You guys presented me with so many fun and thought-provoking questions, and I have no choice but to get right to 'em. May be a long post... but remember, you asked for it.
ETA: I forgot one! Nadine brought to my attention that I never addressed her question, so I'm adding it now for everyone to see.
Q: What, if any, food allergies do you have?
A: Up until recently, I had none. But I tried a couple small bites of my sister-in-law's eggplant parmesan a few months ago. Within minutes, my heart kicked into a hyperspeed, and I couldn't breathe. It passed after several minutes, so there was no huge concern, but my husband and I assumed it was an allergy, and I shant eat eggplant again.
Q: Stef asked, If you had the attention of every single person on the entire planet, what would you say?
A: It's gonna sound trite, but it's absolutely what I'd say, whether people would listen or not: Love one another. It would solve so much.
Q: Rebecca asked, As a kid who did you most identify with from these '70's shows: Brady Bunch, Charlie's Angels, MASH, Star Trek? (And then she wondered if I was old enough for that decade of television...)
A: I *cough cough* only saw those shows in reruns. The ones I remember loving during my childhood were Eight is Enough, Magnum PI, Knightrider, Our House, The Dukes of Hazzard, Crazy Like a Fox. But Alice. These days I identify with Alice. Always cookin', cleanin', bustling to and fro, stopping in to see Sam at the meat shop...
Q: Kelly asked, If you could sit down with one author or poet (living or dead) for a chat, who would you pick?A: I'd definitely have a more contemporary bunch. Some of my favorites, who I'd really love to talk with and get to know personally are Jan Karon, Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, Garth Stein and, um, Richard Castle (fictitious or not). Definitely Rick Castle.
Q: Terri said, I want to know how far along you are in your WIP??? (And I love her for checking in with me on this.)
A: I'm at about the same place I was last time you asked me. *sour face* And that would be 31,603 words. *sour face* It wouldn't be so bad if I'd actually touched it recently.
Q: Barbara asked, Besides [being published], what's at the top of your list of things you want to accomplish?
A: I want to be the kind of mother my daughters will be thankful to have had, despite imperfections and mistakes.
Q: Tamika wondered, Do you indulge in a routine that sounds a bit silly to the rest of the world?
A: What I can think of is my shopping technique. I most often avoid full-priced items, and beeline straight for the clearance and sale sections. I love discount stores, thrift stores, recovered-freight and overstock places. I forage. I dig. I slobber over the hunt. (I may have just spit on myself.) And that's the best way to find the best deals. You can't be afraid to look. Love it!
Q: Tess asked, Cat or dog?
A: Every day of my life I'd have answered dog. Without thinking. But now, I'm thinking. I'm supposing my personality might actually work well with a cat. But I'm also supposing it doesn't really matter, since my husband is allergic to them.
Q: Lynnette's question was, You're making me think before I've finished my coffee? Okay, just kidding. Her more serious question was, When did you know you wanted to be a writer when you grew up?
A: Sometime around the age of twenty, as I was getting married. While I admit I still had much growing up to do, life shifted and new, deeper, more passionate goals rooted. I haven't stopped writing with the idea of publication since.
Q: Melanie. Can you believe the nerve of this one? She asked, Mocha frapp or brownies? *gasp*
A: I actually had this discussion with someone once. And while mood (and possibly hormones) might change the answer occasionally, I'd most often opt for the frapp. Definitely.
Q: Angie asked, If somebody gave you $10,000 right now, what would you do with it?
A: I'd pass it over to my dad, without a blink, for undisclosed reasons.
Q: Barry asked, Do you play an instrument of any kind?
A: I don't, no. As a kid I tried (read: tried) piano lessons. But like many young'uns, I didn't like to practice and my interests moved on. I do sing, though. I get nervous and sick-feeling every time, to the point I sometimes wonder why I do it (a church solo, for example). But they keep asking. And I keep going back. And I'm thankful for that talent.
Q: Natalie said, I'd love to hear about the novel you are writing!
A: This is a good question, Natalie, because I haven't given many (if any) details out about my current WIP. It's women's fiction, and my protagonist is in her eighties. She's lived a fulfilled life, has lived up to that word hidden in her name, Besty, but as the world around her begins to change, she realizes she may have never lived what was true to herself. Here's one of those one-sentence blurby things I'd worked up several weeks ago (and please keep in mind, I'm no good at all with one-sentence blurby things): A woman with neither time nor age on her side discovers it's never too late to find one's true self. The story is rolling and forming something all its own, so I'm not entirely sure what I'll have when it's done, but that's the root idea I began with. I'm about halfway through my first draft.
Q: JLC asked, Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
A: Yes and no. I've plucked items from clearance sales for my girls, tucked them away. But I haven't made lists or done any shopping for other family members.
Q: Joy wanted to know, How many sisters and brothers do you have and do any of them write?
A: I have one of each, neither of whom writes as I do. The oldest is my brother, Dwayne. He recently retired after twenty-plus years of service in our United States Air Force. He's moved to a gorgeous place, found a civilian job and proposed to the woman he loves. I'd wager to say he's never been happier. My sister, Jill, is a computer Wonder Woman. She's a programmer/analyst/software developer, and she loves to read. She is very happily married, and quite well fills the role of step-mom to some awesome kids. Plus, she's a rockin' sister. And then there's me, the baby. You know me.
Q: Deb Shucka asked, Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: Filling even just a little space of the Q shelf at bookstores and libraries. (With books, you know. My butt won't fit there.) And living migraine-free, I hope.
Q: Susan asked, What is your favorite thing to do besides reading and writing?
A: Shopping. I mentioned my technique above, and it's such an adrenaline rush. But I also find it therapuetic, if I've been stressed or need time to myself. I shop. I don't have to buy, though, it's the act of finding the bargain that I like so much.
Q: Cindy wondered, What genre would challenge you the most to write and would you ever try it?
A: Science-fiction or fantasy. Wow, those would be hard genres, I'm just not smart enough. My brain doesn't think that way, making up parallel worlds. I think anyone who's read my stuff, my blog, knows I write from my own truths, and there's nothing to work with when it comes to aliens or hobbits or other worlds or fantastical creations. I think it's best that I not try.
Q: Diane asked, What is your favorite room in your house and why?
A: It's a tie between what I call my writing space and my bedroom. The former because it's all mine: my pretty stuff, my crafty stuff, my laptop and writing things, books and a reading chair. (The only downfall is, it's the balcony, and ALL noise lifts from the house and hovers here.) And the latter because it offers that kind of respite a comfortable bedroom should. And I love its color scheme of navy, sage, golds and creams. I think my kitchen might be pretty fabulous, too, when its remodel is all done. Time will tell, I guess.
Q: Analisa asked, What is the worst job you ever had?
A: Would you believe I worked at a video game store? That was okay. I think it's all about who you work with, and I've worked with some great people. There was the front desk at the Hilton. Toys R Us, both at the store as a cashier/associate, and as their mascot Geoffrey Giraffe, at city-wide events and parties. I served at a restaurant, worked at an activity center for developmentally disabled adults, overnights on an adolescent psych unit. Those three shaped me the most. And as an account executive at a publishing company (yearbooks and commercial). I guess I can't say I've had a bad enough job to count as "worst." The one, from all of these, that sticks out the most as having had the least impression on my life and memories, is front desk work at the Hilton. I like people. But hospitality was not for me.
Q: Jill posed this, How would you describe your decorating style?
A: Warm. Cozy. Rustic mixed with contemporary. Old with new. I love splotches of antiques that give character to a room. I loves browns and blues and neutrals splashed with red, green, yellow, in flowers or fabrics.
Q: Deb Strange wanted to know, Any great opportunities from your past that you passed up and now regret missing out on?
A: There's a part of me that wishes I'd had a chance to live independently. I left my parents' home to marry and live with Misterwrites, and I really wish I'd tried to live in an apartment on my own for a while. I think there would have been so much benefit to that.
Q: Karen asked, What did your parents do?
A: My mom retired from corporate work, the last of which was at H&R Block's World Headquarters. (Not accounting, though, so don't ask me to ask her about numbers.) And she made being a working mom look easy. How'd she do it? She was devoted, to everything, but especially her family. That's all I know. In fact, I think that's the best word ever to describe my mom. Devoted.
My dad retired from a plastics company (think two-liters and salad dressing bottles and the like) where he was a go-to man. The title I remember was Master Technician, but he fixed things, supervised people, ordered parts, and I know without a doubt, befriended people, made them feel good about themselves and their day. What sticks out most, though, is all he did at home. If there was a problem, he fixed it. If there was a project, he did it. A silly joke to tell, he told it. Someone to give the shirt off his back to, he gave it. He will forever be The Man Who Does It All.
Q: T. Anne wondered, How many novels do you have awaiting publication?
A: Awaiting publication? None. My first has been shelved, and the one I'm working on now will be my second completed manuscript. I really do want to make it good enough for publication.
Q: Linda said, I would like to know what you dream of doing five years from now. (I do look at this a bit differently from Deb's question.)
A: I want to be living it all. A balanced life, with family, home, writing. I'd like to be published, of course, but it's more than that. I want my words to touch people, I want - more than to be listed on a writer's list - to have a following who cares about my stories. And I want to help my girls grow, learn, love. Continue with this marriage I've worked so hard at. And by golly, this whole-house remodel we've been at for three-and-a-half years better be done.
Q: Kathy's question was, What's your favorite day of the week?
A: I like Saturday. There's no work, no school, and most often we have no other reason to get up and out. I like to have a day in with my family. But I also like Sunday, because we go to church, and we love our congregation and its people. There are special friends and family, too, and I can't say I mind eating out after the service.
Q: Stephenie asked, Do people really ask what your favorite color is?
A: It's been known to happen. (Periwinkle or cornflower blue, to be specific.) Then again, I live with two little girls who think about that kind of thing often.
Q: Tricia asked, What super hero would you want to be and why?
A: Elastagirl, from The Incredibles. Did you see her? She was an incredible (pun intended) mother and wife, a woman realistic about her aging looks (and growing butt), and she could save people. I think that's the whole package, right there.
Q: Kelly asked, What is your favorite idiom?
A: I had to look up idiom at Merriam-Webster Online. And I'm still confused. How 'bout I just say, I believe in the phrase Everything happens for a reason. It doesn't mean I'm passive, or that I just let things be. I do my best to be proactive. It's just I believe there's a Higher Power at work, and He trumps all.
Q: Jen asked, Do you have any pets? What are their names?
A: I have this husband named... Just kidding. Really. We have a sweet dog, Lucy. She's been around longer than my oldest, and she's a character. Spastic, nervous, but smart and loyal.
Wow! Gosh. I think that's it (including those questions that came in this morning - thanks for those). What a lively conversation we've had. I know it's time for you to go, but please take a sweet along with you. Something to have later, and remember our visit by.
Hope you have a great weekend. And thanks, as always, for coming over. I love having you here.