Writers Lost in 2012 Quiz – guessing closed

Tuesday Quizzes are back!!  I hope that you’ll try your hand at my (mostly) bookish quizzes every week, but it’s okay if you just want to play when the quiz interests you.  If you play you are eligible for a prize at the end of the round (sometime in June).  For all of the details, click here.  Submit your answers in the comment section – I will stop by and hide them throughout the week but try not to copy off anyone else 🙂  You have til Sunday to guess.

These writers all died last year.  Oh, and no googling!!! This is just for fun, for pete’s sake!

1. This screenwriter, producer, journalist, and author was responsible for some of my favorite movies (When Harry Met Sally being one) and her 1983 novel Heartburn chronicled some of her married life with Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein.  Nora Ephron 5-19-1941/6-26-12

2. Science fiction found a new voice with the publication of the The Martian Chronicles in 1950.  This powerhouse also wrote a famous book about burning books.  Ray Bradbury 8-22-1920/6-5-2012

3. Who will know where the wild things are now?  Maurice Sendak 6-10-1928/5-8-2012

4. He may be the last of a generation of authors who served in WWII.  His specialty was the historical novel, including titles like Lincoln, Julian, and Burr, but he also wrote many screenplays, including Ben Hur.  Gore Vidal 10-3-1925/7-31-2012

5. One of Ireland’s best-loved writers wrote 16 novels. Her first, Light a Penny Candle (1982), Circle of Friends (1990), and an Oprah book club selection in 1999 being a few favorites.  Maeve Binchy 5-28-1940/7-30-2012

6. Without him people would not know these 7 habits of annoyingly effective people.  Steven Covey 10-24-1932/7-16-2012

7. He died in a car accident while touring for his own book, but he was also a well-known co-author on such books as The Last Lecture as well as books with Captain Sully Sullenberger and Gabrielle Giffords.  Jeffrey Zaslow  10-6-1958/2-10-2012

8. This Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years also wrote the bestseller Sex and the Single Girl in 1962.  Helen Gurley Brown 2-18-1922/8-13-2012

9. This Canadian turned New York writer wrote three collections of essays, all of them winning awards.  David Rakoff  11-27-1964/8-9-2012

10. This motivational speaker wrote See You at the Top and Selling 101.  Plus he has cool initials.  Zig Ziglar 11-6-1926/11-28-2012

10 in ’10 with Susan McBride and a giveaway

I’m on the blog tour for Susan McBride’s latest, The Cougar Club, and you’ll see my review on February 17th.  But today she has agreed to stop by an answer 10 questions for us and to offer an autographed book for one lucky commenter.  Details at the end of the interview.  She was so gracious and sweet that she is offering this book even though I already had one to give away (this second one will be offered when I post my review).  Stop by Susan’s wonderful website and you’ll find information on all of her books and upcoming events, I only wish she was coming a bit closer to Cleveland 🙂  On to the questions…

1. In your YouTube video you say that you wanted to write about women like you. How are the women of The Cougar Club like you and which one is closest to the real Susan?

The women I know in their 40s and 50s are vibrant and funny with rich, full lives.  Some have raised kids, gone back to school, suffered through divorces, or had to pick themselves up after losing a job, and yet they always hold their heads high and move on.  I love that spirit.  It’s inspiring.  That’s what I wanted to infuse into the characters of Kat, Carla, and Elise in The Cougar Club.  I definitely share Kat Maguire’s desire for true happiness and her need to surround herself with people who love her unconditionally.  She’s far braver than I am though when it comes to taking risks in relationships.  Carla Moss is a 45-year-old anchorwoman who’s feeling the pressure to maintain a youthful appearance for her audience.  I don’t think I could ever live in the public eye like that.  I’d hate to be judged by the lines on my face rather than by the quality of my work.  Elise Randolph is much softer than either Kat or Carla.  She’s put her heart and soul into raising her son for 18 years, and now he’s off at college.  She doesn’t realize till he’s gone that there’s a big empty space between herself and her husband. She loves being a dermatologist but doesn’t want to feel married to her work. Hmm, all the women are 45, and I’m 45; but while there may be bits and pieces of me in each woman, none of the three IS me.  Although my husband would like to think that the cute hockey player in the book is him!  So, shhh!  Let’s not tell him anything different.  😉

Probably one of the driving forces behind my writing The Cougar Club was my disgust at how the media depicts women over forty.  We’re either Botoxed-to-death Barbies desperate to stay young or faux-tanned, cleavage-bearing nymphomaniacs.  I have a true Cougar sister who’s 46 and fabulous and has never dated anything but younger men (or so it seems!).  I’m an “accidental Cougar,” having met Ed–who’s nine years my junior–when I was a St. Louis Magazine “Top Single” in 2005.  We were married two years ago on February 24, and we’re incredibly happy.  Age isn’t an issue with us.  My wish would be that readers of The Cougar Club come away with the idea that you’re never too old to follow your heart, whether it be in your personal life or your career. 

2. You’ve written mysteries, young adult, and women’s fiction. Which one interests you the most right now?

I will never say “never” as far as writing in any genre again, whether it’s mysteries or young adult (and I do have one YA book left to write on my Random House contract), but right now I’m in love with women’s fiction.  I had such a blast telling the story of women my age in The Cougar Club that I’m dying to do it again.  I’m working on a proposal now, so we’ll see how things pan out! 

3. I’ve read that you wrote many manuscripts before getting published. Have you gone back and tried to publish them now that you are established or are they safely tucked away in the bottom of a desk drawer?

Oh, gosh, I wrote 10 manuscripts in the 10 years after I graduated from college, and none of those were published.  But they were all great practice for me.  I tried my hand at a variety of genres and different points of view, and it helped me better learn my craft.  I haven’t had a chance to resurrect any of those unpublished manuscripts as I’ve had such tight deadlines these past 10 years.  But you never know!  There are a few I’d like to revise one day if I ever get the chance.

4. Do you have any rituals or routines when writing?

I do like to write in my pajamas or sweats so I’m comfortable.  If it’s gray or rainy outside, all the better!  I concentrate best when it’s kind of dark in my office.  I like to get emails and business other than actually working on a novel done in the morning then do the creative part after lunch.  I used to love to write at night, but that kind of bit the dust once I met Ed.  But I do wake up in the middle of the night fairly frequently when I’m in the middle of a book.  My brain just doesn’t stop.  So I keep a notebook on my desk, at my bed-side, and in my purse.  Like the Boy Scouts, I’m always prepared.

5. Who is your favorite hero in literature?

I have to say that I adore Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.  The girl does whatever she has to in order to survive. She gets her heart broken over and over, but she picks herself up and moves on.  If she screws up, she tells herself, “tomorrow is another day,” something I need to do more often!  She’s a bulldozer disguised as a Southern belle, and I love that!

6. What’s the last book you read?

I’m in the middle of reading According to Jane by Marilyn Brant, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  I’ve recently read The Sugar Queen and Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, which I’m crazy about.  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein had me sniffling back tears at the end.  So many good books out there!  I wish I had more time to read.

7. What is your favorite non writing and reading activity?

Anything I can do with Ed!  We love going to movies, to hockey games, or out to dinner, poking around flea markets, bowling, roaming the Botanical Gardens, or visiting Big Cat Country at the zoo.  We have a lot of fun together, even if we’re watching DVDs at home.

8. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

I’m gazing at a plaque I have hanging over my file cabinet that says, “Well behaved women rarely make history.”  I’m trying to make that my motto!

9. Who would you choose if you were trapped in the life of one fictional character?

Wow, that’s a tough one.  I think I’d want to be Eloise from the Eloise children’s books. She is a cool chick and very smart.

10. And finally, what are you working on now?

I’m finishing up a proposal for my next women’s fiction book, and I’m waiting for word on a few young adult proposals that I turned in awhile back.  So I’m trying to enjoy this brief time when I’m not under the gun of a deadline, because it happens so rarely!  Although I’m equally anxious to get started on something new.  I just love to write!

Okay, now for the giveaway.  Susan will be sending one lucky commenter a free autographed copy of The Cougar Club. The Cougar Club by Susan McBride: Book Cover How easy is it to enter?  Leave a comment with an email address and you are entered.  I’ll randomly select a winner on February 17th when I will start a second giveaway for this book 🙂

9 in ’09 with LaConnie Taylor-Jones

This Friday romance writer, LaConnie Taylor-Jones, joins me for 9 questions.  Last year I reviewed When a Man Loves a Woman, here.    You can visit her website at http://www.laconnietaylorjones.com/index.htm

LaConnie is a wife, mother of four, health educator, and author.  Somehow she found the time to fit in these 9 questions 🙂  Thank you, LaConnie!

1. When you wrote your first book, When I’m With You, did you know you would continue to write about the Baptiste family? Did you have future stories in mind for these characters?

Yes, I actually knew from the beginning that there would be at least four stories from the Baptiste Family. Since I’ve introduced them to readers, they’ve been well received and many readers have requested stories from some of the secondary characters. Only time will tell if this will happen.

2. I love a great romance, but sometimes the genre gets a bad rap. What is the most memorable reaction you have received when you told someone you are a romance writer?

First let me say, I ditto your sentiments. I love romance, too, both as a reader and a writer. A romance novel has the same characteristics as any other novel, except it centers on the love between two people, and provides an optimistic ending. The read is fresh, smart, and diverse.

The most memorable reaction occurred in late 2007 when I stood face-to-face with a person I’d recently met at a small gathering. After a few moments of polite introductory exchange, I casually mentioned that I’d recently published my debut novel.

“Oooh, so how exciting,” the person exclaimed.

With a smile, I nodded and said, “Yes, it certainly is.”

“So, tell me, what do you write?”

“Contemporary romance.”

There are no words in the English language to truly describe the flabbergasted expression on that individual’s face the moment I uttered those last two words.

3. I think it is hard to walk the fine line between too little and too much sex in a romance, but you did a great job in When a Man Loves a Woman. How difficult is it to know how much to put in and when to stop?

The answer to that question comes with an author truly understanding the genre they are writing in. If for example, an author is writing erotic, then it would include more sex scenes than a traditional romance. Most of my books hover between 300-310 pages and I usually include no more than three love scenes.

4. What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

The best writing advice came from my author mentor, Beverly Jenkins. She wisely said, “The only control you have is the story you write, so write the best darn story you can.”

5. What was your favorite childhood book?

Actually, there are two: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger.

6. I love quotes. Do you have a favorite quote or motto?

“Reach beyond the break.”

7. What are you reading right now?

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

8. If you got stuck in the life of one fictional character, who would you choose?

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind. Despite her faults, this character showed a tenacity to succeed and perseverance to overcome the most difficult of situations.

9. And finally, what are you working on right now?

Currently, I’m working on the plot for an upcoming romantic suspense series.

Books by LaConnie- When I’m With You, When a Man Loves a Woman