change your name to that? It sounds so show biz, like Tom Cruise. ” No, it’s all the real me.

The reason for choosing ML as my pen name is because Mike Swift sounds too crime-novelist and Michael, too romance-writer for me. It’s the same if I were to go by my middle name, so I decided on my initials. ML is easy, generic, and non-committal.

Fiction or Non-fiction?

I write fiction and non-fiction, and currently have my hands stirring both pots of stew. Although my stated genre is MG/YA, we’ll see…depending on my mood, my writing takes many forms, and my adult fiction is rather intriguing. Whatever gets published first and does well will be the deciding factor.

Our lives are surrounded by stories: in the rustle of the trees, the song of the wind, the hum of the city, the mystique of the stars. Once an idea strikes, I let the story choose the path it wants to travel.


I haven’t even considered it yet. Slow and steady wins the race. There’s a first draft sitting in wait for a total rewrite (practically) that I scribbled for NaNoWriMo2012. It needed a rest, as did I. Thank goodness—it’s been a heck of a year.

Last year was the first time I participated in NaNo and mainly patchworked a series of scenes together. It’s probably my worst piece ever, but then again, there’s been no edit at all—other than the decision to change the archetype of the protagonist, which, in turn, will change the storyline a bit. Plus, I’d like to age him. But I can use much of what I’ve already written: phrases, words, events, characters, subplots.

This year I’ll take part in NaNo again and write a fictional story that draws from my previous dog’s life, or at least uses his traits and breed. He was a beautiful springer spaniel that…well, I don’t want to spoil it for you. I’m also contemplating an adult novel which delves into the supernatural.

Many interesting thoughts…time is but the enemy.

To Follow Me:

And for WordPress accounts, there’s a “Follow” button in the top left of the navbar.

Go catch a glimpse of this charming
middle grade story in progress!

Be sure and check out my hundred-word contribution to Write A Short Story With Me (100 Words at a Time) that posts TODAY at NOON (EDT) over at The Magill Review. There are only six other writers left to contribute; go see how it’s shaping up!


ML Swift

MikeBeachML Swift is a writer of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult fiction, although he dabbles in many genres.

An Alzheimer’s caregiver for the past ten years, he has published several articles on The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, the largest online website catering to that community, and is writing a novel about his experience in caregiving.

He resides in Florida with his dogs, Rameses and Buster, attempting to reclaim his side of the bed.


110 thoughts on “Melissa Maygrove’s Follow Fest!

  1. Well, nice to meet you Mike 😉
    Your contact list reminds me I really need to get the hang of using a feeder for blogs. I’ve joined Feedly and Bloglovin but keep forgetting to go into them!

    Can not wait, simply can not wait, for your dog story. I bet that character is going to springer off the page!

    1. The pleasure is all mine. 😉

      I’m just now beginning to use my reader the way it should be used, and only have the one, Bloglovin.’ I manually enter the urls of those who don’t have the Bloglovin’ button or use Feedly (I was going to join Feedly, too, but it was too HARD…too much crap, if I remember correctly).

      The story about my dog has brewed for … well, ever since his death. It will be fictional, but will use his life as a template.

      Thanks for coming by, Charmaine!

    1. Thanks for coming over, Alex. Man, I wish you were on FB (that’s sort of where I spend my hang time), but I understand why not. You’re already in too many places. But I do all my “real” visiting there…and really get to know folks once everybody lets their hair down.

      Thanks again for the visit.

    1. Hey Quanie!

      Make sure to add me as a buddy on NaNo. I already have a page…once sign-ups for this year begin, I’ll look for you. Thanks for the follows! Bloglovin’ will come with a little practice. I’m trying to figure out Feedly!

  2. I won’t be doing NaNo this year. Tried it last year for the first time and had a blast, even though I only hit 30k words. But I’ve been struggling my way through a rewrite of the first couple of those chapters all summer, so I don’t need to be starting another story now.

    I’ve signed up for your posts by email. These days, it’s about the only way I can remember to visit all the blogs I enjoy.

    1. Yes, I’m struggling with the revision of last year’s, so I’m writing a new one this year. The other has too much rewriting and that pot of stew needs to simmer a bit more.

      Thanks for signing up for emails, and I know what you mean. I get many that way.

  3. Hahaha – I love it, Mike!
    Of course, you’re going to have to fly to Houston just so I can slap you for the comment you made on my blog. …No, wait. you might like that. 😛

    I can’t wait until you get published. You write so darn well. I guess I’ll have to be content to read your blog posts until then.

    Thanks for participating in Follow Fest and being such a good sport. 🙂

    1. Been on travel sites all morning to come to Houston. I need a good Shades of Grey slap! Well…what do you do with that other 0.1%? Yeah…I thought I was right. 😉

      The follow fest has been fun…I’ve gotten to know many new faces!

      I can’t wait to get published, and will probably be this dog story. My other one is part of a series and I want it fully planned before doing any more to it. So I’ll hightail it through this one and see what happens. Don’t have a clue what to write for the people, though. They’re all going to be fictitious, only the dog’s life will be real.

      Thanks, Melissa.

  4. Hi Mike! Congrats on making it through NaNo. I’ve only survived one of those, and I wanted to shoot myself any time I thought about writing for the three months afterwards. 😉 It takes a special breed…

    Great to meet you!

  5. Hi Mike!

    Good luck with the followfest! I am your newest follower. What you do with your 100 words at a time story participation I pretty much do with my FLASH FICTION FRIDAYS on my blog. If you get a chance, you might want to check out my blog’s WRITERLY WISDOM WEDNESDAYS where guest authors, agents, and illustrators chat about everything to do with the writing and publishing industry.

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin

  6. Come to think of it, Mike Swift does sound show-biz, kind of like Tom Slick. “Let me tell you why, he’s the best of all the guys…Mi-ike Swift, Mi-ike Swft…” Yeah, I like it. It’s catchy. Be proud. And your wise to go the non-committal route. Wish I’d thought of that years ago. Oh, are we talking about pen names?

    Hugs to you, Mike Swift.

    1. Non-committal…the best way to skate through life. 🙂 And you know I’m already used to your typos. LOL. Actually, I read right over them and didn’t even notice. Thanks, Robyn.

  7. Well, golly, hi Mike!! Fancy meeting you here 😉 You know, it’s actually been a lot of fun to read the posts by people I already follow – I find I’m learning new, interesting stuff about everyone today. And that’s pretty awesome.

    1. Hey Liz,

      I went by your blog this morning and your Follow Fest hadn’t posted yet. Don’t fret about it…ten others weren’t either. I’ll have to check it later and find out a little more about you.

      1. Check the time setting in your General Settings (shoot…I forget how blogspot works). Even though I set my time for New York time (it had asked for a city in the same time zone), it was an hour wrong. I had to manually go to the next lowest time zone. Now everything’s kosher.

        I woke before 5:00 (I’m an early riser), but didn’t visit any blogs until after—don’t know the exact time, though. Got a “Page doesn’t exist” window.

      2. Aaaaand thank you again for picking me up off of the floor of the blog-illiterate and setting me back on my feet. It was set to pacific time. Ooops. Fixed it now. THANK YOU!

        You were up before 5? Sheesh. You ARE an early riser. I wish my body clock worked that way!

  8. Mike Swift (future spy), Michael Swift (International Man of Romance), Swifty (Cool Dude), and ML Swift (Professional Author),

    Glad to see you out here shaking the trees again. The world is a better place when you are active in it.

    By the way, I love what did for Timmy! Great Twist, shaking it up. I am digging what you are laying down.

    Peace Out!

    1. Rob!

      So good to see you. Yeah, I’ve been getting out and about more, both online and in real life.

      Do you like the direction I took with Timmy? There seemed to be too many loose ends that needed tying up, so I got to tying! And then I wanted his ultimate weapon to be a little more than cooties or chicken pox or something.

      It will be interesting how it all turns out.

      1. I think what you did was great. The storyline was in danger of losing focus and you brought it back to center, get Lucy. I love the twist you added as well. You gave Abby and the rest a lot of things to work with. I think it is a great job.

    1. The last name may be Swift, but the attitude is all Creepy. Wait…that didn’t turn out the way I planned it in my head. 😉

      Other than the fact that I see my peers publish and I want a taste of a published book under my belt, I’d rather wait and get it just right than have something out there I’m not 100% proud of. It lends to your bad review post…if I’M happy with it, then bad reviews don’t bother me. If I’m not, then that’s when I say to myself, “Yeah…it was a real piece of crap,” and begin to believe all the negativity.

  9. I never thought much about getting published either — until my wife encouraged me to take the plunge. For some reason, I always thought I’d wait until I was retired (or in my 40’s, whichever came first). Following you on Twitter and FB.

    1. Thanks, Milo!

      I’m going to publish, but only after the book meets my standards, which are extremely high. Plus, that book is planned as a first in a series of five. Would like to arc the whole series during its first revision. The one sketched out in my head for NaNo13 is a stand-alone and a much easier write.

      Thanks for coming over!

    1. Thanks, Romelle (and I love your name),

      That banner is a photo I have in my office…looked nice and writerly.

      Yes, I like the mystique that initials provide. Thanks for coming over! Glad you’re part of the fest.

    1. And you too, Carrie. I also love all the artwork/graphics you’ve designed. I see them floating around the web and think, “A writer AND designer!” I like multi-talented peeps. 🙂

  10. Mike Swift sounds great – MGers would never forget the name. So glad to hear you like the slow route to publishing. It’s too easy to get caught up in the rust (usually leading no where). You’re a wise man 🙂

    1. Patience is a virtue. 🙂 There’s a reason for that adage. And once I am about to publish, we’ll see which name I end up with!

      Thanks for coming by, Tonja. It’s always good to see you.

  11. It’s nice to meet you Mike. I was all for the slow route too, until a friend encourage me to go for it. lol.
    I look forward to the day you decide to go for it and get published too 🙂

    1. I’m not necessarily for the slow route, I simply realize that it’s a process, and haste makes waste. I’d rather weather the process than publish a piece I don’t stand 100% behind.

      It’s nice to meet you, Jossie.

  12. You’re on Pinterest? Is it really useful? I’m trying to stay away from it because I’m already having trouble keeping up with blogger/fb and twitter. But, I may want to pick your brain about NaNo. I’m thinking about trying it this year…but I think it may be too crazy for me. But then again I’m a bit crazy. You realize you have a crazy lady following you? (;

    1. PsychoHonestly Elise, do you think I don’t recognize crazy when I see it? I pegged you as a total loon the first time I glanced across the room and saw you scratching your nose with the buckles on your straight jacket.

      The only outlet (other than the blog) that I keep abreast on is FB. I barely tweet, other than friends’ articles (and mine)—mainly to get my name out there.

      But Pinterest is interesting. It allows followers to see my tastes, interests, etc., as well as providing an easy way to save a photo without having to download it. I do actually like that convenience. I’ll be on a site, see a pic, click the “P” on my bookmarks bar and save the pic. Done! I’d see it around on other sites and thought it was silly, but after using it, I really recommend it! And it’s not something you have to stay on top of. Believe me, if it were complicated or demanded too much time, I wouldn’t have joined.

      You can pick my brain about NaNo anytime you want. And I hope you do it this year…you can “buddy” me!

      Heading over to your place soon. 🙂

      1. Mine is Green Lantern green. The straight jacket that is. I don’t like it. I wanted Batman utility belt yellow but they were out…figures. 😛

        Hummm, good points about pinterest, I’ll have to think about it. And yes, brain picking will be required, though I’m not 100% sure I’m up for the challenge this year. I’ll only do it IF I get an outline completed by Nov. 1. Oh and about that…I haven’t started…yet. And yes to the ‘buddy’ thing, though I didn’t even know there was a buddy system. But it sounds like a good idea. It also sounds like I’ll need a team of buddies. I should probably start reading up on the whole NaNo challenge shouldn’t I……

      2. I got the last utility belt yellow available. It’s a little big on me, you would have been swimming in it, but I guess that’s the point.

        Hit the nano link in my post to read all about it, Elise. What? You want me to do everything for you? Okay…

        At least I think that’s it.

        Also…you only spend time doing the things you give time. I don’t give Pinterest a second look, although I have a few pins up and follow a few people (or their boards). I mainly just like looking at good and inspirational stuff that I may use one day.

        Twitter is the same way. FB is lessening. Writing is increasing. Blogging and visiting is down to once a week, with visits used as writing breaks throughout the week.

        It’s all about prioritizing. For me, I feel like I’ve built a decent online foundation while writing took a back seat…time to move it to the driver’s. If you do NaNo and put in the effort, it will happen! A book will come. And all first drafts are crappy anyway. 🙂

  13. Going at YOUR pace is such a crucial part of figuring this writing ‘stuff’ out, ML. This is a craft, one with very few true benchmarks or indicators of how you’re doing. The key for me was knowing when the stories on the page finally lived up to the ones in my head. 🙂

    1. That’s exactly it, EJ. I said in a comment or post or something about having high standards, but you nailed it with, “knowing when the stories on the page finally lived up to the ones in my head.” That’s when I’ll publish.

  14. I like your slow and steady wins the race philosophy. Congrats on having a complete Nano novel to revise. I tried it, but didn’t complete an entire rough draft. Looking forward to following your journey.

  15. Good luck with NaNo!

    I don’t have Twitter or a blog FB, only a personal FB which I rarely frequent.

    I’m on the fence about setting up social media for the blog, but have been considering Twitter. Not sure if I need another time-suck, you know? I’m a little disappointed with Facebook and the endless changes and privacy concerns.

    Thank you for sharing my Stephen King post, that was nice of you!

    PS–I have Feedly, and I love it. It’s super easy and you can import all of the blogs you follow on WP in an instant. I like that you can organize them by category too and mark individual posts to save for later.

    Enjoy your week, Christy

    1. Hey, I’ll send you an email sometime this week. 🙂 And I guess I’ll try to set up a Feedly account so people who use that can follow me, too.

      It was a great Stephen King tribute. Loved it. And yes, your blog is pretty cool too.

    1. And I think I do you as well, but I’ll check, Carol. Goodness, I’ve visited so many people the past couple of days, I’m not sure if I’ve gotten to you yet! Good to see you. 🙂

  16. Great post! Thanks for sharing! Following 🙂

    One moment, please! Arrrggghhhhh! , not another blogfest! Somebody make them STOP! Apologies for that. However, I feel slightly better. I promise not to go cynical and state that blogfests are a superficial way of drawing attention to oneself and accumulating followers. Nah, we know it’s all about embracing the sharing, caring interaction.

    “Nano”? A big fan of Mork from Ork? Hey, have fun with this and watch all the nice to meet’ you comments come flying in.

    Ahem, who is this “Gary”? Seriously and perhaps ironically, despite my distaste of these bloggy hippy hoppety things, I do share and let others become aware.

    1. Gary, actually, your fest was to be my last for awhile (if not forever), but Melissa came up with this great idea—a “Follow Fest,” and if it weren’t Melissa, then it’s doubtful I would have participated (same w/ yours…I’d met you briefly, but wanted to know more, so I joined in).

      But this fest has a purpose and isn’t just a bunch of hullabaloo…it’s to connect on other media instead of merely blog visiting.

      I’ve realized that I simply can’t fit in visiting all the blogs I like or stay in touch w/ the people I like on a regular basis and still do all the things on my writerly plate. Some I can visit, but others I can only follow through FB or Twitter or Goodreads, etc., and that will have to suffice.

      This allowed me to make all those connections on the social venues. Yeah, I guess I could have done it anyway, but as with everything in life, why not make a party out of it? Make it fun.

      I don’t know who I expect my demographic to be…writers, readers, young, old…I’m really not looking at numbers, just building an online presence and writing about the things I have to do while it’s under construction. Eventually, maybe all this will pan out. And eventually, maybe a fanbase will enjoy reading how it started.

      Nice to meet you. 😉

    1. I started with a pseudonym—Chris Michaels—which lasted for a month or two…just too paranoid at the time to put my real name all over the net for scammers to grab hold of, but grew into using my real name. If I ever crossover from one genre to the next, I’ll decide the path I need to take at that time. Good to see you, Misha!

  17. I like the explanation of why you opted for M.L. over Mike or Michael. I think Mike Swift really works and is not at all Tom Cruise-ish. But M. L. really works, too.

    1. Thanks, Suze.

      ML is genre non-committal, and since I like its mystique, chose to use that…but it really all comes down to what my agent or publisher thinks would be best. Of course, I’ll have to agree when that time comes.

    1. It has been awhile, Elizabeth! I wondered why you needed moderating, ElizabethSeckmanelizabethseckman. But we learn something new from each other everyday, true? I never knew you preferred having your name said twice. 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Thanks for directing me to this blog fest. It’s been a busy week, but I’m looking forward to checking out some new blogs and follow everyone tomorrow and this weekend!

    It’s great to learn more about what you write!

    1. Thank you for YOUR visit, Vanessa! And welcome to this wacky world of witing. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be “writing,” but witing somehow touched on my old speech impediment of rhotacism. And it sounded funnier. 🙂

  19. I can’t wait to read your dog story, sounds amazing. I love the comparison to speed dating, I hadn’t thought of that but it’s so true, that’s kind of how this follow fest feels. But it’s much more fun than speed dating. 😀

    1. Julie,

      Thanks for coming by…yes, I’m getting anxious (in a good way) to begin that story. Even worked on a mock cover for awhile.

      I’d never do the speed dating, but speed blogging, that’s an entirely different can of beans. 😀

  20. Hi Mike, great to meet you! You really have your hand in a bunch of genres! 😀

    Your sidebar has The Who playing in my head right now. See me. Feel me. Touch me. Heal me. (Tommy) I’m happy about that because they’re my favorite band.

      1. Gotcha!

        I thought you were listening to the music player (The Judds) and couldn’t figure out which song sounded like The Who. Love them, too…I have eclectic tastes.

        Actually, I was drawing from Alice in Wonderland‘s “Drink Me, Eat Me” instructions, although now see the correlation to Tommy. Thanks for the video. Always good to see Roger and the boys.

    1. Thanks for the CommentLUV! It’s going to be a treat getting to know you two. And I’m definitely always seeking tips and advice!

      Thanks again for all the follows. 🙂

  21. I’m so inspired by those you enter into NaNoWriMo–congrats on your stories! Feel free to tell all that’s on your mind (YA, MG, or A). Also, I have a lot of admiration for caregivers since I’ve worked with the elderly in the past.

    1. Jennifer,

      It’s nice to see you…let’s see…when is your cookie day? I’ll have to make it over. Love proverbs, quotes and things of that nature.

      Yes, my mind is always at work, creating a snippet from everyday events, whether MG, YA, A, or of the supernatural variety.

      Caregiving for my mother had it’s tests, like everything in life, but it was truly wonderful to be able to spend that time with her.

      Hope to see you again!

  22. Nice to meet you! I’ve got you on Google+ so now I can see every single post EVER 🙂 This does sound an awful lot like speed dating except it’s far less awkward (I imagine….I’ve never actually tried speed dating now that I think about it). Have a fantastic weekend!

    1. Hey Samantha,

      Glad you came by. WordPress doesn’t automatically post to G+ like Blogger does, so I’ll have to remember to hit the G+ button at the bottom of each post (Sometimes I forget).

      Don’t let that stop you from coming by and saying hey, though! 🙂

  23. You’re so brave for doing NaNo. Normally deadlines are great for getting me motivated, but I’m such a slow writer — and one who edits when I feel like it — that’s there’s no point setting myself up for failure. I take about 9 months to write a novel and that’s just the way it is. Wishing you good luck on NaNoWriMo 2013!! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lexa!

      I’m a slow writer, too, and edit every bit along the way. I did NaNo last year to help break me of that habit and do the “fast writing…just write, don’t edit” that everybody says we should do. That’s probably why I feel last year’s is the worst I’ve ever written…I did no editing along the way. I’ll see how it goes this year.

      And thanks for stopping by! Your comment made this post my first time having 100 comments! 😀

  24. Hi Michael! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I admire your NaNo novel! I’ve never been able to do that. Good luck with your edits. I just got through editor edits…so fun! lol.

    1. Editor edits…boy, how I look forward to that. LOL. Actually, a friend of mine called me “an editor’s dream” because I’m so meticulous in my self-editing (and a pretty decent editor for other people’s works, too).

      But I really am looking forward to editor edits—they tell me I’m one step closer to publication! Congrats on YOURS!

  25. A pleasure to meet you, M.L. Swift. I actually took the scenic route to arrive here by way of the dumbwaiter that leads to the passageway marked. “Blog” and chuckled all along the way. I do my share of “musing” too. Only another writer can understand the deep and profound significance involved in that activity. 🙂 Looking forward to following!

    1. Delynn,

      So glad you made it over. Yes, the scenic route…wasn’t the slide fun?

      I will be keeping an eye out for your posts. This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  26. OMG, Mike, you have so many new visitors over here, I was afraid to leave a comment for fear of getting lost in the crowd.

    It looks like you’re throwing one of those forbidden parties teenagers throw when their parents are out of town. From what I see, it looks like Melissa’s Follow Fest is a hit. I haven’t been to any of the other blogs, I’m only going by this wild party over here.

    Also, I feel privileged because I already know most of that stuff about you. Na-na-na-na-na, to all you newbie visitors. 🙂

    Anyhoo, Mike, I’ll pop over soon to see your short story at The Magill Review. And you’re right about “Mike Swift” it does sound crime novelist, but I like your name (the two names together–Mike Swift). It has a strong presence with vibes of intrigue. It’s the “Swift” part that makes it unique and powerful. Also, you’re being closed mouth on what the “L” stands for. Can we get a middle name out of you? Stop keeping it on the down low.

    Okay, I’m outta here. I’ve stayed way too long. Have fun with your Follow Fest party.

    1. Demetria…Demetria! Whew! Thought I lost you for a sec. Here, grab my hand and let’s get out of this mosh pit and back up to the post where it’s quieter.

      I have secret passages all through the place. Okay…here’s the door. Ahhhhhh.

      It was quite difficult for me to decide on my name. I don’t know if you were around my first couple of months online when I used a pseudonym (and was fearful of putting my real name out on the World Wide Web).

      Like you, I liked the sound of Mike Swift—short…to the point…crisp and clean…and as you said, powerful. Not that I’m into power, just that it has more “umph” to it. And if you have “umph,” all that’s left is to give it a “tri” and you’ll Triumph. Wow. Did you like that? I made that up, right now, when we were talking.

      ML worked for any road I wanted to venture down, and we’ll see how that plays. Good to see you! Are you back?

    1. Thanks, Mary, and I think I already follow you. You’re so cool with your big telescope and the pics from the observatory. How can anybody in their right mind miss those? Thanks for stopping by.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s