Monday, June 25, 2012

10 Questions for Karen Kennedy Samoranos

So, we have another Musaling Monday. Up next is the fabulous Karen Kennedy Samoranos. Let's give her a round of applause. Karen Kennedy Samoranos co-manages a music education business in the Bay Area with her husband, Clifford, that focuses upon jazz theory and live stage performance for children ages 5 through 18. She has four adult children, and two young grandchildren. In her off hours, she hikes, runs daily, is an avid fisherman, and motorcyclist (both dirt and street), and is an advocate for regular exercise, red wine and whole foods. When the spirit moves her, she blogs at Unfiltered Speech in a Politically Correct World.

1. First the easy one. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm self-employed--if that sounds romantic, it's not entirely, due to tax quarterlies and health insurance. But the greatest perk is that I get to sleep with my boss...well, but he's my husband, so no sexual harassment suit pending. Kind of kinky, depending on how you frame it. I'm going to be fifty this year, which is why I try to keep jogging daily, e.g., trying to run away from my age. I like to fish, hike, fish, ride my motorcycles, fish...did I say I like to fish?

2. We all know the Zombie Apocalypse is coming. What five personal skills will help you survive?

  1. The ability to climb very tall trees. Everyone knows zombies won't/can't climb, because they're afraid of heights. 
  2.  Shooting a target accurately at one hundred yards through iron sights. If that doesn't work, I'll use the scope. 
  3. I'm not adverse to swimming. I don't think zombies can swim...well, I certainly hope not, or I'm screwed.
  4. I'm not too squeamish about eating whatever food is available. Look up "grass shrimp." Yum. Just don't make me eat zombie brains.
  5. If all else fails, I'll break out that gorgeous tequila I was saving for a rainy day...

3. What sort of cake are you? Yes, question three is three questions. It’s a paradox. Just answer. Don’t judge.

I'm chocolate cream cake with spicy bits. Why? Because I'm smooth and tasty, and fiery at the right moment.
Do you have the recipe? One part milk chocolate, one part vanilla, and a handful of habanero peppers, chopped up. *Interviewer's note: Yum! I want this right now.*

4. Pimp it if you’ve got it! What is new and what is next for you as a writer?

I have a collection of short stories coming out through Musa Publishing on June 22nd, 2012--"Death By Bitter Waters."

5. Can I borrow five bucks?

You can have five bucks. Don't ask me to make you give it back. I'd rather just give it and forget it. This is what keeps friendships happening.

6. If I gave you five bucks, what ridiculous thing would you spend it on?

I would buy a super burrito with carnitas at "Taqueria El Grullense" in Palo Alto. Très magnifique! Oops, pardon my French.

7. What is one book you never get tired of reading?

"Calvin & Hobbes" by Bill Watterson--I have a full collection of these. We used to have a 1990 Chevy Metro. Driving it reminded me of Calvin, flinging off a hillside in his wagon.

8. Okay, imagine you are trapped in your house during the Zombie Apocalypse. Pushing this button will save you and everyone on your street.


 Do you live or die?

Live, because I can flick the spider off the button with my gloved hand. Unfortunately, if Im not wearing my gloves, then everyone dies.

9. What are some of the things on your bucket list?

I have a place in Susanville, California. It's a doublewide trailer, which puts me in absolute white-trash heaven. What more could someone add to their bucket list?

10. Truth or Dare?

Truth: tell us about the worst rejection you ever received.

From Ashley Grayson, which was hilarious, to say the least. I queried him back in January 2010 about a novel wherein a young woman is gifted all of these revelations about her supposedly-pristine family. Apparently my heroine's issues were of the garden variety, because Mr. Grayson responded with the following:
"I'm going to pass, because you've described an unremarkable character confronted with pretty common minor transgressions of everyday people and presented no hint of a story. Just being about 'timely issues' is not enough for a novel, we need drama to show off the themes.

"I suspect the work is better than the pitch, but a great story usually bursts out of even a mundane summary. Consider:

"The son comes home from college to discover his uncle as (sic) murdered his father and married his mother. He knows this because a ghost told him so. What's a guy to do?


"Frank, a drifter but clever auto mechanic, is offered a job by the owner of a roadside diner and garage. Great opportunity; except Frank and Cora, the benefactor's young wife, can't keep their hands off each other. The (sic) could run off together, but as Cora says, "then where would we be? Day jobs for you and the hash-house for me...." So they decide to murder her husband.


"-Ashley Grayson"

Dare: Write a haiku about being rejected

Red marks on my manuscript:

my head, I keep banging with the

rolled up tonnage of wasted paper.

And two for one on that truth or dare! I'm loving the rejection haikus. I think haikus need to be a permanenent part of my interviews. Yes? Everyone be sure and heckle Karen, I mean, say nice things to her in the comments. Her collection of short stories about Native America, Death by Bitter Waters is both heart breaking and inspiring in places. You can buy a copy from Musa Publishing or Amazon. You'll be glad you did.


  1. Another great interview. I agree with you about the zombie brains, Karen

    1. Yeah, I don't think I could eat the brains of anything, unless I were starving. My husband, however, likes to eat cooked fish brains. He does an "in your face" with cooked fish brains, and fish eyes. I like to eat fish, though not so much the fish brains or fish eyes.

  2. Working at home sounds super fun--especially if you sleep with the boss. ;)

    Best of luck with your publications!

    1. Working at home is super fun. I gave birth to three of my four kids at home, too. Can you tell I'm a homebody?

  3. Why do I get the feeling you're the boss in bed?


    Pleased to meet you, Karen.

    1. Hmm. Depends, about being the boss. When the question is "Who's on top?" --that would likely tell you who's going to be the boss in bed. So, the answer is, yes, sometimes I am the boss in bed. And other times, I "let" him be the boss.

  4. My day has been warmed-over poop on a stick, so I thank you immensely for bringing a smile.

    1. I'm glad to have improved the "poop on a stick" serving you've been dished. Thank you!

  5. Karen, I'm so with you on the spider gloves. There is no farm task too icky to tackle with gloves on. Without gloves? *shudders* I'm not touching some of that stuff.

  6. Don't be such a wuss - jump on the snake! Great answers, tweeted and shared!