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


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 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


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'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???, 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 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...