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How May We Help Each Other?
Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 9:37 PM
Otherwhere in cyberspace, I ran across a thread wherein board participants shared their 'specialties' with one another. Participants listed basically a resume of "what I know / what I'm good at/with". I thought something like that might be useful here, so I'm starting off. There's more I could add here but I don't want my list to be completely obnoxious.

English major
Journalism minor
Pagan  - > Gwyddon

Some French
Valley Girl
Kentucky Appalachian
grew up with my grandmother
raised on Social Security and food stamps
family raised a garden every year
great-grandmother was a bootlegger
lived in house with two aunts until they graduated and moved away
Appalachia (southeastern Kentucky)
coal mining
lost uncle to mining in 1980
was in the April 1974 tornado 'Super Outbreak'
total weather fanatic
had '80s big hair and wore obnoxious clothes
able to roller skate and chew bubblegum at the same time
left abusive relationship - two of them
in current partnership for twenty years
two sons - one regular birth (with epidural) one with horrific c-section
oldest son has chronic kidney failure and is a transplant recipient on
youngest son is a Marine living in okinawa
grew up southern missionary baptist, baptized chritistan
went whole-hog Pagan in 1988
been practicing Gwyddon for 20 years
main focus ritual and ritual creation, Gwyddon history, and mythical lore
ADD with panic disorder (my apartment is very, very clean)
was anorexic in high school and college
now have an emotional eating problem and am obese
scheduled for hysterectomy
am caffeine-free
able to name that tune in one note
got kicked out of a Hallmark store
total snoopy fanatic
started playing Dungeons & Dragons in early high school
have played Vampire the Masquerade since 1991
own complete set of first edition VtM books
was in 'gifted and talented' program from 8th grade through graduation
main focus was French, German, genetics, and creative arts

Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 2:00 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Sorry I'm just seeing this now, Bumping up so other users can see it.

Posted: Friday, July 6, 2012 12:21 PM
thanks colleen (and no worries)

Sneaky Burrito
Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 1:47 PM
Joined: 5/28/2012
Posts: 43

I'm waiting for a meeting to resume, so this won't be as long or interesting as Mari's, but...

BA in government from Harvard (worked in the admissions office there)
BS in biology and chemistry from Univ. of MO - KC
Ph.D. in chemistry from GA Tech

Can talk about student life at Ivy League school, admissions process, what getting a Ph.D. in science is actually like (including some of the reasons people leave grad school).

Also, am willing and eager to consult with people on aspects of science (biology, genetic engineering, chemistry, DNA, evolution, origin of life, what is and isn't possible for alien life, etc.) that they want to include in their fiction.  I see WAY too many instances of "bad science" in published literature and I want to do my part to correct the trend.  (Hunger Games science made me cringe.)

Otherwise, not sure what to say.  Grew up in an upper middle class white household in the Midwest.  Not particularly religious.  Been a vegetarian for 19 years.  I can tell you about everything you want to know regarding feline inflammatory bowel disease; unfortunately I lost a cat to this condition after about $7000 worth of intervention and trying nearly every treatment available.  But I can't imagine writing a story about that.

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 2:00 PM
You can always come back and add to it. And thank you. I was beginning to think no one would ever be interested.

Atthys Gage
Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 5:47 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467

I'll wade in, because I'm procrastinating.  

I'm good at that.  If you ever want any information on procrastination, I'm your guy.  

Beyond that, my fields of (informal) expertise include:  Greek myth (especially pre-Hellenic myth), natural history, and pop songs of the fifties.  I also have a fair knowledge of the works of Melville and Hawthorne, have read Ulysses (and liked it), worship Jorge Borges, and have read everything written by Vladimir Nabokov.  I don't consider myself an authority on anything, but I'll venture an opinion regardless.  Also love the sci fi of Samuel R. Delany, Joanna Russ and James Tiptree.  

I spend a lot of time driving my teenage kids around, and so have developed a good ear for the way they speak.  (Believe it or not, most kids don't say "Oh my god" all that often, and almost never with an exclamation point.)  

I hate exercise, but do it anyway.  I once composed a 10,000 word story while running on a treadmill.   I went home and typed it up, and found it to be surprisingly good. So good that I thought maybe I'd discovered a great new source of inspiration, but none of my subsequent treadmill novels has ever amounted to anything.

I've been in a number of unsuccessful rock bands, though not for many years.  The group dynamics of a rock band would be an excellent setting for a novel.  I'm sure its been done many times, but I don't think I've ever read one.  

I'm a passionate editor.  Yes, I even enjoy it, most of the time.  I firmly believe good writing trumps all other considerations of plot or character.  Good isn't that hard to recognize, but damned difficult to explain.  

I like baseball, particularly the eccentric drunks who seemed to dominate the game back in the old days.  (Still have vague plans to write a novel about the '29 White Sox.)   I also have a fair store of information on old blues singers of the thirties and forties.  Love those crackly old recordings.  I could give you all the stuff you'd need to write a novel about Blind Willie McTell, except I'm planning to do that myself one of these days.  

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 5:10 PM
Joined: 6/13/2012
Posts: 13

This is a really interesting thread.  I'll put my two cents in. 

I'm an atheist now but I was raised in the LDS (Mormon) church.  I can provide feedback on what its like to be raised in that kind of environment and the process of leaving one's faith.  If anyone has general questions about anything Mormon let me know.

I was born into a unique position in my family.  I'm the youngest of six but was born eight years after the youngest brother.  All of my brothers were born two or less years apart from one another.  On that note, I was raised by parents much older than the average; they were 40 and 42 when I was born, so I can provide feedback on older parent/child relationships. 

I had pretty severe social anxiety as a child and have lived with someone for several years who is both bipolar and has Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities).  He was also in the Air Force, so I can provide information on what its like to live in the military. 

I've been an avid reptile owner for six years and can provide detailed information on most reptiles currently in the pet trade and odd tidbits for reptiles in general. 

I'm not much of an editor, I really don't have much patience for it, but I am good at giving an honest review.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 6:24 PM
Thanks guys! I appreciate this. I think there should be posts like this on every writing message board - especially since we're all here to help each other. Good luck!

Michael R Hagan
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:08 PM
Joined: 10/14/2012
Posts: 229

Hadn't noticed this post before. What a great idea! Hope it gets featured, though I may be able to draw more from it than contribute to it.

Me in a nutshell...
Born and bred in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Can abstain but not restrain.
Happy childhood.
Ex boy scout
Served short stint in Territorial Army
Worked in retail 1986 on, and opened some shops, 1991 on.
Time since spent in sales, of allsorts....
Fruit & Veg; Fashion accesories; Football novelties; Naughty joke key rings; Hallmark cards (sorry you were banned from a store... was that a Hallmark moment?); Ferraris, Maseratis, Royles and Bentleys; Quarry screening plant in Southern CA; Construction tools.
Dabbled with Property Development and rental.
Made a small fortune....twice, and lost it all when trying to turn it into a large one....twice!
MMA fan.
Took up boxing at age 40.. stopped it at 42, 'cause it hurt (who'd have thought!)

Learning Spanish.
Expert at giving up smoking. (done it thousands of times.)
Amateur poker player. (Mostly Hold'em)
One son, One daughter (15 and 13) and a wife, far to pretty to have said 'I do' to me.
Married in Gretna Green, Scotland.
Unwilling authority on Cluster Headaches
Unwilling authority on  Religious/Political biggotry.
Experienced managing child diabetes, Type 1.
Have emmigrated, and returned to country of origin.

Oh yes, bagged potatoes from age 8 to age 16 at weekends.... that'll come in as useful experience for someone to draw on.

Passion for History (ancient) and collect quotations.
Did Jury service in a murder trial.

Remain, an eternal optimist and have an almost limitless supply of bad jokes. (Yet my wife sticks with me... aint life funny!)


Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 9:57 AM
Thanks Michael! Where I grew up, you and I have a ton in common as far as accents go - they're very similar. In fact, among certain groups, I have trouble discerning any difference at all.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:42 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

Why didn't I see this sooner?

Born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. I know what it's like to live there, not just party there.

Father a democratic Catholic Corrections Officer. Mother a republican Presbyterian family caretaker. (I cannot, with a clear conscience call her a house wife or stay at home mom. This woman is a super hero. I really can say my mom is my hero.) I can tell you what its like to live in a functional household where people can hold separate ideals and still be entirely functional. (They've only been happily married 27 years.) I can also tell you what it's like to be the child of a city official, especially a cop. My father retired a captain, but at one point he was appointed chief.

I also know way too much about law enforcement for someone who never researched it, unless you count my week long leadership school at the FBI Academy when I was in high school.

I have two older siblings from my father's first marriage. There are eight years between the sets, so we aren't particularly close. I'm really close with my little brother though.

I know the damaging effects of being raised by a Trekkie. You are perpetually poisoned with as a grade A geek and it never goes away. (By the way, I am in love with my geek. It keeps my husband and I together.)

BA in English Literature (and not just the basics. I know a little about Chicano lit and Military lit next to the typical american cannon. Oh yes, and Lord of the Rings.)

I am a young military wife who has been with my husband for almost eight years now, married two. I was there when he went through boot, tech, the move on base, blah blah blah.

Underpaid government employee. I essentially work part time for Non Appropriated Funds on base without a raise or benefits. Wanna know what civilians do on a modern military base, ask me. (Way too many free career classes.) My job also happens to be bowling alley front desk attendant. Uniform code goes out the window for everyone when orange shoes with flames are involved.

Worked retail selling knick knacks at Sharper Image to tourists on the strip, sold bras to plus sized women as a not plus size girl, sold baby furniture while working for Babies R Us. Also did a week of Christmas duty at Toys R Us. According to a cashier from Best Buy, Toys R Us is uniquely horrific in how busy it gets after Black Friday. It's true retail hell for a month.

There is also my fun little porphyria. If you want information on those diseases, I have resources I'd be happy to share. They're also good if you want a rare genetic disease that'll make people uncomfortable usually without being fatal. House used the one I have, but they got a lot wrong. Probably because doctors hardly understand them after knowing about porphyrias for at least 200 years. They contributed to the vampire mythos and have even earned the nick name, "the vampire diseases." Oh, and I'll also relate my personal experience.

Apparently I'm a great help at characterization.

I'm into typewriters. Still new, but I got resources.

Not lucky enough to be blessed with a spouse or loved one who doesn't like to read, I was. He also doubles as living with a soldier and a mechanic. Grease stains and torn knees. Yippie.

I love humor and sarcasm, but try not to be cynical. Love a well written asshole, so I can tell you when your asshole MC is not going to be loved.

I think that's it for now.
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:44 AM
Awesome! Thank you. My youngest son is a Marine mechanic.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:52 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

My elder brother was the Marine, my hubby be Air Force. He said if he was going to sell his soul to the government, he better get the best perks. I think that was his way of covering up the fact that he's always been destined for the blue.
Mimi Speike
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 2:32 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Look at you guys, on here, and it's Thanksgiving!

Me, I've got the leg of lamb basted and in the oven, and I have an hour or two before I have to start the other stuff.

What the hell, right? How long can I listen to my husband (don't get me wrong, I adore him) go on and on about the market, his favorite topic?

Or else it's aircraft, his other favorite topic. He's an ex-pilot. He was a fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe, then a pilot of corporate jets all over Europe and the Mid East. The stories he can tell! He was co-pilot on the plane of the Aga Kahn, and taught the daughter (the one with Rita Hayworth, the one who's now a socialite in Manhattan) to sail (on a layover, waiting for the big-wigs to conclude their business) in the Mediterranean, when she was around fourteen.

Anybody know her, tell her Eberhard, the German who once gave her sailing lessons in Porto Cervo, (is that how you spell it? I'll Google and be back with a fix, if necessary) lives an hour north of her in Connecticut. And remembers her fondly. 

Michael R Hagan
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 3:13 PM
Joined: 10/14/2012
Posts: 229

Hey Mimi
It has nothing to do with my book, but my wife would kill me if I didn't ask. Your husband, piloting for all those years..................................................................................................................................Any U.F.O. sightings?

Also Mari! Paganism.... Come on you can't leave it there. Tell us more, and what are you doing on th 21st Dec 2012.
Big day. Winter solstice. Prophetic date. Dawning of the age of the fifth sun and heralding a new feminine and spiritual time. The beginning of the next stage of man's evolution.
Crikey, I wish there was real-time chat on this site now!

Dec 21st, we're taking a family day trip to Navan mound. Built before the pyramids and aligned to the solstice sun, Irelands oldest Temple.... and when I say temple, I mean hill with a tunnel in it...... but still cool!

Michael R Hagan
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 3:15 PM
Joined: 10/14/2012
Posts: 229

Oh my, LeeAnna................. same question to your pilot hubby!
Mimi Speike
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 3:39 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

He's never mentioned UFOs.

He talks about a lot of other things. The top speed of this, the handling characteristics of that (he's got an instrument rating on a hundred or more types of aircraft), the reason a design went defunct (mis-design of the wing, the load, all sorts of totally, for me, incomprehensible detail). 

The guy is incredible. A photographic memory. On the deck, in the summer, he can look up a a spot in the sky and say, that's a blankety-blank C-230, next generation to the blankety-blank C-130, which was only three years in production, shut down because the the whosis in the what-cha-ma-callit ... blah, blah, blah ... tendency to stall at XXXX feet. Always entertaining, always amazing, always, if you can understand me, thrillingly boring. We're two of a kind. Once he starts, he doesn't stop. 

UFOs? I'll ask him and get back to you.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 5:14 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

Mike, my husband isn't a pilot. He's a crew chief for C-17. As much as he likes to fly, I think he likes his knuckle buster job better. There's more puzzles to keep his mind busy.
Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012 11:01 PM
I'll be doing the same thing I do every solstice - up to watch the sunrise.

Tom Wolosz
Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012 4:15 PM
Joined: 5/25/2011
Posts: 122

Hello All,

     Well, if the question is how I can help, I guess the main thing I seem to do well is be a plot doctor.  I’ve pointed out a number of plot problems to people here on Book Country and offered suggestions of what might help.  I guess I just tend to be logical in my approach (trained scientist), and some of the stuff I see in books and movies really makes me groan.  For instance, if you’ve seen Prometheus (the Alien reboot), at the end the heroine and her nemesis are running from the crashed spaceship which is rolling (I kid you not) toward them.  Do either of them (one has a Ph. D and the other is a corporate CEO, so assumedly no lack in the brains department) ever think to run perpendicular to the roll of the ship?  Of course not! Just keep running in the direction the ship is rolling so it can roll over you.  Arrrgh! Anyway, it’s stuff like that that I can help with.

    Bio?  College Prof.  Knowledgeable in geology, paleontology, ecology, some astronomy and statistical reasoning.  Photographer, hiker.  Observer of people – I often think I should have gone into psychology.     Also interested in history from the aspect of trying to understand people and what made them do what they did.  Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.


Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012 5:11 PM
It's more like what real life experience you have that you can share with others who might need your expertise for research.

Tom Wolosz
Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012 6:50 PM
Joined: 5/25/2011
Posts: 122

Life in academia.
Field work on fossil dig sites.
Field work geologic mapping in the Sierra Nevadas.
SCUBA diving off Florida coral reefs.
Driving a Taxi in NYC.
Payphone (remember those?) repairman in midtown NY.
Hiking the Adirondacks.
Nature and landscape photography, and some publicity shots for theater and choir groups.
Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 12:36 PM
Man, all that sounds so interesting! (well, except for maybe the whole payphone bit - maybe)

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 3:49 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353

Well, let's see what I can offer...

Grew up in Staten Island, NY.
Devout Roman Catholic; was an altar girl, choir member, and a sacristan; am a lector and eucharistic minister
Attended Catholic school from Pre-K to 12th grade
High school was an all-girls one
Ran track, all three seasons
Went to college in the Hudson River Valley
Was a journalism major with a theater minor
Now am getting my masters in human resource management
Been going to Walt Disney World since I was a baby
Know more useless Disney trivia then probably the cast members
Was a cast member when I interned for Radio Disney
Love American history; have enjoyed reading historical fiction since I was a young girl
Currently am sucking at bowling on a team
I don't have a medical file but several rubber banded together and am susceptible to pneumonia
Am allergic to: mold and mildew (makes me physically sick), aspirin (hives and/or facial swelling), ibuprofen (same as aspirin), peaches--including artificial flavoring (hives), dust (sneezing and/or watery eyes), and strong perfumes (same as dust)
Am about 8th generation Irish-American on my mother's side
Am 3rd generation Greek-American on my father's

Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 1:05 AM
Ibuprofen and Aspirin are in the same medicinal family. I have the same allergy - similar, I guess; my bronchial tubes contract.

I should probably add to mine: The only person on the planet who hated Walt Disney World. LOL

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 4:08 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353

Yeah, it's a twin allergy. When I went in for my consultation to have my wisdom teeth extracted, the doctor just wrote down NSAIDs under allergies because it covered it all.

"I should probably add to mine: The only person on the planet who hated Walt Disney World. LOL"


(Just kidding)

Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 12:00 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 22

Interesting thread! I don't think I can add much, but here goes.

Lived all my life in South Africa, grew up before we had television (only started here in the mid seventies).

I know a fair bit about horses, you'd be surprised the odd mistakes you see sometimes (like horses lapping up water).

Been a music teacher for nearly 30 years - I learned a lot about music, an even more about people...

Also pigeon racing - people forget the birds will only fly home! 

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 8:29 PM
I went through the posts, but perhaps I missed someone/something.

I'm looking for someone who can help me understand better what it's like being hospitalized (psychiatric ward) with chronic depression.

[note: it's not the depression i need help with; i have that covered. i need help with the hospitalization side.)

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 8:31 PM
Rhyll, I'd like to be able to speak/email/chat with you some time about teaching music, if that would be possible. I'd appreciate it!

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:04 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 22

Mari, I'm happy to help if I can. I sent you a 'request to connect'. There may be a better way to do it, just let me know.

Danielle Bowers
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 6:21 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

I can't believe I'm just seeing this thread!  I'll play.

Grew up a military brat.  I never stayed in one place more than a few months until high school.
Big family
My father was gone for a couple years deployed for Desert Storm.
I was on the professional 3 day eventing circuit (horseback riding) all through my teens. I did own horses.

Went to a vocational school. Was in the FFA. Placed 14th nationally in Dairy Judging and 9th in Horse Judging in consecutive years.

Went to Veterinary school.

Worked with cadaver dogs for several years.

Married a man I met when I was 19. (going in 17 years)

Two young kids.  Both boys. One autistic.

I am a photographer and specialize in concerts and sporting events.  I've been on a few big tours with famous artists.

I have Lupus.
Was hospitalized for a long time and almost died while pregnant my second child. I literally lived in a labor and delivery ward.

I had a placental abruption and almost died (again) in childbirth.

Had an anaphylactic reaction to medication and passed out.  (RJBlain here on Book Country picked my brain to get a first-hand account on what it felt like to pass out the next day)

Am on a gluten free diet.
I've had chemo
I've flown helicopters.
I can play the piano and the guitar.
I manage the social media for several famous people/businesses on the side.
I've had extended contact in the daily lives of famous people (actors, politicians, musicians)
I've been to Africa and seen wild lions, elephants, cheetahs etc.  And snakes.  Lots of snakes.
I know how to run an espresso machine.
I drove a NASCAR car on a closed course at a racing school.
I've skydived.
I've been in a plane crash (Mild, the landing gear malfunctioned and we did this cool skid thing.  There was fire.  It was in Dallas.)
Was an extra on three episodes of the first season of SeaQuest DSV in the 90's. Yes, the dolphin was fake.

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:15 PM
Danielle - I was pregnant with my second (last) child for the duration of Desert Storm.

I would love to jump out of an airplane. My husband thinks I'm insane.

Toni Smalley
Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013 9:32 PM
Mari Adkins, not sure how to give your discussion starter post a thumbs up, but four monkey thumps way up!...monkeys have four thumbs right? Well, their feet look like hands, so...

Your great-grandmother was a bootlegger? Lol, that's interesting. My grandma has been watching some show on TV about moonshiners, and she came up to me a few weeks ago and told me to look up on the Internet how to make moonshine. I told her its illegal, and she said she is old and therefore immune to the law. (Not what the cop said that pulled her over for speeding awhile back).

Great idea here for building story characters. When I have time to put down all the great, awesome and shitty things in my life, I'll make a post. These posts make for great reading too!  



P.S. I find your ability to chew gum and roller skate very brave. Risky business. 
Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013 1:01 AM
I like to live large

Yeah, Granny was a bootlegger. Gotta love it! I've been collecting stories like that to add in with my family tree files. The person who inherits those data files is going to have a field day - or heart failure. ...

Joani Davis
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 9:18 AM
Joined: 4/3/2013
Posts: 20


When I read your . . . um . . . list I laughed out loud. You are a truly gifted word smith. I read it to a friend over the phone and she also cracked up. I have nothing I could list with the exception that in my family we put our crazy people right out on the porch and let em' wave as the world goes by. I wave real good.
Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013 1:10 AM

Toni Smalley
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 9:29 AM
Jaysus, I posted and then it disappeared, so I'll repost it. Hopefully, it doesn't how up like three times.

- Stuck crayons up my nose as a child (went to the 
hospital once).
- Spent summers growing up on my great-grandparent’s farm in Indiana.
- Mama to a Min Pin
- Addicted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Harry Potter
- Concerts! Best ever: AC/DC
- In love 3 times. Engaged once. Current boyfriend’s lasted 5 years.
- Notre Dame fan
- At one time, I was a very devout Catholic and wanted to be a nun.
- Black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate 
- Trained in Combatives
- 3 broken noses

- B.A. in Communication Studies from Niagara University
- Worked at a TV station, nursing home and a car dealership.
- B.S. in Accounting and Forensic Accounting
- Took classes on interrogation tactics
- Studying for the CPA exam (Passed REG & FAR; BUS & AUD this summer) 
- Played Division I basketball at Niagara University. Tore my knees up my senior year.

- Ireland
- Doha, Qatar: Rode a camel; slept in the desert; saw fluorescent algae; climbed into a big sink hole
- Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Swam with dolphins and stingrays at Discovery Cove
- Busch Gardens
- Glacier National Park. Hiked. Encountered a mama bear with cubs. Rode in a helicopter over the mountains. Slept in the back of a truck for 3 weeks.
- Yellowstone National Park.
- Grand Tetons
- Black Hills. Mount Rushmore. Crazy Horse. Badlands.
- Bahamas
- New Orleans, Houston, NYC, Bar Harbor, Cape Cod

- Grandfather’s a spook. Ex-Air Force Intelligence CIA.
- Eccentric grandmother. Lover of stuffed animals and tacky yards.
- Sister. Philosophy professor in Doha.
- Half-brother. Mechanic. 
- Half-sister. Barrel racer.

- Parents divorced when I was wee little. 
- Dad: 6th degree black belt. Former rodeo cowboy. Ex-bodyguard. Trains Marines in Combatives. Co-owns Rockmill Brewery in Lancaster, Ohio. On his 4th wife. She wants a divorce. Just found out he has cancer.
- Mom’s a nurse with a 3rd degree black belt. Mom just had cancer removed.
- I grew up with a sociopath, mom’s 2ndhusband. She filed for divorce. He attempted murder. Long story, long night, but I stopped his stupid ass. He’s in prison.

- Recovered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder via psychologist, medication 
- Nightmares used to be really horrible. Put them in my journal.
- Insomniac
- Severe depression. Scars. Eating disorder. (After dealing with the PTSD, I'm fine. I recognize the depression, make myself happy and move on with my life.) 
- Writing saved my life.
- Despite all that, I'm fine and am very happy today. Whole lot of other people who have it way worse, and I'm lucky for the good things in my life.

Toni Smalley
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 9:38 AM
I give up, now it's ginormous and looks ridiculously huge like I have a big head or something.
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013 5:34 PM
Joined: 6/28/2013
Posts: 1

I am new here but I thought this was a fun post so I wanted to play along.


My real name is Andromeda and I love Greek Mythology - know a lot about it and Roman Mythology as well.


I have three kids, my son is allergic to a lot of things so I have a lot of experience with cooking dairy free (cow dairy mostly), wheat free, soy free and processed sugar free.  My husband is a health nut so we do a lot of sprouting, juicing, fermenting, etc.


My husband and I are both entrepreneurs and have been successful for eight years so know about running a business.


I have a marketing background (since 1996) but what I really want to do is be a full time writer so decided very recently to pursue that.


I am a voracious reader and am well read in many subjects.  I love Shakespeare and was actually going to college to be a theatre arts major, wanting to go into Shakespearean performance before life had some different ideas.


My sister was a competitive swimmer (on her way to the Olympics until a back injury) and that competitive world is an interesting and strange world all on its own (think I just had a story idea typing that).


I am sure there is more but that is what I can think of at the moment.


Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 10:31 PM
Toni Smalley wrote:
I give up, now it's ginormous and looks ridiculously huge like I have a big head or something.

Toni, you do not have a big head!happy

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 10:33 PM
Romie wrote:

I am new here but I thought this was a fun post so I wanted to play along.

I'm glad you did!


Toni Smalley
Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013 3:47 PM
MariAdkins wrote:

Toni, you do not have a big head!happy


Thanks, appreciate it! I have a complex. Growing up, everyone called me bowling ball head. I have to buy man hats.

David Pearce
Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:33 PM
Joined: 4/7/2013
Posts: 26

I am a local government attorney.  Most of  my work involves environmental and land use law, but I spent three years working as a judicial clerk.  So if you've got hypothetical questions about legal issues or how the legal system works, I can help.
Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 12:04 AM
too cool. thanks, david!
Lucy Silag
Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 1:37 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

@Mari--I loved this idea--it was one of the first threads I got really into before I even started working at Book Country! Writers sharing resources and expertise is what a writing community is all about.


Trying to think of some idiosyncratic things I might be able to offer to everyone . . .


*I'm from Ames, Iowa (go, ISU Cyclones!) and have lived in Iowa City (go UI Hawkeyes!) as well.

*I've also lived in gorgeous northern CA (Santa Cruz and on the Monterey Peninsula).

*I've lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan, NYC.

*In college and grad school I studied abroad in Germany 3x (once in Goettingen and 2x in Berlin) and I've traveled widely within that country.

*Also studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary (one of my very favorites places on this planet) in 2004.

*When I was 26, I lived in the 11th arrondissement in Paris for about five months. Most of the YA fiction that I have written takes place in Paris and around France, so I've done a lot of research around the country. I took a boatload of photos and am happy to share online galleries if those are useful to you. (This message board actually would have come in SO handy back then--I had absolutely no idea of how to go about my research and it was not very efficient . . . but it was extremely fun.)

*I majored in Women's Studies and minored in European History at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

*I like to think I know a lot about WWII.

*I'm an avid but not very advanced knitter. (I do know all of the knitting vocabulary!)

*My fiance is a chef, so I know from him about working in a fancy fast-paced restaurant kitchen.

*I'm very well versed in 80's and 90's young adult series books--all the Sweet Valley franchises, the Babysitters' Club, Caitlin, the Sunfire series, Taffy Sinclair--as well as Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Paula Danziger, Mary Downing Hahn and Lois Lowry. At the very least, I can give you a list of my faves from that era!


I'm more of a connector than a maven, so if people are looking for information for inspiration or to fact-check their work, let me know! It will be such a fun project for me to find resources for you to use (I am a bit of a librarian at heart).


Happy writing this weekend and beyond!



Book Country Community and Engagement Manager



--edited by Lucy Silag on 7/13/2013, 1:47 PM--

Lucy Silag
Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 1:48 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Also, this is just such a fun way to get to know everyone! I am loving it!!happy

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:33 AM

we've done this in my writing group on facebook, too - and some folks have done their's up like CVs.  

Lucy Silag
Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:24 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Very smart. Crowdsourcing at its finest!
Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 8:45 PM
Joined: 7/3/2013
Posts: 20

Thought I would jump in as well.  Wow some of you have such interesting things to say!! I wish I could speak with everyone about everything all right now!!


 Not sure what to share, my life is unusual  guess.


I'm 32

Raised pagan

Parents divorced when I was 2

My mom is a sociopath, manic and schizophrenic.  Didn't have a good relationship with father due to this. 

Went to Juvenile hall over something that wasn't even my fault.

Got kicked out, lived teen years on the streets by myself.

Faked work permit to get a job and worked under the table.

4.0 Straight A student - Dropped out of high school due to lack of living arrangements.

Studied my butt off and got GED.

Paid for community college then ran out of money - ended up going my own way and teaching myself marketing - started consulting, worked in house then got head-hunted by major agency.

Severe anxiety issues

Gluten free / caffeine free

Gallbladder removed.

My great grandmother lived to 104 - she was an awesome woman, lots of stories about her coming over the plains in a covered wagon. 

Could be described as a somewhat hippy-ish.

Gamer and very geeky.




Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:29 PM
when was your great-grandmother born? one of mine was born in the late 1890s and one in 1903. don't know about the other two without going to look.

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