Friday, October 30, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is Steve Busch: Arizonan, cool guy and a particularly avid fan of October the 31st. I couldn't have asked for a more fitting guest for this very special Halloween Edition of I Need Friends Friday.

This should be a real treat. (Get it? Treat? Trick-or-Treat? I love themes!)


SME: Welcome to a special Halloween-themed INFF!

Steve: Thank you for welcoming me! I feel quite welcomed!

SME: I am especially happy that you are my friend today because you are a Halloween aficionado.

Steve: It is true.

SME: Is Halloween your favorite holiday?

Steve: It is my favorite. It's better than Christmas... well the commercialized aspect. I feel a bit sacrilegious saying that...but you know.

SME: Growing up there was a house down the street that only decorated for Halloween. Nothing else. Not even a flag on 4th of July or a blow up Easter bunny on the front lawn. That house was scary. It was also painted all black. The windows were always dark, too.

Steve: Hmmmm... I wonder if we are related.

SME: Probably.
How long have you been, let's face it, obsessed with Halloween?

Steve: Well it has had a place in my heart for as long as i can remember, but I would say the past 10 years has really brought it on strong. I'm not going to lie, it's almost embarrassing. For example, my wife had a piano recital this week and I was mortified to have people in our house wandering around like it was a museum.
That's right folks, I'm a grown man... It happens.

SME: What kind of decor do you sport in honor of Scary Day?

Steve: Well, its actually very Disney's Haunted Mansion-esque. That was actually my inspiration, so every Victorian creepy: old candelabras, creepy old photographs, spider webs. The kitchen is the Nightmare before Christmas enhancement.

SME: Spider webs, eh? So I have been decorating my house for Halloween all year round. Good to know.

Steve: Heh heh. I don't doubt it, with all the books you have been putting out, who has time for lame housework!

SME: Have to ask. What's your favorite continent?

Steve: I'm going to have to go with Africa...

SME: Our first Africa. Cha-ching!

Steve: *bows* Thank you, thank you!

SME: Any reason for choosing Africa?

Steve: It has giraffes and really, who doesn't love a good giraffe?

SME: Giraffes are very tall. Something I cannot relate to.

Steve: Valid.

SME: In true INFF tradition, I have fashioned a game for you to play. If you're interested.

Steve: I've been waiting for this moment my whole life......or since I knew of this interview.......

SME: One of the great Halloween traditions is costume competitions. We're taking it a step further. You're not merely judging the best costume. You're judging the real thing. I call this game "The Ultimate Creature Smack-down." I'm going to throw out two different versions of the same mythical creature/horror-film character/Halloween personality and you get to decide who did that particular role best.

Steve: Alrighty.


SME: #1: Who does the better ghost: Beetlejuice from "Beetlejuice" (1989) OR Pig Pen from "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" (1966)?

Steve: Beetlejuice! He is the ghost with the most! My brother and I used to trade off days growing up watching either Ghostbusters or Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice was my pick then, and I'm going with it now!

SME: Excellent. To this day I can't hear the Tally Me Banana song without thinking of that movie.

Steve: I cringe every time I see shrimp cocktails.

SME: #2: Who does the better mummy: Boris Karloff from "The Mummy" (1932) OR a roll of toilet paper (around 1880)?

Steve: That's a tough one. They are both so versatile and absorbent, but I am going to have to go with Boris. He had better character development-- the other fell flat.

SME: Yeah. TP does lack personality. Two questions down. We are on a roll. *pun intended*

Steve: you clever author you.....

SME: #3: Who does the better vampire: Robert Pattinson from "Twilight" (2008) OR Bela Lugosi from "Dracula" (1931)?

Steve: I'm going to have to go with Team Bela. WAY less drama. He knew exactly what he wanted and he went for it...typically a neck. He also understood the power of hair gel. But I digress.

SME: A brave move, my friend. Tween girls all over America have just become your enemy.

Steve: I know, I hate to do it, but I just can't jump on the Twilight train. I tried, I really did, but I just don't care that she is permanently depressed and pensive looking and he has identity issues.


SME: Again. Tweens now hate you. Brace yourself. If it's any consolation, I am not a tween.

#4: Who does the better Prince Charming: Prince Charming from "Cinderella" (1950) or Steve Busch at Disneyland (200-something)?

Steve: AHHH! I can't believe you used that photo against me. Well, he may be more fit that I, but the one thing he is lacking in is personality.... and a goatee. Is it wrong to vote for me?

SME: If you don't vote for yourself, you are officially a loser.

Steve: True!

SME: You do have the goatee, so points for you. But, you have to admit, Prince Charming appears to have better moves than you.

Steve: PAINTED moves. But darn it if he isn't suave!

SME: It's easy to be charming when you're a cartoon.

Steve: So true. Ok, Steve it is.

SME: Shocking as it may seem, I believe you answered every question correctly. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that there are no incorrect answers. I'll have to look into that. In the meantime, you are today's winner!!

Steve: What?!?!?!?! ME?!?!?!!?!? I am so excited! Take that junior high p.e. coach! I AM a winner!

SME: Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend--you!

Steve: I cannot wait! I hear these works of art are priceless...

*The sound of pen on paper along with the occasional ghost or ghoul just for ambiance*

Steve: That's fantastic!

SME: I kept with the Halloween theme and drew you in costume, choosing for you what I figure will be a tremendously popular costume this year. I included a warm pair of Halloween socks. 'Cause I heard it was snowing up around your place.

Steve: My hair looks so lifelike!

SME: Sticky-uppy hair is all the rage I hear.

Steve: Check out that costume! It makes me look WAY more trim than prince charming!

SME: And far less conflicted than Edward Cullen.
Do you like how the pumpkin looks just a little surprised. I wonder what's going through its tremendously empty head.

Steve: He is probably trying to understand the Twilight fad, too.

SME: The pumpkin is thinking... "Why are there so many vampires around. And why don't any of them comb their hair?" Uh-oh. Now all the tweens hate me, too.

Steve: Its ok, I will protect you with my rad new cape!

SME: It's a deal.

Steve: That is so cool! I have never had such portrait! I cant wait to put that on the wall in my office. I'm not even kidding!

SME: I am very glad you like your portrait. Vampires aren't a lot of fun when they're ticked off.

Steve: That's bitingly true

SME: Wow. The puns are killer today.
And that brings us to the traditional final question of INFF: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Steve: 1. I got to discuss Beetlejuice and his amazingness
2. I got the best portrait EVER
3. I enraged countless tweens who should be doing something better with their time
4. I got to talk to my friend who is basically amazing
5. AAAAND I brought Giraffe awareness to the public forum.

SME: I have always been about educating the public. I am sure giraffes everywhere thank you. Even if millions of 12 & 13 year old girls despise you.

Steve: And who would you rather have on your side? Clearly the giraffes.

SME: So very very true.
Thanks for stopping by for our Halloween edition of INFF!

Steve: Thank you for inviting me to be a friend! I was insanely honored!

SME: As you should be.*cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!
If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing a long a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 9:

While I am in the midst of waiting for edits on COURTING MISS LANCASTER (Notice I didn't say anxiously. I'm completely cool with the months-long wait. I've got stuff to do, after all.), I have a couple other projects I'm working on.

Normally when I am ready to write, which I most certainly was after my self-imposed fortnight of writing exile, I go at it. I have to pull myself away from the computer. I have to make a conscious effort to remember to eat. The words spill out and I get all excited, doing crazy things like acting out what I'm writing--that can get awkward when I'm at the Library.

Things hadn't been working so well lately. Every time I sat down, I stared at the screen and listened to the echoing silence in my brain. My muse had left me.

Or so I thought.

It seems she's back, though quite a bit slower than she had been. So, being the highly-qualified muse doctor that I am, I have diagnosed her recent disappearance as an instance of swine flu. I expect a full recovery in the near future.

And I hope she's not contagious.



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Monday, October 26, 2009

I once again made a trip over to random.org and allowed their fabulous random number generator to choose two lucky winners from amongst those who entered my doubly delightful giveaway. And the winners are...


Prize A, the purty pink bookmark: Aubrey, who not only thinks getting a copy of COURTING MISS LANCASTER will be just as amazing as that time a week or so ago when we had dinner together, but who also is constantly bellyaching about never winning prizes on this website. (Just kidding, Aubrey!)

Prize B, the mysterious one-of-my-favorite-books: Keri, who thinks getting a copy of COURTING MISS LANCASTER will be the best thing to happen to her since her grandbaby was born. I have a feeling she'll be disappointed. C.M.L. will be great. But a grandbaby is far better! So.... if you'd like to find out what book was under that mysterious brown paper, you'll have to make friends with Keri!

Thanks to everyone who entered. I'm sure we'll have another giveaway soon.


Tune in for a very special Halloween edition of I Need Friends Friday this week. It'll be fantastic!


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Friday, October 23, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is Miss Mae, author of romantic mysteries and a freelance writer, as well. She is the co-founder of the Sweetest Romance Authors group, a collection of readers and authors who promote, encourage, produce and support G-rated romances. She can be found on the web at her website and blog, on myspace, facebook and twitter.

Let's get to know Miss Mae!


SME: Welcome to INFF!

Miss Mae: Thank you for having me today.

SME: I am delighted. Doing an INFF interview where I don't actually know my new friend is always a lot of fun!

Miss Mae: Fun? ..Glad you look at it like that! hee hee

SME: I am abnormal.

Miss Mae: It's a very unique idea you have here. Well done!

SME: Why, thank you. So, I know that you are a writer. Is this something you've always wanted to do or was it something you sort of stumbled on?

Miss Mae: I loved to read in elementary school, fell in love with the Nancy Drew stories. I tried my hand at it at the tender age of 10. Wasn't quite like Nancy, you know. Still, the desire to dream up adventures like hers always remained with me.

SME: I have had so many writers tell me that they were avid readers as children.

Miss Mae: I sure was. I always loved a good mystery or suspense, grew into the romance genre. My big brother loved sci-fi, so I read lots of his books too.

SME: Which genre do you write?

Miss Mae: I call it "romantic mysteries" because I combine the both. At least I try to. I hope I succeed a little.

SME: You've essentially taken the mystery/suspense genre that you have always loved & the romance that you grew into and put them in a blender, right? A romantic mystery smoothie!

Miss Mae: I think so. I try. The first thing I plot out is the mystery, but I always want the hero and heroine to fall in love by tale's end too.

SME: I always want someone to fall in love in every book I ever read. If they don't, I tend to become irrationally frustrated. Perhaps this is why I write romances.

Miss Mae: There have been some books I've read that dealt strictly with the romance (like a lot of those Harlequin books), but I get bored with that formula if there isn't something else to intrigue me along the way.

SME: Is there a genre you could never see yourself writing?

Miss Mae: Erotic, horror... gimme a minute, I might think of some more!

SME: I could never do either of those!!

Miss Mae: I'm a sweet romance author. My romance will always be strictly G-rated. I care nothing for bedroom scenes, or sensual "love" smooching scenes.

SME: And you had a book come out just this month, I understand.

Miss Mae: Yes, my current release is
"When the Bough Breaks."

SME: Another romantic mystery, I assume

Miss Mae: Yes, it is, though it's also classed as a YA.

SME: So a YA-clean-romantic-mystery. Wow the genre classification is getting longer all the time.

Miss Mae: I know!

SME: Could you give us a quick blurb for "When the Bough Breaks"?

Miss Mae: Darlene Moore's reason for shunning
Parker Shane has nothing to do with his reputation of being a playboy. She even dates him before the death of her mother forces her to move away. After a two-year absence from Dalesville, she returns home to find Parker exchanging wedding vows with her sister. Two months later, her sister dies. Then Richard Ryan, head of Dalesvill's wealthy, prominent family, and Parker's employer, goes missing. Could there be a connection to his disappearance and Parker's unexpected promotion? Danger and questions aplenty barrage Darlene with the deadly speed of a six- shooter. Who called down a representative from a Washington agency? Who later assaulted him? Who attacked Darlene at her friend's apartment? And will Parker's scandalous brand of playboy be changed to one of murderous culprit? Or, in the moment of Darlene's greatest need, might he become her rescuing knight?

SME: I can see what you mean by wanting something intriguing going on alongside the romance. That Darlene has a lot going on!

Miss Mae: Yes. As I've learned about writing, there must be conflict, a problem that keeps the hero and heroine apart.

SME: Nothing is more boring than reading a romantic novel where the hero and heroine are just sort of leisurely falling in love. Something horrific has to happen.

Miss Mae: Yes, and we have to get them together to try and overcome that problem.

SME: Aren't you glad that, usually, real life is a lot less problematic?

Miss Mae: Oh yes. I'm glad to live my ho-hum life! I wouldn't want the life of my characters!

SME: Rachel Rosanno said the same thing in her interview.

Miss Mae: Rachel is an awesome author and she has some fantastic original plots!

SME: Now, lest you think that INFF has gone completely serious and legitimate, I have a brand-new game for you.

Miss Mae: okey-dokey!

SME: I'm going to call this game "Rapid Fire Q&A." I'll give you a question. You give a quick simple answer, no explanation permitted. (Sinister, I know)

Miss Mae: No explanation from me as to why I answered thusly, you mean?

SME: Yes. (See that was a little demo. Quick answer. No embellishment or explanations.)
Okay, first question. What is your favorite ice cream topping?

Miss Mae: chocolate

SME: Favorite season?

Miss Mae: Fall

SME: Favorite holiday?

Miss Mae: Passover

SME: Section of the paper you read first?

Miss Mae: Comics!

SME: Favorite nursery rhyme?

Miss Mae: Mary Had a Little Lamb

SME: Least favorite vegetable?

Miss Mae: green pepper

SME: The name of the first of your elementary school teachers who pops into your mind.

Miss Mae: Miss Alcorn

SME: Your preferred cure for the hiccups.

Miss Mae: Thinking about something else

SME: Wow. You aced that game. Well done!

Miss Mae: Thanks! Speedy, ain't I? hee hee

SME: It's like you knew all the answers. Fascinating!

Miss Mae: Well, the vegetables kinda got me...there's a lot I don't like!

SME: I think we can all relate. Kudos on the game.
Now, you had to have known I'd ask this next question. What's your favorite continent?

Miss Mae: This is the only one I've been on, so I'd have to say it's my favorite...North America.

SME: Have you traveled much around North America?

Miss Mae: Some, but not a great deal.

SME: I haven't, either. I depend on PBS travel shows to take me around the world. Thank you Rick Steves!

Miss Mae: That's exactly who I was thinking of!

SME: We love him at our house. He's like the goofy uncle who's always bringing us souvenirs from his travels. (Those souvenirs being detailed videos.)

Miss Mae: It'd be amazing to have his job, that's for sure!

SME: Maybe I could get Rick Steves to be my friend one Friday. If only!


Miss Mae: I wonder if he has a website? hmm....

SME: I may have to look into that. Maybe if I sent him canolis.

Miss Mae: That should work! Ha!

SME: Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend--you!

Miss Mae: I can't wait to see Miss Mae.


*I once more set about creating a work of unparalleled artistic genius*

Miss Mae: oh, how adorable! that's a magnifying glass, right?

SME: Yep. Since you write mysteries, and all!

Miss Mae: I love it!

SME: I also outfitted you with a pair of fab green ballet flats. I like flats. They're far easier on my ankles than a lot of other shoes.

Miss Mae: it's beautiful, Sarah, and it's so "me". Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SME: You are most welcome! I'm sure Rick Steves has seen very few masterpieces that are the equal of your portrait.

Miss Mae: I wholeheartedly agree!

SME: That brings us around to the final question of I Need Friends Friday. I ask this every week as a means of bolstering my self esteem.
Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Miss Mae: 1. It's live
2. It's free
3. It's fun
4. It's original
5. Fantastic artist that captures the inner Miss Mae!

SME: There is something very raw and emotional about a stick figure, isn't there?

Miss Mae: Sure is...wish I was that slim, though! Well...maybe not quite THAT slim!

SME: As I told last week's guest, I draw my stick figures completely life-like. Therefore, you must be quite slender. There is no other explanation.

Miss Mae: Oh yes, tis true. How could I forget???

SME: Well, best of luck with "When the Bough Breaks" and all your other endeavors.

Miss Mae: thank you for having me, Sarah. I have really, really enjoyed it. :)

SME: My pleasure!
*cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME,
er... by ME!
14

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing a long a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 8:

Approximately two weeks ago I learned of a great opportunity to give back to the community. Clear Horizons Academy, a school for Autistic children in Provo, UT will be holding its annual auction at the beginning of November. With the economy struggling, this fantastic school's directors found themselves with fewer donations than usual. A shout out began filtering through the vast grapevine looking for individuals and businesses who were willing to donate to this worthy cause.

I sent out a few emails asking some wonderful author friends of mine if they'd be willing to contribute a book or two to a "Great Reads" basket I decided to put together and donate to the auction. Within a couple days the list of authors had grown. In the end, and over the course of only one week, I had enough books for 2 baskets.

Many, many thanks to:

Annette Lyon

Aubrey Mace

Janette Rallison (who contributed 4 books!!)

H. B. Moore

Michelle Holmes

Donna Hatch

and to Aprilynne Pike, who was a very good sport and signed a copy of WINGS thrust at her by a perfect stranger who specifically requested that the inscription not be personalized. (Yes, I explained the reason, and she was perfectly willing!),

and to J. Scott Savage, who was willing to contribute, but our schedules never meshed enough to allow for the handover.



The project went well from whoa to go and I'm happy as a pig in mud about the whole thing!


Don't forget I Need Friends Friday. Another great interview!!



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Monday, October 19, 2009



I've reached two milestones in the publication of my first book with Covenant.
1. I have an official title.
2. I have a tentative release month.

COURTING MISS LANCASTER
is scheduled for release in June 2010!

Are you excited? You should be! Not only do you have something fabulous to look forward to this summer, I'm giving stuff away in honor of this fantastic step in the journey!

So, the stuff...

Delightful Prize "A":
This lovely metal bookmark. It is painted pink with a heart embossed on the charm at the end of the cord. The bookmark is engraved with the caption:

"Where there is love there is life." --Mahatma Gandhi

*C'mon. A romance writer couldn't give away a bookmark that didn't have something to say about love!!

Delightful Prize "B":

A mystery book! I have wrapped up in very unassuming brown paper a hardcover copy of one of my favorite books!!

Aren't you dying to know what book is under there? Curiousity getting the best of you? Are you hypothesizing?

Guess what? I'm not telling.

Wow. I'm cruel.


How to enter the giveaway:

Leave a comment to this post in which you complete the following sentence...

"Getting a copy of COURTING MISS LANCASTER this summer will be the best thing that's happened to me since ________________________."


That's it. Every response will be assigned a number and those numbers will be put in a random number generator. The first number it spits out will win the bookmark; the second number will win the mystery book, and the opportunity to be the only person, other than me, who knows the book's title.

I will be accepting entries for an entire week!! The winners will be announced next Monday, October 26th!

Be sure to enter (and tell your friends)!




16

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is the fabulous and funny Shantel Gardner. She can be found on the web at her blog Don't Drink Your Bath Water.

Enjoy!



SME: Welcome to INFF!

Shantel: Hi! I am happy to be here!

SME: Let's start out with a little

Shantel: Cool.

SME: What would be your dream job?

Shantel: I am doing it. Being A Mom

SME: So, living the dream?! Excellent!

Shantel: It's by far the hardest thing I have ever done.

SME: So you like a challenge. (which would explain your presence here today.)

Shantel: I like the growth I see in myself, and I feel like I am part of something WAY bigger than me. And my kids are stinkin' hilarious.

SME: I have always said that I know I've had a successful day as a mom when "nobody died." How do you measure a successful mothering day?

Shantel: When I can make it to my bed with out falling asleep during prayers. I have to at least make it under the covers.

SME: What is something funny that someone in your family said or did recently? ('Cause I know you have plenty of answers to this!!)

Shantel: My son has all sorts of wisdom. He says very funny things. When I asked him to do his homework: "Mom, it's too easy. I have my dignity you know." He also said, "Boys stink. That is just the way it is. Just be grateful I am not a teenager because, from what I hear, it is only going to get worse." He has Autism. This makes what he says very direct, and almost always true.

SME: My daughter, who is not on the Autism Spectrum, but is frank to the point of being rude at times, told me the other night that I have a hairy chin.

Shantel: My daughter burst out with "A kid at school said, 'I hate president Bush,' and then farted." Just out of the blue. I almost choked on my potatoes. And my son told me that I 'looked pretty skinny - considering I did not do much around the house.'

SME: My son said that he was impressed that I balanced our budget because he didn't see me as someone who really "got" numbers.

Shantel: That is hilarious.

SME: Okay, one more insightful question (then on to the uninsightful questions): What is your favorite continent?

Shantel: North America. I am boring. But I like to be at home

SME: So, if you could live anywhere at all in the whole world, you'd pick somewhere in North America?

Shantel: I have always wanted to live in Vermont. It just sounds so romantic.

SME: Ooh. Vermont! Always makes me think of "White Christmas"!

Shantel: Me too!!! I love that movie

SME: You know, the holidays are just around the corner!

Shantel: Yes. The Food. Oh, the Food.

SME: Okay. Now I can't resist one more question. What is your favorite holiday treat?

Shantel: Peeps. Wierd. I know.

SME: The marshmallow animals? Interesting choice. I think most people either love peeps or hate them.

Shantel: I love. Frozen. It is yumm-o!!!

SME: I, personally, despise them with a despisingness that is almost unparalleled.
In the long-standing tradition of INFF, I have a game for you! This game is mind-bogglingly random, will serve no purpose in your life, and is based on absolutely nothing other than the rather skewed workings of my mind!
Today's game is entitled "Who Would Win In a Fight?"

Shantel: Okay.

SME: I'm going to give you two options and you have to tell me who, of the two, would win in a fight. (Define "fight" in any way you choose.)
#1: George of the Jungle OR Tarzan?

Shantel: George of the Jungle. Because, just like me, he appears to be clumsy and dopey, and slow on the uptake, but there is a hidden genius somewhere in there just waiting to come out. Tarzan is way too serious.

SME: Agreed. As someone who spent most of her childhood unintentionally injuring herself, I always back the klutz in any confrontation. We are secretly very powerful!
#2: My high school mascot--a hawk--or yours?

Shantel: Our high school mascot was an Eagle. And I was it. I wore the suit. It was awesome.

SME: I don't know. Eagle vs. Hawk. Sounds pretty even to me.

Shantel: I would win. Hands down. Or Talons down.

SME: I always wanted to be the mascot... unfortunately the suit didn't come in a size meant to fit a 12-year-old child (which is pretty much how big I was in High School.) Bummer.
#3: Jane Austen or Jane Eyre?


Shantel: That one is tricky. If you are talking physical girth - Jane Eyre. War of words? Jane Austen. War of meekness? Jane Eyre.

SME: Agreed. On all three counts.

Shantel: That is a GOOD question.

SME: I know, I know. How do I come up with such deep and thought-provoking material?!?! It's a gift. Alright, last entry in the "Who'd Win In a Fight" game...
#4: Me OR The Wallpaper That Formerly Hung in My Hallway?
Psst... I know the answer to this one from harrowing (and recent) personal experience.

Shantel: You, Sarah... because you rock. That wallpaper is stupid. You are smart.

SME: In the end, I was the victor, but only after tremendous personal suffering.

Shantel: I can only imagine. You are so brave.

SME: Yeah. Ladders don't help the uncoordinated. But the wallpaper is gone and I am still here, so... *points at self* Winner! What do you know! You aced the quiz.
Congrats. You are officially Champion of INFF!

Shantel: I love being the champion. Maybe I should don my Eagle costume - just to make a point.

SME: Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend--you!

Shantel: I am so excited for this part. I can't even tell you.

SME: Having your portrait drawn by a master is something you SHOULD be excited about!

*Now a very experienced portraitist, I set to work on another astoundingly well rendered stick figure portrait.*

Shantel: I LOVE IT!!!!

SME: I thought you needed a cape.

Shantel: That is awesome. Am I Super Shantel?

SME: Absolutely! And you can show this to your son so he'll see just how "pretty skinny" you really are.

Shantel: Are you kidding? I am making it my drivers license photo.

SME: You'll notice you're rockin' it in flip-flops.

Shantel: I love my hair

SME: I took great care with your hair. I'm rather proud of how it turned out.

Shantel: I wish that was my hair cut in real life. Like I wish my bangs were that cute!

SME: All INFF portraits are entirely life-like. I am certain your hair really does look that cute!

Shantel: Well, I am tickled.

SME: I am so glad you like your portrait. I slaved over it, you know. I am sure you know what comes next... final question: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Shantel: 1. Because this is the FIRST blog interview I have ever done.
2. This is the ONLY blog interveiw I have ever done.
3. Because sometimes - even chocolate-craving, nap-seekers need a time to shine.
4. Because I got to completely avoid housework guilt free for part of a morning.
5. Because my portrait is Dang Awesome, and the best thing to happen to me since my car actually started this morning!!!

Woot-Woo

SME: Hey. I avoided housework, too! This INFF thing is amazing!

Shantel: Completely, Sarah. You are brilliant.

SME: Thanks so much for joining us today!

Shantel: My pleasure.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


ANNOUNCEMENT: In honor of the very exciting week I had (please reference this week's Wednesday Walkabout), I'm hosting another contest! Come back Monday for details on how to enter!!


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing a long a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 7:

Yesterday I met my editor face to face. Well, face to sternum, anyway. He is a whole lot taller than I am. A whole lot. Despite the massive discrepancy in size, I am happy to say I did not find him entirely intimidating.

I was given a wonderful tour of the Covenant building and met some great people. I met a handful of editors, the design department, the office manager. I got to see a library that pretty much made me drool. I also learned a few very interesting things about the book Covenant is publishing that I wrote!!!

  • Interesting Thing #1: The book now has an official title Courting Miss Lancaster

  • Interesting Thing #2: The book is tentatively slated for a June 2010 release. So, summer of next year. Wow, that is coming so fast!

  • Interesting Thing #3: (Brace yourself for something pretty cool) I am submitting another manuscript for consideration right away. Double surprise on that--I am submitting "Affectations," which is Book One in the Jonquil Brothers Series. This is super, super, super exciting. So, you'll notice the Jonquil Series is no longer available on Amazon in the hopes that it gets picked up by Covenant. *Keep your fingers crossed!*

I'm keen as mustard about all this. It's the bee's knees!


ps- Come back Friday for, I Need Friends Friday. It'll be a super interview. And there just might be a really great announcement too. Just sayin'!



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Friday, October 9, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today we're going to have twice the fun: two friends for the price of one. One of our INFF friends is Penney, who, along with her family, is currently living in South Korea where her husband is stationed with the U.S. Army. Penney's 8-year-old son has also joined the interview! Because I am particularly protective of children on the Internet, I've given Penney's little guy a codename: Engelbert.

Enjoy the very first international INFF interview!


SME: Welcome to INFF! And thanks for joining us all the way from South Korea. How long have you lived in South Korea?

Penney: We have lived here only three months in Uijeongbu--40 miles north of Seoul.

SME: Wow. I thought Phoenix was hard to spell.
What has been the hardest part of adjusting to life in a foreign country?


Engelbert: Not being able to talk to the Korean kids.

SME: Yeah. That could be frustrating.

Penney: Language barrier is very difficult. The first week I was here it took me about 20 mintues trying to ask for a trash bag. You have to purchase special trash bags to throw away your garbage. Yellow bags are for leftover foods--they use it to fertilize their crops and then anything that can't be recycled goes into a white bag. Anything that can be recycled goes into one of 15 bins with Korean writing on the outside. So you have to peek in each one to figure out where your trash goes. If you don't do it right you get a fine!

Engelbert: And the airplane ride over here was very long and boring!

SME: What have you enjoyed about living in South Korea?

Engelbert: They really like kids over here.

SME: A definite plus if you're a kid. Which you are.

Penney: The Korean people take great care in the way they dress. Their hair and makeup is always done when going out in public.

SME: I would never survive.

Penney: They wear high heels everyday - even though they are probably going to walk at least 4 miles in them that day.

SME: I would probably get kicked out of the country for being a slob.

Engelbert: Korea has the world's largest waterpark.

SME: Definitely cool. (I wonder if they wear their heels and makeup to the waterpark. Hmm.) Anything else? INFF is suddenly very culturally informative.

Engelbert: It's where Taekwondo was started.

SME: A definite point on the coolness scale for South Korea.
What has surprised you the most about South Korea?

Penney: There are so many people everywhere! They aren't afraid to bump into you and not say excuse me. They are not afraid to practically sit right on top of you. The trains and buses get so crowed you can't even see your kids. You just pray they don't get off without you.

SME: Especially if you have to run after them in your high heels.

Engelbert: I didn't think the bathrooms would smell so bad.

SME: *sits in stunned silence* Wow. That would... stink.
What is the best/worst thing you've eaten (or seen people e
ating) in South Korea?

Engelbert: I thought the food was going to be really gross, but I like it a lot. My favorite thing to eat here is bulgogi (beef dish).---->
My most unfavorite is the cabbage kimchi.

SME: Cabbage Kimchi? I'm getting a sense of the odor problem you mentioned earlier.

Penney: I think the best things I've eaten are Sol Long Tang (beef soup with rice, noodles, onions), Kal bi (barbeque beef ribs), and Ya Ki Man Du (like a fried won ton). The worst things I've had is
<---Yuk Gae Jang with gross vienna sausages and so spicy it left blisters in my mouth. SME: Well, the dish is called yuk. I think that should have been a warning.

Penney: They also fry some kind of beetle on the streets and serve it as a snack--never had the courage to try it.

SME: Stick to your guns, Penney. There will be no eating fried beetles. What do your kids think about living there?

Penney: The kids seem to really enjoy it. We try to see something new once a week on Saturdays. We've seen a Korean Folk village--->
and learned how they did everything back in the old days. They love to sight-see and now their new hobby that they like is hiking with the family. They like being the popular kids.

SME: The Popular Kids. I wonder what that feels like. Er... um... I mean... Yeah, sure. Being "the popular kid." Been there.

Penney: All the older people are trying to give them candy, toys, and love to rub their heads. I guess it's supposed to bring them good luck. They get so much extra attention here because there really aren't that many Americans here.

SME: Now for a very important question, What's your favorite continent?

Engelbert: Of course Asia.

SME: Why Asia?

Engelbert: There are a lot of styles of fighting here. Karate, Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Ningitso, Kungfu

SME: Lots of styles of fighting. I can honestly say no one has yet given that as a reason for their favorite continent. And, yet, it's a very good reason--I mean, you're essentially saying, "Don't get Asia mad!"

Penney: This one you probably guessed for me considering I've loved America forever! North America!

SME: Yeah. I pretty much called that one. You've been Patriotic Penney ever since I've known you. What do you miss most about America?

Engelbert: My family. And the McDonald's playgrounds.

Penney: They have McDonald's, but no playgrounds inside.

SME: Wow. No McD's playground. I can see how you would miss that.

Penney: What don't I miss about America? I miss my dishwasher, my non stinky bathroom, my yard, my family, the South. I miss Walmart - nothing can replace Walmart, NOTHING! They have tried with a couple of stores, but it is still not Walmart!

*Just a note: Because of the time difference between here and South Korea, this interview was conducted a little differently from the others and, therefore, Penney and Engelbert have not seen their INFF portrait.*

SME: Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friends.

*A long, drawn out, dramatic pause while I labor over a pad of drawing paper.*

SME: Yep, a family portrait. I drew them in walking shoes and not high heels. I am certain young Engelbert thanks me for it.

Generally, this is the part where I ask my new friend the top 5 reasons why this was the bets blog interview he or she has ever done. Again, because of the strange logistics of this interview, I don't have the answer to this question.

So I'm going to make it up.

SME (speaking on behalf of Penney): 1. I got a new family portrait to hang on the wall
2. I got to talk about America--I LOVE America!
3. I got to show off my new-found ability to spell the names of Korean dishes that most people have never even heard of.
4. "Engelbert" answered a lot of the questions, which took some of the pressure off.
5. Because Sarah M. Eden is absolutely amazing!

SME: Wow. That was so nice of you, Penney. I am flattered. What about you, Engelbert?

SME (speaking on behalf of Engelbert): 1. I got to have a codename.
2. I got to talk about bathrooms.
3. I got to talk about fighting.
4. Um. That's all.

SME: Good enough. Thanks for stopping by, guys, and sharing your experiences in South Korea!
*cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!


If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing a long a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 6:

For those of you taking bets on how long my self-imposed exile from writing would last... if you guessed nine days, you win! I didn't quite make it the full 2 weeks. I was losing my mind! I now understand why Napoleon didn't stay on Elba--exile stinks.

I still do not have my "editing letter that ate New York," but I am certain that is coming very, very soon. As a matter of fact, I am meeting with my editor next week. Our next walkabout will be about that meeting. I'm a little nervous. What should I wear? Do I need to pretend to be "normal" during that interview? What if he figures out that I am totally faking this whole "I Have What It Takes To Be A 'Real' Author" thing? So many questions; the answers next week.

Now, on to the reason you are reading this post: the winner of the Super-Fantastic Giveaway.

But you have to click on "Read More!" because I'm mean like that.

After assigning each entry a number and then putting those numbers through random.org's random number generator, the winner is (drum roll):

Kristi, who did not appreciate receiving apples for Halloween. I kinda have to agree. Apples are yummy. But Halloween is for candy!!

Congratulations, Kristi!


Wow! That giveaway was a bobby-dazzler!


ps- Come back Friday for, I Need Friends Friday. We have an international interview with 2--count 'em--2 guests!
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome to October!

In honor of the start of fall and the approach of Halloween, I'm doing a great big giveaway.

Last year I had the fabulous idea to write a ghost story. It would be suspenseful and creepy and completely cool! In the end, the ghost story turned out to be a romance--who would have guessed. It also turned out to be pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself. THE PRICE PAID was released in October 2008, and it is one of my favorites.

From the back: When a distant cousin dies leaving Nickolas Pritchard an unexpected inheritance, the previously penniless young gentleman assumes his troubles are over. Soon he discovers his windfall isn't quite what he thought. Legend has it, the estate's history is filled with war, tragedy and mystery. And, of course, there's the ghost...

THE PRICE PAID is a ghost story filled with unexpected twists and turns, mystery and legend, an intriguing historical context and, as I said before, romance. And I can pretty much guarantee that the ending will take you by surprise!!

Are you intrigued? Are you in a Halloween-type mood now?

Good. 'Cause the prize in this Super-Fanstastic Giveaway is an autographed copy of THE PRICE PAID!


Here's how to enter: Leave a comment to this post in which you answer the following question... "What is your absolute least favorite type of candy to get trick-or-treating?"

Yep. That's it. The winner will be chosen completely randomly from amongst all the comments.

The winner will be announced this Wednesday, October 7th in the Wednesday Walkabout.

Good luck!!



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Friday, October 2, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is Andrew Turley, a talented sculptor and artist. He currently has artwork on display at the Springville Art Museum as part of the Utah Valley University faculty art show. His works include: "Self Portrait in 7 Generations," and busts of himself, his father and grandfather entitled "Dust to Dust." Andrew teaches Sculpture and 3D design at UVU (not on the computer, but in the studio where getting dirty is still allowed).
He also happens to be my cousin.

Alright. Let's go!


SME: Welcome to INFF!

Andrew: Pleased to be here.

SME: Explain, if you will, what it is that you do.

Andrew: I make art about geneology, mostly my own. I would classify it as sculpture. Almost every project has a new material. That keeps me engaged, but working with something new slows down the process at times.

SME: Does play dough count as an official sculpting medium--'cause I struggle with just play dough.

Andrew: Play dough presents some archival problems, but may be a good material to start with.

SME: Beginner level sounds very fitting.
At kindergarten graduation last year, all the kids were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. One kid wanted to be a giant spider. Another hoped to be a cookie maker. No one said "artist." When did you decide to be an artist?

Andrew: Sometime during the 3rd grade; the giant spider thing wasn't working out.

SME: Had to let go of the spider dream, eh? It's hard when one's life ambition falls through. At least you had "be a rockin' sculptor" to fall back on.

Andrew: I became progressively interested through high school.

SME: Did your high school offer classes in sculpting, or did you learn on the side?

Andrew: No 3D, really. Before my sophomore year of college my mom told me not to cover the bananas in clay. It was actually all clay--she mistook it for the real thing, I guess. I took a painting class and a sculpture class that next semester and decided I wanted to make art in real space.

SME: I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the artwork you created for your thesis--all on a genealogical theme, like you said. "Imprint" is made up of several generations of hand prints. I LOVED it! I'll admit, I actually got a little emotional looking at that one. I've always had this thing about touching things that people have touched in the past. To me it is such a tangible link to history and people, and that work really represented that feeling for me.

Andrew: Did you guess whose prints they were?

SME: I'm guessing the smallest one was your daughter and the others were her pedigree chart--dad, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Andrew: That's right. There's a blank sheet as well for my Grandma May who has passed on.

SME: And, honestly, that touched me probably even more than if there had been a print there.
Speaking as a teacher/professional/artist... which would you say is most important in a young, budding artist (and by young, I mean elementary school): obvious talent or raw enthusiasm? 'Cause I have a kid with one of those characteristics, but not necessarily the other.

Andrew: I lean towards enthusiasm. I do feel a need to make stuff and seem to have a knack for it, but I believe an artist is an author of ideas more than a craftsman. What one has to say takes precedence over skill--not to say you shouldn't work on technique, learn the rules and all that.

SME: So I should enjoy the thousands upon thousands of drawings and sculptured mashed potatoes and other forms of somewhat edible art that I receive on a daily basis?

Andrew: I think so. I think artists should be like kids, exploring new things and treating their work as something fun to share with those around them. Although, I don't know if I would eat the mashed potatoes.

SME: And that, I think, constitutes the first INFF "Tips for Parenting the Excessively-Creative Child."

Andrew: Hey I have a story relating to your Excessively-Creative Childhood

SME: Uh-oh.

Andrew: We make family reunion albums with my siblings and I asked them what songs to put on a California one when we go back.

SME: Oh. No.

*I would just like to point out that this is one of the inherent risks in interviewing family members: they know far too much personal information!*

Andrew: They all said "If You Don't Know Me By Now."

SME: Never heard of it. *coughs, clears throat awkwardly*

Andrew: Are you sure? "We all have our funny moods. I've got mine. Woman you've got yours too."

SME: Obviously the sculpting fumes are impacting your memory. I disavow all knowledge of any songs to which I may or may not have choreographed extremely emotional dances when I was at a very impressionable age.

Andrew: We can move on if you like, I suppose "we only act like children when we argue fuss and fight."

SME: Um. Yes. Moving on.
Let's jump right to the classic INFF quesion: What is your favorite continent?

Andrew: I believe South America received a shout out last week. I'll have to second that, considering my time spent in the Andes.

SME: Excellent! That's 2 for South America. And 2 friends who have lived there. I am feeling very international. Last week's friend, Marsha Ward, mentioned the food in South America. Anything in particular that stands out in your memory, culinarily speaking?

Andrew: We ate potatoes daily. The Inca developed it as an edible crop. I also had nightmares about Api.

SME: Api? What is that?

Andrew: It's a purple corn drink that is overly sweet and has chunky texture. It retains its scorching heat indefinitely. I just gagged. Reflex.

SME: I'm gagging just thinking about it. Chunky, scorching, purple beverage. Yeah. I'm understanding the nightmare thing.
I noticed on your blog a while back that you recently finished sculpting dinosaur skeletons. What the heck? Who does that? Do paleontologists just bring you a handful of bones and say "Could you make this into a stegosaurus for us?"

Andrew: I did that with a friend of mine, a summer job between school years. People contact the boss, knowing some of his work and ship him priceless fossils, which we subsequently break, glue back together and slap bondo on to fill in missing parts.

SME: So no pressure: "Here's something invaluable that could never be replaced." Are you given any kind of direction? Or do you just get to get all artistic on the Jurassic period?

Andrew: My boss was quite knowledgeable, but sometimes he would say, "Make up what you want, no one's ever found that part so you know as well as I."

SME: That is completely and totally nuts. In a cool way. I will never look at a dinosaur skeleton the same way again.
As you probably know, INFF absolutely requires silly and pointless games. I have one for you. Aren't you excited?

Andrew: WOOOOOO! Are there ice cream prizes- or Cerretas, hear you give that out like, well candy.

SME: Actually, I'm so glad you brought that up. There will be another giveaway--next week (Details on Monday!). Win this game and I will automatically enter you in the drawing!!!

Andrew: Don't you also have to enter me into another drawing of sorts, like a portrait?

SME: Ooh, a play on words. We author-types like that sort of thing. Very impressive, oh artistic one.
So, the game. October is the month when amateur sculptors pull out their itty-bitty knives and really enormous spoons and try their hand at creating art. Yes, the month of the Jack O' Lantern. Seeing as how you are not an amateur like the rest of us, I'd like to show you a few pumpkin carvings and have you judge their artistic merit.

Andrew: Sounds spooktacular. Did I just go too far with the word play?

SME: Just a tad.
I'm going to show you 3 Jack O' Lanterns that I have grouped into a category and you tell me which one is the best--professionally speaking.
The first group --->

Andrew: Impressed with the green flame in C. I like the humor in B- my head is on fire so I'm crossing my eyes, but I would have to go with A. The eyes set the right spooky tone and the flames look great.

SME: That's correct! (Whichever one you had picked would have been correct. Isn't this a great game?)

Andrew: Good, I almost picked B, for enthusiastic effort.

SME: Okay. Group #2.
<---

Andrew: I'd say A. Best stretching of the aggressor's mouth, and most appropriate Fall setting.

SME: Again, correct. How do you do it?

Andrew: It comes with reading Calvin and Hobbes--the snowmen cartoons relate quite nicely to these seasonal sculptures.

SME: Alright. This last group is trickier, because there IS 1 correct answer and 2 very incorrect answers. But no pressure. Okay, actually, lots of pressure.

Andrew: Wait a minute, there are no correct answers in Art--just in math and science, right?

SME: The "correctness" has nothing to do with artistic merit, but with my own sense of self-preservation, which I have placed on the line here. Group #3...

Andrew: Wait is that the pumpkin that looks like 'me' me, or 'you' me?

SME: Like me. Your fearless interviewer, who is very much afraid in this moment.

Andrew: I would say C. Bright. Cheery. Kempt hair at all times. No rings around the eyes.

SME: Ding. Ding. Ding. That is correct. 3 for 3. I think that makes you a winner!

Andrew: Do I win Carl's voice on my home answering machine?

SME: Um. Sorry. I can't pull those kinds of strings. But it does get you into the prize drawing next week.

Andrew: Sweet.

SME: So, I do believe it is time for the great unveiling of your stick figure portrait. In honor of you and your chosen profession, I have changed things up a little.

Andrew: I trust you used actual sticks to reflect the branching nature of my work.

*The sound of creative genius at work--oddly enough, no heavy marker aroma.*

Andrew: I am amazed, I was really hoping for a portrait in true 3D. A, for enthusiasm! The hair even appears to be another material as well.

SME: Hooray!! I feel very validated. That was my first sculpture--not counting the play dough snakes I used to make as a kid.

Andrew: I actually am amazed that I hoped for an actual 'stick' figure moments before seeing my portrait. Are those leaves?

SME: Oh, yes. The shoes--'cause all my stick figures have shoes--are made out of leaves. I was all about multiple materials.

Andrew: The forked branch was an excellent choice to exhibit contrappostos.

SME: That is precisely what I was going for. I think.

Andrew: As employed by Grecian sculptors to suggest a naturalistic gesture.

SME: Yep. I'm pretty much an expert.
And now the usual final question. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Andrew: 1. I got to think about eating, without actually eating- kind of like when I just open the Nutella jar to smell the rich goodness.
2. I was flattered, almost to tears, that the portrait utilized actual branches.
3. I got some new ideas for jack-o-lanterns.
4. I got to talk about art.
5. I still had enough time between questions to check on my pot of boiling moose bones. (Cleans out the stink...hopefully.)

SME: Wonderful. Except for the moose bones smell. I'm trying not to think about that.

Andrew: I'm boiling while my wife is away. I think I'll pour some more pine-sol on the ground before she gets back.

SME: Yes. Lots of pine-sol. Thanks for stopping by and being my Friday Friend!

Andrew: I enjoyed it, I guess "if you don't know me by now, you will never, ever, ever know me."

SME: Ahem. Continuing to disavow.

*cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!


If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


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