Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

I swiped these questions from Becky over at Peevish Pen.

I broke them up and didn't answer all of them; just up to 13.

1. If you’re a writer, what do you write?

I write nonfiction newspaper articles. I average over 30 a month; lately it's been more like 40, leaving little time for anything else.

Writing for me means doing interviews, taking photos, making lots of phone calls. Gathering the information is an important part of the process.

I also have a few novels in the drawer, one finished, several started but not complete. I am also working on a nonfiction history book.

I also sometimes write poetry.

I have a terrible tendency to put my own projects last; hence they don't get done.

2. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I play the guitar. I exercise. I read a lot at night; I average about 50 books annually, mostly fiction at this stage in my life. I also am a wife so there is always cooking, cleaning and laundry. Not to mention going to the market.

3. Are you published? Agented? Hopeful?

My nonfiction has been and continues to be published in many local newspapers (The Fincastle Herald, the Vinton Messenger, the Cave Spring Connection, The Roanoke Times, The Salem-Times Register, The New Castle Record, etc., ); a couple of local magazines - The Roanoker (a very long time ago) and OurHealth. I was also published several times in a statewide magazine called Cooperative Living, and a few other places.

I once had a fiction story published in a Christmas story anthology printed by The Roanoke Times. I've also had some poetry published. All of that was in the 1990s, though. I guess it still counts.

I've been publishing since 1985 when my first piece, entitled "Making Shiloh Apple Butter" appeared in The Fincastle Herald.

I don't have an agent because nothing I've written is at that point.

4. What do you love about books?

I don't understand people who don't love books. They are full of words and ideas and images and they bring entire worlds to your doorstep. All you have to do is read them. They are portable, small, fit well in my hands. They smell good, too, when they're brand new. They have colorful covers and intriguing pictures sometimes.

What's not to love, as Mrs. B. says over at Peevish Pen.

5. What drives you crazy about books?

I can't think of anything that drives me crazy about books. The publishing industry might be something else again - I wish publishers would take more risks with new writers.

6. Starbucks, Peets, or Folger’s Crystals?

I don't drink coffee much. I occasionally have a French Vanilla decaf but not very often.

7. The beach, the mountains, or completely lost and without a map?

I am actually pretty happy on my own little farm, looking out my window and watching the clouds roll by. Last night I saw 17 deer in the front yard. And I do mean the front yard.

8. Are you excited about the new seasons of “Lost” and “American Idol”? If not, what’s wrong with you?

I have never watched either of these shows. See the notation above about reading a book. I would much rather be lost in a book than lost in a show called "Lost". As for American Idol, I stopped watching anything on FOX about 10 years ago.

9. Here’s a $25,000 advance. How will you spend it?

I'd bank it and possibly take six months off from the newspaper (or at least slow down the volume a little) so I could finish whatever the advance was for and start on a new personal project.

10. Kindle: Useful reading device or harbinger of the literary apocalypse?

I am intrigued by these but I can't seem them ever replacing a book or a real newspaper for me. I am old fashioned that way. Let's face it, new media is interesting but ... acid free paper has shown it will lay around for several hundred years. A CD Rom won't last 20. I predict that this era will have few records because the new media isn't going to last to give an historical accounting.

11. If a picture paints a thousand words, how many pictures do 80,000 words paint?

If they are good words, they might paint an entire movie, which would be an awful lot of pictures.

Bad words might not paint anything at all.

12. What book do you wish you had written? Why didn’t you?

Pretty much any book published, although I have read some rather bad books that I am grateful I didn't write. I always wanted to write something like Nancy Drew books. Or Little House on the Prairie Books. Or Phyllis Whitney Books. Or Victoria Holt books. Or Janet Evanovich books. etc. etc. etc.

As to why didn't I, I seem to have a problem with large projects and finishing things. Short articles seem to be what works best for me. It's a kick in the pants but there you go.

13.What part of the world do you live in? And how bothered are you by sentences that end in a preposition?

I live in Virginia. Sentence that end in prepositions do not overtly bother me but I have been known to revise something from time to time to make sure the preposition has been removed. And then I've revised it back because it sounded funny.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; you can learn more about it here. My other Thursday Thirteens are here.


  1. So you were in Christmas Memories, too?! I'll have to find my copy and look for your story.

    I got these questions from another blog, lit agent Rachelle Gardner's Rants & Ramblings:

  2. I would love to leave on a farm with deer in the yard. Happy TT.

  3. I'm not a writer so all of this is fascinating to me!

  4. Hi!
    Awesome TT 13!! Hope you get all your projects done! Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!!


  5. I tend to like shorter writing projects myself - maybe because I just don't want to give up all the other things I enjoy to devote the time that a novel length commitment involves.

    #8 - I got hooked on this show and would recommend it for anyone who loves literature and mysteries because it is chock full of them. A good show to make you think - not mindless to take up time. I do agree a book is a better alternative to much on TV. There is even a Lost book group made up of all the literature referenced throughout the series.

    #13 - I personally am not bothered but always feel like I should try to restructure - and then it doesn't look right and I change it again - just as you have said!

  6. This was very interesting. I enjoyed reading this glimpse into your life.

  7. Fun questions! That is a lot of newspaper writing you do! I am impressed!

  8. I am still hoping for you to get that breath of inspiration to sit down and knock out a few hundred pages! Maybe this will be the year!

    I always dreamed of writing a book, but can"t get farther than a blog entry!

    Hope you stay warm today!

  9. I always enjoy getting to know bloggers through posts like this. Thank you for sharing some of yourself here.

  10. I still can't beleive you write that much! #10?

  11. Wow, I'm going to have to look for you in the newspaper! That's impressive! Article writing is hard.

    About number 8, I just made a decision today to cut back on the TV. And the Internet! Unless it has to do with my writing. I'm giving myself a time limit on here now, and then I'm off to the other room to READ. With no TV on. And I see I'm late so I better get going!


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