Monday, May 31, 2010


Just a friendly reminder:

All entries in May's Giveaway must be posted by midnight tonight!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Janette Rallison's "My Double Life":

(one entry for each of the following)
Leave a comment on this blog
Leave a comment on Janette's blog
Post a link on your blog
Leave a comment on my FB page
Give the contest a shout out on FB
Tweet about the giveaway

(Be sure to come back and tell me what you've done, in case I'm not smart enough to figure it out. [more likely than you probably realize])
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Friday, May 28, 2010

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 guest is T.J. Bronely, a writer and all around great guy. He and his lovely family stopped by a book signing and said hi, which makes them all uber-cool. He blogs and tweets and is responsible for pretty much the coolest blog post of the year, which, of course, we will talk about in his interview.

Time to meet T.J.
SME: Welcome to INFF!

T.J.: Thank you. I'm so glad to be here. I mean, I worked hard at my flattery to get an interview with you.

SME: The kissing-up was very, very impressive.

T.J.: I've learned over the years how to bribe people properly. The chocolates are at Annette's house.

SME: First question, and perhaps the most important one... what is your essential writing food? Stuff that has to be close by when you write.

T.J.: Oreos are some of the most essential. But you know what, you can't have milk to dip in. A milky keyboard is not as easy to clean as a Cheetos-filled one.

SME: This is true, my friend. Cheese powder can be lightly brushed away. Milk, not so much.
Have you always wanted to write or is this a recently acquired sickness?

T.J.: I have dreamed of being a writer since I was about 10 or 11. I'll have to say that random ideas started really flowing into my head when I was 14.

SME: So, TJ, what's your favorite continent?

T.J.: (Yes, the continent question!) Europe.

SME: Europe receives a steady flow of votes. Why Europe? Not that there's anything wrong with Europe...

T.J.: I served my LDS mission in Belgium and France. My mother's parents were native Hungarians (really want to go to Hungary one day.) My wife's mother was raised in Ireland and my wife loved visiting her grandparents in England. And without Europe, we'd be left without the best forms of chocolate.

SME: All I heard was "blah, blah, blah chocolate." All-in-all, a very convincing argument.

T.J.: Chocolate is always convincing.

SME: You are the genius behind the uber-popular "Survivor: LDS Authors" post. And, as such, I have fashioned a new game particularly suited to you.

T.J.: Sweet! Bring it on!

SME: I have entitled this game "'Survivor: LDS Authors,' the details"

T.J.: Sounds difficult already.....

SME: I will ask you 3 questions regarding various details of this undertaking and you, as the creator, will decide which option would be the best fit. Cool?

T.J.: Cool...or in the words of Elana Johnson: awesomesauce.

SME: Alright.
Detail #1: Location. Knowing the need for a remote, destitute location in which survival is not entirely assured, which of these 2 options would be best for Survivor: LDS Authors?
a.) a small meeting room at the next LDStorymakers Conference
OR
b.) a remote island without access to books, the internet or the latest copy of Publishers Weekly


T.J.: Tough one. But I have to say "a". What you don't know is I'll make sure that none of you have cell phones or laptops.

SME: *slight choking sound* um... I feel faint...

T.J.: Also, no one cares about the where with Survivor: LDS Authors as much as the who.
Or is it whom?

SME: Where's Annette Lyon when we need her?

T.J.: Probably eating chocolate, writing about chocolate, baking with chocolate. Somewhere around there.

SME: Okay.
Detail #2: The Immunity Idol. Motivation is key with the I.I. and I'm thinking a bunch of spacey authors need added incentive. With that in mind, which of the following would make the best immunity idol?

<-----a.) an iPad with fully charged batteries
OR
b.) a Whitney Award------>

T.J.: I'm going with the iPad with fully charged batteries. What a luxury to have that thing!

SME: And when the batteries run out... you can use it as a very small coffee table.

T.J.: Or hit your enemy over the head with it during a challenge. Somehow, weapons were brought up for Survivor: LDS Authors

SME: We are a cut-throat lot. No weapons barred, particularly the literary kind.

T.J.: Yes, writers can get creative.

SME: Detail #3: The Winner. I'm not naming names *Josi Kilpack* but there was some smack-talking going on in the comments of your post. *Josi Kilpack* Let's set the record straight.
Who, between
<-------myself and
someone I'll call...
uh... Kosi Jilpack,----------->
would you consider the most likely to win?


T.J.: Nice headshot!

SME: See how very prepared I am? Now THAT'S a survivor!! I'm no sweet, halo-adorned competitor! I'm fierce and a force to be reckoned with!

T.J.: Yes (if I can keep talking maybe I can stall for a really good answer to the Sarah vs Josi dilemma)

SME: I'll just let you think about that. *pointed look of warning*

T.J.: If the final two were somehow you vs Josi, I think the winner may be you. Sorry to Josi, but I say that because Josi writes murder-mysteries while you write calm, peaceful historical romance.

SME: Oh yeah. I think I'd be all over the out-of-nowhere victory. They'd never see it coming. Mostly because they wouldn't be looking low enough.

Perhaps we should head on over to the portrait gallery to check out your portrait.

*Sarah's whips-out yet another fabulous portrait*

T.J.: I love the Ninja Turtle bandana/Survivor buff. And it looks like I'm holding some yummy french fries.

SME: Those yummy french fries are the Immunity Idol iPad. Very chic, I know.
It's been decorated.

T.J.: Yes, very much so. Maybe I'm just hungry and want French Fries. But yes, it's a book-loving, Survivor fan's dream portrait.

SME: Heck yeah.
That, my newest INFF friend, brings us to the final question of the interview. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

T.J.: 1: This is my first interview and will go down in history as the most crucial in my career.
2: Any conversation with European chocolate is good.
3: I got awesome red sandals in my portrait
4: I got to pick a Survivor winner, (though I still maintain Howard Tayler would win.)
5: I'm so vain that I think this interview is about me.

SME: I look forward to the day when Survivor: LDS Authors becomes a reality. I will be there with concealed weapons and devious plans!

T.J.: And I look forward to hosting it and getting to interview you instead.

SME: Thanks so much for stopping by.

T.J.: Thanks for having me.

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!

Don't forget to enter May's Giveaway. Plus, TJ receives 2 extra entries if his interview gets 5 or more comments. So, comment away, folks!


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.
(I'm bringing along 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 38:

Hey. Remember May's totally cool, very secretive giveaway? Remember how if you go comment on Janette Rallison's blog you get double entries in this giveaway?

Well, a little birdie told me that if you go comment over there now, you'll be entered in another giveaway that is eerily similar to this one. Crazy, man.

So go do it. But be very stealthy about it. Then come back and tell me that you did.


PS--This week's INFF is going to be fabulous. Come back Friday and check it out.


(ignore "Read More!")
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Friday, May 21, 2010

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 guest is Chas Hathaway, a talented pianist with a knack for musical arrangement and composition. He is also plays piano concerts--in public (something I would never have the guts to do). His work can be seen (& heard!) at his website and his music blog. He also runs a blog in which he chronicles his experiences as and offers insights into life in Africa, as well as a blog on dating that he has undertaken with his wife. For more info on Chas, himself, you can check out his personal blog.

On a personal note, Chas sent me complementary copies of two pieces of his sheet music and I have enjoyed playing them both. They are beautifully written. So, thanks Chas! (And the rest of you should go peruse the selection over at his site!)

SME: Welcome to INFF!

Chas: Thanks! Glad to be here!
I just noticed I've used an exclamation point in everything I've said so far!!

SME: Exclamation points are great! See! I use them too!
*ahem* Because I always begin with very important questions: What is your favorite baked good?

Chas: Food... of varying types. I guess I don't have a favorite, but I do like my Mom in law's dutch oven cooking

SME: Yum. Anything in particular from her dutch oven?

Chas: My wife just said baked goods is referring to bread stuff, so I'll say her carrot cake. To DIE for!

SME: Your wife is a very wise woman.
pssst, I love carot cake. L.O.V.E.


Chas: Amen

SME: When was the last time you had some of you this to-die-for carrot cake? And what would it take for a person unrelated to either of you to get a slice of that little bit of heaven?

Chas: It's my mom in law's carrot cake. Jenni (my wife) says she doesn't do carrot cake, but she does a great bread. But as for the dutch oven carrot cake, she's the president of IDOS (International Dutch Oven Society), so if you planned a ward activity and invited IDOS, bet they'd do it!

SME: I didn't even know such a thing existed. A dutch oven expert. Who knew?! And your wife bakes bread. You, my friend, are a man with connections!

Chas: Got that right!

SME: I understand you have played the piano for a number of years now. What first got you interested in playing?

Chas: When I was a teenager, I was really taken up with some of the music of musicians like David Lanz, Ray Lynch, and George Winston. I remember listening to music late one night in bed, and a thought came to me that I could do the same. It was quite a shock, since I didn't play anything...
But the next day I got out the old piano lesson books I had from when I was a kid (I had a year of lessons in elementary, but got bored of practicing, and stopped), and started trying to re-teach myself. I soon discovered that it was much funner to play by ear than by sheet music.
It took about a year to get sounding decent, but once I got into the playing by ear thing, I couldn't stop. It was addicting.

SME: Play by ear. I am *this* close to hating you right now. I took 10 years of formal piano lessons and have continued to play for many years since then, and that is something I can't even remotely do. I need sheet music every time! I can't even memorize music.

Chas: You wouldn't believe how often I hear that.

SME: Here's a little insight into me: I bought an antique upright grand piano a few years back and it has moved with me four times. I said each time that everything else we owned could get destroyed as long as that piano survived. I play the piano almost as often as I write!

Chas: Awesome! You got a better deal than I did, then. I found an awesome antique piano at a thrift store, and it moved with us twice, throwing out multiple backs in the process. Trouble was, the sound board was cracked and we finally had to chuck it. It was the heaviest furniture I ever owned.

SME: So... another really, really vital question: What's your favorite continent?

Chas: Africa. I served a mission for the LDS Church in South Africa, and would love to visit the rest someday.

SME: That is vote #2 for Africa!! Hooray for Africa!

Chas: Right on!

SME: I always think of dry, barren deserts when I think of Africa. Was the part you served in that way?

Chas: Actually, it was the coolest mix of climates I've ever seen. Palm trees and cactus side-by-side. Of course, there were rainforests and savannah, too.

SME: Man, no wonder it's your favorite continent. I just might vote for it next time!

Chas: Do!

SME: So, you wanna play a game? (It's kind of a tradition, you realize.)

Chas: You bet!

SME: You are a musician. Thus, I have crafted a game for you that highlights that particular area of expertise.
In fact, this little game focuses on the pinnacle of musical achievement--Popular music of the early 90s!

Chas: Ha, ha, ha! This should be interesting

SME: I will give you three lines from a song that was popular in the last few years of my elementary school experience and you job will be to choose the missing 4th line from amongst the choices I provide you.
Pssst. If you can name the song and/or the artist--Bonus Points!


Chas: Got it. Can I Google?

SME: No google!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chas: Just kidding

SME: Song lyric #1: I've been fooled before
Wouldn't like to get my love caught in the slammin' door
Are you more than hot for me?
_____________

a. Or is this song too lame for even me?
b. Or am I a page in your history?

c. Someday American Idol is gonna hire me.

Chas: B. Paula Abdule... Abbdool... Ab... uh

SME: B is correct. Ooooh. And bonus points!!! Paula Abdul - "Straight Up" the first song I ever listened to obsessively!

Chas: Yes!

SME: #2: And a hi hat with a souped-up tempo.
I'm on a roll-time to go solo.
Rollin' in my 5.0
___________________

a. Shredded carrots in my lime Jell-o.
b. Why say hi when you can just say "Yo."
c. Ragtop down so my hair can blow.

Chas: B

SME: Oooooh. Apparently you did not memorize "Ice, Ice Baby" like I did when I was young and impressionable. The answer was, in fact, C!

Chas: Ah, shoot. I remember the "Ice Cream Baby" version better than the real thing
"Cruizin' in the minivan, Mom and Dad are thinkin', of a plan, somethin' to cure a crazy urge, somethin' cold to eat, like an ice burg. The solution I will solve it, scoop up some ice cream and I will disolve it."
...sorry

SME: "Word to you mother." heehee
Okay, it's make it or break it time!

#3: Fresh new kicks and pants
You got it like that. Now you know you wanna dance.
So move outta your seat
___________

a. Time for a quiz by S.M.E.
b. And get a fly girl and catch this beat.
c. The phone book lists me as "Hammer, MC"

Chas: C

SME: Can you name the artist and/or song?

Chas: MC Hammer... uh... Can't touch this? (The only one I know the title of)

SME: It was, in fact, MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This." Unfortunately, the answer was B. BUT... That's 1 correct answer but with enough bonus points for you to still be the winner!!!!!!

Chas: YEAH! Actually, I know the Weird Al version better than MC's

SME: I am getting a very interesting insight into your musical tastes.

Chas: Yeah, if you'd have asked me about any of George Winston's lyrics, or weird Al's, I probably would have aced it!

SME: Since we're on a roll, let's stroll on over to the Portrait Gallery.

Chas: Cool

*the awesomeness that is Chas's portrait begins to take shape*

Chas: Awesome! Love the shoes!

SME: I figured a pianist who performs in public needed some spiffy tuxedo shoes!
That brings us around to the final question of I Need Friends Friday. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Chas: 5. I got tux shoes out of it.
4. I learned something about MC Hammer.
3. I didn't have to help get the kids ready for bed.
2. Free publicity :)
1. It's the only blog interview I've ever done.

SME: #3 makes me think you owe your wife something--perhaps baked goods.

Chas: I'll have her show me how to make her some bread

SME: Perfect.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Chas: Thanks for having me!

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!

Don't forget to enter May's Giveaway. Plus, Chas receives 2 extra entries if his interview gets 5 or more comments. So, comment away, folks!


(ignore "Read More!")
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