Thursday, February 4, 2010

Laurie Schnebly Campbell visits Today

Laurie Schnebly Campbell has lost count of the people who've said "I owe my book sale to what I learned from you," but it's always a thrill for her. In her live workshops and online classes, she combines her experience with writing fiction (including the book that won "Best Special Edition" over Nora Roberts) and non-fiction (her latest book) with her experience in psychology and, yep, advertising.

Free time is for playing with her husband and son, vacationing in Sedona (the red rock town named for her great-grandmother, Sedona Schnebly), narrating for Talking Books and working with other writers. "People ask how I find time to do all that,” she says, "and I tell them it's easy. I never clean my house!"

DRose: Hi Laurie. I’m so glad you could join us today. Let’s start by telling our readers a little about you. Where are you from? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Laurie: I grew up in Tucson, where my dad worked for the local TV station (ABC, which still leaves me feeling vaguely guilty when I enjoy shows on NBC) and my mom was a former first-grade teacher. Being a teacher seemed to me like the greatest job in the world until I was 15, at which point I decided writing was even better and decided to become an advertising copywriter...which came in handy when I needed to write synopses for my books.

But now I'm back to teaching again, although it's for writers rather than first-graders, and absolutely loving it!

DRose: Tell us about your work. What or who inspired you to write it?

Laurie: My latest is a nonfiction about the nine personality types, designed for writers. When I learned about enneagrams from my mother, a counselor, I was bowled over by how HANDY that system is for creating likable and plausible people with realistic fatal (or not so fatal) flaws.

There's so much more information than I can fit into a monthly class that I decided to put it in a book...and (along with Amazon) it'll be available at Desert Dreams, which is handy for anyone who wants an autographed copy.

DRose: How long did it take for you to get published and what was the journey like?

Laurie: I attended my first Desert Dreams conference in 1990, joined RWA in 1991 and pitched my first "good" manuscript at the 1993 conference. At the 1994 Desert Dreams I learned it was going to sell, and it came out in time for the 1995 conference.

But what amazed me is that, having been an advertising copywriter all my working life, I figured it'd be a piece of cake to master romance writing since, heck, "writing is writing." Turns out that wasn't the case...there was so much to learn!

DRose: RWA certainly has plenty of resources to learn from. Was there anyone, in particular, who influenced you or your work?

Laurie: When I was ready to give up on writing near the end of my three-year Second Book Syndrome, I read "Frisco's Kid" by Suzanne Brockmann and it left me in tears...SUCH a great book. I remember finishing it at 3am and deciding "I want to write books that'll make people feel this way," so I got back to work on my next -- and that was the one RT listed in its "Best 200 Books of the Past 20 Years."

DRose: Wow, that’s wonderful. Aside from Suzanne’s work, do you have a favorite book or series?

Laurie: Of my own? I'd have to pick the one that got me through Second Book Syndrome, where the plot came in a single flash that just felt RIGHT.

Of anyone else's? For series, the one I re-read every five or eight years is (of all people) Robert B. Parker's books featuring Spenser -- probably because my dad loves them as well and it's fun recalling the detective's best adventures together.

DRose: Now the writer in me needs to know…Do you plot your story before you write it or do you sit and let it flow?

Laurie: I'm a diehard plotter, and I'm always amazed at people who can do it any other way. Their method works every bit as well; it's just something I can't imagine doing myself! I have every scene in the book summarized in 10-15 words before I ever start Chapter One...but there are all KINDS of other ways to get equally good results.

DRose: Do you write to music or the TV?

Laurie: Neither, although if they're playing in the background I don't mind 'em. I started writing while my son played in the ball-yard at the nearby Burger King, so ignoring distractions came with the territory. It'd probably be harder if I were beginning now, when he's gone off to college and the house is quiet on weekends...I'd be expecting constant tranquility.

DRose: Do you consider yourself eccentric as a writer? Is there something you must have or do before writing?

Laurie: Gosh, I wish I DID have some eccentricity because it'd sound so cool. Maybe I could make up something about how I have to have my lucky stone at just the right angle, or the perfect music playing, or...hmm, better yet, a whole vat of fudge. Yeah, let's say that!

DRose: People tend to see writers as hermits, closed off in a room, clacking away at the keyboard until the final page is typed. Do you consider yourself this disciplined as a writer?

Laurie: Only on weekends. I have a list of what scenes need to be written each weekend, and I stay at the keyboard until they're done. But to make such discipline easier, I build in time for a fun event every weekend -- and a few with no work at all.

DRose: They say you can learn a lot about a person by their surroundings. What does your work area look like?

Laurie: A horrendous mess. At least the one at home is a mess; the one at my office is pretty tidy. But again, it's a matter of shutting out the distractions -- I don't really NOTICE the piles of folders and magazines and birthday cards and library books until I'm finished working, and at that point I don't feel like tackling the mess.

DRose: When you're not writing, do you have any hobbies or interests?

Laurie: Broadway musicals. Working out at Curves. Traveling new places to give workshops. Narrating books (my own and other writers') for the blind at Talking Books -- it's a weekly Date Night with my husband, because he directs the recording and afterwards we go out for dinner.

And, as goofy as this sounds for someone who hates math, I've gotten so I can't fall asleep at night without doing three Sudokus!

DRose: What do you consider your guilty pleasure?

Laurie: Reading young adult novels. I could justify it if I planned to write some, calling it "market research," but actually I just enjoy reading them. And now, I'm wondering why I think of THAT as a guilty pleasure when right here on my virtual desk is this vat of chocolate fudge...

DRose: I’ve heard many wonderful things about your classes. What can you tell us about the workshop you’ll be doing for the Desert Rose Conference?

Laurie: It’s called "The Alpha Male, From Abe to Zeus" and shows why those heroes are so appealing, and how to create them without falling into stereotypes.

· What MAKES an alpha male? (Hint: it's more than just power.)

· What challenges does he face? (The answers are surprising.)

· Who's his ideal heroine? (Here's where the fun begins!)

Meanwhile, a question for everybody reading this blog, with a prize drawing for whoever answers:

How can you tell when someone is an alpha male?

Do you have any in your life?

What are they like?

I'll check back Saturday and toss all the names in a hat -- okay, not literally, because my son showed me this cool Random Number Generator -- and then post whoever won.

Ooh, something to think about and a prize!

Thank you again, Laurie. I very much enjoyed talking with you.

For more on Laurie Schnebly Campbell or her workshops, visit her at her website


  1. Hi Laurie,

    (Waving to you!) Great interview ... enjoyed reading it and learning more about you - I already know you're a fabulous workshop presenter!

    How can I tell when someone is an Alpha Male?
    Simple. He enters the room and bodies realign to face him. He's decisive. And the air around him absolutely sizzles from his physical presence!

    Take care. - Barb

  2. How can you tell when someone is an alpha male? I would say they come in all shapes and sizes, but a man who knows what he wants and goes after it with both guns blazing

    Do you have any in your life? My husband at times and the voices in my head.

    What are they like? I think for contemporary men its harder because of our society, but my husband is decisive and a gentleman and I would walk downa any dark alley with him

  3. Hi Laurie!

    (Waving to you too!) Great interview. I will be attending the Desert Dreams Conference (it's not too far of a drive from San Diego, CA) and am so looking forward to attending your workshop there and meeting you. :)

    Alpha For 10 years I worked at our local Sheriff's Department and was surrounded by Alpha Males all day long. And by far, the biggest Alphas on the department were the motor units. There was something about wearing those boots and riding their bikes terrorizing drivers through town that just oozed Alpha.

    Linda M

  4. Hi Laurie!
    Love the interview. Your book, Believable Characters... is great! Can't imagine planning a wip without it.

    How can you tell an Alpha male? The air around him vibrates with energy...all eyes, male and female, are drawn to him. Men want his power. Women want him!!!

    Do you have one in your life?
    I think my husband is...but I would, because I know him inside and

    what are they like?
    Other than what I've mentioned, they care, it might be hidden deep, but they have a deep sense of taking care of others.

    Carol Hutchens

  5. Hi Laurie - loving your plot via motivation class! And what a great story about Sedona and your family - I love Sedona!! Thanks for sharing your history - fascinating!

    About alpha males, well, I try to avoid those. lol! Maybe because I grew up with one, I tend to be attracted to beta males.

  6. How can you tell when someone is an alpha male?
    He has certain qualities: strong, powerful, tough--always in control, proactive--out to make things happen, believes in himself, sure of himself, passionate and intense, often comes across as arrogant (though he's not a bully) demanding with a strong sense of right and wrong, high status, wealthy often self-made.

    Do you have any in your life?
    No. They're great in fiction but I wouldn't want to be married to one

  7. Oh, gosh, I'm loving these alpha male comments -- thanks, all of you!

    Carol, how COOL that you're still enjoying the book...Linda, that I'll get to see you in April...and Kathy, that you're a Sedona fan.

    The small-world discoveries are probably my favorite thing about blogging!

  8. Thanks so much for this fascinating interview. I now understand more about character, and human behavior in general - like why my neighbor does the crazy things he does! Thanks, Laurie. Great stuff. You rock.

  9. I think Janet hit the nail on the head. The most alpha male I know is all the things she said . . . I thought he was insanely heroic but he was so totally not marriage material!

  10. Laurie, as you know, I'm a huge fan of your workshops and book. The characters in my stories are much more believable because I use your Enneagram book to build them in the beginning and keep them true to their personality as the story progresses.

    When I think of Alpha Males, I think of Dean on Supernatural. Life is black or white, good or evil. He never talks about his emotions and he's always decisive. He may not tell his brother Sam that he loves him, but he's always got Sam's back.

    Your interview revealed some pretty cool stuff about you. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hi, Laurie! {waving}
    Loved the interview. I could hear your peppy voice in your words, and it's obvious to me why you accomplish so much.

    Alpha Males. Hmmm. Every male I know has some Alpha male in him. All that carrying on at soccer games and football games. All that "I know best and don't contradict me!" All that impatience behind the wheel of a car. I could go on all day, but that's enough. :) Gotta love 'em, though.

  12. I think you can tell an alpha male by many ways. He's the silent type, when he speaks people listen. He's not a blow hard, louder doesn't mean right. When I think of an alpha male I think of my father. Watching him sit in a conference room full of people, at the head of the table, leaning back in his chair just listening. People around him giving opinions, he just takes in. But when he opened his mouth, every shut theirs. Another key is adaptability; he can take his suit jacket off, roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty.


  13. Hi, Laurie. Great interview. Love your humor. Your Desert Dreams Writers Conference sounds DELISH! To me, an alpha male is all about confidence, decisiveness, power without verbal or psychological or physical abuse, a leader--never a follower, with a certain undefinable "it" factor. I have had a few in my life, one currently that fits that description. I believe the alpha male deserves his own equally formidable alpha female.


  14. Talk about wonderful comments -- I can't wait to incorporate these into the Alpha Males workshop!

    Laurie, wishing I had an alpha male book in my purse right now because, hmm, lunchtime is only 90 minutes away...

  15. Hi, Laurie (waving from Northern AZ). I really hope I can make it to the Desert Dreams Conference - would be great to attend another of your workshops!

    Alpha Males? I picture confidence, swagger, attitude. My brother was a cop for a while, and I think a lot of that type are alpha male (probably because I write RS). However, as everyone has flaws, I believe these are the type of guys to keep any insecurities or doubts on the inside (until they trust someone - hmmm, a heroine, perhaps?) - enough to open up or explore.

    Anne Marie
    (who thinks of you, Laurie, every time we pass the exit for Schnebly Hill Road - ...)

  16. I posted a comment about plotters v. pantsers, but somehow it got attributed to another blog! I'm such a techno-no-no.

    Alphas... love them, but I don't really think I know any true alphas, more pity me. That's probably why I love reading and writing them.

    I think an alpha is a combination of that core of steel and desire for power... power because he will protect what is his whatever the cost, and power is what helps him do that.

    I think too many confuse being strong with being a thug. Alpha's are never thugs or mindless, though they will be as forceful as they have to be.

    Sigh... love this.

  17. IMHO the first thing you'll notice about an alpha male is his presence, but also the way he affects people he's around. People listen when he talks, take his suggestions and enjoy being around him. Personally, the way I know an alpha male when I meet him is that he's not afraid to contradict me or provide his own suggestion once I've made mine (you wouldn't believe how rare this is).

    As to alpha males in my life, I do have one in mind. He's a friend of mine and I guess what made me start talking to him in the first place was the relief at not having to dominate the conversation. Even when this guy doesn't know exactly what he wants, he still goes at it with gusto. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but if you knew him you'd know what I mean. It's also refreshing to find somebody who'll ask honest questions and have the gonads to really listen to the answer.

    What I like best about alpha males is that when you're around them it's O.K. to be a woman, instead of having to act like men do.

  18. Hi Laurie,
    What a great interview. I love the fact that your desk is a mess. It makes me feel normal:)

    I think of the alpha male as being always sure of himself. He may know something about everything. Sure, he may be good looking and strong but he can also be as solid as a rock emotionally.

    Jen B.

  19. Hi Laurie!

    I know I was just another face in the crowd, but we sat at the same table and talked a bit on the Sunday morning of the last Desert Dreams Conference.

    I define an alpha male as having a commanding presence. That could mean that they act like a bully, or it's simply a matter of charisma. Regardless, they enter a room and it's clear that they are the leader of the pack.

    The closest I have to an alpha male is my cat, Palom. He's neutered, but he's thinks he's all-that. He's obnoxious, loud, and believes everyone who enters the house is there to serve him. And honestly, it works out pretty well for him, but I'm still miffed about him knocking over the kitchen trash can at 5:45 this morning.

  20. This is such a treat, bumping into people I might get to see at another conference -- I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

    And for those of you who can't be at Desert Dreams this year, at least you're getting to see a glimmer of what we'll be covering in the Alpha Males workshop.

    Laurie, loving all these insights :)

  21. Great Interview Laurie! Fascinating as always.

    I don't want to love the alpha male, but you just have to sometimes. They walk into a room and command attention. There's something inherently sexy about that.

    Or maybe that's just me. Lol.


  22. What a great set of questions! My father branded the definition of an Alpha Male into my phsyche--ironically because I had no other choice. He's an Alpha even though he stands at 5'4'', and was bald by the time I was born. My mother says he USED to be quite attractive.

    But from experience I can honestly tell you that Alphas are proactive-thinkers, resourceful, intelligent and very observant. This means they prepare themselves mentally/physically so that they can face and conquer ANY type of situation. People around them feel secure, as though they will be taken care of, if need be. Alphas are quiet in a lot of ways, hard to please. Which must be the reason most people strive for approval from them.

    Alphas are also stubborn, opinionated and protective(of others, and of themselves emotionally). Because they are very, very confident of their own abilities, they can give off an arrogant impression to those who are unfamiliar with their minds.

    Challenging an Alpha (with honesty, with confidence, with how better to do something, etc.) will wind up creating one of the two results: either they respect you more for forcing them to understand your point of view/intelligence, or they will shred your standpoint as not being strong enough to override their own.

    The Alpha only opens up certain parts of himself to those people he either respects as equals, people who have qualities he would like to possess, people who strive to emulate him, or people who need help. In other words, he is a differenct kind of man to different people, and yet, he stays the same person to himself.

    Courtney Leigh

  23. Great interview, Laurie, and now I don't feel so bad about clearing my desk only four times a year lol.

    Alpha males simply hum. With almost every quality humans value - inner strength, wisdom, loyalty, sense of right, etc. They're never the ones who have to prove it or show it off; people simply know. Especially women. If they can stop drooling lol.


  24. My ideas of alpha males may come more from my background as a dog trainer than from my experience writing and reading romances. To me, an alpha male has all the qualities mentioned, but the most important thing about him is that he acts in the best interests of the group (even if the rest of the group doesn't agree with his approach). I picture him as the lead bird in a flock, taking the brunt of the wind on himself (assuming that isn't another one of those folk science factoids that turns out to be false).

    I don't think I've ever had an alpha male in my life.

  25. Hey, Laurie!
    Wonderful interview! :) And Suzanne Brockmann influenced you?? Wow, she did me as well. I read the book you mentioned in the interview and I agree. What an emotional story. But then, that's why I loooove Suzanne Brockmann. That and I think she writes fantastic alpha heros... LOL Seems she understands how the male mind ticks.

    So, let me all alphas have to be loud, machine gun toting, grenade throwing guys...or can you write an alpha that's quiet, internal, a know, like a computer nerd? LOL Have you seen the tv show Chuck? If so, what kind of a hero would you label him? Beta growing into an alpha? Hmmm...

    Big hugs and hope to see you again soon!

  26. Drat, wouldn't you know that the one night I'm suddenly DYING to go home and see my alpha husband -- thanks to all you folks :) -- I already booked dinner with a girlfriend?

    And what a cool question on whether an alpha can be the quiet-internal-planning time...that's gonna be fun to address!

  27. Hi Laurie!
    And for anyone who has not taken once of her classes you must do so. She is a great teacher! How do I recognize an alpha male? Hmmm...I would say a man who can make a room stop when he enters. Someone that people gravitate towards during any crisis. Sounds like a handy guy? I also, find in what I read and write that most alpha males also have the most flaws and room for growth as the story moves forward. Great interview Laurie!

    Natalie Cook Clark

  28. I can't say I'm a big fan of alpha males. They seem arrogant and thoughtless, like jerks much of the time. Maybe I have not met the right ones?


  29. Great interview, Laurie! An alpha male is one who is put on the planet to tick off Alpha females! I've known plenty, but I like the ones in my head the best. Tend to get too mouthy and in trouble with the real life ones. They're great for stories because they're just jam-packed with issues :)

  30. For me a true alpha know who he is and what he is capable of. He doesn't brag, or make fun of others, he doesn't need to put others down. A true alpha respects and protects other people, esp those he cares about. And he's a bad ass in what he does do if he's a cop, or a teacher, or a cook, or an scientist, and he knows it.
    My husband is a total alpha.

  31. Laurie, what an interesting interview!

    "How can you tell when someone is an alpha male?" They're the ones setting the tone and the pace.

    "Do you have any in your life?" My middle brother.

    "What are they like?" He's top dog at his workplace, and isn't happy unless he's leading the troops to "win" (be smart) at whatever goal they're working on. As an alpha female, I love challenging him/teasing him whenever possible. ;)

  32. More great comments coming in -- I like seeing the pros AND cons of having an alpha male around.

    Off to dinner, but I'll check back later tonight or tomorrow because it's SO helpful getting all these thoughts on alphas...thanks, everybody!

  33. Hi Laurie - am doing your fabulous course at the moment. Really loved the interview and getting to know you better - especially loved the bit about 'not cleaning the house!' That really resonates with me.

  34. Thank you Laurie for that enjoyable and insightful interview. I appreciated that you opened yourself up and let us glance into your world a bit. You seem to have a natural talent for making "real" people feel comfortable and welcome.

    For me, alpha males can wear that traditional white hat or sometimes that wicked black hat. I agree with the comments that suggest women are attracted to alpha males on a variety of levels, be it physical, emotional, or intellectual. They often seem to have a way of leaving you feeling like your mind is swimming while your heart has left for the Indianapolis 500; which may be even better than diving into a box of your favorite chocolates.

    The alphas in my life are the men that I know I can rely on, especially in crisis situations.

  35. AZ Laurie:
    What fun to read this blog. I have to concur with another writer... thank you for validating that a messy desk doesn't need to get "unmessy" - ever. How on earth can we be creative if our minds are cluttered with a cleaning and tidying list?

    The Alpha Male - put a guy in a uniform, give him a confident stance and look on his face and he's got me hooked. (Well, really only my own fireman gets hooked by me, but I love it when he walks through the door wearing that uniform!) Of course, inside they may end up being more beta, but first impressions will catch my attention. An Alpha male doesn't need to be controlling, but he does need to be able to take control if the need arises. There's a whole different sent of words to use for a guy who's controlling...

    Great blog!
    CT Laurie

  36. Loved the interview and the chance to learn more about you, Laurie. I think of an alpha male as the one guy you will allow to be in charge, no matter how pacifistic and un-alpha the rest of the world perceives him to be.

  37. Great interview, Laurie!

    I sure hope you offer the Alpha Male workshop online after the conference. It sounds like a great one.

    I have no idea how to recognize an alpha male, other than that they will be the leadesr and not the followers.

    I don't think I know any right now--most of the men I know are more Betas.

    Karen Saxon

  38. *looks in mirror and describes complete opposite*

    A guy who plans but doesn't fret, grooms but doesn't primp, empathizes...but only within a certain range, and can't figure out why anyone even cares if the toilet seat is up or down.

    I'd say I don't know any, but a couple family members snuck in under the toilet-seat clause.

    Great interview, Laurie. Thanks! (Vicky L)

  39. Laurie, great interview. I have your ennegram book and love it and took your workshop last year at the Tucson Festival of Books.
    Wow, I really enjoyed reading all the responses to this blog!
    I've had mostly beta males in my life but from a lot of the answers above it sound like a lot of the qualities my MOM has. You know, execpt for the male parts. She is definately an alpha FEMALE.


  40. Laurie,

    Your class is really making me think! Though I'm lurking, I'm completing all the assignments.

    My best friend and her husband live in Tucson and my husband and I visit almost every year. Next time, we'll have to take a side trip to Sedona. What an interesting story that must be--how your great-grandmother had a town named after her!

    I've always felt uncomfortable and indimidated around Alpha males, probably because my father was at the opposite end of the alphabet. Like Shannon's, my mother was the Alpha of our family.

    My husband, however, has a lot of Alpha tendencies around other people, but he's always been more Beta around me. Hmm. Wonder why?

    Ann Whitaker

  41. Is it possible for a woman to be the Alpha male?

  42. Oh, gosh, what fun to come home and find all these great comments and questions! Women can be alphas, yes, absolutely...although we can probably all agree they never leave the toilet seat up. :)

    Karen, your wish is coming true -- this WILL be an online class in June. Rach & Sherril, I'm glad you're enjoying the current one! Ann, the story of how Sedona was named IS fun and I'll post that tomorrow because this post is getting so long.

    Thanks, EVERYBODY who commented today...I'm saving all of these!

    Laurie, headed off to bed (ah, what a glamorous lifestyle...)

  43. I'm late, but wanted to chirp in. Happy to hear this will become an online class.
    About alpha male: Leader of the pack even when he doesn't ask for it or want it. -- Tanja

  44. Hi, Luarie!

    Alpha males-I married into a whole family of them. I was a little overwhelmed when I met them (all at once at a party).
    They are all men who are comfortable in their own skin, and are protective of what and whom they care about. They are strong, intelligent, independant, and yet they are also compassionate.

    Laurie-I loved your workshop in Columbus!


  45. Oh, I love those alpha males!!! I think the best characteristic of the AM is his protectiveness. All that strength honed into one focus--protect the heroine and the people he cares about. It can make him single-minded and seem closed off, but when danger strikes, he jumps to do battle for those he loves. That gets me every time.

  46. Laurie,
    Hey how are you? :0 I'd love to be at your Alpha Male workshop, but alas can't make it to the conference. But, I can answer your questions. I have had alpha males in my life, but even more often a combo of the alpha and beta. My father was definitely alpha, though when it came to babies, he was a total beta. :) He was a cop. I think for a lot of women what makes an alpha male is more a visceral thing. Alpha males often project more than physical power. Their sexuality may be simmering on the surface and it calls to what is primal in the female psyche. To me money has nothing to do with it. A man with a total sense of self-confidence and determination can certainly project it. A protective man can project it. When I'm writing alpha males I have to skate the line between too alpha and make certain beta is in their personality as well. They can't be a jerk, but they can stand up for those they love. My hubby is alpha in his job, but beta with me. :) Hope to see ya soon, Laurie, and have a great workshop!

    Denise A. Agnew

  47. Hi, Laurie,

    Great interview! I always learn something from you.

    As for alpha males, one that stands out to me is an ex-boss of mine. He had an awesome presence, a physical, commanding strength that people felt without his even saying a word.


  48. How COOL -- I'm loving these definitions! Tanja, you're not late at all. :( Di, I'm so glad you enjoyed the workshop (I'm still missing Ohio).

    Jennifer, congratulations on your latest NYT title! Denise, sorry you won't be here in April...Barbara, hoping you will be. :)

    Laurie, off to the Glendale Chocolate Affaire and vowing NOT to go overboard on fudge -- yeah, sure, right

  49. Laurie, great interview! I even learned a few new tidbits about you. I can't wait for your Alpha Male workshop. I write mostly Betas, but every once in a while an Alpha will slip in there. ;-)

    Have fun at the Chocolate Affaire! Have some fudge for me, too.


  50. Hi Laurie,

    I'm thinking I know an alpha male when all the other males around look to him as a leader -- you know like Otter in Animal House. I have definitely known these guys (believe it or not, politicians are often in the class and police officers, as others have mentioned). I've found that these guys make lady's panties fly off. Yet, both women and men still like them. Go figure.


  51. Okay, before I do that random-number-generator thing, first the promised story of how Sedona got its name.

    My dad's grandparents created a scandal in turn-of-the-century Missouri when they married each other...imagine the horror of a wedding between (gasp) a Presbyterian and a Methodist!

    They decided to move out west, and because their house near Oak Creek Canyon was big enough to accommodate new settlers just getting started, great-grandpa Carl became sort of a town father.

    He got the honor of choosing the name for the first post office, and chose "Schnebly Hill Station." But the US Postal Service replied that, when paired with "Arizona Territory," THAT name was too big to fit on a cancellation stamp.

    Time to come up with something shorter. So Carl's brother suggested, "Why don't you name it for your wife?" And, voila, done deal.

    The cool thing was that when Sedona married Carl, people in her hometown didn't expect him to turn out well. Her sister Lily married golden-boy Loring, and people joked that Lily and Dona's father had "100 sons-in-law, because Loring is #1, and Carl is 00." (Apparently, during the 1890s, this was the height of scathing wit.)

    As it turned out, though, Loring wound up doing time in Leavenworth for embezzlement. And good old double-zeroes Carl made Sedona a famous name. Gotta love a happy ending!

  52. First off, THANKS to everybody who sent alpha-male've made the conference's Alpha Male workshop a much better event!

    (Anybody who wants the online version can get the scoop from my once-a-month post of upcoming workshops: just email )

    And now, for our prize drawing to win your choice of either the enneagram book at
    or the class "His Personality Ladder" at -- came up with #43, which belongs to Tanja.

    Congratulations, Tanja, and email me via my website about which you want!

    Laurie, who REALLY appreciates all the posts you folks have sent :)

  53. Hi Laurie! I have to say I LOVE your Enneagrams book. Abe to Zeus sounds like a must have, too. I have also heard your synopsis class in legendary. I am a huge fan.

  54. Great story about the naming of Sedona. Thanks for telling us!