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  • The Case of the Missing Books

    All right. I confess. I totally read Encyclopedia Brown books when I was a kid. In fact I still have a dozen or so on my bookshelf. My dad used to read them to us when I was little. (I still can’t solve the cases most of the time.) 🙂

    Well, I’ve stumbled upon a case for just such a young sleuth. I’ve lost a library book that’s due back! It had become my regular take-it-to-the-gym book, so I was sure it was just hanging out in my gym bag or in one of the piles on my floor. Yes, that’s the multiple of pile. I have a pile of books for Paperback Swap. One for dvds that I’ve been watching before bed lately. One of shoes hanging out that I kicked off when I got inside my actual room.

    Anyway, you get the picture. So wearing my incredibly painful high heels that I’m still trying to break in and my pajamas, I tore my room apart. I shifted piles (even put some of them away), dug through my purse and gym bag, scoured all of my bookshelves. I checked my “borrowed from friends” pile and even ripped apart my bed covers, thinking it might have been lost in the mess. And my grand discovery?

    I can’t find one of the books that I own. Not my biggest problem of the night.

    To be honest, I had 8 books checked out of the library, and I’ve been able to locate 7 of them. But where is that last book? I wasn’t done reading it.

    So here you go, young Encyclopedia Brown:

    Will pay 25 cents for the safe return of Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter.


    Searching the trunk of my car until next time. -LJ

    Teaser Tuesdays: Saints in Limbo

    So I’ve just become aware of something called Teaser Tuesdays. It sounds like such fun to share teasers from the great books that I’m reading. So here goes. My very first Teaser Tuesday.

    teaser_tuesdaysMizB 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:

    “Velma and Sara lay sprawled on the sand dirt of the front yard where the grass refused to grow. They tried to recover from the shock of the tackle.”

    – From Saints in Limbo by River Jordan, page 72

    (In all fairness, I must confess that I’m reading the ARC of this book, so the page number isn’t final. Nor are the words for that matter. But I’m loving it all the same. The writing of this book is so beautifully lyrical.)

    Monday Movie – Au Pair 3

    I think that now is a really appropriate time to make a few confessions on my blog. First, I am a hopeless romantic! I want the guy and the girl to get together. Every time. No exceptions. Second, I am a total teeny-bopper. When I was in Jr. High, I read Bop and Tiger Beat and all those magazines for preteen girls. But while I’ve given up those particular magazines, I still love teen movies/TV shows. You name it, I’ve probably seen it. Ned’s Declassified Survival Guide is one of my all time favorite shows. And I love movies like Ice Princess (caught 2 seconds of it on TV this weekend) and Sleepover. I read YA books like they’re going out of style, and … well, you get the picture.

    It doesn’t matter that I’m just a few years away from 30. 🙂

    Sometimes I’m still shocked that I’m a “grown-up.” At least, that’s what people call me. I mean, yes, I hold down a full-time job and actually do okay at it. And, yes, I pay rent, own my own car, and even get my bills paid on time. I’m officially a published author, and I sometimes I’m surprised that I’m not 17. Am I the only one who feels that way?

    Anyway, one of my favorite parts about being a teeny bopper is being able to watch really bad made for TV movies from ABC Family. This weekend’s offering was Au Pair 3: Adventure in Paradise. We first met Jenny and Oliver and Oliver’s two precocious kids back in 1999 in the first Au Pair. Jenny was mistaken as a nanny candidate for Katie and Alex, but she needed a job badly and took off around the world with the family. Oliver, a business mogul, was of course too busy for his family and to notice that his fiancee was a horrid woman. But all was well in the end and Jenny and Oliver found love together.

    Fast forward 10 years.


    Alex is graduating from high school and Katie has just finished her freshman year in college, so Jenny and Oliver decide to take the family to Puerto Rico for a summer vacation and some much-needed family bonding. Katie’s roommate/best friend Ariana tags along. Oliver’s overly protective nature gets in the way as he has bodyguards trailing his kids every which way, which drives Katie crazy. And he fails to see that his son really wants to study art instead of business. He can’t see either that Jenny doesn’t want to work for his company any more. She wants to stay home with their young daughter Sarah and manage a charity foundation.

    It was a cute movie, and I had such high hopes for it. It started off like every good teeny bopper movie should. With Alex having a crush on Ariana (who turns out to be an undercover bodyguard–very First Daughter, another of my favorites!), and Katie gets free from her trailers and meets a guy, too. All should be well, except it’s not. The whole movie focuses on the relationships, all but ignoring the business angle–will Oliver be fired by his board of directors?–until the very end. The conclusion satisfies Oliver’s business problems, and even addresses Alex going to art school and Jenny running the foundation. But it ignores the young love.

    I’m not asking for wedding bells or even a kiss. But is it too much to ask for some hope? I just wanted hope for Alex (he was adorable, and, incidentally, the actor is from Colorado) and Ariana and Katie and her guy Danny. I got squat.

    Bummer. Oh, well. I’ll survive, I suppose. 🙂 Waiting for the next great ABC Family flick until next time. -LJ

    Friday Favorite – Harry Potter

    The year was 2001. I was a junior in college, and my brother happened to be one of my best friends. We hung out a lot that year, both just trying to finish up with our degrees. This was long before Micah married Beth, before they had 2 kids. Micah and I had a friend named Julia, and one day they went to see a movie together. They came back and told me that I just had to see this new movie–Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone.

    I was hesitant, reluctant to spend my less-than-moderate college income on a movie that I wasn’t sure I’d like. At the time, I was mostly only into chick flicks. (I’m happy to report that my tastes have expanded over the years: historicals, classics, comedies, action, etc.) But after a week, they had worn me down, and so I went with Micah and Julia  to see the movie.

    That began my … hmmm … what’s the word? It’s more than just an appreciation but less than an obsession. Anyway, I loved the fairy tale quality, the hope, the themes of good vs. evil. All of it! And that 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe was just too cute as Harry. 🙂

    Then Julia told me that I had to read the books. Well, I figured if the books were half as good as the movie, it’d be worth my time.  I was wrong! The books were three times better than the movie! JK Rowling packed so much heart and hope into what is essentially a children’s book, but there’s a reason that adults and kids alike love these books.

    I sprinted through the first four books, then joined the rest of the world in waiting for the 5th book to come out. By then, I was out of college and living back at home with my parents. I didn’t know anyone else reading Harry Potter books at the time, but there was no way I was waiting a moment longer than I had to to get to read it. So there I was at Barnes and Noble at midnight on the release date. I waited in line, then I raced home and spent the entire night and the whole morning reading. My parents didn’t know what to do with a recent college grad, who really didn’t need sleep and just wanted to read. I was a bit of zombie for an entire weekend, but it was so worth it!

    I think since then I’ve seen every movie and gotten every book at the midnight release. 🙂 Don’t worry. I was never one to dress up and go overboard for the parties. I just wanted to get the book. I just wanted to see the movie.

    Until July 2007 that is. For the first time, I was with friends who loved Harry as much as I did. And for the first time, the book and a movie released within days of each other. So I went to the midnight showing of The Order of the Phoenix with Jess L. and Laura B. (Kelly B.’s sister-in-law). It was amazing! So fun! We got there like 3 hours early and sat and played card games in the theater waiting for the movie to start. The entire theater was practically sizzling with anticipation. And when the movie finally started there was much cheering and joy all around. It was a great movie too! By far my favorite so far. (But book 6 is my favorite book, so I fully expect to love that movie too!)

    So a little over a week later, came the release of book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We were on summer hours at work, which meant that that Friday, Jess and Jess and I were done for the day at 1:30, which meant an entire afternoon of “what do we do to pass the time until midnight?” Turns out we had plenty to do. 🙂 There were t-shirts to be made (mine said, Jealous of Ginny), movies to see (again), and a midnight release party to attend. We met Kelly and Laura at the Barnes and Noble and there, I finally put my hands on the last tome in the series.

    I read straight through the night and was done by … hmm … I think I was too tired to remember. 🙂 I do remember throwing my book across the room when one of my favorite characters died.

    That Saturday night was my birthday party. Funny thing was, the five of us who’d read the book all through the night sequestered ourselves in the basement for the first 20 minutes just to talk Harry. 🙂 We did finally emerge to be social.

    I have a lot of good memories from times with friends that involved Harry Potter. And I have an entire shelf dedicated to my Harry memoribilia–gifts from friends. Here’s a peak at my Harry corner.

    Yes those are HP dolls. Gifts! All gifts!

    I will say that I love the friendship between HP, Ron, and Hermione. Their loyalty and love for each other is nothing short of inspiring. Plus, Ron is a hoot and quite the funny character!

    I thought you might like a peak at the preview for the new Harry Potter movie coming out July 17 this summer. That’s bound to be a great week! The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn comes out on the 14th, and my birthday is the next week! it’s going to be a good summer! 🙂 Counting down the days (oh, man, I won’t even tell you about the paper chain that Jess L. and I made with our favorite HP quotes to count down to the movie release) to the new movie until next time. -LJ

    The Sound of Your Name

    I’m currently rocking out to this song on my ipod and at work pretty much every day. I totally dig it. And the video is a hoot. Thought I’d share the jam of the moment: The Sound of Your Name by Above the Golden State. Jamming with the mustard yellow pants until next time. -LJ

    Update: The embedding option for the video got pulled, so you’ll have to click here to see the video on youtube. Enjoy!

    What a crazy weekend!

    So I try not to bore my readers–both of you–with the mundane details of my life, but I just have to share about my crazy weekend! I can’t believe how fast it flew by. Moreover, I can’t believe that I actually had time to post a new blog or two this week. I’ll tell you a little secret. I usually write my posts on the weekend and then schedule them to post throughout the week. I almost never write a post on the actual post date. So imagine my worry that I wouldn’t get a single post completed this weekend with such a crazy schedule.

    Friday after work: I stayed a little late, checking my personal e-mail and stuff at work, then headed home about 6. I grabbed a quick dinner in front of the TV and then promptly fell asleep. 🙂 Okay, so that part wasn’t so bad. But then I was so tired that I got up from the couch and hit the sack after reading for a few minutes.

    Saturday morning: I woke up to the buzzing of my neighbor’s saw. He’s building a fence between our yards. Well and good, but I still had ten minutes until my alarm went off, so I was bummed. But I rolled out of bed anyway and got ready for the gym. 50 minutes on the bike with a book from the library, and I was starting to really feel it. Then I headed home–in the completely random snow. I got home and started preparing a couple things for dinner that night with friends. While my eggs were boiling, I worked on a freelance editing project. I managed to grab some lunch while I was making notes on the project.

    Before I knew it, it was time to get cleaned up and head over to the bridal shower for my roommate Leslie. Quite fun times, but I couldn’t even stick around for the games and presents and stuff, because I had to get back home to keep working on the freelance project and finish getting dinner ready. On my drive home I finally connected with Hannah, who I hadn’t talked with in over a week. We chatted for about 30 minutes while I was driving, then I talked to Julia for about 45 minutes. I love that kid. And I felt bad that while we were talking, I was multi-tasking, trying to get more of the freelance thing done. My computer froze up, so I beat it back into submission and kept working away while listening to funny stories about cartoons and Julia’s little sister.

    And suddenly it was time to go. I headed over to Jess B’s house where Jess Lacy met us for dinner. It was just like old times … so great to be back together. The food was great–I make a mean frozen pizza and spinach salad. Then we headed out to a show at the Pike’s Peak Center. Broadway Here and Now as a cool collection of popular tunes from Broadway musicals performed by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and 3 Broadway performers. It included some of my favorites from Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Rent, and more. It was great to see something a little out of the normal entertainment realm.

    Jess B on the left, Jess L on the right - in our nosebleed seat at the Pike's Peak Center
    Jess B on the left, Jess L on the right - in our nosebleed seats at the Pike's Peak Center

    I got home about 11, but then I set all of my clocks forward for daylight saving time, so it was really midnight. (Can I just mention that Arizona doesn’t recognize daylight savings time? So this whole clock changing thing is still kind of bizarre to me.) But I had a book due back to the library on Monday, so I decided to finish it. Except that it took me nearly 2 hours to do that. Oops!

    Sunday morning started with more hammering and sawing from my neighbor, but fortunately I didn’t notice it until my alarm went off the first time. So I stumbled out of bed to get ready for church. I volunteered in the bookstore, so I had to be there 30 minutes before service started, and I was there until 1p.m. I hurried home to grab some lunch and then it was back to the gym for another 50 minutes on the bike and another book from the library. I stumbled out of the gym and had to get gas on my way home. I needed a car wash too. The snow on Saturday had seriously made a mess of my pretty little car.

    When I finally got home at almost 4, I seriously needed to finish my freelance project but a shower was also compeletely necessary. Somehow I managed to get both taken care of, and I finally sat down for dinner at nearly 7:30. I flicked on my laptop at nearly 8 to start my first blog post of the week (yesterday’s post), and then Amy got home. She’d been gone for the week visiting her brand new niece. There was much to catch up on.

    Now it’s Sunday at 10:00, and I’m just writing this–my second post for the week that you’ll get to read on Tuesday.

    Oh, and somewhere in there, I managed to do 4 loads of laundry. It’d been more than a couple weeks and was high time I had some clean clothes.

    Hmm. I’m tired. That may not seem like a busy weekend to you, but my weekends usually consist of:

    Friday: Watch Friday Night Lights with Amy
    Saturday: Sleep in, go to the gym, watch a movie at home, take a nap, snooze on the couch, watch another movie, go to bed early
    Sunday: Sleep in and go to the late service at church, come home and take a nap after lunch, read in bed after said nap, catch up on my DVRed TV shows, read a little more before going to bed

    Okay, that might not be the most realistic view of my normal weekend, but it does sound almost ideal. Regardless this was a pretty busy weekend, and I’m pooped. But I just wanted to share it with you. 🙂 Snagging a bit more sleep until next time. -LJ

    Monday Movie – Harry Potter Movies Galore!

    This weekend the ABC Family Channel had a Harry Potter weekend, featuring the first 4 Harry Potter movies:

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


    I had a super-busy weekend, which I’ll expound on more tomorrow, so I didn’t have time to watch all four of these movies when they were on–of course, I have them on dvd, so I could really watch them anytime I wanted–but I did catch bits and pieces of the first, second, and fourth movies, really the only TV that I watched all weekend.

    I confess that I love these movies. I think the 5th, Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix, is likely my favorite, even though it’s been a while since I’ve seen it.


    I think I love it because in the movie Harry is missing most of the angst that makes that book my least favorite. Instead we get an action-packed story of loyalty and standing for what’s right in the midst of persecution. We see young men and women standing up for what they believe rather than succombing to what’s easy.

    Now I know that there’s much discussion in the Christian community about the rights and wrongs of Harry Potter. But I don’t wish to draw out that discussion. Rather, I’ll just say that I do understand why some choose not to be entertained by the Harry Potter movies and books. While I don’t share those same convictions, as instead I find the themes of loyalty, true friendship, and the existence of real good and evil quite refreshing in comparison to much of the current media, I certainly won’t try to push my views about Harry on others. I should also point out that I believe that wicca is a serious cult and shouldn’t be trifled with. I also believe that Harry doesn’t encourage or promote witchcraft of that kind.

    Okay, disclaimer done.

    I certainly did enjoy watching snippets of these flicks this weekend. It’s fun to watch Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson grow up through the series. Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley is one of my favorites. I adore him, and so enjoy him in the 4th movie where he ends up with quite the unique set of dress robes. 🙂


    Now that I’ve started talking Harry, I almost don’t want to stop. So perhaps, I’ll reveal this week’s Friday Favorite–all things Harry Potter.  Until then. -LJ

    Friday Favorite – Have my taxes DONE!

    I thought I’d take a moment to celebrate with you now that my taxes are done. Finished. Completed. And boy was it an ordeal. I had my W-2 forms and all my paperwork in order. I was ready to get going.

    Except for one little thing. As of Monday, I still hadn’t figured out how to report my advance on my book. I was waiting for a 1099 form or something from my publisher. So I waited and I waited. And it didn’t come and it didn’t come. So I finally called the Harlequin (yes, my publisher is a division of Harlequin) offices and spoke with a very nice lady in the accounts payable department. She kindly explained to me that because they are headquartered in Toronto, they don’t send out and US tax forms.

    Oops. I hadn’t considered that.

    So I proceeded to call the IRS helpline to figure out the best way to report my advance (however, small it was). No problem. Right?

    Wrong. I explained my situation to everyone that I spoke with and each person told me I was speaking with the wrong department. I spoke with 5 people in 5 departments and still couldn’t get an answer. It’s foreign income. No it’s not. It’s this. No, it’s that. Was I ever going to find the right person? And then IRS helpperson number 6 came to my rescue. She talked me through my options of reporting it. Was I self-employed? Was I out to make a profit? Was I running a business or trade?

    Who knew selling a book could be such a stress more than 6 months after the contract was signed?

    We talked through these questions. And I filed my taxes, and I’m done! I got an e-mail from my tax prep website, and my filings have been approved. I’m home free!

    Until next year. Hmmm … I think I better find a good CPA for next year’s taxes.  Still very thankful for IRS helpperson #6 this year until next time … -LJ

    I’ve Got A Shoe Riding Shotgun

    I generally like driving. It’s not going to make a Friday Favorite or anything, but it’s not bad. But yesterday morning I thought driving was going to make me die!

    I was wearing my brand new shoes. The ones that made an appearance in yesterday’s blog and looked quite unique with my work out clothes. But I was wearing my new shoes with appropriately professional attire yesterday morning, so that wasn’t the problem. Apparently my problem is that when I drive, I turn my foot slightly, just enough so that my new shoes tried to squish my pinky toe clean off. Seriously. All the way off.

    I made it to Powers and Research–about half way to work and couldn’t take it any more. I reach down and ripped off my shoe, chucking it into the passenger seat.

    But then the really strange thing happened. I looked over at it, and it was just sitting there all perfect and new and begging to never be worn again. It was like it was asking to always get to ride shotgun, like it was some sort of car mascot.

    The really weird part is that I seriously considered leaving it there, perched on the seat. But then I would have had to go into work with only one shoe on. Hmmm. That was bound to look silly. So I put the shoe back on to walk into the office. No problem. Not overly painful. Maybe the early part of the day had been a fluke. When I headed to Subway for lunch, I thought I’d try driving with said shoe on again. Well, that didn’t work. I couldn’t even make it out of the parking lot without tossing it again in the seat next to me. Same thing when I left work for the day.

    The truth is the shoes need to be broken in a little more, but I like them. They’re cute. So I’ll keep wearing them.

    But I’m afraid as long as I’m wearing them the right shoe is always going to ride shotgun. Driving with a bare foot until next time. -LJ

    Crest White Strips or Nothing!

    Do you ever have one of those days where you feel so completely terrible that all you can manage to do is lay in bed curled up into the fetal position. I had one of those days on Monday. My tummy was tied in knots, and I just wanted to sleep, but I was in too much pain to actually fall asleep.

    Needless to say, it wasn’t a great start to the day. But as the hours passed, I managed to make it to the couch with my pillow and snuggled under a blanket. By three o’clock I was uncurled enough to enjoy sipping a diet soda and watching a little tv on dvd. I still hadn’t managed a shower or even bothered to change out of my pajamas, so I was starting to notice that I was a little greasy and maybe not-so-daisy-fresh.

    I was totally reminding myself of that scene in She’s the Man where Amanda Bynes can’t shower for days because she’s pretending to be her brother. She tells her friend on the phone, “I’m convulsing  people!” It’s a good thing the roommates were both out of the house at the time. 🙂

    Before I get back into this story, I think I should explain a little something about my current state of mind. Several weeks ago I found out that my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss (or something like that) is coming in from New York next week. As such, my department was instructed that we need to ditch the business casual dress for the week and ramp it up to business professional. So I’ve been picking up a new jacket here, a new top there, fun new shoes everywhere (a pair of which I’m currently wearing with my work out clothes–Leslie questioned my fashion choice, but I stood behind it so I can get the new shoes broken in). I decided this was a good time to work on looking the part of a professional publicist more often–rather than, per se the college student that I haven’t been in 6 years.

    As part of my personal mini-maker, I picked up some Crest White Strips to ramp up my smile. *insert cheesy grin here* I’ve been diligently using them for only about 5 days, but I think I’m alreayd seeing a whiter smile.

    Okay, so back to Monday. There I was practically convulsing myself when I decided it was about time to put on my white strips. I couldn’t manage to get clean and put on fresh clothes, but my teeth were going to be whiter, dag nabbit!

    Apparently I decided it would be the strips and nothing else on Monday.

    Fortunately I’m feeling much better today and actually got clean today before putting on the white strips. 🙂 I know everyone appreciates that. Getting whiter until next time. -LJ