Wednesday, December 30, 2009

shopping daze

So I've managed to do something I didn't do before Christmas: go to the three different malls two days in a row. Quite a feat for a non-shopper like myself (with a bad back too). But it's been kind of fun, actually, because most of the money spent was not mine, ha. The kids received all kinds of giftcards & cash and I've had fun watching them spend away.

And I did some observing too. One of my girls, the one who has plans for a career in fashion design, spent every cent...and borrowed some from me! (We did 'split' a coat, though). The other, my soccer girl, bought mostly 'needs' and has a bunch of moolah leftover (guess who I'll be borrowing from? Lol)

Here's the pic of the purple coat my eldest daughter and I bought together from Forever 21. She fell in love with it but it was over her budget. Of course, I crowed about how good it would look on me which caused her to bat her eyes and suggest that I split the cost with her. Sigh...wonder which one of us gets to wear it on New Year's Eve...? :-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

college daze

Happy Monday! After all the church and family festivities, I ended up on the couch for nearly 2 days with a bad back. Hasn't happened in years, but this one was a doozy. Anyway, I watched several movies, read a lot, and ate even more than I did during the Christmas parties. Oh, how I wish I'd asked for a Wii Fit, haha!

I'm better today and working on my 2011 release again. Good stuff, this one! I'm hoping to whip through 1000s of words while my kids sleep in during their continued break.

Speaking of kids, my son Matt received his first college acceptance letter on Christmas Eve Eve...from Biola University! In case you missed it, I wrote about my happy discovery in the university library a couple months back when Matt and I visited the campus. Anyway, such a terrific Christmas present...my baby accepted to college. *sniff* *sniff* *SNIFF!* (That last sniff came after I saw the tuition schedule. Lol! Praying for a surge in book sales :-)

This pic of Matt at the end of "No Shave November" cracks me up. My girls call that his Noah cap, as in Noah from the movie The Notebook.

Off to write that bestseller ;) Have a beachy day my friends ~ wherever you are!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Just popping in to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

After last night's Christmas Eve service, we feasted on tamales with family. This morning we hung out with close friends and carbo-loaded (thanks, Angel :), then headed to the beach (see pic!). Next friends and family will arrive and I'll pull a couple of lasagnas out of the oven so that eating can commence yet again.

Have a blessed rest of the holiday, and tell me about yours too!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I love a parade

Happy Christmas week, my friends! Got up and out early to beat the shopping rush. I'm a rather anti-chick when it comes to shopping...I don't really enjoy it all. But today the lines were short because it was early-burly, woot! Had to make a couple of trips out to my car to stash all my treasures...

Speaking of good times, here's a picture from the Parade of Lights, an annual event in the Ventura Harbor. I took this pic with my phone from a friend's deck on Saturday night. See the boat and fireworks in the background? Such F-U-N!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That kiss

Okay, I swiped this clip from Kristin Billerbeck's blog. Now that I've got that off my chest, I ask you, what will we do without Glee for the next, oh, four months or so?

It's youth group night and in addition to my word count for the day, I'll be getting ready for this week's English Muffin Pizza Making Christmas Party. But for the past few months, after all the Wednesday night frivolity at my house, I've looked forward to settling in with my weekly dose of Glee. Now it's over until spring. Over! It's just not right, I tell you!

Btw, I've studied that kiss over and over again. Look at Schu's wrinkled brow (is she offended? does she love me back?) and Emma's shock followed by utter relief and joy. This is the stuff romance novels are made of and studying the facial expressions of good actors is a great place to start. (And gets you in less trouble than stalking lovers at the mall...)

p.s. I know that Schu's technically still married. That's the stuff of another post...

Monday, December 14, 2009

talk soup

Started off the weekend with a busy signing for Sweet Waters over at the Ventura Barnes & Noble. Remembered to bring signage, candy, bookmarks, magnets...but not a camera. Argh. Didn't even think of having someone snap one with my phone. So here's one from the International Christian Retailers Show last summer in Denver (that's Patti Hill in the background, on the left).

I get nervous before book signings. Will anyone show? And ... what if people show? LOL Truthfully, I love to gab and always end up in interesting conversations, even though they're often in snippets. For instance, on Saturday, I talked with new readers and old friends about:

screenwriting
kinesiology
obsessive-compulsive disorder
the old neighborhood
Jane Austen
detoxing
differences in fantasy vs. sci fi
faith

Yeah, pretty much the same stuff that goes through my head in a NY minute! Ah ha ha!

So, it's the last week before my kids are out of school for 2-3 more (depending on the kiddo). I MUST write A LOT this week, so here I go...

Wishing you a beachy day, my friends ~ wherever you are :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday mus-ings

This is Gage, my muse...and yes, I have a male muse. Gage appears in my next book, A Shore Thing, and he doesn't just appear and speak, he also thinks right there on the page. In other words, I wrote his POV (point of view). Sooo fun to be a woman writing what a man thinks. Oh, the possibilities!!! Lol

But I've moved on to the next book and my next muse couple. I found the purrr-fect pictures to represent them both (she's famous, he's not), and I'm having a ball putting words and thoughts and conflicting emotions into their heads. Feels quite diabolical at times, mwaa-ha-ha!

If only I could control my own life this well. A novel idea indeed ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just in time for Christmas...

If you're in the Ventura area on Saturday, I'll be signing Sweet Waters at Barnes & Noble. In addition to handing out candy, magnets and bookmarks (naturally :), B&H Publishing Group will be holding a drawing for one of these cool book "chairs". This thing's big enough to hold a cookbook (or, of course, one of my novels, Lol).

The Ventura B&N store is located at 4820 Telephone Road. I'll be there from 11 am to 1 pm.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

I love a California coast sky after a rain. Had some rain (and wind and momentary loss of power) earlier this week, and the forecast says it'll be back tomorrow...with a gusto. So I'm dusting off my boots, and making sure my gloves are handy. Unlike other parts of the country, winter can be fleeting around here and we Californians don't always know what to do about it. I'm sure those in frigid areas would mock me mercilessly about all the snow gear I wear when it's cold outside. But whatever. Lol

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

And the winner is...

Stampedwithgrace! I'll be getting your copy of Sweet Waters out to you lickety split. Thanks all for stopping by my cyber beach pad and participating in the discussion!

Turkey Ole

My husband's Italian and when he was a kid, his father made homemade turkey ravioli the day after Thanksgiving. (I'm told they even served a spaghetti side dish on the holiday.) So you can imagine my husband's surprise when, as new marrieds, I made turkey enchiladas with the leftovers. See, I'm Mexican on my father's side, and besides, I'm from California, home of amazing Mex food. My husband hadn't even had a taco until he moved to CA from PA in his early 20s!

So anyway, a couple of nights ago, I was tired of re-warmed turkey, and hot turkey sandwiches, but didn't feel like shopping. So I dug out all the extras in the fridge ~ and wouldn't you know it? ~ we had the fixins for turkey soft tacos, Lol! Aren't other cultures fun?

Ah, well. What do you do with the leftovers? Make something fun? Or toss them out? As for me, I'm finally going to clean out that fridge today, even though that means it'll be as hollow as a drum. Let the shopping begin!

*** Still a few more hours to enter to win Sweet Waters on the post below. I'll pick a winner at noon, pst!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sweet giveaway

Happy December!

I was trying to think of a snappy post, which is tough since my head's fully into a new story and how many words do I really have left? So anyway, I can't think of anything amazing today, so instead I'm going to give away a copy of Sweet Waters. Hey, who needs pithy anyway?

So here's the deal. Tell me about your favorite book (the title, what you like about it, who wrote it, or whatever you want to tell me) in the comments section. On Wednesday at noon pst, I'll throw all answers into the random number generator and come up with a winner. Sound good?

Looking forward to reading your comments on my breaks! And if you're looking for Christmas gifts, you can find my previous titles (Chocolate Beach & Truffles by the Sea) in Julie's Beach Shop or on Amazon.

Here's to a beachy holiday season ~ wherever you are :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30!

We had two Thanksgiving gatherings, put up all the Christmas stuff (or most of it), had two soccer practices and two church services this weekend. How about you? Today's the last day of the month, so the Christmas season is officially here ~ I love it!

My son did the Black Friday thing with friends, well, they actually started on Thanksgiving night at 11. That's so crazy, I think, but maybe I'm alone in that. It's just that I'd choose sleep over shopping ANY time, Lol. Of course, it wasn't too easy to sleep when you're kid's out at a shopping mall in the middle of the night. Ah well. Maybe he got me something...ha.

How about you? Did you brave the crowds and early mornings (or late nights), just to get those mukluks for a buck? Or were you home snoozing like I was?

Well, it's Monday,
and for now, the last of the ornaments will have to wait. I've got A LOT of writing to do. My car's in the shop, which means I can't go anywhere ~ so I've got NO EXCUSE. I will, however, be peeking in on the beach shop periodically because today's the last day of my pre-Christmas sale. Lots of fun stuff in there (the signs are the most popular), so if you've got a beach-lover on your list, you might want to check it out. Julie's Beach Shop

Have a beachy Monday, my friends ~ wherever you are :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Under a beachy sky

The wind's whipping the waves and the air's turning colder. Feels very holiday-ish and I just loved this pink & blue sky from my evening walk.

Hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving and continue to enjoy the weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm determined to get more writing done, despite my youngest being off school this week (and despite the thawing turkey in my fridge which'll need to be buttered and browned in just a couple of days). Yesterday, though, she had a forever-friend over and how could we not head to the beach on such a sunny November day? Unfortunately, I left evidence of that excursion all over the couch when I slipped off my shoes last night and realized just how much sand I'd brought home, haha. Reminded me of this sign that I carry in my beach shop. In addition to sand, I've been known to carry back a shell or two from the beach (sometimes not finding them until they've taken a spin through my washing machine, Lol...)

Ah well. Have a beachy Thanksgiving week, my friends, wherever you are!

Monday, November 23, 2009

No shave November

Apparently it's No Shave November, evidenced by this picture of my son. Mothers of teen boys who take part in this ritual know what I'm sayin'! Although yesterday I was chastised by a dad at church for complaining (not so) bitterly about this new look. "He's not doing drugs or partying or drinkin', so a little hair rebellion is all right." But I maintained that I was just doing my job, Lol. We already picked up his senior portraits and you wouldn't ever recognize him--he's as clean cut as can be. Even the guy at the photography studio did a double take, haha.

Ah well, December's coming. (And I'm putting new batteries in the electric razor. Love you, kiddo ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feeling 'glee' ful ;)

Happy Wednesday (the weekend's a-comin' ;). If you're a writer or interested in marketing, I've posted over at the CAN Blog today. Feel free to stop by.

My elves have been busy filling beach shop orders while I've been researching/writing my next book. I'm taking a break, though, because my youngest made the honor roll, and there's a ceremony soon (such a smarty, that girl). Then it's church small groups tonight, complete with hot apple cider to usher in Thanksgiving. Busy times, but life is good, eh?

Have a beachy rest of the week, my friends ~ wherever you are! I'll stop back in when something fabulous happens. Feel free to tell me about your week~I'd love to hear it!
p.s. Glee's on tonight, yippee :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Internet's up ... & new interview

Our Internet connection went down last Friday so I took that opportunity to cancel that service and go with a faster one. This meant no Internet all weekend. I thought we'd go crazy. My youngest looked at me all moon-eyed yesterday and said, "Life's so boring without Facebook, Mom." I told her to go read a book (although it took everything within me not to opine about the old days when the TV had ears and my bookshelf overflowed with the Nancy Drew series...)

I have to say, though, that it almost felt like a vacation. A productive one because I got a lot more done around the old hacienda without the Internet beckoning. I know we could have gone to Sbucks for wi-fi, and admittedly, three of us have iPhones, so it's not that we weren't occasionally checking for that all-important-super-urgent email that just might come through. But all in all, we survived the weekend just fine.

Ah well. The main connection is live, but I'm off to buy a router so the whole fam can be back in business. T'was fun while it lasted...

One more thing! Rel over at Titletrakk interviewed me the other day, and some of the questions were, uh, out of the norm ;) You can read that interview, including how my kids describe me at Titletrakk.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sweet Waters giveaway

Cathy Bryant posted a brief interview of moi over on her blog. Stop by and leave a comment...you might win a copy of Sweet Waters.

Cheers!
--Julie

Holidays are coming

Hey Everyone, Everything in Julie's Beach Shop has been discounted 10 to 20% for the entire month of November. Feel free to pass along this link to those with beach-lovin' friends & family on their gift lists. A portion of all proceeds goes to Compassion International, one of my favorite charities ever. We've sponsored children for about 20 years through this organization that provides meals and education for those in need.

Happy Thursday...and have a beachy day, my friends ~ wherever you are :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

mental holiday

All of my Otter Bay Novels mention Hearst Castle on the coast of California, but the heroine of the book I'm currently writing (book 3) spends a lot of time there. A lot. Which makes me want to blow this popsicle stand and head on up to Hearst's 'castle on the hill', you know, for research. I can only write so much from memory, people! What I really need to do is tour the castle, maybe take a stroll along the San Simeon pier (where Hearst's famous guests often disembarked from yachts), and then grab a bite in nearby Moonstone Beach.

Is this so much to ask???

***
On an exceedingly more important note, Happy Veteran's Day! Get out there and hug a vet today. Dad, I'm on my way over...;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where's a slushie when you need one?

Had an incident in the grocery store yesterday. It's hard to explain, exactly, because I'm still not too sure what was going on in the mind of the woman behind me in line. What I do realize, though, is that I am S-L-O-W when it comes to people dissing me.

For some reason, something set her off, and as we waited for the cashier to finish ringing up my order, she kept muttering nastiness in a low voice. Maybe it was because the lines had grown long or maybe it was because she didn't like my jacket. Eh...who knows? What I do know is that I kept giving her the benefit of the doubt and let her comments roll off, keeping my voice and reactions upbeat.

But when I took my receipt and pushed my cart away, she said something particularly nasty and my mind froze. Surely she didn't mean that the way it sounded. But the more I thought about it as I walked to my car, the more clear her condescension became to me.

At that moment I glanced around the parking lot, wishing I could find her and toss a full slushie on her, ala GLEE (see pic for clarification :)

Truth is, I wouldn't have done it even if I'd had the chance (or the icy beverage in hand). Instead I spent the next few minutes beating myself up over not having a snappy comeback. Of course, to have a comeback, I would've had to realize that she was snarking at me in the first place. Again, I'm slow sometimes.

But this is where writing comes in. An antagonist in Chocolate Beach was based on someone I once knew, someone who liked to tear me down on a regular basis when I was younger. One reviewer commented that people aren't that mean and all I could think was, "Lucky you." At the end of Chocolate Beach, readers (and the heroine) learn what was driving that particular antagonist to act the way she did. And I think that's key to character development: getting to the root cause of a person's ways.

So I'm confident that Angry Shopper Woman will show up in a future book. By then she'll have a back story for all her nastiness and she'll garner our pity and some sympathy for her troubled past. She'll be peppered with grace and who knows? She might even change a stripe or two.

In the meantime, though, I can't promise she won't escape a slushie shower...;)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Celebrity sighting...sort of...

We're back from a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas where my brother, Danny, and his fiancee, Darcy, decided to...elope! We watched on as Elvis officiated the ceremony complete with a hearty rendition of Can't Help Falling in Love.

As Fools Rushed In to watch, I kept thinking that D&D had been dating so long that It's Now or Never. My parents seemed All Shook Up about the dancing Elvis on the altar yet they are THRILLED to have a new daughter-in-law. (Was that Dad I saw tapping his Blue Suede Shoes?)

Okay, that was a lame attempt, but I'm exhausted from the trip. So that's my excuse ;) Congrats to D & D! Now make me an auntie already, haha.

Friday, November 06, 2009

fog has lifted

Took this picture of the pier a few days ago (squint and you might make it out). Lots of fog in the area at the time, but today is clear and sunny. I guess you could say the fog's lifting over me as well cuz I've been sick with a cold for much of the week. But today I'm better and very glad because my fam's going on a top-secret mission this weekend and I'm going to need the strength!

I'll try to bring back pics. Until Monday, have a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

ah-choo

Been feeling puny since Saturday, but I'm pushing through. With so many people falling ill with swine flu (one of our friends got it!), I'm thankful it's only a cold. But still...hate being sick. Blech. On the upside, I'm reading a fun and very chocolaty romance novel for possible endorsement, so at least I have another reason to curl up with a book (and ignore the dustbunnies around me).

So what do you do when your sick? Do you tell your fam to fend for themselves, then crawl under the covers and pout? Or paint on a stoic face and trudge on through? I've got one foot in each camp, I think.

Tried to find a picture of Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly with a cold in You've Got Mail. Couldn't find one, but this one works. Remember how she had this cute little sneeze and hardly looked sick? Yeah, that's realistic (not).

Monday, November 02, 2009

Angels singing & pre-holiday sale

Do you hear that aria? Or is it my imagination? All three kids are back in school this morning after 1-2 weeks off (2 weeks for one of them, 1 week for the others). LOVE my kids, but oh!, it's hard to get any writing done when they're, um, needing me.

This week I'm going to try super hard not to get too caught up on twitter, facebook, email and all the other favorite ways to waste time chat with my friends. Instead, I'm hunkering down to do some serious writing on my 2011 release, which is due to B&H Publishing by March (the gasp you just heard was mine).

Ah, well. It'll be fine...! (I always tell myself this. Can you relate?)

Later this morning, though, I'll also be sending out a newsletter with some brief updates, but wanted to let my blogging friends know that I just reduced the prices of everything in the beach shop by 10-20%. I'm doing this for early Christmas shoppers all November long. So if like me, you'd like to shop early and breathe easier this December, take a peek at my little shop. My elves are standing by (or will be once they get home from school, Lol...): Julie's Beach Shop

Have a beachy day, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More coffee? Why, yes, thank you.

So yesterday my son, his friend and I drove to Biola University in SoCal to meet with an Admissions Counselor (It went well. Thanks for asking!)


Here's my unofficial scorecard of the visit:
People A
Grounds A
Cafeteria A
Library A++++

After our meeting we wandered into the gorgeous, Mac-filled library and my eyes immediately found the right-hand wall beckoning with the words: "CHRISTIAN FICTON." It didn't take long to find Chocolate Beach and Truffles by the Sea side by side on the shelf. Matt picked up CB and said, "Hey, it looks like it's been read!" (Yeah, thanks, kid). After doing a discreet Snoopy dance, I snapped this pic with my phone (you know, as proof).

After spending the day there, we drove back home and I spent the night with my middle school girls from youth group who had worked all day on a service project in the community. Oy...I'm tired today. We did a late night ice cream run, movie rental pick up, and watched Hannah Montana at midnight (hear the violins playing?).

Back home now, feeling the need to work on some deadlines, and yet the urge to get some sleep. Which do you suppose will win out?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coming Summer, 2010

Here's an official peek at the cover of my next book, A Shore Thing! My web designer extraordinaire, Kelli Standish of Pulsepoint Design, surprised me by updating my site with the new image and blurb before I'd even asked. Now if only my kids would do the same with their chores...;)

Find out more about my summer, 2010 release here.

The envelope puh-leese...

Paid a visit to my old friend the 'Random Number Generator' and ... Congratulations to Michelle V for winning Leaving Yesterday! I'll be getting that out to you shortly, Michelle! Thanks to everyone for participating in a truly heartfelt discussion.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ruff

After the recent rain and fog, it's super sunny here in beach town. So yesterday, pre-teen girl and decided it was high time that Charlie the Dog get more chances to run. Sadly, he's too skittish to be allowed off-leash (don't even ask about our one visit to a dog park...not good). That's him in the photo, trying to convince us all of his innocence...

So anyway, pre-teen girl's been on fall break all week and the neighborhood's been quiet, so we leashed up our wily dog and headed outside with the scooter and beach cruiser.

Poor Charlie ~ didn't know what to do. I put my life on the line hopped onto that pink cruiser and 'encouraged' Charlie to pull me. He didn't get it at all and nearly caused a pileup when he spotted a cat under a bush. Yanked me so hard I almost went over the handlebars into said bush.

Took a bit, but Charlie finally figure out what to do and we flew (I do mean flew!) down our wide street. Every dog in the 'hood barked like mad and I laughed so hard I (almost) couldn't breathe. My guess is the neighbors are still talking in hushed tones about the spectacle of a pretty middle schooler on a scooter being chased by a dog who pulled an old beach chick on a pink cruiser.

Hey, but whatever. I love this quote from George Burns: "You can't help getting older, but you don't have to be old!"

Have a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leaving Yesterday giveaway

Getting a late start this morning ~ and it's all Kathryn Cushman's fault. Granted, I'm the one who picked up her latest book, Leaving Yesterday, from my nightstand this morning. And I'm the one who stayed in bed sipping coffee and reading page after page after page (pre-teen girl is on fall break out here on the west coast, which means I don't have to stir quite so early).

It's riveting. It's sad. It's twisting something inside my gut as I read it. Oh, Katie, you've done it again! Katie Cushman and I have done a few booksignings together and we've always maintained that I might make you laugh ~ but Katie will make you cry! Believe me, there's been a lump in my throat since I cracked open this novel.

Katie's publisher sent me a copy for review and guess what? They ended up sending me TWO. Which means I get to pass one along to one of my blog friends. So here's what I'm thinking...read the back cover blurb, then answer the question at the end in my comments section, and I will pick a winner on Monday morning.

Here's that blurb:

Her prodigal son has returned! But has he truly left the past behind?

The police car outside triggers Alisa Stewart's worst fear ~ her son, Kurt, is dead, his life lost forever to addiction. Instead, the officer is just following a lead on a crime. And when Kurt calls to say he's checked himself into rehab and found a healing faith, Alisa feels a hope she'd given up on.

It's like her son has been brought back from the dead.

But then the cop returns, asking dark questions about the murder of someone Kurt once knew. Alisa is terrified. Her boy is different now. He's changed and deserves a second chance. But as his old life refuses to stay buried, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice:

Keep silent and keep her son ... or risk everything in a quest for the truth

Here's my question for the comment section: If someone you loved dearly was implicated in a crime even as their life showed signs of turning around, would you prefer to know the truth--even if it meant their guilt?

(Note: I've not yet read the end of Katie's book, so I don't know how it will turn out. However, this is one of the questions that's been tumbling inside my own head while reading this story.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday doings

Once a month I post over at the CAN blog, and I'm up today. You can read my post here. If you're interested in book marketing, it's a terrific blog to follow. If you're not, then consider yourself lucky and head to the beach, Lol!

For the rest of the afternoon I'll be prepping for tonight's bi-monthly 7th grade girls small group gathering. Then I'll be kicking back to watch Glee. Such an insane show, but I'm pretty much hooked. You?

Have a beachy Wednesday, my friends ~ the weekend's almost here!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's a many splendored thing


Speaking of L-O-V-E (see post below), today's our 19th wedding anniversary. Wish I could whisk that man o' mind right out of that office and onto a plane to... Hawaii (ripply sigh here). Maybe next year?

In the meantime, Love, if you're reading this, I'm thinking about you! Happy anniversary!!!

Y'all can stop blushing now ;) ... Have a beachy day, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Love 'em or Leave 'em alone?

So do you prefer romance in your reads ... or not so much? Most of my books have romance and another equally-demanding ;) plot thread running through them. I've noticed, though, that the more I write, the more I find myself wanting to delve into the love match. Some friends have pointed this out, complete with eye-roll (lol), but whatever.

My next Otter Bay Novel, A Shore Thing, is due out in June. The story centers around Callie Duflay and her fight to keep a huge development from destroying the central coast—while also protecting her heart from the charming architect on the proposed project.

Oh, the possibilities ...;P

Ah, well. I'm writing another book, this one due out in 2011 (2011!) and it looks like quite the love triangle shaping up, haha. Of course, lots of other good stuff happening, but it's these characters and their wounded hearts that's got me in such a dither. Will this one forgive? Will that one forget? Will the other one recover? Oh, my.

So, tell me, do you prefer your reads have romance--or not so much? And if you answer in the affirmative, what are some of your favorite movie and/or book love matches? Fred & Ginger, maybe? The Fonz and Pinky Tuscadero? Or perhaps Kermy and Miss Piggy? Okay, enough.

Seriously, who are some of your faves and what do you like about them? (Other than all that smoochin', that is ;)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dreamin'

When my kids were babies I dreamed of the day when they'd be teenagers and I'd eat bonbons all day have more free time. In some ways I do, but I never thought that watching over their schooling, taxi driving, college searching, and all around advice-giving, would be so time and energy consuming. Not that I'm complaining ~ just an observation.

So anyway, I walked to the beach yesterday with Charlie the Dog and just sat on my bum for a bit with nothing but the waves to distract me. Didn't even think about writing. We should all do that sometimes, don't you think? Just sit somewhere and think about...nothing?

Okay, but not today. My youngest has half-day and my mid child needs a ride from one school to another at mid day...which means being in different places at (almost) the same time. And there's the little matter of the book I'm currently writing, due in just a few months...

Sigh. Guess I'll just have to daydream about lolling around and daydreaming, Lol... Have a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are (I will try to do that too! ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the Jake-a-rooni

Heard that Jake has signed on as the next Bachelor (not that I watch the show...). I have to say, I'm disappointed. Jake's a nice guy and all. Cute and tall and a pilot from Texas ... but why's he still single? What's behind that constant grin of his? Lol...I write novels, and it's all about the layers, my friends.

I would have preferred to see that cutie-pie Reid as the next Bach, but then again, he's probably too smart to put himself through that mess again (not that I watch the show...) Besides he's probably already found Mrs. Reid and sailed off into the sunset...

Ah, well. Methinks there's more to Jake than a pair of wings and cowboy boots. Come January, I guess we'll see (not that I watch the show or anything...)

So weigh in! How do you think Jake (and his fair maidens) will fare next season?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Father Tim sings!

About a dozen years ago I fell in love with Jan Karon's Mitford series. It was the weirdest thing. I'd heard that her books were cool, so I bought the first one, At Home in Mitford, at a small book shop on a rare vacation (actually my husband was working and I went with him) to the Sonoma wine country. I read a couple of chapters...and was kind of bored. But I'd spent the money, so I pressed on--and that's when I fell in love with Father Tim.

Lol...If you've read the series, you know that Father Tim's the 60+ protagonist of Karon's books. I usually only read books with female protags, and usually only those under the age of 40. The fact that Karon sucked me into the Mitford series proved, in my mind, her genius.

So anyway, I just learned yesterday that At Home in Mitford has been transformed into a musical by a small company in LA. I grew up on musicals because my dad loves them so much (Singing in the Rain is a favorite!), so this intrigues me.

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you might recall my semi-facetious dream to see Chocolate Beach made into a musical. I may have been kidding at the time, but this latest news has given me hope for Bri and Doug and Gaby, all of Chocolate Beach. Hey, it could happen...;D

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday's signing

Saturday's book signing at the Lifeway store in Brea was a hoot. In addition to meeting some new readers (woo!), and hanging out with author Mike Yorkey, my old high school friend Sylvia and her husband, Dean, stopped by to see me. Dean played basketball for UCLA, which explains why he had to bend down to be in the pic :) Hadn't seen Sylvia in, hm, something like 20 years, but we reacquainted on Facebook! I also got to meet their very beautiful, soccer-player daughter.


Amy, of MyfriendAmysblog, also stopped by wearing her Sparks Will Fly tee-shirt (don't ask why I look so scared ... think I was giving instructions to the picture-taker ;) Anyway, while Amy and I were chatting, Rebecca LuElla (aka Becky) Miller of A Christian Worldview of Fiction arrived and the two got to meet in person. Love that!

A shout out to the staff at Lifeway for taking good care of us as we took over their store for a couple of hours on Saturday morning. Thanks much...you're the best!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Trial by Fire by Cara Putman

I met Cara Putman in person a couple of years back when I needed a room for the night at the ACFW conference in Dallas (hotel was sold out), and she invited me to stay with her. She didn't even know if I snored ;-) Since then, we've tried to read each other's books whenever possible, and I say it that way because Cara writes fast. Super fast ~ and I can barely keep up!

I've started her newest release, Trial by Fire (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense), and it's good! In addition to being a gifted writer, Cara Putman is, in her own words, "an attorney, wife, mom, women's ministry leader, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband, and my kids, that is." She's also the membership officer of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)~and here's something else I just learned: Cara recently published The Idiots Guide to Business Law. Oy! And I thought I was busy ;)

For my beachy friends
who enjoy fast-paced suspense, here's a bit about Trial by Fire:

Can a deputy prosecuting attorney and a firefighter determine who’s starting fires that target her family while exploring a relationship together? Find out as Tricia Jamison and Noah Brust try to stop more fires before they turn deadly.

Review excerpts:
...a quick-paced read. Sequel to Deadly Exposure. Fires. Lawsuits. Family secrets. Tricia wonders whether she'll ever move forward regarding events from the past. She questions if God saw her in her pain. I think we can all identify with questioning how He could allow ____ to happen. Find out how God meets Tricia in her fears.... ~ J. Klein, Milwaukee, WI

...Would she ever find protection from the trials of the past? Would she ever find and trust a man to protect her in the future? Noah was helpless in protecting his dad or Jessie. Would he be able to protect Tricia from the fire that was sure to come her way? I guess you'll just have to get this two thumbs up book and see for yourself what exactly is in store for Tricia and Noah. It's newly released and you won't be disappointed if you like a bit of suspense. ~ Abi, Grand Forks, ND

You can learn more about Cara on her website. You can reach her blog that way, and I know she'd love to hear from you :)

Have a beachy Wednesday, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ahhh....those chairs

Thought you'd like to see a pic of winner, Angie's, daughter lounging on one of the adirondack's her mama won. Isn't this serene? Oh to sit and relax and not worry about a thing.

Then again I'd have to be a child and later live through the teen years again, so I think I'd rather just wax poetic instead (thankyouverymuch). Lol

Ah well, a lovely picture in a beautiful setting. Thanks B&H Publishing for such a fun contest. You guys rock!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Partying with my muse

Had a rockin' party here on Saturday night with 40+ teens eating everything in sight, Lol. Seriously, my son has very cool friends. We are blessed. When I told one of the grandmas on the soccer field that we were throwing an 18th b'day party for Matt (that's him on the floor), she warned me to watch out! I told her not to worry ~ there wouldn't be any alcohol. And then she just wagged her head and said, "Oh, they bring their own."

Thankfully, we didn't have to worry about any of that. We set up a firepit on the patio of our beach cottage, opened up the garage (it's a nice one with big ol' couches in it), and flung open our house doors. Some of the kids sat around the pit with guitars and sang worship music. Other's jammed by the piano. And still others held wheelchair vs. skateboard races in the street (Yeah, our neighbors love us...;0 )

But one of the highlights of the night was the presence of Cheryl Draughon. Not only was she Matt's K, 1st & 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. D taught all three of my kids at one time or another ~ and lived to tell about it, ha. Not only that, she taught a bunch of kids who showed up at the party, and they all LOVE her ~ that's her surrounded by them. (One of them actually apologized for any trouble he gave her way back when, Lol)

If you've read Sweet Waters go grab your copy and flip to page 91 where you'll see Cheryl's cameo. She begged asked me to put her in the story, and how could I refuse someone so beloved???

Ahhh...fun, fun, FUN! Off to work, my friends, so have a beachy day ~ wherever you are!

Friday, October 02, 2009

for Dan :)


Roses are red
Violets are blue
You keep me bejeweled and fed
well, thank you!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Thanks for not being named Ted
or Rock or Kip too

Roses are red
Violets are blue
as I've always said
where is my shoe?


To my husband, Dan, You make this writer's heart all tongue tangled, but let me give it another try...

Roses are red
Violets are blue
It's your birthday, My handsome guy
AND I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

18 years ago today...

I gave birth to a 5 lb., 13 oz., baby boy. (That's him as the chef at my recent launch party). Anyway, I worked for the YMCA back then as the office manager, and took my leave a week before my due date, figuring that the baby would be late. Isn't that what everyone tells a new mother? "Oh, honey, they're always late!" So anyway, I sat on the couch that night, munching on granola when all of a sudden (close your eyes gentlemen), I sunk into one very wet cushion.

Took me a few minutes to realize my water had broken. On the couch. (Yes, we had it cleaned...;)

So anyway, there we were, my husband and I, giggling as we tore open packages of baby tee-shirts and such, and threw them into the wash. See, I thought I'd have plenty of time for that while on leave from work. Reality? Not so much because Matt showed up a mere eight hours later (that story is a bit horrendous to report, but needless to say, all turned out fine in the end).

I never did go back to work at the Y. Instead, I fell in love with a tiny, red-haired boy (a miniature of his dad :), and began to write stories about parenting--something I knew nothing about, Lol! My first 'big break' came with the story, "Baby, Cordless Phone, and Me" published by Expecting magazine (they actually published it four times).

But I'm waxing on, here, aren't I? Ah well...today my son and I are going on a college visitation. It's a bit out of town, so I'll be leaving him there to spend the night in the dorms and get a taste of college life. He's taller than me, and handsome as all get out (like his dad!), but that doesn't mean I don't get teary-eyed just thinking of how fast the years have gone by. Just hope no one sees me dabbing my eyes as I drive away from campus...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Open for Business!

Happy Wednesday, my beach lovin' friends! Take a peek at the menu bar above this post, and you'll notice the addition of a new page on my website. See it?

For years, I've wanted to open a shop filled with beachy items much like the ones I've collected for my own home. Things I believe kindred spirits would love. So I'm excited to announce that today~9/30 and my youngest child's birthday~my beach shop on the web is now open!

On my cybershelves, you'll find everything from beach books, to sea shell frames, to beach signs, to seaside Christmas ornaments for your favorite beach lover!

We're a bitty store with great hopes for expansion, and I'll add new items regularly, so be sure to stop by often. (Heard a stat recently that the unemployment rate for teenagers is up to 18%. With two teens looking for a job, I'm hoping to bring that number down ;D )

A special shout out to Kelli Standish and Sandy Goyer of PulsePoint Design for creating my store. You gals ROCK!

You can visit the site directly at www.juliesbeachshop.com or click that button up top. Window shoppers welcome!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lots to celebrate


It's birthday week in the Carobini household. Pre-teen girl's birthday is tomorrow, but she's away at outdoor education camp. Who scheduled that??? To soften the blow, I sent her a box of fun stuff to open, you know--items of distinction. Like a Zac Efron toothbrush, a tiara, spa socks, things like that. For some reason I have a knack for embarrassing her, so we'll see how much trouble I get into...

Then on Thursday, Teen Son turns 18. Did you hear me? Eight-een!!! He just registered to vote (holy cow). He'll be around in the morning, but then it's off to an overnight college campus visit for him. Should I warn him about parties in the dorms???

Friday is my hunky hubby's birthday. I always look forward to his b'day because we're officially 11 years apart on that day (haha--love you, honey). We'll be celebrating by...picking up Pre-teen girl in the evening from the camp bus ;)

You may remember that we recently celebrated my mother's birthday by taking a trip trip north. Nothing quite that elaborate this time around, but let me just say, having three b'days in a row--even though our schedule's wacky--is pretty elaborate in itself. Know what I mean?

Party on, my friends (I know we'll be ;). And have a beachy day--wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chuggin' along

Is it Wednesday already? Seriously? Sorry for the silence. I've been recovering from our whirlwind trip and editing like mad! Anyway, we enjoyed every minute of our train trip to....San Luis Obispo, CA. Twelve members of the Navarro/Carobini clan took over business class, eating and yakking and taking turns walking my 21-month old nephew up and down the aisles (a belated sorry to the other travelers stuck with us ;).

I have pictures--somewhere. Teen Daughter has them in her camera, but she won't release them until she's had a chance to photoshop a few. Lol... So anyway, the trip took about 3.5 hours each way (longer for my brothers and their fams who boarded in the LA area). Once there we relied on a hotel shuttle (PT Cruiser-haha), taxis, and our feet to get us around the college town. A shout out to Mary Hampton, a frequent blog visitor and writer friend, who once lived in the area: Thought of you, Mary!

After taking over the hotel two hours before check-in, we shopped SLO (if you read Sweet Waters, you might recall that Mel, Cami and Holly took off for SLO several times from Otter Bay), and pretty much ate our way through the town. We then had a private room at the Apple Farm Inn for dinner, hit the pool, then watched a movie before calling it a night (er, morning, as it was after midnight by then).

The ride home the next afternoon was SPECTACULAR. If you ever have the chance to take Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner or Coast Starlight north of LA, do it! The water views are to die-for and~we saw dolphins leaping! Nice staff, good snacks, an on-time train, and our fam all together~a super fun way to celebrate our mom's birthday! Ahhh....

Today I'm heading north again, this time to have lunch with author pal, Kathyrn (Katie) Cushman. Love her~and her work. Soon I'll be giving away a copy of her soon-to-be released novel, Leaving Yesteday, so check back for that in the next few days. In the meantime, have a beachy day, my friends~wherever you are!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Choo-choo!

It's Fri-day! Yesterday was my mama's birthday (a milestone--am I allowed to say which one???) So anyway, we're taking her on a little train excursion. If mouths have stayed closed (have they, kids?), then she doesn't know where we're going--just that she needs to pack an overnight bag. She doesn't like surprise parties, so I had to keep her in the dark about something. Ha!

So since I'm not telling her, guess I can't tell you either (since she reads this blog and all ;) But I'm excited because it's going to be a beautiful weekend in California, and I'm getting on a train--which I love too (Mom's love of train travel has rubbed off on me).

A couple of years ago, author Katie Cushman and I took a choo-choo--the Pacific Surfliner--to Anaheim to meet up with our pub's sales director and authors Lauraine Snelling & Cathy Hake. We were embarking on a SoCal book tour, so Katie and I decided to shake off the nerves and make a pit stop at Downtown Disney. So. Much. Fun! My friend at the Grand Californian stored our luggage and then we were off to eat, stroll, play with stuffed Disney toys in the gift shops...a great way to prep for a book tour, Lol...

Anyway, I've been through a few states, but would love to take more train excursions someday. How about you? Ever seen the world via the train? I'd love to hear about it...! In the meantime, have a beachy weekend my friends--wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I heart coffee

Popping in for a quick hello this morning--okay, so it's late morning already. We awoke to find the power in our house was super low--not completely out as we had dim lights--but the outlets didn't work. So we couldn't make coffee. Did you read that? No. Coffee. In a blessed twist my teen daughter's flat iron must run on super low energy because she could use it in an outlet that was dead to any other appliance. Can you imagine if she could not have?

But I digress.

So an hour or so later my unshowered self was sitting on the couch, Bible study in lap (prepping for middle school group tonite), and grousing to God about my lack of caffeine when my good friend & neighbor texts me. Are you home? I need a big favor!

I text her back, that sure, whatever she needs (and hoping it wouldn't involve being seen in public). So anyway, she needed me to run over to her mansion across the street and check on something for her (long story), which I did, much to her barking schnauzers' chagrin.

And there, sitting on her kitchen counter, I saw it. Did my eyes deceive me? A still warm pot of coffee. The angels sang a halleluia chorus (or maybe that was delirium onset from my lack of morning caffeine...) No matter. I poured myself a full mug and headed home.

God is good!

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Think Ahea"

I started this blog several times this morning, but I'm just too ADD today to stick with anything. Not all that unusual--staying 'on task' is super tough for me for some reason. I'm the type that often has several tabs open on my computer as well as several to-do piles half 'done'. Don't even mention all the tasks I've started around the house. Sometimes I play a game with myself. I set the oven timer for, say, 20 minutes, and dash around to see what I can get done in that time. Not 'started' or 'shuffled' but DONE...FINISHED...as in 'surfaces so clean I can see my perplexed face in the reflection.'

I think that's why writing, which takes high-voltage concentration, literally exhausts me. Seriously, I can run a couple of miles and feel all energized, but sit on my tush and write for five hours? Just bring me a blankie and don't bother calling--that kind of mind activity knocks. me. out.

But really, it works for me. Makes life kinda interesting. Plus I understand my kids better as a couple seem to have adopted my frenetic ways. Anyone else out there care to admit that you can relate? So how do you trick yourself into getting it all done?

p.s. I spotted the title of this post on a sign in one of my kids' classrooms years ago. It 'spoke' to me, LOL

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Technical difficulties

So my big announcement...will have to wait a few more days. Yesterday being 9/9/09, I had planned to tell y'all about my latest venture, but some technical difficulties have delayed those plans a bit (thanks a lot, microsoft).

Reminds me of the wheelchair races at youth group last night. Laughed so hard I nearly...woops, almost went all TMI on you. Needless to say, watching 25 or so middle schoolers racing wheelchairs around the church patio is enough to lift even the dourest heart (not that mine was dour, mind you, but still).

The kids were racing one of our leaders who truly does use a wheelchair to get around, which turned out quite comical considering his is a souped-up version with aerodinamically set wheels. Compare that to the lumbering versions our church has on hand for those who need them, including one with a wheel so wobbly I kept having flashbacks on a recent grocery cart experience.

Which brings me back to microsoft. For all the love you've given me, you've equalled that with trouble, my friend. So I'm saving my pennies (make that quarters) for a mac. Ah, I'm picturing those shiny new wheels now...