Query Response #4: Query Cleanup

Once upon a time I asked, “What do you want me to post about?”

Remember when I asked that? It was a rather long time ago, I admit. 

You responded — and your wish is my command. It might take me a while, but I will get to each and every one of your requests (even Sarah W’s).


Since this Ask-Me-a-Question-and-I’ll-Answer-It thing is going a lot slower than I had ever imagined, I thought I’d use today’s post to wrap up a few of the pithier questions:

Hm. Let me stew that one over...
Hm. Let me stew that one over…

Vanessa writes: “I would like a post about what you’re looking at on the ceiling please. That, or something about your favourite snacks.”

Oh, you lovely Brits. I love how you always throw in a superfluous “U” in words like “favorite.” Anyhoo, my favorite snack is ice cream. In the photo I am looking at the ceiling trying to figure out how ice cream got up there. Smart money says my son is somehow responsible.


Limebird Beth writes: “I would like a post on what really is the cat’s whiskers.”

I’m assuming Beth wants to know what I think is the cat’s pajamas. If so, I have pretty much answered that question in this post. I would, however, like to add goats to that list. Hmm. Come to think of it, I did a post about goats, too.

I guess what I’m trying to tell you, Beth, is pay attention!


Professor VJ Duke and Domingosaurus both asked me to write about banjos.

Thanks Professor Domingo! All I can say is that the banjo is the most joyful instrument on earth. Even Charlie Brown agrees with me:

See? If Charlie had a banjo, his life would've turned a corner!

Oh, and one more thing: I play my banjo terribly.


Catherine Johnson asked me to post a video of me playing my banjo.

Thanks for writing, Catherine! And no.


So there you have it this time! Be sure to check in again. Query Response #5 is (maybe) coming soon!

Query Response #3: Mickey and More

The shelf above my desk. Good stuff.
The shelf above my desk. As you can see, it has a couple of Mickeys.

In a recent post I asked, “What do you want me to post about?

You responded — and your wish is my command. It might take me a while, but I will get to each and every one of your requests (even Sarah W’s).


This query comes from writer and waffle fan Laurel Leigh who writes: “I’d like to know if you play that banjo in the corner, whether you’ve ever tipped over backwards in your desk chair, if your office is truly always that tidy, and how come you have a Cat in the Hat but not Mickey Mouse?”

Jiminy! OK, let’s take your questions one at a time:

1. I do like to play my banjo, but I rarely play it in a corner. I prefer the center of the room.

2. I have not tipped over backwards in my desk chair. I have, however, repeatedly fallen up stairs. This degree of clumsiness never fails to astound my wife.

3. My office is always tidy. Would you like to know the secret to a truly tidy office space? OCD. You’re welcome.

4. You have jumped to conclusions, Laurel; believe me, my office is duly Mickified.

I even think of Mickey whenever I have to make a call.
I even think of Mickey whenever I have to make a call. Thanks, Aunt Elaine!

So, there you have it!

Sadly, I am going to have to temporarily postpone Query Responses for the next week or two. I have a Susanna Leonard Hill contest entry to post next week, which will be followed by the July installment of Waffles With Writers.

Don’t forget to check back soon for more fun!

My Versatility Responsibility

A few weeks ago the bloggerific Writerlious (aka Erin) honored me with a Versatile Blogger Award – and I am delighted. (According to her blog post, my chilling exposé on the origins of Marshmallow Fluff put me over the top.) Thanks, Erin!

As the recipient of this award, I now have to perform a few simple tasks.

1. Thank the person who nominated me and link back to said blogger’s site. (Which is easy because I did that in the first paragraph. You should check out Erin’s blog, by the way; it’s a good one.)

2.  I must share seven things about myself.

3. I must nominate seven more versatile bloggers.

4. Then I must contact said bloggers and post the award by linking back to the Versatile Blogger Award site.

So! Let’s get started!

Seven Things About Me

1. My father and I were once proud members of Indian Guides. For those of you not in the know, Indian Guides (now “Adventure Guides,” I’m told) was an organization designed to introduce fathers and sons to the wonders of nature. That pretty much meant camping. It soon became very clear, however, that neither Dad nor I was cut out for surviving in the wild. (On our very first nature walk, Dad lost my compass by dropping it in a river. Seriously, who does that?) So when Dad eventually became chief of the tribe, he decided to make a few changes. Instead of camping and nature walks, we did things like tour the Drakes Cakes factory. It turned out all the other tribe members preferred this kind of forward-thinking leadership. At least that’s what I think they told me; it was hard to understand them with their mouths stuffed full with Devil Dogs.

To me, this patch will forever be associated with the creamy goodness of Ring Dings.

2. My Indian Guides name is “Red Squirrel.” You may still call me this if you wish.

3. Last Christmas, my wife bought me a banjo, which is probably the best present I have ever received in my adult life. I haven’t been able to practice nearly as much as I would like, but I do take lessons and can play an almost-competent rendition of “Boil Them Cabbage Down.”  As lousy a player as I am, I find it great fun. My banjo is always within reach of my desktop computer; so whenever my writer brain ceases to function, I grab my finger picks and start a-pluckin’. Everything looks brighter when you have a banjo!

4. I’ve discovered that when I tell someone – anyone – that I play the banjo, the very next sentence that comes out of his or her mouth will include the word “Deliverance.” I try not to let this bother me.

5. My earliest childhood memory is when I was a toddler strapped to the back of Mom’s bicycle. From this perch I watched as she ran out into the center of a busy road to rescue a box turtle from oncoming traffic. I don’t know if we lived in a particularly turtle-rich part of the state or if we just kept encountering one turtle with a disturbing death wish, but I remember Mom doing a lot of turtle rescuing over the course of my childhood. I should also point out that a turtle rescue, from my little kid perspective, was rather unnerving, as it meant that Mom had to leave me alone on the back of a bike with only a wobbly kickstand keeping me from kissing the pavement.

Waiting for the crossing signal…

6. In my early 20s I, too, rescued a turtle from the middle of a busy road. During this heroic and selfless act, it peed on me. Twice.

7. Despite the turtle pee incident (and a few other things), I’m pretty happy with the way my life has turned out so far.

Seven Versatile Blogs

All right. Enough about me. Below (in no particular order) are seven bloggers who are all that and a bag of chips. Check ’em out!

roxieh.wordpress.com: Simply a fabulous resource for writers. The charming and personable Roxie keeps followers in the loop about any and all writing opportunities.

www.juliehedlund.com/julies-blog: Much to my chagrin, I discovered Julie’s blog too late to sign up for her 12x12in12 challenge (one new picture book draft every month in 2012) but I’m already signed up for her 2013 challenge (whatever that might be) and, while I wait, I’m enjoying her frequent posts.

practicalfreespirit.com: A science fiction and YA writer whose posts are sincere, thoughtful, and heartfelt.

humblenations.com:  This guy has got a keen design eye. As a former (and failed) graphic designer, I can really appreciate his talents. You will, too.

stacysjensen.blogspot.com: I eagerly look forward to her Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

thefamilythatreadstogether.com: I fell in love with Wendy’s writing style; I also fell in love with the books she recommends.

livelikeagrownup.wordpress.com: Sometimes witty, sometimes inspiring, always a darn good read.