Monday, July 21, 2014

Novel Awakening

Image c. Penguin Group
Once upon a time I read novels day and night. I read them on a hunch. I read them during lunch. I read them on my head, and I read them in my bed.

Poor Dr. Seuss ... !

But seriously, I rarely passed by the Eagle Rock Library on my walk home from elementary and middle school without stopping in. I was that kid. As I outgrew the kids' section, I moved into adult fiction and read everything the librarian would let me borrow--age appropriate or not (wink, wink). I was addicted, a two-pack a day reader with no time or inclination to quit anytime soon.

I did, eventually, see my addiction wane. Marriage, kids, and career all played parts in that--especially since my career has consisted of both writing and reading (i.e., editing). For awhile, the only attention my collection of must-reads received was the occasional (and I do mean occasional) dusting.

Then something happened a few months ago. I bought an ereader with birthday money from my parents (two people with reading addictions of their own ... apple didn't fall far!), and I've become re-obsessed (is that a word??) with reading all kinds of novels: YA, Women's, Inspirational ... I truly believe that if I won the Lotto tomorrow, a large hunk of my winnings would go to buy more books. Truly.

Here are a few of the stories I've recently read and enjoyed:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax
The Color of Memory by Julianne Maclean (Actually, I've read three in this series so far)
Ciao, Bella by Ryan Phillips

Addicted to fiction, too? Then send me some recs, will you? :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I'll have the lobster ...

Tomorrow is my last day as a member of the publishing team at Regal Books. Actually, the entire team will be walking into the unknown after a goodbye taco lunch with the rest of the crew of Gospel Light (which will continue on).

But yesterday, our little team, along with a few others, got together--using a giftcard from the publisher that purchased our assets--and dined on lobster (etc.) and appetizers.

It was divine.

Today we ate leftover desserts and cleaned out our cubicles, all the while knowing that our days as a team were numbered. (Down to exactly 1 day ...)

It's sad, but hopeful. One of our team has been hired by the new publishing house full-time, another has been hired on a temp basis, and I'm moving back in with my first love (hint: writing). The others are looking for their next great adventure. (Okay, maybe I am too :).

What do you say at a time like this? This experience, working inside a publishing house instead of pressing my nose against the glass from the outside, taught me more than I probably realize. Although this time in house has not been without its hiccups, our small, but mighty team rallied and bonded. We all worked hard. And accomplished a ton for our authors and the company that's staying on--especially in the slim amount of time between the initial purchase of our division and its final closing.

I'll never forget my pals at Regal ... nor what I've learned. Here's to the next step on everyone's path. May it be fully illuminated by the One who loves us so.

Have a beachy weekend, my friends, wherever you are ...

Monday, June 09, 2014

You're Fired ... or something

In about a month, my production/editing job at Regal Books will officially be eliminated. (Regal has been sold to Baker Books.) People keep asking if I'll find my way back to writing full-time again, and that would be lovely. But then again, I keep wondering if I should think outside the box a little, maybe take this time in my life to reassess my gifts and skills and find my true dream job. So with a little digging on Google, I've found some decent choices:

Video game tester - Can earn up to 100k/year (!)

Chocolate taster - No salary listed, but really, would I need one?

Bed & Breakfast owner - Since I prefer to neither cook or talk to strangers, especially in the mornings, I'd say it's safe to cross this one off my list ...

Beer taster - I'd have to actually like the taste of beer, right? Next ...

Fashion designer - Hubby and I are paying big bucks to send our second born to fashion school in New York. I'm already seeing amazing (and free) designer clothes in my future ...

Inventor - Okay, now, this is something I wouldn't mind pursuing. How many times have I said, "If only there were a _____________ (fill in the blank) for that!" I'll keep this one on the short list.

Hotel manager - I was in the hotel business for five years, including management, and found that there's truly nothing like being awakened in the middle of night by a guest who tripped on their shoelaces and split open their lip on the lobby bar. Ah, memories ...

Medical marijuana dispensary reviewer - I'd have to move to Colorado for this one, not to mention other non-negotiables.

Novelist - It always comes back to this, doesn't it? Considering I have about half a dozen unfinished manuscripts in my home office, and at least as many characters begging to be heard, something tells me that many of them will find their day on the page soon. And if any of them need to find a profession? Pretty sure I've got that covered, too :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Beachy Mother's Day

This family selfie thing is becoming a tradition of sorts. Last year on Father's Day we took one while out kayaking, so this year I wanted one of my own. At the beach, of course.

Crazy beautiful weekend. No fog, which can blow into town like a sudden storm and just as quickly bring a cold snap to our moods. Only extra layers needed today were of the sunscreen variety.

So we grabbed cupcakes and iced coffees, then walked down to the beach. It. was. packed. People and smiles and little kids coated with sand. Heavenly.

Tomorrow it's back to work and school and maybe even a little bit of fog. But the weekend will be here again before we know it. Here's to mothers and families and taking time out to enjoy them all.  Have a beachy weekend, my friends - wherever you are!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The London Life

So our European adventure is coming to an end--at least for now. College Girl loved her time studying abroad and has decided that another stay in London is in her future. I guess those frequent flier miles we've been collecting will be coming in handy.

We rented a flat one block from Portobello Road and pretty much lived the Notting Hill life for the past 11 days (except for our quick 2 days in Paris). Here's a view of the market on a busy Saturday morning ...

And what would the market be without an upside down headless guy on the sidewalk?

Have I mentioned how much I love a blue door??

Looked high and low for Hugh and Julia, but they were off having a pot of tea, apparently.

Or maybe afternoon tea ... with a glass of champagne :-)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

We'll always have Paris

In January our oldest daughter traveled to Paris on a break in her London study abroad program. While there, she visited Lock Bridge at Ponts des Arts and sent us a photo of the lock she made and attached to the bridge in our honor. Such a sweet gesture.

Yesterday on our 2day excursion to Paris, with accordions playing in the background, we couldn't believe the thousands and thousands of locks lining the bridge. What chance did we have to find ours??

Surprisingly, we did. Ooh, la, la! :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Amtrak and me

I applied for the Amtrak writer's residency the first day apps were open. This will come as a surprise to my family, but only because I haven't mentioned it before now. They won't be surprised, however, that I've applied to take a trip alone, with pen and pad, on a train.

See, my mom loves the train. Her dad worked for the railroads and with five girls to raise, they rarely traveled. But when they could they went by rail ~ all the way from CA to NY, in fact.

I've grown up with the stories, and then when my middle child was 8 mos., Mom talked me into taking the train with her 25 hours to the north. We had a ball!!!  Of course, we purchased a sleeping car and had our meals included, so yea, we traveled in style. But it was so much fun to take a long ride that I didn't have to drive myself, to see places in the world where cars don't go, and to fall asleep to the familiar sound of a train whistle ... ahhh. I've actually traveled this way twice now. Plus, I've taken shorter jaunts down south.

When I applied for the residency, I wrote my essay off the cuff ... from my heart. No big outline or plan, like I've been trained to do. I suppose that may not have been the best plan of action, but it's the route I chose in that moment.

Then again, this blog post was spurred on by another blogger's posts. One of my favorite writers, I've just learned, hates the train ... and so do most of her commenters. I was aghast at how sour they all were on the train's merits, but then I thought, Hey ... if this many people don't see the benes of train travel, maybe I have a chance at the residency after all! 

And that would be a very nice thing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sweet Waters - 99 cents through Friday eve - Kindle and Nook

Something about the time change compels me to say hello again to maxi skirts and beaded flip flops, linger out front to watch the sun make its slow descent, and wonder about the line up at this year's county fair. So in honor of lengthening days and the hope of summer, the ebook version of Sweet Waters is available for 99cents on Kindle and Nook through Friday evening.

This story has many fans, but if you've not had a chance to pick it up, it's the story of jilted Tara Sweet who longs to relive the fairy tale life she once had in Otter Bay, California. Soon she meets handsome but complicated firefighter Josh Adams and a host of mysterious faces from long ago. But what happens when truth is one secret after another, and the fairy tale turns out to be a soap opera?
     Despite their budding romance by the sea, Tara and Josh soon find themselves at odds with their families, their faith, the quirky townspeople of Otter Bay ~ and each other. Can they face the truth together ... and be set free?

You can find it here: Sweet Waters on Kindle or Sweet Waters on Nook

Have a beachy rest of the week, my friends - wherever you are ...

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Velvet blog posts

So my daughter's been studying and traveling in Europe the past couple of months, mostly the latter (seems to me, anyway :). Seriously, I feel very sorry for my sweet girl. Not. She's biked in Barcelona, walked aside the Champs Elysees, and chatted with Liam from One Direction at a night spot in London. Admittedly, she is studying at times, actually making shoes and sketching amazing outfits and did I mention making shoes? She's got great taste so all I can say is--I'll take mine in a size 7!

She also started a fashion blog. This girl has wanted to be a designer since the 4th grade. How many people know what they want to do at such a young age? I wanted to be an actress, but then I tried to act, and well, it wasn't pretty. Then I wanted to be a hotel owner, but all those filthy rooms ... ew. I'm still trying to decide what I want to be when I'm old (don't say it).

If you're interested in fashion or travel or both, you can see her blog here: You can even subscribe via BlogLovin on her sidebar.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Story Time

I cannot lie ~ I "borrowed" this photo from Kristin Billerbeck's blog. She chose #2, but I'm more of a #1. This does not surprise you, I'm sure.

I do love to read in bed, well, especially if it's a fluffy boudoir like the one in the photo. But the danger is that I'd most likely get more face time in my pillow than in my book. Ha ha ...

So, tell me, where would your rather read? No judgment here. Promise.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Blessed Detours

Good thing I don't make resolutions anymore. No doubt they'd be broken already. I'm trying to be organized, really I am, but this thing called LIFE gets in the way.

And often in a good way ... like last evening. Hubby and I were planning to walk to Starbucks as soon as I got home from work, but then my brother called, said he was in town, and could we come by the fish and chips place to visit?

So we veered west and met up with him and his sweet family. Along the way we chatted with no less than three groups of neighbors. By the time we actually walked the beach the sun had set and we were using its after glow to guide us home.

Never did have that coffee, but did we miss it? Not a chance.

This photo's from a recent "Girls' Night" gathering in Newport Beach. Cathy and I (and four other friends) have known each other for 29 years! How is that possible? In that time there've been marriages and kids and divorces and remarriages. Life has definitely slowed down our availability, but we've managed ~ somehow ~ to meet up every Christmas for hours of food and yakking (my sunglasses are hiding the bags under my eyes, though - ha).

The older I get (oh boy, sounding like my grandmother here ... ;), the more I want to live a life that gets in the way of the mundane. Here's to a new year filled with the richness of friends and the joy of a grace-filled life. Happy New Year, my beachy friends ... wherever you are!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello, 2014 ... You Look Mahvelous

Even though we've undecorated our tree and I headed back to my editing job, I'm still basking in the lingering glow of Christmas. (Sorry about the three Rs and lowercase Christmas in the photo. It's hard to snapchat in the dark, I've found.)

Anyway, tonight is New Year's Eve and for the first time in a long while, we have no grand plans to stay out all night and spend lots of cash. Great big sigh of relief!

Instead, we'll watch New Years' Rockin' Eve (or similar), turn down the lights and sip some champagne ... maybe even light a candle or two. How about you? Night on the town? Or are you spending it with Ryan Seacrest too? :)

Whatever your plans for the night, here's to a beachy and very happy 2014, my friends ... wherever you are!