Monday, July 06, 2009

Hank Phillippi Ryan GuestBlog: Gettin' Jinxy Wit' It

CONTEST TODAY!!! It’s “Prime Time” for a contest from Hank! Click the box below to score the deets!

From Michelle: It’s great to be back “in the pink,” with a special guest who’s not only one of the most well-respected, EMMY award-winning investigative journalists in American media, but a RITA-nommed author who’s entering the “Prime Time” of her career. Wednesday, you’ll score the RBTB take on the first in her Charlotte McNally series. Please welcome Hank Phillippi Ryan w/your warmest “Can we keep this off the record?” Bella buongiorno…
From Hank: Bellas!--and Bellos--we all have our little idiosyncrasies, right? But this one I just heard about is haunting me. Woody Allen says he cuts his banana into exactly seven slices each morning. What? Yup. Read what he said:

“Six slices, or eight, and something bad might happen. I know it would be total coincidence if I didn't slice it into seven pieces, and my family were killed in a fire," he says. "I understand that there could be no correlation, but, you know, the guilt would be too much for me to bear, so it's easier for me to cut the stupid banana."

If we did the banana thing at my house, there would be big trouble. That’s because it would mean there had to be a banana available every morning! I can hear my husband asking me: “Did you get the bananas yesterday, honey?” Are you kidding? But banana requirement aside. Let’s talk about superstitions.

Oh, yes, I have them. But -- and I’m somewhat afraid to bring this up because it might jinx everything -- I’m discovering that I have fewer than I used to. Would I walk under a ladder? Huh. Probably. The decision would cross my mind, though, I admit. Put shoes on a table? Yeah, if there was a reason to. Step on a crack? Do it all the time. And I have a beautiful glazed black papier-mâché raven in my living room.

Are you shocked? Or do you agree?

In looking for love, as we all have done--correct, my Bellas?--we try to figure out what the universe wants, so we can do exactly that. And as a result, good things will happen. If you don’t think about “him” for two hours, then he’ll call. If you do (or don’t?) wear the hottest underwear, he will (or won’t) send you a sizzling text message. And don’t tell me you don’t have a “good luck” outfit. I know you do.

As a TV reporter, I’ve wired myself with hidden cameras, confronted corrupt politicians and chased down criminals. Do I loft a little plea to the news-gods before embarking on a tough assignment? Do I have a hot designer power suit (or two) that seems to bring the scoop? Um, no comment.

In “Prime Time,” (the first of the Charlotte McNally novels), glam and savvy TV reporter Charlotte McNally touches wood for luck. She doesn’t write an Emmy acceptance speech because that means she’ll lose. And she does have good luck underwear. Which is very, very successful. (I’ve taught her well.)

Okay, confession. I do throw salt over my shoulder if I spill it. And I have two little carved rocks on my desk, one says ‘patience’ and one says ‘imagine’. And I recognize them every morning before I start writing. (And my first book, “Prime Time,” won the Agatha and got 2 RITA noms. And Susan Wiggs and Suzanne Brockmann say they’re big fans. So—do the rocks, um, rock?) I don’t think something bad will happen if I don’t look at the rocks. But why find out? I could write if they weren’t there.

But I sure don’t have to cut my banana, if I had one, in exactly seven slices.

Do you have superstitions? And why? And what’s your good luck outfit? (It won’t jinx it to tell!)

Encore! Going to RWA National in DC? Check out Hank's workshop, "The Scoop!," 3.15 - 4.15pm, Saturday, 7.18. Hank'll teach you how to use investigative reporting techniques to write the novel you've always wanted. Hank's broken ground as a journalist during her career with Boston's industry-acclaimed WHDH-TV. Forget any other achievement in my career; my Boston-bred mother-in-law considers the fact that Hank's asked me to moderate her workshop the highlight of my lifetime -- it even trumps my marrying her son!
Encore due! Winner Round-Up:
So cool to see how many of you checked in during my Staycation; thank you so much for your well wishes. I actually was reading along in my email and can I just say that I was dying to join in?! Our randomly chosen winner of the 12-pack of romances is dhaupt! Congratulazione!


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, Bellas and welcome, Hank! So great to have you here! Well, I certainly am not superstitious! I like to think of it as a bit 'set in my ways.' Yes; that's it. For instance, on deadline days, I have specific coffee mugs I drink out of, and a set order in which I get up, make coffee, get to work. So what if I can't write unless the lights are off? One woman's superstitions are another woman's ocd's, right? Oh, and when I'm getting ready for elegant events, I don't believe the fact that I put on my heels first and step in to my gown or evening dress is superstitious (even though it always could damage the material). Oh, and I try never to place my purse on the floor, and always leave through the door I came in, and never do "bread and butter around the pole," and, well, if I'd known the whole, 'if you wear certain panties, he'll send you a hot message, I think my dating life woulda been a lot happier when I was young." But I don't consider myself superstitious, no.


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, and as to why if I had superstitions -- which I ain't sayin I do, just sayin hypothetically speakin, is all -- I might have them because my mother has a million of them. And even if I don't believe them, they definitely appeal to my ocd nature. If I had one, I mean. Hypothetically speakin'.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

OH oh, waitaminit. What's this about not putting your purse on the floor? I've never heard that...

And stepping into the gown with shoes on is bad???

And what is bread and buttter around the pole?

Lots of important stuff to learn here today...

When my husband and I walk down rthe street, he'll walk right towards a pole or something, so I have to move so that we pass it on the same side. Once, annoyed, I said--why do you do that? And he said--why do I do WHAT? It had never crossed his mind that it was a problem.

(And Michelle, you look so glam in that red gown!! That was RITA night, right? What are you wearing this year???)

I ♥ Book Gossip said...

I try my best not to believe in them. They just mess with your head. I say a prayer before I leave the house and make sure I have my lucky pendant. As for outfits, I don't really have a lucky one.

ydsddd said...

I try not to have superstitions but I won't walk under a ladder and when I break a mirrow keep my fingers crossed that I will not have 7 years of bad luck---who needs 7 years of bad luck LOL!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, I Heart! see, that's the key, the "I try my best" part. :) Once you hear them -- especially from someone you trust, isn't it hard not to think of them again? I like the idea of your lucky pendant and prayer. I kind of think any kind of 'talisman,' lucky charm, pendant, ritual, I find them all really soothing and spirital. Not that that makes me superstitious, of course. :)

'morning, Hank! See, that's the bread and butter thing, what you wre talking about w/your husband. My mom got me totally obsessed with not splitting around a pole when walking w/someone. The purse thing I learned from a girlfriend who's Greek. She said she learned it from her mom -- we were discussing superstitions we picked up from our parents that we thought were limited to folks of our ethnicities. She said she thought it may have started as a way to make sure nothing crawled into one's purse, but also was supposed to keep one from losing 'good luck.'

Speaking of good luck, we picked up on a Chinese superstition in our family -- our daughter is adopted from China -- that lady bugs are lucky. So we get excited when we find them in the house. Ok, I try to get excited instead of grossed out that we've got bugs.

Yep, that was from the RITAs, yikes, 2 years ago. I'd just met you and knew it was going to mean major points w/my mil. I don't have anything for this year yet! Gotta get crackin, I guess. How bout you?

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

totally, ydsddd. Is there something we can do to get 7 years of good luck?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I do knock on wood and I do throw salt over my shoulder. I don't open umbrellas indoors, but the garage doesn't count (how else will they dry?).

BTW, I got here via Hank's Facebook link. Just in case anyone keeps track of that kind of thing.

Great to see you Hank - you look fabulous in the new photo!

Kathy in Pittsburgh

Laura Hinds said...

Hi Hank!

I love your books and can't wait to read the new one!

Superstitions? Not so much. Yet I don't believe in coincidence, so when something appears to be one, I decide I must act on it or nothing good will happen. Is that like a reverse superstition?
Anyway- you blogged about bananas- just as I was doing my morning PR for my novel "Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?" So, I'm commenting so that something good will happen. I guess that is a superstition, eh?
My carved rocks say "Dream" and "Prosperity". They were given to me at my Mom's Celebration of Life in 2005...which we held in a meeting room at the local library. Yes, we are full blooded book worms in my family!
Best wishes for continued success! I love reading about local areas like the North Shore.
Laura Hinds

Billie Jo said...

Hi Michelle & Bellas!!

Hi Hank!!!!

I hope all is well with everyone.

Hank....I just finished re-reading Prime Time for review. I absolutely love your quirky characters. This is an absolutely fun book.

I hope to see you next week at RWA. I wish we would have had more time to chat at RT two years ago but maybe this year :-)

Billie Jo

Stacy~ said...

Welcome back Michelle, and hello Hank and bellas.

I don't have superstitions per say, but every once in awhile I get these obsessive compulsions that I just have to follow. Like I'm all set to watch all 7 seasons of "Gilmore Girls" in a row. Absolutely no reason to, but I feel compelled to do it, even though my life doesn't depend on it, and I don't even know if I'll like the show (did catch an episode here and there). It's weird, but I feel that nagging feeling if I don't. It doesn't happen a lot, but I tend to go along with these compulsions when they do. (Yeah Michelle, I'm a freak, if you hadn't figured that out by now *g*)

Playground Monitor said...

I don't walk under ladders simply because it doesn't seem like a safe thing to do.

Do we all have rocks on our desks? I have 7 pewter "stones" carved with strength, courage, hope, peace, forgiveness, change and success, and one real rock carved with the chinese symbol for book. I don't have any ritual with them, but it's nice to think about what the words mean in my life.

Loved PRIME TIME, and I have Hank's workshop on the schedule of "Workshops to Attend" I put together yesterday. Yes, I have a chart. I have one every year. It keeps me on task.


scottsgal said...

I don't really have a lucky outfit or am not too overly superstitious. I do like things or activities to be evenly numbers though - that's probably my weirdest superstition.

Becke Davis said...

Hi Hank -- great to see you here! And Debbie, congrats on winning the 12-pack of books -- pretty soon your TBR pile will match mine!

Superstitious? Moi? Well, okay, I am a little extra careful whenever the 13th falls on a Friday, and I may have been known to knock on wood. And in my family, every phone call ends with the words "I love you" -- just in case. My son started this tradition -- a friend of his was killed in a horrible accident, and his mom got some comfort from the fact that his last words to her had been "I love you."

So, yes, this tradition got started for a sad reason, but we've kept it going because -- well, it's just kind of nice. And I guess now we are all a little superstitious about NOT saying it. My son forgot to say it the other day, and called me back so he could say the words. Just in case.

So, um, maybe I am more superstitious than I thought.

David B. said...

No superstitions here. But I have no problem with anyone who feels the need to acknowledge them.

I just want to agree with your mother-in-law. When compared to marrying me, moderating Hank's workshop is clearly the winner.

Male Perspective Guy

Anonymous said...

My superstition is I have to play with my cat before I get out of bed. Sometimes I have to lay there waiting for her to come in for her morning snuggle.

Billie Jo said...

LOL I had to rush out the door this morning and forgot to post an answer to the question...OY

I am not a superstitous kind of gal.

Billie Jo

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey Kathy! Thanks for the kind's fun to get a good photo, that's for sure. I'm not sure I knew she was taking this one. ANd thansk for being my FB pal. That's total time-quicksand over there!

And Laura--nice to see you here! All the Charlie books take place in Boston and around New England--did you recognize your part of the state in FACE TIME? ANd hey--what's your Banana book?

amy kennedy said...

First, Hank, are you a super hero? Seriously. Second, welcome back Michelle! Third, I too have a rock on my desk, but it's a crystal, it speaks to me, but it has no words carved in it...Play/marilyn, maybe we do all have rocks on our desk.

I have so many weird little things, part of it is doing the whole feng shui thing, foot of the bed can't be pointed towards the door (my husband built a sideways Murphy bed with the foot of it pointed towards the door - I can't tell you what this does to me) or you have to have a mirror at the bottom of the stairs so the good luck (or chi) will come back up...

But also, my own little things: salt over shoulder, round cake on the day of your birthday, shoes all facing the same direction...the list goes on.

But sometimes I spit in the eye of superstitions, I never send on a chain e-mail letter, those drive me insane. And I love any Friday with a 13 attached to it.

Treethyme, your superstition made me sad, but it's also tender, and the /funny thing is, we do that in my family too.

I get what Laura's talking about too - synchronicity - it's definately the universe telling you something.

Unknown said...

I don't think I am superstitious, but who knows. I don't walk under a latter for some reason! I don't have anything I think is good luck. So I guess I am just not superstitious.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

gawd, Kathy. Umbrellas indoors? Just thinking about it makes me cringe! (btw, I'm a PA girl, too) :)

Hi, Laura! We lived in Revere for a year. Know Danvers well. What a nice thing, a Celebration of Life.

There's just never enough time at those things, Billie Jo.

A freak. Yeah, Stace. I'm shawked.

omg, Play, 'on task' and 'rwa' are mutually exclusive terms in m book. can't wait to see you there.

oh, tree, really. it's like tempting fate not to do it, no? your son sounds so sweet.

Tiona said...

Hey, Bellas and QB, hope you had a great vacation! Welcome, Hank! Congrats on the new release. You and Michelle look great in the photo!
I must admitt, when I first read your name, Hank, I thought we had a guy guest, not that we would be adverse, necessarily, hehe. Especially if he was hot!
Me, I'm not a superstitious person at all. I have enough problems remembering things without all that, as well, hehe.
Well, on the 25th of this month, this Bella is gonna be sittin pretty in L.A. That's right, the City of Angels better watch out! Actually, my brother who lives there is probably the most petrified, hehe. I just hope I don't get lost and Jason Statham finds me and takes me home in his red 1967 Shelby Mustang, hehe. Wouldn't that be a nightmare?
Peace Out!

Myrin said...

Welcome back, Michelle, and welcome here in Bellaland, Hank!

My oh my, seems I'm pretty boring since I'm not the least bit superstitious. Really, honestly, I'm not.

However, I believe in signs. The most interesting (and most creepy, that is) are the ravens.
My granddad is very interested in birds and wondered a year or so ago why there were suddenly so many ravens in their street, especially above that house next to their neighbour's. Two days after the "raven-plague" started the police discovered the woman who had lived in said house for over fifty years dead in her kitchen. And they also discovered that that woman's brother had died some three years or so ago and that she had him sitting in his rocking chair since then. I never though such things exist in real life, but obviously, they do.
And the most spooky thing about the whole story is that the next day the ravens where gone.

It's something you could use in a book, actually.
Especially the fact that the ravens were always there before something happened - not necessarily death but another neighbour was a gambler and the birds started circling the house only days before the man was put into prison and they lost the house (I was there, so I saw it).

Now if that isn't a story...

Martha Eskuchen said...

A Big welcome to Hank and Hi to Michelle and Bellas! Hope you had a good "staycation" Michelle. I just got back from RVing with very iffy Internet for two weeks. And the two weeks before that I had to work to get ready for the trip so I didn't have much time to visit online!
I only have a few superstitions: throwing salt over shoulder if I spill it and not opening an umbrella indoors are the ones I can think of. No rocks here and although I might wear a power suit for court occasionally I have never picked just one as lucky. Had my first grandson born on the 13th so that is a good day! I have had people refuse to sign papers on the 13th though.
My undergrad major was Journalism and I bet I will really enjoy Hank's books!

Misty Evans said...

Welcome back, Michelle, and three hugs to Hank!

I throw salt and wear my lucky star necklace to bed when I'm hoping for good news. I also have a box of angel cards a friend gave me and every morning I pull a card from the box. The angel on the card is my angel of the day. I don't feel right unless I've pulled a card first thing every morning. And I'm not a religious gal, but I sure like thinking I've got an angel on my shoulder as I go through the day. :)

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Marilyn--can't wait to see you! COme chat..Cross your fingers all goes well. (Oh, cross your you Bellas do that?)

Amy*skf Am I a Superhero? Yeah--I'm Shoe Girl.I can spot great shoes a mile away! Is that what you mean?

LisaK--that raven story-is creepy. And wonderful! And you're so right..true fodder for a book or story.
We have a gorgeous papier mache raven in our living room--some people cannot believe it when they see it!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Treethyme--that's lovely. And it's making something that's wonderful grow from somethign sad.

Misty! Thank you!! What are angel cards?

Emily S. said...

Hi Michelle and Hank!

I don't have any superstitions though I would drive my roommate crazy because she is really superstitious. I would walk under ladders, put shoes on my bed, not knock on wood, spill salt without tossing it over my shoulder and I've broken a few mirrors. I even did a report on superstitions and there are so many out there to keep up with them all would drive a person crazy. Although I don't take part in superstitions I don't mind my friends having them and I don't mind "knocking on wood" or whatever if it makes them feel better.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

oh, mpg: I think I'll keep you.

what a nice way to start the day, quiltingreader. purrrrrr.

hi, scottsgal! since many of us are a little ocd around here (um, like, some of us just must read series in order), we don't find anything wrong with your love of evenly numbered stuff. 2,3,6,8, who do we appreciate? yay, scottsgal!

yeah, ames, we so buy that you're not superstitious. I guess you just call it 'romany.'

hi, virginia! You're so lucky not to be superstitious. :)

lisak: those are the eeriest stories! What is it about ravens? Now, I have to tell you, Hank says she has a raven in her living room. You know, she's not the first author I've seen to have one. Is it some kind of Poe fetish do you think? Or do you think it's a message to potential visitors not to overstay their welcomes? :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi marthaE! Hope you had fun on your vacation, too! Great to hear you've got a Lucky 13!

principessa! You're a 'lucky' girl, too! um, seems like you're kinda over the whole Shia thing now... :)

hi, misty! Angel cards sound fun. I met someone recently who's totally into angels on earth. The only cards that I have anything close to that are Kama Sutra cards I won a couple years back at a Virginia Romance Writers' event. Now those cards would make every day a lucky one.

Emily S, I can't seem to stop myself from 'knocking on wood,' either. Sometimes, I do it almost in solidarity with someone who's been through something rough or had something bad happpen. I know it's a 'protection,' but I think I use it as a kind of way to tell them I feel for them. Hope they don't think I'm worried their troubles will rub off!

Ah, Shoe Girl! We all bow before your super powers...

robynl said...

I pay close attention to superstitions but don't really believe in them. Sometimes I walk under a ladder and sometimes not; I assess the situation first and then decide. I feel a bit eerie about the 13th being on a Friday but what the heck, it's another day and 13 is the number after 12 and before 14, lol.

Anonymous said...

Visiting from the cozydiscussion yahoo group --

I say "I'm not superstitous, I'm cautious." @8~)

I sometimes get nervous if 2 bad things have happened that a 3rd is on the way. I often say "knock wood" though I don't usually do it and I mean it half humorously. Actually I usually use the 21st century version of knock laminate. @8~D

One thing I realized just a few days ago is that I almost never say goodbye. When I was in the military 35 years ago, during Vietnam, many people would not say goodbye for fear that the person leaving would be killed in action. I never actually believed that but it seems to be a habit I developed that never really went away but never noticed until just recently. This is similar to the "I love you" phone story above.


Unknown said...

I have no superstitions whatsoever, merely an accepted order in which to do or avoid things in order to escape bad things happening.

It's all in the vocabulary.


amy kennedy said...

LisaK you gave me shivers...I Looove getting shivers.
Misty, are the angel cards by Doreen Virtue?
Carolyn, hahahaha. Very good.
Princess, I think L.A. should be afraid.

Shoe Girl! I knew you existed.
Michelle, I wasn't gonna bring up the Gypsy thing, but, seein' as how you can't imagine the stuff that goes onm when my Mom and sister and I are together...everything means something.

I love Ravens. They're one of the smartest creatures.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

CathWren, you have changed my life. So lovely to see you here. Thank you.

Carolyn--I'm with ya, sister. You just don't PUT a hat on a bed. Nothing mystical, you just don't.

Has anyone heard about "shoes on a table"? Or did my mother just make that up to keep us from dumping our shoes on the table?

My word verification word is "spome." Eeeeeyew. Or is that a kind of ice cream?

Ann Whitaker said...

I LOVE quirky characters so I know I'd love your books, Hank.

My big superstition is one I just made up and have no reason why or when it started.

Every year I buy a Dog-A-Day calendar. I never look ahead. I put stickers on certain days of the month for heartworm and flea meds, but I never look at the photos of the dogs while I'm doing it. Weird, no?

Unknown said...

At first I was going to say I don't really have any superstitions, but I do take second look at that black at I might come across or worry about breaking a mirror and all those little things we've heard since we were kids. LOL, so I guess I am superstitious!

Anonymous said...

Nope, no superstition at all !!! oups...
Congratulations on your new release !!!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Love you Bellas!! And thank you so much for your wonderful chat!

And congratulazione! to all the know who you are.

See you all soon (knock on wood!)...and keep in touch!

Becke Davis said...

It was great meeting you at National -- look forward to seeing you again next year (or at Bouchercon?).

Jungle Red Writers said...

Oh, are you kidding me? YOU and Michelle were the highlight of the RITAs! SO wonderful to hang out weith you...nad to be formally annointed as a Bella.

Sigh. Got to love it.

See you in Indpls! And talk to you soon..

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, are you kidding me? YOU and Michelle were the highlight of the RITAs! SO wonderful to hang out weith you...nad to be formally annointed as a Bella.

Sigh. Got to love it.

See you in Indpls! And talk to you soon..