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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

AJ's "About Me"

Scene: A coffee shop back room, patrons buzzing with excitement and caffeine. Non-descript indie rock music is heard coming through the door to the front of the shop. A microphone in front of a slightly ratty armchair on a small 'stage' and an author/blogger stands to the side, wringing her hands with discomfort at the thought of 'introducing herself' to a room full of people. The coffee shop manager welcomes everyone and the author sinks down into the chair...

"Hi everyone! Thanks so much for coming today! I've never thought it was fair that the intro person just has to say your name and then leaves you all alone on the stage. I mean, us writing types like the written word, which generally means long hours alone tip-tapping at a laptop, and does not mean standing on stage in front of a room full of people who expect us to say brilliant things because they like what we wrote, which really is an unfair expectation because written words can be crafted and fixed after they come out of your brain and spoken ones cannot.

...But anyway.. I'm here and have already started rambling, so I should probably get to it. My name is AJ Lauer. I blog at Naturally Sweet and am very excited to be a co-host for this year's A-Z Challenge! I'm so happy I stumbled upon the Challenge in 2012 as it's been one of the most fun writing-related things that I do every year. Welcome to the Challenge, everyone :)

Me and Dan at a book signing.
Dan's the one with the beard :)
Last spring I published my first book, Armageddon: Pick Your Plot with my good friend Dan. Pick Your Plot books are interactive fiction, which means that you, the reader, get to decide where the story goes. Fun, huh? Armageddon explores end-world prophecies and has 42 story endings - you die in 33 of them. Hey, it says Armageddon! What did you expect? For a taste of it, try out this blog post from last year's Challenge. We are currently finishing a second book called Sky Pirates: Pick Your Plot which will come out this year.

If I'm not writing (or at my "real job") I'm usually outside gardening, hiking or running. I have the great fortune of living in a beautiful state where it's not too hard to get to scenery like this:

Near Lake Bierstadt, while snowshoeing this weekend.
You guys asked some great questions, so I'm going to answer a couple of them and then leave you to your caffeinated beverages!

"What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Cone or cup? Sprinkles or hot fudge sauce?" from Tracy Bermeo, A2Z Mommy
I pretty much love all kinds of icecream. I grew up in Wisconsin, so am partial to frozen custard but really it can be any flavor, in a cup. Definitely hot fudge rather than sprinkles though. And yes I'd like whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, please!

"Would you EVER tell anyone your darkest secret?" from Susan Scott
Yes, absolutely. But not here ;) Our secrets are part of what makes us who we are, so if you really want someone to understand you, eventually you have to share even the deepest and darkest.

"What brought you to blogging and how did you find yourself doing the A-Z?" from Hilary Melton-Butcher
I started blogging in college as a way to keep in touch with my friends from home, and also as a catch-all for random bits of story and poetry that came to mind. A lot of crazy stuff happened in those first couple years so it was an important outlet and place to process. So far as the Challenge goes... In the spring of 2012 I had a terrible cold and after a couple days of lazing on the couch was bored out of my mind, so I challenged an English Professor friend to a writing duel that involved writing every day for a month. That was a great experience so I looked for a way to do something similar with my blog and found A-Z! And the rest, as they say, is history.

And I think that's enough from me. Thanks so much for coming by today! It was lovely to meet you all and if you have more questions feel free to ask them in the comments section or stop by for a visit!"

Polite applause. Blogger scoops herself carefully up out of the armchair, turns off the microphone and walks off stage. Coffee shop manager beams and offers water. Patrons go back to their reading, work and friends. End scene.

29 comments:

  1. i have one friend who knows my darkest secrets. i agree that i wouldn't blab them on a blog. Can i get a fresh cup of coffee here?

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    1. Absolutely! Would you like some CAKE with your coffee? ;)

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  2. That was an awesome way to do this! I love coffee shops ;-) You do make a good point about "crafting" written words and spoken words, as Harry says to Sally, "But you can't take it back! It's already out there!"
    The scenery here is great, that's for sure. Haven't snowshoed that lake, but have hiked to it many a time. Love that park. (Since you're being all secretive about what state we're talking about I'll keep your secret...) :-)
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

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    1. Can't wait to meet YOU in a coffee shop tomorrow!! EEEEK!
      I loooove "When Harry Met Sally"
      I think the hike would be easier than the snowshoe - we had to use GPS to figure out where the trail was supposed to be. Pretty sure none of the other snowshoers who'd been there actually made it to the lake.

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  3. "Favorite" this-or-that types of questions are tough, because there's really nothing that I have an absolute favorite of, that never changes... Today, my favorite ice cream is pistachio, but some days you just can't beat chocolate chip.

    I've taken a rather extended break from blogging - and I had been upkeeping (keeping up??) no less than 3 blogs before... I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing, but I've been away from it for so long, doing it again is almost intimidating! Does that make sense?? Almost like feeling like I don't know what I'm doing?? Or won't remember, or something. Sounds kinda ridiculous, does it??

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    1. Welcome back, Matt! I remember you :) You had a symbol that looked like this'ish: =M= ..? I think I'd followed you on a blogger blog but lost you when you switched platforms? Good to see you!

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  4. So good to meet you here at this coffee shop, AJ! True, wish spoken words also came with Delete or Backspace button :D All the best to you and Dan for Sky Pirates :)
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2014

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  5. Secrets are secrets, but eventually some of them need to be shared in the interest of getting to know people better. Your creativity is what stands out most in this post, however, which is probably why you like so many kinds of ice cream.

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    1. Haha is that creativity or gluttony?

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  6. Nice to meet you! I am a vanilla or coffee expresso ice cream type of lady.

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    1. Ooh espresso can be just the thing on certain days! With chocolate chips in it.. Mmmm...

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  7. I love custard ice cream. I was introduced to it quite a few years ago by friends from Wisconsin who found a new restaurant where we lived in NC that specialised in custard ice cream. Unfortunately they closed down a few years back and now I have no source any more.

    Nice to meet you. Have a good f to f with Tina.

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    1. Custard is really a different thing, isn't it? It's so much richer. Sorry to hear you don't have a source, though it is pretty easy to make!
      Also a lot of 'ice cream' flavors at the store are actually custard. Just look for the eggs in the ingredients :)

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  8. Lake Bierstadt? Named after the painter from the Hudson River School, by any chance?

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  9. It's so good to have a blogger of your caliber join us on the A to Z Team this year. I'm glad that you discovered the A to Z Challenge in your blogging explorations.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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  10. Pleased you are joining us, it's great fun.
    Yvonne one of Arlee's Ambassadors.

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  11. Pick Your Plot - that sounds like fun.
    Glad you're part of the Challenge team!

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    1. It is fun! The new book is super complicated. You can make up to 15 choices w/o reaching an ending, if you do it right. Of course that's also making it a bit slower to write....

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  12. Love the post and the shout out to custard! The rest of the world doesn't know what they are missing. I do lament that there are not enough "Choose Your Own Adventure" or "Pick Your Plot" books for adults. Wisconsin says "hello" (yes, the entire state, I am the honorary spokes person) and I hope you have a custard hookup in Colorado.

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    1. Aww Hello, WI! I'm a mile high, so if I wave, WI can see it, right?
      Custard is so good, isn't it? I have a couple places I have to visit every time I go home - have you ever been to LeDuc's? *drool*
      There are a couple of decent places around here, and there are even two Culver's w/in half an hour or so drive, but nothing as thick or 'concrete' as the stuff you get in WI. It's enough to hold me over when I have a craving ;)

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  13. The very best for the A to Z, it is great fun I enjoy it a lot. . . .

    Rob Z Tobor

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    1. AH I was going to hello at the blog but it is asking for info, so have run away. . . . . sorry about that

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  14. AJ, good to get to know you better-- that was an awesome introduction scene-- cheers!

    Great to be working with you on the team!

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  15. I love the idea of pick your plot. It reminds me of a book I read when I was young. (A hundred years ago). Thank you for co-hosting and for letting me be one of your minions!! =)

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