Friday Favorite – Stuff Christians Like

I like funny things. Comedies, comedians, and comic strips. I love them all. And I especially love humor that relates to my life.

Enter Stuff Christians Like, a tongue-in-cheek blog about … you guessed it … stuff Christians like. Author Jon Acuff shares daily humor about life in the American Christian culture.  One of my first and favorite posts is titled: Understanding how metrosexual your worship leader is. (A Handy Guide) The quiz helps you gauge the worship leader at your church based on his hair cut and product, choice of facial hair, and the trendiness of his eyewear.

And then there are serious Wednesdays, when Jon offers his unique commentary on slightly more serious issues.

Smart and funny, these blog posts tickle me, I think because this blog takes topics familiar to the churches I’ve attended through the years, and makes them funnier and more outrageous than I first thought.

Now, I think it should be said, that Jon is a Christian. He’s not hating on Christ or Christians, but rather putting a satirical twist on the culture that has emerged in today’s church. And he’s really very funny!

When characters shift shapes …

Right this very minute I’m supposed to be writing a book. Specifically my third book, which is tentatively titled Code of Justice.

Now I think it’s only fair to point out that I’m actually not writing it. Because, clearly I’m writing this blog. Funny how that works.

So my new hero is named Jeremy, and from the moment he popped into my mind he looked far too much like James Franco for his own good. I’ve always thought James is quite an attractive guy.

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But the more I’ve been writing, the more I’ve been thinking that Jeremy just doesn’t look much like James. Jeremy smiles far too often and is just a bit too goofy. He jokes and teases and is generally unlike nearly every charcter I’ve ever seen James play. I just couldn’t get them to line up in my mind, even though I still like James and think he’s an amazing actor.  

But how could I possibly replace James? Who could step in in my mind as a Jeremy look-a-like?

Last night it hit my like lightning. Meet Michael Trucco.

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He’s had lots of roles on shows like One Tree Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and more. I first saw him in an endearing role in the Lifetime made for TV movie, Perfect Romance. This guy sets my heart to buzzing, and I know he’ll make a better Jeremy in my mind.

There’s a little sneak peek into my next project, due on shelves in Spring 2011. Due to my editor much sooner than that! So I’m back to work.

Teaser Tuesday – Woods Runner

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:
” They had been taken away. They had not been killed. He clung to that thought–they had not been killed.”
pg. 29  – Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

– Penned by Gary Paulsen, award-winning author of Hatchet and other books for young adults, Woods Runner is the incredible story of 13-year-old Samuel, who lives in the British colony of Pennsylvania in 1776. When his parents are kidnapped by Indians and British redcoats, he tracks them through the woods that have become his home. Will he be able to rescue them in time? I’m loving this historical, rich with detail and quite a unique voice. Especially recommended for young guys, who are harder to find books for.

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Friday Favorite – Old Friends

Nothing puts the importance of good friends on your mind like having to start over. When I recently moved across the country for a new job, I knew a grand total of 3 people in Nashville. Yup. Just 3. So on top of starting a new job, finding a new church (among the 14,000 located  in the 2 miles between my home and office), and trying to write a book, I have to make new friends.

Now, before you go thinking that the people here are mean,  they’re not. They’re like the opposite of mean. Which is kind and generous and fun and really very cool. Some very nifty folks have invited me out to lunches, joined me for flood clean up days, and welcomed me with open arms to a small group Bible study, even though I hadn’t even been to their church yet. I like the people here, and I’m sure that very shortly, I will become very good friends with many of them.

But this interim thing is killing me!

I spend most of my day overanalyzing the littlest thing, to the point that I’m not even sure I’m actually acting like myself most of the time. I worry about saying the right thing. Doing the right thing. Wearing the right thing.

What if I don’t watch the right tv shows? Or we don’t have anything in common? Will I be lonely forever? Will anyone ever join me for an all-day Jane Austen-a-thon again? Will anyone come visit my desk claiming it’s just to say hi, but really it’s to visit the chocolate-filled moose?

Heavy questions, that I’m sure I needn’t worry about. I know that to make a friend, you have to be a friend. But the making takes time. Memories build life-long friendships, and I haven’t had time to make many here yet.

For that reason, I want to give a shout-out to all of my old friends. To my Captain Wentworth-loving, miniature golf-playing, Pioneer Woman queso-eating (and making), killer uno-winning, fool-proof plan-plotting friends, I love you and I miss you! You’ll always be favorites in my book!

Monday Movie – Letters to Juliet

Okay, so I know … it’s been FOREVER since I posted a Monday Movie. But it’s not my fault. Okay. Okay. It’s completely my fault. But I do have a good reason. I haven’t had time to actually watch a movie in quite a few weeks. Lame. I know. But what’s a girl to do? First there was moving across the country, then the actual moving in thing. Then there’s this whole deadline thingy for my next book, starting a new job, and trying to help out with flood relief.

Excuses? Totally. But I hope they’re valid enough for you. So … I’m sorry. I’ll try not to let it happen again. For a while.

On with the review!

On Sunday afternoon I went to see my first movie since moving to Nashville (unless you count How to Train Your Dragon with my dad several weeks ago, but I didn’t really consider myself officially living here yet). First, let me just say that I was checking out a pretty new theater a few miles from my house. It was a wet and rainy day, so after church I figured it was a great day to be indoors.

The theater wasn’t very busy, when I got there at noon, and I realized why as soon as I got up to the ticket window. My earliest matinee price? $7.50!!!!!!!!!!! What? The Cinemark Theaters back in Colorado Springs had matinees for $6.75 and the earliest show of the day for most movies was only $5.50 or something wonderful like that. When did tickets become to expensive? I mean, we all know they make their real money at the consession stand, so why not give us a break at ticket window?

But I digress. I paid all that money and even made a trip to the snack bar for a little popcorn, which I ate for lunch even though it was a tad on the burnt side. And I drank a medium soda … which was a bad idea about 3/4 of the way through the movie.

Anyway, so I’m in the pretty swanky, nearly empty theater with a rocking seat (no, literally it rocked). The previews were pretty lame, but I was getting really psyched. I’d been waiting for Letters to Juliet to come out since I first saw the preview months ago. It’s very clear from just the preview, that this is a classic chick flick, and it didn’t disappoint.

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Sophie is a fact-checker/would-be writer for the New Yorker magazine who goes on vacation to Italy with her fiance Victor. He’s there to meet with suppliers for his new restaurant. She’s there to sight see and spend time together. So when Victor leaves for a wine auction, Sophie explores the city of Verona, where Romeo and Juliet first met.

At Juliet’s house there is a wall where women write letters to the heroine asking for advice. And every evening Juliet’s Secretaries pick up all the letters and reply to them. These women befriend Sophie, and she joins them for a short time, one day finding a 50-year-old letter from Claire, who did not meet her beau Lorenzo when they were supposed to run off together. Of course, Sophie takes it upon herself to reply to Claire.

Less than a week later, Claire’s grandson Charlie arrives at the office of Juliet’s Secretaries and yells at Sophie for replying to his grandmother, who has, of course, insisted on returning to Italy to find her true love Lorenzo Bartolini, which turns out to be a very common name. Claire agrees to let Sophie join them on the hunt for the right Lorenzo, much to Charlie’s dismay, and they begin a beautiful tour through Italian wine country. christopher-egan

While I anticipated Charlie and Sophie’s initial dislike of each other, I was completely unprepared for Charlie’s (played by relative newcomer and Australian Christopher Egan) funny one-liners and subtle charm. In him we find a character that is a stereotypically cold Brit who is uncommonly passionate about protecting his grandmother, who has lost not only her husband but also her son and daughter-in-law. If you can get past his unusual ambling gate, I think you’ll fall for him, too!

Charlie and Sophie’s relationship changes from hate to indifference to attraction at the perfect pace. But we can’t forget about Victor, the fiance consumed with his own needs. He throws a wrench into Sophie and Charlie’s lives, but adds the perfect drama for the movie.

This one doesn’t break any molds, but it certainly made me laugh more than I expected for a drama. And it left me feeling warm and fuzzy. Just what I needed before heading back out into the drizzling rain.

Happy Belated-Mother’s Day

So, I know I totally missed Mother’s Day. My bad. But I got to thinking today that you all might begin to think that I don’t love my mom nearly as much as I love my dad, seeing as how I blog about father/daughter bonding on a regular basis and haven’t had much to say about my mom lately. Well, there are really two reasons for that.
1. My dad reads my blog.
2. Mom doesn’t.

Okay, but that’s a lame reason to forget Mother’s Day (on my blog. In real life I totally called my mom!). So without further ado, I’d like to give you several reasons why I LOVE my mom and think she’s just about the coolest ever!

First, she’s put up with me for nearly 30 years. Okay, so I’m not quite 30, but there’s that whole 9 month pregnancy thing … And that was probably the easy part. 🙂 I’ve always been what you might call … independent. And while she doesn’t always understand me, she’s always supported me. And let’s not even go into those jr. high and high school years.

My mom is a realist. I am an optimist. Sometimes we just can’t see eye to eye on things. I want to believe only the best will happen. She wants to be practical. Her view isn’t always what I want to hear, but it’s usually what I need to hear. Tempered with her experience and love, it’s right on.

Mom’s my travelling buddy. We’ve been on plane rides and road trips and just about everything in between. And we always seem to have a blast. From mistaking the light at the end of an airplane wing for another plane (that was her) to the ugly realization that some flavors should never be made into jelly beans (that was me), we’ve learned a lot about travel and even more about each other.

And don’t even get me started on her grandmothering skills! 🙂 I didn’t get to share a close relationship with my grandmas while I was growing up, so when I watch her with my nieces and nephews, I know how blessed they are.

If you haven’t told your mom that you love her lately, don’t wait until next Mother’s Day to do it. So, I love you, Mom! (Dad, will you pass the word along to her?)

Friday Favorite – Boy Bands

I like boy bands. I have for a really long time. It started with N’SYNC when I was in high school. Then 98 Degrees and Backstreet Boys. And, of course, who can forget the Christian boy band Plus One? Although I missed out on the New Kids on the Block craze, I made up for it when Justin and the boys hit the stage.

Really, what’s not to love about a boy band? The harmonies. The only coordinated but not matching outfits. The perfectly choreographed dance moves. The lack of instruments to get in the way of said dance moves.

It’s just a good time waiting to happen. So you can imagine how sad I’ve been over the last seven years or so since the disappearance of boy bands from pop culture. Hope would spring up when the Backstreet Boys released a new song or the rumor mill would pass information around about a reunion. But let’s be honest. It’s been a dry spell in the boy band departement.

Until recently.

You see, not that long ago, Nickelodian premiered a new show: Big Time Rush. And it’s about–you guessed it!–a boy band! Man, I love this show! It’s totally cheesy, just the way I like it. Comprised of 4 high school hockey players from Minnesota who have been transplanted in LA to make an album, Big Time Rush faces all sorts of obstacles on the road to fame.

TV Big Time Rush

So what do I like best about Big Time Rush? Could be the snappy songs.


 
But I think it might be Kendall’s eyebrows. They’re fascinating, and not unlike Peter Gallagher’s. What do you think? Are Kendall and Peter long lost relatives? For your consideration:

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That’s what I thought. 🙂

So Big Time Rush may be made up of 4 20-somethings pretending to be 16-year-olds … but I still love ’em! Check them out on your local Nick channel, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

Guest on another blog …

I wanted to let you know all know about fellow author Lyn Cote’s Strong Women, Brave Stories blog. All through the month of May she’s featuring stories from other authors about strong women.

Today, I’m sharing there about my sister–one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. She’s pretty amazing, and she impresses me beyond belief. So swing by Lyn’s blog, read about my awesome sister, and then enter Lyn’s Mega May contest. She’s giving away TONS of great prizes and awesome books, including a little one called The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn. Visit and leave a comment on the blog to be entered to win the Mega May givaway. Don’t miss out! 🙂 And show my sister some love. 🙂

It’s official! I have a cover!

Okay, guys! I’m super-excited to share the cover of my new book, Vanishing Act! My new Love Inspired Suspense comes out in August, and it now officially has a cover designed by the awesome art department over at Steeple Hill. And when you read the book (and, of course, you all will!), you’ll see how perfectly the image fits the scene in the story. Without further ado … here it is!

vanishing-act-cover-hi-res-1

Friday Favorite – The Volunteer State

I didn’t know what I was getting when I moved to Tennessee. Certainly I didn’t expect my first weekend here to be filled with pouring rain. Three days worth. But it did.

If you don’t live in Middle Tennessee, you might not even know what this past weekend was like for so many in and around Nashville this last weekend. National media didn’t spend a lot of time on it, what with the oil spill in the Gulf and the Times Square would-be-bomber. So I hope the video below helps you understand what happened to this city last weekend. Has it really only been a few days?

If you saw my blog on Monday, you saw the pictures of Meribel. Well, I’m happy to report that nearly all of the water in my backyard has receded back into the creek (never making it into my home, for which I thank God). And the Meribel has come to rest. On top of a little row boat.

The damage at my house is confined to the area behind my place (and the outrageous odor of whatever the water left behind!). But the damage to many other parts of the city is just unreal. Take a look.

But the cool thing really is how the people of this city have bonded together, helping friends and neighbors clean up their homes, beginning to prepare for new starts. If you’re moved to help the people of Nashville being the cleaning up and rebuilding process, please do. Might I recommend www.tnfloodfund.com, which will take you to the Cross Point Church website, which is distributing funds to those families devistated by the flood.

I may be new to this city, but I am convinced it’s filled with people who show how much they care about each other. And that’s a good thing in my book.