Saturday, August 09, 2008

An Inquiring Minds Meme

I’ve been tagged by Dani Greer at Blog Book Tours as part of the August Blog Every Day Challenge. For this meme, she’s asked me twelve questions. I, in turn, will tag three other people and ask them to answer these same questions. So here are the questions and my answers.

1) Computer, longhand, or other?
Mostly computer. There was a time when I thought I could never write except with pen and paper. I felt I needed that connection and could not imagine ideas flowing from my fingertips to a keyboard. Now, I use only the computer, except for the notepad I carry in my purse for those moments when I’m away from the laptop and something comes to me.
2) Coffee or tea?
Coffee. I drink coffee in the morning or sometimes make a Ginger Frothy Coffee. My son gave us an espresso machine for Christmas and we named the concoctions we came up Ginger Frothy Coffees. After that I switch to water.
3) Day or night?
Hmm. You didn’t specify -- day or night what? I’m going with the g-rated possibility. I write in the day. I have to say, I used to write at night. I am, by nature, NOT a morning person. I used to stay up to 2 or 3 in the morning writing. But, then came kids who expect breakfast and I changed my schedule. I admit, though, that I could go back to the schedule of early adulthood in a flash.
4) Favorite genre to write?
Mystery, more suspense than cozy. But I’m currently trying my hand at a Young Adult novel with a touch of fantasy.
5) Pencil or pen to edit?
Pen. But different colors of ink. I like to print out a hard copy after I’ve edited on the computer. Then I read through the manuscript several times, each with a different color pen. When I input the change into the computer copy, I put a pencil check-mark by it. If it becomes too convoluted on the printed copy after several changes and re-writes, then I print a new copy.
6) Unusual writing quirk or trait?
Me? Quirky? I refer you to answer #5.
7) Writing from home or writing in a cozy café?
Home. Sometimes with the door shut to block out my husband, who offices out of the house. His voice carries and he’s in the loft, usually on the phone, pacing with the Blackberry in his ear. I can’t concentrate with noise, even music. I begin to listen to the voices or song.
8) Music or silence while your write?
Silence. Even music distracts me. I keep a couple of favorite CDs on my desk that I pop into the computer when I’m doing something that doesn’t require concentration, like paying bills.
9) Favorite motivational writing quote?
Don’t let others rent space in your head!
Les Edgerton, Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing
10) Favorite bookmark?
A strap thingy. It’s a hard plastic stick bookmark with a stretchy loop strap attached at the top. You put the plastic in the book to mark the page then loop the strap around the book. That way the book stays closed, the marker doesn’t fall out, and it keeps the book from getting all bent up when you stick it in your purse or briefcase. It fits everything from a paperback to a hardback.
11) Favorite fictional character of all time?
Now that’s a hard question. I’m not sure I can name one. Maybe Kinsey Millhone. Not because she was the ultimate fictional character for me, but because Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries captivated me. I discovered them late in the series, and read every title available. I think I got up to N is for Noose, then had to wait for the next one. By the time it came out, I was on to other authors. I couldn’t even describe Kinsey now, but that series got me hooked on mysteries.
12) Most admired living writer today?
Probably Diane Fanning. She’s a close friend, so I know her dedication to writing. She puts out usually two books a year, plus updates on her earlier nonfiction. She writes true crime and two mystery series. If you think mysteries take a lot of research, you should see what she does for the true crimes!

Another writer friend whom I admire is Susan Wittig Albert. She, too, writes multiple series, plus she started Story Circle Network and is a whiz at promoting her books. She introduced me to the concept of Virtual Book Tours and is always willing to answer questions and mentor other writers.
Well! Answering these questions wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Here’s who I’m tagging for this meme:

Teagan Oliver

Chris Redding

Velda Brotherton

Can’t wait to read your answers!


  1. Helen, thanks for your answers. I can relate to a lot of them, and it's really interesting to read about how other writers go about their craft. Had to laugh at you sometimes needing to shut your noisy husband out to concentrate - heehee. My wife sometimes get annoyed at me cuz I'm pounding the keys at 5am (can't sleep, just had an inspiration)so loud it wakes her. (even with my office door closed! sheesh!)

  2. Marvin, you need a laptop that you can take to some other part of the house to work in the middle hours of the night.

    You and your wife sound like us. My husband turns the volume up; I turn it down. He goes to sleep as soon as the TV is turned on then wakes up if you turn it off. I can't sleep with the TV or lights on. He's a morning person. I am NOT.

    And yet, we're still married. Go figure.

  3. Hi Helen,
    I read your blog every day and it was a treat to read it today and see you mentioned me in your favorite writing quote. I have to confess that I stole the quote from a guy on "Candid Camera" my son Mike and I were watching one day. It became our favorite saying and philosophy of life. I really enjoy your blog.

    Blue skies,
    Les Edgerton

  4. Kinsey Milhone.... I found a flaw in the last one. One character had a clue they shouldn't have. Those pesky details. :) And that book strap - must find one!

    Happy Saturday,


  5. Well, helloooo Les. I had no idea you read Straight From Hel. To anyone else reading, I recommend both Les' "Finding Your Voice" and his "Hooked: Write Fiction that Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go." By the way, Les, you rival Diane Fanning for the longest book title!

  6. Dani, I used to have two of the bookmarks, but can't find the second one. I think my sister "borrowed" it. I couldn't remember where I found the bookmarks, but after your comment I took a look at the one I still have. I ordered it from Levenger. That was years ago and it's still like new.

  7. Hello, Helen. Delighted to read your comment about me today. I'm getting ready to head out the door for my 2 o'clock signing at the Barnes & Noble Hill Country Galleria store but needed to steal a moment to send a note to you first. I sure hope I see you there!

  8. I am for sure going to be there! You're practically in my back yard.

  9. I'm really enjoying reading everyone's answers to the meme! Except man, having your husband on the blackberry at home is almost as bad at being at Starbucks... :-)

  10. You're right, it is. Even when I close my office door, I can still hear him!


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