Monday, March 31, 2008

Books & Chocolate, what else is there...?

Here's a pic from my recent signing at the Ventura Barnes and Noble. That's me with Lena Moran, the store's community relations director extraordinaire. I have to say, B&N has treated this somewhat-newbie author super well. You might remember my previous post about discovering a display table of Godivas and my books at the entrance to the store. It's as if the heavens had opened right then and there...! (And you can't see this in the picture, but there were truffles just off to the side of me.)

On another note, I received a copy of the audio version of Chocolate Beach and haven't actually listened to much of it. Mostly, because it's so surreal that I feel as if I need to properly prepare for the experience with brownie batter and a pair of headphones to slap on at a moment's notice.

My hub, however, laughed all the way through the first cassette. (Stellar writing and all, lol...) And, yes, I said cassette. (Thankfully it's not in 8-track.) Many people, such as my son, still have cassette decks in their cars. Teen Son is actually thrilled that CB has been recorded. "Now I won't have to read it!" he recently told a friend.

No respect, I tell you. Haha.

p.s. I've been told the cd version will be released later this year, so I'll actually be able to listen to it while I'm driving (hopefully not off the road ;))

Friday, March 28, 2008

Live it up!

Off on a school field trip this morning, so I leave you with this easy bo-beasy quiz. April 1st is just around the bend!

Have a beachy weekend!

Your April Fool's Day Prank Should Be

Loosening the salt shaker

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Adios, Chikezie

...or 'jacuzzi' to Simon ;)

p.s. We love you.


Ack! I've been tagged by Dionna--and I'm late in responding. Better late than never, am I right?

Here's what she told me to do: tag 5 people and you can't tag the person that tagged you. Leave them a comment on their blog letting them know you are tagging them and why. Also, direct them to your blog for instructions. Also notify the tagger when you post your list so that they can enjoy reading the responses. Basically when you get tagged, you post ten fun facts about yourself!

Here goes. Not sure how fun these are, though, lol...

1. I once chose to write an 18-page term paper on the life of the sea anemone.

(Are you sure you'd like to keep reading?)

2. I used to be a phantom-shopper for Taco Bell (You quiero...)

3. My cousin co-wrote the hit, "We Belong", which was recorded by Pat Benatar and is currently the song on the Sheraton commercials. (Go Cuz Dan!)

4. I became a swimmer in high school basically because I was too uncoordinated to be on the dive team.

5. I ran 3 miles of the LA Marathon while pregnant (which is also the reason I didn't finish the whole thing ;)

6. Elementary Girl (who's sitting next to me at the moment) says to say that I embarrass her. A lot!

7. My husband's my dream guy.

8. My favorite color is blue. Like the sea. Get it?

9. I made a cameo in my last book.

10. My kids drive me to my knees in prayer every day--LOL--I mean that in a good way! (Praying for them :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God Bless the U.S.A.

I agree with Simon (gasp!) that Kristy Lee Cook's rendition of I'm Proud to be an American probably just saved her this week. Actually, just choosing such a patriotic song--and knocking it out--probably saved her. You go girl! And then there was David Cook singing Billy Jean. Haha...that was sa-weet. My kids don't know the Michael Jackson version, and if he'd sung it anything like the original, he'd have been sunk (think synthesizers and hiccupy hiccupy a word? Lol...) Impressed me, all I'm sayin.

For the first time since I've watched this show, there's not a clear winner at this point (of course, I'm usually wrong, but it least there's usually a clear one to me ;) All of them can sing, and perform, and at least 1/2 dozen have a fighting chance of winning the title.

My guess is that Ramiele or Chikezie will probably go tomorrow. I so wish the Chick-ster would've belted out a motown-ish tune because he has the pipes, but sigh, he went for the Luther V style again.

What's your guess
for the vote off?

Spring Readin'

Thanks to all the SAHMs who've participated in my survey. GREAT responses! There's still time to give me your 2cents, so if you're interested, see yesterday's post here.

Also, thanks
to those of you who commented on DWTS yesterday. I didn't watch it (sorry Dad) because I was being mom, being cook, working on a proposal, and judging a writing contest. Today I'm beyond tired, and I think the past couple of months of travel (3 trips!), interviews re: the new book, writing, and Easter-ing, finally hit me, and all I want to do is crawl underneath the comforter and stay there. Or at least lay on the beach and read :)

Speaking of reading, I've noticed several Spring Reading lists going up in blogdom, so here's my unofficial wish list for the next few months. I'm probably forgetting something really good, so feel free to make suggestions. Okay, here goes:

Symphony of Secrets, by Sharon Hinck
When the Nile Runs Red, by Diann Mills
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Blue Heart Blessed, By Susan Meissner
Sweet Caroline, by Rachel Hauck
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Taming Rafe, by Susan May Warren
Skid, by Rene Gutteridge

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dancing with ? & a SAHM survey

Last night over the Easter ham my daddy-o gave me the 'what-for' for never commenting on his beloved Dancing with the Stars. "You're always talking about American Idol!" he accused. Well, that's true. See, I've watched Dancing occasionally, usually toward the end. (Although when Apollo Anton Ohno was on, I managed to catch it more often ;) But I hardly remember when it's on, or who the current season dancers are (although one of the professionals just bought a relative's condo, so I guess there's a pseudo-connection now...)

Anyway, to you Dancing with the Stars fans, feel free to pop in here after the show and give your take on the current season. My father would appreciate it :))


If you're a SAHM--a stay at home mom--I'd love to send you a short survey. If you work a job from home so that you can stay with the kiddos during the day, I'd love to survey you as well. I'm working on a project for you gals, so if you wouldn't mind answering a few questions, please drop me an email through my website. (This is an anti-spam measure). Gracias!

Friday, March 21, 2008

He has risen indeed

Karen Ball, an editor with B&H and one of my teachers up at Mt. Hermon, gave each of her students a gift last week. I kept mine on my nightstand during the conference, and when I got home, placed it next to an extravagant burst of flowers that my husband had bought for me.

Feel free to take the sentiment for yourself by replacing my name with your own. In case you can't see the text in the picture, here's what it says:

Trust Me.
I have everything under control.

Have a holy Good Friday, and a blessed (and beachy :) Easter, my friends!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


….wouldn’t smell as sweet as The Wild Rose Press

(Welcome guest blogger and author, Georgiana Daniels! -- Julie C)

Julie kindly invited me to blog about my experience with a POD (print-on-demand) publisher, sometimes referred to as a small press or e-pub. The simple reason I took my book to a small press is because more than once I was told that editors were no longer actively seeking lit. The rumor circulated on various loops and forums, then I heard it from a reputable CBA agent, then straight from an editor’s mouth—the door was closing to new lit writers. It seemed my baby, Table for One, was doomed.

Enter, The Wild Rose Press. POD publishers have a unique business model that allows them to take chances on good stories that don’t fit the market trends. When someone purchases an e-book they have the option of downloading a PDF file or getting the HTML. On Amazon it downloads onto the kindle.

The co-owner of TWRP, Rhonda Penders, said it best in January’s Romance Writers Report:

“Frankly, we pay very little attention to what the ‘market’ says is selling. We focus on good stories and good writing, and we go from there. A good romance is a good romance and that’s enough for us.”

The Wild Rose Press involves their authors in every step of the process. Who wrote my back cover copy? Me. Who had a lot of input on cover art? Me. Who had a plethora of newbie questions? You guessed it, me!

At TWRP, they work hard to develop a sense of community, and they are committed to growing the “roses.” Because of the smaller size, the owners and editors make themselves readily available, and even offer a little hand-holding for us first timers. Another unique angle is the e-book availability six months before the paperback, which I’m finding is a big plus for a new author.

I’m incredibly thankful that I found a publisher who believes in my book, Table for One. I’ll leave you with a few words that have become precious to my heart. Are you ready? On the count of three. One, two, three…

Viva inspirational chick lit!

Georgiana Daniels is an active member of ACFW and RWA. After graduating with a degree in public relations, she spent several years in the business world, but now has the privilege of staying home and working on the stories she loves. In the 2007 Genesis contest her entry placed 2nd in the chick lit category. Her first book, Table for One, is available now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

American Idol, Top 10

So long, Amanda. Her hoarse voice and rocker persona weren't my favorite, but I never really thought she wouldn't make it to the top 10. She seemed to have enough of a fan base to pull her along. I was wrong about that. Against the odds, Kristy made it, and we have our tour. Last year, I took Elementary Girl, Teen Girl, and Teen Girl's Friend to the AI tour in Anaheim, and we're still talking about it. Now we know who we'll be shelling out the big bucks for this summer. The rest of the gravy.

Here comes the sun

Got home late last evening in time to watch American Idol on the dvr. Phew. So many things to tell you about the week up in the redwoods: How funny Jerry Jenkins can be; how creatively-charged the atmosphere was; how tired of salad one can get...;) I'm going to have to sift my thoughts a bit and do some kind of fun round up, but in the interim...what did you think of the show last night?

Brooke's my girl. Had a hard night but she's still talented and genuine so I gave her extra votes. I didn't think David Cook was as bad as Simon said (although I didn't dig the voice box thing). David A's still cute as a button, and obviously overwhelmed by the chickies in the front rows. Let's see...Jason was okay, but I like him so he got extra votes too. (No matter the performance, I admit we've got our favorites ...)

I say they move on from the Beatles (please), and level the playing field already. What say you?


On another note, tomorrow Georgiana Daniels will stop by to tell us about e-publishing, a concept that's pretty new (at least to me). Hope to see you then! Now I'm off to unpack the Italian truffles my web designer gave me up at Mt. yum!!! (I'll have to wax about that in the wrap up post somehow too :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The jacarandas are in bloom...

I began writing a blog post last night, but ended up deep in conversation with a gal who is first timer at Mt. Hermon. After attending this particular writers conference for so many years, I've learned that sometimes things get so overwhelming or the body becomes just so plain old exhausted, that ditching class and taking a nap is a must. Kind of like that in real life too, don't you think? (Don't tell my kids about the ditching class part, though!) That's part of the advice I gave to my friend last night, and it's the same advice I gave myself this afternoon. I. was. tired. And headachy. My brain was pretty full too. So I flopped on my unmade bed and took a snooze.

It's evening here in Northern California and I'm back in the warmth of the "central lounge", the chattering of computers and writers all around me. Through one window, a jacaranda tree bursts with pink blooms, and suddenly this beach chick has the urge to write a story set in the redwood-dotted mountains. (The pic above is a similar-type tree)

So I'm waxing poetic. Isn't that what getting away does to us? Provides us with fertile ground to think up new things (or in my case, to let those voices in my head, the ones jostling to have their stories told, have their day). Tiring as it is to get little sleep, and have myriad conversations, and cram the brain with more info, I'm thankful for the fresh stirrings of creativity.

Tonight bestselling author Debbie Macomber will give her second keynote of the week. Last night I laughed so hard, the tears squirting from my eyes did a number on my contacts. Had no idea she'd be that entertaining, and yet she's sold something like a gazillion books, so why was I surprised?

Have I mentioned all the books for sale here? (Hon--don't read this part) Tons of authors, tons of their books, and me with a half-empty car to fill. It's almost too much to bear...:)

Have a beachy weekend, wherever you are...And Happy Palm Sunday tomorrow!

Friday, March 14, 2008

More name dropping ...

I'm sitting next to Angela Hunt at the moment. Gorgeous red hair (I'm partial to it seeing as my husband's hair was red--it's more of a 'blondish now, right hon? ;)--and two of my kids have it. It's cool outside and there's a fire in the fireplace, editors and writers chattering, and a whole lotta keyboard clicking going on in the Central Lounge. Deb Raney just left, and Brandilyn Collins is sitting at a table with my pal, Becky Miller. I'd link all of these names if I had the time, but I've got a meeting soon and I should be working on that. But it's so warm and cozy in here...know what I mean?

The pacific ocean is a pretty close drive from here, and this morning our conference director, Dave Talbot mentioned that someone had volunteered to drive a group out to see it. Lots of people from all over the world here--even met a gal from England last night--and it would be a shame to come this far and not dunk your toes in the ocean, freezing as it may be at the moment.

Okay, onward ho. Leave me a comment and tell me what's going on in your neck of the woods. (Sorry for the cliche...)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Made it to Mt. Hermon

It's late now, but my mother (& traveling buddy) and I spent the day driving northward through rolling hills and drive-thru Starbucks :)), making it to the conference just in time for dinner. Mt. Hermon is a sprawling Christian retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains. It's close to the sea, yet nestled in the forest--can't beat that. You don't have to be a writer to love it here--just breathing.

So anyway, weary from the drive, we pulled into a parking place and immediately spotted Randy Ingermanson and John Olson two authors & scientists who've been friends for years--even wrote a book together (Oxygen). They're a staple here at the conference--and a lot of fun (just ask my agent, Steve Laube, who was scammed way back when...)

Only half the crowd's here tonight, and yet it's already lively with "heys" and "how ya doin's" flying quicker than bats. I really should be in my room studying my syllabus, and prepping for my first appt. tomorrow morning...yet hanging in the lounge and people watching is so much more fun...oh hey, there's author Jim Bell...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

David H...and getting out of Dodge

American Idol
You know, I thought it was a possibility that David H would go, but I really thought it would be Kristy. Elementary Girl cried for the third straight week (Thankfully, she doesn't know about the controversy surrounding him.) Anyway, I'd forgotten about The Tears. The name Will Makar (season 5) still coaxes a sniffle from now-Teen Daughter. Okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration, but back then that elimination brought out buckets full of watery tears, and I'll never forget it (We'll never let her forget it, either. Lol)

Question of the day:
What did you think about Kristy's rendition of Eight Days a Week? I thought it was too fast, but kind of funky. I didn't hate it, yet knew everybody else would. I'm weird that way. So do you agree with the judges--or with me?


I'm headed up to Mt. Hermon
tomorrow for a nearly week-long writer's conference. Redwoods, lush sage hills, crazy writers makin' up stories in the Central Lounge after midnight...ahh, can't wait. Many moons ago, Mt. Hermon didn't even have cell phone access. Now, they've got wi-fi, which means I can post all the dirt amiable stories about some of your favorite authors ;), right from the conference grounds.

Onward ho!

Say it with Chocolate

Chocolate Beach is now available in audio! How fun is that? It's just now making its way into some libraries, although it may have to be requested. If you're so inclined to ask for it, then blessings on you and your children and your children's children :)) It's also available through this link. I'm new to this part of the writing adventure, so it may be somewhere else as well. Anyway, it's a great way for commuters and those who are vision-impaired to spend some quality time with novels.


American Idol

Chikezie! Did y'all see him jumping and gyrating last night on that new and oh-so modern stage? Paula said she 'knew' they'd start to see the real performer in him, but I have to say, he surprised me. A very, very fun performance on a rather lackluster night. As Jana and I've been discussing, we thought the Fab Four theme would have brought down the house but with few exceptions, it didn't. Even David A. forgot the words (although how can we not still love him?)

That said, who can be fabulous all the time? (I could add so many zingers here but I won't...) Sometimes, you just have a bad night--I wish they wouldn't have chosen Beatles songs to stumble on--but that's life. Let's hope that the best all-around singers make it through to the next round.

p.s. I've had Let It Be in my head since last night...!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

American Uni, er, Idol

The winner of Only Uni is Ivangirl! Congrats! And thanks, Camy, for a super fun post :)


It's AI tonight--can't wait to see the fancy new set in all its glory. Anyone know what the theme is? Or what the new bye-bye song will be (I still like Bad Day from a couple of years back...) I've been busy prepping for a writer's conference and haven't checked yet. Hm. Anyway, let's meet back here tomorrow with guesses on who's going home. Sound good?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Camy Hits the Beach

That title sounds like a movie from the 60s, doesn't it? Haha. Camy Tang's guest blogging today, and after reading about her adventures on the sand, you can enter to win a copy of her newest release, Only Uni, by leaving a comment.

Here's Camy:

This was an easy-peasy
guest blog to write because Julie likes two of my favorite things—chocolate and the beach!

Growing up in Hawaii,
we went to the beach fairly often. As a child, I burned within seconds of stepping onto the sand, so I had to endure that nasty coconut oil sunscreen (anyone remember that?) that smelled “okay” but felt like Mom was slathering snot on my body.

My mom is from Oahu’s North Shore,
so we most often went to beaches in Haleiwa. When I was a child, they weren’t as crowded or as dirty as they are now, and even then, my parents preferred the quieter beaches further north up the coastline, near Waimea.

Those beaches usually only had a few local Hawaiian families rather than droves of tourists, and there was clean, bright sand to play in. My dad would go out snorkeling and leave my brother and me playing in the shallows. We both had had swimming lessons since we were two years old, and in those days, no one thought about the safety of leaving two kids playing on a beach, surrounded by a few other families, even though those people were strangers. We never got kidnapped, anyway.

The difference I noticed between Hawaii beaches and California beaches
is the temperature. While Hawaii beaches are like sand-colored omelet pans sitting over a high heat burner, California beaches were more like sand-colored omelet pans sitting over a medium heat burner. Much easier on the feet, anyway, and even downright cold in winter.

Chocolate kisses in your pocket melt within 50 yards of a Hawaii beach (as I know from—ahem—personal experience) but you can actually eat a chocolate bar on a California beach without needing to drink it out of a cup. Before reading Julie’s book, I had never even put chocolate and the beach together because of my previous experience with Hawaii beaches (versus the lovely stretches near where she lives in southern California).

But why not? Two of my favorite things! Maybe next time I go back to Hawaii, I’ll eat a rapidly melting Fudgesicle on the beach in honor of Julie.

Camy Tang is the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


For the first time in more than 20 years, we forgot to change our clocks. Woke up thinking we had an extra hour, but no. Yet it's okay because today's the day of rest, and so we curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee and just enjoyed the sunshine spilling through the windows.

My hubby took this pic of me watching the sunset last night from a nearby beach. After signing books at 9 bookstores in the past 10 days, it felt good to do, well, nothing. And so, it looks like I'll be continuing in that vein today.

May it be the same for you! I hope you have a beachy weekend--wherever you are.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

And the winners are...

We have our winners for the 1/2 lb. box of truffles along with a copy of my newest book. They are: Jo (Ladijo), Tara and Jana.

Congrats, ladies!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Muchas Gracias!

A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who've stopped in for a visit these past three days! So far I've counted 106--that's 106!--entries for the truffles & book contest. What you people will do for your chocolate, LOL! It's going to take me a little bit more time than usual to fairly and randomly pick the winners--I need to go through them all and make sure I've got everyone accounted for--so please check back around Sunday.

If you'll be in the Ventura area tomorrow, March 8, I'll be signing books at the Ventura Barnes & Noble at 2 pm. Otherwise, I'll see you back here in a day or two.

Btw, because of your support, Truffles by the Sea made it to the #1 most talked about book on Technorati today. I'd like to take this moment to thank all the little people...haha, just kidding. I'm very, very, VERY honored for all the support. Thanks again.

The Top 12...and local concert news

Final day for the big CFBA truffles & book giveaway! You have until 9 pm tonight pst to comment on Wednesday's post (If scrolling's not your thing, just click here to enter to win.) Nearly 100 comments so far--can you believe it???



Well. I wasn't surprised that Luke went. Cute, but just not as strong as the rest. And Kady? We all liked her, but looked like it was all too much of a struggle. Can't say I'm sad about Danny, although I thought he was a shoo-in considering he was on vote for the worst. But Asia'h? What's up with that? Not my favorite voice, but we liked her (Elementary Girl cried). Thing is, Asia'h has sparkle and life about her. Her vocals were almost always strong and on pitch, so I just think she would've made the final weeks a ton of fun. Ah well. God must have something better for her, right?

I know this is mighty early, but who do you think will be in the top 2???

Btw, did y'all see Amy's post from yesterday? She sat in on a dress rehearsal for AI! Fun :-]



Jaci Velasquez and Salvador in concert! Saturday, March 29, 7 pm
Oxnard Performing Arts Center Click Here for more info, for tiks, and to listen to the artists, who are beautifully gifted, by the way.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Iron in the Pantry

First up, if you're looking for the CFBA truffles & book giveaway, scroll on down to yesterday's post or click here to enter a comment to win. 63 entries and counting--woohoo!


Elementary Girl found my iron in our food pantry yesterday. All I can say is that there were 198 hits on my blog by 10:30 pm--I'm not kidding--and all that partying got me flustered! If this keeps up, who knows what she'll find in there today. Maybe a pair of my flip-flops, ha.

On to American Idol! Is Brooke White the cutest or what? I just love her! All the gals did well last night, but the judges? Now they're another story... Anyway, I'm thinking that Kady will go home along Well, I think it should be Amanda, but I'm afraid it might be Kristy. What say you?

Top 12 tonight!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cel-e-brate good times...c'mon...

I ate a ton of chocolate last week. There, I got that off my chest, haha. So now it's time to share--woohoo! Today, tomorrow and Friday I'll be cyber beach hopping all over the place with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, and to celebrate I'm giving away a copy of Truffles by the Sea AND and a 1/2 lb. box of yummy truffles to three commenters.

Just leave a comment, and a way to contact you if you win.

AND if that's not enough choc-o-late for ya, Vader's Mom is still giving away truffles! I'm guest blogging over there today, so pop on by. See you there...but leave me a comment before you go!

p.s. American Idol readers...I'm thinkin' Luke and Danny will go. Or maybe Chikezie and one of them. What say you???

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Yahweh Sisterhood of the Traveling Rat

In the front row, we are Cathy Hake, Katie Cushman, Moi, and Lauraine Snelling. Behind us are Gail, Frances and Cindy. The gals had met for dinner with the rest of their Bible study group, then headed over to visit us at the Berean store in Temecula.

That's their mascot, Mz. Rat, in front of me. It was after 9 pm, and all I can say is I was too tired to run. LOL Kidding, kidding...these sweet gals and their "friend" made for a fun way to end the night (and gave us story fodder too! :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Truffles Week!

All week long, Vader's Mom is giving away a box of truffles a day! How fun is that? The timing's perfect too because the Christmas cookies are long gone, as are the heart-boxes from Valentine's Day. Am I right? Be sure to pop on over there and enter a comment to win those truffles. And I'll be guest posting there sometime this week, too.

And Wednesday through Friday of this week, I'll be cyber beach hopping all over the place with the CFBA. (I'll post a link for you on Wednesday.) I too will be giving away yummy chocolates along with a copies of Truffles by the Sea so please stop in.

Share the love ;*) by sending your own blog readers over here on those days (and if one of them wins, maybe they'll share their truffles with you. Could happen :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I'm back!

Katie Cushman took this pic of me and that cutie-pie pink board over at Downtown Disney. We'd taken the Amtrak down to OC to start off our tour of bookstores but first made this stopover at the Mouse's mall :)

Anyway, I'm pooped!!! Eight bookstores (one impromptu) in three days plus an extra day of travel. Fun, fun, fun, though. THANKS to all you bloggers and ACFW folks who stopped by--you made my day(s)!

More on the tour later, but for now, I'm goin' for another latte.

Cheers :)