Guest Blog: My Pet Peeves
It’s always fun to get to know people by asking them lots of questions. It seems the most popular questions are, What is your favorite book? Your favorite movie?Food?Color?Song?Actor?
I thought it would be fun to do something a little different: tell you my pet peeves, and invite you to post yours! Everybody likes to complain, right? So here are my top ten pet peeves.
Pet Peeve #1: People who say “try and,” as in “I’m going to try and finish shopping soon.” People, people, people. Although many make this mistake, the grammatically correct usage is “try to,” not “try and.” This bothers me more than most other grammatical errors, though I’m not sure why. I’m going to try TO not let it bother me.
Pet Peeve #2: People who pronounce the word “nuclear” as “nuke-yoo-lur.” It makes my teeth hurt just to hear it, like fingernails on a blackboard. Repeat after me: Nu-clee-er. Nu-clee-er. Everybody got it? Good! My teeth thank you.
Pet Peeve #3: Drivers who don’t know how to merge. Correct method of merging: Check out the traffic coming on your left. Find a space you can fit into. Adjust your speed to merge smoothly into that space, allowing the cars ahead of and behind your chosen space to continue smoothly, without them having to speed up or slow down. Incorrect method of merging: Barge into the ongoing lane, making the other guy swerve, speed up or slow down to let you in. ‘Nuff said.
Pet Peeve #4: Commercials on TV. Okay, some of them are funny, and they’re necessary to pay for the programs we all love, I guess. But there are more and more of them per hour, reducing the time we get to actually watch what we want to see. Liz’s scientific proof: watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” from 1987 on Netflix while walking on the treadmill yields 45 minutes of show, whereas watching the latest episode of “General Hospital” online only gives me 38 minutes. So we’ve jumped from 15 minutes/hour of commercials to 22 minutes/hour over the past 25 years. Yuck.
Pet Peeve #5: Tracking numbers given to you when ordering merchandise online. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LIKE to know where my package is and when it’ll arrive. But much of the time, the tracking number doesn’t get into the “system” until the package has already been deposited on my doorstep. So, what good is that?
Pet Peeve #6: People who let their pets run free. Unless you live on a huge estate or have your yard fenced, it’s irresponsible, not to mention dangerous, to let your animals run loose. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and will do my best to befriend any dog or cat that appears in my yard. But I don’t appreciate other people’s pets chasing the birds at my birdfeeder, relieving themselves on my lawn, or growling at my grandchildren. If you want a pet, you should be willing to take proper care of it, including not letting it run wild.
Pet Peeve #7: Phone scams. I’m on the “do not call” list, but that only stops legitimate companies from calling, not the phony ones. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered the phone only to hear a recording of a lovely-sounding woman saying, “Hello, this is Rachel at Cardholder Services.” While the call may appear legitimate and may seem to come from Florida or Texas or Oklahoma on Caller ID, it’s actually a scam originating overseas. According to my phone company, they have no jurisdiction in those foreign companies, so they can’t shut them down. So now, when the phone rings and I hear, “Hello, this is Rachel at…” I yell “No, it’s not!” and hang up. At least it relieves a little of the frustration.
Pet Peeve #8: ABC cancelling two of my soaps, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” I’ve watched them every Monday through Friday for at least 30 years, and they were a valuable part of my life. How many other shows can boast that kind of long-running record? Thank goodness “General Hospital” is still on (all 38 minutes of it), as I’ve watched that one for nearly 45 years. (Yeah, since I was a kid.) Here’s hoping GH stays put.
Pet Peeve #9: People who converse loudly on their cell phones in public places, including grocery stores, banks, churches, restaurants, and heaven forbid, even in bathrooms. Just because a cell phone allows you to converse anywhere doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Have some consideration for those around you, who don’t want to hear the details of your date, your new dress, or your latest video game score.
Pet Peeve #10: People who like to grouse and complain and tell you all their pet peeves!
Okay, I’ve gotten a few things off my chest. So tell me, what are YOUR pet peeves?
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? – I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But in that optimistic way children have, I also wanted to be a nurse, a teacher, a singer, and a veterinarian. I figured I could do them all at once!
Tell us about your latest book. — FATAL FORTUNE is about a delightfully eccentric psychic named Lottie Baldwin. Her best friend’s husband disappears and despite the warnings of her boyfriend Harlan Erikson, the Chief Deputy in the Sheriff’s Office, she can’t resist using her special powers to try to solve the mystery.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it? – I’m working on a sequel to FATAL FORTUNE called PERILOUS PREDICTION. In it, Lottie’s ex shows up in town and promptly gets killed. Since Lottie is the only one in town who knew him, naturally she’s the prime suspect, and it’s up to her and Harlan to find out who the real killer is.
Who is your favorite author and why? – So hard to choose, I have lots of favorite authors. Dean Koontz writes so beautifully, it’s like stepping into a painting. Katie MacAlister’s paranormal romances have heroines who are NOT perfect, which makes them all the more endearing. Connie Willis researches her books so thoroughly, you feel you’re actually there. Terry Pratchett’s books are not only laugh-out-loud funny, they’re SO funny they force you to constantly read snippets to anyone within hearing distance.
How did you deal with rejection letters? – Well, at first I self-medicate with lots of chocolate.A lot of it. Once I can read the letter without shrieking, I look to see what I can learn from it. Then, when the worst of the pain is past, I start writing again.
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content? – I tend to write around the PG level. I don’t want my books to be something I wouldn’t want my own children to read. (Okay, they’re adults, but they’re still my kids.) That level feels most natural for me, anyway.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research? – I once phoned the local Sheriff’s office to ask for an interview to get material for a book. This was gutsy, since I wasn’t published yet! While researching another book set in ancient Egypt, I made my husband watch multiple documentaries with me so he could work the “play,” “stop” and “rewind” buttons while I took notes.
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