It's getting closer...the date the finalists for the 2012 Golden Heart are announced (Good Luck to you all). The anticipation leading up to the ceremony was nerve-wrecking and awesome to say the least. Thank goodness SEE JANE RUN (Hill Country Holdup, Harlequin Intrigue) wasn’t going head-to-head with SONGBIRD (The Rancher and the Rock Star, Avon Impulse). If they had been, I might be a lot more jealous of our guest today. Liz Selvig and I became Unsinkable sisters in March 2010 and just a bit closer in July when we met face-to-face, both winning our respective categories.
We’re so proud to have LIZ SELVIG today with her Golden Heart winning manuscript…
There comes a time in every independent woman's life when she has to step aside and let a White Knight do his job.
Abby Stadler has fought to carve out a quiet, independent life for herself and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Kim. She may need a White Knight, but she doesn't want one.
Especially when he shows up in the form of a superstar with a missing son and vindictive paparazzi on his tail.
Especially when he shows up in the form of a superstar with a missing son and vindictive paparazzi on his tail.
To the world, Gray Covey is a rock god. To his teenage son, Dawson, he's simply an absent father.
When Gray is forced to track a runaway Dawson to Abby's struggling horse farm in small town Minnesota,
he finds far more than a widow and a ranch with a silly name.
Faced with one teen who despises him, one teen who worships him, and a woman who flips his heart on its axis, Gray must learn not just how to be a father, but how to be real superstar.
READ A LITTLE … THEN READ A LOT
The storm spent itself, and the sky lightened to a gorgeous purple-and-pink twilight as Abby tidied the kitchen and listened contentedly to Kim’s clarinet solo grow more confident under Gray’s patient teaching. Worries that normally sat just below the surface of her emotions, ready to overwhelm her, were held in check by the rare calm of the evening, but they were still there. The broken well earlier that day had been the tip of an iceberg.
The house roof wasn’t far from failing and, while she had next month’s mortgage money in the bank and enough for a half a month of horse and basic people feed, she couldn’t absorb another major disaster.
She watched the sky continue to brighten as the clouds blew away on the breath of a fresh breeze. She opened the chocolate cupboard and allowed ten seconds for a wave of guilt. Yes, she should stop indulging in the extravagant chocolate bars—but she never would. She’d figured out that about five dollars a month went to her vice. If one day she lost everything because she was sixty dollars short at the end of the year, she’d give up her addiction.
This batch of hot chocolate would celebrate Gray’s return—how could that be considered unnecessary? Engrossed in adding cream to the melting Symphony bar, she jumped when a light touch shimmied up her spine.
“What’s the occasion—happy or sad?” Gray leaned in behind her, his whisper causing shivers.
“You’re back safely.” She leaned right back. “This is a magic potion to keep you here.”
“A love potion?”
“I said magic. Don’t get full of yourself, buster.”
He nibbled down her neck to a point just beneath the collar of her polo shirt. First wetting the spot with his tongue, he worried at it gently with his teeth.
She laughed and pushed him away. “No hickeys, the kids are home.”
“If this were a movie, now would be the time our hero sings to the girl and changes her mind.”
“Ooh yeah, like in an Elvis movie.” She laughed again. “Hmm, forgot about Elvis. Maybe he’s my number three favorite singer and you’re number four.”
“Nope. I’m pretty sure I’m moving up the list not down.” He started humming and her skin vibrated beneath his breath.
She closed her eyes. “I always wondered where the background music came from.”
He straightened and winked. “Be right back.”
When he returned, his flashy Ovation acoustic hung from one hand, and Abby’s heart started tap dancing as Gray slung the guitar’s strap across his shoulders. At his first chord, a thrill dove for her stomach. He sang, for her shivers alone, a slow, gravelly version of the old Love Potion No. 9.
He trailed her around the kitchen, leering as she added more chocolate to the pan on the stove, laughing as she pulled out four mugs. The gypsy’s pad on Thirty-fourth and Vine, the turpentine, the India ink . . . all the silly, novelty lyrics took on the sultry heat of a jazz love song. His fingers mesmerized her, flexing to form chords, caressing the strings. The knuckles slipping beneath his tanned skin were as sexy as the baritone she could no longer resist.
He sang over her shoulder while she stirred her chocolate potion, sang in her face when she backed up, giggling, against a counter, and sang as he finished with an Elvis-worthy pelvis-waggle. Abby had never seen The King move with any more heat in his hips than Gray did when he pulled the Ovation’s strap over his head and leaned the guitar against a cabinet.
“Now Elvis kisses the girl,” he said.
Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three brothers and no sisters definitely shaped my personality. Even though my girlfriends were great, I was much prouder of the fact that I was the only female allowed into the neighborhood Boys Only club. Girlie stuff (with exception of the occasional Barbie play date) was simply a waste of time. Baseball, climbing trees, begging my parents for a horse, and avoiding wearing dresses at all costs were much more fun.
Imagine my surprise when, after years of wanting to BE one of the Beatles or the Monkees, I looked up at a picture of Paul McCartney on my wall one day--and fell in love. Like a doggone proper girl.
Making up stories was second nature to me. As far back as I can remember I told myself tales when I went to bed. As I got older, I started writing them down. When most girls were reading themselves to sleep, I was writing until the wee hours.
Because of the momentous epiphany over the posters from Tiger Beat and 16 Magazines, all my written tales were romances. At first, they were about Davy Jones and Bobby Sherman and Paul. Then I discovered my own characters, and writing became more than a bedtime activity, it became a passion.
Today I live in Minnesota with my hubby and my squirrel-loving border collie. My two children (an equine vet and a musician) are grown and married. I love to play with my four-legged grandchildren of which there are nearly twenty. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter and a magazine editor, and I’ve lived in Germany, Canada and Alaska. And my love affair with romance novels has never died!
QUESTIONS for ALL THE CREW
LIZ: Definitely “The Black Stallion” and all the books in that series. I had such a crush on Alec Ramsay (Walter Farley was always describing him as broad-shouldered and slim-hipped – but only because that made him a natural jockey, which was at the time, the sexiest profession I could think of!) And, of course, there was The Black himself. Holy moly what a horse!
JILLIAN: Since the 2010 Golden Heart, what has been your most rewarding publishing moment?
LIZ: It sounds like a cop out, but I have to say that each step in this process has been more rewarding than the last. First, of course, just making a sale was a dream. Then I got to see a cover with my name on it, and that was amazing. After my edits were finished, the coolest thing was getting an actual ISBN number. I think that’s when I believed it was a real book! There was the night my sister-in-law called me and told me she’d pre-ordered the book. But just recently I got my very first review – and it was a good one. Wow. There will be good ones and bad ones for the rest of my career—but my first positive review from someone who doesn’t know me? THAT was , cool!
SIMONE: What inspires you daily?
LIZ: I try really hard to let my faith inspire me, but sometimes, on the rougher days, the Lord just looks down, laughs and shakes His head, then pats me on mine. We both go, “maybe tomorrow.” Truly, it’s the people God has put into my life who inspire me. I’m a true extrovert and get energy from other people. I don’t tire at conferences or meetings. I love social networking because it’s a false sense of being out in a community. And I love hearing other peoples’ stories because that spurs me to do well, too!
|Angi - Liz - Cat|
CAT: What has surprised you the most about being published?
LIZ: I’m amazed at how truly undisciplined I am. Even though I’ve known my whole life what a procrastinator and deadline-oriented person I am, I’m finding that I will have to learn new habits or die in this business. I’ve always been able to survive on my natural internal clock that tells me when the very last second I can start a project arrives. Oh, that’s so not true anymore. I’m floundering with the hurry-up and wait aspect of everything about publishing, and I’m trying hard to learn to make new writing my priority. Focusing on a book release can take up all your time—and I’m in the high-risk factor category for that syndrome!
DONNELL: Complete this sentence. When I want to relax, I. . .
LIZ:. . .watch Matt Bomer in White Collar! (That’s true!) But to really relax? I love to hike with my husband—we’ve hiked in all of Minnesota’s 70 state parks and many of Alaska’s. This summer we’re heading for England to do a coast-to-coast walk; 190 miles in three weeks. I also love to quilt. I have frequent quilting weekends with my sister-in-law and that provides such a great balance to the solitary and sedentary job of writing.
ANGI: How often do you get lost in a story?
LIZ: In my head, with my own characters, I’m lost all the time. My husband is used to me nodding and laughing while I’m sitting next to him in the car or at some otherwise quiet time. “Oh, who are you talking to now?” he’ll ask. As far as getting lost in stories not my own, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like anymore. I read every night before bed, but it takes a while to get through a novel at, say, four pages a day. I made a goal on Goodreads this year to read a book a week, so I’m always looking for that story that will get me so lost I get way past that four-page mark!
ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
LIZ: I recall two very special books: “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri and “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell. I so wanted to be that little Swiss girl, running through the Alps with Peter the goatherd. I loved her grandfather and all the freedom. As for Black Beauty, well, I fell in love with that horse and spent long hours, city girl that I was, pretending to gallop to that broken down bridge with a horse smart enough to know to stop! I’ve had many horses in my life since then, but Beauty started it all.
ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
LIZ: Kiss. It doesn’t matter what kind of love or what genre of romance we’re talking about, a kiss is part of it. A kiss can be soft and sweet, or hot and erotic. A kiss can have nothing to do with sexual love and everything to do with a mother and her child, or a boy and his dog. You can kiss your lover, kiss your fingertips to say ‘delicioso’, or blow a kiss. You can kiss a photograph or a casket, or you can kiss hello. You can describe a long, sensuous kiss or you can simply write, “and then he kissed her,” and it’s all you need. I can’t think of a more versatile love word!
ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
LIZ: I have to go cliché with this and talk about my dad. He was and is one of the smartest men I’ve ever known—a great role model to three sons, and my first exposure to a liberated man. I married a guy a lot like him! Dad did lots of heroic things as a parent, of course, but he’s most heroic to me now at age 81. He struggles with a form of aphasia—a condition that makes it difficult for him to speak even if he knows in his head what he wants to say. I know how horribly frustrating this is for him, because he hasn’t forgotten anything, he just can’t always communicate. For a smart guy, this has to be hellish. But, I am fortunate to get to spend time with him, and we go on dad/daughter dates every month. I see how he is willing to let us help him find words without getting upset, how he adapts to his difficulty, how he still listens so closely to his family and knows everything that’s going on. He’s fighting through this and I admire him so much. His heroism has to be ongoing—and that’s not easy. I want to be like him when I grow up!
ANGI: For the record, there’s nothing cliché about DADs being heroes!!
ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
LIZ: I love Calvin, from Calvin & Hobbs. I would give anything to be as creative as he is. Or as creative as his parents have to be, for that matter J I’d love to know what kind of man Calvin turned out to be – the ultimate geeky bad boy! (Okay, nobody steal that – I just found my next hero!)
ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?
LIZ: Injustice. I have a really hard time controlling my anger if I perceive something is unreasonably unfair. As my dad-well everyone’s dad, actually-always said, “Life ain’t fair.” But sometimes, when people are taken advantage of, or downtrodden, or just plain ripped off—I rail against it. BTW, my nickname used to be Rambolina – no lie.
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
LIZ: I love the sound of my children laughing with each other. It was precious when they were growing up, and it’s even more wonderful now that they’re adults. My daughter and son-in-law are the complete opposites of my son and daughter-in-law, but they still get along. When they’re together and laughing and bantering, I feel like I did my part to give the world good-hearted people who can get along.
LIZ: Ooh, fairy tale! I like the old fashioned ones, where the prince swoops in and saves the day – there’s always a place for chivalry. But I also love new fairy tales where the heroine is equal to her hero. For example, Disney’s “Tangled.” Rapunzel with a frying pan? Oh yeah! It takes specialized skill to be a kick-butt action hero, but any one of us could make someone’s fairy tale come true. That’s what’s so special about them!
ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
LIZ: I always say I created “My Little Ponies” because my first stories were about small horses that did all kinds of cool stuff – like starred in comic strips and ran newspapers and still won cool races like the Kentucky Derby. They were more picture stories than books, though. My first “novel” was a round robin story about a hero named Lincoln (Linc) and the horse farm he ran. I passed it around and around with four of my junior high friends, and it got to be pretty long. I wish I remembered more about the plot or knew where it was. I just remember it was pretty cool, and Linc had lots of horsey adventures.
ANGI: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
LIZ: Writing. I say that because I don’t trust my stories until I can read them over and check them out. I never truly believe I have anything people actually want to hear—which is not a great thing for a writer to admit! This is not to say I don’t love to talk (no rolled eyeballs, my GLIAS sisters who know me); it has everything to do with whether or not what I say is worthwhile. J
ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
LIZ: I have fans? Lol – I would LOVE to have fans. And I’d tell them I love them dearly. Be they friends, family, or readers who decide they like my book – they will always be incredibly precious. The act of writing might be a solitary endeavor, but once the book is out, a writer has to have a symbiotic relationship with readers or there’s nothing. If readers turn into fans—wow, writers should be humbled. And I hope whenever I get fans I can turn them into friends too.
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: I visited your website. Love all the animals and their photos. I could ask which one is your favorite…but that wouldn’t be fair. So instead I’m going back to your bio. I have to admit that I still have the vinyl of my first album--Portrait of Bobby. I watched THE MONKEES and HERE COME THE BRIDES religiously as a teen. So who was your absolute favorite? Davy Jones or Bobby Sherman.
LIZ HAS GOTTA ANSWER:
Oh, maaaan! That’s almost like asking me to pick between my children. I was such an enormous Davy fan but also a huge Bobby fan. “Here Come the Brides” . . . sigh. Here’s a teensy back story: I spent hours and hours of writing time as a teenager making up stories about my famous crushes. So, in my mind, I’ve been married to both of these guys! What can I say? Davy could look me right in the eye (literally-he’s only two inches taller than I) and use that fantastic Manchester accent to melt my heart. He was so sweet and good. Bobby, on the other hand, was just the best to my parents and my friends. He wasn’t afraid to go anywhere with me, even if it meant braving his fans. And he was such a good kisser. My favorite………….?
Fine, Davy edges Bobby because I was “with” him longer, had more pics of him on my wall (by a couple), and he had a British accent. But, if you look up Bobby Sherman online – he grew up to be quite a guy. Let’s just say, you and I knew how to pick ’em, Angi.ANGI: Liz, I have share that my husband has a new toy: a turn table that converts to digital. On the top of the stack to be converted is BOBBY, skips and warped vinyl included.
I will give away a copy of “The Rancher and the Rock Star” along with a lovely commemorative mug J imprinted with my heroine Abby’s decadent hot chocolate recipe from the story.
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.
DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter (#GetLostStories) or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes. Join me this week when I host Liz Selvig & Robin Perini. And come back Thursday & Friday for Maggie Toussaint & Sue Swift. ~Angi
AND LIZ WANTS TO KNOW…
WHO WAS YOUR TEEN-AGE IDOL? Did you have a favorite poster on your wall?