F.A.q. page 3
frequently asked questions
answers to questions
i have been asked
LAST UPDATED JANUARY 2020
What's something that instantly makes you sad you're middle aged?
Gosh, I'm middle aged I wasn't born in the Middle Ages!!!! You make me sound so darned old.
Well, let me see. When I see some guy in his twenties driving a motorcycle down the road while a beautiful woman sits on the back of the bike with her arms wrapped around him. Usually I regret that when I was in my twenties I didn't have the funds to buy a motorcycle.
Some women are so wild about men on motorcycles. Many years ago I knew an educated, smooth-talking, conservatively-dressed, prime and proper woman who often dated heavily-tattooed, leather-jacket-wearing, cursing, cigarette-smoking men on motorcycles. She usually wore her hair short while the men she dated usually had hair to the waist. Go figure.
What is the most bizarre thing anyone has ever tried to sell you?
Not a mop or broom I can say that. And, no, not a miniature globe.
I suppose the most bizarre thing anyone has tried to "sell me" might be doughnuts. ( No I'm not joking! ) When I say sell I'm taking liberty here, because the man was "selling" more a concept than anything else.
Years ago I called about a job listed in the newspaper. Sounds simple enough. And the hiring manager told me he had filled that ten dollar an hour job.
"But wait," the hiring manager said.
He indicated there was another position he was looking to fill, the only thing was that was an "unpaid internship." I admit I kind of grumbled when he said that it was unpaid. Okay, I admit it. I grumbled a bit. Understand, I had bills due!
The hiring manager picked up on this grumble and then he started telling me about the advantages of an unpaid internship compared to a paying job. He said things such as if I worked as an unpaid intern I could take a Friday off occasionally, I could arrive into work ten minutes late without getting yelled at, if I needed to take off an hour early that was "aaaa okaaaay" with him.
And then things got bizarre. He started telling me that if I worked for him as an unpaid intern, he would provide me with doughnuts each morning and he was quick to point out that he did not provide doughnuts to his employees who were "on the clock." For five minutes this guy was rattling on and on about the doughnuts he would provide me each morning if I worked an unpaid internship. He was basically selling me on the concept, or, ah, trying to sell me on the concept, that I would be better off working as an intern compared to being on the clock because he provided the doughnuts to his interns.
For five minutes he tried to sell me on his "doughnuts theory." He even started mentioning types of doughnuts. Ones with sprinkles. Chocolate frosted. Sugar sprinkled. Jelly!
In the end, I didn't follow up on the internship because, to be blunt, I was trying to lose weight! Plus I needed to pay some bills!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have you been on a motorcycle?
Once, when I was a teenager, a friend took me for a ride on his. It was breezy! My
hair was a mess after that ride.
What's your biggest fear?
I have many fears and I don't know what's my biggest fear. I will tell this, I have a great fear of growing old poor.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would you like to do for an occupation?
Film director! Screenplay writer! Film producer! Stand up comedian, although comedy is tough and I do admire people who can stand in front of a television camera or an audience and tell jokes. Takes a lot of bravery, I think.
Hmmm, being a pilot might be cool. Flying to exotic destinations. Or a freelance photographer traveling the world taking photos.
It seems I have a talent for picking some of the most demanding and competitive industries to “break into” I can only sigh and whisper why why why?
What is an occupation you would never want to do?
Hmmm, well, let’s see. Pharmacist. Sitting and counting pills all day long. Not for me. Lawyer. Nope, no thanks. Pouring over and writing contracts and examining legal papers all day. Not for me at all. I’ve met so many people who want, want, want to go to law school to be a lawyer ( 90% tell me it’s for the pay ) But even with the high pay scale I wouldn’t want to do that.
Oh and I'm a city guy. So I wouldn't want to be a farmer. Plus scarecrows give me the creeps!
Name some people who amaze you?
Well, gosh, I listen to Mozart and he wrote so many great musical pieces it is simply amazing. Also I am amazed that some of the great actors in the old seventies sitcoms can keep a straight face at some of the lines. They don’t break character. Quite amazing. The actors on All in the Family or Maude or on The Honeymooners, it’s amazing that they keep a straight face the lines are so funny. Charlie Chaplin was an amazing comic genius. And Van Gogh was an amazing painter.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Too many artists to list here. I guess some of my favorites are classical artists like Mozart, Beethoven or Faure. I also like Cyndi Lauper, Gwen Stefani, Avril, Shakira. I’m not picky with music, like I am with food. I like a wide variety of artists. The Beetles. Peter Frampton. Sixties Rock. Seventies rock.
Are you picky about food?
Okay, I admit it. I’m a picky eater. I confess. Ninety percent of the time the food I eat falls into three categories: American, French or Italian. French food ( except snails ) is probably my favorite food. I admit it, I’m a picky eater. I don’t experiment with exotic foods. And, strangely, I don’t like any seafood, except maybe a tuna fish sub sandwich if it is loaded with so much mayonnaise, I taste only the mayonnaise and not the tuna. I don’t know why I just don’t like seafood. I don’t even like lobster.
What are some popular things that you have no interest in?
Well, again, seafood. And beer. I meet so many people who just love that nightly cold beer. I never liked beer. I just don’t. Also I’ve never smoked. Smoking is popular in some circles. I never understood the joy in smoking. Just never understood it. Oh and sushi. Some people I know love it. I've never eaten it.
What are some things that many people you’ve meet have done or tried that you haven’t?
Hmmm, well skydiving. A lot of people I’ve met have done that. Oh and riding in a stretch limousine. I’ve never been inside a chauffeured stretch limo with the tinted windows and smooth ride and plush seats. And a lot of people I know have attended graduate school. I stopped after I received my Bachelor’s degree. And a lot of people I know have been scuba diving. I haven't done that yet.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Someone once told me try to have a job I like. Select an occupation and do something I enjoy doing. And that person was right. I would rather have a job I enjoy and earn a middle class salary than have a job I don’t like and have a great salary. Money’s important, after all it’s security, but gosh so many hours are put into a work week, it’s so important to have an occupation one enjoys.
What’s the worst piece of advice you ever received?
During the millennium-era economic downturn a number of years back, when I was having difficulty locating employment this guy who was an executive in his family’s business told me “it’s not who you know it’s what you know” ( remember he was an executive in his own family’s decades-old business ) and then he said “getting a job’s easy, it should take only two or three days to obtain a job. I could get a job in two or three days.” After he said this I was like huh???? Huh????
I asked the man how many resumes he had sent in his life? How many job interviews had he been on? And he gave me this blank stare. Since he worked for the family business, I doubt he had ever been on a job interview. And I doubt he ever typed up a resume. Bad advice! Two or three days !!! Whoa!!!!
What are some “quirky” things about you?
I like to drive a car. I’ve taken several road trips and I think if I had a chauffeured vehicle I might on occasion have the chauffeur sit in the back while I drive. I’ve taken many road trips up the east coast, I-95 through New England.
I like to drive. I once drove a truck for about one year. It was a large tractor trailer. It was bumpy, sometimes hot and my route was usually through boring, flat swampland at night. It must really be a thrill to drive in places like Alaska or the Rocky Mountains. Beautiful.
And I like sunny days, but I really like rainy days with severe thunderstorms and lightning. Lightning at night is awesome, I love that. I guess that is quirky that I like rainy days more than sunny days. I just love when that severe thunderstorm creeps up, the wind starts blowing, the clouds thicken and darken and then arrives the pounding rain and lightning. i just think it's amazing. Mother Nature's power!
Are you superstitious?
I admit it I was in a bookstore once and they had a rolling ladder and instead of walking under it I walked two rows to avoid it. But I think black cats look cool.
What is your favorite color?
Sky blue. And also yellow is cool.
How do you order your burger?
Well done. Extra mayo. The bun toasted.
Can you give an example of one time when you felt very foolish?
I grew up in Florida and so I didn’t have any experience with snow. One time in middle October I was driving home on a road trip through a hilly area in Pennsylvania. And so I am driving along and I notice along the side of the highway on both the right and left shoulders there was this white powder. So for about five miles I am driving along wondering where and how did all this sand get on the roadway? I was actually wondering if I would soon come upon a slow moving dump trunk that was leaking sand from the rear. Finally, I realized it was snow. That was the first time I ever saw snow.
What movies can you watch over and over?
Jaws. . . Marathon Man. . . Jackass. . . Jaws II. . . Jaws III. . . Halloween. . . Friday the Thirteenth. . . Double Indemnity. . . Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. . . Sunset Boulevard. . . Towering Inferno. . . I also like documentaries.
Blues Brothers. . . Gone with the Wind. . . North by Northwest. . . Young Frankenstein. . . Blazing Saddles. . .High Anxiety. . . Some Like it Hot. . . Where the Boys Are. . . Chinatown. . . Looking for Mr. Goodbar. . . City Lights (with Charlie Chapman) . . . Raging Bull. . . Fargo. . . Annie Hall. . . Vertigo. . . Black Sunday. . . Midnight Express . . . Sleeper. . . Pulp Fiction. . . High Anxiety. . . Pink Panther. . . Young Frankenstein. . . American Graffiti. . . Airplane. . . Patton. . . Streetcar Named Desire. . . One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest . . . The Fugitive. . . The Quick and the Dead.
Oh, yes, and the Bond movies are great. I can’t forget to mention The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy movies. Amadeus . . . Bananas . . . The Great Escape . . . Grease ( Even though some of the actors playing high school students looked old enough to be graduate school students. ) Grease’s music was great.
Favorite television shows?
Most, if not all, would be from the old days. The sixties, seventies, eighties or early nineties. All in the Family. . . Maude. . . Taxi. . . Hawaii Five-O. Bonanza. . . The Big Valley. . . In Search Of. . . Soap. . . Super Bowl. . . Football . . . Twilight Zone. . . Gunsmoke. . . Honeymooners. . . SNL from the old days. I watch very little of the television shows that air in prime time today. Too many "reality" programs.
What do you strive for in the characters you create in your novels?
My number one goal is to avoid what I call “old western style all goods or all bads.” Mind you that is my own way of phrasing it. I like old westerns, but what I notice is often the characters are “all good” or “all bad.” There’s often little middle ground.
The “all good” characters are sweet or kind to everyone, always helpful, always generous, always ready to assist and lend a hand.
And the “all bad” characters are often all bad, everything from being smelly and dirty to speaking poorly to being nasty and inconsiderate to everyone around them.
I strive to make my characters human by giving them good and bad traits. I also try to instill a vulnerability in each character.
What scares you?
What scares me? The usual “scary” things that can or might happen. An asteroid impacting earth. Big foot sitting down uninvited at my dinner table and hogging all the baked rolls. War is scary. The United States debt Is super scary. And strange as it sounds, I find unpaid internships scary.
Some companies today expect them and I didn’t do an unpaid internship. I was invited on several occasions to do unpaid internships years ago, always in big, exciting (read expensive) cities like New York, San Fran or Washington DC. They wanted me to do an unpaid internship for a summer (about two months to four months) in these big, exciting (read expensive) cities and I simply didn’t have any way to afford several months of rent, food and expenses.
For example, one unpaid internship I was interested in and they were interested in me required I reside in New York City from late May to late August. I estimated the costs for three months rent in a tiny one bedroom apartment, food, travel and miscellaneous expenses at a little under ten thousand dollars. There was no way, no way I could afford that.
Most vivid memories of elementary school?
Now that's going waaaay back. Indeed. I suppose some of the more vivid memories I have include a field trip to a milk dairy farm. A field trip to a farm that grew something, I think green beans or peas but I am not sure.
That time a second grader threw her snow cone at me. And for no reason. Temperamental.
Snow cone Fridays where I was once given a snow cone without any
sweet syrup on it. It was just a cup of ice. What fun is that?
Spaghetti dinners for parents and students some nights.
That time another student ran his wooden toy truck over my big toe and I ended up limping to the school clinic.
That time my bicycle got stolen out of the lock up yard.
Most vivid memory from middle school?
Oh that's an easy one!
One year on the last day of school before summer break, I was happily happily happily looking forward to several months off. Ah, yes, summer! The beach! Picnics! Camping! Flying a kite! Riding my bike!
Suddenly in the last class of the day, only minutes from the school year's final dismissal bell ringing, my math teacher walked over and gave me a slip of paper indicating if I wanted to move on to the next grade I needed to attend . . . cue the suspenseful music . . . summer school. Oh, did I frown.
Best name for a major motion picture in your opinion?
It's a 3 way tie. Double Indemnity. Pulp Fiction. American Graffiti.
What’s some weird fact about you?
I like to read about hurricanes, hurricane formation spots, and weather reports associated with hurricanes. I find hurricanes very scary (although not as scary as earthquakes) but also fascinating in a way.
Each May I study all the latest meteorological reports and seasonal outlooks. Studying the historical paths of monster hurricanes is especially unnerving, especially those big storms that form near Africa and have, in the past, struck Florida as category 4 or 5 storms.
What’s your weakness?
Sugar. I have a sweet tooth that won’t quit. Seriously, I’m sad to say I eat too many sweets and too much sugar. I am proud to say I have cut down to drinking one or two cans of sofa a year. Now I have to figure out a way to cut down the chocolate consumption.
What are your political views? Left or right?
When I was younger, I was further right. Now I’m in the middle, I’d say. When I was a college student in my younger years, I believed in ( to a point ) the “trickle down theory” but when I got out into the working world my views on that changed. I just didn’t see things “trickling down.”
Who has more beautiful castles? France or England?
I’ve heard there are some beauties in Ireland. Oh, I dream to see Ireland. My heritage is part Irish and I’m sure I have very distant relatives still there. I dream to see Ireland.
Would you like to live in a castle?
Many of them are too drafty and too haunted for my tastes.
What's your favorite cartoon?
Disney's Fantasia is great, the music is fantastic.
Do you believe in UFOs?
Unidentified flying oranges? I've never seen a flying orange, so I would have to say no I don't believe in UFOs.
Do you believe in ghosts?
What’s difficult for you?
Calculus. And driving by a bakery without stopping. Also I always found puzzles difficult. I'm not very "logical" I'm more creative.
What’s the best way to get on a best seller list?
I recommend people read a synopsis of books that are already on the best seller lists. Being an author’s not only a creative endeavor, it’s also a business. Read what kind of novels are on the best seller lists to know what is selling and what genres are “hot." Mysteries? Young adult? Sci-fi?
Any advice on dialogue?
I always found dialogue to be the most fun and easiest part of doing a novel. I’m a people watcher and so, in public, I observe and take note of the language. Listen to how people talk. Know the lingo. Understand dialects. Know the difference in literature between a character just spewing out words and actual dialogue.
Example, a guy ordering a burger. What sounds better? What has more charm? “Waitress I’ll have a cheeseburger with extra ketchup.” Or “Waitress tell the chef in the kitchen with the big hat to fry me up a cheeseburger and tell him to empty half a ketchup bottle on the bun.”
Or another example. A guy asking a stranger if the transit bus is due soon. “Sir, is the bus due soon?” Or “Hey bud, one of them shiny buses with a driver wearing a hat due to zoom by here before I grow cobwebs?”
Or a guy asking to make change. “Can I have four quarters for a dollar please?” Or “How’s it going? Suppose I slap this dollar on you can you flip me four shiny quarters in return?”
Best television theme song in your opinion?
1970's Hawaii Five - O jams.
Best movie theme song?
I guess Gone with the Wind. Also the ending credits music from Fargo was great. Oh and that Jaws theme. Scary!!!!
What’s especially difficult to write?
I think humor that doesn’t come across as juvenile or sophomoric. Writing humorous stories or chapters is not easy.
If stranded on an island, what type of book would you take with you?
Hmm, probably something by Stephen King. People think of him as a horror writer, but I always saw a lot of humor in his characters and I think his dialogue is great. I especially like his short stories. I also might take one of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not books with me. The things people accomplish never fails to amaze me. I think that’s why I like the circus.
What are your favorite circus acts?
Trapeze artists are great. Strongman show. Or the motorcycle daredevil type thrills. And I suppose the tightrope walker, if they do it with no net that is impressive.
Can you name something that causes you great frustration?
Why aren’t the politicians talking about the looming national debt? In the not-so-distant-future trillions of dollars will be due. I think the looming debt is very scary. It makes me very nervous! Ignoring the debt won’t make it go away.
Maybe twice a year I’ll have a pina colada.
What’s the worst part of being an author?
Sometimes, it is a lonely occupation. You work alone much of the time. I miss the “office atmosphere” sometimes. You don’t socialize or form as many friendships when you sit home and work at a computer alone all day.
Name a career path you don’t regret not taking?
Acting. When in high school, I wanted to be an actor and for 6 months I attended a local performing arts school. However, when the school year ended and I was finished with high school, I didn’t have the opportunity to "go Hollywood" for several reasons.
My mother had polio and needed my assistance at times and my sister, Christine, had a very bad illness, so how could I go off and find my dream while allowing my handicapped mom to be home with my sister taking care of my sister’s needs? Plus fresh out of high school, I was also quite poor and Hollywood is expensive.
I was sad about my inability to go away and follow my dream, and I was down about it for many years. But as I got older, I began to realize the odds of success are so low, plus there’s that dreaded old saying the camera adds ten pounds. I’ve read about how some actors have to constantly diet or eat like a bird to stay slim in Hollywood and how it’s so important to be slim. And to be blunt I just like food too much! I just wouldn’t want to be in an occupation where if I gained 6 pounds one month I might lose out on getting a role. You have to be so slim for that camera. Why can’t someone invent a camera that subtracts ten pounds?
The other thing I don’t like about acting is a relatively short career span. It’s great when one is in their twenties or early thirties, but what do you do when you are age 45? I feel especially bad for female performers, you see these great, beautiful actresses in the great movies roles when they are in their twenties and thirties and when they reach age forty you rarely see them in starring roles anymore. That’s tough.
So even though I was bitter when younger about not being able to "go Hollywood" today I realize it was for the best. I would not want to be in an occupation with such an emphasis on weight and appearance.
What percentage of “would be” writers do you encounter who have started a book but did not finish?
This is so common, it seems. Oh my gosh, I can honestly say at least one out of every ten people who learn I am a writer will say something like “I tried to write a novel but I never finished.” All the time I meet people who confess they sat down and began writing a novel and didn’t make it past page two or sometimes even beyond one paragraph. It takes a lot of discipline to sit down and write even a 2,000 words short story.
Imagine the discipline it takes to sit down and write a 90,000 words or 120,000 words novel. And sometimes a person will say “I sat down at the keyboard and I just couldn’t think of a thing in the world to write.” This makes me wonder why are you trying to be a novelist? Harsh as it may sound, I do believe it takes a very active imagination to write novels. If one doesn’t have a great imagination, maybe non-fiction would be a better option?
What are your weaknesses?
Sounds like a job interview. I have weaknesses. I can be bitter at times. And I am a slow runner. In school in track and field, I was usually last. I am not fast on my feet.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Music, art galleries, exotic cars that I can’t afford but can merely look at and dream and think if only, if only. I like them exotic sports cars imported from Italy or Germany.
Let’s see, I like cooking. Old movies. Walking on the beach. Walking on piers. If I had a sailboat, I would like to sail on the ocean. I enjoy reading the newspaper. Riding my bike. Travel. Ghost stories. Amusement parks. And lots of other things. I dream to see London! Those phone booths are sooooo cute.
What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever heard?
Years ago some guy bragged about this fancy car he purchased that cost over one hundred thousand dollars. I asked if I could see it. He replied, “I can’t drive it. I don’t drive it ever. It’s too clean and expensive.” I raised an eyebrow. Why buy a car you can’t take out on the street? Pretty silly if you ask me.
If you taught a class in civics what would be some of your lessons?
Respect law enforcement.
Remember our brave soldiers serving overseas.
Recycle. Don’t pollute. Dispose of used motor oil properly.
If you smoke don’t stand right next to the door of an establishment so some poor non-smoker who hates the smell of nicotine ( such as me ) has to walk through the smoke to get into a non-smoking establishment.
Name something that nine times out of ten you find boring?
I would say watching slides or looking at photos of other people’s vacation photos. “Oh look at this, we’re smiling in front of the statue” . . . Yawn! “Oh this is him catching a bass” . . . Yawn! “Oh this is where we diverted off the main trail and filmed a family of squirrels eating” . . . Yawn! And then even when a developed photo comes out blurry or fuzzy some people still show it. Huh? “Oh look this is the paddle boat we rented but you can’t see it too good” . . . Yawn!
Most mysterious person you ever met?
It’s a tie. I met a man with a strong Irish accent, even though he wasn’t Irish, didn’t grow up in an Irish section of Ohio and had never visited Ireland.
And the second person was some guy I met who claimed to be from North Carolina but had a very powerful and quite pronounced English accent. I joke not the man sounded like he was from Wales.
Biggest absolute goofball you have met?
I was stopped at a stoplight behind the wheel of my car when a guy in the car next to me yelled out “Hey, bud, you want to buy some cheap speakers?” When I answered no, then he asked if I wanted to have a look at some “cheap watches.” When I said no again, this goofball merely shrugged and asked if there was a good diner nearby that made pancakes and served a decent cup of coffee.
Have you ever rolled pennies?
Yes. I found it a little boring.
Can you tell your funniest fast food take out story?
I have a few. I'll tell two.
I walked into a fast food establishment for a cheeseburger. The drive through window was closed. It was ten fifteen at night and I was thrilled to see only one customer in the place, a man standing in front of the register giving his order.
I figured only one customer ahead of me wow would things move fast.
Little did I know this man was a baseball coach and he had just placed an order for thirty nine cheeseburgers ( many special ordered ) as well as thirty nine orders of french fries. Oh my gosh! He was ordering take out for his players, some parents and other coaches.
There was a skeleton crew on hand since it was late at night. It took almost twenty minutes for the one kitchen worker to make all those burgers.
Another funny thing happened when I was approaching a drive through window one Saturday afternoon for one cheeseburger. One cheeseburger!
As I pulled into the parking lot I smiled because there were no cars waiting in the drive through lane, which was quite rare. Usually the place was swamped.
So I'm about to pull into the lane, when all of the sudden an old, banged up, backfiring car with a cracked windshield and a smoking engine swung into the lane mere seconds before me. We're talking two or three seconds! Inside what looked like seven or eight teenagers were piled into the car and they were smoking something.
They ordered so much! Cheeseburgers. Hamburgers. French fries. Sodas. Milkshakes. Their bill totaled around forty nine dollars.
All I wanted was one cheeseburger!
I must have waited behind this smoking, backfiring car with its back bumper hanging partly off for a good fifteen minutes. So much food! Finally, the car ahead of me pulled away, so overloaded with people it was too low to the ground and the rear muffler was scraping the pavement as they sped off with tires screaming.
That was one memorable visit to a fast food establishment.
Are you on Twitter?
Can I get your autograph?
May I be honest? I hate signing my autograph. And it's not because I'm snobby or I feel it is beneath me or I'm too busy. The truth is that I feel silly giving an autograph. I'm not "famous" and I doubt I ever will be famous. So, I feel silly signing an autograph and I remind people I'm not famous, so I always ask if they are sure they want it. I usually relent, and sign. I don't want to disappoint people.
Who are your favorite male actors?
Cary Grant. Jack Lord. Bruce Dern. Steve McQueen.
Name a movie you have never seen that most others have seen?
Three Stooges. W.C. Fields. Rodney Dangerfield. Amy Schumer.
Authors you admire?
Stephen King is great. Poets Langston Hughes and William Carlos Williams.
Favorite suspense movies?
Hunt for Red October. Black Sunday. Marathon Man. Magic.
Favorite scary / horror movies?
Halloween (1978 version). Friday the Thirteenth (the original one).
Do you dig gin?
The card game or the booze?
Fav comic book?
Chocolate milk. Hot cocoa. Skim milk. OJ.
Yeah, if I can put some sugar on it.. Yeah.
Do you think the Three Stooges are cool?
Super cool, I think. Larry is my favorite.
On tv, Gunsmoke. Festus is funny. The Big Valley. Audra is wow! Bonanza. In the movies, I enjoyed The Quick and
the Dead. Oh, can't forget The Good The Bad The Ugly. A classic.
Grease. My Fair Lady. Mary Poppins. Fantasia (the cartoon).
Too many to list. I liked Wally Gator.
What's standing at the end of the bridge?
Why don't you click on the photo to find out?