Monday, December 31, 2012

Woeful Spotlight: Robyn Renee Riley

In  Mug of Woe: Wreck the Halls Robyn Renee Riley explains why it's better to just keep those festive holiday greetings to yourself.

Your Woe essay is about an unfortunate Christmas card debacle. What was your strategy for Christmas cards this year? 

My strategy about Christmas cards this year was  to avoid them altogether. It has been a terrible year with the teenagers in this house. There are some things you cannot put into a Christmas letter. They would be more appropriate in a suicide note.
You like to write about your adventures of being a modern-day Pastor's wife. Tell us one of your favorite stories about the Pastor.
You have to understand the Pastor is a smart guy. He has three master's degrees and a Ph.D. Unfortunately none of his advanced coursework had anything to do with relationships. When we were dating - and serious - he invited some friends I had not met over to his house for dinner. I agreed to cook and prepared a lavish meal. When the couple walked in the door, the Pastor said, "This is my girlfriend, April." I have no idea where that came from. He to this day (yes we still talk about it) claims he has no idea where "April" came from. My first words to this couple were "Actually, my name is Robyn." DInner went as well as you might expect.
If Crayola was to name a crayon after you, what would it be called? 
I wouldn't care what color Crayola used or what they might call a crayon representing me, but my crayon could only be used to color precisely within the lines. Someone has a little OCD. In fact, let's leave that crayon in the box altogether. We'll just open it ever once in a while to look at the perfect, new rainbow of crayons. And maybe smell them.
Promote yourself. Where can our readers find more of your work? 
I've written a book about the Pastor - we'll see what happens! You can find me on Twitter and Facebook at robynreneeriley. I've had a blog for years, I promise I'll be better at posting on it - I blame the teenagers. Do you have any idea how many times I have been interrupted just trying to write these four things? Sheez! 2013 is going to be a great year. The kind of year people write Christmas letters about.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Woeful Spotlight: Bill Thorndike

Bill's story in Mug of Woe: Wreck the Halls reminds us all of the occupational hazards of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

Your Woe story is about an unfortunate altercation with a Christmas tree. Have you had any other memorable altercations with holiday decorations?

Not an altercation, but when I was a teenager I became a Christmas decoration. I was in a church choir that climbed up into 60-foot A-frame decked with lights and evergreen boughs. We became the “singing Christmas tree.” We all wore little elf hats. It was pretty cool.

You are a former newspaper reporter. Tell us about a memorable encounter you had when chasing down a story.

Once I interviewed a boy who became a local hero when he escaped from an upstairs window of his burning house and woke a neighbor. The neighbor called the fire department and the boy’s family was saved. This was in 1982. At the time I remember walking through the house and taking pictures of its charred interior. A few years later I bought the house. I’m still living in it. 

If an extra-terrestrial landed on your front porch, what three questions would you ask it? 

First of all, this seems to happen all the time, although they usually show up in pairs. I might think of a number and ask it to tell me what number I am thinking. That would be fun. I would probably ask if it was lost, or if it actually intended to land on my porch. I’d ask if it could use some company on the return trip. Not me, necessarily, but I’m sure someone I know would be up for a ride.

What other writing projects are you working on right now?

I am planning my Christmas blog as we speak. It will be about starting over at the back of the line, which has become something of a theme with me. Otherwise, I occasionally think about working on my novel. As I mentioned in my last Woe profile, it will explain everything.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Woeful Spotlight: Jennifer Worick

Jennifer Worick's story in Mug of Woe: Wreck of Halls chronicles her misadventures with the elusive New Year's Eve kiss. After reaading her ordeal, you'll find us at the stroke of midnight cuddled up withThe Twilight Zone marathon. 

You don't seem to have good luck on New Year's Eve. Can you tell us about another unfortunate encounter on this holiday?

Where do I start?

I've sketched them all out here. If I had to narrow it down to one atrosh evening (aside from the NYE and the sexually confused boyfriend I wrote about), I'd have to go with the night I fell on the escalator in the Ren Cen in Detroit. In trying to go up a down escalator, in heels no less, I fell as I neared the top, hitting my knee on the edge of the jagged step. I folded like a poker player with no hand and as I drifted back down to the ground floor, I noticed my knee was white. I had sliced it open to the patella. I wound up in one of the worst ERs in the country, getting stitched up by a cute doctor while surrounded by abused, shot, and beaten patients. One was even chained to his gurney.

You are allowed to spend New Year's Eve with any three famous people (living or dead). Who are they, and where would you go to celebrate?

Excellent question. I guess I'd go with Cary Grant, circa The Philadelphia Story, because he looks yar in a tux and would make any occasion festive and elegant. Jane Austen, who could provide a bit of decorum and social insight to the evening (and perhaps pick out an eligible gentleman for me). Then I'd go with Tina Fey, because laughter is always better than booze and I suspect she'd hold my hair back if I did drink too much. I don't care where we went, as long as good company and great food was involved (pulled pork, I'm looking at you).

If Crayola named a crayon color after you, what would it be?

What's Black and White and Read All Over? A double-sided crayon, black on one side and white on the other, wrapped in red paper.

Promote yourself. Where can our readers find your work?

Named one of the four funniest bloggers in America by Reader's Digest, I am the New York Times-bestselling author of more than 25 books, including the brand-spanking-new Things I Want to Punch in the Face (available everywhere!). In addition, I'm a blogger, publishing consultant, and public speaker. You can find me in all the usual places, as well as at