Packing My Bags

This week’s topic is one that I posed: Have you ever considered moving to a warmer/better climate? If so, where would you consider going?

SnowHere in the northern part of the country, much of the conversation is centered around the weather. This past week another round of snowstorms passed through the Great Lakes region, dumping a good half foot of snow. Now that I teach only part time, my routine wasn’t affected (except that my sewing group cancelled on Tuesday), but hubby and I still watch the school closings to see if our grandkids are affected. Last Friday my poor daughter, who commutes over an hour each way, had to drive through several districts that were shut down in order to get to her district, which hadn’t closed.

Florida 1981

Orlando, FL November 1981

Anyway, since I associate with a lot of retirees, I find that these groups are thinned out from January through March. People head out of this weather and spend a month or two where it’s sunny, and it’s so cold that the roads aren’t so icy that even salt won’t melt them. We call these people Snowbirds, and I often envied them, being able to leave this mess behind. Many have second homes or take motor homes with them. Others have relatives they stay with. But when it warms up, they return. Most of my acquaintances head to Florida or Gulf Shores, but I know others go to Arizona (the dry climate is supposed to be healthier there) and some go to Hawaii (my successful engineer brother has a time share condo there, but I’ve never managed to arrange a visit).

More recently, I’ve learned about more and more people who make the move permanently. If you’ve ever watched the TV show House Hunters International, you’ve seen people who opt to live out their retirement years outside the USA. I’ve watched in awe as couples select homes in Mexico, Central or South America, or in the Carribbean. These people, I assumed, must have a lot more disposable income than we do. But then I started learning about personal acquaintances gearing up for this kind of move. One author acquaintance told me she and her husband planned to move to Costa Rica in the next few years, pointing out the lower cost of living was as much of a factor in their decision as the weather.

Arizona 2001

Sedona, AZ Dec. 2001

So going back to the original question: Have I ever considered moving? Yes. Where would I go? Though the thought of moving to another country is enticing (I’ve always LOVED to travel) I think I’d want to stay in the United States. For one thing, I know my hubby would NOT want to move somewhere that English was not spoken, and his daily routine (translation; TV show line-up) would be disrupted. I’ve spent a little time in Florida, New Orleans, and Arizona, and enjoyed them tremendously. Given the choice between going southeast or southwest, I think I’d want to go southwest. The pace of life was slower, and it seemed there was more of a balance between generations. I need to be around younger people, to keep me from becoming someone whose every sentence begins with “I can’t…”

But then again, our kids and grandkids are all here. I absolutely adore living five miles from our youngest grandkids, and being able to step in when needed. I could probably handle being a Snowbird, but that would mean giving up teaching and performing in my music ensembles. Plus, since I’m the only one of my mom’s kids near enough to take her places, I need to stick around.

So I guess I’m going to sit tight here in snowy Michigan. At least for awhile.

Have you ever considered a weather-related move?

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Posted in Life, lifestyles | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Guest: Author Karen Rose Smith

When I started reading Karen Rose Smith’s new mystery, “Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes”, I knew I wanted to ask her to be my guest. Little did I know that the new book in her new series was nearly her 100th published book, nor did I realize the extensive list of awards that her writings have won for her!

Karen, I am truly impressed. Thank you for visiting with us.

Karen is also another Pennsylvanian! I seem to be finding more and more good writers to have as guests from my mother’s home state. Karen and I also share a love of cats, with concern for rescues and ferals.Karen with cats

What truly impressed me with “Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes” is the reasonable premise to the business, “Daisy’s Tea Garden”. Most cozies and romances have people moving to small towns with little money, yet their businesses take off, as do they, as often as they’d like. Daisy is a widow with a fair amount of insurance money to live on and she looks for alternative ways of bringing in business, with carry-out, diversified menu, catering and associative businesses, instead of waiting for all of her business to come in cold off the street. I had the same experience with a bakery/restaurant. How do you know so much about the food business?

Tonette-Thanks for having me. I have an Italian background and grew up with my mom, grandma and aunts cooking and baking wonderful food. I became more familiar with Pennsylvania Dutch dishes when I married. My husband’s family has a German background. Before writing my Daisy’s Tea Garden series, I researched tea, opening a tea garden and running one. I also spoke with a tea room owner. I’ve visited tea rooms over my lifetime so I had a good concept of the type I wanted Daisy and her aunt to run.

Do you cook and bake?

I love to cook and bake. I come from a long line of cooks and bakers…from lasagna, homemade pizza and lentil soup to cannoli, biscuits and muffins.
The teas! I like teas; I can’t tell you how many types I have in my kitchen right now. What spurred your interest in tea?

Since tea has become the new “healthy” drink, I had explored different types of tea before writing the series. Once I knew I was writing the series, I tried more of the exotic teas and tisanes. My favorite teas are White Symphony and herbal peach. I buy loose tea to brew in my tea pots when friends share a pot with me, but I also use select tea bags. My favorite for iced tea is Luzianne.

You also show great knowledge about fine clothing, tailoring and fabric by way of another business in Daisy’s town. Where did you learn about these?

I love to watch Project Runway. Starting as a teenager, I sewed my own clothes. For our first apartment, I sewed curtains for the baby’s room. Since I was also involved in home decorating, I learned about material types from tapestry to polished cotton. For Mens Trends (a men’s clothing store) in MURDER WITH LEMON TEA CAKES, I researched the latest men’s styles by the most famous designers.

Karen Slay Bells Ring

How did you know so much about police procedures? Do you have friends on the force?

Fortunately, one of my friends involved in pet rescue has a brother who is a police officer. I also have another friend whose son is on a local police force. I also consulted with a district magistrate whom my husband had taught in school. They all willing answered my questions.

In a past series, “Caprice De Luca”, the protagonist is a ‘home stager’ in Pennsylvania. Can you tell us about her, your own interest in interior decorating/staging, and the difference between the two?

Decorating our apartment or house was always fun for me. I enjoy mixing colors and decorating a room in a particular style. I was a decorator with Home Interiors and Gifts for many years. Women would invite me into their homes where I would advise their friends about groupings, styles and floral arrangements. A home decorator, which Caprice was to begin with, designs the ambiance for a room and the styles of furniture to put in it. They usually start with a blank slate and decorate according to a client’s wishes.
Home staging is very different. A home stager usually begins with a house “as is,” then makes improvement she feels would catch a buyer’s eye. The first thing she does is declutter so a potential buyer can imagine him or herself in that home. Staging can include sprucing up paint to replacing knobs on cabinets to pulling up carpet…all with the intent of pleasing a buyer. Real estate agents suggest home stagers to clients who are selling a house.
I wanted to make Caprice’s home staging business unique. So I decided to have her work with high-end clients and develop a unique theme around their home. She also plans an open house and serves dishes that accompany that theme. Her sister, Nikki, is a caterer who works with Caprice for the tastiest dishes.

You have written many romances, stand-alones, short story collections and the “Montana Maverick” series. Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from everywhere. I’ve taken research trips for settings. After my English degree, I pursued a Masters in counseling. I’ve always been fascinated by relationships and those counseling courses provided further insights. I like to create universal characters who my readers can connect with.

How did a Pennsylvania girl come to write so much about Montana?

I wrote a series of books set in New Mexico. I was terrifically drawn to the area and I took a trip there. The southwest calls to me…from the cliff dwellings to the medicine wheels to the mountains. To write my first Montana book, I wrote to bed and breakfasts in Montana. One of them invited us to visit, so we did. Her family owns a ranch near Billings and they all live on the ranch. We took a pickup truck ride over the property and saw everything from an antelope to tepee rings that date back to the beginning of civilization there. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget.

You dedicated one of your books to your late father, mentioning the passing of his love of photography to you. Have you considered using your photos in a book? Do you use them as visuals to help you write?

I take hundreds of photos on a research trip. I wrote another series including the wild horses in Wyoming. I still refer to those photos often. At home, my favorite subjects are my cats and my gardens. I post photos on Facebook and Twitter every day. Putting photos in books is difficult to do and I don’t have that choice in the books that I write. But I do send photos to my editors for ideas for cover sheets. The tea pot on MURDER WITH LEMON TEA CAKES resembles the tea pot in a photo I sent my editor.

Karen Murder With Lemon Tea Cakes

Karen, you are very friendly and reach out to your readers. Please let people know how they can learn more about you and your work:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenRoseSmithBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenrosesmith
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/karosm/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21863.Karen_Rose_Smith
Romance Website: http://www.karenrosesmith.com/
Mystery Website: http://karenrosesmithmysteries.com/
Blog: http://karenrosesmith.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Rose-Smith/e/B000AQ0608/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1516033626&sr=8-2-ent

Thank you for being with us, Karen Rose Smith!

It’s been an honor.
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that’s why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. This award-winning and bestselling author will have her 100th novel released in 2018. At present she is working on two mystery series for Kensington Books–Caprice De Luca Home Staging cozies and Daisy’s Tea Garden mysteries. From time to time, she also writes romance for Harlequin Special Edition.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks and does watercolor paintings rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her five rescued cats and two outside strays who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn’t all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Posted in author interview, author's life, book covers, Books, careers, characters, experiences, Family, Guest, Guest author, hobbies, inspiration, Life, memories, protagonists, recipe, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Guest Fox, Victoria Kimble

Welcome to Hound Day, Victoria

By Jeff Salter

I had to race to catch up with Victoria, one of my many talented colleagues at TouchPoint Press, because of our crazy schedules. Come to find out — she can out-run me. Yep, she had her answers in my mailbox almost before I’d finished transmitting my questions. Well, anyway, I’m pleased we could work it out for her to be my Hound Day guest today.

Victoria has been contracted with TPP since May 2016 — and her first TPP novel was released one year ago (February 2017). Soprano Trouble is the first book in a series of four — Choir Girls. Her other three titles in this series are also already released — also with TPP.

We didn’t get a chance to bat around the interview questions I would’ve liked to ask… so let’s hear some questions from any of you who care to leave one in the comments section below.

Victoria Kimble

Bio

Victoria is a wife, a mom to three girls, a full-fledged homebody, a so-so housekeeper, a mediocre musician and has dreamed of writing her whole life. She lives at the foot of the Rockies in Littleton, Colorado, and she will never take that for granted. Victoria has spent most of her life living in Colorado, with a brief six-year hiatus to live in Nebraska to attend college and get married. She is mostly a stay-at-home mom, but dabbles in a variety of other odd jobs, such as being the nursery director at church, doing admin work and crocheting beard hats in the winter. She loves meat and potatoes, superhero TV shows and movies, and when the weather stays between 70 and 80 degrees. She could probably love the beach if she ever spent any time there.

Victoria spent her childhood reading and making friends with the characters in her favorite books. She never grew out of that. After many years of wondering, she decided it was time to write the stories she had always dreamed of writing. She hopes that her stories model an active Christian lifestyle, while feeding the insatiable sense of wonder and adventure that everyone has deep inside.

Website link: http://www.victoriakimble.com/

SopranoTrouble_Kimble_Front

Victoria’s middle grade series is aimed at ages 8-12.

Soprano Trouble
The Choir Girls, Book 1
by Victoria Kimble

Blurb:

Summer McKidd is a bright, compassionate 7th grader. She has a good group of friends, which can be a hard feat for someone in junior high. She and her friends love to sing in their choir at school, and this is where her trouble begins. At the fall concert, her friends drag her into a mean prank and Summer is soon sentenced to nursery duty at church. When she walks into the nursery, she sees that the victim of their prank is also a volunteer. Summer begins a friendship with this girl but soon sees that she will have to choose between her group of friends and her new friend. Can Summer do what is right and keep her friends?

Excerpt [from Chapter 3, page 26]

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a slight program change. Cammie Dunn will sing the solo in this next piece, instead of Pilar Sanchez,” Mr. Camp said. He then stepped back to the podium and cued the accompanist to begin. Cammie stepped confidently up to the mic.

Summer listened to the opening music and her stomach clenched with guilt. She caught a glimpse of Pilar’s parents in the audience, looking baffled. They whispered to each other, and Pilar’s mom got up and rushed out of the auditorium.

Summer snapped her eyes back to Mr. Camp just as he cued them to sing.  Cammie was doing a wonderful job, but Summer felt that everything was wrong. She tried to focus on the song, but knew deep in her heart that this was not the kind of thing that someone could get away with.

Just then the song ended, and the crowd jumped to their feet in a standing ovation. Cammie beamed as Mr. Camp gestured to her to take a bow. She returned to her place in the choir flushing with pleasure.

Summer felt sick. Only one more song, and then she would have to find out what happened to Pilar.

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Soprano-Trouble-Choir-Girls-Book/dp/1542618894/

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Riches to Rags by Casey L Bond

This week I wanted to review Riches to Rags by Casey L Bond. Due to some sickness that came into my house I haven’t been able to finish it but I have read it a bit more than halfway through. My thoughts on this story so far will be down below.

 

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Most girls dream of being princesses, but one princess just wants to be a normal girl.

Ella Carina, crown princess of Aelawyn, knows brutality and lies—she’s seen the way her father rules. Princess. Possession. To her father, the words had the same meaning. She was only as valuable as the alliance formed with her betrothal. Her freedom comes from an unlikely place: an attack on the castle.

When the conquering King offers to protect her from the betrothal her father arranged for political gain, she consents. Hiding her within a peasant family is the only way to keep her and her secret safe.

In this simpler life, Ella flourishes and catches the eye of the local Blacksmith’s son. For once, she can be herself and make her own choices, but the life of a princess—even one kept secret—was never meant to be easy.

Trevor, crown prince of Galder has been searching for Ella, but not because of their betrothal. She is in grave danger from the very people who hid her away. His plan is to show her the truth and help her to safety.

Nothing goes as planned. When Trevor finds her, it’s to discover she’s fallen in love with a peasant. Now he has two goals: help her regain her throne… and show her that she belongs with him.

 

My Thoughts

I had been in a reading funk for awhile but this book by Casey L Bond broke me out of it! Riches to Rags is an amazing story. I’ve been up late reading it and enjoying it until I drift off to sleep and then my phone drops and smacks me in the face. So I would have to set it aside until the next night when I had time to read again. Its sort of like Cinderella in reverse. I absolutely love Ella and Asher. My heart broke for Ella at the beginning of the story and continued to ache for her. When she finally found some happiness I was overjoyed!  I am looking forward to seeing what is going to happen.

 

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Guest Author: Vivian Roycroft/Gunnar Grey and Dingbat Publishing

Love UnmaskedA few weeks ago I shared four books I read last month. One was a story from the anthology Nine Ladies Dancing 2017. When I got my copy I took the opportunity to read several of the stories, including Love, Unmasked by Vivian Roycroft. Though I’d been acquainted with Vivian through our mutual connection with Clean Reads as well as the compilation of Nine Ladies Dancing anthologies, I hadn’t yet read any of her stories until early this year.

I’m always in awe of people who not only write well, but who also have the drive to publish. Dingbat Publishing is the home of several of our resident hound’s books, as well as most of Vivian’s books. She also writes under the name J. Gunnar Grey. Sometimes I wonder how she keeps all of her selves straight! Anyway, 2017 was a difficult year for Vivian/Gunnar for several reasons. Her home in Texas was in the path of Hurricane Harvey in August, and then in October her husband John passed away. I asked Vivian/Gunnar if she would mind sharing with us how she managed to keep going, and whether or not there would be future regencies in the Scoundrel of Mayfair series. She responded by sharing a heartwarming tribute to her husband.

****
I Love Music
by Gunnar Grey (also known as Vivian Roycroft)

wedding007I love music, but I gotta admit, I don’t have a good understanding of its mechanics. A sheet of music might as well be Greek or COBOL, I can only tell a sharp from a flat in poker, and when I explain to people that I sing tenor, they generally advise me to make that ten or twelve miles down the road. One story I wrote, Star of Wonder, turns on musical acoustics; let’s just say my poor critique partner had to read that one extra special carefully. (Can we all agree that critique partners are extra special people?)

My husband, now, that’s a different story. He studied music and voice, and in his prime, his exquisite operatic baritone could rattle the house, and the neighbors’ on both sides. John used to say he’d been taught to pick a person on the very back row and sing directly to that person, projecting his voice across whatever expanse lay between. He could do it, too, and make Figaro or Don Giovanni, or even Happy Birthday, into something amazing and magical. (Sorry, neighbors.)

I loved listening to John sing. But when he had a stroke, in late October of 2016, his gorgeous voice vanished. He still spoke clearly, and he didn’t suffer from a melted-wax face or weakness on one side of his body. It was the raw lung power that disappeared overnight. His singing remained beautiful, just more quiet every week. At first, being in the same room worked. As time passed, we needed to be sitting together for me to hear him.

By early October of 2017, his voice was so quiet that my ear almost had to touch his lips. He never complained, not even when he no longer had the strength to climb out of bed, or even to roll over or hold my hand. He asked me to read the Bible to him, to spoon water into his mouth, and sing his favorite hymns.

He asked me to sing for him, when I would have given anything, anything, to hear him sing one more time.

As sunset approached on October 6, John lay in bed, his eyelids drooping. I knelt beside him and sang him to sleep, knowing he’d never wake up again.

Here’s his obituary if you’d like to learn more about him.

Taking care of my beloved Garfield has claimed almost all of my time, for various reasons, for the last three years. And that, dear readers, has meant I haven’t been able to take care of you—Vivian Roycroft’s two Regency series remain unfinished. Although my heart is nowhere near healed, I hope to complete The Scoundrel of Mayfair this year, and make progress with Love in Napoleon’s War. The stories are still in my head; we just have to coax them out.

Thanks for reading. Hey, it’s not like I asked you to listen to me sing.

Gunnar Grey

****

Nine Ladies DancingLove, Unmasked and nine other tales can be found in the anthology Nine Ladies Dancing. Hurry to get your copy, because after Valentine’s Day it won’t be available! You can purchase it at Amazon for only 99 cents! Here are the rest of the stories included:

A Lot Like a Lady and Something Like a Lady by Kim Bowman and Kay Springsteen
Healing Hearts by Miranda D. Nelson
Midsummer Love by Elizabeth Hanbury
The Bartered Wife by Sherry Gloag
Four Calling Bards by Patricia Kiyono
The Color of Deception by Ruth J. Hartman
The Duke and His Bluestocking by Nicole Zoltack
The Golden Goose by Felicia Rogers

AND in true Gunnar Grey fashion, plans are already in the works for another Christmas anthology. If you write regency stories, you’ll want to check out this project! Here’s the premise:

On December 15, the dowager Viscountess Stormont, Helen Marie, Lady Stormont, will host a fête to open the winter garden planted by the fledgling Royal Horticultural Society on the estate of Talbot Yelverton, Earl of Sussex, in Highgate, north of London. The fête, a series of outdoor games and fun open to all, unfortunately must close early when snow begins to fall, at first softly but with promise of worse to come. There are fears the evening’s ball might have to be canceled, but the ladies of the ton are adamant and insist on attending… which sets the scene for whatever our authors might wish to concentrate on, whether the outdoor general fun or the ball or those caught in the snowstorm.

Interested? Take a look at the flyer below (click on the images to see them larger), and then contact Gunnar at GunnarGrey [that sign] Reagan [dot] [com] with your ideas and to get more details!

 

Posted in Guest author post, Patricia Kiyono | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Squarely Matching Passwords

“What game show would we be on and how would we do?” is this week’s question.
I spent a great deal of time in the 1960s and 70s watching game shows.
Those were the Game Show heydays and the airways were filled with celebrities playing with their spouses or ‘regular’ people, against other celebrities.

I was always really good at games, especially cards. I used to win like crazy at games of Poker and Black Jack. My brother always said he wanted to take me to Vegas when I got old enough, but he knew that I’d choke up and blow it…and he was probably right. That happened to me a lot. I’d get straight As in spelling, all the time. When we’d have spelling bees against other classes, my teachers would be counting on me to win, yet to their horror and disgust, I’d be out by the 4th round, having made a stupid mistake because I was nervous. I had nothing to be nervous about.

I know that the pressure of the “$100,000.00 Pyramid” would have been the death of me.
I figured that I could do “Password”, which, since we have an old set, I have been trying to talk people ,around me to play. My luck, though. I’d have gone on TV and gotten the handsomest, most attractive male star and make a fool of myself.

But as for game shows, two more that I always thought I could handle were “The Match Game” and “The Hollywood Squares”. The oldest version of The Match Game, (in the 60s), had two celebrities playing against each other with two contestants each on their teams. The most fun week I can remember was with a still reasonably-young Burt Reynolds and “Dandy” Don Meredith, who were actually long-time friends. There was a lot of good-natured ribbing between the two.

I also remember guessing the wholesale price of crickets before a famous stand-up comedian came up with the same answer on The Hollywood Squares. I remember seeing the comedian on another show sometime afterward when he told a story about being overseas somewhere when a man walked past him and the only thing he said was, “You knew the wholesale price of crickets? Yeah, right!” and kept walking. I believed he did figure out the price of crickets, because I had.

My mind is a mess of generally useless information. I know something about almost everything, (but am a master of a ridiculously few subjects). I had great recall as well, but I was also extremely shy. When I learned to overcome that for the most part, I found that I could carry on a pretty good conversation on almost any topic, because generally I knew enough to at least ask reasonable questions of those who knew more. Giving me alternative answers in a game show would help control my oh-gosh-what-am-I-doing anxiety. I used to guess the right answer or know when one was wrong nearly all of the time when watching both of the Match and Square shows.

My sister used to have me watch “Do You Want to Be a Millionaire?”, and stay on the phone with me. I would climb to the top almost every show. Her then-husband really thought that I should apply, but I would never have the nerve to risk the money once I hit a decent plateau. However, with my sister and her pop knowledge, plus my knows-so-much husband as ‘phone-a-friends’, I might have gone far. But who would I have taken with me for support???

When my boys were very little, I used to put “Wheel of Fortune” on. I’d get a chance to guess in between getting things done. Both boys quietly watched it, especially the oldest one. They both learned their letters at a very young age from it.

Since I married an egghead, we often watched Jeopardy for the first few years we were married. He stopped watching when he started to believe that most of the questions were trivial, (yes, but, so what?). He also found me being annoyed because I missed most of the show while he wanted to expound on the answers! Afterwards, I’d have listen to lectures on the ’whys’ of the answers, and that took up too much of his time.

I continued to watch for a while longer and have gone back to it upon occasion. I often thought that if we could play in tandem, my husband and I would walk away with big money. Even after he stopped watching, I’d see the categories and divvy them up in my head: “I’d take Hits of the 60s, give him WWI; I’d go for Lines of Poetry and he would do World Rivers; Medicine would be mine and he could take Machines.”
We’d have been unstoppable.

Go ahead, ask us to play as a team in Trivial Pursuit. I dare you!
Of course, you may be in for lectures on answers to most topics.
Just a warning!

Posted in America, childhood, hobbies, memories, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, using talents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What’s My Line?

I think I Could Play Both Sides

By Jeff Salter

This week, we’re blogging about (television) game shows — which would I choose and how would I do?

Well, I’m terrible at guessing prices or values, besides the fact – as one of the Resident Foxes pointed out this week – both are different in various areas of the country. I’d never do well in high pressure situations like Jeopardy, where there are both time limits and highly motivated competitors.

So I guess I’d prefer to go old-school — maybe back to around 1960 or so [roughly the middle of the 17 year run of a game show called “What’s My Line?” On this show, I think I could be both a good contestant… and a great panelist.

whats-my-line

They had a panel of four celebrities – though that word was used differently six decades ago – who were tasked to guess the vocation of the unknown guest. For many of those years, the primary celebrity panelists were Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, and Bennett Cerf. The fourth slot sometimes was occupied by a semi-regular. In most cases, they could see the guest but he/she was a non-entity who they would have never known or seen. [I think I recall an occasional variant when the guest was a celebrity him or herself, but either they were hidden from view by the panelists… or the panel had to guess something specific ABOUT that celebrity guest which “nobody” supposedly knew. You know, like Jack Lord was an accomplished artist.]

There was also a variation in which the panelists were blindfolded and the guest was a celebrity who answered questions in a disguised voice.

Anyhow, each panelist was allowed a certain number of yes or no questions. For each exchange that did NOT result in the correct guess (about the guest’s vocation), the guest received a small sum. As I recall, it was about $5 per answer — so we’re talking really modest winnings. If the guest stumped all the panelists for the entire allotment of their questions, there was a bonus (I believe) for the guest.

Dorothy and Arlene always wore ritzy evening gowns, like they were headed to a White House ball right after the show was taped. Bennett always had a tux. These panelists were smart and perceptive and it was difficult to stump them.

Depending on the nature of the guest’s occupation and how circumspect they were at their responses, they could sometimes give the panel a run for its money.

I think the panelists also relied on visual clues – such as apparel and grooming – so if I were a guest on that show, I’d attire myself in something completely different than anything connected with my vocation. Also, I remember there were times when a guest would turn to the moderator and whisper a question about how to reply. The moderator [John Daly] would then provide the response to the panel. If I were a guest, I think I’d use that gimmick a lot, because it throws an additional wrench into the works of the panel.

The various vocations I’ve had have included (A) photo-journalist and editor… both civilian and military, (B) public library administrator, and (C) fiction author. I think I’d have a pretty good chance at fooling the panel for any of the three vocations.

I think I’d also be a pretty good panelist. No, I’m not Sherlock Holmes, but I do know a little bit about a lot of things — at least I used to. I think it would be fun to guess the vocation of someone who had to truthfully respond yes or no to all the questions asked by me and the others on my panel.

Another game that that I think would be fun to appear on (as a guest) would be the old Hollywood Squares… back when Paul Lynde was the middle.

Question: Which game show would YOU want to be on? As a guest or a panelist?

[JLS # 368]

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments