I’ve been tagged (This time it’s For Real!)

Not only was I tagged by someone, as opposed to tagging myself, but was awarded this-

Here are the answers to questions asked of me by tagger, Mariah, who I tagged in February-

1.   If you could ask any author for a critique/advise, who would it be?
I’d ask the now late Brian Jacques-

“How did you tow the line between your animals being human-like in their thinking, yet using their natural instincts and sensibilities without turning it into a nature documentary, and doing what your story wants, without the reader having a ‘Realism’ complex?”

2.  What’s your favorite movie? (We all can’t write and read all the time. :))
Whisper of The Heart.

3.  If you were trapped on an island, would you rather have a box of books or a box of paper and pens?
A box of books and at least ONE notebook. I’d prefer a pencil, can erase misspellings without things looking like a classified evidence document (Yes, I’m that kind of chronicler).

4.  Favorite Candy?
As a kid: Hershey’s  Whatchamacallit  (Still love them, but they’re hard to find) and yes, it’s a real word too, go figure!

Now: Chewy Caramels and Snickers bar (WAY easier to find)

5.  What is your favorite animal?
I know I write a lot about rats, and they are in my top 5, but my favorite animal is actually wolves. In part, because they are wild cousins of domestic dogs, but also because like rats, there’s more to their behavior and intelligence than people first think. I just  haven’t found the right story to really make use of them in my own writing.

Right now I’m working with Weasels in my new WIP.

6.  Do you have one place on earth that you dream of visiting?

Japan, for three key reasons-

1. Restaurant food!
The soups, sweets, fried stuff, and dumplings I can’t get where I live without making it myself, and just finding the ingredients’/equipment is a challenge…

I know ramen has a sordid reputation among college students in the USA, but like sushi, it’s an art form in the east. Like sushi chefs who train for a decade or more to be certified, there are folks who spend years crafting their own signature soup to use in their ramen shop. 

No different than homemade waffles versus the frozen box version.

2. Jinbo-Cho (Think of it like the “Hollywood for books” or New York Literary culture in Japan)


If you’ve seen either Read or Die or R.O.D. the TV, you’ll know the place I’m talking about. If not, Google it sometime! I’m hoping I’ll find some obscure rare book for my collection, even if it’s not in English, though preferably something I can read as well as covet.

3. Fish Market!

Had there been a market like this in my youth, I might’ve been a seafood lover years ago! I still don’t cook it at home for fear of not getting it right, and with the expense and finding places that have it fresh and unsmelly when you live in the Midwest, not easy!

7.  What is your favorite paranormal power and why?
As much as I’d like to fly, have the strength of a 10 grizzly bears, or turn into a wolf (While still being able to talk and have my humanity in tact) I’d most rather just be able to talk to animals.

8.  Coffee?

Yes, so long it’s well made, and I consider myself a “Barista-in-training” when it comes to making my own.

Grinding my own beans (as I need them), carefully brewed in small batches, that kind of thing. I ‘ve yet to learn how to make certain things like milky foam for cappuccino, but for me fresh beans ground as needed is the only way to go. I only used the pre-ground instant stuff for baking, unless the recipe otherwise calls for freshly brewed coffee. I can take it straight with sugar, I’d only like milk it it’s a cappuccino, which I’m still learning to make better at home.

Though I do like tea as well. That I can’t enjoy on average without milk! Sugar too.

9.    Who is your favorite storybook character?
As a reader I’ve got too many to name.

But as a writer I really love Lyle the Crocodile.

Primarily because I’d personally find a great challenge (being a non-illustrator) to write a character who despite not being able to talk, has such depth, and thoughtful expression that’s organic.

For a writer like me, who’s all about chatty and witty, taking away a character’s ability to speak, be they human or otherwise, would be a great challenge for me, but one I do want to tackle one day.

10.  Do you believe in magic? Why or why not?

I do, but not the top hat kind. More the kind you see in Harry Potter.

It’s a part of daily life in the non-Muggle world, but has varying levels of being typical, unusual, or seemingly simple yet majestic, it often depends on the user.

Besides, almost every religion you can name has those few stories that frankly can only make sense (And be true!) if there’s some variant of magic or otherworldly power involved, so even if it’s not as common as breathing air, to like what’s in Lord or the Rings, it’s got to exist in some form.

I mean, how many people do you know who can part The Red Sea?


Now since most of the blogs I follow have been tagged more than once, my list will be smaller, but still blogs I follow-

Cat Woods (Words from the Woods)
She was a big inspiration to me when query letters were Hell on Earth two years ago, and like my friend Kelly Hashway who I interviewed for Critter Chat, she has had a long, hard road, and still struggles to stay on the sunny side of her writing life. Still, she is many ways a far braver and practical about her writing process than I can say, though much has improved since the last time we talked.

(Katrina D. (Cat) This is the “Other Cat” I know)

Kristi Holl (Writer’s First Aid) based on her books, Writer’s First Aid, and More Writer’s First Aid,
A blog I follow and refer to often, and while the advice is not easy to follow, or read, I commend Kristi for still understanding the writer’s side of the story, not just the business side, which some blogs don’t respect enough, even if the facts are correct.

Here are your questions-

1.  What is the weirdest book you read as a kid?

2. What’s the weirdest book you read as a teen?

3. Name one book you read that took something you normally don’t enjoy reading but made it enjoyable for you once you read it.

4. What’s your favorite Movie?

5. What’s your Chinese Zodiac Sign? Are you at odds with it? Why or why not? (Not sure of your sign? Click here!)

6. Who’s the most “Out there” writer you’ve ever read, and LIKED anyway?

7. Bake from scratch or from mix?

8. If you could spend the day with any author, living or dead, who would it be? What you thank him or her for writing?

9. Favorite Musical Instrument (Whether you play it or not)

10. Are there “Classic” books you comprehend and love

(Classic in this context is ANY book originally published before 1960)

11. Are you more adventurous in “risque” material as a reader than a writer?

(I don’t just mean S-E-X…)

12. What animal do you think is the most misunderstood and why?

Stay gripped to your mouse, there’s more to come today,

Okay, I’m tagging myself!

Sorry I’ve been MIA, but this time it’s not because I’m depressed, but I’m writing again and the blog got neglected more than I intended, but I’m still working out the new format and schedule so I won’t be gone too long.

In the meantime I’m tagging myself. What do I mean?

Well, my friend Kelly Hashway got “tagged” today, but so far no one tagged me, but another writer I know gave me an in so to speak, to see what I mean, click here.

1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Questions to answer:

If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be?
That’s a tough one! I’ll get back to you….

Do you read in noisy or quiet places?
Ideally I’d prefer quiet (Moms, don’t hate me!), or a little music that’s not distracting from the book, I can read through some noise, provided it’s not a heated argument between people, at home or in public. At least it’s easier in most  cases to move away in public than at home.

What was the first book you ever read?
A Rat’s Tale by Tor Seidler. Not my first book in terms of reading on my own (I can’t remember, but it was something for school), but this is first book I  bought with my own money, and read solely for ME, as opposed to what I was forced to read in school. This book was also the inspiration for my last completed MG novel. I was 14, but my life as a pleasure reader started with this book.

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oy! This is another tough one. Well, I’d have to say Time Stops For No Mouse by Micheal Hoeye. It’s got it all: action, danger, murder, mysteries, even unrequited love (Well, until books 3 and 4, but I would’ve been ticked otherwise…)

Favourite author?
I can’t choose, there are too many!

Do reviews influence your choice of reads?
Sometimes, while it’s never my sole influence, I’ve taken chances on books I normally wouldn’t touch if the reviewer’s testimony gives me something that informs me enough to go for it without spoiling the story, something that’s hard to do, especially with series books. For the most part I trust my judgement and know how to find my own “Diamonds in the Slush” so to speak.

Fiction or Non fiction?
Primarily Fiction, but I’m embracing nonfiction more, and not just for novel research.

Have you ever met your favourite author?
No. But I have more than one favorite author, and sadly most of them rarely come to America (Especially Michigan…), and most are dead now, the most recent of which I touched on in during my Dangers of Rivalry series in January.

Among the still living (Far as I know), Vivian Vande Velde, Megan MacDonald, and Tor Seidler who in particular is one of my greatest inspirations. His books are so witty and well written, and while he may be a bit “Dawdling” for some, I’m addicted to his prose, and his ability to make unlikely heroes from animals who often tend to be demonized unfairly in my opinion, something I’ve adopted in my own writing.

Audio books or Paperbacks?
Both! Primarily hardback/paperback. You didn’t say I had to pick one or the other…

Classic or Modern Novels?
Both! As much as I love/admire numerous writers from the 21st century,  don’t deny me the pleasures of Potter (Not Harry, kids, think female from before color movies), Scarry and Waber. Which reminds me, I need to re-read all my Lyle books…

Book Groups or Solitary Reading?
Solitary, but I’d like to give a book club a try.

Who am I tagging?
Angelia Almos /Angie Derek (1 Author – 2 Names)
Mariah Deitrick
Jami Gold
Janice Hardy
Jill Kemerer
Casey McCormick
Sheri P.
Patricia Puddle (Hey Trish! So proud of your progress and imitative!)
Allyn Stotz
Hilary Wagner (Hey Hilary! Hope to see my name by yours on the bookshelf one day)
Gueh Yanting

Will post again soon,