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One of my CP’s -- the sneaky Crystal Collier -- sucked me into the Seven Deadly Sins Tag and because I had never seen this particular tag before…and in piqued my interest…I’ve decided to participate.
So here it is, the SEVEN DEADLY SINS of the LITERARY WORLD.

The questions and answers:

Greed – What is your most inexpensive book? The one I never buy! Ha!! I usually have a pretty eclectic taste when it comes to my literary choices, but I’m also not one to follow fads or trends.  I’ll never buy a book just because everybody and their brother seem to be reading it.  I guess you can say I’m greedy with both my time and my money.

Wrath – Who’s the author with whom you have a love/hate relationship? Hands down…Stephen King.  The man has written some truly amazing books that I absolutely loved (Salems Lot, The Dead Zone, The Stand, IT, On Writing), but along the way there have been some real dogs as well (Pet Semetary, Tommyknockers, Needful Things, The Dark Half).  It’s curious how his most successful film adaptations have come from his short stories and not his novels.
Second place would go to Thomas Harris – who let a secondary character in one of his earlier books hijack his career and in my opinion, ruin it.  That character was Hannibal Lecter.

Gluttony – What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame? That’s funny.  Just two blog posts ago I revealed the fact that there’s only one book that I’ve read more than once (other than my own and those of my CP’s), and it happens to be the first book I read…BAMBI. 

Sloth – Which books have you neglected reading due to laziness? It’s not so much laziness as a need to prioritize. There are so many books in my TBR stack and so little time to read (especially when you’re trying to write). The ones I feel most guilty about not getting to yet are the ones written by authors I’ve met right here in the blogosphere.  Until I've actually read the book, buying it feels like an empty gesture -- and that's not what I want.

Pride – What books do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader? I’m not an intellectual reader (most literary novels bore me) and I frankly never feel the need to sound like one.  I prefer to talk about the authors who shaped my own writing Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Ross MacDonald, and most recently...Jonathan Maberry, Harlen Coben and Jo Nesbo. I don't think any of those would classify me as an intellectual reader. However, I will say that one book I read in my youth that probably could be be placed in that category -- and I mention it only because it had a big impact on me -- was ALL THE KINGS MEN by Robert Penn Warren.

Lust – What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character? We’re not talking about picture books, right? J I guess my perfect male character would be a cross between Lee Childs strong…silent…drifter in ‘Jack Reacher’ and the easy-going smart-alec that is more serious than he lets on in Dean Koontz’s ‘Odd Thomas’. What they have in common is they both would cross a busy street to help a damsel in distress. As far as a female character, she is an equal with any of the male characters that surrounds her, she uses her looks as a tool just like her intellect, and like most of us, she has a soft spot that she guards like Fort Knox.

Envy – What book would you like to receive most as a gift? The most valued books in my collection are the ones that have been signed by the author. I love that personal connection.  So I guess the book I'd like most like to receive as a gift is one that's signed.

Phew...that wasn't so hard. There is no limit to the people you can tag for THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS TAG. So, I’ve decided to tag…

(I know that everybody is super-busy, so if you decide not to play along there will be no ill-feelings.)


I've been coordinating the BLOG BLITZ since March 2013 and during that span of time we have BLITZED approximately 83 targets and seen the team expand to 486 members. I feel that together we have brought an immeasurable amount of positive energy to the blogosphere and I am extremely proud of our accomplishments. However, it's not been without its detractors.  Below is a sample of an email I received a couple months ago about the BLITZ.

I joined Blog Blitz on the off-chance that I'd get more exposure for my blog. I don't know how your random selection thing works but when there were 150-some blogs in rotation (when I joined) I knew that in the worst case scenario, my blog would come up "at random" sometime within 3 years (at the rate of 1 Blitz per week).

I'm dropping out because A) we don't Blitz every week so my blog will never receive exposure, and B) no one is going to nominate my blog because... no one reads it.

If I realized it was going to be an on-again, off-again popularity contest, I never would have signed up. If I can figure out how, I'll remove my blog from the line-up. I'm going to remove the "Blog Blitz button" from my site.

I occasionally receive other requests to be dropped from the BLITZ TEAM, but usually those members no longer have the time to spare to participate.  The average BLITZ generates 90-120 comments, which is only 18-25% of the TEAM, and that concerns me.  I recently had a friend audit the entire BLITZ TEAM list and we found almost 150 dead links.

The BLITZ was never intended as a way for members to draw traffic to their site, but rather a tool for focusing blogosphere energy for fun...and as it turns out...when its desperately needed. The person who wrote the above email must not have understood that. All you have to do is re-read my original POST introducing the BLITZ if you want to really understand my motives. This got me thinking about our low participation rate and why people added their name to the linky list in the first place. we are re-booting the Blog Blitz Team with a new Linky List and asking everyone who believes in the true purpose of the BLITZ to re-dedicate themselves by signing up again. The rules will remain the same.  From time to time I will select a blog via a random selection or recommendation (must be another Blitz Team member) and a date.  I will email the team members that information and on that date we all will go out of our way to visit that blog and leave an encouraging comment on their most recent post

My only restriction about who joins the Blog Blitz Team is that your blog cannot be primarily for commercial gain.

Please help me spread the word (again) and gets as many bloggers as we can to join the team.  Once your signed up, display the banner above proudly on your own blog. Blog about the Blitz.  Tweet about the Blitz.  Facebook the Blitz.  Then sit back and wonder...

The One Lovely Blog Award

A week or so ago I was honored by with the above blog award.  I’ve kind of shied away from blog awards lately, but seeing as this was bestowed upon me by Julie Dao, one of my closest blogging friends (and just plain friend), I’m making an exception to my self-imposed boycott and posting this.  Here’s how it’s supposed to work -

1.      Share 7 Lovely Facts about myself
2.     Link to 15 blogs (or as many as possible) that I enjoy reading
3.     Nominate the authors of those 15 blogs to participate and do the same, linking back to the original Lovely blog. (That would be this page.)

Now, even when I was doing awards I was notorious for not following the rules, and this time will be no different.  I’ll drop my pants and assume the position – sharing seven painful facts about myself that no doubt will inspire some sort of ridicule (and even worse – pity), but I’ll not be passing along the award (even though there are a long list of lovely blogs out there). I do that because I don’t want to saddle someone with an obligation that could spawn guilty feelings (for not having the time to follow through) because of my nomination.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned some of these before on my blog, but there are only so many facts about an individual truly worthy of putting in print. :)

1.    I have no sense of smell.  Never have.  Growing up as a young kid I first thought I couldn’t smell anything because I was doing it wrong, so I went along with what everybody else commenting on (“Smell that…mom’s making Lasagna.” “Yeah…my favorite.”).  My pretending not to be olfactory challenged ended when I was a college freshman and I went on a blind date with a girl that ended badly. The two of us were driving in my car from the restaurant to the movie theater when I did what any normal “smelling” American boy would do – I complimented her on her perfume, even though I had no idea what it smelled like.  She suddenly turned very serious and asked to be immediately taken home.  I didn’t find out what happened until the next day, from my friend whose girlfriend set us up. Apparently the food at the Mexican CafĂ© where we ate had given her a bad case of gas and just before I complimented my date on her “perfume”, she had just napalmed the inside of the car.

2.    I became a certified Scuba Diver when I was 17. My dad was a military officer and had connections on the base we were stationed at (Cherry Point, NC), so my brother and I went through a hard core class with a bunch of Marines.  In order to graduate you had to hold all of your gear (mask, fins, tank, weight belt, etc.) in your arms and jump off a 10 foot diving board, sink to the bottom of the pool, put on all of your gear before surfacing.  I passed.  There were a couple of Marines who didn’t.  I only went Scuba Diving one other time after obtained my license.

3.    In high school, our football coach required the team to do track in the off-season, so I ran the 2-mile run and did high jump.  One of my best friends ran the 2-mile also and he lapped me regularly.  I did manage to clear 5’6” in the high jump though and came in 3rd at one meet.  The surprising part…I was 5’6” tall.

4.    I’ve only had three full-time jobs (the first one lasted less than a year) and been married to my best friend for 31 years.  If you were looking for one word to describe me…you could say “He STICKS.”

5.    I've only read one book more than once (other than my own), and that was the first book I ever read.  That book was...Bambi. 

6.    My first major (of many) in college was Journalism. When I found out how much money most journalism professions make...especially early-on...I bolted.   I don't regret my decision, but I do wish I stuck it out for a little while longer.

7.    This blog used to be entitled Cruising Altitude...which is a case of life imitating art.  Cruising Altitude was the name of the popular blog the main character from my first book wrote...and I wrote that first book BEFORE I started writing this blog.  When I started thinking of names for my real-life blog, I thought how cool it would be to name it after the blog in my book.  Okay...that's not really a fact about let's see if we can make it work.  I'm an extreme introvert...evidenced by the fact that I didn't have my first date until I was in college.  That date came on a spring break trip to Florida.  The trip was so memorable that 33 years later I wrote a short story about it.  That short story ended up being the basis of a novel.  My first novel. The one where the main character wrote a popular blog. Cha-ching! :)
S  So...which of my seven facts interests you the most?


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