November 1, 2010 § 16 Comments
Rob Kroese (pronounced kroo zee) is a writer and someone I’m thankful to call a friend. He originally self-published his novel, MERCURY FALLS, which has now been picked up and re-released. In honor of that re-release, he is on an MFing blog tour. It is a hilarious and quirky book. Booklist reviewed it in their October 15th issue:
“The Apocalypse is nigh in this whimsical, riotous debut. Christine Temetri, a freelancer for a popular religious news magazine, is tired of endless assignments covering cults incorrectly prophesizing the End of Days. When she talks her boss into giving her a better assignment, she doesn’t anticipate it will actually lead her back to a cult leader: the charismatic Galileo Mercury, who turns out not to be a cult leader at all, but a bona fide angel. Mercury is more interested in playing ping pong and drinking beer than he is in being involved in the upcoming Apocalypse. But when he and Christine escape a bit of divine retribution and end up saving the life of the Antichrist, a sulky gamer named Karl Grissom, they find themselves drawn into a miasma of heavenly intrigue and double-crossing. Lucifer himself is determined to find a loophole in the Apocalypse Accords, and Mercury and Christine are the only ones who can stop him. Clever, inventive, and original, Kroese’s hilarious romp has cult favorite written all over it.”
There was a slight misunderstanding about what would go on my blog for the MFing blog tour. Rob thought I would take a photograph of him and make fun of it. It’s an easy mistake. I do roast author photos. I thought we discussed having a serious interview about the allegorical use of ping pong in his novel. I’m literary like that.
We were able to find an impromptu compromise when my husband and I visited California for the interview. I know, people do these things over the internet now, but I’m an old fashioned gal and wanted to do things proper like. I found some wolves to watch my children and my husband and I flew to California (husband writes computer software and can work from anywhere). We treated it like a little vacation.
The day of the “interview” arrived and Rob knocked on the door of our hotel suite. My husband was in the bed room, working. I was a tad surprised to open the door and find Rob sipping a juice box. He wore a sarong. Only a sarong.
“Um…” I looked up at the ceiling. “Is this how you plan on conducting the interview?”
“You mean the photo shoot.”
“No.” I still stared at the ceiling. “Interview. I’m interviewing you.”
“Whatever we’re doing, this is how I work best.”
Rob also writes software and works from home.
“I don’t want to be rude, but I’m not sure my husband would be comfortable with all this.” I gestured to Rob’s general direction while still looking at the ceiling.
“You can go ask him. I’ll wait.” He leaned against the door and put the straw back in his mouth.
I left Rob on the threshold of sanity and knocked on my husband’s door. “Rob Kroese is here. He’s wearing a sarong and sipping a juice box. Can we have the interview like that?”
My husband opened the bedroom door. He also sipped from a juice box. And wore a sarong. Only a sarong. “I don’t see a problem with any of this.” He took a long swig from the juice box until air moved up the straw.
They shook hands, made a joke about cookies, and pushed their glasses up their noses. There was no mention of baking, I didn’t get the joke and the sight of two computer nerds in sarongs overwhelmed me. I sat down at the table and started to cry. They looked at me like I was crazy.
“Can we start the interview now?”
Rob nodded and they sat down at the table. In sarongs. ”Will you still take my author photo and make fun of it?
“We’ll see how the interview goes. First question: how does ping pong play an allegorical device in developing Mercury’s story?”
*“I used ping pong in the book as a metaphor for what the Germans call bounzenbackenforth. It’s a complicated philosophical thing that is also German, so you wouldn’t understand it on at least two levels.”
“Was your own experience with religion an influence while writing this?”
**“Only in the sense that the book was dictated to me by the demon Grathmog.”
“Am I or am I not your favorite person?”
***“According to the famous quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger, that question is both true and false until your cat dies. Let’s put it this way: I don’t let just anybody take a picture of me in a sarong.”
I sighed. “You still want me to take your author photo?”
Rob nodded. “You can always photo shop it to make me look like a badass with guns if you want.”
Rob Kroese is also the author of THE FORCE IS MIDDLING WITH THIS ONE (which is clever and pee in your pants hilarious at times). He lives in California with his wife and two children. He does work from home, but what he “works best in” is unknown to me and the public at large so do not send him sarongs. Buy his book instead. He does the twitter.
Don’t want to buy it? You may win a copy. Tweet or facebook this blog post and tell me you did in the comments section. Include what you had for breakfast please. You have until midnight, November 7th to enter.
*,**, and *** -Actual Rob Kroese quotes.
October 27, 2010 § 13 Comments
Hello blog friends. There is someone I would like you to meet: Jeffe Kennedy. I met Jeffe on twitter. We haven’t been friends for a long time, but I have enjoyed tweeting with her. She is a happy, infectious person. I really like her. This means I should make fun of her author photo. It’s been a while since I’ve done a roast and Jeffe has foolishly graciously volunteered.
Take a good, long look at Jeffe’s author photo. This is what she’s giving the world. This is her “brand.” It is who she wants us to see. She’s got the care-free, hair flip going on. Her hands look like they are enjoying what the rest of her body is doing. Her smile is lovely. All of these things are true. It’s a fun photo, but I’m just going to come and say what we’re probably all thinking: Jeffe is high. She is as high as a kite.
She is toked up and created Woodstock 2010 in her back yard. Obviously the photographer took this picture before the body paint and mud slide action started going down, but she’s high. There’s a good reason Jeffe is wearing sunglasses and it has nothing to do with protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Nope. No way. Those eyes are blood-shot and probably shifty from paranoia.
I’ll be honest, I’ve actually never been high. Really. I have seen the movie Dazed and Confused and listened to Steve Miller Band’s, The Joker more than once though. Both those things make me an expert on recreation drug use. Clearly Jeffe gets high and has a love free for all in her back yard. This is what prompted her fourway forray into erotica writing. This is true of all romance/erotica novelists. They are sexual deviants. I can tell.
This is also true of all habitants of Sante Fe. I’m sure that some of her neighbors have to call the police from all the noise her Reefer Loving Madness creates. Jeffe is smart, though. She answers the door with the sunglasses on and has a list of ready explanations and conversation starters. She knows how to divert the responding officer’s attention.
“No, occifer, we’re not doing anything illegal.”
“That smell? It’s incense.” She shows the police man a crystal around her neck. “We’re becoming one with our chi.”
“It’s for medicinal purposes only.”
“Has anyone ever told you that you have got the most beautiful aura? You glow of positivity. It’s all yellow and bright. No. I’m not high.”
She’s lying of course. If those excuses don’t throw him off the track, she’s got one tucked away that trumps all the others. It is accompanied with her finger traced down the police man’s chest. “Hello, officer. I’d like to report a crime. Someone here is guilty of being entirely too sexy…”
Jeffe Kennedy has a long and intimidating line of publishing credits and is the author of the novel WYOMING TRUCKS, TRUE LOVE, AND THE WEATHER CHANNEL: A WOMAN’S ADVENTURE. She writes erotica under the name Jennifer Paris. You can visit her website here and follow her on twitter here. She’s never been to Woodstock.
I’d like to apologize to Jeffe, tokers, romance writers, erotica writers, and all the citizens of Sante Fe. If you would like your photo roasted, please ask. People need to be mocked.
June 8, 2010 § 20 Comments
Tawna Fenkse has expressed many times over that she does not mind people making fun of her. She encourages it even. I decided to take her up on this open invitation in my series of author roasts. After reading many hilarious blog posts and tweets about the relationship between Tawna and her husband, Pythagoras, I think their dynamic is pretty similar to the one my husband and I share. Tawna has even told me she thought our husbands would get along “swimmingly.”
During one of my family’s daily trips from Florida to Oregon, we decided to test this theory and see how everyone would get along. It is no secret in our twitter circle that Tawna is scared silly of children. If I ever did anything to make Tawna mad, I’d probably throw a baby at her and run away. I wouldn’t do this on our first meeting. I’d build up some sort of comfort level between Tawna and me before I started chucking children at her.
On our initial visit, the women could drink wine, the men could do whatever they were going to do “swimmingly,” and the children could play with toys on “their side of the room.”
Problem. Tawna and Pythagoras were out of wine. Since we wanted to see as much of the Oregon landscape as possible, we all loaded in our family mini-van and headed to the wine store. What’s better than a big group outing? Nothing. Am I right?
Tawna and I sat in the front while our husbands held down the fort in the back. After the third round of “It’s a Small World After All,” Tawna began to twitch and paw at the door handle. I patted her arm from the driver’s seat.
“Are these hives normal? Why do I feel like there is caramel everywhere?”
“Children are sticky,” I agreed, “but we bathed them just last week.”
“Is it hot in here to you?” Her hands gripped the armrests. “There’s the wine store! Pull over.”
I pulled to a stop, left the car running, and Tawna ran out crying. I checked on the scene in the back. Pythagoras rubbed his temples with his eyes closed while my oldest hit him in the head with a nerf ball. I turned to my husband. “We’ll be right back.” Can’t be sure, but I think I heard him start to weep after I closed the door.
Tawna sat on a park bench and hummed to herself while rocking back and forth.
“It’s over now. Where is this wine shop?”
“I don’t want to go back in the van. Hold me.”
“Let’s just take this one step at a time. We’ll get wine and go home. It’ll be okay.” I went to help her up, but something in the distance caught my eye. “That building wasn’t there before.”
Tawna nodded. “You’re right. It’s like it just appeared out of thin air.”
Next to the wine shop was a store made of stone. A sign with medieval lettering hung over the door and read, “Weaponry.”
“It’s a magic weapon shop,” I said.
Tawna started walking toward it. “We should go in.”
“Yes. Yes, we should.”
We opened the door and found a bearded man in a Nordic hat behind a glass gun counter. He was adorned in fine leather pants and a bearskin vest.
Tawna leaned in close. “He’s hairy.”
“Welcome, my good ladies. What need you of weaponry? Can I interest you in a Nordic gun?”
She leaned in closer. “His voice is boomy. I didn’t know Vikings had guns.”
“We’re actually looking for some wine,” I told our new friend.
“Ale? We have ale here. Let me fetch me wench. WENCH,” he shouted in no general direction. A woman with large bosoms appeared. “I’ve fetched me wench.” He looked at her. “They want ale.”
She said nothing, but led us past various racks and displays of spears, swords, axes, knives, post cards, and cross bows. The woman knelt behind a counter and pulled out a bottle ancient-looking Cabernet.
“Will this do?” She looked down at her feet when she spoke to us.
“It’ll be great. It’s not every day we buy Viking wine from a magic weapons shop.” Tawna took the bottle.
We began to head toward the front when a wrack of whips caught my eye. “Huh. These are fancy.” I touched the braided leather cords. “I’ve never seen a real live whip before.”
Tawna studied the whips with me. “But you’ve seen spears, swords, axes, knives, post cards, and cross bows?”
I nodded. “Haven’t you?”
Before Tawna could answer, the wench’s face appeared on the other side of the whip display. Her fingers parted the curtain of hanging leather so she could see us and spoke in a whisper. “You don’t want to buy your whips here. They break.” She smiled and nodded twice toward her Nordic Lord behind the counter. Tawna and I stared at her. Slowly, she let the whips fall back into place and disappeared. We bought the wine and left. I opened the doors to the van to check on the husbands and children while Tawna studied our Nordic wine.
Pythagoras still sat with his eyes closed. “I spy with my little eye something black.”
“Your pants?” asked my daughter.
“Poop?” guessed the youngest.
“This nerf ball?” My oldest hit him in the head with it again.
I shut the door and pulled out the wine opener I always keep in my purse for emergencies. “Tawna, why don’t you sit down on that park bench and have a glass of wine before we get going again.”
Tawna Fenske is represented by Michelle Wolfson, writes offbeat romantic comedies, and quirky mysteries. Her debut novel will be published by Sourcebooks, Inc. in August 2011 with two more romantic comedies to follow. Her author photo was taken by Claudine Birgy.
I’d like to apologize to Tawna, Pythagoras, my husband, my children, Vikings, the state of Oregon, and wenches everywhere. If you are an author and want me to make fun of you, please ask. You won’t know what a roast feels like if you don’t try. Do it. Peer pressure. But stay in school. Say nope to dope.
May 31, 2010 § 15 Comments
I’m delighted to introduce my next victim in a series where I make fun of author photos: Jamey Stegmaier.
I’m glad to know Jamey and over the last six or seven months have come to the realization that he has this exact expression on his face all the time. Study and take note of that youth, that eagerness, that seize the moment, and WORK TOWARD THE FUTURE type of expression. Rather than explain how this particular photo was taken like Sean’s and Anne’s roast, I will give you a day in the life of Jamey Stegmaier, because any one of us could capture this photo at any point in his day.
Wake up. Greet Biddy and the new farty kitten. Note their cuteness. Melt. Play with them. Oh the ridiculous joy I feel. Tear myself away. Do sit ups. Wait, play with kittens a few more minutes. Kittens. Kittens. Go eat breakfast and pack lunch. Shower. Wish kittens weren’t afraid of water. We could be playing.
Get in the car. Drive. Notice something on the ground. IS THAT A KITTEN? Nope. Squirrel. Keep driving. Eager. Look to the future. Always. Get to work at the University. Try not to look at passing freshmen. Avert eyes downward. I love peripheral vision. No. No. Look downward.
Greet co-workers. Smiling. Always. To the future. Check email. Read blog comments and comment on comments. Check blog stats. Good numbers. Do some work on website. Tell interns to go make a music video for morale boosting. Eager. Always. Write newsletter. Work. To the future. Always.
Go to lunch. Have my way with burger and fries. Oh yes. I want to go to there. Walk back to work. Say hi to co-worker. Eager. Burger and fries are having their way with me. Go sit down. My jeans are too tight. Always. To the future.
Lull in the day. Look at pictures of cats. I wish Biddy could talk. That’d be a good blog post titled: What Would Your Pet Say About You? Write that one down. To the future. Always.
Finish work. Get in car for drive home. See something on the ground. IS THAT A KITTEN? YES! YES! THAT IS A KITTEN. Pull over. Try to play with kitten. Kitten runs away. Drat. Nope. To the future. Always. I have kittens at home.
Get home. KITTENS! Play with them. Eat dinner. Salmon. Spinach salad. Play with kitties. Happy Happy. To the future. Get ready for soccer. Drive to soccer field. Miss kittens. Stretch. See pretty girl. Try not to stare. Use peripheral vision. I love peripheral vision. Do lunges. She is looking. Do another cool stretch. Fall down. It’s cool. To the future. Always. Eager. Play soccer with friends. Sprint hard. Love sprinting. Girl is looking. Score. Fall down again. It’s cool. To the future. Always. This will be a good blog post titled: Get Back Up Again. Write that one down.
Go home. Have Biddy count my sit-ups. Write blog post. Play on twitter. Show all the girls pictures of my kittens. They swoon. Score. Debate whether or not to put photos of my skinny jeans up. Did that yesterday. Decide not to. To the future.
Yawn. Brush teeth. Floss. Smile. Dentist says I have great home care. True. Eager. Always. To the Future. Bed.
Thanks to Jamey, Biddy and unnamed farty kitten for letting me make fun of them. Jamey Stegmaier co-wrote the non-fiction book Innovate! How Great Companies Get Started in Terrible Times. His short story The Urban Parasite can be found at Reflection’s Edge. His essay Adopting me: An Adoptive Child Shares His Perspective is beautiful.
If you’re an author and have a photo for me to roast, I’d be love to. Really. Nothing would bring me greater happiness.
May 21, 2010 § 7 Comments
Gather round and get comfy, kids. It’s that blog time again, time to make fun of another serious author photo. Unlike my last roast of Sean Ferrell (author of Numb, coming from Harper Perennial in August 2010), my next victim is someone I know in real life and have a special history with. Anne Riley and I went to high school together and were college roommates. Anne liked Sean’s roast so much, she asked me to make fun of her, too.
I love Anne and have found it a tad more difficult to a.) Make fun of a girl (there is nothing greater than teasing a man to the point of tears) b.) Make fun of someone I really know and c.) Make fun of someone so pretty (not that Sean Ferrell isn’t a pretty man, he is, they are just different pretties).
Anne called me before her author shoot, explained how nervous she was, and invited me to come along with her husband Riley. Is his name Riley Riley? No, but when we met for the first time, I kept calling him Riley. I also wear a blue jean jacket with the collar popped and cuffs rolled up every day to demonstrate my love for the 1980’s. I went to high school a decade too late. Tragic.
Anne and her husband, Riley, arrived at the outdoor photo shoot and because I knew she was so nervous, I hired Andy Samberg and Tina Fey to come help. I thought since they were in the entertainment industry, they would do a better job of explaining how to get that money shot. Aren’t I good friend? I was also in charge of snacks, but forgot those.
Anne looked beautiful, a tad nervous, and a bit star struck at the sight of Andy and Tina. “Um….Harley?” she called. “Why are Tina Fey and Andy Samberg in Alabama? And at my photo shoot?
Tina and Andy waved.
“Isn’t it great? I knew you were nervous and thought they might help. They owe me a favor from that one time.” I stared at the pair who immediately averted their eyes to the ground. “That’s what I thought. Keep your heads down.” I looked back at Anne. “You brought Riley? Interesting choice. Is he asleep?” (before you say, “that’s a weird question,” Riley looks like he’s asleep all the time.)
“No, he isn’t asleep.”
Riley waved at me. He really looked asleep. “How’s it going, Harley?”
“It’s good.” I turned to Anne. “He talks in his sleep?”
“He isn’t asleep. Can we get all this started?” She walked to the photographer.
“Yes,” I exclaimed. “Tina? Andy?” I clapped my hands. “Chop chop. This is Anne and her husband Riley. Anne promises he isn’t asleep.”
Andy waved his hand in front of Riley’s face. “That’s so weird. Why does she say he isn’t asleep?”
Tina poked his shoulder. “I wonder if he can feel this.”
Riley backed away. Slowly.
“Look, he can walk in his sleep,” I said.
Anne began to look a little flustered. “Stop doing things to my husband. He isn’t asleep.” She positioned herself in front of the camera.
“Right,” Tina said. “Sorry, Anne. These photo shoots are easy. Andy and I will do exercises to get into the character we want to be in the photo. If Andy wanted to look like a guy riding a bike, he’d start to act like a guy riding a bike.”
Andy proceeded to pump his legs up and down and run in circles around the yard. “Look at me! I’m a guy riding a bike.”
“I’m not sure I want to look like a guy riding a bike.” Anne looked at the camera while the photographer clicked away.
“Okay.” Tina shot me a look. “Someone is a little bit of a diva.”
Anne pretended not to hear.
“If you don’t want to look like a guy riding a bike, we can experiment with some other expressions.”
Andy moved next to Tina, behind the photographer. “Look at me! I’m experimenting in other expressions with Tina Fey.” They stood across from each other, perfectly still, and then began to move their hands in synchronization. Tina would tilt her head to the left and then Andy would do the same.
Their palms barely touched each other. Andy said, “BRAVE LION.” Their faces snarled into a grimace and they growled. “SCARED LION.” Both their hands curled up under their chins and their faces scrunched into a grimace. “BRAVE LION.” Rawrs and gnashing. “SCARED LION.” Whimpers and pouty faces.
I was pretty impressed. “It’s like their looking in a mirror, Anne. Look Riley – oh, he’s asleep.”
“I’m not asleep,” said Riley.
“He sure talks in his sleep a lot, Annie.”
Anne put her hands over her face and ran her fingers down her cheeks. “He is not asleep. Guys, this is great and all, but it isn’t really helping.”
“Oooh,” Tina said. “Someone isn’t a happy camper. Do we need to bring you over here and have a pow wow under the trust tree?”
“We sure do.” Andy ran to Anne’s side and hugged her. “Look at me! I’m hugging Anne, expanding the trust tree!”
When Anne gets flustered or annoyed, she does this screechy, high-pitched, non-word noise. “Gah. CANWENO-GAH-STOP IT NOW.”
Andy’s smile got bigger. “Come on over here, Tina. Help Anne get under the trust tree. You too, Harley. I don’t know about Riley over there. He needs to be awake for the trust tree.”
Riley sat down on the ground and looked up at the sky. “I am awake.”
I walked over to Andy and wrapped my arms around the two of them. “Riley sure is coordinated when he sleeps.”
Anne turned red. “HE’S AWAKE.”
Tina Fey joined Andy and I. She embraced Anne and squeezed.
“It’s a hug fest!” Tina leaned her head against Anne’s hair. “You sure smell pretty.”
Anne flailed her arms, breaking the precious trust tree and paced in front of the photographer. After a few deep breathes, she stared at the photographer. “TAKE THE PICTURE.”
Thanks to Anne and Rob Riley for letting me make fun of them (and congrats on the love bun). Anne is represented by Alanna Ramirez of the Trident Media Group. Her first novel, The Clearing, is currently on submission to publishers.
If you are an author and would like me to roast your photo, I’d be more than happy to. If you would like acting lessons, I am also qualified to give you those. Have I shown you photos of my Oscar? It sits on my bookshelf next to my Grammy.
As for Tina Fey and Andy Samberg, they know what they did.