Home Page
Coming Soon
About Me

Interesting and Fun Interview Questions

I am always thrilled to take part in interviews where off the wall questions are asked.  It makes it so much more fun, and interesting, that trying to figure out how to answer the same question over and over.

If you are interested in reading all of the interviews I have done, you can find them HERE.  It is kind of interesting to see how some of my opinions on things have changed over the course of the last decade+, and how many of them have stayed the same.

[W]hat is your favorite sex toy and sexual position?

Wow. Um, don't hold back do you. <smiles> My favorite toy would have to be my nipple nooses as I call them. I don't know the exact name, but they're like nipple clamps, except instead of clamping them on, you loop the nooses around the nipples and tighten them.

As for my favorite position ... I do have several I prefer, and others I won't try. But I think I'll keep that between my husband and me. <smiles>

Michelle Naumann
Just Erotic Romance Reviews

* * *

What kind of research do you do?

Well last week there was the swingers' party, the month before we visited an S&M club … LOL

Seriously, I research about like anyone else does. I visit the library and pull information from books. I do some searches online. And when all else fails, I use the wonderful thing called 'writer's initiative' and I make stuff up.

What does your husband think of your writing?

My husband has a great sense of humor about it all. We even joked about getting T-shirts made up that say "Buy my wife's books – I want to be a kept man" after I mentioned another author's hubby thinking the same way.

And like I mentioned before, he is definitely very supportive of me. Even when I am moody, and cranky, and irritated that my characters have the nerve to want to do their own thing instead of what I want them to do.

Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?

It kind of depends. Some character let me have my way, with only minor fits, and others are demanding from word one and I can't do anything except let them have their way.

Romance At Heart Reviews

* * *

If you could go anywhere, be anyone, do anything for 24 hours, what would it be?

Good lord. LOL Um, sheesh. Um … I can't pick just one, so I will answer all three.

Go anywhere – Scotland. Specifically, I would visit Culzean castle. I fell in love with the photos of it when I was working on my stories for the Celtic Love Knots line for Whiskey Creek Press/Torrid. I had to take a lot of artistic liberty, because the pictures just didn't do the details of the breathtaking castle justice. I would love to see if, to explore the grounds and look down the cliff in the sea. To witness first hand to effects of time on the stone walls.

Be anyone – Living on a tight budget, I think anyone rich from old money would do. Just for 24 hours, I would love to have all the money to spend on whatever I wanted, without feeling guilty. I could pamper myself with a spa visit, or get into a fancy restaurant. Whatever I fancied, I'd do. I think that would be nice, to be able to not feel guilty over buying something. As it is, a new book sometimes causes that "can I afford this" impulse to rear its head.

Do anything – I think if I were doing it for only 24 hours that I would like to live in a nudist colony. Silly I know, but it's one of those things I would like to actually experience, but I know I am not cut out for the long haul.

Fallen Angel Reviews

* * *

If your life were a movie, what would you call it? What would the theme song be?


I used to joke that my life is a soap opera called “As The Stomach Churns.” But that was just a joke, it’s really not that interesting.   LOL


Off the top of my head though, I would probably call it Unbecoming Behavior.   I have never been one to play nice, just because society says I should.   I am blunt, and when someone asks my opinion, they had better truly want it. Plus, well, I write erotica.   That in itself is considered unbecoming by many.   I also make a point to mention in my newsletter when it is National Masturbation Month (it’s May by the way), and I support sex education in schools (some teenagers are going to do it anyways, might as well protect them from STD’s and pregnancy).   And that’s just the beginning.   LOL


I once had a professor draw a line on the board.   At the left end he put a dot and said “This is when you were born”.   About a fifth of the way down it, he put a line.   “This is where you are right now.”   At the right end, he put another point.   “This is where the human body will hold out to under perfect circumstances.”   He then circled the area between the line and about a fifth of the way from the right point.   “This is where you will die.”


Talk about scaring the shit out of those that were actually paying attention to what he was getting at.   Life is too short for pussy-footing around.   If it doesn’t hurt others, isn’t illegal or immoral, why not?


One of the ladies on a mailing list I am on has a tag line for her email about the journey to the grave not being a careful walk, with perfect hair and body, but rather a slide in at the last moment, body worn out, screaming “Whoo what a ride.”


I’d rather live my life feeling like the movie of it would be called “Unbecoming Behavior” rather than regret all the lost chances and feel that it should have been called “What Could Have Been.”  


Alternatively, if they did a movie based on just the last few years, since I started college, it would probably be called “Dazed and wondering what the F*** is going on.”   LOL


Probably a lot more than you were wanting, but there it is.


The theme song would be Genesis “Land of Confusion.”   Phil Collins has a voice that sends shivers down my spine, and some of the lyrics to that song just ring true for me.


Who was your first celebrity crush? Is he still hot?


Oh man.   Um, I cringe admitting this, but my first celebrity crush was David Bowie in Labyrinth.   I have no clue why, but at end when he was in the white outfit, something about him just caught my attention.   Then again, I wasn’t even 10, so don’t hold it again me.


As for him still being hot, well, he wasn’t that hot to begin with, in my opinion.  LOL Like I said, I wasn’t even ten at the time.


Romance Junkies Reviews

* * *

What do you feel is the most important thing that first-time authors should know?

If a character is whispering in your ear, listen. If a concept comes to you, and you know you could make something kick-ass of it, go for it. But understand, writing is only like breathing to some talented few. The rest of us have to work at it, to slowly get better. The first draft of anything is likely to be shit. What you make of that first draft will mold you into an author. You have to be willing to listen to your characters, and to trust yourself, but you also have to be willing to work hard.

All Romance e-Books

* * *

Is there anything in your closet that your fans would be surprised by?  

Not really.  I am a T-shirt collector.  Most of my wardrobe for classes and such is made up of T-shirts I have gotten from zoos, theme parks, festivals I have visited like the Japan Festival and the Renaissance Festival, and such. 

Wild On Books

* * *

You’ve found the perfect guy. Now, would you rather be marooned on a deserted island with him, or snowed in at a cabin in the desolate woods?


I’d rather be snowed in.  Although an island has more of an ability to move around, there is only so much you can take off if the heat goes too high.  Snowed in, you have more options for warmth.

Plus, let’s face it, sand isn’t comfortable in and around certain parts of the body.  There is also the fact that, at least to me, sand-burn is actually worse than carpet burn.  Youch!


Dark Angel Reviews



If your muse were to talk behind your back, what secrets would he/she tell?

Oh boy! First she’d be sure to let everyone know that I am not an exciting person. She complains about that often enough to me. When we go on vacations (my family and I) and she tags along, she rushes off to do stuff while I am content to sit back and watch my hubby and daughter – kayak, snorkel, climb up very tall rocks and stand on the edge to look over all the while screaming “look how far down it is”, and other such things.

She’d have to tell everyone I often write in my PJ’s and they aren’t even sexy. While she’s flouncing around in a see-through negligee, flirting with my husband (who of course can’t see her), I’m in a nice comfy outfit. She tried though, bless her heart, to get me to be more daring. But I can’t see sitting in a leather bustier and thigh high stalking and garter belt while writing. But it’s nice to dream about.

She’s also be sure to make sure that everyone knows that I am not a morning person, and in fact I get grouchy without my 9 hours of sleep, or if I am woken up too early. I used to answer the phone “if you’re not dying I’m hanging up” but my parents didn’t think it was too funny. LOL I am so not a morning person.

If you had to write yourself as a heroine, what kind of heroine would you be? What would you be named?

I’d either be Marissa or Meredith. I love those names, and always wished my parents had gone a little different way with the M naming. As for what kind of heroine I would write myself as, I’d be soft spoken with an iron will. The hero or other heroine would know that I wasn’t a pushover or a doormat, but at the same time, I would willingly submit to all kinds of delicious intimate torments in the bedroom. It would be an equal partnership, none of this “you stay here where it’s safe while I go risk my life and limb and hopefully come back to you”. Uh uh. I also think I’d be curious, and some of the problems that plague us would genuinely be my fault, but it would be innocently caused.

If you had to write yourself as a villain, what kind of villain would you be? What would you be named?

I’d be fun and enjoy being a villain! The best villains I have seen on shows aren’t the stereotypical tortured, turned bad by incidents in their lives; rather they have fun with it. I’d choose to be a bad girl. I’d be one of the good bad guys though, because I wouldn’t want to do anything too evil, just enough to give a girl a reputation and make people fear me even as they are in awe of me. I also wouldn’t have to stop and explain my plan to everyone I have captured/enslaved. I’d be quick witted, and actually smart.

I would be sultrily dressed, black latex/leather wearing, corset top and thigh high slit skirt, at least within my own domain. As for out in the world as I am trying to enact my dastardly plan I would be the height of comfortable fashion, and turn heads, male and female, wherever I go. : )

I’d also have to have a thing for the hero/heroine. LOL

As for a name, I dunno. Something fun, but yet whimsical. Have to think on that some more.

If you were a Superheroine, would you wear tights and a cape?

Cape, oh yeah. Tights, not a chance. : ) Probably I’d wear sheer stalkings coated in an anti-snag spray, with 3” spike heels, cause I wouldn’t have to worry about breaking an ankle. And I’d go for one of those cute full corset outfits, the kind that covers just as much as a leotard, with the underlining of the cape matching the lace ties on it. My “normal” dress however would be a conservative business suit, with a pair of half frame glasses, low heels, and hair done in a conservative style.

Would you live in a biodome for 5 years? What would your must have accessories be?

Yeah, I’d go for it. I am a biology major, so I think it’d be fun. : ) I’d have to take my family though. Wouldn’t want to be without them for five years.

We’d have to have lots of books. Lots of them. And a way to get new ones to me – either paper or e-book. I read about 2-5 books a week, and it is an addiction.

I’d want my pillows – all five of them that I sleep with at night (which includes a portion of hubby’s)

Also have to have a computer just for me to play on. Nothing work related, just play and write. That’s about all I’d need, beyond the normal hygiene and clothing needs.

Hubby and my daughter on the other hand – they’d need music files, game-boys, computer games, somewhere to golf and their golf stuff, drawing supplies and lots of paper and colored pencils, a computer for each of them, the list goes on …

In your next life, if you came back as a critter, what would it be?

Oh boy. Um, I’d probably want to be one of the few animals in the world that will have sex just for pleasure, rather than as a biological imperative. There has to be others, beyond the ones we know of so far – which would be Dolphins, a species of ape, and one or two others which I can’t remember at this moment.

I just couldn’t see coming back as something that spends its days hunting, and its nights sleeping, with occasional mating to continue the species.

I also wouldn’t want to come back as anything too ugly, I might get killed just because I was ugly. Alternatively, I wouldn’t want to be too pretty, with a nice coat or horns or whatever, then I’d have to worry about being poached for those.

So I guess a Dolphin would be good. Might even get to do a show at Sea World.

Michelle M Pillow
Pillow Talk

* * *

My logo is a lilac rose, what is your favorite color of rose and do you think you’ll get any this Valentine’s Day?

I actually prefer yellow and white roses, over pink and red. Although the ones that are light pink with the magenta tips are pretty cool.

I’d have to say white is my absolute favorite though.

As for getting any roses, my husband and I decided long ago that he isn’t to buy me any roses. At Valentine’s Day they simply cost too much and don’t last long enough. So we do live plants, if we have to give flowers. Simply little gifts, if anything at all. Nothing extravagant.

What is your favorite romantic meal?

A nice steak, with varying sides, and candlelight. Maybe soft music.

Although, one of the most romantic meals I ever made for my husband was homemade chicken nuggets and fries, over candlelight. We were just starting out, couldn’t afford steak. But I wanted to do a nice, romantic dinner for us. That’s still one of my favorite memories.

How do you know when you’re in love?

Wow. I guess that differs from person to person. Everyone is going to experience it a bit different, from the breathless anticipation when you have to go a few days without being able to talk, to the simple pleasure and warmth of curling up with someone and feeling cherished and safe.

I don’t know exactly when I knew I was in love with my husband. Just one day I knew. That insane fluttering of nerves had steadied into a sense of calm when he was around, and I was thinking about my future in terms of what “we” could do, rather than what “I” wanted.

Victoria Blisse

* * *

Tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.

I am a geek. A massive geek, to boot. I am one of those people, that in high school, I loved science. Still do. In fact, I am currently a nontraditional student, majoring in biology. Which leads me to interesting fact number one: I hate jelly fish. Now you would think that with a love of nature, and an understanding that the things are not likely to kill me (with certain exceptions of course) and that in the ocean there are things that would do a heck of a lot worse damage than a jelly fish would. Yet, the fact remains, I hate them. Can’t even look at them in an aquarium without turning a bit green, which is rather amusing for the rest of the family; not so much for me though. Having swam in the ocean in Belize recently, and having come across one, I can safely say, I do freak out a bit when they just suddenly appear out of nowhere.

I am addicted to TV shows like Numb3rs, West Wing, Stargate, Babylon 5, etc. (But not to the point that I can quote dialog and know episode names by heart) Half the time, I don’t understand what they are talking about in West Wing, or follow the math in Numb3rs, or really grasp the science in Stargate (too much physics for my biology brain), but I love watching them. I also own the DVD’s of West Wing, Stargate: SG1, the Stargate movies, Stargate: Atlantis, Babylon 5 and Crusade, Firefly and Serenity, and now Farscape. What’s more, my addictions have begun to lead to interesting title and plotline choices. One of my recent acceptances, All Alone in the Night, the title comes from the intro of Babylon 5. An older release, Enslaving Heaven, has what some have called a Firefly feel to it. I have been trying to figure out how to get a story out of the title Geometry of Shadows, but that one is still escaping me. I will manage it one day though. Just wait and see.

My wardrobe is mostly T-shirts, and most of them are from zoos and festivals. Although, seeing me, you might be able to clue in to that fact. As a college student, I do have the college wardrobe of jeans and T-shirts, with a few nice pairs of pants and shirts thrown in. But only a handful of my T-shirts are plain. In fact, it’s interesting on lab days, trying to find something to wear that I am willing to sacrifice should it come to that. I have shirts from the Miami, Knoxville, New Orleans, Belize, and St Louis zoos. From the KC renaissance festival, and from the Japan festivals in KC and in Springfield. As well as assorted other places.

Hum. This is starting to get hard. LOL Trying to come up with interesting things about myself.

I am a speed reader. I can devour a book, sometimes two, in an evening. I am hell on the local library’s budget, as well as my own budget. I pick up books from the library weekly, and often more frequently than that. They have gotten used to me picking up a book one day and bringing it back the next, although I try to hold on to it for at least a few days, so they won’t think that I didn’t like it. Most of the ladies at the library even are starting to know me by name, and have known me on sight for months now.

And finally . . . I the very model of a modern major general. That’s right, I LOVE that song. I torture hubby occasionally by listening to that song, and teaching our daughter the lyrics. My favorite scene from Babylon 5 would have to be one of the characters trapped on a ship with another of the characters, who decides to just start belting out “I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral, I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical”. I about died laughing when I first watched that episode.

Finish this sentence: My favorite saying is ______________ because ________________

My favorite saying is "In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." (Baba Dioum) because it’s so very true, and touches upon the heart of the human condition. So many people I talk to questions why I care if the Amur Leopard goes extinct, or if the coral reefs off of the coast of Belize are bleached, and so on. They don’t understand the leopards and the reefs, and the many incredible natural wonders all around us, and they were probably never taught to care.

As a teacher (I may have a couple semesters left, but pre-service or not, I am a teacher), I know that my role will be to try and make my students care, to teach them about the wonders of the natural world in such a way that they will not only understand them, but understand what the lose of them will mean.

It also calls to me because it’s the motto I try to live by when I explain things to my daughter. I want her to care about conservation, and I want her to know why it matters. Thankfully, she is starting to get it. What’s more, she is starting to educate others about conservation.

Write me a paragraph using the following three words: Camera, Wishbone, Hamburger

Wow. What a list. I have to say, this posed a challenge, and I am not quite sure what to make of my resulting paragraph. It certainly is different, but I wanted to get the whole “story” in, but being limited to a paragraph, I had to imply a lot.

Karen leaned back in her booth at the local truck-stop, her weary eyes threatening to close. Forcing the lids up, she glanced at her watch to find that only twenty minutes of her lunch break remained. With a soft sigh of exhaustion, she returned her attention to the hamburger that sat half eaten on her plate, the grease mingling with the ketchup and mustard, until it formed a congealed mess that was slowly, hypnotically dripping onto the tabletop. Pushing the plate away, she looked out the window in time to see one of the local professionals, if they could be called that in her tiny Podunk town, climbing out of a trucker’s rig. The woman’s skirt flared up, for a brief moment showing more of her skin than probably the trucker would even see. Karen wished that she had her camera with her, that she could capture the haunting pain and defiance on the woman’s face as she fought to keep her skirt down. At three am, she was one of the few people braving the cold outside the Wishbone diner, and Karen found herself imaging what would make her so willing to sell herself, to risk her health to make a few bucks. As the woman turned, for just a brief moment, they made eye contact, and Karen could feel herself drowning in the bright depths of her eyes. She was just about to get up, to go outside, when the woman turned away. Unsteady steps brought the woman to a fairly new model car, and moments later, she was pealing out of the parking lot. Glancing at her watch again, Karen gave another soft sigh and slid out of her booth. She had less than ten minutes to get back to work, where she would spend the rest of the night more than earning her minimum wage at the factory. As she stepped out into the cold, her tired and aching muscles protested, but she forced herself to ignore the constant pain as she crossed the icy lot to her own clunker.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I guess a better question is what didn't I want to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a doctor, a police officer, a firefighter, an astronaut, a lawyer, an artist, an architect, a landscape designer, a scientist; the list goes on and on. I finally decided on teacher around the fourth grade, and I have been working towards that ever since.

Now I am a non-traditional college student, and I am working my rear off to earn my degree in Biology education, with certification to also teacher Earth Science, Physics and Chemistry. A glutten for punishment, I know.

Oddly enough, growing up, the idea of being a writer never really crossed my mind. I always read books, and thought of the authors like some people see rock stars and actors. The authors had just short of demi-deity status to me. Sure, I scribbled in notebooks, like a lot of youngsters. I wrote poetry, essays and short stories. I ever had a few earn awards in school - but I never planned on publishing. That just kind of happened.

Where would you find a purple people eater?

I'm not sure where its lair is, but if you could find out when and where the Loch Ness monster hosts its monthly poker party, I am sure the Purple People Eater would be there. My guess, he'll be sitting between the Green Giant and the Easter Bunny. He'll probably be hitting on the Tooth Fairy while knocking back a grape soda too.

When is the best time to read one of your books?

Late at night, when the kids are all in bed, and you can snuggle up with a lover. Just make sure you have lots of whipped cream (or whatever strikes you fancy) and a pair of handcuffs handy.

Why do you love Monty Python (because you must, yes)?

Well, I haven't seen many of their works, but I have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Scenes like this one just made the movie:

“King Arthur: I am your king.
Woman: Well I didn't vote for you.
King Arthur: You don't vote for kings.
Woman: Well how'd you become king then?
[Angelic music plays... ]
King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.
Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

Quote from the Internet Movie Database. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071853/quotes)

This is another good one, from the same webpage.

“Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Lancelot: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your name?
Sir Lancelot: My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Sir Lancelot: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
Sir Lancelot: Blue.
Bridgekeeper: Go on. Off you go.
Sir Lancelot: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Sir Robin: That's easy.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Robin: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I'm not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your name?
Sir Robin: Sir Robin of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Sir Robin: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is the capital of Assyria?
Sir Robin: I don't know that.
[he is thrown over the edge into the volcano]
Sir Robin: Auuuuuuuugh.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. What... is your name?
Galahad: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Galahad: I seek the Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
Galahad: Blue. No, yel...
[he is also thrown over the edge]
Galahad: auuuuuuuugh.
Bridgekeeper: Hee hee heh. Stop. What... is your name?
King Arthur: It is 'Arthur', King of the Britons.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
King Arthur: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
King Arthur: What do you mean? An African or European swallow?
Bridgekeeper: Huh? I... I don't know that.
[he is thrown over]
Bridgekeeper: Auuuuuuuugh.
Sir Bedevere: How do know so much about swallows?
King Arthur: Well, you have to know these things when you're a king, you know.”

How do you win at solitaire?

Win? You're supposed to actually win that game?

Wow … news to me.

Seriously though, I win more often when I play on the computer. Something about playing by turning all the cards by hand jinxes me. I have about a 20% win rate on the computer though. Not the best in the world, but I don't play that often. Generally just on road trips when it gets too dark to read a book.

Freecell is a better game for me.

Thanks for the questions. : ) It's always fun to do a silly interview.

And here's one more line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

“Narrator: A year passed: winter changed into spring, spring changed into summer, summer changed back into winter, and winter gave spring and summer a miss and went straight on into autumn... until one day...”

Marianne Arkins

* * *

Tell me a little bit about your design business. How does it mesh with your writing?

Graphics design allows me another creative outlet.  I am a non-traditional college student right now, and I need something to balance that aspect of my life with.  Often times, I don’t have time to sit and develop a story and write everything down that needs to be put together at once.  But I still need the stress relief.

Designing cover art, webpages, and graphics provides that.  It also gives me something to do when I am not in the mood to write, or when I need to work through an idea.

So it actually meshes well with writing.  The only time conflict arises is when I have a deadline for a graphic and I am in the mood to write.  I have to balance the two.  But then again, I have the same conflict when it is time to study and a story demands to be told.

Even before I started designing graphics for others, I did my own website.  As my friends can attest, I have had something like a dozen layouts and designs in the last 6 years.  So it has always been a part of my creative process.  Just now I have broadened my horizon and am not re-designing my website as often; instead I am working up graphics for others.


 * * *

Hi, Michelle. Thank you so much for visiting with us. Could you tell us how you learned about the Lakeside Nature Center?

* I do volunteer work at Lakeside Nature Center, and this interview was based around that information


Actually, I found out about Lakeside from my husband.  We have an 11-year-old daughter who loves animals, and we often visit zoos.  So when we moved back to the Kansas City, Missouri, area, we got a zoo membership and starting spending one Saturday a month there.


During one of our visits, my husband decided we should swing by Lakeside and see how they had changed from what he remembered.  They had changed a lot!


We started visiting the nature center every time we visited the zoo.  During one of our visits, my husband found out about volunteer work that can be done at the center and he signed up for the training classes.  Due to my school load (we’re both non-traditional college students), I wasn’t sure I would be able to commit to the time needed, but he found out that the only commitment is 30 hours a year, and training classes.  So I signed up as well.


Our first 30 hours is mentoring time, where we get to pick who we want to work with based on days of the week we are available and what that person specializes in.  For me it was a no-brainer. I was going to work with whoever worked with the birds.


Since then, I have helped care for baby squirrels, birds, opossum, rabbits (sadly most of them die due to the shock to their systems), owls, geese, a mallard duck, kestrels, hawks and an eagle.


I love getting to actually hold, interact, feed and care for these animals.  What is most rewarding though is when they are able to be released back into the wild.  During my most recent volunteer day, after being out of the country for two weeks and dealing with finals the two weeks before that, I found out that the two red-tailed hawks that I had been helping feed had been released.  I admit, I was sad, because they were the first animals I really got to deal with.  But I was also glad.  It meant that the staff had live feed tested them, and deemed them fit to survive in the wild.


Most of what I do is the messy work. But then again, animal rehab is not glamorous.  Some of the rehabbers that do home rehab spend all their free time caring for small baby mammals, like rabbits, opossums and squirrels.  And here’s a little bit of trivia – most mammal babies need stimulation to urinate.  So the volunteers have to take cloths and wipe them over the animals privates, after they feed them, to get them to clear their bladders.


As for what I do, since I try to work with the raptors as much as possible, I spend a lot of time cleaning cages and cutting up mice and rats.  I’ve tubed birds, to get food into their stomachs.  I’ve force fed an owl, using tweezers and mice chunks. Kind of gross, but necessary work.  I also get to help hold the birds down for medical care, since the raptors generally come in with some kind of injury.  And occasionally, I am the one who sticks my hands into the cage to grab the birds’ legs and try not to get bit in the process.


All in all, caring for these animals is a lot of hard work, and very messy, but fun and rewarding.  I know there are other volunteer opportunities out there, but as a biology major and a general science geek, this one fits me the best.


What’s more, it’s something I can share with my whole family, since my husband volunteers, and our daughter recently joined the junior keeper program.  She gets to care for some of the education animals, those that cannot be released back into the wild, but still have a full life helping to educate the public.



You do a lot, Michelle. What motivated you to volunteer with the center? *


I started working at Lakeside in January 2009, so it’s only been six months, but in that time I have learned a lot and I hope helped out, both the staff and the animals.


I’ve always loved animals, and I strongly believe that the wild should be allowed to be wild.  It drives me nuts that people go out into the woods, catch a critter, and try to make a pet of it.  That’s why we have pet stores, and animals that are domestically bred to be pets.


As for motivation, I admit, I do it because I get to work with animals that I would never be able to get close to otherwise.  But also because I get to help rehab these animals, getting them back into top form so that they can be released into the wild.  I am helping to make sure that these species survive so that my grandchildren can one day enjoy them.



That’s a beautiful motivator. In addition to caring for the animals, what else does the center do?*


Lakeside Nature Center focuses on education of the public, conservation of the natural world, and rehabilitation of injured animals.


Their work is so important because they don’t just patch up animals and send them back into the world, although that is a vital aspect, and one that I enjoy taking part in. They are also an education source.


They work hard to educate the public about why wild animals need to be allowed to be wild.  They have staff that does classes for the public on a variety of topics. They do programs out in the schools and other avenues, and they always welcome questions.


One of the biggest heartbreaks for all of the volunteers is the baby rabbits.  All too often, they are brought in when they shouldn’t have been.  Their urine is light colored, meaning mommy rabbit was nearby, but she doesn’t want to impress her scent on her scentless babies.  So she doesn’t hover over them.  Many of these babies are kidnapped, and the volunteers repeat over and over that if possible, the goal is to leave the wild as it is.  Unless they are injured, don’t move the babies.


But all too often, they are moved and brought to the center, and then the volunteers have to try and keep them alive.  Wild baby rabbits are timid as anything, and often die of shock while we are trying to care for them.  Having a baby rabbit die in your hands is heartbreaking, and makes you question why you are doing this to yourself.


But the volunteers keep going. They keep caring. They keep trying to educate the public, and they keep interjecting energy into education, conservation and rehabilitation.


That is why I think they are worth supporting.  They don’t have an easy job. In fact it can be messy and can rip your heart out. But they do it anyways.  Not for the glory, but to make a difference.


Novel Hearts


* * *

What is the most, and the least interesting fact about writing?

The least interesting fact about writing has to be the hours we spend on getting the word out there about our work. Promotions aren’t all book signings and radio shows, and it isn’t all done by the publishing company. A lot falls to the author. There is a lot of grunt work, a lot of planning, worrying, and busy work that goes in to it. Not much glamour in it, for the most part.

The most interesting has to be creating a whole new world, developing characters with their own personalities, thoughts, dreams and nightmares. They live and breathe through us, and even though they are not real, they still exist in some way. I think that has to be the most interesting, and thrilling, aspect to writing.

Do you prefer stand-alone books or series?

I actually prefer stand alone stories. Very few of my stories, even in my series, actually intertwine. They are in the same universe, with the same rules and all, but the characters don’t intermingle.

I am the same way about my reading tastes. I like books set in the same universe, and occasionally will read a series that is highly intertwined. But it has to grab a hold of me so tight that I am not ready to let go of the characters after one book. Or two … or three even.

That very rarely happens.

It also seems, especially here lately, that series peter out before the author wraps them up. Because they are selling, and people are wanting more, they keep writing. Which I have no problem with. But when it starts to get old, when it starts to get flat, end the series. Reach the conclusion to the issue thread. Let it go and move on to something else.

I hate when I get to the point that I am ready to stop reading because the books don’t interest me any more, and I have to borrow them from the library rather than buy them, just so I can skim the book to find out how the encompassing arc is resolved. I hate the feeling when I want to email the author and say, ‘Just end it already. Sheesh.’ Which is why when authors say ‘this is going to be an open-ended series’ I am less likely to give it a try than I am if they say ‘I am doing so many books and that is it for this series’.

I am also starting to get sick of the trend of writing a book that isn’t a full book. One author I used to auto-buy has started doing that. The series is so continued that at the end of the book, I am left feeling that nothing happened. No great resolution was reached. It’s always ended with an unspoken ‘to be continued …’ like the series finale to most TV shows. Not resolving everything is fine. Keeping the main story arc is fine. But there needs to be some semblance of closure at the end of each book.

So yeah, mark me down in the stand-alone column.

If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?

This may be a bit controversial, and I am not meaning it to be. Please, understand, I am a science major. I am a geek at heart.

So if I could visit anyone, it would be Charles Darwin. I would love to be one of the great minds he corresponded with. I would love to be able to point him in the direction of a monk that was doing incredible work in genetics and say there is your proof. There is the back-up for evolution. (Darwin, in case you don’t know, was the first person who proposed a full theory of evolution, via decent with modification. He made the Galapagos Islands famous, especially the variety of finches that live there and nowhere else).

It’s one of the ironies that Darwin’s theories would have been better worked, been more streamlined, if he had had just an inkling of what Gregor Mendel was up to. (For those that don’t know, Mendel was doing work on cross-breeding pea plants and from that was getting the beginning inklings to how transmission of traits, ie genetics, occurs).

Oh Mendel published. But the world of books and scientific papers isn’t what it is today. Most were buried in obscurity.

I’d have loved to have been there on the eve of Darwin’s great ideas. To help him formula and reason through what he was seeing. To converse with him, to work through ideas, to simply be there as a sounding board as he postulated something that would unleash a story of controversy that still resonates 100 years later.

As I said – geek.

Love Romances and More




This website is Copyright 1998-2014 to Michelle Houston, and protected by Infiniti Studios. All rights reserved.
Proudly hosted with Candledark Internet Solutions. 
All graphics created from commissioned artwork, purchased images, purchased tubes or free graphics.