Archive for April, 2013

30
Apr

Then and Now

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 3 Comments

I think I was fourteen when I read my first Mary Higgins Clark novel. The book was WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN and it was chilling. To that point, I’d never really read anything like that, unless you want to count Nancy Drew (which was much more mundane in the suspense area). Needless to say, I was hooked.

I believe the next one of hers that I read was A CRY IN THE NIGHT (my all time favorite suspense novel even after all these years). It was this book that changed my fiction dreams from children’s writing to mystery writing.

Back in 2005, while I was plugging my first book, JURY OF ONE (now titled DEADLY READINGS on e-book), I had the opportunity to speak with Mary Higgins Clark on the telephone thanks to my friend, Harlan Coben. I will never forget that day, as I was not only able to talk to my mystery-writing inspiration, but I was also able (as she asked) to tell her about my writing.

An incredibly cool moment, I tell you.

A few years later, I got to meet her in person at the Malice Domestic Mystery Conference. I waited on line to have her sign my very old copy of A CRY IN THE NIGHT. When I got to the front of the line, I got to remind her of our phone call (which she remembered) and have our picture taken together (thanks, Dru!).

I’m not much of a “celebrity” kind of person, meaning, I don’t need to see them, don’t need their autographs. They’re simply folks doing a job that happens to have them on a movie screen or a TV screen or on the back of a book. But with Mary it was different. I guess that’s because it was her books that made me tweak my dream into what it is and has become now.

In a few days, I’ll be heading back to the annual Malice Domestic Mystery Conference with my friend, Maggie. Mary won’t be there, but many of my author and reader friends (people I’ve met because of my dream) will be there and I’m excited to see everyone. I’m excited to watch fans squeal when they see their favorite author and I’m excited to realize that, on occasion, some of those squeals  come in my direction now, too.

Is there a “celebrity” you’ve met that you’ll not soon forget? And, while you’re at it, any celebrity sightings in general that you’ve had?

~Elizabeth

29
Apr

Whale Watch

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 8 Comments

I’ve always had a fondest for aquatic animals. At the zoo, my favorite animal is the sea lion. In the wild, my favorite animal is the dolphin (I got to swim with one of the world famous Cabos dolphins about 18 months ago). At the Monterey Aquarium some twenty plus years ago, I fell in love with the sea otter.

So when I heard about a whale watch trip out of Gloucester, MA from a friend last summer, I knew I had to go. This past Christmas, I booked a whale watch trip and a B & B for DH as a gift. We went on Saturday.

During the trip, we saw a school of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins (which I adored), and some actual HumpBack Whale sightings including a pair of females (Tongs and Reiper).  The naturalists on the whale watch tours are able to actually identify them based on the underside of their tails and their dorsal fin.

Since this is the time of year the whales are trying to gain back the enormous amount of weight they lost while breeding in the Caribbean, they spend a lot of time in deep dives looking for food. The naturalist on our boat was able to figure out their pattern that day and, every 7-8 minutes when they’d resurface, we were ready.  Everyone on the boat would look for the first blow and then the captain would take off in that direction–sometimes getting there with enough time to watch them for a few minutes, sometimes just in time to see their tail lurch up before the next dive (and the 7-8 minute count began again).

I took a few pictures (nothing great as they’re not up for long and it’s tricky to find and capture them with a point and shoot camera).

But…here you go:  In this picture, here, you can actually see both dolphins at the same time. This was at the end of our watch and we were able to get right next to them. The whale in the foreground is actually blowing water through his blowhole.

 

In this next picture (on the left), one of them is just going down for a dive.

Whales, sometimes, travel with a friend, and this pair that we were following happens to be an example of that.

 

 

 

In this picture on the right, you can see the tail just before it slips into the water.

It was a very cool experience to be so close to these enormous creatures in their natural habitat.

 

~Elizabeth

 

 

23
Apr

A Few Chapters In

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 4 Comments

I’m currently reading Lisa Scottoline’s DON’T GO.

What are you reading?

~Elizabeth

19
Apr

Who’s Your Hero?

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays No Comments

Today’s post is simple as I’m looking for one simple bit (as opposed to multiple bits)…

Who are some of your heroes in life?

~Elizabeth

17
Apr

These Are a Few of My Favorite (Summer) Things

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 2 Comments

Maybe it’s because the true spring temperatures seem to be playing a bit of hide and seek. Maybe it’s because the last three months of winter were really, really long. But no matter the reason, I find myself thinking about my very favorite parts of summer…

*Spending a full day at the Jersey Shore (I’m bracing for the many ways it will be different after Hurricane Sandy  but still excited to go back).

*Attending a minor league baseball game (hot pretzel included). 🙂

*Eating dinner on the deck with the family.

*The sounds of Dear Daughter # 2 and her neighborhood friends running around outside until the night sky finally forces them inside.

*Summer vacation (Pigeon Forge, this year).

*More time for special day trips (water park, zoo, maybe Mystic Seaport this year).

What are some of your favorite parts of summer?

~Elizabeth

15
Apr

How Do You Spell Weekend? F-U-N

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 2 Comments

This past weekend was a busy (but fun) one.

DS # 2 came home from college for the weekend to see DD # 1 perform in Spamalot with a nearby regional theater. He brought with him an autographed picture of Rupert (from Survivor fame) that he secured for me the day before. He had Rupert sign it specifically for me and there was even an “Argh” on it.  Here’s a photo of DS # 2 with Rupert.

Saturday, DD #1 and I got up bright and early to attend a welcome event at her soon-to-be college. She got to show the campus to my DH and we got to listen to some panel talks and check out the dorm rooms one more time. I, of course, am still struggling with the whole  notion she’s going to college in four months. *Sniff*

Then, it was a quick 2 hour drive home so she could make call for Spamalot’s opening night. DD # 2 volunteered as an usher at the show, while the rest of us got ready to be part of the audience. Not a huge Monty Python fan myself, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect (DD # 1 had warned me, multiple times, that she would just be “acting”). The curtain went up, the show started, and it was awesome!!

It was a professional cast (DD # 1 was one of only three who hadn’t graduated from college yet) and they did an amazing job. Listening to the laughter around me, laughing myself, watching DD # 1 light up the stage during all of her goofy dance numbers was so much fun, I went back to the Sunday show to see it with my aunt.

Here she is, at the end of the show, proudly standing in front of her head shot in the theater’s lobby.

Fun weekend. Love those.

How was yours?

~Elizabeth

12
Apr

In Concert/On Your Record Player

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 2 Comments

Saw America in concert last night. They put on a good show, with much of the songs they played transporting me back to childhood, when my brother and sister would listen to their music.

Today’s Bits & Pieces, therefore, is about music.

1) What are some bands that–when you hear them–transport you back to your childhood years (before you really started buying your own albums)?

2) What were some of your favorite groups once you started purchasing your own music?

3) Favorite album cover?

4) List some bands you’ve seen in concert.

~Elizabeth

11
Apr

Me, Answering About Me

Posted under Writing Thursdays No Comments

I may not be Tom Cruise or whatever sport star is hot at the moment, but I can still give a decent interview…

🙂

Or at least try, anyway.

Here’s my latest: CLICK HERE.

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)

 

10
Apr

It’s All Relative

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 4 Comments

Historically, I’ve never really been a “comparison shopper.” I tend to shop based on experience and reputation. Meaning, the first brand I purchased of a particular item that served me well, is probably the same brand I’ll continue to buy.

When my 16 year old Saturn finally ran down, I bought another. When I’m out on the road, thinking about something other than cars, I’ll still notice every Saturn that drives by (whether it’s the same model as my 1992, my 2008, or one in between). Why that is, exactly, I’m not sure. But if I had to venture a guess, it’s because that car became my personal measuring stick in the world of automobiles.

The same holds true for the rest of my purchasing decisions as well–whether I’m buying English Muffins, clothes, or even candy corn. Have I always gotten the best monetary deals ? Maybe not. But familiarity is comfort.

Likewise, I rarely do the “kid comparison” thing, either. My girls are different people despite having the same background. They have different strengths and weaknesses, different goals and motivations. But when it comes to the stuff that really matters–kindness, respect, truthfulness, moral code–I have certain expectations (much like the brands I buy) and I accept nothing less.

I guess all of that falls in line pretty well with other aspects of my life, too. I’ve always been a motivated person with a certain level of expectations for myself. It’s those expectations, in fact, that kept me on the straight and narrow throughout high school, college, and beyond. If I’m working for something solid (like raising respectful/productive kids), I don’t really stray from my course. If I want to hit a particular professional goal bad enough (as was the case when I left my small press roots behind), I’ll make the hard choices to set myself on that path. And when I stay in that mode, I’m good. I’m confident. I’m hopeful…because I believe in myself and my abilities.

Do I ever lose that confidence? In those areas, no. But in areas where I find myself standing next to the measuring stick of someone else’s ideal, all the time. Because even though the smart side of me knows that the ideal is relative, I still feel like a failure.

That’s something I hope to squash in my kids before it forms. That instinct to chase your own tail even though it never gets you anywhere. One person’s measuring stick for what constitutes “smart,” probably isn’t the same as the next guy. One person’s measuring stick for what constitutes “good looking,” probably isn’t the same as the next guy. One person’s measuring stick for “fun,” probably isn’t the same as the next guy. It’s simply a relative distinction based on their initial (read: meaningful) brand purchase.

Is that always easy to remember? Of course not. Who doesn’t want to be the go-to brand? No one. But seeing it for what it really is, helps put things in perspective and gets you back to chasing the stuff you can actually catch.

You know, the stuff that’s actually up to you.

~Elizabeth

09
Apr

Even Now

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 7 Comments

A week or so ago, the dinner conversation turned to stories Dear Daughter # 2 has read in school this year. Many of the ones she mentioned, I’m sure I probably read, too, but I don’t really remember them. But the moment she mentioned Poe, all of those stories came rushing back.

The guy under the floor boards…

The guy strapped to the table with the pendulum coming closer…

I read a lot of short stories and novels in my school days, but it takes a little thinking to remember them all. Yet, I found those Edgar Allen Poe stories so intense, that it doesn’t take any remembering at all.

The subject matter was so different than anything else I’d read up until that point (8th grade,  maybe?). I mean, to have someone’s heart beating under a floorboard? Wild stuff for a thirteen-year-old.

Which got me thinking about all of you. What stories from your school days do you still remember vividly?

~Elizabeth