Gilmore Girls or From the Start with Melissa Tagg!

I am beyond stoked for today’s post. The fantabulous
Melissa Tagg is here and if you know anything about her, she’s a huge fan of
Gilmore Girls. So we’re going to play a few rounds of Would You Rather with her
and she has to choose from Gilmore Girls or her newest novel, From the Start! Oh yeah, it’s a blast! PS, I’m over on her blog today sharing comparisons in relation to my newest novella, Just the Way You Are, so hop over ther next! CLICK HERE.
Let’s do this!
Would You Rather…
…live in Stars Hollow (GG) or Maple Valley (FTS)?
ACK that’s so hard. But I’m going to go with Maple
Valley and here’s why: It’s in Iowa. As quirky and wonderful as Stars Hollow
is, it’s in Connecticut and I know no one there.
Then again, if Jess was there…
…go canoeing with Luke Danes (GG) or your very own star, Colton Greene?
Luke! I love Colton, I do. But he’s got this bad
shoulder from a football injury so what if we get stuck in the middle of a
river and he can’t row and the current is crazy and I’m too wimpy to get us
back to shore? Luke, to my knowledge, has no such injury so I feel confident in
his rowing abilities.
Plus, he could entertain me with one of his
anti-Taylor Doose rants. Plus, I appreciate his style—flannel shirts and that green
army-ish jacket. So that gives him an edge.
…sit in a town meeting under Mayor Taylor Doose (GG) or the Mayor of
Maple Valley who, if I remember correctly, used a megaphone in one of the town
I like my mayor, I do. But other than his megaphone
scene, he’s a pretty brief shadow in From the Start. So I’m going to go with
Taylor because I would get immense enjoyment out of listening to him talk about
the dangers of ticks or the need for better leash laws or his intense
competition with the farmers market people in the Town Square.
…have a first kiss with Jess (GG) or Colton (FTS)? Oooooh! That’s gonna
be tough for you, isn’t it since you’re such a big Jess fan?!
Honestly, this is not even hard for me. I would
absolutely pick Jess. Thing is, I LOVE Colton. I really do. But he is so firmly
connected to Kate in my mind that I’d feel like a cheater if I kissed him.
Whereas Jess, last we heard from him, is happily unconnected. (Because stupid
Rory doesn’t know a good thing when she has it.) So I would feel zero guilt
about kissing him.
…hang out for a day with Lorelei Gilmore or Kate Walker (FTS)?
Kate Walker. I think Lorelai is awesome…we have some
striking similarities. But Kate…Kate would get me. Kate would understand my
deepest emotions and shallowest quirks. And she would talk about writing and
watch old movies with me. We’d totally bond.
…be best buds with Rory Gilmore or Hailey (FTS)?
Hailey, no question. Here’s the thing with Rory: By
the end of Gilmore Girls, she’s kind of an idiot. I’m sorry, but she makes the
most ridiculous decisions from season 5 on. Now, if we were talking strictly
early seasons Rory, I might have a different answer.
But the great thing about Hailey in FTS is that she
isn’t afraid to challenge Kate. We see it early on in the book and we see it
later on at the end of the book. She’s hugely influential in Kate’s life and
she’s wise. So I’d definitely go with her.
…have Richard Gilmore as a father figure or Kate’s dad, Case Walker.
Kate’s dad! Not hard at all to decide on that one.
Richard Gilmore is a wonderful character and we definitely get to see his
loving, caring side in Gilmore Girls. But…we also know he wasn’t all that
emotionally available or understanding as Lorelai’s father. And a lot of
Lorelai’s mistakes in the show are side effects of feeling unaccepted or
misunderstood by her family.
Case Walker on the other hand is, of course, not
perfect. But he is a wonderful listener. He’ll challenge his daughter, but
always from a place of love. He somehow manages to be stern and gentle at once.
And he sees past the fronts his adult kids put up.
…go to a Gilmore Friday night dinner or a Friday night football game in
Maple Valley?
Gilmore Friday night dinner! I’m sure a football game
would be fun, but a Gilmore dinner would include crazy amounts of wit and
banter and snark. And I would highly enjoy the awkward moments…highly.
…erase Logan Huntzberger from Rory’s life and make sure Jess stays in
the picture or go on romantic date with Logan Walker which includes a glorious
kiss at the end? (I’m torn here so I’m personally not answering ha!)
Oh my gosh! When I first read this, I thought the
second option was a romantic date with Logan Huntzberger and I was like, “Why
would you even ask me this? Logan Huntzberger is so far from my type it’s
hilarious. There’s not even a decision to be made here!”
Then I realized you said Logan Walkermy Logan. And
things got DIFFICULT. Because I adore Logan Walker and have an amazingly
unreasonable crush on the guy who portrays him on my cover (that I wish so
badly I could share!).
And yet, I love Jess…I will love him forever.
But you know, in my imagination, Jess DOES stay in the
picture for Rory. And Logan Huntzberger may not be my thing—not even a little
bit—but he does have his good moments and there are ways Rory does grow (I
suppose) from her relationship with him. (Even if mostly he just encourages her
stupid decisions and spends the bulk of his time on screen whining.) I don’t
think he needs to be entirely erased from her life.
So my choice is a romantic date with Logan Walker
which includes a glorious kiss at the end.
And now I realize half of this post has been talk of
kissing fictional people. I’m not sure how I feel about this…lol!
(Jess here) Well, I feel good about it so that’s what
counts, right? Great answers, Melissa! This was so much fun!
friends, are you a Gilmore Girls fan? If so, we’d love for you to answer a few
of the questions in the comments. If not, who would you share a fictional first
kiss with?

Visit Melissa on Facebook, Twitter @melissatagg and her blog
Take a peek at From
the Start
then go buy the book! I loved it!

Buy the book!

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily
ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t
kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays…until a
major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running
back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is
temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the
reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn
how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand
gestures, they both get what it’s like to desperately need direction in life.
An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives,
but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of
the plan, but could it be the best thing that’s ever happened to them?

This is TOO Much Fun!

Hello friends! I’m hanging out over at Melissa Tagg’s virtual home today and answering some of her fun questions about my FREE Christmas novella. She’s so hilarious and it’s going to be a good time, so pop over by clicking HERE! Let the fun commence.

Sign up for my newsletter and receive the Christmas novella in your inbox and for FREE as a big thank you! And if you’ve read it and enjoyed it, I’d love for you to share about it on your social media sites!  

See you over there! 


Chatting with the cast of Here to Stay and Melissa Tagg!

Today, I’m beyond excited to once again have my amazing friend and author Melissa Tagg hanging out. Anytime she’s here is going to be loads of fun. So prepare to laugh, ya’ll. Melissa’s second contemporary romantic comedy just released and I can tell you, it’s one for your bookshelf! You can read my REVIEW on Goodreads.
JP: You said the idea for your first
novel, Made to Last, came from watching Christmas in Connecticut. What inspired
you or helped inspire the masterpiece, Here to Stay?
MT: Well, mainly the inspiration for
this story was Blake. He first appeared in Made
to Last
, playing more of a secondary role and a total goofball. But a lot
of people said he was their favorite character and the longer I worked on Made to Last, the more I realized this
guy had a story of his own to tell. And though the story itself doesn’t exactly
mirror a movie like Made to Last,
Autumn, the main female in the story is loosely inspired by George Bailey from
It’s a Wonderful Life—one of the greatest movies ever.
JP: I was a huge fan of Blake in book 1
and fell further in love with him in Here
to Stay!
And you’re right, It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the greatest
movies ever. Since Blake was a minor character and a reader fave in Made to Last, who would you consider to
be your favorite minor character in Here
to Stay
MT: Ah, good question. Blake and Autumn
felt so huge and real to me writing Here
to Stay
, so thinking of a favorite minor character is harder. You know, I
really like Ike the flight instructor. He’s only in a few scenes, but he’s this
calming force in Blake’s life…but he also sees Blake’s deeper desires, his
hopes, and he says just the right things. Like when he tells Blake he doesn’t
have to see every open door on the way to his future…just the next one in front
of him. I resonated with that quite a bit.
JP: I did too! It was great insight. I
loved Harry. He made me laugh and I’d like to see Autumn’s sister have a story.
She lost so much, it’d be nice to see her find love and purpose, hint hint.
Well, we’re talking peeps, do you have pictures of who you would cast as Blake
and Autumn?
MT: Actually…I saw the cover for Here to Stay before the characters had
fully formed in my brain. So I picture Autumn and Blake from the cover as THE
Autumn and Blake. I can’t even picture anyone else in place of those models!
JP: I can totally see Autumn as the
cover model, but in my mind, I see Blake bigger with flippier hair. J Okay, it’s time
for a round of Would You Rather with you, Autumn and Blake!
is your favorite TV show? The one you can. not. miss.
Me: I can’t decide
between 24 or Sherlock. Sherlock is smart…24 has the nostalgia factor for me.
So, instead I’ll say Gilmore Girls. LOL!
(Jess—Yes! Gilmore Girls!)
Blake: I am seriously
not the TV watcher type at all. But if I had to pick something, I think I’d watch
From the Ground Up starring Randi
Woodruff just so I could say to people, “Hey I pretended to be married to her
for a month once.” (Am I allowed to pick a fake show for Blake?)
(Jess—I guess. It was pretty clever
Autumn: That one show
on PBS with the guy who travels different places and tells you about it.
(There’s a show like that, right?)
(Jess—Dr. Who???? Lol I don’t know. I
don’t think so rofl!)
you’ve had a bad day, what is your go-to food?
Melissa: It’s a toss up
between pizza and Chinese.
Blake: Lasagna made by
yours truly.
Autumn: Pop-tarts. Or
really basically anything as long as my friend Betsy makes it.
is your guilty-pleasure movie?
Melissa: What’s Up Doc.
NOT because I feel guilty about the movie itself. It’s one of the greatest
movies ever. The guilt comes in when I realize just how many times I’ve watched
it. I mean…it’s ridiculous.
Blake: Wild Hearts
Can’t Be Broken. Don’t tell anyone.
Autumn: Nacho Libre.
(Jess—These are hilarious!)
you had one last day on this earth and you had to spend it doing one super-fun
thing, what activity would you choose?
Melissa: This question
makes me sad! But if I did have just one last day, I’d definitely want to hang
out with family…and maybe just go on one long road trip all together. Maybe
through the Appalachians. Because that’s my favorite place and car rides with
the family are always hilarious and fun.
Blake: I would take
Autumn flying. J
Autumn: I would tell
Blake to take me flying. J
(Jess—Aaaww! I love that! Great
Thanks for hanging out today, Melissa.
It’s been so much fun. Everyone, you really should buy Here to Stay. I know you’ll
love it as much as I did. Lots of grinning, swooning, out-loud-laughing, and
thinking…yes…thinking. Weaved into this story are some amazing truths to
Buy the book! 
After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he’ll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he’s stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events…

If there’s one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it’s Whisper Shore. For years, she’s been stuck running her family’s inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.

The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn’s the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade–she’ll help with the Festival and he’ll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who’s done running away joins forces with the girl who can’t wait to leave.

your turn! Answer one or all of the Would You Rather? questions in the comments.
 Have a great weekend!

Faith Readers Group Review: Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

Yeah, us wild and crazy Faith Readers mixed up this month. Not only did we meet on Tuesday instead of Monday, we did dips instead of desserts. We live on the wild side, don’t we? Rotel, cream cheese and pepper jelly–do you know what pepper jelly is? Because I didn’t until I moved down here nearly two decades ago.

It’s been a fun week around here! Monday, we played Would You Rather with not only Melissa but her hero, Matthew and her heroine, Miranda. And on Wednesday, Melissa shared a moving devotional

Oh, and not only did we discuss the book on Tuesday, we Skyped with Melissa, and maybe our connection was horrible (our end’s fault not hers) so I just called her and we talked on speaker. Which was actually better than her having to see our faces contorted in frozen display and vice versa, though it would make for some great laughs, I bet! 

But she answered some questions like inspiration for the story, how did she come up with the little girl’s medical condition, when her next book is coming out and what we can expect to see without giving anything away, her own personal traits in her characters, and her very personal connection with Blaze! 🙂 

Thank you, Melissa, for hanging out all week and giving us a great conversation on Tuesday!

Here’s a peek at the book:

Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s how it looks when she’s starring in her
homebuilding television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to
talk about making cuts, she’ll do anything to boost ratings and save her
show–even if it means pretending to be married to a man who’s definitely not
the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.

When a
handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging into
her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her. Can
the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally
find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she’s
built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?

Reader Comments: 

I laughed out loud a few times.
I thought her last name was clever!
I really liked the romance.
I thought Miranda was going to end up with the other guy for awhile!
When Miranda said, “God I’m coming back to you when this is over.” That stuck with me because I’ve said that before. (Jess, here, that brought up our spiritual conversation for night, as most of us has said something along those lines before.)
I liked the brother and the little girl. I’d read more about him.
I wasn’t sure what Blaze looked like. 
I liked Blaze best. (Good, his book is up next lol ~Jess again)
I got confused at first because so many people had pet names for her and I’m not good with names to begin with so I had to concentrate on if Miranda was Randi and Randa. 
Rating based on 5 stars:

4 stars!
MelissaTagg is a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and
romancey. Her debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, releases from
Bethany House in September 2013, with a follow-up slated for summer 2014. In
addition to her nonprofit day job, she is also the marketing/events coordinator
for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers founded by
award-winning author Susan May Warren.
During her
reporting days, Melissa interviewed presidential candidates and llama farmers,
rode a hot air balloon and flew a plane, and once found herself face to face
with a buffalo. But today she gets her kicks by letting her characters have
their own fun. She’s passionate about humor, grace and happy endings.
The answer to where I was last week is: Maldives!  I will draw for a winner to receive the $10 Amazon card the last week in November!
What is your favorite romantic comedy whether movie or book and why? 

Old Dreams and New Dreams

Everyone, welcome back Melissa Tagg! And Happy Halloween tomorrow–or Happy Fall if you don’t celebrate it! Take it away, Melissa!
I’ve written about the main
characters in my debut novel, Made to Last, quite a few times around the
blogosphere. Miranda and Matthew—I sorta love them. Okay, I really love them. And Blake, too. I love
him so much I gave him his own book, which comes out next spring.
But I haven’t written as often—or
possibly at all—about one of the book’s side characters: A guy named Jase.
Jase was one of those subplot guys
who sneaks up on you. Writers know what I’m talking about. We may not actually
all that fully plan out the character’s role in the story, but once he waltzes
his way onto the page, we discover he has a history and maybe even a little
story arc all his own.
Thus, Jase.
Jase is the brother of my hero,
Matthew. Turns out he went down to Texas a few years ago, acted as visiting art
professor at a college and came home a semester later with a wife and
stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Cee, is deaf—a result of meningitis—and is part
of my hero’s motivation. See, a whole backstory that just sort of ambled its
way into existence as I wrote. (AH, I love being a writer!)
Anyway, there comes a point about
two-thirds of the way through the book when Matthew finds out Jase is facing
his own sort of mini-crisis. The photo gallery he opened in Minneapolis is
going under. Financially, it’s not supporting his soon-to-expand family
anymore. So he’s closing up shop and going back to teaching. And as he tells
Matthew about his family’s upcoming changes, Matthew starts thinking…about how
Jase was letting go of one dream, his gallery, in order to support his new
dream, his family. The mental journey had all sorts of implications in
Matthew’s own life.
I never really expected that scene
in the book to affect Matthew—or frankly, me—so much. But it did. Because
suddenly I was thinking back on my own life. On dreams and how they’ve changed
and how they’ve stayed the same. On how sometimes we have to let go of an old
dream in order to make room for a new one.
And here’s the point in this post
when we take a little back step to one of the more un-fun seasons in Melissa’s
I had this dream once I was pretty
certain about. Things were working out. It seemed right. That is, until the
year everything changed. Oh. My. Word. I was not a fun person to be around that
year. That dream was slowly ripped away, and life became an emotional roller
coaster that I pretty much wailed my way through. I put on a good face now and
then, but the people who knew me best saw through pretend happy Melissa.
Honestly, I’m a little amazed they stuck by me through my pouting!
But I will never forget the day I
decided to let go. Finally. Completely. No more white-knuckled grasp on a thing
I knew God was saying “no” to. And here’s the verse that buoyed my hope that
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it
springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and
streams in the wasteland.” –Isaiah 43:19
Doesn’t that verse just set your
mind spinning with awesome could-bes and might-bes? I love it. But it’s even
better when you go back and read it in context. I love how The Message
paraphrase puts it:
This is
what God says,
    the God who builds a
road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path
through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and
    they lie down and then
can’t get up;
    they’re snuffed out like
so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over
old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something
    It’s bursting out! Don’t
you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the
    rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
    —the coyotes and the
Because I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the
sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made
especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to
praise me.
So. Good. But did you catch that
part about forgetting what’s happened, not going over old history? I don’t know
that we actually forget-forget. But
we do choose where to focus our thoughts. We choose whether to be present
today, focused on whatever new dream has replaced the old one. Or maybe we
don’t know what our new dream is yet, but just thinking about what it might
be…that’s fun. That’s the stuff of hope and excitement and newness.
And the crazily cool thing is, when
we really believe God is at work,
constantly doing something new in our lives, always with a plan and a purpose,
it gets a little easier to let go. A little easier to move on. And a little
easier to trust that it’s going to be worth it.
you ever had to let go of a dream? How did you move forward? Do you have a new
dream now?


Here’s what Made to Last is all about!
Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s how it
looks when she’s starring in her homebuilding television show, From the
Ground Up
. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she’ll do
anything to boost ratings and save her show–even if it means pretending to be
married to a man who’s definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging
into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her.
Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona
finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the
life she’s built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?

Would You Rather…? With Melissa, Matthew & Miranda

Monday morning, everyone! I’m totally stoked to have author and dear friend,
Melissa Tagg visiting all week long! If you don’t know, Melissa’s debut novel
recently released, Made to Last. I, personally, loved it. So here’s how this week
is going to roll out:
we’re playing Would You Rather with not just Melissa, but her main characters
from Made to Last, Matthew and Miranda!
Melissa will be sharing the Wednesday devotional. Next week, we’ll continue our
series on humility.
Friday, our local book club, Faith Readers, will share our group review of Made
to Last. So join in all week for some serious fun!
Visit Melissa
get started, shall we?
Would You Rather…?
…walk across hot coals or a
bed of nails (pointing up!) Hey it’s a DIY edition-nails lol
Miranda: Bed of nails,
totally. Because I’ve stepped on enough nails in my life to know I won’t
die…and I can run fast.
Matthew: Whichever one would
impress Miranda more.
Melissa: Nails! Wearing
really thick work boots. Because you totally didn’t specify that I had to be barefoot!
…swim in shark infested
waters or cross a swamp of crocodiles (they fell in the water in the novel, so it’s
Miranda: Swamp of crocodiles!
And I would take a gun. I feel like crocodiles might be easier to shoot than
Matthew: Swamp of
crocodiles…with Miranda and her gun.
Melissa: Swamp of crocodiles…with
Matthew and Miranda and her gun.  And that alligator wrestler I met once
in Florida. Wrestling crocodiles can’t be that much different than alligators,
…fall in love and lose it or
never have fallen in love?
Miranda: At the beginning of
my book I would’ve totally said never fallen in love. By the end, yup, fall in
love and lose it. Because I’ve survived it once…
Matthew: Fall in love and
lose it. Because I feel like that’s the more romantic answer and I’m a cool
enough guy to be able to admit that romance is good.
Melissa: What they said. 🙂
You all crack me up and I think you finagled
yourself out of really answering that last question, Tagg.
What say y’all?
Answer one or all the questions below.
Here are my answers:
Nails. I think there’s an art to it that I could
figure out, and to run on hot coals may require demonic possession and I’m not
into that sort of thing. (Don’t you watch the Discovery channel?)
Sharks. While neither excite me, I think one
chomp and I’m done for. Crocs take you down with that whole death roll thing,
jamming you in a log to tenderize you, or at least, that’s what Crocodile
Dundee says.
I say love and lose it. Memories might be
painful but God would heal them and then it’d be okay to look back and remember
the beautiful moments.


See you Wednesday!
Buy Made to Last!
Here’s a peek!
Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s
how it looks when she’s starring in her homebuilding television show, From
the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she’ll
do anything to boost ratings and save her show–even if it means pretending to
be married to a man who’s definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three
years ago.

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging
into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her.
Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona
finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the
life she’s built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?


A Whole Day Cleaning Out the…

Yeah, the pantry. School is starting in two weeks! Two. Two weeks and my house is simply not ready for grumpy heads rising before 6:30 a.m., heading to school to beat the tardy bell at 7:20.

It’s not ready for starving mouths that need after-school snacks and all that goes along with five days of kid-torture.

My pantry was ridiculous.

So maybe I didn’t spend a whole day on it, but I swear I did spend an hour and it’s possible more than one bag of trash went out, I will not admit to any more than one. 

I reorganized my spice rack, moved a few things to different cabinets, shopped for school supplies and got them ready to go in boxes, and basically cleaned house. No, not basically, I did clean house.

I was quiet online yesterday and I got zipola writing done. I will say while dinner was in the oven, I took a break with a cup of tea and Lisa Jordan’s newest book, Lakeside Family. A fifteen minute break. Yeah, it turned into an hour and I admit to laughing out loud and even sobbing tearing up. You can pre-order it! Click on Lisa’s name.

Now that my laundry is done, school supplies purchased, and I can open my pantry without stale chips and moldy bread falling out (I might or might not be exaggerating) I can get back to writing. Oh and I got inspired by Amanda Dykes uber-cool organized desk, so I cleaned mine off and did a little organizing myself! You can read about it at Melissa Tagg’s Tag(g)lines, where she guest posted, HERE!

Do you do a full scrub on your house before school starts up? And even better, if you could be one item in a pantry, what would you be and why?

Smooching Jesus

Today, I’m over at the hilarious and wonderful Melissa Tagg’s blog, Ta(g)glines! (click on “Ta(g)glines” link…it’s red. LOL) It’s romance month over there, and I’m talking about a kiss. 
It’s not just a kiss. 
Especially when 
you’re smooching Jesus. 
Yeah,come find out! Oh, and she’s introducing me by Vlog. 
How cool is that?
***Next Wednesday we’ll pick up with our series on strength and talk about piercing the heart.

Must Meet Monday: Melissa Tagg

I’m drawn to the witty, clever, and funny exterior with a warm, gooey and deeply spiritual inside.  And that’s Melissa Tagg in a nutshell. Okay, not a nutshell, but in real life. (refer to Wayne’s World.)

I have no idea how I stumbled upon “Tagg’s” blog. I call her that. I don’t know if she likes it or not. But it doesn’t really matter, now does it? No one ever asked me if I liked being called “Little Oz” “Ozzy” or “Short Oz.” I digress. My point is, Tagg’s personality and fun writing style caught me up and she’s one of the very first people I hunt down on MWF. Yep, I enjoy her blog that much! Go see for yourself. 

Native Iowan and former reporter Melissa Tagg, is a big fan of love and laughs…which is why she writes humor-laced contemporary romance. (Well, that and the amazing paycheck she’s sure will come any day now.) In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she is also the marketing/live events coordinator for My Book Therapy. She won the 2010 Frasier Award and finaled in the 2010 ACFW Genesis Contest. 

JP: See? How funny is she? Congrats on your awards, Tagg. When did you get the writer’s bug?
MT: Oh goodness, I think around the time I got teeth. (Uh, because I’ve always liked to “chew” on a good story…? Okay, should’ve let that one go.) Seriously, though, I’ve loved stories as long as I can remember. Sometime in my childhood it must’ve dawned on me that stories don’t just happen – someone writes them. And I decided I must be one of those someones. J
JP:  Badump, bump, ching! Tell us one favorite line in one of your WIP’s and tell us why?
MT: Okay, I promise I’m not being lazy here, but I’m going to give you the first line of my book! I’ve had about 12 different first lines and thanks to inspiration from Susan May Warren’s  teaching AND a blog post by awesome friend/upcoming debut author Beth Vogt, I finally have an opener I love.
             Here it is:
                 On any other day of the year, she could almost forgive herself for the lie.
JP: Ooooh! Good one. I’d tell  you if I hated it. What day of the year is that? I ask. And almost means she never has forgiven herself. Well, done, friend. Well done. I could camp on this for a bit longer but I won’t so let’s move along. Do you listen to music while you write? I totally feel a Coldplay plug-in coming on.
MT: Oh, I love Coldplay so much Cupid should probably recruit me. Their new album, Mylo Xyloto, is fab-u-lous!!
But actually, I rarely listen to music when I write because it’s too easy for me to start singing instead of staying immersed in the scene. If I do, it’s usually instrumental – and something fitting to the mood of my scene. Oddly (or really not so oddly if you know me) my best music for writing is a strings orchestra recording of Rogers & Hammerstein’s greatest hits. OR (and feel free to laugh), I have a string quartet album of Coldplay songs.
JP: Thanks for permission. I’m giggling. I’ll admit, yah know since you said I could feel free! So, what genre do you like to read? Do you write that genre?
MT: I adore romantic comedy with lots of hilarity, but also character depth (think Jenny B. Jones) – which is definitely what I aspire to write. But I read lots of genres: I enjoy both women’s fiction and contemporary romance – though I will confess to being slightly picky with romance. I also love a good thriller or suspense and even the random fantasy here and there. (I’m a massively huge fan of Ted Dekker’s earlier books, especially the Circle series.)  And, thanks to both Susan May Warren and Deeanne Gist’s fabulous historicals, I’m now a historical fiction fan, too. Someday I’d love to try writing historical for the fun of it.
JP: Well, I can’t wait to read your books. If you could pick one villain from a book to be for a day, who would you choose?
            MT: First of all, kudos on seriously fun questions.
            JP: Thanks! I do like to try and keep things fun. Is everyone having  fun? If not, please lie and say “yes.” 
MT: I’d have to say Captain Hook from Peter Pan. Because he gets to hang out in Neverland and has fabulous hair. Although, the hook would make typing and playing piano a challenge…
JP: He does have great hair! Great answer. Fall is here, what one thing do you love most about this season? What one thing do you like least about this season?
MT: I love so many things about fall – by far my favorite season – but probably my faves are all things pumpkin: Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice creamer, pumpkin bars, pumpkin scented candles.
            Least favorite is definitely its length. Autumn is way too short.
JP: I agree. I am making gooey-pumpkin butter cake for Turkey Day. Bet you wish you were gonna be here, huh? I’ll send you a picture. Speaking of pictures, do you hunt down any of your characters from the internet? Care to share what your hero and heroine look like with us from your current WIP?
           MT: Sometimes I do that, yes! For my current book, here’s who we’ve got:

Put Levis and a tool belt on her, and Lauren Graham IS Miranda Woodruff, my heroine.
JP: I like her! But you know, I’ve never watched Gilmore Girls or Parenthood. Chics in toolbelts. Awesome. I see some comedic scenes for sure!
MT: Honestly, I didn’t mean for this to happen, but I’ve been picturing my main male character, Matthew Knox, as Jason Ritter. (Both Graham and Ritter are in the TV show Parenthood.)
JP: Are they paired together on the show? They look cute together! 

And if you give Owen Wilson a black moptop instead of blonde, he’s totally Blake “Blaze” Hunziker, my other main dude. (Apparently I’ve filled this book with dark haired folks.)

JP: I tend to gravitate toward dark haired males myself. Okay, I’m so fanning myself right now. 🙂  What would your characters say about you if they had the chance?

MT: Oh dear, they’d totally ruin the cool and confident vibe I’m sure I give off around real people. (Real people, please stop laughing.) No, my characters would probably gab about my writing mood swings. If they behave and a scene goes well, I go all giddy. When they don’t cooperate, I sink into the depths of despair. They’d also probably express concern over my need to speak dialogue out loud as I’m typing and act out scenes…
JP: OMG! I do that too! Or if I’m picturing a scene while I’m driving sometimes it comes out my mouth before I realize it. I always hope people think I’m singing or on a bluetooth! Your characters are great now give us a peek into the story!
           MT: Sure thing! Here’s a blurb for my second WIP, From the Ground Up.
Since the first season of her popular homebuilding show, celebrity Miranda Woodruff has entertained viewers with stories of the husband who taught her all she knows. Too bad said “husband” abandoned her before the season aired…and before the wedding. Now facing teetering ratings and with media curiosity at an all-time high, Miranda’s producer insists she come up with a husband – real deal or not. Mock mate in tow, she sets out to save her show. But then nosy reporter Matthew Knox lands on her doorstep, lugging his own set of personal baggage and desperate for a breakout story. The only thing worse? The reappearance of her former fiancé.
Juggling secrets and supposed spouses, Miranda’s heart is in for a major renovation as God shows her where her true identity lies.
JP: Okay, I’d buy this book today, yah hear me? It sounds awesome! Thanks so much for coming by and hanging out with us today, Tagg. It’s been a blast and I’ve been smiling and giggling the whole time. Is there anything you’d like to ask the peeps that hang around my “waterfall” cooler? They’d be happy to answer, as they are the most awesomest people around!
I loved your question about what villain I’d be for a day if I could. So can I copy you and ask that one to everyone else? And thanks so much for having me. How fun!!

Okay, everyone, if you could be a villain for one day, who would you be? Get creative, get dark, get on it! Tell us! 

And even more importantly connect with Melissa on facebook, her blog, and twitter