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Be my DJ?

One of my blogging buddies, Kristi at Random Daily Thoughts, is always posting songs on her blog that inspire and bring a smile to her face.  Sometimes I can recognize the musicians, but often times I don’t and I end up jotting down their names.  Last week, Julie at Silver Lining posted a link to a song I had never heard before by One Republic.  I loved it and immediately darted over to iTunes to add it to my collection (along with some other Republic songs).  Later that same week Emily at Stepping Into Fantasy posted a different song by the Newsboys.  Once again, I had never heard the song before, but I thought it was awesome so off I went to iTunes again.   

Seeing a trend here?

I love my music and listen to it constantly (I'm listening to the new Kenny Chesney CD right now).  I spend a lot of time trolling the music sites looking for an artist or group I haven’t been exposed to yet that will become my next great download.  I am forever in search for that diamond in the rough, music by aspiring musicians struggling to break into the big time.  Doesn't that type of scenario seem familiar to anyone?

After the great finds I was alerted to by Kristi, Julie and Emily, I figured why not put the power of this blogosphere to work. So, here's where you can help.  Do you have a song (or songs) you’d like to recommend?  I’m not after TOP 40 type stuff, but rather something off the beaten path that hasn't hit the mainstream yet, but totally belongs there.  Rock, Country, Alternative, Instrumental, I’m open to anything (except Rap!).    

As a way of illustrating what I'm after, here's an example of a song I never hear on the radio but I absolutely LOVE.  It's by DAMON DOTSON and its called Glad to be Alive.  The quality of the video leaves something to be desired, but the music shines through.

Let's see what your gems are!

I Now Have A Blogging Buddy in Every State!!

I did it…or shall I say we did it!  I now have a ‘Like Minded’ follower from every state in the US.  Want proof?  Here they all are.

Alabama                   Courtney (Southern Princess) & LTM                                                          
Alaska                      Paul G & Stephanie Thornton                                               
Arizona                    Tina L                                                
Arkansas                  Tamara                                               
California                 Donna, James Garcia, Tahereh, Julie & Kat 
Colorado                  Patricia                                                          
Connecticut              Green Monkey                                                           
Delaware                  T.J. Carson                                                     
Florida                     Wendy, Liz (Cleverly Inked), Matt, & Terri             
Georgia                    Callie, Nicole, Summer, Harley, MelissaErica, OliviaMatthew
Idaho                       Amy                                                   
Illinois                      J. Leigh                                                          
Indiana                     Justine, Bethany Mattingly                                       
Iowa                        Jade, Sharon & Vicki Rocho                         
Kansas                     Portia, Renae & Aspiring_X                                              
Kentucky                 Karen Lange & Jules                                                 
Louisiana                 Dawn                                                  
Maine                      Heather                                                          
Maryland                 Jenn                                                    
Massachusetts          Amandasaurus &Theresa Milstein                                      
Michigan                  Propinquity & j.m. neeb                                            
Minnesota                Sarah (Falen) & Hannah (Palindrome)                                             Mississippi               Katie
Missouri                  Susan                                                 
Montana                  Shannon, Leah & Lilah                                 
Nebraska                 Lydia                                                  
Nevada                    Eva                                                     
New Hampshire        Disgruntled Bear                                                       
New Jersey               Alissa & Lola                                    
New Mexico             Karen Walker                                                
New York                Christopher, Jaleh & Rebecca T                               
North Carolina          L.Diane W, Anne, Tara, Charity, Kristi & Michelle
North Dakota            Roxane Salonen                                                         
Ohio                         Stacy                                                  
Oklahoma                 Julie                                                   
Oregon                     Valerie                                                           
Pennsylvania             Amy, Gina, Laura & Cara                 
Rhode Island             Trish                                                  
South Carolina           Mary Brebner                                                
South Dakota             Yaya                                                   
Tennessee                  Myra                                                  
Texas                         Kimberly, Christi, Jen, Sandy Shin & Kristin                                
Utah                           Tiana, Elana & Elizabeth M             
Vermont                     Julie                                                   
Virginia                      Elena & Janet Johnson                                              
Washington                Dr. Heckle                                                     
Wisconsin                  Heidi & Ann                                      
Wyoming                   Jessica & Summer Ross                                            
West Virginia             Andrea Franco-Cook             

I know I’m a writer, but I’m at a loss to find the words to properly express the gratitude to each of the names above.  And not only those, but every one of you who took time out of your busy schedules to assist me with my quest.  A special thank you to Elana Johnson, for pointing me toward that elusive 50th state.  I owe each of you a heart hug (that’s where you squeeze so tight you can feel the beating of each other’s heart) and I expect to be held to that promise!  So far, I’ve handed out two. *waves to Nicole & Summer*

Don’t see your name on the list, that’s because you never left me a comment letting me know where you were from.  Don’t worry, that’s easily fixed if you wish to be included.  Just leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to add you to my worksheet.  A tip of the hat to Georgia and North Carolina for being the two states with the most ‘Like Minded’.  :)

I feel like I’ve actually achieved something significant.  What started as an off the cuff pipe-dream became a reality, and I almost gave up on it.  I wonder what other dreams I can make come true? Hmmmmmmm?? Maybe I should send that query letter after all.

This one is not quite finished yet though.  I have 23 countries out of 195 represented, so I still have a long way to go there.  But I’m not giving up.  In time, I’ll have them all too!

Again, a heartfelt Thank You!

The Great Blogging Experiment - Writing Compelling Characters

Let me start off by apologizing for being late.  I was in Indiana all week and didn't have a chance to write this post and schedule it before I left.  All I had with me was my iPhone, and although I'm dedicated, I'm not nuts enough to try and write a post (especially this post) on my phone.  So...better late than never...but I still feel bad for not showing up on time.

This blogfest is the brainchild of Elana Johnson, Jen Daiker, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.  The list of the other participants can be found here.

Here's my take on what goes into developing compelling characters.  Lets start with a definition.

1.tending to compel; overpowering: compelling reasons.
2.having a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute admiration, attention, or respect: a man of compelling integrity; a compelling drama.

I tend to focus on the words irresistible effect in that definition. When I sit down to map out (remember, I'm an outliner) what sort of characters will inhabit my fantasy world, I utilize two trains of thought.  The first, I give them motivations that the reader can sympathize with.  A character your reader can identify with will draw them into your story and heighten their connection.  My other approach involves creating extreme characters with outlandish traits or unusual social skills.  Taking these type of characters and balancing the WEIRD with the elements that make them relatable can sometimes be a challenge, but it pays off if you work at it.

There is another way to make your character compelling, but I sort of consider it cheating.  Its when a plot device sets up an objective that is so compelling, that the character charged with achieving it becomes just as interesting.  For example, a young girl is being held for ransom in a deserted farmhouse.  If the ransom isn't paid before midnight a bomb will go off in the farmhouse.  Our MC is charged with locating the girl before midnight.  The MC therefore becomes compelling because the reader is rooting for him to save the girl, not because his/her own internal motivations.

That's just a couple of idea's off the top of my head.  Nothing groundbreaking, but still tried and true.  Good luck with your own characters!

And Then There Was One….


The one elusive state beyond my reach. I now have ‘Like Minded’ followers representing each and every state in the US…except this one. Surely there is a blogger from this southern state who’d be interested in linking with me (okay…that sounded awkward). I recently drove through Mississippi (twice) and had to resist the temptation to stand at one of its busiest intersections with a sign that read: WILL WORK FOR BLOG FOLLOWING!

I’ve blogged, tweeted, and facebooked, but to no avail. Any help ya’ll could offer would be very much appreciated!!!!

Of course I still have 173 countries to consider my Blogging Buddies around the World quest complete, but this would be a major step in that direction.

Top Ten Television Shows Blogfest

It was easy deciding to participate in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s TV show Blogfest because I’ve always been an avid television viewer.  What wasn’t easy was narrowing the list down to just ten because there are so many others deserving to be recognized.  (Why do I suddenly feel like I’m giving away a blog award?)

Anyway, after much angst and internal debate, here’s the ten that made the top of my list.  They are listed here in completely random order, and yes, I cheated with the Star Treks.  Sue me!!

  1. Lost
  2. NCIS
  3. Law & Order (original)
  4. Star Trek (Original, TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager)
  5. Friends
  6. ER
  7. Magnum PI
  8. Cheers
  9. The West Wing
  10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

There was one other show that I had in my list until the very last cut, but ultimately I removed it because technically it didn’t complete one full season.  Those of you who’ve seen the show will understand just how much of a colossal mistake FOX made when they cancelled this show!  Anyway, even though it didn’t make my top ten, I couldn’t in good conscious upload a post about excellent TV without mentioning it.

Bonus entry.
  1. Firefly
There’s one common element in all of these shows that stands out and I hope makes you realize what drew me to them.  Good writing.

Research ROI?

I read an interesting post last week by K.M. Weiland on her Wordplay blog that touched upon a subject I struggle with. Her article, Research: When in Doubt, Make It Up discusses the writer’s responsibility to accurately portray the worlds in their stories and how sometimes it’s necessary to fake what you don’t know. Her take on the topic was fascinating, but it left me with a question that has haunted me from the very first day I sat down to write a book.

How much time, effort, and expense can an unpublished writer afford to devote toward researching details in their novel? Nowadays there is a ton of technical data a keystroke away on-line thanks to Google and Wikipedia, and the local libraries are still a wealthy source of information, but for me the one aspect of writing that is hard to pull out of a book or webpage, is setting. Nothing quite replaces describing a location where you have personally stood. The subtle way the lighting influences your vision, the innocuous sounds and smells that surround you, these are finer points you pick up by actually being in that place. But is it worth it to travel there just to add a touch of realism to your story?

My first novel had settings in Panama City Florida, Atlanta Georgia, Greenville South Carolina, and another small town in SC. I used to live in Atlanta, so I felt I had that covered, but I had never been to the cities in South Carolina and I had only been to Panama City a couple times, many many years ago. What was I to do? I had two choices. Book a costly trip to the cities in question, or do what K.M Weiland suggested…make it up.

If I was already a published author working on my second or third novel, I would have booked the trip. But the word ‘aspiring’ still precedes my label and it’s hard to justify spending money on a dream, no matter how firmly you believe in it. In the back of your mind a piece of you is whispering, “It’s like the old business axiom…you have to spend money to make money.” It’s tempting to believe, but the hard truth is that no matter how much money you spend on research, if your query letter sucks it won’t matter how realistic your story sounds.

Something else the business world teaches us is that there has to be a solid ROI (Return on Investment) before anybody will sink resources into a project. But I don’t think that way, none of us do, we’re writers after all. How much time and effort have we put into our stories already with only a glimmer of hope for publication? Why should research be any different?

What’s your take? How important is research, especially when there is a monetary cost associated?

Answers – Round Two

Even though I only received a luke warm response to my first set of answers, I've decided to go ahead and post the next ten because I don't have my next topic ready quite yet.  All of the remaining ones not answered here on my blog will be responded to via personal e-mail.  Enjoy.

1. Nicole asks - How much of yourself goes into your main characters? Probably too much! One of the MC’s in both my books is named Lee (my middle name) and there’s a lot of me in him. I enjoy writing stories involving ordinary people being put into extraordinary situations, and I’m about as ordinary as they come. Of course Lee’s blessed with a quicker wit and definitely more heroic, this is fiction after all. But I’d like to believe that under similar circumstances, I would act the same. I can always edit out the urine stains later.

4. LTM asks - Which super power and why? Invisible or flying? Definitely flying! I already spend enough time being invisible.

8. Emily asks - If you were doomed to only ever eat one kind of donut again, what kind would it be? A Krispy Kreme, regular glazed donut, never gets old! They melt in your mouth!

9. Sarah (Falen) asks - If you knew you were going to die...what would you eat as your last meal and why? The sky's the limit. Chicken puffs. It’s a meal my wife makes for me on special occasions. My mouth is watering just thinking about those luscious pockets of ground poultry covered in Alfredo sauce, but that’s not why I’d request them. If this was going to be my final meal, then I’d want something lovingly prepared and held meaning only to me.

12. Aspiring_x asks - If you HAD to eat/drink one which would it be: toe jams or the contents of the mayo jar (you know which one)? Toe jams…with a side of Cole slaw! 

17. Stephanie asks - What celebs were your teen crushes!! Well…I had the mandatory Farah Fawcett and Cheryl Tieg posters up on my walls. A couple others that were a tad off the beaten path…Chris Evert and Olivia Newton-John.

20. Amparo asks - What's the most awesome piece of writing advice that's rocked your world? :) Something written with a dull pencil is a struggle to read. Keep your pencil sharp!

23. Elle & Kristin asks - What kind of books do you write? Why mysteries? I combined two questions into one here so I could answer both with a single response. So, as you can tell by one of the questions, my novels are classified as mystery/suspense, but I experiment with other genres through my short stories. Why mysteries? I had to ponder that one for a while. I guess my answer is that I really enjoy leading my readers through a brain twister, sprinkling in just as many red herrings as clues along the way, challenging them to figure out the end before I decide to reveal it. But the real kicker is to build the puzzle while at the same time inducing the m to become emotionally attached to my MC’s, thus merging my efforts seamlessly.

26. Jemi asks - Star Wars or Star Trek? I love both, but I’m a definite lean towards Star Trek. I’ve watched the series since its first run on TV (another reminder of how old I am), through all its iterations (Generations, Deep Space Nine, Voyager), and all the movies (The Wrath of Kahn was my favorite until this latest JJ Abrams version). The enjoyment quotient for Star Trek just plain exceeds Star Wars.

31. Kelly asks - Bruce Springsteen decides to retire. He will give a single farewell concert in a venue that seats one hundred people. Tickets aren't to be purchased, but earned through the most creative expression of fan appreciation. How will you convince the Boss to let you past the velvet rope? Here’s the thing, I wouldn’t want to attend. Why? Bruce is best appreciated in a crowded stadium or concert hall jammed with his adoring fans, not an intimate setting of a 100 people. The energy given off by a large crowd like that just about equals what takes place on that stage, and it’s in that atmosphere Bruce’s last concert should take place.

Time For Some Answers

The blogosphere has spoken (well…at least a few of you did), and I have listened. Here are my answers to your ten questions that received the most votes. If this generates enough interest, maybe I’ll do another one with the next ten. Enjoy.

2. Nicole asks - Have you based a character on your wife, and if so, does she know it? Seeing as this question garnered the most votes, I’m sensing a devious plan to cause me some discomfort here. Well, put away your paparazzi camera’s because that’s not going to happen. My answer….yes & no. There is a female character in both my books named Andi, but for the majority of the first book the reader only sees Andi as a college sophomore. That part of the character was not based upon my wife. In the second book, Andi is now an adult and her mannerisms and personality are most definitely borrowed from my wife. Does my better-half know? We’ve actually never discussed it, but I hope she can see herself in Andi. If not, I must have done a pretty lousy job.

6. Tiana asks - How do you really feel about blogging? Do you love every minute of it, do you feel like it's a popularity contest? Do you think it takes up a lot of time? Do you enjoy meeting new people? Ohhhh…good question! First the easy answer…I LOVE BLOGGING! Primarily because it provides me the chance to express myself in ways beyond what my novels and short stories offer. But then there’s the warm and caring community itself, along with the wealth of knowledge and information being freely exchanged. Blogging has far exceeded my wildest expectations. Not only have I found amazing critique partners through my blog; I’ve also made true-life friends who I’ve dubbed Knights! (some of you will understand what that means).

Has it become a popularity contest? To some degree…sure…but isn't that okay if your popularity is based on content grounded in subjects people can relate to and continue to be drawn back for. Isn’t that what we as writers strive for…our words being read by as many souls as possible and having each of them either nodding their head or smiling as they do. Unfortunately, pulling that off consistently can turn into a grinding, time-sucking, process. Remember, being a good blogger also means being a good blog reader.  But one thing blogging is NOT, is a contest. If that were true then why would we spend so much time pointing our followers to other blogs we've fallen in love with?

I don’t get my posts right very often, but when I do I’m lifted into the rafters by the supportive comments it generates. I’m always in search of that Holy Grail of blog posts…the one that draws the lurkers out of their comfort zone and compels them to leave a note…because to do anything else just doesn’t seem right. :)

7. Alex asks - Why the obsession to find bloggers in every state and country? I don’t consider this an obsession. An obsession is the amount of time I spent getting the answer to the previous question just right. This is just a dream. It’s something I actually started back during the Myspace days. I once mentioned how cool it would be to have a myspace friend in every state, and that stuck with me. When my blog hit 200 ‘like-minded’, I really wanted to broaden my follower-base, not just grow it, so I resurrected my idea about representatives in every state. And since blogging is truly an international activity, I expanded my quest to include all countries as well.

10. Francine asks - Imagine Planet Earth is approaching meltdown and your family has been selected to take flight on a space escape plan. Bearing in mind you can only take one backpack each and one item for a cargo hold, what do you hold most dear to your heart and would have to take with you? The answer will say more about you than you'll ever know! This is an area where the logical side of my brain tends to takes over. Since my family is going with me, the things that are most dear to me are already with me. I know my wife will fill her bag with pictures and memento’s designed to anchor us to our past, but I will be concerned with the journey ahead. What I will fill my bag with is everything and anything that will help secure our uncertain future. That could be currency, a gun, or even a cross, but whatever it is I’ll use without hesitation to take care of my family. And in the cargo hold? A doublewide trailer filled with all my friends who weren’t lucky enough to be selected. Where I go…they go.

13. Kelly asks - What character (in any medium) do you wish you could be like? Ian Flemings James Bond. He was (is) wildly popular in two mediums, envied by men and adored by ladies everywhere and …let’s face it…those Bond women!

15. Elena asks - What's the strangest (yet most plausible) character name you can come up with? I don’t spend too much time on names for my characters, so as a result they’re all pretty blasé. I guess the strangest I’ve ever used would be Abner, for a little old man in one of my short stories.

19. Stephanie asks - Favorite Movie Quote? It’s too hard to narrow it down to just one, so here’s several of my favorites

“I aim to misbehave” – Mal Reynolds in ‘Serenity’.

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." - Bilbo Baggins in ‘Lord of the Rings’

“I guess sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.” - Forest Gump in ‘Forest Gump’.

“I'm thirty years older than you are. I had my back broke once, and my hip twice. And on my worst day I could beat the hell out of you.” - Wil Anderson in ‘The Cowboys’

“Whoa” - Neo Anderson in ‘The Matrix’

“I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?" – Chris Knight in ‘Real Genius’.

35. Erica asks - Which Disney Princess are you most like? I laughed out loud when I read this question, then I stopped laughing when I saw how many of you voted for it. Hmmmmm…Jasmine, Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Tiana, and Belle. So many choices. Personality-wise I feel I’m similar to Mulan…kind, bold, self-reliant, and strong hearted…but I probably resemble Ariel from the Little Mermaid more. Especially the green tail.

36. Erica asks - Are you going to follow through on your "hooker" photo? Absolutely! Count on it!

37. Kristi asks - Most embarassing thing that's ever happened to you??? It’s funny, I feel that I live my life in one constant state of embarrassment. Now here you are forcing me to re-live a slice of it. The real answer to this question should be the moment this post hits the internet and all of you get to revel in my humiliation. But I’ve stalled long enough. Never let it be said I don’t bow to the will of the blogosphere!

My parents set me up on a date once with a longtime family friend during a summer break from LSU. I’d known this girl since we were little kids and I thought of her more as a sister. My parents knew (from her parents) that she wanted us to be more than friends. Anyway, the date was set, much to my chagrin. I would choose the place to eat and she would select the movie afterward.

I took her to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner. It was very popular and busy, which meant the romance quotient was low (no quiet candle lit dinners). It wasn’t until afterwards that I learned that her movie pick was at a drive-in theater. My apprehension began to grow, twisting knots in my stomach an eagle scout would be proud of.

The movie on tap that night? The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Gulp.

We had arrived a little early, so we were able to pull my brother’s El Camino into an open slot on the front row. The borrowing of my brother’s car was another strategic move on my part. I wasn’t about to take my Chevy van, with all the possibilities the carpeted rear section offered.

The drive-in was older than I was and the deterioration was evident everywhere. The front of the complex, underneath the mammoth white screen where a recreational park had once been, was now overgrown with weeds and shrubs. An obscure breed of grey dog was roaming near the corner of the fence, sniffing for food. At least I thought so until I saw him raise his leg to relieve himself. A smaller dog, brown I think, was weaving in and out between the cars looking for a handout. All of the posts that housed the audio boxes were badly in need of a paint job. The screen itself was in surprisingly good shape, with only a slight tear in the upper left hand corner.

Not long after we had settled in, other cars pulled into the slots on either side of us. On our left was an older middle age couple dressed in matching sweaters and to the right a couple of high school kids also on a date. I noticed all this because I was trying to focus my attention everywhere but inside my own car.

I quickly realized that I had made a tactical error in selecting my brother’s car. Even though the van might have been a disastrous choice, it did have bucket seats up front. My brother’s El Camino had just a single bench seat. No sooner had I turned off the ignition, the girl slid over to my side of the car as if she had a magnet in her pocket and I was made of metal.

Now my anxiety level was really peaking. I truly had no desire to “swap spit” or any other bodily fluids with her, but I also didn’t know how to say no without hurting her feelings. My mind was churning furiously, trying to think of anything that might ruin the mood for her, and provide a reprieve for me. The huge screen in front of us lit up, started to flicker, and THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS leapt to life.

We were about a third of the way through the movie when I felt her looking at me. I continued to stare straight ahead, trying to ignore her gaze, pretending to be absorbed in the movie. When she didn’t relent, I gave in and turned to look at her, bracing myself for the inevitable lunge and her tongue being shoved down my throat. As I studied her, sitting there smiling at me, I noticed movement outside the car behind her. I craned my head to the side to look out the passenger window. Suddenly I knew what was happening.

The Chevy Impala parked next to us, the one with the couple wearing matching sweaters, was rocking from side to side as if some weird earthquake had its epicenter directly underneath it. The man and woman were nowhere to be seen and the windows were heavily steamed. The car was now shifting so violently that the squeaking springs were almost drowning out screams from the movie. The girl followed my stare, turning her head to look out of the passenger window, and when she did I shifted my attention 180 degrees and looked out of my window to the car with the high school kids. Sure enough, fogged windows hid more carnal activity.

Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. I looked straight ahead as I pondered my next move. That’s when I saw it. The sight of all sights. The piece de resistance. Directly in front of the El Camino, approximately 20 feet from the hood of the car, back lit by Kevin McCarthy destroying an alien pod with an axe, was the grey dog mounted on top of the brown one, humping for all he was worth.

At that precise moment I felt a hand touch my thigh, and I jumped. My right arm jerked instinctively upward, driving my elbow straight into my date’s nose. She didn’t make a noise, but I knew that it had to hurt. I turned on the overhead lights to see blood pouring from her nose. She searched unsuccessfully for something to stave the flow. I knew my brother kept old t-shirts behind the seat for rags, so I reached back and grabbed one, handing it to her. When the bleeding didn’t seem to be slowing, I pulled out of our slot and headed home.

My family likes to bring up that night often, but the two of us have never talked about it again.

Embarrassing enough for you? You know what the really funny part is? Remember the T-shirt I gave her for her bloody nose? The day after our disastrous date, I was putting it in the laundry when I examined it closer. It was a Rolling Stones shirt depicting the cover of one of their classic albums.

Anybody remember what the cover of Sticky Fingers looks like?

Questions – Your Turn to Vote

Wow!! There are some curious folk out there! And you were just as creative with your questions as you are with your writing…but why should I be surprised.

I have to say that even my wife is looking forward to the next post where I start to answer these questions. You see, in the real world outside of this blog I don’t talk much (just ask Summer & Nicole), and when I do, I definitely don’t talk much about myself. So, my wife will be just as interested in the answers to some of these questions as everyone else. :)

First off, let me just say that every question asked will be answered in one way or the other. If it doesn’t make a blog post, then I’ll email the answer directly to the questioner, so no query will have been put forth in vain. However, I do need your help in determining which questions should be answered first. Read the list below (in completely random order) and leave me a comment picking the top five your most curious about (you can just make note of the question numbers). I will tally up the results and the top ten vote getters will be answered in my next post.

Go ahead…pick my poison.

1. How much of yourself goes into your main characters?
2. Have you based a character on your wife, and if so, does she know it?
3. Plain or peanut?
4. Which super power and why? Invisible or flying?
5. Why are a team from LA and a team from NC meeting up in GA?
6. How do you really feel about blogging? Do you love every minute of it, do you feel like it's a popularity contest? Do you think it takes up a lot of time? Do you enjoy meeting new people?
7. Why the obsession to find bloggers in every state and country?
8. If you were doomed to only ever eat one kind of donut again, what kind would it be?
9. If you knew you were going to die...what would you eat as your last meal and why? The sky's the limit.
10. Imagine Planet Earth is approaching meltdown and your family has been selected to take flight on a space escape plan. Bearing in mind you can only take one backpack each and one item for a cargo hold, what do you hold most dear to your heart and would have to take with you? The answer will say more about you than you'll ever know!
11. Why on earth would you want to drive in Atlanta? Yes, you're devoted fan, and I'm sure hordes of UNC fans will be streaming from NC this weekend on the same quest. But I've been to Atlanta. Why????
12. If you HAD to eat/drink one which would it be: toe jams or the contents of the mayo jar (you know which one)?
13. What character (in any medium) do you wish you could be like?
14. If a vampire king found you and said you're going to be his next queen...or else. Would you go willingly or start whittling the stakes now?
15. What's the strangest (yet most plausible) character name you can come up with?
16. When are you going to mow the lawn?
17. What celebs were your teen crushes!!
18. Favorite bands/musicians?
19. Favorite Movie Quote?
20. What's the most awesome piece of writing advice that's rocked your world? :)
21. What is your favorite non-technical gadget?
22. So if you are not going to mow your grass, will you mow mine? :D
23. What kind of books do you write? Why mysteries?
24. Where are you at in the publishing process?
25. Do you ever worry that you'll run out of good mysterious storylines?
26. Star Wars or Star Trek?
27. Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot?
28. Truck or car?
29. Who's on your Top Five list? (You know, like on that old episode of Friends, where they all list five celebrities they'd like to "be with" and the wife/girlfriend can't get mad.)
30. What's on your top 5 bucket list?
31. Bruce Springsteen decides to retire. He will give a single farewell concert in a venue that seats one hundred people. Tickets aren't to be purchased, but earned through the most creative expression of fan appreciation. How will you convince the Boss to let you past the velvet rope?
32. Okay, so, the world's about to be destroyed, and you have to seek asylum in outer space and can only bring one item with you. What do you bring?
33. The fire alarm goes off in your house and you grab _____ before you get out (assuming your family is safely outside already).
34. Your first childhood memory?
35. Which Disney Princess are you most like?
36. Are you going to follow through on your "hooker" photo?
37. Most embarassing thing that's ever happened to you???
38. So you have (or want) bloggers in almost every state and many countries...but how many of those states/countries have YOU visited?
39. Did you ever eat at McDonald's on Race Street in 1985-86?
40. Coke or Pepsi?
41. Rice or potato salad?
42. What is your favorite food? Hope it's Cajun!
43. Have you been to Ireland or Northern Wisconsin?

So close…and yet…so far

Don’t worry, my LSU Tiger football team did win their season opener against North Carolina on Saturday, but it was an agonizing heart stopper for sure.  That’s not what I’m lamenting about with my blog title.

If you follow Nicole or Summers blogs (and if you don’t…shame on you), then you’ve probably already read about our rendezvous this past weekend.  My wife and I’ve been planning the trip to Atlanta to watch the football game for almost a year, but it was only recently that I suggested meeting up with my Georgian blogging friends.  Melissa wanted to come also, but for some reason she finds it necessary to live in the southern part of the state and couldn’t make it. Everybody synched schedules and plotted our collision course for a nifty restaurant just outside the Mall of Georgia!

To say I was a little bit nervous would be like saying the Titanic fell just a couple miles short of its destination.  What had I done? Me, the introvert, the one who usually avoids social gatherings like Charlie Browns Pig Pen avoids soap, planning something where I would actually have to think on the fly and be without my comforting keyboard buffer?  I tell myself this is me stretching my comfort zone, because if I ever were to be published these type of things could become commonplace.  Suck it up, I say, full speed ahead and leave the parachute on the ground! *GULP*

So here’s the thing.  I actually like these people.  A LOT!  And I’m not just talking about Nicole and Summer (I already knew I was going to like them).  Their hubby’s were great people also.  I laughed hard at Christian’s “I don’t care” remark/attitude, and Evan’s stories about how everything can be linked back to the Cherokee language. Our 3+ hours together flew by!  It was tremendous fun and I wanted more.

The morale of this story?  Be careful what you ask for!  I got my wish…I met two of by blogging BFF’s…but now I have to resolve myself to the fact that I’ll only be able to steal a couple of hours in person with them whenever the planets align.  I know we have our blogs, facebook, twitter, and e-mail to keep in touch, we are writers after-all, but nothing beats the interactivity of face-to-face conversations.

You two are not only great writers and awesome bloggers…you’re “good people” as well!

Q & A Time

In five hours I'm hopping in a car and driving 8.5 hours to Atlanta to watch some football (GEAUX TIGERS!) and visit with friends for the long weekend, so I haven't really had time to come up with any deep meaningful posts to fill the void while I'm gone.  I did have an idea though.

I've really enjoyed posts from my fellow bloggers where they solicited questions from their followers and then turn around and answered them on their blog.  So, why not, I thought to myself.  Then myself answered by pointing out that this could be an EPIC fail if I only get a single question...from my wife...wondering when I was going to get around to mowing the grass.  Again myself pointed out that I should quit being a wimp and stop basing decisions on whether or not the idea will be well received or not.

Myself won out, so here's how this is going to work (always got to have a twist).  Post your questions for me in the comments.  You can ask as many as you want and don't be shy in coming up with the questions either...I can take it.  Go ahead...I dare you to try and embarrass me! :P  In a couple days I'll post all of the questions and have everybody pick their top five. Once I tabulate those votes, the five with the most will be answered first.'s up to you now.  Let's see what you got for me?


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