Interview

Superhero Crossover Episode

Mark Twain once said, “The trouble with fiction is that it has to make sense whereas real life is under no such obligation.” Sometimes life feels surreal and we make friends in the most interesting ways. As many of you know I have been playing around with the dark literary arts in a secret society of awesome internet people. Like Frodo and his band of hobbits with hairy ski-sized feet, we are on a quest that is interesting but ultimately confusing because why didn’t the hobbits just fly the ring to the volcano in the first place? Wait where was I? Oh yeah….

Today is for my friend YuMin (pronounced YuMin. Got it? Good.) We didn’t go to the same high school. We have different backgrounds. We are different ages. We have different paths through life but through the internet we have become friends. There are actually seven of us from across the globe in the Conceited Crusade. It is safe to say we were all unaware of each other a year ago so it has been fun getting to know one another via Reply All email chains and shared, blog writing prompts. There is a strange chemistry of dialogue that I feel is unfair to keep hidden from the world so I interviewed this woman of mystery. Below is a revealing glimpse at a future writing legend.
Q: YuMin Ye is an interesting name. What nationality is it exactly? German?

A: It’s my Chinese name written out phonetically. I do own something that is from Germany though. (No, not a person.)

Follow-up: I lead with a nationality joke and you counter with slavery. Points awarded to you.

Q: Is it common practice to put a capital letter in the middle of a name?

A: Chinese does not have an alphabet. It has characters. Yu Min Ye is three characters, so technically Min is my middle name. However, I wanted to group it together with my first name because I mean, let’s face it, otherwise people will start calling me “hey Yu” which sounds like “hey you” and every single pop song would be about me. I’m not sure I would like that. By the way, fun fact: if you say my first name backwards, MinYu, it sounds like “menu.” Also, I do not have an English name. Can you imagine me as a Michelle? Julia? Emily? *shudders*

Q: Now that the ice is broken. What age did you start writing and/or become interested in literature as a part of your career?

A: I have been writing since I was seven, but didn’t think about making it a career until I was 19.

Q: You list yourself as a Young Adult Fiction Examiner. Explain a little.

A: Examiner.com allows me to throw up book reviews, author interviews, articles covering author events and the like on my own little space on their site as long as it is everything YA. It’s a place where writers can talk about subjects they are experts in or most enjoy. In my case it’s the latter. It’s kind of like journalism, except we’re not supposed to call ourselves journalists.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure novel? That one story or series that you really enjoy but might not tell your friends. (Mine was the Mortal Instruments series. I was so sexually frustrated for Jace and Clary that I couldn’t take it.)

A: Haha, I’m going to have to read that now. Sexually frustrated characters make for the best guilty pleasure reads. Well, I never read “Twilight” or “Fifty Shades of Grey” and don’t plan on it. Hmm, this is a good question. I’ll circle back.

Q: I noticed that you are a published author which makes me feel inferior. Tell me a little about how that happened.

A: First, I promise there’s nothing special about me that would make you feel inferior. I am very ordinary. As far as how getting published happened, I wrote a book during NaNoWriMo one year and then submitted the manuscript to a fiction contest I found via Examiner and the rest is history. I honestly don’t know how it all came to be. The judges had to have been blind or drugged or both.

Q: Have you ever played the game FMK (F#%$, Marry, Kill)? Who are your three people? Mine are Mariah Carey, Eva Longoria, and Britney Spears in that order.

A: Yes, I have. Aww, poor Miss Queen of Pop.  I volunteer as tribute! Hmm, screw Rhett Butler, be John Grisham’s concubine, and murder Gilbert Blythe. I was never really impressed by doctors.

Q: You have a very wholesome and nice girl look and I know from previous works that it confounds you a little sometimes. I assume that societal stereotypes contribute to that image. If you could switch stereotypes with any group of persons who would it be? (Race, sex, creed, age, people with tattoos, bikers, whatever.)

A: Yeah, when people first meet me I come off as nice and wholesome. As far as switching it up, it’s funny because there was a time I really, really wanted to be Caucasian. At another point I wanted to be male because to a certain extent, I think like one. But as I’ve gotten to know the male mind a little better, I’ve realized I’m not male enough and this is why I’m still very much a female. If I had the lady balls to be like Samantha from “Sex and the City,” I would. There! My guilty pleasure novel is anything by Candace Bushnell. But even that I wouldn’t mind admitting to my friends. My real guilty pleasure is bubblegum pop. And Disney Channel.

Q: If you found yourself in the Hunger Games; A) Would you be able to kill or be killed? B) What would your weapon of choice be? C) What would be your greatest asset?

A: I am currently working through this series. A) Killed. B) Bow and arrows. C) Is it bad that I have to think about this? I don’t know. I’m obedient. Does that count?

Q: Let’s say I am a billionaire and I award you a Dream Grant to do nothing but sit around and do what you want. Describe the first day.

A: I would go to a strip club. No, j/k. 😛 Besides reading and writing until there was absolutely no physical way possible for me to do either any longer, I want to watch someone record an album and someone else make a movie. Oh wait, the first day, eh? I’d be geeking out trying to allocate a certain amount to each person I wanted to take with me to do something they’ve always wanted to do.

Q: What is the best flavor of Jolly Rancher hard candy? Don’t you dare say green apple, that is not a real flavor.

A: I love green apple! But my favorite is blue raspberry because it’s so rare.

Q: My girls always ask about superpowers so I feel compelled to ask you, what would your superpower be if you could custom design it?

A: Zap myself anywhere, from Ireland to inside a movie or music video or book or through the computer screen. It would be really cool to be Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Q: Do you have big goals or a career outside of literature?

A: Nope. Writing is my life. Novels are my babies. (And good thing too because my cat reminds me every day why I should not have kids.)

Q: Do you like living in Kansas City, MO?

A: So far, so good. I just moved here and miss my friends in Columbia, MO. It’s not so much where I’m living, but who I’m doing the living with. But I find that each place has its idiosyncrasies you learn to appreciate. Wherever I go, I can make it work.

Q: Do you have siblings and what is your family like?

A: I am an only child. China’s one-child policy made sure of that just a few years before I was born. My family. Ha! Where do I begin? Small immediate family, large extended family. We’re not all in one country and honestly, I grew up not knowing most of my extended family, except through stories my parents told me. So much for biology. I know the family I get to choose better than the family I’m related to.

Q: What is something about you that people would find surprising? (Hobby, Interest, Shoe Size, whatever…)

A: I don’t know if this is surprising, but one time I got to step on a prostrated dude’s back on stage as part of our Ciara’s “Like a Boy” choreography.

Follow-up: I thought she said prostate and I got really confused about the tone of the performance. I discourage all women from stepping on prostates.
YuMin Ye is surprisingly approachable for a blossoming celebrity and I encourage everyone to track her down at her author website but a more interactive YuMin lives at -> attheoutset.wordpress.com, or see how she plays with others at the Conceited Crusade. She interviewed me too so hop over there and check it out.

Man Watches Fifty Shades and Lives To Tell Tale

Hometown, USA – Underdaddy, mild mannered father of four, bravely accompanied his wife Supermom to a viewing of the much anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey this past Friday. Our correspondent, Imma Shaymed, caught up with the power couple shortly after the viewing to hear how they felt about the controversial soft-core porn.

Shaymed: First off, Thank you! Not many men would agree to this interview or even admit to being present at the painfully  overhyped chick-flick.

Underdaddy: Absolutely Imma. I’m glad to talk to you about it. There were definitely things that I won’t soon forget.

Shaymed: Well, I guess let’s get started with how you got your tickets to this historic event.

Underdaddy: That certainly wasn’t easy. I knew from the Facebook hype that there must be lines of desperate housewives camping for miles into the parking lot for the first glimpse of this revolutionary film. I mean the idea of putting sex into a movie and filling all the gaps with sexual overtones is brilliant. Marketing gold. So one night while I am out for milk I decide to stop by and check the line and maybe get some tickets on pre-sale. When I drove up the parking lot was empty.

Shaymed: No one was camped out in the line?

Underdaddy: Not a soul. I thought there must have been a bomb threat or something. Jane was with me so we walked right up to the window and requested two tickets for the next day at 8:30. The attendant talked to me with a cold detachment and I quickly realized that buying tickets to this proverbial Donkey Show while standing in line with my seven year old daughter might be seen as inappropriate.

Shaymed: Oh how funny! I imagine you were very uncomfortable.

Underdaddy: Like a whore in church.

Shaymed: So Supermom, were you excited to hear that tickets were available?

Supermom: So so excited. I really loved the books and it is more than all the sex. It is a love story and about personal discovery.

Shaymed: Fascinating. Underdaddy, tell us about your experience going to the movie. I have to admit when I heard that you were a man and willing to attend I was blown away at your bravery and obvious sense of marital duty. Heroic.

Underdaddy: Thank you but it’s nothing really. I be lying if I said I wasn’t almost implied fringe benefits. Nothing was ever said but I just got the feeling that it might rewarding if you know what I mean.

Shaymed: I do, I do. Go on…

Underdaddy: Well the evening didn’t start off so great. I suffer from migraines and sure enough about three hours before movie time I am incapacitated by throbbing pain. My eyeballs got into a nasty knife fight with my brain and I was afraid there wouldn’t be any survivors. I knew what was on the line and I wasn’t going down without a fight.

Shaymed: What did you do?

Underdaddy: The only American thing I could think of, I over-medicated to numb all sense of being on planet earth. Then I let my wife drive to the movies. I wrote this article on her driving one time so you know how big of a deal that is.

Shaymed: I read that one. Pure genius. But quit stalling tell us about the movie.

Supermom: I just want to interrupt here and say I’m not that bad of a driver.

Underdaddy: …..Love you…… So we made it to the theatre, purchased our popcorn combo, and joined the small crowd that trampled the attendant who opened the doors to Screen 8. We picked the perfect seat in the exact center of mass of the room. Halfway up and halfway across. All the action would be front and center to our eyeballs. I didn’t realize that meant we would be perfectly surrounded by idiots too.

Why do stupid people talk the loudest in the movies?

Why do stupid people talk the loudest in the movies?

Supermom: It was horrible.

Shaymed: The movie?

Supermom: No, the people around us.

Underdaddy: One time we went to the premier of The Hunger Games and there were a hundred tweens dressed as Katniss and shooting foam arrows around the room while moms gathered together and discussed their underaged children’s sex lives. This was kind of the same experience but imagine the tweens were women in their 20’s and 30’s and instead of arrows they were throwing around sexual innuendo.

Shaymed: That sounds uncomfortable.

Underdaddy: It was interesting. I feel that we are not educating the public on resources that are available, like free porn on the internet. It really is free. And everywhere. I just seemed like junior high school and someone had a nudi-magazine in their locker and everyone was waiting to get a peek. The couple behind us might have been the worst part of the night. The girl kept muttering, “Best Night of My Life!” and I heard a pill bottle rattled several times. The boy had been misled about the event entirely. He seemed to think it was some sort of interactive show like the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I felt certain that some type of bodily fluid would be flying around behind us. I put my jacket hood up just in case.

True Story

True Story

Shaymed: They didn’t have sex in the theater did they?

Supermom: I didn’t want to look.

Underdaddy: No, I don’t think so. But he did sneeze on me later so I was right about the bodily fluids. I think if she had, as she put it, “Not forgotten my f’n Xanax”, they might have made a baby right behind us.

Shaymed: Gross.

Underdaddy: They were kind of gross. And stupid. He asked her, “Is this story fiction or non-fiction?” She replied, “Fiction”. To which he exclaimed, “This shit really happened!!?” I had trouble not turning around to aska followup question but Supermom was already texting me to make fun of them. Just remember, those people will breed and he’ll probably teach his children that fiction is what keeps objects from sliding against each other.

Grey-4

Shaymed: That is unfortunate but enough with the intro information. Tell us about the movie!

Underdaddy: Well, I felt embarrassed and excited right away. It was because of the previews. Did you know there is going to be a sequel to Pitch Perfect? I am really excited about that I don’t care what you say about me. That movie was awesome. Oh yeah, there is going to be a second Magic Mike too. I was embarrassed because I caught myself watching Channing Tatum dancing and thinking, “Wow he really is a good dancer. The pop-and-lock hip hop skills are impressive. I thought the original Magic Mike was just Coyote Ugly with roles reversed for men and women.

Shaymed: And Channing Tatum made tables from scrap.

Underdaddy: That too.

Shaymed: Did the movie actually start at any point?

Underdaddy: Keep you pants on, I’m getting there.

Supermom: That’s what she said!

*high fives on successful “She Said” joke*

Underdaddy: Nice. Yes the movie did start and it played all the way through. There was a lot of detail.

Shaymed: What kind of detail?

Spoiler alert. There were boobies.

Spoiler alert. There were boobies.

Underdaddy: Well, I know both of their grooming habits down under. Not much on razors it appears. I think they did a good job with characters. I was uncomfortable with Mr. Grey the whole time. I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed though.

Shaymed: What part did you find disappointing?

Underdaddy: There was a storyline. I’m not used to pornos having much of a story. She didn’t order a pizza or plumber and the music was good, not cheesy elevator Muzak.

Supermom: I told you it was a good story and not just about the sex.

Shyamed: So there wasn’t as much sex as you expected?

Underdaddy: No there was definitely a lot of that but there was a story and parts of the characters were extremely believable. Take Anastasia for example, she begs for something unpleasant and he warns her against it. She insists and gives him the cold shoulder until he agrees. Then when it is awful just like he said it would be, she is mad and doesn’t want to talk to him. I had to feel like that is a common side-effect of estrogen and that the author really understands the female thought process.

Shaymed: But what about the social implications or the moral depravity?

Underdaddy: What do you mean? It is a movie. It had all the things the book had so I don’t know how people can be surprised. It was a good movie.

Shaymed: So you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey?

Underdaddy: Yeah it wasn’t bad. I will probably watch the sequels. I might wait for the hype to die next time so I’m not trapped in a theater with 90% women acting like this movie is lighting some kind of passionate fire.

Shaymed: You sound a little cynical. Did you not enjoy any fringe benefit from this franchise?

Underdaddy: It’s not that. It is more like I am confused about the hype. Let’s be honest, of the two sexes, females have much more power in deciding when sex or nakedness is appropriate. If the decision was left to men, we would all be a bunch of naked cave people taking a break from sex to gather berries and more wood for the bonfire.

Supermom: I agree, men are on- track minds.

Underdaddy: So if women have more access and power to make things happen. Why do they get so excited over things like Magic Mike and Fifty Shades? Playgirl is a real magazine yet the main audience is homosexual males. For the exact reason that women don’t buy the cow when the milk is thrown at them daily.

Shaymed: I have a disturbing picture of that whole metaphor. Men splashing milk at me. Ugh.

Underdaddy: Sorry. I don’t edit my rough draft thoughts. I probably should.

Supermom: You definitely should.

Shaymed: Were there any other things about the movie that you noticed?

Underdaddy: Hmm. I thought Ms. Steel looked like Anne Hathaway with the emotional presence of Kristen Stewart. Mr. Grey reminded me of Chris O’Donnell with some sort of stroke damage because the right side of his face didn’t move as much as the left. It was a little distracting. Some other parts were a little weak too. Like he is supposed to be a business man billionaire with zero free time but he worked maybe twice in the whole movie.

Supermom: Why do you do that?

Underdaddy: Do what?

Supermom: Ruin movies by talking about what isn’t correct. (looks at me) He does this everytime. It is a MOVIE!

Underdaddy: It is a lie! The movie is a unicorn pipedream that women tell themselves is sexy but really it makes everyone feel worse about themselves. Look at me! I don’t have cool cigarette burns on my chest or a helicopter or a padded bondage room! Is that what you want?!?

Supermom: He is falling in love with her! It is BEAUTIFUL!

Shaymed: Are you guys okay?

Supermom: *glaring* We are great…

Underdaddy: See and now this will be my fault. I ruined the evening.

Supermom: You DID!!!

Underdaddy: You women need to tell the truth! By the time you get done with these movies or books you are emotionally exhausted. You have felt everything you wanted to feel and just want to play candy crush.

Supermom: You watch your mouth! Fifty Shades is a GOOD MOVIE! *punches Underdaddy with a left jab*

Underdaddy: *muffled cursing*

Shaymed: Okay well I think I have what I need here. Are you guys going to be okay to show yourselves out?

Supermom: Oh we’ll be fine. He likes it… *turns her attention to Underdaddy* Did you just roll your eyes at me?

Underdaddy: No ma’am.

The couple quickly left the interview with Supermom leading the way. Underdaddy followed dutifully with his head hung low. The submissive had broken the rules and needed to be punished. The discussion and aftermath stayed in my head for several minutes.

I found I had questions of my own. Why is this movie getting so much hype? Male dominance isn’t new. Sex isn’t new. Fantasy about billionaires rescuing an undiscovered princess is fairly common.

Then I realized that it is the perfect recipe.

Woman’s Best Seller Soup

  1. Powerful yet secretly broken man (You don’t want me I’ll hurt you)
  1. Homely looking woman who he finds irresistible (Why do you want me?)
  1. Unlimited budget of Bruce Wayne (I’ll buy that chick and iPad, chicks love iPads)
  1. Someone making a woman do things that are good for her that she wants to do but feels unable to do on her own free will (If you don’t eat healthy I will spank you)
  1. Woman manages to change a man’s core personality because she is that totally hot and attractive and it erases her feeling of doubt releasing her inner beauty that he saw all along.
  1. Man is totally unattracted to any other women. He is very jealous over her. (Girl you got what I need, but say he’s just a friend, you say he’s just a friend…)

Just distribute that to the general population and let it simmer. Boom. Fifty Shades of Pop Culture hit.


So if you enjoyed the guest article by Imma Shaymed, You’re Welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.