Author Wendy Watson is giving away a book!

IScreamFrontLargeWendy Lyn Watson teaches constitutional law to college students by day and writes deliciously funny cozy mysteries, with a dollop of romance, by night.  I Scream, You Scream: A Mystery a la Mode–the first of a series about the owner of an ice cream parlor in a small Texas town who solves murders in between scooping sundaes–was an October, 2009 release; the second book in the series, Scoop to Kill, will follow in July of 2010.  While she does not commit–or solve–murders in real life, her love of ice cream is 100% true.  She’s also passionately devoted to 80s music, Asian horror films, and reality TV.  You can find her on the web at www.wendylynwatson.com.

When the Debs picked the topic of “favorite online resources,” I bet they were thinking of writing resources.  And, sure, I have some of those.  I love to use the random word and random sentence generators from watchout4snakes to develop prompts for writing exercises.  And when I’m wracking my brain for a good character name, baby name wizard is my favorite, because it not only helps you locate names but names that are appropriate for the age of the character (which boy names were popular in 1953, when the English department chair of my fictional college was born?).

But if we’re being perfectly honest, my favorite on-line resources have almost nothing to do with my writing.  They have to do with my own personal brand of crazy.

Hello, my name is Wendy, and I’m a hypochondriac.

My husband says it’s charming (one of the many, many reasons I love him), but I know different.  It’s annoying.  Can I tell you how nuts I made my coworkers when the anthrax scare was in full swing?  Particularly since I worked for the federal court system at the time.  Every sniffle, every tickle in my throat, every incipient headache, and my personal threat level hit red.  And don’t get me started on being a teacher during these days of H1N1.  I have seriously considered buying surgical masks and latex gloves to wear on campus.  If I can find them in pink, I may yet.

It should come as no surprise, then, that my favorite on-line resources are webmd and mayoclinic.  Two words:  symptom checkers.  I have a mysterious pain in my big toe?  What could it be?  How could I find out?  Or that weird bump on my earlobe?  Hmmmm.

I console myself with the knowledge that my WebMD consultations save me a small fortune in doctor visits (and keep my doctor from screening my calls).  Still, I know it’s unhealthy to spend so much time obsessing about the daily aches and pains that plague us all, especially as we “mature.”  And, bottom line, that weird bump on my earlobe has been there for at least twenty years; if it hasn’t killed me yet, I can probably safely ignore it.

But until my friends and relations install Net Nanny on my laptop and block the medical sites, I will keep visiting them.  And clicking through until I know the differences between the four types of porphyria (none of which I actually have) and the various home treatments for arthritis (which I may have, if my self-diagnosis can be trusted … which it cannot).

The really cool thing?  The fascination with these sites is fed by my crazy, but it actually does, on occasion, pay off in my writing life.  I’ll stumble across a little factoid about sensitivities to certain drugs or symptoms of poisoning that mimic common illnesses … just the sort of trivia that makes a mystery author’s life a little easier.  In fact, I don’t want to say too much, but one of those little tidbits of information became a crucial clue in my current release, I Scream, You Scream.

So tell me . . . what are your vice sites?  Celebrity gossip?  Fan fic sites?  And what are the hidden virtues you find there? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of Wendy’s book!

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17 thoughts on “Author Wendy Watson is giving away a book!

  1. I have a hard time tearing myself away from Kenken.com. I love those puzzles! Another good one is Africam.com, where you can check in 24-7 to see if there’s a giraffe or a hyena at a watering hole in Botswana.

  2. Wow – an actual *subscription* to TMZ. I bow to you, ma’am. That’s impressive commitment.

    Alicia, if you love puzzles, may I recommend lumosity.com. I actually paid, real honest money, so I could use all their puzzles, but my favorite is the word bubbles and they let you plat that for free.

    Now, I’m off to look for some sort of big cat in Africa …

  3. I admit to checking out celebrity gossip sites now and then, too. I also love author blogs like Allison Winn Scotch (www.allisonwinn.com) and Jennifer Weiner (www.jenniferweiner.com) Writer Unboxed is also fun (writerunboxed.com)

  4. I would’ve left a comment anyway, but I really hope I win because this sounds exactly like the kind of book I want to read! And your post is hilarious. Thanks for joining us at the Debs and good luck with your books!

  5. I love to read blogs authors write and anything having to do w/ Twilight. And don’t get me started on Twitter, i became addicted to it 🙂

  6. First off, why am I the only guy here? I understand that 95% of book buyers are female but I wonder what percentage of writers are male?
    Anyways, I like to read James Lee Burke’s blog and I have a secret addiction to celebrity gossip.

  7. Ooh – TV show recaps! televisionwithoutpity.com is my fave. I read recaps of shows I don’t even watch (which is weird).

    Greg, my friend, I don’t know why you’re the only dude here … my hubby is a blog-follower as well. He’s a big fan of Peter Watts (who’s a pretty hardcore SF writer with a really dark yet thought-provoking blog).

    Joelle – thanks for the kind words. My family’s been going through a rough patch the past couple of weeks, and I have found that escape into light, funny books has been such a welcome relief. I hope “I Scream” gives readers that sort of mini-escape.

    And, Emma, I’ve got a herd of Twilight fans in my circle. Wow, y’all are serious devotees. I just sent my dear friend Liz a link to whatdrivesedward.com (I think I got that right) … the Volvo/Twilight tie-in site. You can register to win a cool Volvo *and* tickets to the premier of New Moon (so get over there soon!).

  8. I adore your cover art! Basket of Kisses – an amazing Mad Men Blog. And Gawker. It’s nice to know there are people our there with snarkier senses of humor than I.

  9. I certainly did not need to find kenken and lumosity. I procrastinate way too much on the computer as it is now. Lately I have been leaning towards crafty, do it yourself websites and blogs — etsy, ohdeedoh and bakerella. If I can’t find the time to be crafty myself, I can live vicariously through others.

  10. My vice sites are all probably sports related – hokiesports.com, espn.com, etc. I’m not sure I find any hidden virtues there – maybe football stats.

  11. Um… I may be a little bit addicted to Farmville on Facebook. There is a game with no real redeeming qualities, it’s just fun! The book looks like fun too, so I’ll put the title on my Shelfari wishlist. 🙂

  12. Sorry I’ve been MIA for a couple of days, but I’m so glad to see that we’re still learning of new and exciting e-vices. Has someone trademarked that yet? Let me pull a full-on Stephen Colbert and claim that one: E-vice (TM).

    Mad Men blog? Seriously, did you read my mind? I want to be Joan when I grow up. Without the abusive husband and hostile work environment, of course, but I want to *look* like Joan and have her sang froid. Sigh. I’ve got a total girl-crush on her.

    And don’t get me started on the craft graveyard I have going in my office closet. Cross stitch I started 15 years ago (that’s not me being clever: I actually started that project in 1994, the year I moved to Minnesota).

    MWAH to you all! I’ll keep checking back, and we’ll do the drawing on Friday. Sound like a plan?

    PS – thanks for the kind words about my cover … the art dept. at NAL did me a solid. And I can’t wait to share the cover for #2 – equally cute, and in blue this time. 🙂

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