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?