A “humorous” bio–how funny should it be?

I’ve got a secret.

I can’t tell you what this is for, but I’ve been asked by the organizers of a certain event to provide them with “a bio, preferably humorous, that we can use for the press releases.” (Don’t ask me what it’s for yet. I can’t tell for a couple of weeks. But you’ll be the first to know. Don’t even guess out loud, or I’ll put a hex on your U-joint. And keep a positive thought that it turns out to get used at all.)

Anyway, I started making up a crazy fake bio, like the ones Harlan Ellison did for several of his anthologies (and I think Neil Gaiman did them for some of his anthologies, too.) I guess I kind of misread the line “humorous bio” as “silly fake bio.” I did put SOME reality into it, but maybe I put too much silliness into it. However, there you go.

Or anyway, HERE you go. I thought maybe y’all would take a look at it and scream, er, screen it for me.
“Like many homegrown Texas humorists, Shalanna Collins is not funny. Novelist, pianist, belly dancer, baton twirler (but no fire batons ever again, by order of the Renner, Texas, Volunteer Fire Brigade and Texas Hold ‘Em Players), high priestess of Paul McCartney, and amateur radio operator, she has published nothing of interest except on her pathetic little weblog (not a “diary”–diaries pretend to some version of the truth, and writers don’t hold with strict veracity. We prefer stories. They make more sense.)

A graduate of Southern Methodist University (many years after Laura Bush), Shalanna has worked as a software engineer, Dairy Queen soft-serve cone maker (she perfected that little twirl on the top of the dipped cone), math tutor, and most recently head quality-control supervisor at the banana factory*–but at every job, she subverted the paradigm and secretly recorded the bosses’ conversations to use in her horror stories. (* Okay, I made up that bit about the banana factory to make myself sound cool.)

She has been writing since she could hold a crayon. She started with fiction, which Mama said was “lying,” so she was frequently spanked (forty lashes with a wet tortilla). Consequently, she can twist a fact in the service of her biased claims until it screams for diplomatic immunity. Elected a permanent member of the Cool Kids for her stellar recipe for Toasted Tangerines-avec-Brie, she is currently at work on a series of cozy mysteries as well as on various works of literary genius. Last month she experienced her big showbiz break when she shouted, “Pick me, ya croptop jarhead!” at Drew Carey from the studio audience of “The Price is Right.” She and her husband live happily in a northern suburb of Dallas, Texas, with their two beloved pets: a yappy Pomeranian and Shalanna’s elderly mother.

She collects Benchley first editions and patterned paper towels. Her favorite foods are curried yak and French fries. She knows (but is not telling) a plethora of alchemical and occult secrets. Homeland Security has identified her as a person of interest.
–suppose that is simply TOO over-the-top?

It *is* supposed to be somewhat wacky or whatnot, but I don’t want to be a lamer, like those rock bands who have the really off-the-wall fake bios on their websites. . . .


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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