101 Things to Know about Me

Hereís an in-depth look at some of my traits, desires and tendencies. If youíre up for a good laugh, or are just wondering what authors do in their spare time, take a read and find out.

1) The very first book I read from beginning to end was Dr. Seuessís One Foot, Two Foot, Red Foot, Blue Foot. Now I count other fun things, like bills and stain marks on my kidsí clothes.
2) I tend to dream about vampires a lot. Translating this to his real life, I feel the vampires might represent items that could be draining my time and energy. Unfortunately, all of those things are my favorite pastimes!
3) My current favorite musician is Norah Jones. My favorite song by Norah is I Donít Miss You at All. I feel the same way about my first publisher.
4) I detest mimes and clowns.
5) Favorite snack food? Hersheyís chocolate, with Jiff peanut butter spread all over it. Sure, I could just buy a Reesesí Peanut Butter Cup and call it done, but whatís the fun in that?
6) J.K. Rowling uses the word ďDobbinĒ in her sixth Harry Potter book. I used the word ďdobbinĒ in my first Snowtear Wars novel, which was released before Rowlingís book. I wonder if both of us are tapping into that same mysterious universe where book ideas are being generated. On another note, I titled my third book in my Snowtear Wars series The Hollows of Candlewick. Then Rowling came out with her seventh title Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Mere coincidence I ask you?
7) Now that I have written eight novels and have worked on a computer steadily since 1994, I have joined countless other Americans in developing the wonderful ďcarpal tunnelĒ syndrome. Scot sees surgery in his future.
8) If it were possible, I would completely remove sleep from my schedule. It just keeps getting in my way to get more novels written. I thank my daughters, however, who are slowly helping me achieve my goals by waking me up at all hours of the night.
9) Some of my best ideas for character names come from phone books, maps, or just simply combining words to make a new one. For instance, I put ďOreoĒ and ďusĒ together to make ÖOreus. Isnít that clever? Genius, genius, genius!
10)  My favorite cartoon character is Snoopy, when heís fighting The Red Baron. Who canít help but laugh when that silly beagle is shaking his first in the air and cursing at his enemy?
11) On the door to my writing room I have a plaque that reads, ďBeyond this place, there be dragons.Ē I wish this were true, because where thereís dragons, thereís a ton of gold.
12) I broke my left arm playing dodgeball in junior high. I know what youíre thinking. ďDodgeball? His arm was broken by a plastic ball? He must have a calcium deficiency.Ē Yeah, right. I want to see you try and protect yourself when someone hurls that innocent red plastic ball at you ninety miles-per-hour.
13)  Indiana Jones is my favorite movie character. Who wouldnít love to carry a whip to work?
14) Itís my belief that the hat and the coat make the man, or woman. I commonly wear flat caps and pea coats. Dressing distinguished not only makes me look like an author, but feel ďcoolĒ too. Going for the shock reaction isnít my thing, and only creates a momentary impression. Iíll wait and see how long this phase lasts.
15) I have a dragonhead doorstop for my writing room. Itís actually a lawn sculpture you can put a tea candle in to make the eyes light up like some demonic spawn. Itís quite a thing to see.
16) I sent a letter to author J.K. Rowling to tell her how much I like her books. The form letter I received back was disappointing. Apparently sheís Ďtoo busyí with all her other projects and ďotherĒ millions of fans to acknowledge mine.
17) I really only know one language, but a mysterious second language emerges from nowhere when I watch my football team lose on Sunday afternoons. Thankfully, it vanishes a few hours after the television is turned off.
18) I once waved at Faith Hill at her concert at The Grisly Rose in Denver. She waved back. Or perhaps she caught a whiff of the audience.
19) Iím an Aquarian. I wonder if thatís why I like to drink so much water.
20) My wifeís labor for our first daughter lasted for forty-five hours. We adopted our second daughter.
21) I played three sports in school: wrestling, track and Cross Country. Out of the three, I enjoyed wrestling the most because from that point on I knew I was destined to stay in one place for extended periods of time.
22) On television, you occasionally see that four out of five doctors agree on the use of any particular medicine. I would like to hear the opinion of the fifth doctor, because heís the only one whoís being realistic about this whole thing.
23) I admit it. I loved the movie The Devil Wears Prada. How can watching someone else get tortured at her job not make for a fun evening?
24) The National Football League is a staple in my life. My favorite team is the Green Bay Packers. I have three Favre jerseys, and would wear them to my book signings if I could. I fear, however, some of the Patriots, Vikings and Bears fans wouldnít find it very funny.
25) Seinfeld is still my favorite television series. I believe that the relationships
between any of the main characters on a show can kill itís ratings, and itís why the show remains as popular as it is today as it was then. Itís much better to have the characters enter dysfunctional relationships outside of the core group that have no meaning and never last. Watching main characters break up is like getting a tooth pulled. Perhaps you recall Friends.
26) I once got my SUV stuck in a snowbank as I was trying to get the mail. By the time it was all said and done, twenty minutes had gone by, I had injured my knee trying to dig myself out and had run over the mailbox before the car was freed.
27) I believed in Santa Claus until I was in the fourth grade, when my father dropped the inevitable ďbombĒ on me.
28) The moment the deodorant industry created a clear gel to replace powder, I was the first in line to get it. Now if they could only do something about spaghetti sauceÖ
29) I use mostly organic products. Anything that has words that you canít pronounce shouldnít be trusted, and that includes books.
30) I only have one brother, Mark, who is a Vikings fan. He grew up in Wisconsin. Thereís no excuse for that kind of behavior.
31) I have answered every fan letter Iíve ever received. Itís something Iím proud of, and will continue to do, even if someday I have to bring on a staff of more Scots to write and sign the letters for me.
32) No one makes better French fries than McDonalds, or better chicken than Kentucky Fried Chicken. The secret, as everyone knows, is in the grease, and yet we still eat it.
33) If I ever find a body part or bug in my food, I vow I will continue to eat the food made by that brand for the rest of my life. Why let one finger nub stand in the way of a lifetime of good eating? Itís not like they did it on purpose.
34) I have three cats, Arthur, Frost and Aspen. They all like to bring me dead mice for praise. Thatís fine, but usually I end up stepping on some part of the kill in the middle of the night before I wake up to realize whatís happened.
35) I have one dog, Jada, named after Baron Jada Annalee in my Snowtear Wars series. She likes me to hold her bones for her while she chews them. I guess she just likes me being involved somehow. She also likes to gargle her drinking water. This is great, as it makes for less trips to the vet.
36) My favorite meal is chow mein. And boy, do I chow when itís made.
37) I love to travel. Iíve been to Marthaís Vineyard, Napa Valley, New Orleans and Disneyworld, to name a few. I plan to travel out of the country soon. Canada is an hour from my house. Does that count?
38) My favorite directors are Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Stephen and Peter, if youíre reading this, just remember you read it here first.
39) The first novel I read was The Hobbit. I just wish those hobbits would put some socks on.
40) I love to star gaze. It took me moving to the country to figure this out.
41) Snakes freak me out. Luckily, there are no poisonous snakes where I live. I also donít care for large spiders all that much. When I lived in the west, we had two black widow spiders in our basement window wells. One thing I didnít realize was, how fast they can move when they hear you coming!
42) My favorite form of exercise is Yoga. Now, does this really surprise you since I already told you I was in wrestling?
43) I drink two cups of coffee every morning, with sugar and cream. Drinking coffee the only way I can match the pace my kids and animals set for me early in the morning.
44) I first started writing a series in 1998 called The White Rose Wars. I tried to write it by using the ďStream of ConsciousnessĒ method, which I believe is the method Stephen King uses. After three chapters I threw in the towel, and didnít write for two more years. One day I finally realized there was another option called ďstoryboarding.Ē
45) Iíve had three knee surgeries. My right one was destroyed twice by wrestling and my left while playing recreational volleyball. It makes you wonder why we love sports so muchÖ
46) I write four pages every business day. Thatís twenty pages a week, or four chapters a month. That makes for one five-hundred-page novel every five months. Is holding a writing regiment a challenge? Ask my wife, two kids, dog, three cats, house, agent and publisher. Now youíre getting a picture of more accurate numbers.
47) I love dragons because theyíre not real. Itís one of those things you like to admire from afar.
48) I used to collect stamps, football cards, comic books, Star Wars memorabilia and autographs. Eventually it all comes into perspective when you realize you have no place to display any of it.
49) Iím a pretty dang good carpenter. Iíve built everything from fish tank stands to kitchen buffets to coffee tables. I wanted to sell furniture to make extra cash, but then realized being an author was a lot easier on the pocketbook and didnít give you slivers.
50) I graduated from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, earning a major in Advertising and a minor in Art. I can proudly say Iím still putting both to good use.
51) Christmas is my favorite holiday, for the music, and the magic it creates for my kids.We leave cookies and milk out for Santa, drink hot cider all season long and watch Christmas movie classics. Our favorites are A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, The Night Before Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and The Preacherís Wife. I do admit, Iíve been known to prematurely get into the Christmas mood by singing Christmas songs in July. I can hear you laughing. Stop it.
52) Iím addicted to Internet shopping. Itís convenient since I write all the time, and cheaper than going to the stores. I save on gas, and usually pay half the price for most items I want. I donít see the point in buying DVDs or CDs new, unless itís something I really want NOW. E-bay is also a great place to get hard-to-find items. You really can find anything on that site, including organs.
53) The first movie I ever saw at the theater was Star Wars, and it was at a drive-in theater in northern Wisconsin. I was five years old. Ahh, the good olí days.
54) I am not related to Sharon Stone. I am not related to Oliver Stone. I am, however, related to Sir John Throckmorton, an actual English knight. Thatís cool in itís own right. I knew there was a good reason why I needed to work in the fantasy genre.
55) I always wondered if employers actually ever read all of the resumes they receive. One day if I get a chance, under my affluent languages section, I would like to list ďWookieĒ, just to see if theyíd notice.
56) Authors I have met include Carol Berg, Wil McCarthy, Terry Brooks, Brian Jacques, T.A. Barron and R.A. Salvatore. A great group, I must say. Jacques was the most animated, and Barron the most down-to-earth. Barron is also very environmentally conscious, which gets him an A+ in my book.
57) I love the smell of freshly baked bread, freshly cut grass and eucalyptus leaves. Just in case youíre wondering, eucalyptus is what makes Vicks vapor rub smell so delightful.
58) I thank God every day for Mapquest.
59) My favorite type of dance is ballroom. Nothing looks hotter to women than a guy in a tux who knows how to move.
60) I love to go antiquing. If you think about it, itís another great way to recycle. Donít be so quick to throw things out. They just may be worth more than you think. And, Moms, please donít throw out your sonsí collectible toys!
61) My favorite masterpiece of art is Vincent Van Goghís The Cafť Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night, c.1888. When I look at that picture I feel myself drawn into it like a moth to the flame. It makes me want to be there, to experience that atmosphere. I can hear the sounds, touch the tables, smell the food, and breathe the crisp night air. To me, thatís what the pinnacle function should be for art.  Another good example of this is Master Bedroom my Andrew Wyeth, a copy of which hangs in my family room. Tom and Greg Hildebrantís works for The Lord of the Rings also creates this type of effect, as does Steve A. Robertsí work for The Snowtear Wars.
62) I love to watch and read about supernatural experiences. The Travel Channel is one of my favorite channels because it routinely airs stories about ghosts. I want to make it clear, however, that I never want to meet a ghost in person, nor do I want to be toyed around by one like some people allow themselves to be. Freaks. Move out.
63) Robert Frost is my favorite poet. I love his imagery, which again appeals to my artistic side. And it doesnít hurt that he has such a loveable last name.
64) I am superstitious in some ways. I only pick up pennies if theyíre heads up. I donít walk under ladders and I hold my breath when I drive by graveyards. Hey, at least it canít hurt me.
65) I got carsick when I was young. The only way I could overcome it was to lay down on my seat and crack open a window. For my parentsí sake, I never did manage to vomit.
66) I get claustrophobic and have a fear of heights. Falling inside a box would be the worst.
67) Iím not afraid of death, but Iím glad they came up with embalming, just in case people who donít like me jump the gun.
68) I love amphitheater style seating. I never have to worry about people with big hats or heads blocking the screen. Thank you AMC. Now lower the prices of your concession foods.
69) My favorite ice cream is Ben and Jerryís Heath Bar Crunch. I think Iíll get up and get some now in factÖ
70) Iím not an atheist. I believe the Shroud of Turin was the burial cloth for Jesus Christ. Iím not certain if the tomb in Jerusalem was Christís or not. Only Christ can tell us that for sure. James Cameronís documentary is intriguing, nonetheless. I believe it is possible that Noahís Ark rests on Mount Ararat in Turkey. Iím a Roman Catholic, and try to do good deeds every day to help others. Just the simple acts of saying, ďPleaseĒ and ďThank you,Ē are sometimes forgotten. We live in a world of great strife and greed. We need more good role models, and people who are willing to set the standards we want our children to live by. Too often I think we send the wrong message to young people, and too many people are looking for the quick buck instead of standing by their morals to produce better quality products. Have we gone too far down the path of self-destruction to turn back now? Itís one of the heaviest questions I think about. I certainly hope not.
71)  I love to watch The Daily Show. Mixing comedy and politics can be tricky sometimes, but Stewart has set the standard.
72) My favorite action hero actor at one time was Harrison Ford, but now itís Hugh Jackman, who I would love to see play Rydor Regoria in my Snowtear Wars series on the big screen. My favorite serious actor is Stanley Tucci. My favorite actress, heroine or otherwise, was Julia Roberts, but is now Kate Beckinsale. Kirsten Dunst isnít too shabby either.
73) I like to make lists. Can you tell? They help keep me organized, and in this business you have to be if you want to survive.
74) I love Christmastime, but thatís a holiday, not a season. My favorite season is the fall, when the leaves are in their peak colors. Thereís nothing like taking a walk in the woods and admiring the rich, vibrant shades around you.
75) My favorite classical composers are Vivaldi, Guarldi, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Theyíre the best to write to, anyway.
76) I like to keep my hair short, so it doesnít get in my eyes when I write. I once had shoulder-length hair in high school. It was a passing phase that made me think I looked cool. Thatís high school.
77) I canít drive stick shift, and nor do I want to. I have only driven automatics since I got my first license. I personally believe itís too much work to use a stick to get you from point A to point B. But this DOES NOT mean I believe that you canít have a dependable, classy vehicle to tote you around. My dream car? A midnight blue Plymouth Prowler. My wife rented one for me to drive for my 30th birthday. Boy, was that fun. Thanks, Honey! Otherwise, Iím very happy with my Nissan Exterra that I currently drive.
78) I love to go canoeing, camping and fishing. No surprise since I moved to the country. My favorite type of fish to catch is Large Mouth Bass. I love the way the strike the bait. Theyíre especially fun to catch when a stormís rolling up.
79) I believe in afternoon naps. Itís the best way to refresh your mind after a hectic morning. Fifteen minutes usually does it for me. You would be surprised how much more productive you can be when you mentally shut down for a short period to get your second wind.
80) I always provide advice to new writers if they ask for it. I try to reply to every e-mail sent to me by a fan, which can be a task unto itself. Itís difficult enough just to write a book, but really, most authors tend to fail in their career quest after theyíve typed up their masterpiece. Most donít know how to market themselves, or their books, nor do they know where to start. And if they do figure some of it out, they usually run out of steam after a short while. This is a tough business, and very competitive. You have to be willing to fight for every inch to make it. I do whatever I can to make othersí dreams come true. Thereís no sense in hording information. That doesnít win anyone over, and makes you look like a miser.
81) I donít like snow after January, and I donít like it to start before Thanksgiving. I wish there was an on/off button for this.
82) I hate unfinished basements. I hate it even more that appraisers wonít count them as actual living space when they are finished. Who made up that rule?
83) The house chore I hate to do the most is laundry. Iím sure many of you would agree. Itís a vicious cycle.
84) My favorite animal is the owl. Particularly, the great horned owl. I liked owls way before Harry Potter ever came along. But, when Harry did manage to become famous, it only endeared me to the series more because of Hedwig. If I only could have one around the house. My cats wouldnít care for that too much, I think.
85) I prefer to drink wine over beer, and especially like Sauvignon Blanc. I hate red wines. Thereís nothing more calming than drinking a smooth glass of white by candlelight.
86) My favorite superhero is The Flash. This would also be another great way to keep up with my kids.
87) One of my desires is to take karate. One of my other desires is to have the time to do it.
88) I do believe in extraterrestrials. How can I call myself a fantasy author, and write about other worlds, if I didnít?
89) The three coffees I love the most are Irish CrŤme, French Vanilla and Hazelnut. I do not like cold coffee. Itís just wrong.
90) I donít like reality TV. To me, itís not reality if the participants know whatís going to happen to them, and they volunteer to be put through hell.
91) I own one cell phone, and use it for emergency purposes only, just in case I get stuck in another snow bank.
92) I love rainy days, and to listen to the drops fall on my metal roof. Itís the stuff that makes one dream, and come up with great ideas for novels.
93) My lucky numbers are four and seven. Some of my best days in life have involved these two numbers. I have a friend whose lucky number is thirteen. It makes me wonder how he gets along in life.
94) I worked as a line cook while I was going to college. It didnít taint my love for cooking later in life. My favorite dish I like to make is Sesame Chicken. Look it up sometime. You wonít regret it.
95) The scariest movie Iíve ever seen is John Carpenterís The Thing, starring Kurt Russell. To this day, I still canít watch it again.
96) I believe that once you reach the age of thirty, you should stop celebrating your birthday. I think you should still reward yourself for surviving another year by buying yourself something nice, though.
97) Now that I have built up my DVD and CD collections, I wonder what will be the next technology they will try and get us to buy into. Frankly, it horrifies me my collection will one day go the way of 8-track and cassette tapes. And Iím not changing over!
98) I love to browse books at stores. I can get lost for hours going through titles. Itís like looking for treasure in a way. You just never know what interesting gems youíre going to run across. Everyone knows the famous authors, but have you ever tried looking for ones who arenít household names?
99) I do believe in magic. I do. I do.
100) As a child, I used to sell nightcrawlers to make money. Someone thought it was 
        funny to move my ďfor saleĒ sign to a neighborís yard.
101) If you read this entire list, you are a true fan.