Archive for January, 2014


Back to High School

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 7 Comments

Depending on what time you’re reading this, I am heading back to my high school to take part in Annual Career Day. As part of this special event, I get to spend three 20-minute sessions talking with students about being a writer (the good and the bad). It’s always an interesting time and one I look forward to doing each year.

As a result, I thought some school-related Bits & Pieces might be fun…

1) What was the mascot of your high school?

2) If someone dropped you at the front door of your old high school right now, could you find the library?

3) What’s a place inside your school that you still remember vividly and why?

4) What’s something you would change about your high school experience if you could?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Playing Favorites

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

Last week, Lisa K. posed two really cool questions I thought would be fun to answer here (one by one). So, here we go…

Question # 1: Of all the books/series you have written, do you have one character that stands out as your favorite?

This question is a little scary to answer, Lisa, mainly because it’s like picking favorites among my kids–each character I’ve written has carved out a place in my head and heart for different reasons.  That said, I suppose I have a favorite character or two per series (I don’t think I could pick one character across the board).

My Jenkins and Burns Mysteries:  Favorite character would probably be Elise…I just always liked her. I thought she was smart, intuitive, and sweet.  Next to her, I’d have to say, Sam, her editor (who, coincidentally was modeled after my first newspaper editor).

My Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries:  This is tougher to narrow down because all of the ladies have a unique personality. I have a soft spot for Margaret Louise and Rose, but I think I have to say Leona simply because she’s so much fun to write. She keeps me on my toes.

My Amish Mysteries: I think I’m going to say Aunt Diane for this one. She’s my voice of reason character and I just adore her.  That said, I also really enjoy writing Detective Jakob Fisher–I guess I admire him for wanting to be near his family (Amish) even if he knows he can never have a real relationship with them (he was ex-communicated) ever again.

As for my romances–Kayla’s Daddy, A Mom For Callie, Miracle Baby, and Storybook Dad…I always liked the female lead. There’s a tiny part of me in every one of them, as well as qualities I might wish I had.

Question #2: If so, why? And of books that you have read, by other authors, do you have a favorite character and why?

I love Linda Castillo’s cop character, John Tomasetti. He’s simply a great character with a lot of levels.

Interestingly enough, I also love Maggie Barbieri’s cop character, Crawford, in her Murder 101 series.  I think I love him because of the way he interacts with Alison, the main character. She infuriates him with her nosiness, but he can’t help but love her, anyway.  Great character!

So there you go, Lisa. I hope you found those answers interesting.

Please shout out any questions you might have in the comments. Some I might answer in the comments, some I might hold to answer on a future “Writing Thursday” here on the blog.

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Game Bonding

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 9 Comments

I love games.

When I was little, I adored Candy Land, Perfection, and Concentration (what we called “matching” with a deck of cards turned over).  

When I got a little older, I loved playing Sorry and Stratego…though I always lost the latter (my brother said my bomb and flag placement was “predictable:).

And now, at the tender age of *cough, cough,* I still love to play games. Among my favorites? Settlers of Catan, Rummikub, and party games like Guesstures.

I suppose I like the competition, but I think I like the one-on-one or however-many-on-however-many real time/face to face interaction that comes with board games.

So how about you? Do you like games? What were/are your favorites (then/now)? You just might introduce me to one I don’t know about (like my parents did for me with Rummikub last year).

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


A Memorable Who

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 7 Comments

Last week, I asked you to tell me a book setting that you loved, one that you remember even now.

Well, this week, I thought I’d ask you the same question about a character. What is one book character that stuck with you long after you stopped reading his or her tale? Thoughts on why he/she spoke to you so clearly?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Hey, That’s My Book!

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 5 Comments

Some things about my childhood are as vivid as if they happened yesterday–odd moments/experiences that have stuck in my memory bank for one reason or the other.

One such memory is Parade magazine. It was the one section of the Sunday paper that I always liked to get my hands on, even as an elementary school kid because I loved the spotlight article at the very end. Often times, it was on a celebrity (actor, musician, etc.) I recognized and it was fun to get a little behind-the-scenes about each person.

What I also remember, from back then, is that Doubleday always seemed to have an ad in that magazine. And, like the spotlight article at the end, I was fascinated at all the cool book covers. I suppose some of that fascination was because I loved to read, and even though they were “big people books” I still thought it was neat.

So imagine my excitement when adult-me finds out that my 3rd Amish Mystery, SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS, will be part of Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, and Doubleday Large Print in March (it’s listed on their respective “coming soon” pages now 🙂 )!!!  As a club title, the book is issued in a special hard cover edition  that can’t be found in the stores (for Doubleday’s club it will be in large print).

Total pinch me moment, I’ll tell you!

In case you just want to squeal along with me, here is a link to the Doubleday page that features the book:   and here’s one for Mystery Guild (regular print): .

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Lots O’ Bits

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 13 Comments

I tracked down some extra fun Bits & Pieces today and I can’t wait to read all your answers!

1) Were you named after anyone?

2) Favorite cereal–now? and as a kid?

3) What’s the one quality you associate with phoniness? The one quality you associate with genuineness?

4) Last movie you watched?

5) What color do you look best in?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Where It Happens

Posted under Writing Thursdays 5 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled a question from a reader’s email and posted it here, but I figured this was a fun one.

From Pam:  Where do you write? Do you have an office in your house?

Well, Pam, I do have a section of the basement that is designated as my “office.”  It has my desk and printer, a really nice shelf that displays my books, trinkets, and my one writing award to date. I also have a filing cabinet where I keep my contracts, research notes, tax papers, old manuscripts, etc. Oh, and it has my bins of books, too.

Most of the time, I use my official “office” for all things writing-related, except the actual writing part (it’s kind of cold down there). 

The actual writing happens in several different locations: the library (occasionally), the café at my local Barnes & Noble (not often enough), and various locations throughout my home (most notably the dining room table as I’m nearing deadline or my bed if there are people home and I need quiet).

Yesterday (as you can see by this picture), I wrote as close to the woodstove as I could possibly get while making sure my lunch and research notes were within easy reach.

Got a question? Fire away!

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Like A Magnet

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 14 Comments

I’m not a shopper. Never have been, never will be.

My mother was/is a shopper.

My girls are shoppers (although they’ve both been trained–by me–to shop wisely).

But me? No. No. No.

Some of my distaste for shopping probably rests heavily on the fact that stores exhaust me. I can go into a grocery store or mall with tons of energy. Within 10 minutes, I can literally feel every ounce of go I had, draining out of me.

That said, I’m a sucker for boots. In fact, I’m convinced they call to me the second I walk through the door of a store.

My friends, Julie and Theresa, are shoe girls. They see a shoe store, and, well, out pop the wallets.

My youngest makes a beeline for comfy shirts/sweaters.

What’s your one shopping weakness?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


An Unforgettable Where

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 7 Comments

Here’s a fun question for you that requires you to think back over your reading history…

What one book have you read that made the best use of setting?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Beyond The Dream

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 4 Comments

I may be in the minority here, but I’ve never been intrigued by the “dream” reality shows—American Idol, Project Runway, The Voice, America’s Next Top Model, etc. It’s not that I don’t have tremendous respect for folks who chase their dreams (I do), but I guess I don’t really like all the negativity and ego crushing that goes on.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that ego crushing goes on in all sorts of professions—creative and otherwise. In fact, I think it’s an almost necessary part of reaching your dreams, but I guess I don’t get the point of playing it out in public almost as if the notoriety and the 13 (or whatever) weeks of fame is more important than the achievement of the dream, itself.

Part of my dream of being a writer was having people read my books. I’ve accomplished that, many times over, yet, because that wasn’t the main goal (telling stories filled that role), I’m still going and plan to do the same for as long as I can keep track of characters and plots.

I wonder, though, if it was simply about being seen/known, if I’d have kept with it to have 22 contracted books under my belt.

I often think of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and that screenplay contest they won with Good Will Hunting in the early 90’s.  So many people would have hung their hats on that win—and the success of that movie—and simply taken their money and fifteen seconds of fame and been content to talk about it until the day they died.  These, too, however, used it as their stepping stone into a career they wanted…and look at them both now.

Dreams are so much more about the moment they come true. They’re about realizing them and keeping them going.

So how about you? Do you watch these shows? What do you enjoy about them?

 ~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)