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I cannot believe I have managed to corner this prolific author.  She is super well known in the Twitterverse and the author of many many titles dealing in paranormal, romance, and is more than prone to spicing things up a bit along the way.  I have been an avid follower of Charity Parkerson since I started on Twitter a few years ago.  Please take a few minutes to learn a bit more about this amazing award winning author.

Welcome Charity and thanks for being on my blog, I have done a little research into you and can’t help but notice you are a very, very busy person, 13 Amazon bestsellers is an impressive count.  Can you tell us where we can find you on the internet and give us a brief rundown of how to find your published works?

I’m everywhere. The easiest place to find me is on Twitter @CharityParkerso.  All of my books can be found online where most books are sold, but there is a full list of my work on my website http://www.charityparkerson.com

How many books are you working on at any one time?

I have five in the works right now, and that’s about the norm for me. When my list of WIPs gets low, I sometimes worry that I’ll run out of ideas but before I know it I have five new documents minimized.

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff going on, so how does your typical week pan out, how much time writing, blogging, tweeting and when do you have time for relaxing?

I’m guilty of paying for a tweet service to keep my feed busy, I suck at blogging and only have maybe one a week. My family comes first, of course, but writing is a clear second. I have set writing hours. I still write when the bug hits, but this is my full-time job so I have to treat it as such. From 10-1:30 every day, I turn off my internet and write even if it’s crap.

Why did you decide on this genre of writing?

Write what you know :-D

I liked your blog post on the various advertising methods you have used, do you think it is an absolute necessity for indie authors to pay for advertising like that?

I think that if you’re serious about writing as a career then you need to treat it that way. Writing is a small business and just like with any business you need to spend money in order to make money.

Any honest, forthright advice for any of us that are contemplating publishing our work?

The best advice I can give is this: learn how to watch silently as the world judges you loudly.

I see you have a podcast series too, busy lady.  Can you tell us a bit about that endeavor?

Sure! I’m working with one of my best friends and fellow writer Melissa Craig on The Melissa Craig and Charity Parkerson show.   We do author interviews and talk all things publishing. We both received recognition awards from International Women’s Day for our work with helping to promote artist. We use our free time to highlight
authors, musicians, and just about anyone who loves creativity.

Really interesting things you are doing Charity, and I encourage everyone to check out your books, website and of course the podcast.  Now its time to sit back, sip on a coffee and answer some more personal questions.

Name one person that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Can I name two? Lynn Hallbrooks reached out to me back when authors were still allowed on the Amazon forums and her friendship has meant a great deal to me. The Mistress of the Darkpath uses her popular blog to help support authors and I credit her with inspiring me to write when I felt as if I had nothing left to work with.

Big question for me, are you a middle child, only child, one of a huge brood?

I’m the baby. I have an older sister. She is amazing.

Where do you want to retire? and of course why?

I’d like to travel all over the world. I’d start with Australia as that is where quite a few of my friends live.

Your favorite room in the house and why?

I’m partial to the living room. I do all my writing in my ratty recliner. I dread the day it’s on its last leg.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

I’d tell my husband to quit. He’s a hard worker.

Who was the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

I’m afraid I’ll insult someone if I try to pick only one.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

This may seem like a strange answer, but grace. It’s something that is truly underrated but when I see people lash out at reviewers or just be plain ugly online, I’m thankful that my mother taught me that you catch more flies with honey.

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

That’s something I’m doomed to screw up. I’ll leave that someone else.

How would you like to be remembered?

As the only female author to ever surpass J.K. Rowling in popularity, lol

If you were an animal, what would you be? (This question is for Tammy Maas)

A cougar ;-)

What were your high school years like?

Pretty normal, seriously, it was an average life.

How would your classmates remember you?

Everyone that I talk to now from high school says, “I’m not surprised you became a writer. You always did like to read.”

Are you still friends with anyone from that time in your life?

Not many people but that’s not surprising. I’m a bit of a recluse.

Have you ever been to a school or college reunion?

Nope.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Scandalous

Now some one or two word answers please:

Favorite color? Pink

Lucky Number 23

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? $30

What color are the sheets on your bed today? White

Short/Tall? short

Best book you ever read? The Count of Monte Cristo

Favorite Music/Artist? Hip Hop/too many to name

Movie that you watch every year or more often? Harry Potter

Favorite Season? Summer

Regular or Decaf? Regular

City Girl or Country Girl? A little of both

4 door sedan or sports car? Sports car

Take out or cook at home? Take out

How many books a year do you read? In the hundreds

Favorite Movie? Big Trouble in Little China

Skirts or jeans? jeans

Favorite Day of the Week? Friday

How many hats do you own? None

Not that I have visited a Therapist lately but let’s do some word association.  Give me the first word that comes to mind when I say:

Sex – Write

Coffee – Please?

Book- Release

Best Friend- Amazing

Vacation- Disney

Summer- Break

Convertible- Car

Loud- Talking

Vinyl- Record

Bird- Singing

Tree- Maple

Infant- New

Thank you Charity, I don’t know where you even found the time to answer all these questions.  I was happy to read that you are graceful, that is definitely a waning trait in our society nowadays.  Now as a way of “giving back” this is where I encourage my guests to name a favorite charity so that we can all get on board and make a difference.  Charity, your favorite one is?

I know that it is a bit early for it, but I love to do Holiday Mail for Heroes each year. I love sending Christmas cards to the troops.

Conversation Starters

I am old, and I am old fashioned, I have accepted that and come to terms with it.  Perhaps that is why I am so amazed at what happened just the other day.  My wife and son were grocery shopping and the boy picked up what he thought was a deck of playing cards.  He knows we play cards a lot at our house and the deck was very inexpensive.  When he got them home he looked them over and said to me “Dad, look at these cards” taking the deck from him I started turning the cards over, they were Conversation Starter Cards for Mealtime with the family.  I kid you not and here are some of the conversation starters, randomly picked by yours truly.

“If you could make a reality TV show what would it be about?  Whom would you have your cameras follow?”

“Would you rather be able to live without sleep or live without food? Why?”

“What kind of animal are you most like? Why?”

I could not believe first of all that somebody would actually make and sell these, but that someone would actually buy them and use them.  Are we that out of touch with our families nowadays that we need “cue cards” to have a conversation.  What the heck has happened to our society.  As I said I am old fashioned and as part of that old fart mentality my family eats dinner together, at the dinner table, not in front of a TV and nobody is excused from attending.  Here are some conversation starters I have for my family, and I didn’t get them from a card purchased at a grocery store.

“Son, how was school today?  How was that Language Arts Test? How are the teachers doing?”

“Sweetie, this is delicious, how was your day today? (this was when I used to be at work all day)

“Son, I read an article the other day on bullying at school.  Are you having trouble with any kids in your school, on your bus?  Are you bullying any other kids? (this one leads to a whole new area of conversation starters if answered in the affirmative).

“Guys, where do we want to go on vacation this year?”

“Son, I heard that 3 kids in your school got in trouble for having drugs with them, lets talk about that a little”

I know, I am a throwback to another era, when families all spent time together, when it was not “uncool” to have your parents interested in what you were doing, who your friends are, how you are doing at school.  I want my wife and son to know that I care about them and I am interested in their lives.  I want to make sure my son is doing ok in school, I don’t expect all A’s just effort and good behavior.  I want to make sure that he is ok on the bus and that he is not being hassled by some of the out of control kids that run loose nowadays.  I want to also make sure that he is behaving himself and not doing anything to upset other kids or teachers either.  Have we really sunk that low that we need a deck of 99 cent playing cards to give us reason to talk to each other?  We are not three people who have just met at a restaurant, we are a family and we better know more about each other than what kind of animal we each would like to be.

Please tell me I am not alone on this one.

Well its Interview #11 and to keep all of you on your toes I have invited a new Tweep of mine to sit down and face the music with an interview.  Although I have only known Marjorie McAtee for a couple of weeks now, I like to think that if I had a younger sister she would be just like Marjorie.  Her blog is a rollercoaster ride of writing that goes from the A to Z challenge to short stories to ghostwriting articles.  Truly a professional writer in all areas and I wanted to let all of you find out a little more about here, Without any more rambling by your host, cause I do that a lot, I would like you to meet Marjorie McAtee.

Welcome Marjorie, I am ecstatic about having such a prolific writer as you here on Ramblings, Reviews and Interviews.  For everyone’s enjoyment I have posted all your contact information right here in the front of the interview, sneaky of me isn’t it?

Blog: http://www.dontcallmemarge.com/

Writing Services Page: http://www.mcateewritingservices.com/

Facebook Fan Page (this is where I share blog posts and other articles, stories etc written under my own name): https://www.facebook.com/writer.marjorie.mcatee

Twitter https://twitter.com/marjoriemcatee

Approximately how many articles are you writing, or ghost writing a year nowadays?

Well, that really depends, but it’s usually in the neighborhood of several hundred.

What works have you published so far?

I’ve published short fiction and creative nonfiction pieces in The Blotter, Amarillo Bay, Center: A Journal of Literary Fiction, Attribute Magazine and Flashquake. Poetry appears in Western North Carolina Woman and Attribute Magazine.

 I love your blog how long have you been at it.

Since March, 2011. Don’t Call Me Marge is my third blog. The other two are now defunct and don’t bear discussing. I chose the name because I knew my friends would be able to remember it easily.

How often do you work on your blog in a typical week?

I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “typical week.” Before I started the A to Z Challenge this year, I only blogged once or twice a week. So, I probably spent four or five hours writing those posts and getting them up. Since I started blogging every day for the A to Z Challenge, it’s easily been two or three times that. I may keep blogging more often after the challenge ends. It’s been very rewarding in an emotional sense and it’s been great for my readership, obviously.

I love the confidence in the tag lines of your blog.  What can visitors expect to see there.

I’m not as offensive or vulgar as you might think. I try to keep things light and steer away from political topics, although I did blog the Presidential debates last year and I think my politics are pretty obvious. I normally do a weekly column, “Fun Friday Facts,” which is self-explanatory and pretty popular. Otherwise, I just try to say funny things.

Can you explain a bit for some of us lesser informed, what SEO is and how you help sites with that?

‘SEO’ stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the combination of factors that goes into getting your webpage to rank high in search returns. I help businesses by providing website content that copy that uses appropriate search keywords, images, and metadata so that when potential users search for relevant products or services, that business’s page comes up at the top of the list. I write copy for business websites and content for their blogs, and I also do press releases, newsletters, brochures, social media management, and things of that nature.

If someone wants to engage your services, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

You can contact me through my email at marjorie@mcateewritingservices.com or call 304-983-2580.

I see you do a lot of reviews of places that you have been to.  How did that all come about?

A few years ago I took a European backpacking trip and I wrote a few travel articles immediately afterward. Those were some of my first professional writing gigs. I don’t do a lot of travel writing now, though, because for the most part they expect you to pay for your own trips.

You state on your blog that you used to travel extensively, has that slowed at all?

I don’t travel that often, I used to travel a lot more in the past. I think people get the impression that I travel a lot because I lived abroad for several years, but really I just lived in the same town for pretty much the whole time. In the past year I’ve been to Chicago twice, Berkeley Springs, and Virginia Beach. I’m planning to do some day-tripping this summer.

What have you learned about yourself with the writing that you have done?

I’m funny, even when I’m trying to be serious.

Where were you born Marjorie?

West Virginia.

Do you still live in that area?

Yes. I left the state when I turned 17, went to Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, studied in Paris, traveled the U.S., traveled Europe, lived in Asheville, NC for a few years, then lived in Chamonix Mont Blanc, France, for a few years before returning to WV. I was lured by the affordable property prices.

Are you married, have a partner?

Nope. Two cats. Don’t call me a cat lady, it makes me stabby. This might sound weird, but I have an anniversary with myself. It’s May 23. This year will be my fourth anniversary with me. The traditional gift is linen.

What would be your dream vacation?

I really want to go to India. I used to do yoga and meditate a lot (still do, just not as much), so I wanted to go to India a lot more in the past than I do now, but I still wanna go. Or, maybe somewhere else. I have a lot of friends in Australia. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan. I have a hard time settling on just one vacation. As you can see, I’m a very decisive person.

Favorite Musical Group/Artist

I have a new one every few years, but right now, The Descendents

What is your favorite room in the house and why?

Kitchen, cause that’s where the food is kept. Mmmmm food…

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

I’d take a trip around the world. I’m planning to do that anyway, I’d just do it sooner.

Where would you like to retire, and why?

France, BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME.

Who was the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

My maternal grandfather, Silas Conolley, who stepped in after my father died and was always supportive, in a gruff old man kind of way. He passed on in 2006.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

Never date anyone crazier or poorer than you. Your girlfriends are more important than your boyfriends. You’re not obligated to love your relatives if they’re assholes. No effort is ever wasted.

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

You can’t just go around changing the past, you’ll create a paradox and become your own grandpa, or something.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a great humorist, I guess. I don’t like to think about how I’m going to be remembered. I’m only thirty, I don’t have one foot in the grave yet!

What were your summers like growing up?

My grandparents had an enormous patch of raspberries planted behind their house. When they came ripe I’d go burrow under the bushes and eat them right off the vine. My granddad would lean out the back door and bellow, “DON’T YOU BE EATIN’ MAH RASPBERRIES!!” and I’d holler back, “I’M NOT EATIN’ YOUR RASPBERRIES!!” Then he’d send my grandmother out to have me fill up a bowl.

Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?

In Chamonix they called me “Mad Marge.” That’s mad as in the Mad Hatter, not mad as in angry. I think you can guess how I got it.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A cat, probably. I’m aloof, I like to lick myself…joking. But a cat, for sure.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I’m not sure there just one. Pet peeves are like potato chips, you know? Probably my biggest pet peeve is when people repeat whatever asinine B.S. they see on Facebook or Fox News, or hear their friends say, without taking the time to find out whether it’s true or not. Because it’s usually not.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Leftovers of at least two soups, half a cabbage that has seen better days (turns out I don’t like cabbage very much), some of the more standard vegetables, a lot of cheese, milk, beer, condiments – you know, food.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

OMG, Go-Go-Gadget arms!

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Ugh, I don’t know, I’m awful at titles. My editor will back me up on this.

Most of my novel writing friends have a hard time with this segment, but since you are an SEO giant, I think this should be really easy for you, so now some one or two words only answers please:

Favorite color?  Burgundy

Lucky Number Three

What color are the sheets on your bed today?  Pink

Favorite pet?  Tom

Fast dance or Slow Dance?  Fast!

Drapes or blinds  Drapes

House or apt/condo  House

Boxers/Briefs  Panties! I’m a woman!

Short/Tall? Tall

Favorite TV Show The Simpsons

Movie that you watch every year or more often? Back to the Future

Favorite Season? Autumn

Regular or Decaf? Regular

City Girl or Country Girl? Townie

Take out or cook at home? Cook at home

Favorite Movie? Danny Deckchair

Skirts or jeans? Skirts

Favorite Day of the Week? Saturday

How many Pairs of Shoes do you own? Ten

Wow, great stuff Marjorie, now here is where I give you a chance to plug your favorite charity, gives us a bit of a story about it and any links you may have for the readers to go visit and maybe help out.

I volunteer with Friends of the Four-Legged and Furry, a local no-kill cat rescue. They rescue cats and kittens from the Preston County Animal Shelter in WV, and try to find them responsible, loving homes. You can go to their website to learn more, donate funds, or offer other help. http://www.fotflaf.webs.com/

Super work Marjorie you nailed the one or two word answers, I have to attribute that to your SEO and keyword stuff that you do.  It has been a pleasure having you here with us and I hope that you continue to have great success in the writing world.

A Man’s Life

A few years ago I was asked by my wife the dreaded “will you go to the store” question.  this question in and of itself is quite dangerous for us males, as we have a habit of not getting exactly everything on the list.  Yes I need a list, I am male after all.  My wife, well aware of my poor memory, already had a piece of paper with the item(s) listed on it and stuffed it in my hand.  “Don’t be long I have dinner cooking”.  I looked at the crumpled note in my hand as I am a good husband and always repeat back to my wife what she is asking me to get, even though it’s on the list.  “Uhmm, feminine pads, ultra thin, with wings, unscented.”  What? Yes, it was the dreaded item that men fear shopping for the most.  Not that it emasculates us just that it is something out of our area of expertise.  We are pretty good at potatoes and cans of soup, heck we are really good at milk and bread, but feminine needs, well I don’t speak for all men, but that is out of my comfort zone by a long shot.

Grumblings something under my breath I walked out the door.  “Don’t forget to go to Publix” seems she uses the store brand, frugal she is.  Muttering something I drove off, my hand still holding the list, well it wasn’t a list it was a single item, with a paragraph of a description about it.  I pulled into the parking lot, taking a deep breath I headed into the store.  I was not going to let this fluster me I thought, I’m going on the offense for all the males of this world that are suckered into this task by their wifes, lovers, finacees, sisters, mothers, whatever.

Looking up at the aisle markers, finally finding the Feminine Needs aisle… I like that name, yet I don’t ever see “Masculine Needs” aisles in these stores.  There were a few women mulling around the aisle, on the left side were the “packages” and on the right side were all kinds of diapers and baby stuff.  Bravely, I walked right into the middle of the small group of women and started looking at what had to be several thousand varieties of small packages of feminine pads.  Checking my list I eliminated several types because they were not winged, oh those are scented, not those.  I am sure I was muttering to myself.  One woman shuffled off down the aisle without buying anything.  A second woman, mortified I suppose by my presence, turned and put some baby diapers in her cart and rushed off to another aisle.  The last woman was looking at me a bit nervous, surely this is a pervert standing next to me.  I held out my list to her, a pleading look on my face as I asked “can you help me”.  A blush came over her face as she looked at the list and at the multitude of items on the shelf.   In a quiet voice she said “I don’t see them here” and hurried off to join the other women no doubt in the bread aisle.  Ok I had been standing here for five minutes, I am sure the Store Manager has been alerted to the pervert in Feminine Needs, so I quietly walked out of the store and got in my car.

I got home in a few minutes and proceeded to tell my wife that the brand, style, shape, and all accessories that she wanted in a feminine pad were not available at Kroger.  “Kroger” she said, stirring a pot on the stove.  “what does it say at the very top of the note”.  Sure enough, in letters big enough to bite me was the word Publix.  “Publix store brand dummy, they are different from Kroger”.  My turn to blush a bit, but being the true husband that never knows when to quit I blurted out “Yeah, well the lady in the store didn’t see where you wrote that either”

I have not been asked to buy feminine pads since, maybe I am on to something here.

justin bog author photo

Wow, I am honored to have snagged this guy for an interview.  I don’t know when he found time to answer my questions, but I am sure thankful he did.  Justin Bog really needs no introduction but I will give it a stab anyway.  With works self-published and also published through a real bonafide publishing house, Justin is a well-respected author, editor and contributor to various outlets.  He has agreed to be grilled here and lucky for me it coincides with a new release for him.  Sit back, hang on, you are about to experience Justin Bog.

 

 

 

 

Justin has graciously allowed me to share the cover for his upcoming release The Conversationalist, an original literary suspense eNovella, due out late next month.

conversationalist

 

 

 

 

 

 

The previous work by Justin is Sandcastle and Other Stories; this is a fantastic collection that I think most of you have either read parts or all of.  Either way, run out and buy both of these.

sandcastlecover

I have read all the reviews on Amazon for your book Sandcastle and Other Stories and I am impressed by the readers’ response.  Can you tell us a bit about how this book came to be?

These ten stories, and more, I placed on my A Writer’s Life Blog over 2011, one a month. I decided to do this while editing my first novel, Wake Me Up. Something to keep me busy. The stories received early praise and critiques from some heavyweight writers, who encouraged me to collect them into a book. Sandcastle and Other Stories is the result. I still have two holiday-themed stories and other writing scenes up for free on my blog.

What is the origin of the title?

Sandcastle is the outlier tale, the one that received the most comments because it is shocking, a twist tale in the classic tradition of The Lottery, one of my favorite short stories of all time, written by Shirley Jackson.

Do you have another work in mind, and if so will it be in the same genre or are you going in a different direction?

My next book is a suspense eNovella, The Conversationalist. It centers on a single man in Anacortes, Washington, who hides his innermost thoughts from everyone, but so wants to reach out to people despite his introverted nature. He begins to date a series of women, and can’t help being closed off from them. He does something rude, and someone begins to stalk him for being a cad. I like dark tales filled with off-center characters. So, yes, the psychological interplay between the narrator and other characters is the same. After that I will do the early groundwork for my first novel’s release towards the end of the year.

How often do you work on your writing in a typical week?

I try to work every single day. Creating and editing old or new writing. It keeps the engines oiled, and the work piles up. Like anyone, I am easily distracted. Social Media has been a blessing and a curse hehe.

When might we expect to see your next work published?

I am about to release The Conversationalist near the end of May, possibly early June. And I’m debuting the book’s cover here. Take a look, and please tell Peter and I what you think. My dad was the artist for my first book of stories, and I used one of my mother’s paintings as the background for The Conversationalist. It fits the darkening chaos within the pages.

Do you self publish, or use a publisher? 

I self-published Sandcastle and Other Stories at Amazon in May of 2012, but three weeks before that date a publisher called me and wanted to read it to see if they wanted to publish the paperback version. Two weeks after I published, they sat down with me and we worked out a deal. They loved the stories and the cover art, and it has done well out in the reading world. I am grateful to everyone who has discovered my darker stories—love hearing that they shock people.

What has that experience been like?

Incredible. The book being published by Green Darner Press, a boutique publisher out of Seattle, has opened a few doors. I can approach bookstores with confidence. There’s a product I am offering that I am proud of. The official book launch for Green Darner Press will be held May 14th at University Book Store, the largest independent bookstore in Washington, in Seattle. If you’re around that date after 7pm, please stop by for some champagne, and a signed copy!

Can you tell everyone about your soon to be released book? Yes I kinda let the cat out of the bag earlier but I can’t contain myself sometimes.

An excerpt from The Conversationalist can be found on my A Writer’s Life Blog along with a parody cover that places my puppy Kipling at the center of the action. Here’s that link: http://justinbog.com/peek-original-suspense-enovella-the-conversationalist/

You can find the gorgeous Green Darner Press paperback version of Sandcastle and Other Stories at your local bookstore (that helps immeasurably to get the word out) or online by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Sandcastle-Other-Stories-Justin-Bog/dp/0988478412/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366310402&sr=8-1&keywords=sandcastle+and+other+stories

Wow, you are a busy guy Justin, and congratulations on the new Novella release.  However now it is time for the stuff that everyone wants to know about you.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but immediately moved around the country with my artist parents, who then taught in Universities in Bowling Green, Ohio, Pullman, Washington, and finally settled in Granville, Ohio, home of DenisonUniversity. I lived there from 2nd grade to high school graduation. The red ‘D’ on the fellow’s shirt on the cover of Sandcastle stands for Denison.

How many Towns and Cities have you lived in during your life?

Counting all the moves as a child? Hmm . . . 12, including a few years in an RV traveling around the PacificCoast.

Normal old boring childhood or were you on a merchant marine ship growing up?

Mostly boring since I barely remember the places I haunted before settling in Ohio.

Do you have a day job?

Yes, I am the Editor for the eMagazine In Classic Style and I contribute pop culture content as well. I also take on editing jobs, freelance, and totally word of mouth, for other writers. Books I have edited found agents and release by traditional publishers, and several have found great success as indie publications. Love sharing and helping creatives.

Your favorite room in the house and why?

My writing office, especially when Kipling comes up and paws at me to go outside—take a break. It’s a soothing eggshell of a room that is just strong enough to keep the outside world outside.

Do you have a Spouse, Partner?

I have been in a committed relationship for 25 years this coming November. I live in WashingtonState where gay people will now be allowed to marry. Our Domestic Partnership will officially be changed into wedded bliss, after such a very long engagement, on June 30th, 2014. (Ed. Note  Congratulations Justin, that is fantastic news)

If Children how old?

We were not blessed with children, but so many pets, cats and dogs, have made our lives richer. Currently, I have two long coat German shepherds, Zippy & Kipling, and two barn cats, Ajax The Gray & Eartha Kitt’n.

How did you meet your Partner

We met in Ann Arbor, Michigan the year before I was accepted into the MFA program at BGSU, at a time I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to date anyone since I knew I would be leaving the following fall. But we met at a game night with pizza, and played the board game Balderdash with a group of friends. Then we bumped into each other on the University of Michigan campus a week later and keep bumping into each other as middle age has settled in and I’m always looking for my new glasses.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?

I’ve had some terrific opportunities in my long short life (sometimes I wasn’t able to see these opportunities and act on them), and traveled many places around the world, met very interesting people, but I have always wanted to be a writer, from day one, and now that this has happened, decades later, I cherish it all the more.

What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?

Best? Going to amusement parks with my family. Cedar Point is roller coaster paradise, and King’s Island had The Beast. We went to one each summer in Ohio.

Worst? In general, being closeted and not feeling like a good person for most of my teenage years. Granville, Ohio is a conservative town that didn’t make being a gay teenager easy—I thought I was the only one, and hid this side of my personality; it became my sole focus: hiding. But maybe that’s why I like writing about secretive characters. I own it now.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Today? Egotistical, self-centered, passive-aggressive people. I do not have many people who act this way in my close circle of friends, but they are everywhere.

If you aren’t working or writing, what is your favorite thing to do for relaxation?

I love reading, and I’m reading all the time. I also play tennis, but not as much this past year.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Since I’m on a nutrition kick, from a long line of relations with heart problems, you would find bins of spinach, leaf lettuce, vegetables, chicken to grill, and some fine cheeses to nibble. Can’t give up everything bad.

If you found out today that you only had six months left to live, what would you do with the time?

I would probably keep doing what I do today: write, enjoy my family, the pets.

Good stuff Justin, I especially like the fact you have traveled, and I think that’s invaluable for a writer.  Now, drum roll, the Speed Round.  You know the drill, one or two word answers only.  Yeah, tough for a writer but give it a shot.

Fast dance or Slow Dance?  Don’t dance!

Best book you ever read?  The Count of Monte Cristo

Favorite Day of the Week?  Saturday

Cat or Dog?  Arrgh, sorry Eartha Kitt’n, but my answer is Dog.

Regular or Decaf?  Mix both.

Told you one or two word answers are tough for a writer, ok, let’s try the newest feature here in my interview, word association.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read these words, no cheating and thinking too much.

Red     My twin brother Alex’s favorite color

Vacation     Cannon Beach, Oregon

Summer     Tennis

Convertible     Freedom

Loud     barky dogs

Author     Accomplishment

Vinyl     Records

Book     My sister’s ex-husband just got booked into jail

Best Friend     someone who can stick with all the ups and downs

Great job Justin and I am so thankful for your time to do this interview.  I want to give everyone who helps me out with these interviews a chance to plug their favorite charity, so what is it Justin?

I love animals. Everyone should defend them, so my charity would have to be the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) — www.aspca.org

The ASPCA, a nation-wide not-for-profit organization, is the oldest humane society in North America and is still one of the largest. The ASPCA‘s mission as an animal charity is to prevent animal cruelty and the organization has the legal authority to back it up. ASPCA agents can investigate and arrest people for crimes against animals.

They also have community outreach and adoption programs, and provide animal health services. Thanks to both donations and private funding, the ASPCA also offers grants to animal welfare organizations and agencies across the country to aid them in their individual efforts. Please make a contribution.

Want to talk to Justin, here is where.

A Writer’s Life Blog: www.justinbog.com

Twitter: @JustinBog

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832178.Justin_Bog

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JustinBog1

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/justinbog/boards/

eMagazine In Classic Style: www.inclassicstyle.com

Sandcastle and Other Stories is available to order from local independent bookstores (support your indies), Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and at the iTunes Bookstore. The Conversationalist will only be available as an ebook through the online bookstores.

Yard Trimmings and the Pope

I live in one of the nine Counties that make up Metropolitan Atlanta.  Like any large city we have our concerns over air pollution.  In the infinite wisdom of the County I live in they have declared that you cannot burn your “yard debris” between May 1 and September 30 of any year.  Well that sounds reasonable, because I know personally during those months I am prone to being a raving lunatic arsonist so it is a good thing the County keeps me in check.  During those months I would have a huge fire, likely to spread to my neighbors and just burn down the whole street.  So I am restricted to October 1 through April 30 to burn my leaves and dead branches (I have a lot).  Well that would seem logical, but lets toss in another County rules, you can’t burn on Sunday any time of the year.  Well I guess the firefighters have to go to church so we wouldn’t want them storming out on a sermon just to put out fires set by unreliable homeowners.

Well no fear, I still have Monday to Saturday when the bureaucrats will allow me to have a fire.  Well, not quite so simple, you see the County has exploited technology and has a website.  On that website at 6:30 AM every Monday to Saturday from October 1 through to April 30 they let us mere citizens know if it is a “burn day” in the County.  I think the firefighters union runs this website.  From January through early April of this year there were probably only 10 burn days allowed.  The rationale varied daily from “there is a cold front moving in” to “winds of up to 15 mph are predicted” and my personal favorite, “chance of rain, no burning allowed”.  I have diligently checked the web site every morning to see if I am capable of having a fire.  The bureaucrats truly thing the masses are incapable of controlling themselves.  Just this past Saturday I managed to burn some of the yard trimmings and leaves left over from last fall.  The pile has sat there in my back yard, taunting me, but it’s nearly gone I just need one more burn day in the remaining few days of the month.

I am so glad the Vatican is not in my County in Georgia, they would never have elected a Pope as quick as they did, having to wait for the government to tell them when they could have a fire.

Inspiration

Just a short little post for my writer friends.  Where do you get your inspiration for your writing?  I have found a few settings that help me to think a bit clearer and allow some ideas to seep in, but overall I have to struggle to find something to write about.  I think it would be great if we could get a list together of suggestions from all of you writers out there.  Inspiration can be found in many things I suppose, not just location but state of mind, a scent in the air, a sound…. let me know how you were inspired to write, I am going to love hearing these.

As the mid 20th century philosopher Mick Jagger once said “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might get what you need”.  Pretty deep words when you think of it, and I like to think that it is exactly what has happened to me.  For years, actually for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to own a shiny Corvette.  Yes the All American dream car for any hot-blooded male.  A whole life time of events have conspired against my ownership of such a classic ride.  Marriage, divorce, childbirth, all of these things have allowed me to only dream of my fantasy purchase.

Flash forward, now a greying, thinning middle-aged man in my mid 50’s, still no corvette, and I even told my son that had he been born female he would have been called Yvette.  We decided to make a move, to a home easier for my wife to navigate and scoured the ads and dealt with the obligatory agents until we finally found our dream home.  It had an in ground pool, a big one, and to me that had to be pretty close to owning a Corvette, didn’t it?  They say that you should never moan about the upkeep costs on a corvette, as if you can afford the car surely you can afford the upkeep.  I think the same can be said for a swimming pool.  At first glance the huge bowl of sparkly water lures you in like a new paint job.  You feel the warmth and excitement of the water surrounding you, what it surely must feel like to sit in a corvette and be wrapped in all that brand new leather.  Yes, its exciting, its wonderful, you feel like you are living high on the hog.  You can’t wait to tell your friends you have a corvette…I mean a pool.  They all want a ride in it, you stand in the yard gloating inwardly about how you have the pool and they, mere normal people, do not have one.

Yes that pride in ownership, the gloating all the perks of having that brand new corvette, wait, pool, I keep interchanging those words, I’m sorry.  Regardless, it is wonderful and something you know will last forever and forever until….

Did I tell you the pool was a bit old, the pumps and filters were therefore a bit old, do you know that to replace a pump on a swimming pool (who knew they wore out after 20 years) is around $700.00.  Oh lets not forget the new electronics, it is 2013 after all not the 80’s, another $400.00.  Oh and the corvette mechanic, I mean pool maintenance guy, yeah, he loves to remind me that I need to clean all the gunk out of the pool before I can swim in it this spring, or he could do it for me for another $500.00.  Pumping the water out onto the street to the neighbors chagrin, firing up the pressure washer, days and days of scrubbing and cleaning, then refilling the pool, another $150.00 to the County Water Department.  Ok, its sparkly again, the pump purring softly in the background, the shiny new electronics almost smirking at me as they hang on the outside wall of the house.  Oh no, the water isn’t ready for swimming yet, it needs chemicals.  My pool maintenance expert, who should really wear a robbers mask, is on the scene again, for a mere $70.00 every other week he will stop by for a few minutes and put in some chemicals.  Years past I have tried to save $70.00 every other week and spent about $100.00 a week instead on chemicals with no luck.

Mick Jagger was right, sometimes you get what you need, and sometimes you get what you think you need but really don’t.  Oh we enjoy the pool, it’s not like we can afford to go on vactation anyway.  I was talking to the pool guy when he was changing the pump, he was bemoaning the fact he had to sell his old car to buy a new service van for his business.  Yes, a corvette, enough said.

 

 

 

Behavior

I have read a lot lately about writers block.  I don’t know that I agree with all the “experts” on a lot of this.   I have not been myself for almost a year now, my writing has sat idle and I have gone into a shell of sorts, not even writing little tidbits for my blog.  Worse yet I have not even visited all of my old friends blogs to support them.  My personal life has suffered because of this attitude I have had and I was occupied with other things that I shouldn’t have, and won’t go into here, but suffice to say I was not exhibiting good behavior.  Those who know me best would tell you this is totally unlike the Peter they know.  There have been many reasons for this, turning the new 40, oh yeah 60 years old.  That one hit me pretty hard, facing my own mortality perhaps, realizing that after 60 there is what, 70?  Dealing with my own health issues this past year, too many days in hospitals with all that time to stare at the ceiling and think of what is ahead of me.

So I wallowed a bit in this self-pity, thinking I was the only person turning 60 last October, thinking I was the only one who could possibly have the problems I did.  I had no reason to write, no desire or energy to even look at the work I had in progress.  Just last week I felt it reaching an unbearable pitch, I finally broke down and talked to others, not writers, just my family and friends.  The common thing I got from them was that I had lost my passion.  I thought about that a lot, had I lost my passion for writing and that was the reason for everything else?  Or had everything else combined to kill my passion for writing.  I don’t know the answer to that one yet, I am going to start writing again.  I know that I have a fire in me to do that, so maybe the passion has been reignited.  I have made peace and amends with the people in my personal life that I have hurt or ignored this past almost year.  It will take time to completely heal those relationships, but I am willing to put in the effort to make up for this past year.  Now I am hoping to make amends to all my friends in the blogosphere over the next several months.  I think these two steps will help keep the passion alive in me to write again.

Back Again

Call me a fair weather blogger, I don’t know, but I have gone through some very difficult personal issues, all my doing, over the past few months and I am trying to make things right again with all involved.  So I think I may have to come back here and bore the heck out of my old friends with stories and such again.  Missed all of you.

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