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Stop #3 of the Kristi Chestnutt Blog Tour

Wednesday I promised you an interview and today I’m here to deliver on that promise. Kristi Chestnutt’s first novel, The Wolf Within, has just been released this week by Black Rose Writing and I’m totally psyched to have her be my first interrogation interview.

I first encountered Kristi a couple months ago while driving into work one morning. She was digging for scraps in a dumpster on the side of the road. Just kidding…LOL…that would make a great story though. Actually I met her by way of her blog. I was instantly drawn to her writing style, quick wit, heartfelt advice, and her font. She sports a pretty cute font. When the opportunity to host a stop on her blog tour presented itself, I jumped at the chance. Let’s get straight to it, shall we?

Me: Hey Kristi, have a seat and make yourself comfortable. Would you like a cup of coffee or some tea?

Kristi: Ummm…this is a virtual interview DL…I’m not actually there.

Me: Just go with it, okay?

Kristi: I guess. Sure.

Me: Kristi, you are absolutely glowing this morning. You must be excited about your recent book release?

Kristi: Both excited and terrified! Somehow it still doesn't seem "real".

Me: I bet not. Why don't you tell everybody a little bit about your writing method. Do you prefer to work in the AM or at night?

Kristi: Most definitely night...although quite often the night becomes AM, so in that case...both.

Me: Do you create your fictional world sitting at a desk, or with a laptop at a corner table in the local coffee house?

Kristi: I want to be the girl who writes at the local coffee house...all cool and mysterious like, but unfortunately, I'm the girl who sits in front of her home computer desk in the office, quietly typing away. I occasionally scribble into a notebook by the bedside if something comes to me and I'm too lazy to boot up the computer or if the idea is just beginning and needs more time to stew.

Me: I understand you're already working on another project. Is it in the same vein as The Wolf Within, or something completely different?

Kristi: It's totally different. In the past I have written mostly paranormal, science fiction type books and my new project is more literary fiction. I'm not sure what I think's too early. I do enjoy trying different things and different methods each time I write...seems to keep the ideas flowing and my interest captivated.

Me: Let’s switch gears a little. You've become quite a popular blogger in this community. From your perspective, how does blogging, or other social media for that matter, impact a writers creative growth?

Kristi: That is seriously an excellent question.

Me: Why thank you, when I was growing up I always dreamed about --

Kristi: I had no idea when I started blogging that it would actually help my writing as much as it has. Just writing posts every day, in and of itself, is a major writing tool. It allows a writer to really help find their own voice, to see what others respond to, what they don't, and keeps the creativity flowing. More importantly, it's a community where people who share a hobby can come together and support one another. It was a blogger (Kristin Rae) who gave me the idea to join a critique group. Invaluable advice. I now have an online Krit Group (shout out!), an in-person crit group just beginning and friends I've made here and there that I can share work with. My next project will be amazing because of this new process. Getting feedback and helping others on their journey has just been the coolest.thing.ever.

Me: Great answer. What about the Internet in general? Do you feel today's writers have a leg up on their predecessors because of the global on-line community?

Kristi: I really, really do. There's so much information available online that helps a new writer navigate through the publishing and agenting waters. Agents and publishers freely give advice out there if you take the time to listen and really learn. I learn something new every day.

Me: Well, I know you have to run, but I want to thank you for stopping by and telling us a little more about yourself.

Kristi: You know, I don’t actually have to go yet.

Me: Oh…but…I don’t have any more questions.

Kristi: You could ask me about my book.

Me: Ahhh…yes. Right. Why don’t you tell us what the book is about?

Kristi: Gwyn, a quirky college student, bumps into Faden, a private investigator with a secret past, and life as she knows it will not just change, but end.

Faden can’t deny the powerful connection he and Gwyn have right from the start, a connection that pulls him towards her when he knows he should be staying away. As his investigation into the town’s most recent murders heats up, his resolve weakens and he gives in to Gwyn’s pull, knowing that getting close to someone again would mean sharing his secret: he is Immortal.

Little does he know that he will never get the chance to tell her himself. His past hunts him down, taking Gwyn prisoner and plunging them into a world they never knew existed. Together they will be thrown into the midst of battle, befriending the very serial killer Faden has been hunting. Forced to leave their homes behind and run from the authorities, we watch as Gwyn helps Faden become the leader that destiny and fate has called him to be.

Me: Ewwwwww. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. Where can I get a copy?

Kristi: It just released Thursday, February 25th, from my publisher's online bookstore, Black Rose Books, but will become available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in a few weeks.

Me: Ummmmmm…are we done now?

Kristi: Yes DL, we’re finished.  Thank you so much for hosting me this morning.

So that’s it. I may have to re-think my foray into journalism, but I will definitely be snagging The Wolf Within soon! If you want to find out even more about Kristi you can check out her other blog tour interviews by my colleagues, Kimberly Franklin and Kristin Rae (which are so much better than mine).

Thanks again to Kristi, for allowing me to introduce you guys to her. :)

Hodge Podge

For those of you unaware, I’ve been in Chicago for the last several days on the beautiful campus of Northwestern University. The people I work for felt it necessary to cram more information between my ears, so I was sent there to attend a seminar. But even though I’m struggling to catch up from being away from my desk and it looks like somebody lobbed a paper hand grenade in my office, I’m compelled to write this post because I’ve been away too long and I wanted to say hi *waving*, but there’s also some pretty neat things on the horizon you need to know about.

First and foremost, I’m interviewing the wonderful Kristi Chestnutt right here Friday as she makes her away around the internet on her very own blog tour.  We'll be talking about the pending release of her first novel The Wolf Within. Pretty cool…right. Kristi is not only a talented writer (duh – she’s published) and a proficient blogger, but also a new found friend. I hope you’ll stop by to read about her exploits to publishdom (I just made that word up).

Secondly, Jon Paul over at Where Sky Meet Ground is hosting one of those infamous Blogfest's that I’m going to be participating in. It’s the “Drunk at First Sight” Blogfest and it involves writing a scene or short story about a love/relationship situation that also includes one or more of the following elements:

---St. Paddy's Day as important event or setting
---Use of Ireland or anything Irish as a setting or prop
---An alcohol related event (party, hangover, cocktails, AA meeting, etc.)

I’m really excited about it and plan on using another scene from my first novel (Slow Dancer). Check it out if you get a chance.

And finally I have another yet award to pass along (no, I haven’t forgotten about the other two). Julie at Silver Lining bestowed upon me the Creative Writer Award, which is one that actually looks a bit masculine. Julie is a wonderful writer that has quickly made it onto my “tingle” list, so I hope you check out her blog. There is some penance that comes with the award, which I will have to postpone for now, but I’m good for it. Really.

I guess that's it for now.  I feel better now that I've gotten my blog fix, but I'll feel even better if you gimme a shout back.  So I'm a comment whore...don't judge me. 

Don’t forget to stop back by Friday for my interview with Kristi.


Short & Sweet

How about a quickie??!!  *Grin*  That's what today's post is going to be.  Just gotta take care of some business and I'm outta here to work on my WIP.

First things first.  Thank you for all the comments about my Love at First Sight Blogfest entry.  Two things stood out...everybody enjoyed reading a romantic scene from a male POV...and quite a few of you insisted that I take it down off the shelf.  Believe me when I say the book has issues, the biggest being that its 40,000 words too long for a first time author.  It will see the day of light at some point though, it's that personal to me.

My second piece of business is that two of my favorite bloggers; Elana Johnson and Shelli at Market My Words are teaming up to put on a series of contest that offer serious prizes.  If you're not already a follower of theirs, go by and check it out.

Finally, I am humbled once again.  Gina at A Muse in My Pocket and Kellie at Women's Life Link have both singled me out for the LOVE LINK.  I was overcome by Warm Fuzzies after I read what they said about me.  Additionally, Kimberly Franklin at Confessions: The Secret Life of a Writer blessed me with the Picasso Award.  I don't have the time needed to do justice for both of these recognitions right now, but I will hold onto my duty and pay it forward sometime in the near future.  Thank you Gina, Kellie & Kimberly...really!

That's version of a drive-by blog posting.  :)  Happy hump day!!


Love At First Sight Blogfest

I'm participating in my first blogfest today.   For the uninitiated, a blogfest is when someone comes up with a scene topic and those who wish to participate writes a scene (or takes one from an existing piece) and posts it on their blog.  This one revolves around the concept of love at first honor of Valentines Day.  Its coordinated by Courtney Reese, so if you want to read more entries just head over to her blog.

The scene I've chosen is from my first novel, which has been shelved for a while.  It's still really rough and needs a lot of tuning, but it fits the need for today.  Sorry for the length, but if your interested, the length shouldn't matter.  I call my first book...SLOW DANCER.

Panama City beach during the first week after summer finals could only be equaled by Panama City beach during spring break.  For the uninitiated, it was truly a sight to see.  The city’s normal population swelled to four times its size and frenzied college students were everywhere, looking for ways to celebrate their temporary freedom from lectures, tests, and round the clock cram sessions.  Hotel rooms, motel rooms, cabins, condos and camp sites commonly were filled beyond normal room occupancy limits.  The 2.5 mile Front Beach Road that ran parallel to Gulf of Mexico and its glorious white sand beach was jammed with cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles, most of them cruising for no other reason than to be noticed. The beaches were congested with sun bathers, volleyball games, and guys & gals throwing Frisbees or footballs.  The human overflow backed up into the nearby hotels where reclining chairs jockeyed for position around the pools and the chlorinated water churned from kids escaping the heat or re-living their childhoods by playing games like chicken fights, belly flop contests, or marco polo.  Half-naked bodies, sun tan lotion, beach towels, sunglasses, coolers full of beer, and red smiling faces were at every turn.  There was indeed a paradise, and I had found it.
Our group settled on one particular club as our favorite nighttime hangout because it was where most of the girls gravitated to, supposedly because of the clubs humongous dance floor.  The fact that the bar tenders didn’t water down the drinks as much as the other clubs, also ranked high on our scorecards. 
It was late in the evening on our third night in Ft. Walton and I was sitting at a corner table, leaning my chair back against a wall which had an old volleyball net tacked to it, talking with Ebe and Kent.  The three of us were attempting to carry on a conversation over the throbbing disco music booming throughout the large room, discussing such highbrow topics as internal combustion and the proper technique for igniting farts.  I never laughed so hard in my life.  Meanwhile Billy, Raymond and Mark had managed to endear themselves to a couple of co-eds at a table closer to the bar.
Kent must have noticed me looking over the crowd because he asked, “Is it still the same girl?”
I paused a moment until I completed my scan of the mass of people, then said, “Same girl, orange tank top.  No change.”
“Lee, I still think you’re nuts,” Kent replied in an exasperated tone.
A knowing grin was my only response.  Over the years of going out to clubs and bars, I had developed a ritual.  Every place we found ourselves at I would examine the crowd when we first arrived and choose a girl I deemed the most beautiful in the room.  It was something I had first started doing as a game, using it as an icebreaker when I was getting to know my new friends, but even though the five of us were best of friends now I have still kept up the habit.  Of course, none of the girls I selected were ever made aware of the dubious honor I bestowed upon them because I could never muster enough courage to talk to any of them.  After the formality of selecting the prettiest girl, I would monitor her throughout the night and when she left, a replacement was chosen.  On rare occasions, a new arrival would be gorgeous enough to bump the previous selection from her throne. 
When we first arrived at the Sunset Club that evening I went through my normal routine and carefully checked the crowd.  My gaze kept returning to the same spot.  The girl was maybe an inch taller than me, casually dressed in dual tank tops, one bright orange layered on top of plain white, wearing dark blue Capri’s pants belted with a scarf that resembled a white handkerchief, tied in a knot.  She rounded out her outfit with a pair of skimmer boat shoes, one orange and the other white.  Her athletic build, wedge cut dark brown hair, combined with her cute pixie like nose that made a slight upturn at its end, were mesmerizing to me.  Her facial features and a dark golden tan suggested an ethnicity in her heritage, and her eyes sparkled even in the dimly lit room.  But what really caught my eye was her smile.  Her entire face seemed to light up whenever her perfect alabaster teeth, all 32 of them, peeked through her small mouth.  I couldn’t help but smile myself each time I saw one on her face.
“Orange tank top,” I had announced when I had made my decision.
“Oh come on, the girl in the light green dress we saw on our way in is much prettier than that one and her tits are twice as big,” Kent protested.
“My game, my choice,” I replied.
“But what about the blond at that table over there?  The one with the fancy necklace,” Kent tried again.
“She is stunning,” I said, giving the blond a second look, “but I’m sticking with orange tank.”
“I agree with Lee,” Ebe interjected.  “She’s a good choice.”
“You both don’t know how to appreciate a great pair of breasts,” Kent observed and was off to get the first round of drinks.
Kent was right though, but not about the breasts.  Although there were girls at the club that night that were maybe more “classically” beautiful or eloquently outfitted, even more anatomically gifted, but there was something about the girl in the orange tank top.  Maybe it was the simplicity in the way she dressed or the way she carried herself that set her apart from the others.  She exuded a self-confidence that didn’t come off as conceit.  And there was that smile.  I couldn’t point out any one thing to Kent that made her stand out, but she was definitely my number one.
When it came to clubbing, I was the proverbial wallflower.  I had made peace long ago with my perpetual bashfulness keeping me from carrying on like my friends, going up to and carousing with girls they just met.  As the night went on, I was content to sit back and watch everybody else enjoy themselves.  I had constant company though.  Ebe had a girlfriend back in Baton Rouge and wasn’t interested in chasing girls, instead concentrating on drinking and making fun of everybody else.  Kent was there as well, but not for a lack of trying.  He was always working up enough courage to go for his next rejection. 
I spotted Billy and Raymond dancing just off to the right of our table with the girls they had become chummy with.  Both of the guys were really good dancers and the girls were working hard to not be outdone.  Watching them display their moves I noticed the girl in the orange tank top on the dance floor next to them with the guy she had arrived with.  Her partner was a decent looking fella, a couple inches taller than she was, sharply dressed and an adequate dancer.  I was just about to see where Mark had gone off to when I noticed something odd.  The girl in the orange tank top was staring at me.  When our eyes met I immediately looked away and pretended to be interested in something on the ceiling, my heartbeat suddenly pounding hard in my chest.  However tipsy I may have been quickly dissipated and I sat straight up in my chair.  I looked discreetly around to the tables near ours, but it was just me, Ebe and Kent.  There was nobody else close by.  Could she really be staring at me?  I waited a couple minutes before I stole a second glance in her direction and her partner was now whispering something in her ear, to which she laughed at.  I told myself that the alcohol was playing tricks on me and was ready to declare myself the winner of the most shit-faced award.  I peeked in her direction a third time a few minutes later and saw that they were moving to a table directly opposite ours across the dance floor. 
I vaguely recall Kent and Ebe having a conversation that I believed involved something about a woman’s bra and silly putty, but much like a gravitational force, my attention being pulled against elsewhere.  As hard as I tried to appear interested in what they were saying, it was useless.  
Once more I glimpsed at the table across the dance floor AND SHE WAS STARING AT ME AGAIN.  This time I rallied all of the will power I possessed, as well as whatever courage the alcohol could provide, to force myself not to turn away.  My eyes locked onto hers and almost immediately I could feel the impulse screaming inside me to look away.  I was about to lose it and succumb to my fear, when a small, almost imperceptible smile appeared at the corners of her mouth, and then she slowly looked away.  Oh shit...Oh SHIT… OH SHIT, I said to myself out loud.  I’m not that drunk…. Am I?  She is gorgeous, she’s with a guy with obviously lots more money than I have, and yet she is staring at me!  And this wasn't just any girl.  This was, by my own definition, the most beautiful girl in the club!
Still not trusting my own senses I leaned over to Ebe who was sitting closest to me.
“Ebe, is it me or is that girl in the orange tank top sitting directly opposite from us over there staring at me?” 
Now even if Ebe hadn’t been sitting closest to me I still would have gone around the table to ask him because I knew that no matter how much Ebe had to drink he could be discreet with something like this.  Kent on the other hand would have immediately sprung to his feet and marched right over to the other table to ask this mysterious girl why she was staring at his friend, and then asked her if she wanted to have sex. 
I watched as Ebe looked across the dance floor, struggling to make his eyes focus, and then he turned back. 
“It’s not you”, he said matter-of-factly, “She’s definitely looking over here”.
I wasn’t sure where all the blood in my body had disappeared to, but there definitely wasn’t any in my head because I felt extremely dizzy.  My ears were even tingling. 
“Shit, what do I do?”
“Go ask her to dance, stupid,” Ebe said, almost laughing.
“But I can’t dance!” 
And I couldn’t.  At least I thought so.  I was saddled with the self-diagnosed psychological condition that makes a person believe that he looks like a supreme klutz whenever he tried to dance.  I had always felt stiff and robotic when I had attempted it before and since I couldn’t work up the courage to ask anybody to dance anyway, I abandoned my efforts to learn.  Whether or not I actually looked stupid when I danced didn’t matter, I believed I looked that way.  To compound matters further, I was dressed in faded jeans, a plain gold t-shirt and Nike tennis shoes, nothing like the polo shirt, slacks and loafers the companion of the girl in the orange tank top was wearing.  But dancing would be my only chance at meeting this girl and breaking the ice, because there was no way I would be able to just walk up to her and begin a conversation.  That simply wasn’t going to happen.  I was screwed.
At that very moment the planets must have aligned because the DJ started playing a new song.  And it was a SLOW SONG.  Shit, even I could slow dance, I thought.  I recognized the tune as a new song that the clubs had just started playing that summer and it had struck a popular chord because whenever it was played the dance floor immediately filled up with couples.  This was going to be my chance, but there was still one problem.  The guy she was with.  My briefly lifted spirits started to sink again as I thought surely her companion would be taking her back out to dance to this song.  I looked over at their table expecting to see them rising and headed towards the dance floor, but instead it was only the guy that got up and headed quickly off towards the bar.  This is it, I thought!  This is my chance! GO!
“What’s going on?” Kent asked.
“That girl in the orange tank is making eyes at Lee and he’s going over there to ask her to dance,” Ebe answered.
As I got up and started across the dance floor I heard Kent yell, “Ask her if she wants to have sex with me?”
Later I would say unequivocally that the walk across that dance floor was the longest stroll of my life.  More and more couples were spilling out onto the floor, slowing my progress.  I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to speak when the time came.  The whole thing was all so surreal and dreamlike.  Half way there I decided I might be making a serious mistake.  I was suddenly convinced that when I arrived at her table she would look up at me like something she found stuck to the bottom of her shoe.  Or her even worse the guy she was with would show back up and try and stick me to the bottom of his shoe.  The only reason I didn’t turn back was because I knew that Kent and Ebe were watching my every move and returning without even asking meant evisceration by all of my friends.  I had put myself in a position where I faced either public ruin or private humiliation.  Charlie Brown had nothing on me!
I was just steps away from her table when she looked up, spotted me coming towards her, and smiled.  And this time it was a full blown, honest to goodness, smile.  In the radiance of that smile my chest puffed out, the curve in my back straightened and I felt like I grew 6 inches.  A feeling came over me that I could not describe other than to say that I could never before remember feeling that confident.  In that moment I could have ran through a brick wall or gotten up naked in front of hundreds of strangers to give a speech about syphilis.  Suddenly my nervousness evaporated.
“Would you like to dance?” I seemed to croak out.
“I thought you’d never ask,” she replied as she rose from her chair.
We joined the others out on the dance floor, maneuvering to find a sliver of open space.  I put my hands on her hips and she clasped hers around my neck.  Our eyes remained locked and for the first few moments all we did was do as the song commanded, sway to the music.  She was even more beautiful up close than I imagined.  Her dark eyebrows and full lips stood out despite only the slightest hint of makeup.  Her emerald green eyes sparkled and instantly mesmerized me.  The only jewelry she wore was a thin gold choke chain.  The smile she showed me when I walked up to her table remained on her face and I hoped like hell that I appeared calm on the outside despite the raging snoopy dance that was going on inside my head.  Take that Charlie Brown!
“Thought you’d never ask?” I finally said, leaning in close so I wouldn’t need to shout and she could still hear me above the music.
“I’ve been trying to get you to ask me to dance for quite a while,” she answered boisterously.
“Oh yeah?  And what about the guy you came here with?”
“Mike?  He’s a local.  My family and his family know each other and I promised my parents I would let him take me out one night while I was down here this year.”  Her smile still hadn’t diminished one iota.
“Not your type then?”
“Not really.  He’s just a friend.”
The two of us rocked back and forth, looking into each other’s eyes in for a minute.  
“Well, you’re lucky this song came on when it did,” I started again, surprised that I didn’t have to think about what I wanted to say next. “Dancing isn’t something I’m very good at.  I’m really just a slow dancer.”
“Me too.”
I looked at her skeptically.  “I’ve seen you dance.  You do just fine.”
“I didn’t say I couldn’t dance, I just meant that I prefer the slow ones,” she corrected me.  Her eyes let me know that she wasn’t the type of girl who agreed to something just to be nice.
“If your friend Mike hadn’t gotten up to get a drink I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” I confessed.
“That wasn’t luck.”  She said, the intensity of her smile seemed to brighten ever so slightly and I could now see in her expression a measure of pride.  “I asked him to get me a drink when I heard this song start playing.” 
“You’re kidding.”
 “Nope.  I tried to make it as easy as I could for you.”
It was at that point that I started wondering when I was going to wake up, because this had to be a dream.  The incredible feeling I felt when she first smiled at me had intensified two-fold.  Boldly my hands reached a little further behind her and I pulled her closer to me.  She reciprocated by putting her head on my shoulder and together we became one with the music.  It was truly a magical moment.
As the end of the song approached I was unsure of how to handle what might happen next. 
“Listen, what are we going to do when this song ends?  Am I going to see you again?”
She picked her head up from my shoulder and said, “I’m going to get Mike to take me back to my hotel.  Can you meet me there?”
“Sure, where are you staying at?”
“The Regency.”
“We’re staying at the White Sands cabins only a mile up the beach from there.  I’m here with a group of my friends in my van, and I have to herd all of them back to the cabin first.”
“I’ll wait.”
“That’s great.  It would help if I knew your name so I don’t have to call HEY YOU when we see each other again,” I pointed out.
“I’m Andi.”
“Andy?” giving her a curious look.
“Andi with an i.”
I smiled and said, “I like that.  I’m Lee”
She smiled back at me then returned her head to my shoulder and we continued to dance to the song that was quickly being etched into a special place in my memory. 
The music slowly faded away and was quickly replaced by the up tempo “Best of My Love” by the Emotions, but we remained on the floor a few seconds longer.  Neither of us wanted to relinquish the thank you/goodbye hug we had slipped into.
When finally we broke apart I headed back to the group, fighting the urge to look back.  As I approached our table I was surprised to see all five of my buddies sitting there watching my return. 
“Hey Stud” Mark shouted.
“Man, that grin is going to leave permanent stretch marks” Raymond added.
“Lee comes into the game as a pinch hitter and blasts one out of the park,” Billy chimed in.
“So, does she want to have sex with me” Kent asked in earnest.
I grabbed an empty chair from a nearby table and pulled it over to ours, straddling it.  For a moment all I did was grin at the group.  Regardless of the circumstances, being the center of attention wasn’t something I was particularly comfortable with.
“I don’t think he can talk, his tongue is hard” Ebe observed, which elicited laughter from everyone.
“You guys ready to go?” I finally asked.
“NO” they all replied in unison.
 “Come on guys, I’m supposed to meet her back at her hotel,” I pleaded.
Billy looked across the room to where Andi and Mike were still sitting.  “She doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere to me,” he said.
I looked over my shoulder at them and it was true, they didn’t give any indications they were about to leave.
“She’s probably explaining why she was off dancing with somebody else while he was getting her a drink,” Ebe offered in explanation.
“That is a good question, why was she?” Kent pointed out.
“Because I asked her Kent and she said yes,” I countered, a bit perturbed.
“Aren’t you a bit leery of a girl who’s on the prowl for somebody else when she’s already here with date?” Mark asked.
“Guys, listen.  She’s only friends with that guy.  Their families know each other.  Is that so impossible to believe?”
Nobody answered, but their faces weren’t saying yes.  I briefly considered giving up the argument and just leaving them behind and making them walk back to the White Sands, but my food, drink and alcohol for the rest of the week depended on them and I felt it better to not bite the hand that literally fed me. 
Finally, after a considerable amount of begging and pleading I got them to compromise by promising to stay just thirty more minutes. 
Once we had an agreement I looked over in Andi’s direction just in time to see them getting up to leave, with a couple of untouched drinks left on the table.  Before she disappeared down the hallway exit she looked back and flashed me another one of her smiles. 
           This was going to be the longest thirty minutes of my life, I thought to myself.

I’m Starting to Get a Complex

I was all set to post an update regarding the progress of my manuscript; I mean it’s been a while since I talked about it, but ‘lo and behold I received another award.  And once again, it was the same award from two different blogger buddies.  But here’s the thing, both of them imparted this honor to me because…they wanted to give such an obvious girly award to a GUY.

I’m beginning to feel like the much younger brother of a sister who conspires with her friends to dress him up in tutu’s or fairy outfits.  There are now 123 ‘Like Minded’ individuals following my blog, and only ten of them are male.  The same thing holds true in the general writer’s community, roughly 90% female and 10% male.  Do you think that bothers me?  Maybe a little.  But I’m resolute in my goal and whatever that means.  So pile on your pink flowers, dainty aprons, fluffy kittens, or even those tiny baby booties.  I can take it.  You’ll never see me squirm.  Ever! 

Kristi at Random Daily Thoughts and Jade of Chasing Empty Pavements are the culprits this time, and their recognition for me is the infamous Sugar Doll Award.

The fine-print for this one says I have to list ten things about myself.  Kristi cheated and only listed five, but I’m gonna MAN UP and go for the entire ten.  Drum roll please.

1.      I grew up a military brat, moving around every couple of years from station to station.  That sort of upbringing might appeal to some children, getting to see the country and re-inventing themselves with every move, but for me…the introvert…I hated it.  The only bright spot was I was able to spend all four years of high school in one spot (North Carolina).  
2.      I do fifty push-ups/fifty sit-ups every work morning, and go to the health club three days a week.  I’ve never smoked or dipped, and only drink alcohol on special occasions.  I’m not a heath freak or anything; I just have this irrational fear of DEATH.
 3.      Since high school my nickname has been Bone. Before the snide comments commence, its origination hails from an obtuse derivation of my last name (Hammons > Hambone > Bone).  While I was attending LSU I found this large bone in an open field, so I brought it home and placed it on top of my stereo because it seemed to fit.  My son has since inherited both the nickname, and the bone.
4.      While attending LSU, I switched my major five times.  Journalism, Pre-Vet, Forestry, Marketing, and General Business.  I finally decided that every field of special interest had some sort of business angle.  I was right.
5.      For most of my adult life I’ve looked 20 years younger than I actually am.  I was carded entering bars well into my thirties.  Even today jaws drop when I tell people I have two kids in college.
6.      I’ve never read any book more than once, but I’ll watch my favorite movies multiple times.  Go figure.
7.      Since I graduated from college (29 years ago), I’ve only worked for three different companies, and one of those for less than a year.
8.      I seriously hate bullies!  The only altercations I got into growing up were when I put myself between a bully and his prey.  I have been known to pull my car over and intercede if I see a group of boys picking on a kid. But it’s the female bullies that are the hardest to combat because of their weapon of choice…EXCLUSION.
9.      I carry around a digital pocket recorder I received as a gift from Christmas.  I use it to record ideas for my manuscript that pop into my head during the course of the day.  One day it accidentally got turned on and I didn’t realize it until a beeping alerted me its batteries were running low.  Unfortunately, that was also a day I was unusually flatulent.
10.  I have six close friends.  One is my wife, three are my children, one resides in Atlanta, and the other in New Mexico.  When the wife and I are spatting, the world can be a really lonely place.

And here’s a bonus one, just because.

11.  You’ve heard of Type A and B personalities?  I’m a C.  I will go out of my way to avoid a confrontation, or the possibility of one.  Seriously.  I won’t even return things back to the store if there’s something wrong with them, I get my wife to do it.  I do my best to stay out of the limelight and fly under the radar.  But…if you harm, threaten, or even rebuke one of my family or friends, I will see to it that YOU NEVER FORGET MY NAME.

And the bloggers I pick to pass this award on to?  *Grin* Jon Paul, Matt, and Dezmond.  Us guys gotta stick together.


This is a dual purpose post this morning. First and foremost, it’s time to announce the winners of my Mighty 100 celebration giveaway. I really appreciate everybody who took the time to comment and leave their thanks. It was hard to let the random number generator arbitrarily pick the lucky two, but with two clicks of the mouse it was done. Here are winners:

The $25 Amazon Gift card for one of the original 100 is awarded to Gina at A Muse in my Pocket.

The $15 Barnes & Noble gift card for any entrant is awarded to Falen at Falen Formulates Fiction.

If the winners will send their e-mail address to, I’ll get those to you right away.
My second piece of business this morning involves a different type of award. I received another blog award last week (same award from two different people - YAY me), and since I’m already handing out smiles, how about a couple more?

This was bestowed upon me from Catherine at Winged Writer and Krista Lynn Jensen. It’s the Over The Top award, and even though it depicts a shapely woman in a apron, I’ll still proudly display it on my blog.

This award comes with a questionnaire that must be completed with one-word answers only. So…here goes.

Your cell phone: iPhone
Your hair: Disembarking
Your mother: Missed
Your father: Retired
Your favorite food: Pizza
Your dream last night: Obtuse
Your favorite drink: Coffee
Your dream goal: Published
What room are you in: Living
Your hobby: Xbox360
Your fear: Spotlight
Where do you see yourself in 6 years: Mirror (duh!)
Where were you last night: Monroe
Something you aren't: Conversive
Muffins: Blueberry
Wish list item: Agent
Where did you grow up: Military
Last thing you did: Shower
What are you wearing: Guess
Your TV: Plasma
Your pets: Inherited
Friends: Few
Your life: Scripted
Your mood: Buoyant
Missing someone: Mother
Vehicle: New
Something you aren't wearing: Bra
Your favorite store: Bestbuy
Your favorite color: Purple&Gold
When was the last time you laughed: Minutes
Last time you cried: Who_me?
Your best friend: Wife
One place you go over and over: Thesaurus
Facebooking: Occasionally
Favorite place to eat: Out

I will in turn pass this award on to three other bloggers who strike my fancy. They are Kelly at Kelly’s Compositions, Kristi at Random Daily Thoughts and ??? at Chasing Empty Pavements. Start practicing up on your one-word answers!!

That’s enough fun for now. Everybody back to work. :)

Are You At Your Writing Weight?

I’m going to use a boxing (and wrestling) phrase to make a point, so bear with me.

You’ve all heard the term ‘fighting weight’? It references the weight classifications professional boxers compete in. A lightweight is 131-135 pounds. Super lightweight 136 – 140 pounds. Welterweight 141-147 pounds. And so on and so forth. These athletes usually don’t maintain this weight year round, it’s just too difficult. They prefer to train and exercise just prior to the contest to lose the necessary pounds. A boxer will generally try to have the maximum weight possible within the classification he/she is fighting in, as a good boxer will be able to use his weight to his advantage.

Although the phrase originated in the boxing world, it’s really not a practice exclusive to the sport. Most athletes keep up a minimum standard of conditioning during their non-competitive season, allowing their weight to balloon somewhat, then return to their more stringent preparations as the need dictates. The more they allow themselves to slough-off in the off-season, the harder it is to get back to that ‘fighting weight’ they need to be at to compete.

It’s not a stretch to believe that as writers, it’s our minds that should be in tip-top condition to produce material we hope is worthy of publication. There is the physical aspect; increased blood flow to brain cells reduces stress, as well as incidents of depression (writers never experience that…do we). But there is also the cognitive element. That becomes evident in our ability to assimilate information, comprehend relationships, and develop reasonable conclusions and plans. I put to you that it also powers the imagination.

I don’t know about you, but I’m just as guilty of sloughing off with my brain as I am with my body. I’ll have periods where I’d rather watch hours of mindless television, or play robotic video games, then read a good book. Its laziness…pure laziness…and I know it. But I don’t really care because…you see…it’s the off-season.

It’s different when I’m starting a new book. Time to get back into my writing weight. Do you do that? Are you at your writing weight now? Is your mind in tip-top condition?

Am I trying to tell you that you need to jump on a treadmill? A little exercise can never be a bad thing, but that’s not the only way to keep our minds fit. Read. Play chess. Tackle a crossword puzzle. Do something that stimulates your mind and massages that frontal lobe. How do you find the time, you ask? If you’re serious about writing, like the boxer is about fighting, you’ll find time.

Your WIP will be better off because of it.


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