Teaser Tuesday – Rodeo Sweetheart

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:
“Sam studied her mother’s scribbled notes in the margain of the ledger book. If only she could tell her mom her plan to save the ranch she would, but the timing was more than a little off. As soon as Angie heard the words bull and rodeo, she’d go berserk–even under the best of circumstances.”
pg. 70  – Rodeo Sweetheart by Betsy St. Amant

– I’m super-excited about this new book from my friend Betsy. She’s a super-fast writer, which is good news for her fans who are getting books in rapid succession. Rodeo Sweetheart doesn’t disappoint! It’s on sale on Thursday, so don’t miss out. I’ll share more of my thoughts on it next week.

rodeo-sweetheart

Monday Movie – How to Train Your Dragon

I wouldn’t say that dragons are really my thing. I mean, I like them as much as the next girl, but I’m not exactly what you’d call a dragon enthusiast. Which is why it caught me completely off guard when I geeked out over How to Train Your Dragon hitting movie theaters this weekend.

how-to-train-your-dragon-movie

I mean–sure, I first heard about it because I was looking up what movies Gerard Butler was coming up in. And then I found out that Craig Ferguson voices a character, too, in the animated romp. What’s not to love about 2 of my 3 favorite Scottish guys in the same movie? (I’ll give you 1 guess who the 3rd Scotsman is.)

I was excited, but it wasn’t until I started watching the Olympics in February and watching the reimagined contests set in the Viking era that I realized the potential of this highly amusing cast of characters.

how-to-train-your-dragon-bookBased on the book by Cressida Cowell (which I haven’t read but would really, really like to), this is the story of Hiccup, a Viking who just doesn’t fit in with the other dragon-slaying members of his little village. On a regular basis, dragons of various shapes and sizes attack the village, stealing sheep and various human limbs. Hiccup’s father, the chief (and our own Gerry Butler), has raised him to fear all dragons.

But being a bit smaller and more inclined to inventions than the average Viking, Hiccup tries to bring down the most feared and powerful dragon known to their village–the night fury. And he manages to do just that! But grounding it doesn’t kill the dragon. Going against everything that he knows to be true, Hiccup releases the injured animal and the two form a special, if tenuous, friendship.

This friendship is just what Hiccup needs to help him through his dragon slaying classes. But ultimately it leads them to the realization that there’s a danger much bigger than the night fury waiting for them all.

The humor is spot-on with great one-liners. The animation is beautiful. And while I didn’t see it in 3D (the glasses over my glasses thing never works that well), I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a classic boy and his dragon story–with a touching father/son relationship in there, too.

I had hoped that I might be able to watch it with my oldes niece at some point, but it’s definitely a bit scary–fire-breathing dragons and all. But it’s great for the older kids and the kids at heart.

I hope you enjoy it as much as did! And if I can get a copy of the book, I’ll tell you more about that in the near future, too! Until then. -LJ

Friday Favorite – Craftie Ladies of Suspense

Fellow Love Inspired Suspense author Pamela Tracy invited me to start blogging with other LIS authors at the Craftie Ladies of Suspense blog. I’ve never written a blog in a group like this, so it’s kind of fun and exciting for me. Check out my first post here, and visit often for fun, stories, and wisdom from some pretty amazing writers (that would be the others, not me). I’ll be sharing my thoughts every three weeks, so if you just can’t get enough of me here (yeah, right!), visit me over there.

Let me tell you about my night …

I’m sitting on a king size bed, watching Craig Ferguson, and eating peanut m&m’s. What’s not to love about this night?

Quite a bit, it turns out.

So you want to hear my story? Well, it started a couple hours ago–when my flight landed at Denver International Airport. Not my airport of choice, but it was a last-minute deal, and it was much cheaper to fly out of Denver. So I did. So when I returned, we landed. Barely. Apparently the snow had started–for those of you not in the Rocky Mountains, that would be the Official Spring Snow Guaranteed to Ruin Your Week.

As I stood around waiting with every other person at DIA for our bags to be unloaded, I noticed that things were getting shifty outside. Visibility seemed okay, but the snow was coming down fast. And I–being apparently new to Colorado–didn’t have a jacket with me because it was 50 degrees when I left. Of course it was.

I got to my car in long-term parking via a bus packed like a sardine can. And when it dropped me off at row DD, I had to fight the snow drifts to row AA. Not far, you’d think, except, the only tennis shoes I brought were my purple Chuck Taylors. Love ’em. But they’re not made for snow. Especially the 6 inches I had to brush off my car.

Thankfully it actually started. (Not so, the last time I came back to a parked car the airport.) So, I decided I would start driving and see what happened. Turned out I couldn’t see much of anything. Visibility on the road was okay, but I’m so unfamiliar with Denver that I couldn’t see or find a place to pull off the interstate to stop for the night.

The snow kept coming, so I figured, if I just stayed on the interstate, we were all going slow enough that maybe I could make it to at least Castle Rock, about halfway between Denver and the Springs. Bad call.

I ended up in traffic that moved far too much like an inch worm. And then, I decided I was just going to pull off the interstate at Lincoln Ave. Except, as I swerved to get off on the exit, I saw a sign–mostly concealed by snow–that I25 was closed from Lincoln to Greenwood. I don’t know where Greenwood is, and I wasn’t going to find out tonight.

I noticed a Marriott Hotel at the exit, so I drove over there, pulling into what I thought was an empty, if very snowy, parking spot. I hurried inside and of course they were completely sold out, and all of the hotels they recommended were out of rooms. They recommended heading back up the interstate and seeing if there was anything north.

I hurried out to my car, and for some reason just felt like I needed to pray that my car would make it out of the snow drift I’d parked in. Apparently God’s answer was “not right away.” It turns out, in my haste, I parked on a median in the parking lot, and I couldn’t get my car out of it! I literally had to flag down the guy driving the snow plow to help push me out. It was wild! It took several minutes of he and his wife pushing and me flooring it. We rocked the car a couple times, and finally it broke free. I burned some major rubber and did some disrupting of the landscaping under all that snow. Mr. Snow Plow was so, so, so kind! Where ever he and his wife are, I pray they are rewarded for their kindness.

A little fishtailing along the overpass, and I made it back onto the interstate going north. It was me and two truckers tooling down the road. It was idiotic, but I just needed a place to stop and stay warm over night. I stopped at another hotel, only to find out that it was out of rooms too. I pulled into the hotel next door. It was full too. But they were at least able to direct me to the Quality Inn just down the street, which still had open rooms. As I pulled up to the Quality Inn, I just prayed there was still an empty.

Praise the Lord, there was one. And they were so kind. They gave me a room, have a free breakfast, and have very reasonable rates.

Now my shoes are sitting in front of the heater–I hope drying by morning– and my jeans, which are soaked almost to the knee are drying in the shower. I’ve had several glasses of water and some peanut m&m’s and am feeling much better. I’m warm and dry and safe. And just so thankful.

I think work will be closed tomorrow. But I’m not sure I’ll make it home until Thursday. The snow is building up, and it just piles up, pushing my little car around the road. I can’t wait until the roads are clear enough to navigate my way home. I miss my own bed. But until then, I’m very thankful just to have a place to rest my head out of the snow and wind.

Thanks to my dad and Amy for taking my worried phone calls at various points along my trip. I appreciate every one’s prayers along the way.

I’m not sure what God was trying to teach me through all this, but I’ve got the gratitude thing in overdrive right now.

Friends Off, Daylight Savings Time!

Dear Daylight Savings Time,
While it pains me to say this, I must tell you that we can no longer be friends. You wooed me with an extra hour of sleep one night last fall. Your generosity made me fall head over heels, as I tucked into bed for another hour. I just knew that you understood me and my need for sleep, and I thought we could be BFFs.

And then this weekend, you rudely and cruelly stole that hour back? Why would you do such a thing? Don’t you understand that I needed that hour, and I’d like another 2 or 3 over the next month?

Next fall you’ll probably try to make up with me and give me another hour, but I’m onto you. Oh, I’ll be tempted to accept your offer of renewed friendship, but I won’t be fooled again!

All I have to say is FRIENDS OFF!!!

That is all,
LJ

Re-JECTED!

How do you deal with rejection?

I’ve recently been rejected. And not even by a boy. (That would imply that there had been a boy in my life to reject me. But I’m not bitter. 🙂 But I digress …)

Rejection is part of every author’s life, and after 2 recent rejections by publishers, I guess I’m really part of the writing club. But it doesn’t make it any easier to have a publisher say (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Lovely story, but we don’t like you, so we’re not going to offer you any money for your book. In fact, even if you paid us, we wouldn’t publish your manuscript, giving it covers and offering it to bookstores everywhere so people coule acutally read it. We think if we did that, buyers would be more likely to line their cat litter boxes with the pages than read it.”

I may have exagerated slightly here, but you get the picture.

So quite recently I’ve received news that 2 major publishers have rejected 2 different proposals, submitted by my agent on my behalf. This rejection isn’t unlike being rejected by a cute boy you’d like to date or not getting the job that you’ve dreamed of.

So how do you deal with rejection?

Seriously. I need your input.

Friday Favorite – EW’s Best 10 TV Shows Right Now!

A recent issue of Entertainment Weekly highlighted what they consider THE 10 BEST TV SHOWS RIGHT NOW!

entertainment-weekly-coverHere they are in order:
1. The Good Wife (CBS)
2. Breaking Bad (AMC)
3. Lost (ABC)
4. Friday Night Lights (NBC)
5. Fringe (FOX)
6. Modern Family (ABC)
7. Glee (FOX)
8. Southland (TNT)
9. Damages (FX)
10. Caprica (SYFY)

Of all these “great” shows, I only watch two of them regularly. Of course, I’ve told you about my love for Friday Night Lights, which is just a brilliant character study, and I can’t wait for the new season to start in April on NBC. Those of you with Direct TV have already had a chance to watch it, but the rest of us with regular cable are on pins and needles. 🙂

And the other show that I watch on this list? Well, it’s actually The Good Wife.

I wasn’t actually interested in watching this show when I first heard about it. A show about the wife of a politician involved in a sex scandal? No thanks. I get enough of that in the news. I’m not really interested in more.

Or so I thought.

But after one episode, I was hooked. How could I not be? Julianna Margulies as the wronged wife Alicia Florrick and Chris Noth as former state’s attorney Peter Florrick offer layered and intricate performances. Josh Charles (a favorite from Sports Night) plays Alicia’s boss, a partner at the law firm that is the scene of Alicia’s return to law after 15 years away. And might he be a love interest? Only time will tell, but I kind of hope so.

Dynamic performances by supporting cast members Christine Baranski and Matt Czuchry (Gilmore Girls) and interesting stories make this a wonderful procedural. Add in the drama and heart of Alicia’s personal struggle to forgive and embrace her husband, and the show becomes absolutely fabulous!

So those are my two shows on the list. Which ones do you watch? What do you think should have made the top 10 that didn’t?

Being Thankful

So, I got some big news today. I mean HUGE news. And it was good GREAT news too. So why did I immediately jump to the hyperventilating/completely stressed out portion of the program?

Why is it that when I get big news my first thought is, can I really handle this? What if I fail? What if I [fill in the blank here]?

So this afternoon, amidst my frantic hunt for a paper bag to breathe into, I get a message from my good and very wise friend Katie. It says, “If you want God to not bless you so much … that’s lame.”

It is lame. Thank you Katie for reminding me that my first response should always be thankfulness for God’s amazing blessings. I continue to be floored by His goodness in my life. I don’t deserve any of this, and God’s grace is so incredible! So from here on out, I plan to be thankful first. Freak out later. 🙂

Oh, and that news? Just a little call from my agent saying that my publisher has offered a contract on my next book.

And me? I still have to write the whole thing. By July.

Thankful first. Freak out later.

The Short and Long of It

Will someone please explain to me why two pairs of jeans, identical in brand, cut, and size can be so different in length? I purchased a pair of dark wash jeans at Kohl’s recently. I loved them. Very comfy. And with the new policy at my place of employment allowing employees to wear jeans every day, I decided to pick up a second pair of the same jeans. (If you’re a guy and don’t understand this, sorry.)

But for some reason, even after washing said second pair of jeans, I didn’t bother to pull them out of my closet. Until last week.

At which point, I realized that my second pair of jeans is a solid three inches longer than the first pair of jeans. I didn’t realize how short my first pair was until I tried on the second. Oh, the delusion!

Am I the only one with these jean troubles?

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