Monday, November 29, 2010

What's on your list?

We were supposed to be in Yosemite over Thanksgiving, but that trip fell through. I'm glad. We ended up walking to the beach several times over the holiday, having family over for a yummy dinner (if I do say so myself ;), and driving down the coast yesterday to hang with family in Venice. Did I mention we got the tree up too, and lights laced around the house?

Good times.

Now I suppose I should set my sights on Christmas shopping, something I'll probably do from the comfort of my own desk chair. I know...such a Scrooge am I! The "mall shopping gene" hopscotched over me and right into my daughters. Seriously, my 12 year old was up at 5 AM Friday to hit the mall. Crazy!!!

On the flip side, I have been Christmas selling (via my shop and ebay), and I like that very much. Ha ha! Biggest items so far are the beach signs (as always!), and even several copies of my chocolate beach reads have gone out the door.

How about you? What's big on your list ~ or your family's list this year? Saw a Twitter post that 85% of women are asking for electronics this year. Not me! Give me a nice Voluspa candle and Jan Karon's latest novel and I'm a happy girl!

So, what is on your list, my seaside loving friends?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Signed with Love

All around me people are in a tizzy over Black Friday (dun-dun-dun-dunnn). I'm just hoping not to burn the turkey on Thursday ;D

For those who'll be facing the madness on Friday ~ or even if you shop online ~ I wanted to offer you a signed bookplate. If you pick up one of my novels for a reader on your gift-giving list, I'd be happy to send you a personalized sticker to put inside the book. My Otter Bay novels (Sweet Waters, A Shore Thing) can be found at many Barnes & Nobles and Christian bookstores, or you can order them online at Amazon,, etc.

If you're interested in my earlier novels, Chocolate Beach and/or Truffles by the Sea, I've discounted them in the beach shop. And shipping is included. I'd be happy to personalize those for you as well. Just email me the name of the recipient after placing an order either by Paypal or Google checkout: Sound good?

In the meantime, have a wonderful, meaningful, and fulfilling Thanksgiving week, my friends ~ wherever you are! (gobble, gobble :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big Sur, I heart you

Took this photo from the library of the Ventana Inn Big Sur. Hubby and I honeymooned there twenty years ago, so on our way down the coast last month, we had to stop. We're sitting in rocking chairs, listening to the quiet as we look out over that serene pacific ocean. I could've stayed there all day.

As it happened, we left there and became thrust into an adventure when two frantic hikers asked if we'd seen their dog. We told them we'd keep a lookout, and sure enough, about ten minutes later the cutest, silliest dog rounded the corner as we walked along a wooded path. Hubby used his belt for a leash and we brought the thirsty pup back to his grateful family. An ahhhh moment from beginning to end :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My friend Ginny Yttrup is getting ready to see her first novel, Words, release in early 2011. This is the trailer our publisher, B&H, created to give readers a glimpse into the storyline. Compelling, don't you think? Gives me chills. Ginny's website.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday week continues with Sherry Kyle

I met author Sherry Kyle earlier this year at the Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference. She's a California girl, super sweet, and a graduate of BIOLA University (my son's school), so how could we not hit it off? :) Since then, Sherry and I have run into each other at two more writing events, and at the last one, I picked up a copy of her new book, The Christian Girls Guide to Style. I'm excited(!!!) to have Sherry here on my cyber-beach blanket today to tell you about this unique and F-U-N book for girls.

Sherry, why did you write The Christian Girls Guide to Style?

The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style is one of a series of books from Legacy Press. I had purchased a couple of the other Girl’s Guide books for my daughters and they loved them. All the books have fun quizzes, crafts, and stories that point 8-12 year old girls toward who they are in Christ. As a writer and mom, I wanted to write a book about a topic that I not only enjoyed talking about, but also saw a need in the children’s market—learning how to be stylish inside and out! In today’s culture, girls are bombarded with what the world sees as important in the area of fashion and beauty from secular magazines, television and movies. The world teaches them that their outward appearance is all that matters. YIKES! What a wrong message. Considering ways to offer girls a strong, positive message, I searched my Bible and came across Colossians 3: 12-17. I used these verses as the foundation for the book.

Who is your audience?

The Christian Girl's Guide to Style is geared for girls ages 8-12.

Your book has been out a short time. What kind of feedback have you been getting so far?

I'm thrilled at the response I've received so far. Here are some of them from e-mails and customer reviews on Amazon from moms, aunts, and grandmas:

"My granddaughter is reading your book out loud to us and loving it."

"My daughter is loving reading it - she can't put it down!"

"In a world where so many girls struggle with being the person they were created to be, "The Christian Girl's Guide to Style" emphasizes creativity, confidence and character."

"This is a well written book for girls. There are a lot of fun activities, great advice, and a cute coin purse attached to it. I enjoyed reading a wholesome interesting book that will build girls up. I am buying one for each of my nieces. I think they'll love it!

That's GREAT feedback, Sherry. Okay, here's a totally unrelated question (maybe I'm hungry?): What's your favorite dessert?

Hmm. Favorite dessert. Anything with chocolate! Seriously, I need a bite of chocolate every day, however, each year for my birthday I have to have a slice of carrot cake. BTW, Erik's Deli makes the best carrot cake!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Sherry. Such a great gift for girls this season...thanks so much for writing it!

And thanks, too, bloggity friends, for stopping by. Have a beachy day, wherever you are...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday reading

After a crazy bo-bazy week complete with a handful of doctor's appointments and a couple of parent-teacher conferences, not to mention proposal writing and, you know, life, I settled in this weekend for some couch time and a collection of Christmas novellas. I'm beginning to feel Christmas-y already! (Although I've yet to buy next week's turkey, but it's on the list).

My friends Cynthia Ruchti and Rachael Phillips wrote two of the four novellas (and I've been introduced to the other two writers Eileen Key and Becky Melba via FB). Each story stands on its own, but they're tied together by a Christmas cactus given to each heroine by local Door County innkeeper and matchmaker, Lola Peterson. Lola guarantees that the plant ~ and romance ~ will bloom by Christmas. I've read two of the stories ... and so far the plant's been a bloomin' :) Read more about Door County Christmas here.

All week I'll be highlighting books by pals that would make great gifts, such as this novella. Tomorrow, please stop by for a look at a terrific new book for girls ages 8-12. Fun!

And if you pick up any of my titles for gifts, I'd be happy to send you a signed bookplate personalized for your recipient. Just drop me a note via my website contact page.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like ...

Activity at the beach shop crawled along this summer, but suddenly it's picked up. Christmas shopping? A sign that the economy is beginning to awaken? Or both? Hmmmm.

Wanted to mention that my first two books, Chocolate Beach and Truffles by the Sea, are deeply discounted and now include shipping. If you'd like to pick one up for a gift, I'd be happy to sign it for the recipient. Just drop us an email after placing an order.

Pre-teen girl's out of school early today, so I'm off to drive the taxi (I'll be the one sipping a coffee frap and looking longingly toward the west). And my sweet husband will be home after a jaunt to San Antonio. Can't wait!

Here's to a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Moms, this one's for you

This is a repeat of a post from September, 2007. This story continues to get a fascinating number of hits some three+ years later, so for fun, thought I'd rerun it for you today:

I read an article in the latest issue of TCW called The Rise of Raunch. In it, author Suzie Eller talks about a recent trip to a lingerie store where she encountered a 15-ish aged girl accompanied by three teen boys. When the boys tossed skimpy outfits into the girl's arms and then nudged her toward the dressing room, Suzie was appalled. She appealed to a sales clerk, who looked away. She then appealed to a manager, who also looked away. In the end, Suzie stood toe-to-toe with the boys and made them leave the store.

And that inspired me.

So last Saturday, I shopped with my girls and our pre-teen friend. When Teen Daughter went to try on shorts in the coed dressing room--and what's up with that, by the way?--I followed along. No way was she trying on clothes so close to guys without mama in tow. So anyway, in the lobby of the dressing area, highlighted in all its raw glory as if it had attained the stature of a work created by Michelangelo himself, we see a nearly naked male mannequin with his pants slouched down to there. Yes, 'there.' The display left little to the imagination, and trust me, this was no work of art.

So out loud I say, that's inappropriate!, and set out to make a change. The younger girls blushed and giggled as I wrestled with the mannequins slouchy jeans, pulling them up to a more appropriate level. Unfortunately, they slipped right back down and we were back to seeing this anatomically correct mannequin's almost-privates.

By now, Teen Girl's out of the dressing room, and gaping at me. "Mom, what are you doing?"

"His pants are ridiculous," I'm saying while tugging up his jeans. Sigh. Undeterred by the scene I'm making, I decide to unbuckle its belt and then I yank, yank, YANK until I can get it tight enough to KEEP THOSE PANTS UP!

And it worked. Yay for me. Yay for mothers and daughters everywhere. But must it come to this?

As the four of us walked away from the dressing room, the teenaged boy manning the area leans toward me and says--and I'm so not making this up--"Thanks. That was bugging me too."

As Suzanne said, "Together we can stand up for our girls and ourselves." And that includes insisting that dummies everywhere pull up their pants.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Lights, Camera ... Fade2Blue

B&H has released another entertaining trailer, this one for my 2011 summer release, Fade to Blue. My book trailers always have these catchy tunes that stick with me all day long. Seriously, I can hear the beat in my head even as I type this :) Thanks to Greg Pope for putting this together ~ especially love the peeks into Hearst Castle. For more info about this novel, please pop over to my updated Books Page.

Enjoy the *show*, and have a beachy Monday, my friends ... wherever you are!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Shore Friday

I took this photo at a viewing spot along the central coast. This is a bit north of the area that inspired the Otter Bay Novels, but oh, so similar. Breathtaking landscape with dramatic peaks, rocky tidepools,and azure waters all mark this stretch of the coast. This is one reason why Callie Duflay from A Shore Thing fought so hard to keep the town's beloved piece of oceanfront property from being developed! Who knew the architect on the job would be so charming ... ? :)

It's Friday, time to think about how you'll spend the weekend ahead. I'd love to go back to the spot in this picture, but since I have a date with my daughter's choir performance at an amusement park, I'll have to settle for gazing at this photo's loveliness instead. What are you doing this fine upcoming weekend?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Take a ride

This goes with my earlier post about taking a ride on the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz. Watch the tracks and ... have fun! :))

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


The co-authors of Bliss invited me to their cool, new blog Mind Chocolate.

Hop on over to learn the name of my favorite chocolate and to enter to win a signed copy of A Shore Thing for you or a friend. Ends Monday, November 15, 2010.


Down by the sea ...

On Saturday afternoon, Dan and I strolled along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, bought two tickets, and rode THIS. This is the Giant Dipper, built in 1924, and the site of many childhood memories for me. During the summers, my family spent two weeks in a cabin in nearby Scotts Valley, and a highlight was always our visit to the boardwalk. That and our multiple screaming plunges down that big ol' roller coaster. It's red, white and made out of wood...a roller coaster purist's dream :)

Soon after our ride, our college kid called my cell.

"So, you and dad rode the Giant Dipper?"
"By yourselves?"

After the boardwalk, we headed over to Steamer's Lane to check out the lighthouse/surfing museum, and watch surfers from a nearby cliff. The water looked crazy deep but the waves ran long and smooth, and one surfer in particular was quick enough to catch several (seemingly) unending rides. Best free entertainment of the day, I tell you!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Ode to Monterey ...

I spent the past week on Cannery Row in Monterey Bay with my agent Janet Grant and the Books & Such Literary Agency. Unbelievably beautiful area! If you ever get the chance to visit, stay at the Monterey Hotel and Spa. Expensive, so save up, because it's worth it! My room overlooked the bay and I heard waves crashing and sea lions barking all night long. (I miss it!)

This is the view from the fitness center one early morning. Look at that pink sky! Don't give me any credit--I just sat on a recumbent bike and pedaled rather slowly, trying to wake up. Loved watching otters frolic and the day awaken.

The agents of Books & Such did a marvelous job getting us going each morning with a devotional, some learnin' sessions, then free time in the afternoons. On Wednesday, I joined a group of writers to tour the Steinbeck Museum in nearby Salinas.

This is a photo of Linda Kozar, co-author of Babes with a Beatitude (with Danielle Woody), and me at lunch on our hotel's bay front patio. Linda also toured Steinbeck country. Often tours like ours are rushed, but not this one. Loved soaking it all in. Felt quite writerly :) After the museum, we stopped by the house where Steinbeck was born, and Dale Cramer also gave us a narrated tour of Cannery Row ~ the inspiration behind the famous book. Haven't read it yet (but it's on my list) ... have you?

My husband Dan drove up on Thursday and we stayed in the area through the weekend, a belated 20th anniversary trip. Stop by again this week for more on what we saw on the beautiful central coast! Cheers ~ Julie