Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Interview with CL Beck and DN Giles (Or a Blogging Comedy of Errors)

I am so thrilled to be able to interview the authors of Mormon Mishaps and Mischief—a book filled with funny and embarrassing moments related to LDS culture and activities. I posted a review back in February, but now they're doing a blog tour. I'm happy to give them more exposure because they're great friends of mine.

[And for those brave souls willing to read all the way to the bottom, there's a contest where you could win a prize worth $150!!]

Cindy (aka CL Beck) and Nichole (aka DN Giles) came over to my blog for brunch the other day. I spent all morning making crepes and raspberry tarts and hand-dipping strawberries in chocolate. I even made teeny little cucumber sandwiches. I planned to serve them with chocolate mousse mint cocoa because it was a cold and blustery day out. I put out the good china and tea set with the delicate little rose pattern and the hand-tatted lace doilies that I whipped up myself last week, just for this occasion.

I was so excited to see Cindy and Nichole that I almost hyper-ventilated when they rang the bell. When I opened the door, I noticed Cindy's husband, Russ, standing on the porch with them holding a bundle of rags.

Me: Cindy! (hugs) Nichole! (European cheek kissing) Come in! I'm so glad you made it, even though the weather is bad.

Cindy: We wouldn't have missed it for the world! But neither of us felt comfortable driving in this wind, so Russ drove us. You don't mind that I brought Russ and Corky Porky Pie along, do you?

(The bundle of rags turned into a small dog and jumped from Russ' arms to my floor. He shook himself, spraying little droplets of water all over us.)

Me: Of course not. (I shook Russ' hand and patted Corky Porky Pie on the head. He bared his teeth at me. (Corky, not Russ.))

(I quickly added two more place settings to my new dinette table in the east-facing breakfast nook (which I'd remodeled just for this interview). I calculated that there would be enough sandwiches and strawberries for two more, but there might not be enough tarts. I'd only planned on two per person. Maybe one of them won't like raspberry tarts?)

(I poured out the chocolate mousse mint cocoa into the little teacups and everyone helped themselves to the food.)

Russ: I love raspberry tarts!

Cindy: Me, too. They're my favorite.

Nichole: Mine too! Karlene, how did you know?

Me: Uhmmm, lucky guess?

Nichole: Mmm. (She takes a sip of her cocoa and splashes a few drops on her white pants.) Karlene, this cocoa is delish! Where did you get it?

Me: Well, I mixed it up myself from a secret family recipe. I can't share or I'll be disowned.

Nichole: Oh. Well. It is yummy.

(Corky Porky Pie barked in agreement, then knocked over his teacup, spilling cocoa all over his doily and chipping the handle of the cup.)

Russ: Maybe we should get on to the interview soon. Corky seems to be overly excitable today. But he sure likes those raspberry tarts! That's the second one he's wolfed down already.

Me: I think getting to the interview is a great idea. Cindy and Nichole, what gave you the idea to write Mormon Mishaps and Mischief?

Cindy: The moon was full, Aquarius was on the cusp, and the chickens were molting, all of which combined to make this the right time for a book of humorous anecdotes. Well, that and the pantry was empty, so a book that might actually sell a few copies seemed like a good idea.

Nichole: What Cindy says might be true. But I think perhaps it was our children. Or our bishops. Or maybe it might have been our silly husbands and neighbors. Whoever it was, we should really thank them. They made us laugh.

Cindy: They sure did!

Nichole: And then one sunny spring morning, one of us woke up and said, “I think I’ll write a book of humorous anecdotes today.” Then there was email involved. Lots of email. And brainstorming and collecting and chocolate eating. And maybe some Twinkies. Thus, the proposal for a book of humorous anecdotes was born.

Russ: I think it was the chickens. Definitely the chickens. Don't you agree, Corky Porky Pie?

CPP: Yip. (He starts panting hard, obviously envisioning the chickens, and makes himself so dizzy that he tips himself off his chair. The doily, which was stuck in his flea collar, drags his plate off the table and it goes crashing to the floor. The plate wasn't damaged, thanks to my newly installed ultra-thick cream carpet, but Corky was so excited he stepped all over his crepes, smooshing the raspberry jam into the fibers.)

Me: Your book is pretty funny. Some of the anecdotes were potentially embarrassing situations. Personally, I've never done anything to embarrass myself but I understand that other people might do this quite often. What is the most embarrassing thing that you've done at church?

Nichole: Like you, I'm not susceptible to embarrassing moments. (Nichole swings her hands for emphasis. Unfortunately, she's still holding her second cup of cocoa and it sloshes onto my tablecloth, which I hand-tatted to match the doilies. Maybe I should have served water.)

Me: Oh, I see. You're not admitting to any social gaffes, huh?

Nichole: Seriously, there are none to admit to (gives me a crusty). I'm going to have to pick something from the book. I think the story about the lady who's toddler pulled all her clothes open in Sacrament Meeting wins that one. Or wait, no, it's the bishop who told the crying lady we like big boobs. That's a hard choice!

Me: Cindy, what about you?

Cindy: (coughs a bit as she hurriedly chews the ginormous strawberry she'd just stuffed into her mouth. She uses the edge of her doily to wipe the juice off her chin.) I'd been wearing fuzzy socks before getting dressed for church, and never realized that when I put on my pantyhose, a big clump of fuzziness attached itself to my leg, inside my hose. I walked around all three hours looking like I was growing a large clump of green moss on my calf.

Russ: That's my girl!

Me: What about your most embarrassing moment outside of church?

Cindy: Ooo! I have a good one! I happened to be out driving past a friend's farm and noticed her husband standing by his barn. I pulled up and for about twenty minutes, I unabashedly sat there just shooting the breeze with him. Literally. Because as I drove away, I discovered the middle button on my blouse had been open the whole time, giving him a grand view of the whole enchilada. Not that my enchiladas are that buxom, but still ...

Russ: When was that? WHO was that? You never told me.

CPP: Grrrr!

Me: Nichole, are you admitting to anything outside of church?

Nichole: Of course not! (Drops a loaded raspberry tart, bright red jam side down, into her lap.) But from the book, I liked the fathers and sons who got caught in the sprinklers at a camp out and ended up standing outside in their pearly whites.

CPP: Ruff!

Cindy: Corky Porky Pie likes that one too.

Me: Well, okay then. Next question. When you get rich and famous from this book, how do you plan to treat yourself? How will you spend all your money?

Cindy: Donuts and Cheetos and Ho-hos and Twinkies. Umm, er ... I mean, I plan to travel to foreign countries, pleading for world peace. Okay, I'll actually be serious for a minute. If I had a ton of money, I'd like to spend a chunk on scholarships for authors to go to conferences like Storymakers, Highlights, Erma Bombeck ... and other conferences that most of us can only dream about attending.

Me: That's pretty altruistic of you. No mansion? No Hummer?

Cindy: Nope. I'm fine.

Russ: I wouldn't mind a Hummer.

Cindy: (ignoring Russ) Although I promised Corky Porky Pie that I'd buy him a Jeweled Crown Canopy Dog Bed.

(Corky Porky Pie runs around the table, slips in Nichole's tart jam that she had brushed from her pants onto the carpet, then nuzzles up to Cindy and licks her leg.)

Me: What about you, Nichole?

Nichole: After I buy an iPad, I believe I shall buy a small island for myself, where I'll invite all my writing friends, including Cindy and you. Also, I'll be buying Cindy a lifetime supply of Twinkies, because I believe that would make her happy. And she has a beautiful smile.

Cindy: (blinks back tears) Why thank you, Nichole. No one has ever done anything quite so wonderful for me. (Gives Russ a crusty. Russ ignores her, so she kicks his ankle under the table.)

Russ: Ouch!

CPP: Yip! (Corky runs over to Russ and jumps up on his lap, knocking Russ' untouched teacup of cocoa onto the new cream carpet.)

Me: (Sigh.) What is your favorite ice cream topping?

Cindy: More ice cream.

Nichole: Pineapple. And hey, I'd probably have that on my island because it will be well-stocked. Ooh, and maybe mangoes too.

Me: If you could have a secret identity, what would it be? What would your super powers be?

Cindy: I would be Super Twinkie, and wear a golden, cake-like cape. My super powers would consist of wrapping the bad guys in cellophane and entrapping them in a box.

Nichole: Yay, Cindy! (Stands to applaud and bumps the whole tray of cucumber sandwiches onto the new cream carpet. She doesn't notice and jumps up and down in excitement, grinding the sandwiches to gloppy bits.)

Me: And you, Nichole. What would your super powers be? Maybe turbo cleaning new cream carpeting?

Nichole: (Gives me a quizzical look.) What kind of super power is that?

(Nichole and Cindy both laugh hysterically as Nichole sits back down, missing the chair and landing with her bum in the cucumber mess.)

Me: Whatever. Just answer the question.

Nichole: Okay, but you have to promise not to tell. (She gets up and sits in the chair. I mentioned I had a new dinette, but I don't think I mentioned that the chairs have padded seats covered in a lovely off-white satiny fabric.) (Nichole leans over conspiratorially, lowers her voice and whispers.) Shh. Don't tell. I do have a secret identity. I'm an invisible ninja who goes on covert operations regularly. Don't tell the dew-dew spies! My super power is either being invisible or super-ninja skills. Take your pick.

Me: Alrighty, then. Ninjas make me think of stalkers. I had a stalker once but he's in jail now. Have you ever had stalkers?

(Cindy and Nichole shake their heads in unison.)

CPP: Yip.

Russ: Corky Porky Pie had a stalker. Remember, Cindy? That black cat that used to come prowl around the house and pounce on him when we weren't looking?

Cindy: Russ! Shhh! You're embarrassing him!

(Corky Porky Pie is now hiding under Russ' chair with his sticky red jelly paws over his eyes.)

Me: If you were to ever become a stalker, who would you stalk and why?

Cindy: Ooo, a stalker. That's a whole different snack cake than being a Twinkie. Okay, so I'd stalk Dave Barry, the humor columnist.

Me: Why?

Cindy: Because I once sent him a note saying that his picture in the Trib made him look bizarre and he kindly responded by saying, "What makes you think I don't look that way? Possessed by demons!"

CPP: Whine...

Cindy: And really, someone that nice deserves to have a stalker of his own.

Nichole: You're right, Cindy. All nice people really should have stalkers. Who would I stalk?...Wow, that's a tough one. Hmm. Maybe Taylor Lautner, because he was looking very stalkable in New Moon. Yes, I realize he's much younger than me. Details. I just want to touch his abs, that's all. Those can't be real!

(Embarrassed silence all around the room.)

(Nichole picks up another tart and almost drops it on its way to her mouth. She does a quick save but tips over the warm homemade maple syrup that I'd put out for the crepes. Yep. It ran straight off the table and onto the new carpet.)

Me: Last question. Sarah Eden asked me this question for INFF and I loved it: Suppose you were stuck on a desert island with only one type of food, one book and one pair of shoes. What food/book/shoes would you want to be castaway with?

Cindy: Food: Twinkies; Book: Where to Find More Twinkies When Stranded on a Desert Isle; Shoes: Sandals, so my Twinkie toes can shine through.

Nichole: Snow crab, definitely, and...um, can I take a Kindle or iPad with me? I'd choose that so I could have a variety of books. No way I could choose just one. And really, I can't believe you're making me choose one pair of shoes. Do you not know me at all? How can I make a decision like that? I suppose I could take my Sketchers flip-flops. My tan ones. They would probably match a grass skirt pretty well. But I'd forever miss my closet full of fantastic sandals. Or maybe I'd take these...

(Nichole lifts her foot up to the table top to show me the shoes she's wearing. They're shiny gold sandals with little beaded crystal flowers at the toe.)

Me: Lovely sandals. Really. I love them.

Nichole: Thank you. (When she drops her foot to the floor, the buckle snags on the hand-tatted tablecloth and everything comes sliding off the table onto the new cream carpet. Every. Single. Thing.)

Nichole: Ooops! Well, it's a good thing that's our last question, isn't it?

Me: Yes, I think it is.

Cindy: We really hate to eat and run but we do have another interview we need to get to. Let's go, Russ.

Russ: Just a minute. Something's wrong with Corky Porky Pie.

(We turn to look at Corky just as he spews out everything he ate for brunch, all over the new cream carpet. When he's done, Russ grabs the last clean doily and wipes off Corky's face and paws. Then he picks him up and heads for the door.)

Cindy: It's been a blast, Karlene! Thanks so much for your fun, creative questions. (hugs)

Nichole: Thanks for doing this! Love your questions. (European cheek kissing)

You can read more funny stories at Cindy and Nichole's LDS Humor blog.

[Disclaimer: No dogs, chickens or carpeting were hurt in this interview. I hardly put any made-up words in Cindy and Nichole's mouths, but I did make up responses from Russ and Corky Porky Pie. Also, Russ refused to sit for the photo shoot, so I stole his photo from his blog.]

The Promised Contest Information!
Your LDS Neighborhood has offered a YEAR LONG advertising package which includes space on the Neighborhood website as well as tiles in the newsletter. Were you to purchase advertising with them, this package would cost $150. (More details HERE.)

This is a fabulous contest for authors and/or people who have just launched a new business. (cough, cough)

To enter, FOLLOW ME and LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST. You can also get extra entries by promoting the contest on your blog. (More details HERE.)

DEADLINE: Midnight, May 16, 2010.


CL Beck, author said...

Oh my gosh, I'm ROFL laughing. Oh yes, I'm sure I was there for the cocoa and tarts, but I don't remember it happening QUITE that way.:)

Thanks a bunch for being a part of the blog tour! Good luck to all your readers on winning that fantastic prize.

Suan said...

that was soooooo funny !
i was reading it during lunch and laughing out loud and the girls in the office kept giving me funny looks...like i had finally lost it.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Super cute & funny interview!!!

I follow your blog, I follow the lds humor and I follow the your lds neighborhood newsletter blog.

Thank you!!!

Nichole Giles said...

Super fun. Thanks for brunch. I don't really remember some of those things, but if you really want me to come steam clean your carpet, call me.



Anna Maria Junus said...

This is why I don't invite people over. Great post!

Rebecca Talley said...

I love the pic of Russ--that's exactly how I remember him :).