“The Truth About Me” Author Style


I’ve shared plenty about authors and writing here on Something to Write Home About. But, there’s more to me (and you!) than a desire to write. Let’s get to know each other by playing a little game.

Here are the rules:
Choose one of your favorite authors.
Find a quote or quotes from him or her that best describe you. Then tell why.


I’ll start.
Erma Bombeck.

(Oh, how I miss her!)

Erma said: “I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food.”

The truth about me: My Achilles’ heel is ice cream. Last winter when there was a blizzard warning, I rushed to DQ to get mine. I once ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz instead of drinking a cup of coffee, and summer nights aren’t complete without a dish of Kemp’s Under the Stars. I tried all of Baskin–Robbins 31 flavors (in one sitting) before I admitted I had a problem and checked myself into ice-cream rehab . . . Okay, maybe that’s not 100% true—but, thank goodness for Erma! She put it all in perspective. I am NOT a glutton. I am merely an explorer of food.

Erma said: “The bad times I can handle. It’s the good times that drive me crazy. When is the other shoe going to drop?”

danceThe truth about me: I went through a bad time when I experienced one crisis after another. I lost my job when the publishing company I worked for downsized its workforce and moved to another state. Then my mother died suddenly, and my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia. Dad died just months before I was diagnosed with cancer. (I’m fine now— eight years cancer free!) Through it all, I kept my level-headed sanity. Like Erma said, the bad times I can handle—Philippians 4:13! I’ve learned to savor the good times. And if the other shoes drops, I’ll just kick up my heels and dance, because I know God will pick it up.

And did you know:

Waiting for the other shoe to drop originated as the punchline to a very old joke in which a traveler arrives late at night in a small rooming house and is cautioned not to wake the other guests as he prepares for bed. Very tired, he accidentally allows one of his shoes to fall heavily to the floor, but is more careful with the other and places it quietly on the floor. He is sound asleep a few minutes later when he is awakened by the guest next door pounding on the wall and shouting, “For the love of Pete, drop the other shoe!” No one knows just how old that joke is, but etymological researcher Barry Popik has uncovered what is probably the earliest example yet found, an editorial cartoon in the New York World-Telegram from February 1943. (source: The Word Detective, Issue of May 23, 2001)

Erma said: “As a graduate of the Zsa Zsa Gabor School of Creative Mathematics, I honestly do not know how old I am.”

The truth about me: During third grade, I spent many evenings sitting at our kitchen table with Dad trying to help me with my math homework. Anything beyond basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division befuddled me. Dad didn’t understand the “new math” any better than I did. He had his own method of “ciphering”, and that further complicated things. By middle school, math had become as mysterious to me as 3.14159265358979323846, which of course is pi, “the exact value of which cannot be defined”. (See, I was paying attention to my math teachers!) My algebra homework looked like this:

Decades later, I’m still mathematically challenged. I rely on a tip table to keep wait staff happy, without my calculator I can’t balance my checkbook or tally my invoices and, like Erma, I honestly do not know how old I am. My birth year ends in a 2. From there, I count on my fingers to 9 to figure it out.

So there you have it:
the “The Truth About Me, Author Style.”

Now it’s your turn.
What will your favorite author reveal about you?


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Seven American Children’s Book Authors Who Lived to Be 100


If you write for kids, you might someday join this list of
children’s authors who lived to be 100.



Nan Hayden Agle (1905–2006) died just two months short of her 101st birthday. She published her first children’s book at age 46 (co-authored with her friend, Ellen Wilson). Three Boys and a Lighthouse, became the first in 614YDqAYETL._SL500_SX258_BO1,204,203,200_her series of adventure books about fictional triplets, Abercrombie, Benjamin and Christopher.

Elizabeth Foreman Lewis, winner of the 1933 Newbery medal, was a family friend while Nan Hayden grew up on her family’s farm, “Nancy’s Fancy on Nunnery Lane”. Lewis encouraged Nan to observe the farm animals and write down what they did. That inspiration led Nan to a lifetime interest in writing. She authored more than 20 books, averaging one a year.

DalD9wSWAAA_cWRBeverly Cleary (1916–) Age 102. Who doesn’t recognize her name and celebrate that she’s still with us in 2018? Cleary, a x500children’s librarian turned author, penned her first book, Henry Huggins, in 1950 at age 34. She went on to write many well-known children’s books including her Ramona series, Runaway Ralph, The Mouse and the Motorcycle and others. During her long and prolific career, Cleary wrote more than 35 books, many award-winning, for children and young adults. Praised for her lively, humorous portrayals of problems and events of real-life kids, Beverly Cleary treats children’s concerns with both seriousness and gentle humor.

71fgSFQklsL._SY606_Neta Lohnes Frazier (1890–1990), died at 100, published her first book at age 57 and wrote a total of 14 books between 1947 and 1973. 51rOUm8lPCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Most of her books were historical fiction set in the Pacific Northwest. Four received Junior Literary Guild Awards.

Her most well-known book, Stout-Hearted Seven, is based on the true story of children orphaned when they lost their adoptive parents, missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, in the Whitman Massacre near what is now Walla Walla, WA.

fritzJean Fritz (1915–2017) Died at 101. Known for her historical nonfiction, Jean Fritz was born in China to American missionary parents. She said in interviews that she felt like “a girl without a country”, so writing about American history paul-revere-233x300was not only a solace, but also an attempt at discovering her roots. Fritz first published at age 39 and wrote more than 45 books always digging deep for facts and approaching her writing like a journalist. She was a Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the American Book Award, and, in 2003, received a National Humanities Medal from then President George W. Bush.  Readers describe her books as fun, factual and full of adventure. A few of her most well-known titles: And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? ;Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?; and Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? 

Photo_of_Edith_Ballinger_PriceEdith Ballinger Price (1897–1997) Died at 100. You might not recognize her name or the books she wrote in the first half of il_570xN.1178843018_ae6ethe 20th century, but you do know the famous American organization which she helped start—the Girl Scouts’ program for younger girls, the “Brownies”. Price wrote their first handbook and many stories for Girl Scouts magazines. She was national chairwoman of the Brownies from 1925–1932 and was known as the “Great Brown Owl”.

DrEllenTarryEllen Tarry (1906–2008) Died at age 101, three days before her 102nd birthday. Tarry was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama during the days of segregation and the Great 51zva9XqJ7L._SX370_BO1,204,203,200_Depression. Her writing career began in the 1920s as a reporter for The Birmingham Truth, an African-American newspaper. After receiving a teaching degree, she taught in the Birmingham schools for African-American children. A friendship with poet Claude McKay led Tarry to a children’s literature fellowship with education reformer, Lucy Sprague Mitchell. By the late 1940s, Ellen Tarry had written three children’s books: Janie BelleHezekiah Horton, and My Dog Rinty. She became the first African-American children’s book author.

5a78adbe34f75.imagePhyllis A. Whitney (1903–2008) Died at 104. If you love mysteries, you’ve likely read a Phyllis Whitney book. This prolific author wrote more than 70 novels, 39 for adults, 14 for young adults, 20 children’s mysteries and several books on writing. Her career spanned more than half a 51wd+aJmgTL._SX301_BO1,204,203,200_century. Whitney published her first book, a young adult novel, A Place for Ann, in 1941 when she was 38 years old She completed her last novel at age 94.

Whitney wrote in her Guide to Fiction Writing “Never mind the rejections, the discouragement, the voices of ridicule (there can be those too). Work and wait and learn, and that train will come by. If you give up, you’ll never have a chance to climb aboard.”

Listen to her advice. Don’t give up.
Who knows, you might live to be 100
(And, along the way, become a published author). 


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