Michael J. McDonagh

An established writer who recently went to work becoming an author, trying valiantly to make someone give a damn and chronicling the process.

Mooky’s Liebster Post


Let me start by saying that if you’ve nominated me for a “Liebster” and I declined, don’t take this personally. It’s a cute idea, but also kind of a chain letter, and I wasn’t comfortable asking five other people to keep the chain/pyramid going. I’m still not, which is why I’m inviting people to nominate themselves, as I discuss below. But this SOB isn’t going away any time soon, and I feel like a schmuck when I keep saying no, so I’m caving in now because my friend from the interwebz, Valerie Brown (that’s her twitter) nominated me. I follow her blog, which is definitely worth a look: http://endlessedits.wordpress.com/.

What’s a Liebster?

There are a few rules for accepting the Liebster Award, they are: thank your nominator and link back to their website, answer your nominator’s questions, leave 11 facts about yourself, nominate 5 or more blogs with under 200 followers and give them 11 questions to answer.

Valarie’s Eleven Questions

1.  What personal trait of yours do you most often give to your fictional characters?

That would be awesomeness. (This type of award doesn’t lend itself to responses from people who write humorous sarcastic satire).

2.  Which part of the writing process do you dread the most and why?

I hate the point where I’m happy with “A” and know exactly where “C” needs to be, but have no idea what “B” is going to need to do to get me there.

3.  What’s your favorite book and why?

This is such a stock answer it feels trite, but probably To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it as a kid and saw the whole thing through Scout’s eyes. I read it again as an adult and found myself experiencing it through Atticus, which was wonderful in a very different way. But it wasn’t until my life was at its low point, and I saw things through Boo Radley’s eyes, that I fully appreciated that book. You’ve never really read To Kill a Mockingbird until you’ve read it from Boo Radley’s perspective.

4.  What time of day do you usually write?

I’m a night writer. I wish I weren’t, but raising four kids and having a day job require it. 90% of my writing happens between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.

5.  Do you prefer libraries or bookstores?

I’ve raised four veracious readers, so I would spend something in the neighborhood of $5,500 per year on books if it weren’t for the library. Seriously, I did the math. Plus I’ve been a library volunteer and story hour reader for ten years now, so my connection to the library is deep. I am also certain that some of the kids I’ve worked with will spend their lives buying and reading books thanks largely to the fact that there was a place they had access to a bunch of them for free when they were little. I don’t feel the slightest bit hypocritical wanting to sell books and adoring the public library system.

6.  What do you normally eat/drink while writing?

I’d never thought about it before, but nothing. Some water, maybe.

7.  What are your muses?

Motion, more than anything. Since I spend at least an hour a day exercising and an hour a day exercising my dog, my imagination always has a backlog of material for my fingers to put down. I have a writing partner who is working her way into muse status as well—more in terms of getting my fingers to put things down than inspiring the content. I think. [On writing those words, the author realizes they are almost certainly false, and his muse is a sneaky little shit].

8.  What kind of genre do you read?

Anything written well (or any good story, even if not). I tend toward the literary side in my reading, and read more contemporary fiction than historical or fantasy or sci-fi, but I’m all over the map.

9.  Who’s the best character ever written?

[To make this question answerable, my mind superimposed “you’ve” between character and ever in that question. So, no, I do not think I’ve succeeded in writing the best character ever written. Thanks to one of my lovely CPs, who takes it upon herself to critique blog posts and everything else I write, I now see my error. So my answer to the question as presented is: Are you fucking kidding me? I’m supposed to compare Leopold Bloom to Phoebe Caulfield? No thanks.]

Denise Harrington. She’s the favorite of every CP and beta who has read the book as well. Denise exploded on the page so unlike I’d imagined her I just had to roll with it. She is my protag’s sister and confidante and I intended to write her as a slight, pretty girl who masked her razor sharp intellect with an affected sweetness. What showed up instead was an even smaller, prettier girl, almost angelic in appearance, whose first line was “You’re the one who should be pissed off. Can you smell the K-Y? Because they were getting ready to fuck you in the—”

10.  If you could travel through time, would you go to the past or future?

The past. I don’t want to know what’s on the last page of my biography until I get to it.

11. How do you balance your life while reaching your writing goals?

I only sleep four to six hours a day.

Eleven Facts About me

  1. My grandparents were Irish immigrants, and my grandmother ran guns for the IRA when she was a teenage girl.
  2. The hospital I was born in is about a twenty-minute drive from the desk where I’m writing this.
  3. I was a four-time national finalist and a national champion at the college AFA-NIET national speech championships.
  4. I bake four or six loaves of bread every week.
  5. Most of the animals in my life have been strays I took in off the street.
  6. I have four daughters, and everything else in my life orbits them.
  7. I consider myself an ardent third-wave feminist. Because, No.6.
  8. My garden produces all of the vegetables we eat about six months out of the year, and most of the canned vegetables we eat as well.
  9. The only things I truly hate are: intolerance, ironing, and musical theater.
  10. I love fly fishing, particularly for steelhead and salmon.
  11. My WIP is a memoir, so I left all the juicy stuff out of these eleven points. 😉


Here’s where I break the rules…

I want you folks to nominate yourselves (I’m not sending out invitations). Give a shoutout on a comment here, and I’ll link to your blog in the space below and consider yourself nominated. Then answer my eleven questions listed in the space below the space below.

The space below

This is where my Liebster self-nominees are listed. Don’t be shy. If you take the chain letter part away, it’s fun.



The space below the space below (MJM’s Eleven Questions):

  1. Do you have a regular writing goal? If so, what is it? (Words or hours per day or week? Anything else?)
  2. How far ahead to you plan or plot and how? (Seat of the pants? Detailed outline? Somewhere between?)
  3. Describe your most important writing relationship (A beta? CP? Your sister or mom, who reads your stuff? A spouse who’s brutally honest?)
  4. When did you start writing fiction and how long have you been doing it?
  5. What are the last three books you read?
  6. What was your favorite book from childhood?
  7. What is your biggest weakness as a writer?
  8. What is your greatest strength as a writer?
  9. What’s the best line you’ve written?
  10. What are some of the most embarrassing things someone else has pointed out to you in your writing? (List your face/palm moments here)
  11. If you could choose between writing a great novel that stood the test of time (but didn’t return significant financial gain during your lifetime) or making a boatload of money on a novel that would soon be forgotten, which would you choose and why?

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20 thoughts on “Mooky’s Liebster Post

  1. I’m offended to find out you don’t write while drinking Scotch.

    Also… did you realize question no. 9 doesn’t have a “you’ve” in it? Regardless, I think you’re close. Denise is awesome.

    May as well take you up on the self-nomination because I need to update my blog again…

  2. Sweeeeeet. My first nominee is: Rochelle. a/k/a Slightly Small.

    By way of background, Rochelle is a dear and darned effective CP of mine. She has seen the movie Spinal Tap, and is expecting her first child any minute now.

    Oh, and you wouldn’t want to see what I write with if there’s scotch around.

    P.S. I just saw what you meant by the lack of “You’ve” in question nine. Are you implying that should change my answer? 😉

    Gawd, best character ever? By anyone? How do you compare Phillip Marlowe to Clarissa Dalloway to Jay Gatsby to Nick Adams to Scarlet O’Hara? No thank you. Although there is a massive Easter egg in my manuscript you may be noticing for the first time based on that answer.

  3. When I first began blogging, the awards were a nice way to connect with other bloggers, but then…no. I always appreciate the nod, but don’t participate. I’m right with you on ironing and intolerance, but ❤ musical theater. 😀

    PS: There are people who haven't seen Spinal Tap?

    • I’m still a blogging noob, and my introduction to the blogosphere has been great, but, yea, a little bit of this stuff goes a long way.

      My daughters are right there with you on the musical theater thing. Ugh. To me, it’s like soccer — I can watch, and even enjoy it, if one of my daughters is involved. Or if it’s extremely funny (so the soccer analogy is over, because so far, it’s never been funny enough).

      That said, if my community theater ever produces Rocky Horror, I will try out for the role of Frank in a heartbeat.

      • LOL, Rocky Horror would be an excellent choice–so much fun!

        Can I tell you how grateful I am that neither of my boys are into sports? I’m not sure I could enjoy it, so if you can when your girls are involved in musical theater, my hat’s off to you. 😀 I have sat through many performances though, because both boys are theater guys. (less musical theater, though)

    • Spinal Tap turns 30 this year… I can imagine there are a lot of people who haven’t seen it. My husband knows the “Turn it up to eleven” reference and has seen clips, but isn’t sure he’s seen the whole movie. I imagine graduating high school seniors (born in 95/96) are even less likely to have seen it.

      In related news, the world is a terrible place, full of entropy and removal from cult classics.

      • Heh, I’m not sure pointing out someone’s advanced age is the way I’d make a new friend, but to each her own. 😉

        I have to admit, when my middle guy (16yo) came home and told Husband and I about this awesome movie called Spinal Tap he saw at a friend’s house, it was a proud bonding moment for the three of us. 😀

      • I mean no harm. 80s movies on the whole are pretty awesome and I’m sad I was too young then to appreciate them.

        I /have/ seen it… But your son is a great example of how cult classics often disappear and resurface as “cool new discoveries”, which was more to my point. 🙂

      • lol, no worries 😀

        As the song goes, everything old is new again.

      • Movies come and go, but awesome is forever.

  4. oh yes this looks like fun 🙂

  5. Are you volunteering to be my second nominee? That would be great. It’s also great, because so far the two blogs I’d be linking to are actually blogs I go to.

  6. yup, definitely want to do this!

  7. Wonderful. You are now officially nominated. Because I like lots of pink, and pretty things. 😉

  8. i almost passed on the whole liebster thing because of the chain letter part, too. i hate chain mail with a passion and normally face the wrath of god or threats to years of bad luck over continuing it. that aside, i enjoyed this little prize and i’m glad you decided to answer the questions! 🙂

    i can’t believe you bake loaves of bread. not what i was expecting!

    i think you’ve posed some awesome questions and i might steal one or two for my own blog.

  9. I’d love to see your answers. Bread and wine (or scotch) it is!

  10. Pingback: More awards stuff | Rose B Fischer

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