Friday Favorite – Birthday Presents

I love birthdays, and the presents that go along with them. I love giving gifts, and I love getting them. But since last weekend was my birthday, it was my turn to get presents. My friends and family were immensly generous with me, and I was absolutely floored by their thoughtfulness. My family and friends made sure I was stocked up on seasons of Robin Hood and Burn Notice and lots of gift cards.

But there were two gifts that really stood out to me as expectionally thoughtful. 

First, my friend Judy Dyson surprised me with a gift that was more for my book release than for my birthday with a gift that made me cry. She’d arranged to have her brother-in-law paint the cover of my book on a large scale. When I first met Willy, I threw my arms around him to thank him. It’s the most beautiful painting because of the love and thoughtfulness behind it. Here’s me and Willy at my last signing in Yuma.

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Thank you, Judy and Willy! I love it!

Then after my return to Colorado Springs, I jumped back into work and nearly forgot that I’d just had a birthday. But on Wednesday morning, Jess B., writing buddy-extraordinaire came to my office first thing in the morning with a wrapped gift and said I should open it immediately … so I opened it and found …

Well … let me tell a quick story first. You see, Jess was the one who originally suggested to me that Adam Baldwin would be the perfect guy to “play” Myles Borden, the hero in The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn. As soon as she said his name, I knew that he was the right guy! Adam of Chuck and Firefly was the perfect model for Myles.

So Jess headed to San Diego last week for ComiCon, and she mentioned that she might try to get in line to meet Adam. I hooted and swooned appropriately. Then Jess suggested I might sign a copy of my book to Adam and she’d try to slip it to him. What a wonderful idea! I signed him a copy of the book that said something like “Dear Adam, you’re my hero. No seriously. I modeled the hero of my book after you. Love your work!”

When I first saw Jess on Tuesday after her return, I asked if she’d gotten a chance to give Adam my book, she said she’d just had time to slip it to him, and the line was moving fast, so he hadn’t said anything. Totally understandable, so I thanked her and promptly moved on.

So back to my office and Jess’ present. A little card on the front said, “About yesterday, I lied.” Huh? I was confused. Until I opened the gift and found an 8×10 framed copy of this picture:

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It’s Adam Baldwin! Holding a copy of my book! He’s holding MY BOOK! Giving it a thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!!

To say I squealed would be an understatement. And the gift wasn’t even over. Jess had him sign a copy of my book back to me. “To Liz, Keep up the great works!!!!!” Oh, gosh! I can’t breathe, just remembering it! 🙂

Turns out Jess totally had time to give him my book that I signed for him, and he was excited about it.

Jess, you absolutely rock! This is one of the most complex and thoughtfully planned gifts I’ve ever gotten.

Hoping you all get amazing birthday presents until next time. -LJ

Teaser Tuesday – Ransome’s Honor

teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:
* Grab your current read
* Let the book fall open to a random page
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
* Please avoid spoilers!

This week’s teaser is:
“Her cheeks burned under his intense gaze like an inexperienced girl at her debut. She clenched her teeth and tried to control her rising anxiety, but her hand trembled when she reached out to place it in William’s as they joined another couple in a circle.”
pg. 172 – Ransome’s Honor by Kaye Dacus

– I’m absolutely adoring this Jane Austen era book about Julia Witherington who doesn’t receive the expected proposal from William Ransome and promises not to ever care about him again. But when their paths cross again, all bets are off. This is the first in a new series from Kaye, and I can’t wait to finish this one and read the others in the next few years. I bet you’ll love it, too!

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Friday Favorite – The Unexpected

I love being home and visiting my family in Arizona, and one of my favorite parts is that you never know what the little girls are going to do.

Earlier this week, I walked over to see my sister and her family. They live just a couple houses down from my parents. I get there, step inside and kick off my shoes. I set my purse down next to my shoes and wandered off to talk to my sister and her husband and my oldest niece. We were laughing and chatting, when all of a sudden, my sister asked, “Where’s Rachel?”

We ducked our head around looking for her, and there, right by the front door, we saw this scene:

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Yes, that’s my purse. Yes, that’s everything that was inside my purse, now out on the floor. 🙂 She’d even opened up my wallet and had my debit card waving in the breeze. (FYI, that pink microphone–not mine. Rachel brough that to the party.)

Back in Colorado I don’t have to worry about Amy taking my purse and dumping out all of its contents on the floor. I forget the little girls do things a little differently. And it’s a hoot!

Sure missing the wee ones when I’m not in AZ until next time. -LJ

Teaser Tuesday – Amelia and the Outlaw

teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:
* Grab your current read
* Let the book fall open to a random page
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
* Please avoid spoilers!

This week’s teaser is:
“But now he wasn’t nearly as dangerous as the girl who stood before him. All she had to do was snap her fingers, and he’d be back behind prison walls.'”
pg. 49 – Amelia and the Outlaw by Lorraine Heath

– I haven’t actually started this book yet, but I’m super-excited to start it tonight. It’s another YA–just for teens. Just my kind of book. 🙂

amelia-and-the-outlaw

Monday Movie – Beauty and the Beast

So last night I asked my mom if she wanted to watch a movie with me. Bonding … you know. She asked me what I wanted to watch. Umm … Why does she have to ask such tough questions?

Well, my niece and I have been talking about watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast this week–trouble is, we can’t find a copy to watch. I didn’t bring mine to Arizona, and I can’t seem to find one to rent, so I’m having trouble getting to watch this with her this week.

So last night, my mom suggests we watch an old Beauty and the Beast video that she had taped off TV years ago. This was on a VHS, if that tells you anything. Mom tells me she remembers enjoying the movie, so we popped it in.

Maybe the cover will give you a sense of the style of the this 1987 film.

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 So the movie started, and I was wide awake. The movie continued a little bit, and I started laughing at the really bad acting. And it continued a little more, and I was roaring. But then my mom starts looking a little bit hurt. So I felt bad. Afterall, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and I’m definitely guilty of picking a dud.

So I piped down and sat through the rest of the movie. I laughed internally at the plot that didn’t make good sense … Beauty tells Beast every night that she doesn’t love him and won’t marry him. But the build up to her actually loving him–sort of nonexistant. And I fought sleep at every moment, but I won, and stayed awake the whole movie.

After the movie, I couldn’t hold in my guffaws when mom said, “Well, at least I got a bit of a nap in.” Apparently mom lost the battle, but at least she agrees with me that the movie was a bit lame–I may have called it an “epic-fail”–and she won’t make me watch it again. 🙂

Looking for new movies to bond with mom over until next time. -LJ

Friday Favorite – Camy Tang

I thought it would be fun today to share an interview I did recently with Camy Tang, another Steeple Hill author.

Camy, your first books are chick lits published by Zondervan. How does writing romantic suspense for Steeple Hill differ from your previous books?
It’s actually a really big mental change for me when writing romantic suspense versus chick lit. I have to “set the stage,” so to speak-I watch a bunch of CSI TV shows, play suspenseful music, and darken my office a bit. Even then, it sometimes takes a little while to get into the mindset of writing suspense instead of humor. I love writing both, so that must mean I have multiple personalities!

Tell us a little bit about your new book Deadly Intent.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
SCENE OF THE CRIME

The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation-not murder! Then Naomi Grant finds her deadly-intentclient Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, and everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake…and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect-Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn…and whom can she trust?

Who’s your favorite character in this book? Why?
That’s like asking who’s my favorite child! I picture Alex O’Loughlin (from the canceled TV show Moonlight, who’s also got a new series coming out this year called Three Rivers) as my hero, Dr. Devon Knightley, so it was fun to picture his handsome face as I wrote his scenes!

Why did you set the book in the Sonoma Valley?
I love Sonoma! I enjoy visiting the wineries, especially with my dad when he visits me in California. I’ve seen some absolutely beautiful countryside as I drive through Sonoma and even further north toward Geyserville, and I just knew I wanted to set a story there.

Where were you/what were you doing when you got the call that Steeple Hill wanted a contract on Deadly Intent?
It wasn’t very dramatic, I was on the computer when my agent called. LOL I promptly emailed everyone I knew!

It’s Girls Night Out, and you’re next in line at karaoke. What’re you going to sing?
If I’ve had a glass of wine, you probably don’t want me to! LOL One song I really love is “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, so I’d probably sing that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGlvZ3uYRB0)

If you could “borrow” one character from a movie, TV show, or another book for your current WIP, who would it be? Why?
Actually, I already did! I love Horatio Caine from CSI:Miami because he combines his own brand of “don’t mess with me” with moments of true compassion. So I “borrowed” him for Deadly Intent as Detective Carter! I also waved Naomi’s aunt Becca at him as a love interest. 🙂

camy_tang_pinkwebIf you had a Saturday all to your self-no deadlines, no commitments, no hubby (he’s off with his friends)-what’s the first thing you’d do?
Knit! And listen to audiobooks or watch a movie. I like doing lace knitting with audiobooks because I can pay attention to the intricate charts while still enjoying a good read!

What’s one bad habit that you have that you’ll never give to one of your characters?
I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t clean my house as often as I should. Since I don’t have kids, it doesn’t get “messy,” and if it’s not obviously dirty, I just don’t think to sweep or vacuum. I think if I gave that habit to a heroine, the reader wouldn’t like her very much!

Thanks for having me here, Liz!

Thanks for joining us today!

A little more about Camy Tang:
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own…), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away ten boxes of books and 30 copies of her latest release, DEADLY INTENT.

GIVEAWAY!!! *bells and whistles*
And Camy has graciously agreed to giveaway a copy of her book. So leave a comment here with your favorite karaoke song, and you’ll be entered to win Deadly Intent. I’ll pick a winner next Friday.

If you don’t win or just can’t wait, you can pick up a copy of Camy’s book at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and CBD.com.

Happy reading until next time. -LJ

Teaser Tuesday – Deadly Intent

teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:
* Grab your current read
* Let the book fall open to a random page
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
* Please avoid spoilers!

This week’s teaser is:
“She’d spoken to him–for hours, at each Zoe dinner. He couldn’t be involved in this nasty business, could he?'”
pg. 49 – Deadly Intent by Camy Tang

– Totally enjoying Camy Tang’s new book–available today! (And don’t forget mine is available today, too!) Check out my interview her and a book giveaway on Friday. Yay!

deadly-intent

Monday Movie – Or Not

Okay, so today, I would have shared with you my thoughts on Transformers 2, which I saw with Amy a couple days ago. Problem is, it was terrible! I so wanted to enjoy it because I’m a big fan of the first Transformers movie. But this sequel … well, it was just so hard to follow. Filled with too many autobots and decepticons to the point that I couldn’t tell them apart anymore. The plot is lost in an too much action, and the the human characters become second-class to the robots. Apparently several of the guys I know who have seen it, loved it. Not me. Or Amy for that matter.

So instead of my full-fledged movie report, I present more TKOKT publicity. 🙂 Both the Yuma Sun (my hometown newspaper) and the Colorado Springs Gazette ran articles about TKOKT this weekend. Check out the articles here:
Yuma Sun
Colorado Springs Gazette

Having a hard time grasping the fact that my first novel officially releases on Tuesday until next time. -LJ

The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn on Shelves!

So I went to my local Barnes and Noble today, just to browse. Right. To browse. That’s our story, and we’re going to stick with it. 🙂

And I stumbled upon quite an interesting little find.

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Yes, yes. I did put my books face out. And I called my mom. And I was in such a good mood I bought 3 new books. Hehe.

Can’t wait until I see my book on another shelf until next time. -LJ