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!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Winner of Fade to Blue

Congrats to Bonnie, the winner of Fade to Blue from my stop on last week's blog hop over at Ashley Clark's blog! If you didn't have a chance to read that, you can find it here.

There's still time to enter to win a copy of Johnnie Alexander Donley's ebook in the post below. Just read and comment! We'll announce the winner this coming Saturday. UPDATE: Chris Granville has won the ebook!

Happy Thanksgiving, my beachy friends ... wherever you are!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

BLOG HOP: Here's Johnnie ... (and enter to win her ebook!)

Update: Congrats to CHRIS GRANVILLE, winner of Where Treasure Hides!

My writing pals and I have been doing a BLOG HOP to celebrate the release of our stories in Guideposts Books' new collection, A Cup of Christmas Cheer--and TODAY is the last stop! Johnnie's story, Beneath the Christmas Star, appears in vol. 2
of this two-book anthology, and both volumes are sold together (The set is available here.)

And we're giving away prizes!

*To enter this post's drawing for a free e-novel, please leave Johnnie a comment sometime this week. Winner will be announced next Saturday.

To enter the BLOG HOP'S grand prize drawing worth $125, which includes a replica tea set, Amazon gift card, and other goodies, you need to leave a comment at every blog on this list.

Okay, now that the rules are out of the way, I'm so excited to tell you about Johnnie's story! 

Set in 1944, Beneath the Christmas Star, is a beautiful story of longing during one cold Christmas season near the end of World War II: a son longing for word from his soldier father, a wife longing for her husband, and a soldier longing to be home again. Sounds simple, but life in wartime is anything but. As a reader, I loved how quickly I became engrossed in the characters' lives, and the way this story gently showed the grace and wonder of God in the midst of uncertainty. If you love history and a touch of mystery, you'll enjoy Johnnie's story as much as I did!

*This week's prize: Johnnie is giving away her novel (available only as an ebook), Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale House), to one reader. To enter, please leave a comment. Johnnie will come back next Saturday to announce the winner.

Here's a Link to Chapter One of Where Treasure Hides:

More about Johnnie: Author Johnnie Alexander Donley writes stories of suspense, intrigue, and romance set in World War II. Her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for Historical Fiction in 2011. A history enthusiast, Johnnie has also edited nonfiction manuscripts and textbooks. She is a founding member and current president of the ACFW Central Florida chapter. A longtime Florida resident, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, stacks of books, and her papillon Rugby.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Where I am today ...

Ashley Clark reviewed Postcards at Christmas over on her blog. If you leave a comment, you may win a copy of Fade to Blue. (And if you leave a comment on every stop on our blog tour, you may win our Grand Prize worth more than 100 bucks :).  Here's the link:

Sunday Nov 17th  Julie Carobini on Ashley Clark's blog 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas blog hopping ...

To celebrate the release of A Cup of Christmas Cheer (vols. 1&2), a new anthology released by Guideposts Books, my writer friends and I are visiting each others' blogs and giving away all kinds of things--including a grand prize package worth over 100 bucks!

My story, Postcards at Christmas, appears in vol.  2 (although the books are sold together at Shop Guidesposts)

To enter any of the daily drawings, drop by the blogs and enter. 

To enter the grand prize drawing, you need to leave a comment at every blog on this list (it's okay if you're starting late ... you have at least a week per blog).

Bookmark this list! (more stops may be added):

Friday, November 8th, Carla Olson Gade is on Carrie Fancett Pagels' blog 

Saturday, November 9th,  Ashley Clark is on Anita Mae Draper's blog.

Saturday, November 16th, Anita Mae Draper on Johnnie Alexander Donley's blog.

Sunday Nov 17th  Julie Carobini is on Ashley Clark's blog 

Friday, November 22nd,  Carrie Fancett Pagels is on Carla Olson Gade's blog.

Saturday, November 23rd,  Johnnie Alexander Donley is on Julie Carobini's blog 

Friday, November 29th,  Colonial Quills Blog to announce Grand Prize winner.