Friday, May 02, 2008


By Jennie Bentley

I’ve been tagged. By my buddy Kelli Stanley, author of “Nox Dormienda”, for one of those circulating blog-things. Bill Cameron tagged her; now she’s passed the favor on to me. Thanks, Kel. Love ya. Mean it.

And because of that, you, gentle readers, will be treated to six random facts about moi today, instead of the brilliant, well-crafted, well-researched, and well-written blog-post I had prepared. Lucky you.

Random fact #1: A Swedish stripper I once sat next to on an airplane to Europe offered to father my first child. Wilfred the Author claims that it was him. I haven’t met Wilfred yet – to my knowledge – so for all I know it could be true. He told me his name was Freddy, which makes a certain kind of sense, now I think about it.

Random fact #2: I’m horribly afraid of bugs. You might even call it a phobia. It’s the legs. And it’s severe enough that the picture you’re looking at freaks me out. Many are the times I’ve stood in a corner of the shower, clutching the shower curtain around my palpitating (and wet) body, shrieking myself hoarse because a cricket has made it into the bathroom. And no, I can’t bring myself to go close enough to kill them. Hence the shrieking for help.

Random fact #3: I mix up my rights and lefts. It’s left over – no pun intended – from a stint I did as a tour guide for one of our local tour companies awhile back. I spent a couple of years standing at the front of a tour bus with my back to traffic, gesturing with my right hand, saying, “On your left...” That kind of thing can’t help but leave scars.

Random fact #4: In my New York acting days, I had a buddy who was a regular on the Cosby Show. He invited me to visit the rehearsals and meet the cast, and I got to spend an afternoon speaking Norwegian with Earle Hyman, who played Russell Huxtable, Bill Cosby’s dad, on the show. He owns a vacation home on the western coast of Norway, and he has been performing in Norwegian – as well as Swedish and Danish – theatre longer than I’ve been alive. In Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, no less! (I also met the rest of them, of course, but Earle was by far the most fun.)

Random fact #5: In addition to English and Norwegian, and of course Swedish and Danish, I speak German and French. Once upon a time I was fluent in all of them; these days I remember just about enough to ask for directions and order food and just generally survive if dropped into the middle of Paris or Bavaria. But given that English is a second language for me, and I’ve somehow managed to dupe an agent and an editor into believing that I handle it well enough to deserve a multiple-book contract, I don’t think I’m doing too badly.

Random fact #6: I had something else here, but since I just found out this week that my essay/article “Confessions of a History B(L)uff” has made it into the latest issue of Mystery Readers Journal, History Mysteries II, I’ll make that my last random fact instead. I’m published. Yay, me!

And that rounds out my random facts. Brace yourselves. Here goes:

Wilfred Bereswill
Allie Hollister
Lisa Stiles
Andy Peterson
Grant McKenzie
Mary Kennedy

You’re IT!

Here are the rules:

Link to the person that tagged you – that’d be me.
Post the rules on your blog, like I’m doing.
Write six random things about yourself in a blog post somewhere.
Tag six people of your own.
Let the tagger – in this case me – know when your entry is posted.

Good luck, y’all!

PS - I won’t be here next time; I’ll be on a plane to Europe. This time Wilfred will not be in the next seat, calling himself Freddy or anything else; he’ll be here covering for me. That’s right, folks, Wilfred the Author himself will be coming to you live on Friday, June 6, right here on the Working Stiffs, to talk up the release of his first book, A REASON FOR DYING. Don’t miss it!


Tory said...

Jennie: So what's your first language, Norwegian?

Wilfred: I'm looking forward to your blog, whether you did or did not sit next to Jennie on that airplane and whether you are or are not a Swedish stripper!

Lots of fun!

Annette said...

How nice to get to know you a little better, Jennie. And I definitely sympathize with the left/right thing. As you all know, I teach yoga, which requires facing people and mirror imaging them in certain poses. Like your tour guide stint, I've trained my brain to believe my left hand is my right hand. Great for class. Not so good for the rest of my life.

And congratulation on the publication!

Joyce said...

What fun!

JB, no one would ever know that English is not your first language. You write it better than most natives!

Are you really a history buff? Or maybe you just like seeing the Swedish stripper in the buff...

I'm looking forward to Will's blog, too!

Wilfred the Author said...

For the record, I am many things, but I'm not Swedish. My now grey locks used to be very light brown in the summer. I guess it's the German heritage.

I've been around the globe and I have been known to exagerate my occupation (merely for fun of course).

Strange that Jennie is the first to ever "Tag" me on the internet. Karma? You decide.

Jennie, afraid of bugs and confusing your directions? WOW, reminds me of my beautiful wife.

I'm working hard on that blog. REALLY.

JennieB said...

Tory, yes, I'm Norwegian. Grew up there, came here after high school. It's been a few years - I'm not going to admit how many - and by now I think and dream in English. Mostly. I still have to translate German and French into Norwegian before I can turn it into English, though. The little bit of German and French I deal with these days, anyway.

JennieB said...

Thanks for the congrats, Annette. I'm pretty psyched about it, actually. Still haven't seen the article, but supposedly I'll be getting an issue in the mail next week. Yeah, the left/right thing is weird, isn't it? I'm always telling my husband to go 'that way' when we're driving, because if I try to use left or right, I always have to change it again.

Martha Reed said...

Jennie, welcome to Working Stiffs and what a nifty idea - tag! - a great way to introduce us to new authors and new authors to us.

Loved the left brain/right brain thing. Have you seen the ballerina? Here's the link:,21985,22556281-661,00.html.


JennieB said...

Joyce, the article is 'Confessions of a History B(L)uff', so no, I'm not really a history buff. I've tried to make it sound like I know a lot, but in actuality, I know very little. I hated history in school. (Except for WWII, I've always enjoyed WWII. Not the battles, but the resistance and sabotage and all that. I grew up with parents who remembered being occupied, so I got some pretty cool firsthand stories from them.) I credit Elizabeth Peters with showing me that history can be fun. I want to be her when I grow up, and I'm hoping that one day, maybe I'll learn to write about half as well.

JennieB said...

Freddy, my love - thanks for stopping by. Sounds like your wife and I would get along quite well. Does she ever go to conferences with you? Do you ever go to conferences yourself, for that matter? We'll have to arrange a meeting in bar or lobby, if so.

Don't work too hard on the blog, OK? You have a second book to write, and a first to welcome into the world, don't you?

JennieB said...

Martha, thanks for sharing the ballerina. I saw both, actually. She was going counter-clockwise, and then, while I was reading the description of the left-brained people, and thinking how I really always thought I was more right-brained, the picture staggered and she started turning the other way instead. As I've always said, I'm schizophrenic. Now, if I can just figure out if I'm the left-brained one and Jennie the right-brained, or vice versa...

Joyce said...

Jennie, I remember reading a book way back in 4th grade called Snow Treasure. It was about a group of Norwegian children who hid gold from the Nazis. I loved that book! I went to a grade school reunion a few years ago and the school library still had the exact same copy of the book that I took out in 1967.

JennieB said...

Joyce, you should check out "Pimpernel Gold" by Dorothy Baden-Powell. "Snow Treasure" is based on a true story; "Pimpernel Gold" IS the story. While the Nazis were steaming up the fjord toward Oslo (and their flagship was being sunk by a WWI cannon on an old island fort down there), a group of Norwegians moved the country's gold reserve onto trucks and drove away with it. The story of how they got all that gold across the country to the coast, onto boats, and into England, with the Nazis snapping at their heels, is an incredible story.

Joyce said...

Ooh, I have to find that book!

JennieB said...

If nothing else, you can ask your library to inter-library-borrow it from Nashville. We've got it down here. I checked.

Kelli Stanley said...

Well, we always knew you were an "It" girl, Jennie, even before this news about the Swedish stripper. ;)

I want to hear more about these NYC acting days! What were you in? How long were you there?

Hmm ... I've gotta go find another blog tag to make you talk ... ;)


JennieB said...

I wasn't 'in' anything, dear. It was more a study thing. I thought I wanted to be an actress, so I went to New York. Studied at HB Studios, American Theatre of Actors, and with some private teachers. The studying was fun, the classes were fun, but the auditions were hell. I just couldn't get used to having to get up to prove myself to someone every damn day, especially when most of the time the answer was no. Comes down to pride, I'm told. That and fear of failure. Plus, I realized I'd never have the kind of career I wanted - a successful one - so I started writing instead. I get all the fun of researching the characters, putting myself into the role, experiencing the different places and situations... but apart from the occasional query or manuscript rejection, which I get through the mail or by email, there's no real fear of failure involved. Seems to suit me! I was there for six years, BTW, just to answer your question. Wonderful place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there again. :-)

Wilfred the Author said...


I haven't gone to many conferences to date. Mostly just here in St. Louis.

I have registered for Magna Cum Murder in Indiana this year. Plus I may try to get to Bouchercon.

I'll be traveling around this summer with signings so it's quite possible a trip down south may materialize.

As far as that 2nd book. I'm on the 5,000 words per week plan and it's been really hard to keep that pace.

JennieB said...

I hear you, Freddy. I was on the 5,000 a week plan too, until there was 60,000 words and three weeks to go, and now, I'm on the 10,000 words a week plan. :-) I couldn't do 5K a week, so there's no way I'll be able to do 10K, but there you have it.

I'll be at Bouchercon, but because my book won't be out till November, I won't be doing anything before then. Maybe I'll see you in Baltimore. And if you're coming to Nashville, definitely let me know. Tasha's here too, and JT Ellison, and another ITW debuter named Scot Pearson; we'll take good care of you!

Annette said...

Jennie and Wil...errr...Freddie,

Look for Joyce and I at Bouchercon, too!

Joyce said...

Hey, maybe we should plan a Working Stiffs party down at Bouchercon!

JennieB said...

I'm in!

Annette said...

Hey, I'm always ready for a party.

Kelli Stanley said...

How funny, B. -- those are the same reasons I switched out of my drama path, too! :)

I just didn't like a life where you had to grovel for approval in person. As a writer, you have the luxury of groveling from a distance! :)

Well, NY's loss is our gain! :)


JennieB said...

I knew there was a reason I liked you, Kel!

"I just didn't like a life where you had to grovel for approval in person. As a writer, you have the luxury of groveling from a distance!"

That's it, in a nutshell. Heh!

Wilfred the Author said...

If I can make it to Bouchercon, (I'm trying to juggle my day job schedule) I'd love to join you ladies. If I can convince you to drink Anheuser-Busch products, I usually have some money on my trade spending account. (That's short for this Bud's on me.)

I can introduce you all to the Chinese drinking customs.

JennieB said...

You're on. I'm not a beer-drinker, or any other kind of drinker, but the Chinese drinking customs sound interesting. I'm sure I can scrounge together enough change to pay for my own Diet Coke. And let's face it, someone has to be sober enough to take notes!

Joyce said...

I've never yet turned down a free beer (or 3 or 4). You'll be happy to know that my fridge at home is full of Michelob and Amber Bock.

Annette said...

I'm not much of a drinker either, Jennie. We can give ours to Joyce. As long as I still get to learn the Chinese drinking customs...

Allie Hollister said...

I'm getting in late here. Bad weather, no electricity. And a very busy restaurant today. Great fact Jennie. Mine won't be near as interesting. And I don't even think I know 6 people who blog. But I'll know 6 now. lol

Allie Hollister said...

Oh and I forgot, I used to be fluent in German too. I grew up with army brats, and English was their second language (only German at home). Now I can only remember the basics, and if I have to translate I'm always at least a sentence behind the speaker.


JennieB said...

Hiya, Allie. Glad you could make it. Haven't heard from you for a while; hope everything is OK.

Yeah, your German sounds about like mine. I can still do it, but it requires a lot more concentration than it used to. Sort of like a lot of other things in my life... ;-) So can we expect you to attend the Working Stiff party at Bouchercon, too?

Allie Hollister said...

Hey Jennie, if all goes well, I'll be there, but I'm not a beer drinker. I will belly up to a martini once in awhile though. I really hope I get to go.

JennieB said...

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you, darlin'.

Andrew Peterson said...

Jennie, I've never been tagged by a blogger before. I promise to do my very best in here. But go easy on me, I'm quite new at this!

I'll be guest posting on May 30th for Joyce. Yikes!