Today is a BIG DAY! It’s the perfect storm for you readers. Why? Let me tell you:
So, keep on reading because there’s lots here! SQUEEZE!!!!!
Zachary Bartels is my Author Highlight of the month, so you can check out more info on the homepage. For now, let’s get to all the fun! Woot!
Well, well…It’s time for round 2! As you know, we tied in the first face-off, so now it’s time to see who is the winner once and for all!
The rules are simple. I ask Zachary some random questions. He replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.
It’s my blog.
Here we go!
1. Worst hotel/motel experience?
Zachary – I don’t know if I have anything funny. The first experience that comes to mind is, we were in Orlando just last month and had to call the cops because of a domestic dispute in the room next to ours, but there was a crying kid and everything, and my own kid was sort of low-level traumatized by it, so . . .
Let me say this: up until I was about fifteen, I loved staying in hotels more than anything. It was exciting and special and the TV had cable and there were vending machines right outside the door and sometimes an indoor pool. Then, I had my germaphobe-awakening and saw some footage of people bringing black lights into their hotel rooms. All of a sudden I was horrified by the idea of sleeping in those beds and showering where who-knows-what had gone down. I started packing flip-flops to wear in the shower and sometimes my own pillow cases to put over the hotel’s. One bad-but-funny experience was the time I forgot the flip flops and tried showering with two of those hotel-issued plastic-elastic shower caps on my feet. I slipped and slid all over the place and very nearly went down . . . wound up making all sorts of skin contact with the inside of the shower curtain, which is sort of the germaphobe equivalent of spending the night inside a rotting buffalo carcass.
Charity – Oh. My. Gosh. I literally laughed out loud. I can actually say, “LOL”! That was quite the visual.
Ok, I thought I had this one in the bag, but you with those plastic shower hats on your feet – slip-sliding all around….YIKES!
My turn. I must preface this story by saying that, first of all, I HATE West Virginia. I was headed towards Chicago area to visit my mother-in-law (shout out! holla, mom!) with the fam. We were in WV heading over one of those horrible cliff roads with nothing on either side of us but guard rails (like that’s going to do a dang thing) to keep us from plummeting to our deaths. Anyway, at that very moment, a tornado comes towards our car while I am driving straight towards it with nowhere else to go. Yep, I drove through a tornado on the road with nothing but my family’s impending death on the sides of us. Here’s the news link of that devastating storm, FYI.
After that fright, we decided, against our better judgement, to stop at a hotel in that deplorable State. We were in the capital city. How bad can it be?
Check in went great. They even had little, chewy cookies there. Nice and warm. “Oh yeah, BTW, the elevator is broken”, they say AFTER we check in. Let’s just say we were’t anywhere near the first floor. So, up the stairs we go (which is against every thing I stand for). We open the door and, SURPRISE, the room has been slept in and used. Totally not cleaned. As I am a princess and my husband and boys were carrying all my luggage, I said that I would quickly run down and get keys to a new room (which was very generous of me, considering I would be repeating the offense of the stairs). Oh yeah, BTW… the door to the stairwell locks and only opens from INSIDE the main part of the hotel. So once I made it downstairs, I was forced to go OUTSIDE into a dark alley to get back around to the doors inside. ugh.
Not very princess-y.
Needless to say, it was a nightmare. We are quite particular about hotels due to the germ-age factor. That hotel did NOT gift us with a comforting night of sleep.
— Sorry about the novel.
Charity 1 / Zachary 1
2. Stupidest (PG rated) thing you have ever done? (I know…hard to pick one…)
Zachary – Obviously, I’m not going to tell the world my stupidest mistakes. But here are a couple bonehead moves:
In college, me and two buddies got wrapped up in some weird brand of fundamentalism that we may have accidentally invented (its sacrament was Jolt Cola–twice the sugar! twice the caffeine!) And we drove around Grand Rapids at night, smoking cigars and duct taping Luther’s 95 theses to the doors of Catholic churches. To what end, I do not know. (When your Christian school has rules against everything from dancing to having a TV in your dorm room, you go to some great length to amuse yourself, I guess). The really pathetic thing is that this was ’96, before the “real” Internet was overly accessible on campus (remember VAX??), so we wound up getting a book about Luther from the library and taking turns typing up the theses. It took like forty-five minutes. You would have thought the process of reading/typing them would have brought us to our senses re: the stupidity of our night raids, but no . . . our stupidity was too brazen.
More recently, I started a Facebook group for people of my particular theological persuasion who live in my hometown, just for fun. Wanting to get some people in there right off the bat, I clicked the thing to promote it for $5. Only I accidentally left the campaign open-ended and, by the time I realized my mistake, I had blown $225. The net result? Twenty-one members. I have yet to do anything with or post anything on that group.
Charity – wow. You were pretty cool. I am assuming you didn’t tell your wife about this until she was your wife? And as far as your $225 “mishap”, just call it mission work and call it a day.
I was a total mess. I don’t even know how many stupid things I did. Let’s see…a couple that stand out?
I’ll start with one from the same year. ’95-’96 college year. My best friend and I going to a Christian college and hating life … and rules… (Shout out to Sue! Holla, girl!). So, what do you do in a religious school with bonkers rules? I’ll tell you. We would look at what all the weird, conservative girls were wearing (Only mentioning my sentiments at the time. This does not necessarily reflect my current feelings on how conservative people dress) and then we would show back up at class wearing an exaggerated, matching outfit (as to mock them….yeah, I was cool too).
Once I got out of school, I was really cool. Like, for real.
Once I was older and wiser, I would enjoy pulling up at a light, next to a guy on a motorcycle and asking if I could ride with him. I would then pull into the nearest 7-11 (write down his plate # and leave it in my car because I was obviously smart enough to make sure I was safe if nobody could find me) and jump on the back of the bike. wheeee.
How am I still alive?
— I think it’s a tie again.
Charity 2 / Zachary 2
3. Funniest thing you hid from your parents growing up?
Zachary – Starting at about 12 years old, my bedroom was in the basement, which really lent itself to hiding things from my parents. Luckily, I was a pretty upstanding young man, comparatively speaking. When I was 16 or 17, though, I did draw on (pun!!) my artistic skills to paint a replica of the little basement window in my bedroom on some corrugated cardboard. With the little curtains semi-obscuring it, you couldn’t tell the counterfeit from from the real thing. The idea, of course, was to remove the window, pull myself out of the house (thus bypassing the insanely loud wood floors and front door), and replace the window with the fake. It’s funny in retrospect, because it took days of work to get it right, but I had no real plans to sneak out, or even a desire to do so. It was just a self-challenge I guess. I did use it a couple of times to slip out into the night, but one was to attend a Christian rock concert. Yeah, I know–when I give my testimony I leave that part out because it’s just too dark.
Charity – ha! I guess so. Women would be fanning themselves and feeling faint.
I had a couple posters of Christian Slater up on my walls…Um, well, technically, in my closet. Ok, you got me. They were hanging up behind the clothes in my closet.
I sure showed my parents what was up! woot!
— We really weren’t too cool. At all.
Charity 3 / Zachary 3
4. Do you believe we, as parents, should be allowed to arrange marriages for our kids in this day and age?
Zachary – Obviously.
Charity – Oh. My. Gosh.
My kids disagree. Whatevs.
— This is ridiculous. You need a dumb answer so I can get a point.
Charity 4 / Zachary 4
5. Would you enjoy playing rugby?
Zachary – I don’t know; probably not. I get really overly competitive with everything. Even, like, Scrabble and Pictionary can become uncomfortably intense when I’m involved. And when I play racquetball, it becomes full-contact spazoid-ball really fast. All that to say, if I were to play an actual full-contact game, involving minimal protective equipment, I would probably get myself killed in short order.
Charity – Dude. You don’t even want to get me started in a game of SPOONS. I will take off your fingers. Without blinking.
HOWEVER, I am like 90 year old princess. I am not even joking. In my mind I would be amazing at it. In reality, I couldn’t get past the smell of the other players, let alone be on the field.
Charity 5 / Zachary 5
6. Favorite current song/band/singer?
Zachary – It’s gotta be either The Decemberists, The Accidentals, or Trip Lee. Yeah, that’s a weird mix, I know. Also, I acknowledge that it is pathetically dorky for a just-about-middle-aged white Baptist minister to listen to hip hop. Maybe that’s why it’s so perfect… but probably not.
Charity – Uh…Have you ever heard of NF? Andy Mineo? Totally cool to be pasty white and listening to Christian rap. woot. At least I hope.
I really love 21 Pilots (which…FYI, are a couple of homeschooled, Christian boys. Yep. True story). I also love Tenth Avenue North.
Here’s a fun Andy Mineo video.
— This is more like a never ending ping-pong match! Who’s going to flinch first…BRING IT!
Charity 6 / Zachary 6
7. Recommended vacation spot?
Zachary – Mackinac Island, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. It’s so beautiful and idyllic. No cars are allowed, so the streets are filled with horses and carriages. There’s an old 19th Century fort, beautiful houses, B&Bs, and the Grand Hotel (where they filmed Somewhere in Time). Also, they make the world’s best fudge there. On any given morning, I usually think at least once that I’d rather be riding my bike around Mackinac Island than doing what I’m actually doing.
Charity – Ok, I spoke WAY TOO SOON. I just looked it up and I am dying here! What in the world?!?!?! That has to be the coolest place EVER!
— Nicely done, my friend. Nicely done.
Charity 6 / Zachary 7
8. If you had to write a historical novel, what era would you choose?
-Zachary – Well, The Last Con had a series of flashbacks to 18th Century Europe, which I loved writing. That would be fun to flesh out. Having degrees in biblical studies, a biblical era novel would seem natural. In fact, I have some great ideas for biblical fiction, but the notion of getting every little detail right (i.e. doing all that research into everyday life) is just overwhelming to me. I’m going to Israel with Cliff Graham and Connilyn Cossette and some other authors in May; maybe I’ll try and steal their research secrets/methods.
Charity – Oh, yes! Do that! I went to Israel when I was in college and it was pretty dang incredible! Of course, I spent the whole time getting pictures with all the soldiers…
ANYWAY, I seriously need to read that! I can’t believe I haven’t read that yet. What up??
— Ok, you are pulling ahead now. Watch your fingers.
Charity 6 / Zachary 8
9. Worst natural disaster you’ve been a part of?
Zachary – Oops. I just wrote something political and then deleted it. (I don’t need that kind of heat.)
[[just a side note…I couldn’t remember if I, Charity, wrote that last sentence or if you, Zachary, did. I now remember that you did…but it sounds like something I would say! haha]]
Living far away from the hotbeds of hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc. there aren’t many disasters to speak of around here. I’ve avoided tornadoes thus far. I guess my answer would have to be either the big flood of 1990 (people were rowing boats down my street) or the Great Blizzard of 1978, which apparently dumped many, many feet of snow on the High Five. Except that I was literally zero when the blizzard happened and the worst part about the flood was that my basement bedroom filled with an inch of water, ruining my box full of Breakaway Magazine back issues. Seriously, if I want to re-read that cover article about the radical skateboarding couple who were also super-radical youth ministers, I’ll have to buy another copy online! I’m sorry, I can’t talk about this any more; it’s still too raw.
Charity – I should be a journalist. I know how to ask the deep questions.
I am going to refer back to my answer in question #1. Yes, I live on the East Coast amid hurricane after devastating hurricane. Still, my drive through WV was pure evil. (Did you ever notice that you can switch WV to VW and it becomes something wonderful??)
Did I mention I am pretty ADHD?
— I am taking it! boom.
Charity 7 / Zachary 8
10. Funniest thing your son has said?
Zachary – How to even narrow this down? The main redeeming function of Facebook these days is that it pops up with “memories” each morning–usually hilarious stuff my little guy said and did years ago. Here’s a good one: when he was about four, he was running around the house one day, shouting, “Ovary!!!” We couldn’t get him to stop. When I asked him what he thought it meant, he just sort of shrugged. It was like a week later that we were watching one of his favorite episodes of Phineas and Ferb, and I realized he was emulating Phineas shouting, “Wolverines!” (i.e. a reference to the craptastic ’80s flick Red Dawn). Also, he used to call his nipples, his “knuckles.” So that was great . . .
Charity – Oh my word. That’s amazing! hahaha.
Ok, so before I was following God in any way, I was a single mom in my early 20’s. My son was 2 years old and had never asked about his father (because the guy was not in the picture). We were at the beach just chillin’ and my pasty, white son sees this big, african-american man walk right by our towels and he yells, “HEY, MOM! IS THAT MY DAD?????” holy crap. That guy’s eyes were HUGE and he couldn’t have walked his big self any faster out of there. I was just horrified and laughing so hard at the same time.
–Yeah, I am taking that one.
Charity 8 / Zachary 8
NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a worthy competitor, Mr. Bartels! Very worthy, indeed!! We will definitely need to have an instant death round soon!
Who’s ready to see the big COVER REVEAL???
First of all, let me share the synopsis with you:
ON ALL SOULS’ DAY, THE FAITHFUL REMEMBER THE DEAD. THIS YEAR THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF DEAD TO REMEMBER.
It’s been a year since pastor Parker Saint found himself in the middle of an ancient conspiracy involving demon possession, ritual killings, holy relics, and Vatican operatives, and things are just starting to get back to normal. Well, as normal as they can be now that he’s married to Detective Corinne Kirkpatrick.
Corinne is having trouble adjusting to life as a pastor’s wife. And while she’d love to retreat to the familiarity of her precinct, she’s beginning to feel out of place there too–surrounded by younger, unfamiliar faces and beginning to feel like a relic herself.
When a new series of grisly murders rocks the quiet city of Grand Rapids, everyone is on edge, and no one more so than Parker–at every murder scene, there is some connection to him. Soon he and Corinne are thrown into a deadly game with a timer that is swiftly running out. As the stress takes its toll on their fledgling marriage, they’ll have to lean on God and each other–and even those Vatican operatives–in order to stop the killer before it’s too late.
And here it is!
Want to pre-order your own copy? Head on over to:
OR……You can head on over to:
a Rafflecopter giveaway to win your own SIGNED copy when it’s released!
Zachary has graciously offered to do 2 GIVEAWAYS! You can win SIGNED copies of Playing Saint and it’s sequel, All Souls’ Day (paperback, once released). Wait, that’s just one giveaway! The second includes a hard cover copy instead of paperback! Now we’re talking!
Thanks so much for this fun post!! I hope you guys all the best! Remember:
Category: Cover Reveal, Face-Off, Giveaway, Giveaways, Signed Giveaway, UncategorizedTags: Andy Mineo, arranged marriages, author highlight, Cover Reveal, face-off, funny stuff kids say, giveaway, God, natural disease, New Release Giveaway, novels, preorder, scary hotels, scary motels, Signed Giveaway, stupid choices, thrillers, Trip Lee, Zachary Bartels