Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Karen Dalton-Beninato

Karen asks and I answer. And I do it on The Huffington Post!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Book Critic

Book Critic asks and I answer. See if I sound better when the questions are Canadian.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Stet

Stet asks and I answer. Discover how few good writing habits I have.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Weronika

The humblingly youthful Weronika asks and I answer. I allude to flossing. That's not a code word for something dirty.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Lisa

Lisa asks:

Am I right that Alice [In the book, Daughter goes as Alice] is not her actual name ?

No, it's not. Here's an odd one; when I was pregnant, Consort suggested Alice as a potential name in case the baby was a girl. I liked it but didn't love it and nixed it. Eight years later, when my editor told me Daughter had to be something besides Daughter, I gave the kid a chance to name herself, something few people get to experience. Never having heard the story of the earlier-jettisoned name, she quickly said "Alice."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Claire

Claire asks:

I grew up with one of my grandparents' friends named Quinn, a man. In my head Quinn is a boy's name. And I had a great aunt named Aunt Virgil, obviously a woman. To me, Virgil is a girl's name but everyone I have ever met has looked at me funny when I mentioned Aunt Virgil because to them it is a boy's name. So is Quinn a family name? Is it traditionally a boy name or is it either? Do you have a naming story about your name?

It's an ancient Celtic name meaning "Wise," which only proves how little the name affects the child. It's also a boy's name. Here's how I got it. My mother wanted her child to have a strong androgynous name which couldn't be made easily into a nickname, whichever gender it was. She spent the better part of the pregnancy looking around, finally settling on a couple of options. When she was about ready to deliver, my parents went to have dinner with friends who already had a couple of children. The three year-old was testing limits, because three year-olds must do that or lose their union card. The hostess finally said in frustration to her son, "Daniel Quinn Monaghan, if you don't get back into your room and into bed, I swear to God I'll..."

The rest of the threat was lost to history, but the invoking of the dreaded middle name gave my parents a new option for a middle name. They took it. And here I am, numbly aware that thanks to a boy who couldn't stay asleep, I'll have to spell my name until I die. But I do like the name.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Elizabeth

Elizabeth asks:

1. You've explained (wonderfully) how you fell out of love with acting...but I still wonder how you originally got into it - your own passion/impetus or someone else's?

We had a neighbor we saw when we would walk our dogs together. As it happened, his name was James Wong Howe and he was among the greatest cinematographers in the world. He decided seven year-old me would make a good actor. He called an agent, who called my mother to set up an appointment to meet me one afternoon. I had just gotten home from school. I was in the tub, filthy, hair half-unbraided, picked gravel out of my knee from the recess incident. My mother poked her head in the bathroom and said, "It seems as if we're going to meet an agent today for you. Get dressed." I pulled my hair back into braids, sort of, slapped a Band-Aid over the oozing, and went off to meet the agent. Within an hour, the agent had me at a commercial interview. I got the commercial and was on the set the next day. The only thing I've always assumed was that unlike most of the children doing commercials then, I wasn't flawlessly, dollishly pretty. I think I reminded the director or the ad guys of their kids or their kids friends.

2. Likewise, regarding a different kind of passion: how did you and Consort get together?

We met through work; he was a studio suit looking for writers for a show which went nowhere and I still thought maybe I was a TV writer. I thought he was kind, smart and terribly funny. I still do.

Book Blog Tour: Felicia

Felicia asks:

Why did you rename Daughter? I'm so used to reading about Consort and Daughter, that throughout the book I kept having to remind myself who "Alice" was. This probably speaks to my utter stupidity, since it was only repeated a few thousand times within your book, and every time it made my brain fart a little.

That was the editor. I fought to keep Consort as Consort but I understood her logic that Daughter, to people who haven't been reading the blog, might sound a little cold.

Book Blog Tour: Not the Rockefellers, redux

Not the Rockefellers asks:

I love how you write about your home and furnishings as if they are living characters...the womb like house, the giant gay amoeba couch, the bench of many objects.What would the Quinn Cummings IKEA collection look like?

Oh, the opportunities. My first instinct is that the fabric will be a dark color and hide stains. Unless, of course, you have a light-colored pet, in which case you can get the light fabric which hides stains. I'm toying with just having some pet hair woven in from the factory, to keep anyone from getting too emotional when the pets sneak up there after you go to work. I'm not putting on the unknown stains for you, though; you've got to participate at least a little.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Quinn

I still have some questions left, but I can't get at them right now, so I'm going to ask myself a question no one has asked yet.

Quinn, what's the weirdest meal you ever ate?

Okay, but you have to remember that I was in my early twenties. I had a roommate, but because we had a house with a teeny pool and he was very social, we usually had about seventy-one people around. Some of them would bring food. Others brought pot and I assume some brought crabs, but I didn't partake of those. One Saturday afternoon, I padded into the kitchen for my first meal of the day. In the fridge was part of the sheetcake someone had brought the day before. You know the kind; it had roses and princesses. I assume they bought it for kitsch value. Or they were really high. Possibly both. Anyway, the Inner Child Quinn shrieked "I GET A ROSE AND A PRINCESS ON MY SLICE!" and I had sheetcake for breakfast. Within a minute, the frosting had coated my mouth and throat so thoroughly that it was like I was eating through a dry-cleaning bag. I drank water. I drank juice. In desperation, I drank cow's milk, which I loathe. Nothing worked. Years later, when I learned about trans-fats, I estimated I had gotten my life's worth in those rosettes and that princess. Finally I thought of something which was either going to remove the sensation or make me not care. I grabbed it from where I had hidden it from the countless house-guests.

It was single-malt Scotch. I poured a shot and sipped it. Not only did it cut the slime, it was oddly wonderful with the cake, the wood-smoke flavor a wild counterpoint to the cloying chemical obviousness. Since I have so little of a sense of taste, I'm sure it would have been completely disgusting to anyone else but I found it nothing short of delightful. No, I wasn't high. It just sounds like it.

I've never done it again. Partially because I fear someone seeing me do it and partially because I fear that like certain other events in my early twenties actually doing it again would just be a little anticlimactic and sad.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Lisa

Lisa asks:

What is your favorite word?
Diaspora. A melodic word for a rotten thing.

What is your least favorite word?
I have a few. Slacks. Mushroom. Soup. So, it stands the reason "I need slacks to eat my mushroom soup" is the ugliest sentence I can imagine.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Quiet, solitude, knowing everyone in my life is happy and engaged without necessarily having to be in the same room with them.
What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Noise, chaos, confrontation. Of course, the quiet and solitude I think feeds me leaves me with nothing to write about and the bumping up against people gives me the impetus to write, so never ask me what I need, because I'm wrong.
What sound or noise do you love?
I've never thought about it before, but I like the sound of Velcro opening. I mean, I like lots of other sounds, including the sound of my kid laughing and the pets snoring (The cat has an epic snore) and Consort sleep-chuckling, but Velcro was the first one which came to mind. So it gets first billing.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The sounds of a car accident. Even when it's faked for a movie, i want to run from the room screaming. Probably comes from having been a participant in that sound in real life once too often.
What is your favorite curse word?
It is a compound word and it involves the word "Rat." It's a little off the main drag, as far as obscenities go, but I like it.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
On some level, I feel as if I'm still attempting the career I have, so I'm loathe to add a new learning curve, even theoretically.
What profession would you not like to do?
Meat packer. Telephone solicitor. Secretary of the Treasury.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"Don't worry, we know you tried your best. We're going to let you work at the cat-rescue place up here."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Antique Mommy

Antique Mommy asked and I answered. Come along! Not only did she ask some lovely and sparkly questions, she's doing a Quinn book giveaway contest.

Blog Book Tour: The Dog Lived

The Dog Lived asked. I answered. I apologize to beagles.

Blog Book Tour: Miss Cavendish

Click on title to link.

Miss Cavendish asks; I answer. Learn why I think I have green eyes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blog Book Tour: NY's Funniest Rabbi

Rabbi Neil Fleischmann asked, I answered. I explain why I (nearly always) work clean.

Blog Book Tour: Mel

Mel asks: The gray flannel pants. Do you still own them? Do you still wear them? are you reading now? What did you read last? What's up next?

First, the pants. I took them out to wear them one bright winter day this year and the sunlight hit them just right and I flinched at the brightness. Oh, they are much more worn and shiny than I thought! I will not wear them again, I am both sad and relieved to say. But I have yet to give them away because I simultaneously believe that a) They're too shiny to give away and expect someone to wear and b) They aren't that bad and maybe I'll wear them next fall. It's like I'm trying to get a mental disease named after me or something.

What am I reading now? I just finished The Story of a Marriage, which is small and quiet and wonderful. If you were ever completely certain that you were doing the right thing, I suggest you page through Mistakes were Made, But not By Me. I read Jen Lancaster's new book, which is the usual Lancastrian lively romp and entertaining company. And I keep skimming through books written ostensibly for middle-schoolers, because I want to check them out before the kid does because not all the content is appropriate. But I'm not sure that counts as reading as much as policing. Next? I think I'm going to drag out Miss Wharton, because it's hot and she's very cooling.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Michaele

Michaele (she needs an accent mark, but isn't getting it because it's not my usual computer) asks: My question is....was all the hard work worth it? I mean, when you finally got your book in your hand was it "Yay!" or "Eh."

Funny you would ask that because when Brenda the editor called to say "EXPECT THE BOOK IN YOUR MAILBOX TOMORROW!" I was all "YEAH!" because isn't one supposed to be? And it arrived and I opened the box and Consort was a poster child for "YEAH!" and the kid was "YEAH!" and the dog was "YEAH!" and the cat and I were "Well." First, there is my perverse need to feel the opposite of whatever the prevailing emotion is. But I also think it's something like the answer former Communist leader Zhou en Lai gave when asked about the impact of the French Revolution of 1789; It's too soon to tell.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blog Book Tour: The Parks Farm

The Parks Farm asks and I answer. Do I prefer quality or quantity? Well, you're just going to have to read it.

Blog Book Tour: Spleeness

Spleeness asks and I answer. Come find out my favorite word.

Blog Book Tour: Maternal Spark

I'm on Maternal Spark where I talk about guilt and also dodge-ball.

Blog Book Tour: Rachael and Deb

Rachael asks:

What ever happened with the Latin? I enjoyed your take on the Oxford series (if I recall correctly), perhaps especially because I didn't enjoy it myself.

and Deb asks:

As much as I love the cat stories (I've retold the one with the cat and Daughter's ponytail holders in the middle of the night countless times), I too loved the "Cranky Roman Family" blogs. Might there be more in the future?

The Cranky Roman Family appreciates your interest. Actually, they'd probably have you flogged or fed to their stewing eels, but let's pretend they'd like the attention. I had no idea anyone remembered those blogs and maybe now that enough time has past for me to forget what it's like to fight a wild pack of declensions, I'll do a couple again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Quiet Elegance

Come to Quiet Elegance and learn how my book causes other books to run amok.

Blog Book Tour: NJaneHair

NJaneHair asks:

I have a long commute between work and home, and rely on audiobooks (particularly to keep up with my 'reading'. I would love to 'listen' to your book. Has this form of publication been given any consideration?

Oh, I love And I hate long commutes. And I wish I was going to be easing your journey any time soon, but I think first books are hardly ever audio books. But I had such a good time reading a story at Vroman's out here in Los Angeles that I'm trying to figure out a way to read some more stories in public.

Blog Book Tour: M Denise C

Come visit me over at M Denise C ; you'll learn about one of my phobias!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Judy

Judy asks:

Now that you are established as an author, is your publisher interested in another book lifted directly from your blog?

Because I am very, very lazy, I had thought the first book was going to be lifted directly from the blog, and this made me happy. But then I spoke to my editor and learned that books lifted directly from blog don't sell as well, what with already being available for free, and my publishers were a little more excited about new material than I was. This was annoying to me, as I felt I had pretty much blathered anything worth blathering already. Luckily, I had a year to cough up some more ruminations. Very little of this book has seen the light of day prior to this.

Blog Book Tour: Rebecca

Rebecca asks:

When you think of all the meanings of toast, which is your favorite? And why?

First, I'd like to note that "Toast" is a very euphonic word. The soft "T," the brief aimless jaunt through the long "O" sound, and then a soft but conclusive "ST" to take us out.

Maybe it's the morning, but I knew I couldn't think of all the definitions for toast, so I asked the inexaustible Google and here's what I got:

slices of bread that have been toasted
a celebrity who receives much acclaim and attention; "he was the toast of the town"
crispen: make brown and crisp by heating; "toast bread"; "crisp potatoes"
goner: a person in desperate straits; someone doomed; "I'm a goner if this plan doesn't work"; "one mistake and you're toast"
propose a toast to; "Let us toast the birthday girl!"; "Let's drink to the New Year"
pledge: a drink in honor of or to the health of a person or event

This morning, right now, I'd say my favorite meaning for the word toast is the pledging, drinking in honor of one. No particular reason, except maybe that I saw HBO's "Grey Gardens" last night and Drew Barrymore's performance deserved many toasts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blog Book Tour: The Writers Dog

Come and read my interview at I mention another one of my cringeworthy injuries!

Blog Book Tour: Claire

Claire asks:

Do you keep in touch with people you once acted with?

Not really, but it's nothing against the actors with whom I worked, most of whom were great eggs. First, I rarely keep in touch with anyone. If someone is in my life, it's because every three months or so they call me and say "Now, Quinn, would be a good time for us to see each other." And I say something like "Oh, has it been three months?" and they say "Yes," and we arrange to have tea. I'm weird and solitary and many friendships have died unnoticed and unlamented at my metaphorical gate. Also, I was a kid when I was acting and the other actors were adults. In my non-working hours, wanted to read, play with my pets and drink Tom Collins mix (No alcohol, just the mixer. I loved it). They had other plans.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Kathryn

Kathryn asks:

Let's start with restaurant toast. I prefer to put butter on my own toast. It may be a genetic trait, but so be it. Why do waitpeople have such a problem with that? You can not tell me that some chef in the back is going to throw a pot across the room or invoke a Gordon Ramsey snit fit because I prefer to butter my own toast.

I think it might be about habits and being forced to consider something you do unconsciously (buttering toast before you bring it into the dining room) and making it conscious. Watch what happens to a waiter's head if you interrupt them to ask a question when they are reciting the daily specials. Many appear to have to replay the first part again nonverbally before they can go on. I've never had a butter issue with the waitstaff except that there isn't enough. Bring me more. No, really. More. Yeah, judge me and come visit me after the cardiologist has to Roto-Rooter my aorta.

Now, on to home toast. Twice through the toaster on the light setting. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion. Unless you wish to discuss it. Oh, unless the toast is leftover pound cake. Once through will do it.

I like it a tick darker than light. Then again, as I have noted, I have virtually no sense of taste and it's nearly all texture for me, and beige toast doesn't have enough range to delight me. I need to occasional tobacco-colored bit to fight back as I'm biting down. Surprisingly, I have no opinions on leftover pound cake as a toast. However, I plan to have several opinions just as soon as I can get my hands on a pound cake and some quiet time.

By the way, I walked straight into a board today while telling a friend about the wonderful time I had reading your book. I couldn't stop laughing long enough to decide if I was hurt or not (I was not), so kept on with my story.

This proves what I have always suspected; I'm contagious. If you start romanticizing buying a house with questionable infrastructure and toying with cutting your own hair, my work is complete.

What Women Write

The lovely ladies at What Women Write interview me. Go on over; they're having an Underwire giveaway!

Wait. That came out wrong.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Suzanne

Suzanne asks:

toast and cats... does lupac like toast? what is the people food that lupac demands when you are fixing it?

She doesn't actually like toast, which isn't surprising if you realize her favorite elements of a meal are that it should be stinky or it should be screaming in terror. The pasta putanesca Consort made this morning, currently melding its flavors in a bowl on the kitchen table, strikes her as fascinating. Which saddens me, because it means that in her mind, pasta putanesca is not entirely dissimilar to stinky wet cat-food.

Blog Book Tour: Ordinary but Interesting

Ordinary but Interesting asks:

Hi Quinn -Deb's review of your book on Punctuality Rules has moved me to purchase your book. I can't wait to delve into it.But.....I do have a kitty question (as a roommate to 2 felines).Honest to goodness.....who rules the roost? You or the felines? I thought I did until I posted on my blog about my kitty Scarpetto and my constant need to make the GUEST bed! I now believe that he rules the roost!

My first response was "I've had pets my entire life and I can assure you that nothing with four legs and no opposable thumbs would ever run my..."

But then I had to go open the door, because Lu wanted to go out. And then I realized I might as well wait to let her back in, once she realized how hot it was. And then I let her back in. And then I gave her fresh water and I added a couple of ice-cubes, so she and the dog would have little additions of cool fresh water for an hour or so. And then I swept her off the kitchen table, where she was checking out the pasta putanesca Consort just finished making. And then I swept her off again. And then she screamed for wet food which I wasn't planning on giving her but the noise was going to bring the police so I gave her a tablespoon. And then another.

I'm sorry, what was the question?

Blog Book Tour: CDP

CDP asks:

[By the way, her blog is Aunt Dahlia, which makes it a PG Wodehouse reference. This just thrills me.]

I just got the book; I preordered it on Amazon a few months ago and it arrived on Thursday. It's in the trunk of my car, since I'm taking a class and am not allowing myself to read for pleasure until my research paper is finished. So perhaps my question is already answered in the book: What did you read when you were a child and when you were in your teens?

First of all, I commend your restraint. Not that my book is opium and Daniel Craig shirtless combined, but it's a reason to avoid writing a research paper and you're not acting on it and good for you. My restraint right now is that I'm not allowed to go on Amazon and check my standings. I just make Consort do it. This means I can be found once a day huddled outside the home office screeching at Consort, "IS IT OKAY?"

"Yes, it's fine."

"Fine, like the same as yesterday?"

"No, slightly better."

"How much better? One better? Two better?"

"Do you want me to tell you?"


"Then take my word for it, you're fine. You'd be happy."


"How happy would I be?"

Someone please start the beatification process for Consort.

Now, on to your question. Yes, I was a maniac about reading when I was a kid and a teenager. A reporter asked me once about reading and I said I read about six to ten books a week, which he was convinced was a lie and set an antagonistic tone for the rest of the interview. But books for children are shorter, there's nothing but free time on a set and I was reading that many books a week. And if you learn to read while walking, you'd be amazed at how much reading time you have. I'm proud to say the kid does the same thing; you can find her wandering through the house, going to the kitchen, getting a snack, eating the snack and going back to her room without ever raising her eyes from the book. Those are my genetics at work.

The last two years have been the lightest reading years of my life, because I like non-fiction and I like essays and I was justifiably concerned that anything I read would bleed over into my writing. The new David Sedaris book existed for a year before I read it. This lack of reading made me mean. Now I can borrow books from my most literary-minded friend Mary and not worry about unintentially plagarizing.

Blog Book Tour: Tom

Tom asks:

Her Quinness,On my blog I often discuss matters related to a person's creative side. Many people who are gifted with strong creative talents often deny these talents by saying "That's just playing around," or "That's not really important," or "I'm not *really* all that good at that, so why try?" This is often tied with fears related to the outcomes that may occur if creativity is pursued.In your experience, has there ever been a time when you denied the creative side of yourself, and if so, how did you come to reconcile those feelings and move forward? Involving your creativity at this point in life, do you have negative feelings regarding the results of your efforts, and how do you deal with them?

To me, these are the same question. Growing up in a city where everyone views themselves as an artist, working on their craft, polishing their tool (that one never fails to make me snicker), I had to be perverse and say things like "I'm a hack. I acted because someone paid me to act. Actually, as a child actor, what I did was more like imitating behavior with pancake makeup on." Because the only way I would going to use the word "Tool" about me and acting would be to say "Talking about acting makes me feel like a tool." And I fell out of love with acting. Did I stop loving it because I never treated it respectfully? Who can say; I have no Control Quinn who behaved otherwise. But it can't have helped.

So now writing. I can tell you all the people I'm not. I'm not Anne Lamott, and I'm not David Sedaris and if someone ever said "You're a writer, like Joan Didion is a writer," I'd scream hotly "No, I write extended emails to some unknown friend and Joan Didion is a writing god." But I am trying to treat my writing a little more gently than I treated my acting. Maybe I'm actually getting a little wiser as I get older? That's the payoff for the way my eyelids have been looking in the morning lately.

Lastly, what's the most creative way you have ever come up with to prepare toast? And, if you had any negative feelings after completing your masterpiece, did it help to have some lap-tea?

That's the magical thing about toast. You can't really get creative, unless your toaster has a slightly sticky arm and you have learned that at the ninety-second mark you have to start jiggling it. Toast requires low consistent heat for a period of time and then you get toast. I am terribly, sadly indifferent to food, but listen in awe to cooking shows where people rhapsodize about just knowing the marjoram and new peapods in the Farmer's Market would go perfectly with the bok choy and lamb they had at home. In that second, they spent more time thinking about a meal than I did all last month. Pity my child all you want for what must be an endless series of uninspired meals, but I am tone-deaf when it comes to creativity and food, leaving me with the endless nagging sorrow that whatever I made could probably be much better. Toast, being completely unimproved by creativity, wins my heart.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Felicia

Felicia asks:

Do you like toast-flavored jelly beans? What about jelly-flavored toast with beans?What's your desert-island food? Is it toast? Is there any food where you like the food itself, but hate anything flavored like that food (i.e. I like oranges but I hate orange-flavored (insert noun))? Is there a preferred method for purchasing your book? (Where I can throw more revenue your way instead of to the big, bad, middlemen?)

First, the book. Total honesty makes me admit that if you click the link to Amazon on my front page, there to the right, I got a teeny bit extra of the sale beyond my contractually-obligated teeny bit. But, really, I can do without that teeny bit. Please go support a local independent book-store.

Now, toast. The sad fact is that I have very little sense of taste, owing to having very little sense of smell. Flavors mean very little to me. What excites me about food is textures. Toast is the Emporer of Textures; the crispy toast bits, ceding to the warm yet untoasted soft bits in the middle, the whole thing enveloped in a sleeve of cool-in-some-places, warm-in-others, liquidy butter. Jelly beans, even those tasting of the toast, would do very little for me, because most of what I get from jelly beans is "Augh! Get off my molar, you incubus!" I know British people eat beans on toast, but I view that with suspicion. Beans go in my desert-island food, which is a bean and cheese burrito because I'm from Los Angeles so my comfort food will come from Mexico. And if I'm stuck on a desert island, I know two things; I'm not going to have enough sunblock and I'm going to need legumes.

Blog Book Tour: Preppy Player

Preppy Player asks:

I guess because i feel like " toast " after a long weekend at another lacrosse tournament I will throw a few questions at you!Being the mother of five, I often wonder how it is to only have one child. Can you give me the pros and cons?Also, are sports a part of your family's life?

I never know quite how to answer that, because I don't know what it's like to have a big family. I had one child, I was an only child, my parents were only children; the family tree is a stick. I can tell you this from people I know who have gone from one to more after enough time so they had a sense of raising an only child. In some ways, my life is a lot easier, because I am only moving a single body around, factoring her needs into our needs. There's a reason you see parents taking their only child to things like theater, or ballet or a nice dinner more often than multiple kids; it's just easier to continue living an adult life with only one child. Also, you see only children at events and dinners because we could afford one extra dinner or ticket but not three. On the other hand, my daughter looks to me to be her primary companion when no one else is around. Parents of multiples never realize how often the desire to socialize in their children is ameliorated by their other children. Remember when your kids were three and they pretended with their siblings to be dinosaurs? When there are no siblings, you become the Mommy apatosaur, whether you had other plans or not.

She's just winding down in a sport she was into for years and years, and we're talking idly about what comes next, sports-wise. She'll be taking up something new because she's sports-mad and athletic and I think we learn a lot of life's more profound lessons on the field of play. Also, sports make her tired at the end of the day. I like when she's tired at the end of the day.

Blog Book Tour: Emily

Emily asks:

Do you prefer dogs or cats? Does Daughter prefer dogs or cats? How old is Lulabelle? When did you get your first pet? Oh, and can I ask about tea? What is your favorite brand? Favorite flavor?

In my mind I'm completely 50/50 on the whole cat/dog thing, but the reality is that I prefer cats, even though they eventually make my lungs offer up the special noise. My reason for liking cats slightly better isn't even slightly emotionally healthy, but I think it's because cats make you work a little harder. Our dog loves me for simply having the incredibly good judgement to be me; I suspect the cat likes us well enough, but doesn't get messy about it. If we fell down and were knocked unconscious, she would eat us. She'd wait a couple of days, but she'd do it. I always liked the people who weren't too enamored of me. Daughter is, far and away, a cat person, but that's more about the hope that each new cat will allow her to put American Girl clothes on them.

We think Lu is about six. I remember when she was found as a mere slip of a kitten living under someone's car. They had her for a year during which time I think their second child was born, who is now six. Or maybe he was born before then. Probably. Maybe. She's middle-aged, much to her chagrin.

I was born into a house which already had a dog and a cat. The dog was half coyote and half German Shepherd, which should have led to all sorts of "The dingo ate my baby!" moments. In fact, the Shepherd part of her brain took over and Ginger decided I was her charge from the first day I came home; if I squeaked, she'd run and bark at the nurse to get to work. The cat was an orphan who was probably born the same day I was, and was brought into the house when we were a week old. The way my mother describes it, first she'd feed me my formula, then Pooh the kitten would get her formula and then Ginger the dog would get whatever was left over. Perhaps not the ideal, but each lived well into her teens and I'm still here.

Tea? Oh, it's green tea. It's any green tea I can lay sweaty palms on, unless it's white tea. I wish I was fancy enough to have favorites, but all I know is that once I got over my suspicion that green tea is just repurposed lawn clippings, I grew to love it in an unwholesome way and now cannot be without it. Don't like the overly cute kinds, though; jasmine is a fine additional flavor, "Wild Tropical Berry" is not.

Will I Never Learn (C'mon, C'mon)

I've been very pleased with the questions so far on the QUINN CUMMINGS BOOK BLOG TOUR 2009. This has been that most unexpected of things, fun. Now, I need you. Come on, ask me something. For those people who have written to me and said, "I'd like to ask you questions but I can't think of anything witty," just ask me stuff. I promise you that your questions are plenty witty and my answers will involve cats. Or toast. I've been feeling like writing about toast and no one has asked me the right toast-centric question. So I'm just going to have to work toast into other topics.

Don't think I can't.

Blog Book Tour: Punctuality Rules

Punctuality Rules asked and I answered. It includes the phrase "Broken beer bottles and used condoms," so you know it's important!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Cat Connor

All the way from New Zealand, Cat Connor asks and I answer. We discuss romantically-inappropriate rabbits!

Blog Book Tour: Sharon

Realitycoveredinchocolate asked and I answered. I think we're sleepover buddies now. Anyone else want me to take over their blog? The popular kids are doing it.

Blog Book Tour: Emily Barton

Emily Barton asks and I answer. And I use the concept of the Venn diagram! Because I'm cool.

Blog Book Tour: Dawn Maria

Dawn Maria asked, and I answered.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Melissa C. Morris

America's favorite preppy blogger, Melissa C. Morris, has graciously chosen to take part in a Notes from the Underwire book giveaway. Take part, get a copy, start following her because she lets us into her organized, beautiful, elegant life. In short, she's the anti-Quinn.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Dodi

It's a Dodi's Life asks:

Knowing what you know about the Hollywood lifestyle (from being a child star and later a casting agent), and seeing how some of the young actors Hollywood are tempted with excess, what would you say to your daughter if she asked if she could go into acting?

If she couldn't breathe right unless she was acting, if you peeled apart her mitochondria and found "Performer" writ there, I'd still be very hesitant. I had a rock-solid upbringing and my mother didn't confuse me with an ATM and I still consider myself damn lucky I got out intact. Fortunately, I believe my daughter has other paths drawing her.

Blog Book Tour: One more from Not the Rockefellers

Not the Rockefellers asked:

Is it possible to ask another question?Daughter, child actress, writer, wife, mother, saver of cats and now author...What's next for Quinn Cummings?

See, when you say it like that, it sounds as if anything gets done around here. I have ideas but they're too small for the light of day. Trust me, if I have something worth blurting, I'll blurt.

Correction: When I have something worth blurting, I'll blurt.

Blog Book Tour: Mommy With...

The inimitable Mommy With a Penis asks:

Okay. My question. Lots of thought and effort...blah blah blah. I recently caused quite a controversy over on my blog about the issue of eating pork; those that do and those poor sods who abstain. What is the biggest controversy you have caused or been in the middle of?Please have consort correct my horrendous punctuation. Mommy makes it up as he goes along.

The first one which comes to mind is when I did a blog where I mentioned that I got a little creeped out about Nickelodeon's "Drake and Josh." The show, geared towards young teenagers, used casual making-out as a point of humor, which made me note how studies have shown that the more sexual content a teenager sees the more likely they are to be sexually active, and how one in three American teenagers has contracted a sexually-transmitted disease. What some parents heard was, "I'm wildly judging you for letting your children watch this. My people, we entertain ourselves in more salutory ways. Like weaving. And making cheese."

Book Blog Tour: Ege

Ege at asked and I answered.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blog Tour Stop #1: Sara J. Henry!

Blog Tour Day #1 To promote my book Notes from the Underwire which publishes today, I'm appearing on different blogs, answering question. Because she was the clever-boots who gave me the idea, the lovely and talented Sara J. Henry got the first spot. She also got to correct my punctuation, because eventually everyone gets to correct my punctuation:

If you'd like to interview me, get in touch.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Book Blog Tour: Julie Klam

The effervescent and inimitable Julie Klam (Her book Please Excuse My Daughter is now in both hardcover AND paperback. In case you've missed out so far, it's frisky and funny and just about the perfect companion at the pool as long as your partner has vowed to watch the kids in the water because the baby will try to sneak into the deep end.)

In your unbelievable fantastic, people-you-must-buy-this book, there is a scene where two women are horrifically rude parading you around their party like some kind of circus animal. That said, anytime I mention your book to someone they say, "OH I LOVE HER!" And then they start talking about you in The Goodbye Girl or Family... I wonder how you feel about that. For me, when I first saw you had a book I was so happy to hear you were around and well because I, too, loved you in the Goodbye Girl (and as a kid wanted to be your best friend) and also, my aunt took me to that movie in 1977 in a theater on 57th Street and they had homemade brownies -so I do connect you with NYC and brownies both of which I love. What was the question?

The question was Quinn, when did you become a vegetarian? I was fourteen. No great moment of horror when I realized that used to be a sweet frolicking lamby on my plate. Never liked meat. Don't miss it, except for bacon. Bacon is the one thing the soy industry is still working on getting right.

Actually, the question was how I feel about being a public figure for things which happened three decades ago. I'm certainly pleased I was involved with things which made people happy (beats the heck out of "Quinn, why did you write on the dining room table?"), but being Quinn Cummings isn't quite as novel for me as it is for some other people. I do try really hard to be polite, though.

Book Blog Tour: Rebecca Neiderlander

Rebecca asked why I didn't move to Tujunga, which is this hidden enclave of country in the middle of Los Angeles, thereby giving Daughter a bucolic childhood while also maintaining opportunities to eat Ethiopian food at will. Because the reality of my immune system near horse-hair, dust, hay, and barn effluvia is very ugly and very brief. Better to dream and avoid the oxygen tent.

Blog Book Tour: Sara J. Henry

And my first big Q&A will be on the lovely and talented Sara J. Henry's blog.

Blog Book Tour: Dawn Maria

Dawn Maria asks:

1. You've managed to create a very successful blog without major ads and pop-ups distracting your readers. So, how did you get noticed by a publisher without Google AdSense?em>

Candidly, you get noticed because you are a former child actor. I follow all sorts of bloggers who should have had a book deal before I did, but selling the book begins at the moment of conception and Marketing believes there is selling value in "Where are they now?" Not fair, not just, but there you are.

2. Most emerging writers are bombarded with advice about self-promotion, branding and the all-important platform. What do you think about all that?

I think it's a no-win situation by this point. You can't not shout, because everyone is shouting to be noticed and if you don't shout you'll slip quietly under the waves and drown. But since everyone is shouting, statistically there's a snowball's chance your shout will be heard. I know that if I write about anything which doesn't matter to me, my writing is hollow. I think if you write about what's important to you, people will respond to the passion, even if it isn't their passion. Writers build an audience by clearly saying "This is important and here's why." I can't imagine faking a stance for attention ultimately does any good.

3. What kind of writing schedule do you follow?

Schedule? What is this thing you call a schedule? Seriously, I try to put up a new blog every Tuesday. For the first two years, I wrote a blog every other day but it started to compromise my promise to keep the kid's life reasonably untainted. Sometimes I do something idiotic and the blog writes itself. Sometimes, I remember something idiotic and the blog writes itself. If I've somehow managed to avoid doing something stupid, sometimes I think up a sentence I like and then I wait around to see if it draws a few more sentences. If it grows into a paragraph, then there's a decent chance it's a blog, if I sit there long enough. Those are dark weeks for the family. But at least I do every single monotonous chore in the house to avoid writing.

4. Who are your favorite writers?

Bill Bryson, Anne Lamott, Jean Kerr, Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, David Rackoff, whoever wrote the last book I read. Eighteen people I'll think of just as soon as I put this answer on line.

5. What has been the most surprising aspect of blogging?>

The pleasure I take in people writing in and saying "OMG, I thought I was the only one!" You're not. I'm not. We may be an unsightly group, but there are quite a few of us.

Blog Book Tour: Not the Rockefellers

Not the Rockefellers asks:

Quinn, If you could re-live a single day of your childhood, with you daughter, ( think Back To The Future) When would it be?Peace - Rene

There's a couple of ways to interpret that question. I'm going to assume you want me to take my kid back to my childhood, show her my life. It wouldn't be a particular day, but it would be before my father died. In many ways, she's very much like him; one of his degrees was in Classics and when it comes to mythology, she's the most well-read person I know. He was funny in a very dry way, and I think she would have enjoyed the heck out of him.

Blog Book Tour: Char

Char asks:

You grew up as a child of the 70s and 80s - what is one vivid pop culture memory you have of your generation and if you could bring it back, would you? What pop culture item do you think will be representative of the current decade?

I have a unapologetic appreciation of disco which has something to do with my brain having been the still-solidifying stage of musical appreciation where Giorgio Moroder was king. If I'm stuck in the car and we're going simply nowhere, I will eventually put on "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)." I don't need to listen to all seven minutes, you understand, but Sylvester still makes me happy. Call Children's Protective Services on me, but the kid likes Donna Summer.

What's going to stick from this generation? I have no idea. I do sometimes wonder if the Millennial kids will go to college, fire up the old bong and watch "Barney" episodes in slack-jawed joy.

Book Blog Tour: Bethany Actually

Bethany Actually asked-

You clearly are uneasy about the celebrity culture of our society (intensified by reality-tv shows like "The Real World" and "Jon and Kate plus 8"). I know there is much more to Los Angelest than the television industry, but you can't deny that the country's spiritual center of the Church of Easy Fame in Hollywood. You grew up in L.A. Consort is from New York. How do you feel about raising your daughter in L.A.? Have you ever considered moving elsewhere? Why or why not?

I mock Los Angeles because, come on, it's LOS ANGELES. Shallow, complacently incurious, the home of the formal Ugg. And yet, it's not a bad place to raise a kid if you use it fully. We've got nature, we've got some terrific programs through the museums. We've got a ton of underemployed artistic types with time to volunteer, which leads to things like Most relevent, we continue to stay in Los Angeles because all of our daughter's extended family is here, including her grandparents. I'd love to have a place where she walked out back and fed her pony, but the reality is there isn't a big enough asthma inhaler for me to become a country mouse.

And I Do Appreciate Your Being 'Round

I'm still looking for a few good bloggers for my QUINN CUMMINGS ALL YOU CAN BLAB BLOG BOOK TOUR 2009. You give me questions, I answer them. You post them with, if it pleased you, a link to the book Notes from the Underwire. I'd link here to your blog, which was linking to my book. It would be somewhere between cozy and incestuous, all the mutual linking. But I'd write your blog for you for one entry, and wouldn't that make your summer a little easier?