Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One lump or two?

So a writer-pal started a discussion on Facebook about whether or not she should give up the pen and apply for a job at Starbucks. Got me thinking. Maybe I should apply? Did you know that employees receive a pound of coffee per week. Can you imagine? Sumatra one week, Espresso Bean the next, and French Roast after that ... Would be like a veritable smorgasbord of morning wake-ups every day!

Maybe I'm not really joking. Sometimes my eyes are tired and so is my creativity. The waiting for everything in this business ~ decisions, contracts, sales figures, emails ~ can make a young girl like myself ;-) feel downright old and decrepit. Not to mention all the sitting that must occur before and after said decisions are made. (Sitting too long can shorten the lifespan they say!)

So I'm thinking coffee should be my next career. A couple of local stores are hiring. Hubby says I'm nuts, that they'll make me get up at 4:30 am to open the store. "They're open till 11!" I tell him. Ah, but he thinks that newbies will get that oh-so frightening early morning shift. "But think of all the neat coffee tricks I'll learn!" He hesitated at that.

Maybe I could be one of those baristas who etches works of art into the froth. Hearts are so yesterday. I'm thinking bigger, like writing DREAM or JOY on top. Or maybe a nice GOD LOVES YOU (would that even fit?). Oh, but drat. It all comes back to writing, doesn't it. Sigh. Maybe writing and editing has become more than a career ... maybe, it's become my addiction.

Kind of like that first cup of coffee in the morning ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beachy weekend

First off, The Marketplace in Tustin is HUGE! You know you're from a small town when you can't believe you can drive through an outdoor mall for more than five minutes and still not figure out where you're supposed to be! Of course, I've always been directionally-challenged, but whatever :)

The good news is we found the big LifeWay store at The Marketplace in Tustin and I made it to my signing. Woo-hoo! I walked in to a flurry of activity (VeggieTales characters were there :) and began signing books nearly immediately. Not only did buyers pick up Fade to Blue - oh, how I love that story - but the store sold out of the other Otter Bay Novels too! Thanks to Karl, the manager, and the staff of this beautiful, new store for making me feel welcome!

Also thanks to ACFW members Scott T. Barnes, Paula Michelson, and Marlayne Giron for stopping by too! So enjoyed meeting you all in person.

Today is GORGEOUS in Ventura. I'm stuck in front of the computer with some writing/editing stuff, but in a few minutes I plan to pull on my Nikes and hit the beach for a nice run. Okay, a slow jog. But, still.

Have a beachy week, my friends, wherever you are! (And prayers for those in Irene's path ... may she skip right over you and into oblivion.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Veggietales and Me

This Saturday, I'll be signing Fade to Blue at the NEW LifeWay store at The Marketplace, 2902 El Camino Real in Tustin, CA. Can you believe it? A NEW bookstore??? With the demise of so many, this is definitely something to be celebrated. (The photo's from a previous signing at a different LifeWay store.)

So in honor of the Tustin store's grand opening, I'll be there. As will Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber of VeggieTales fame (I kid you not!). I keep telling my friends that maybe I'll dress up like "Julie the Jalapeno" and vie for a role in the next VeggieTales DVD. Could happen =)

If you're in SoCal and want to check it out, I'll be there at 1 pm (the fabric/human veggies will be there before me). And I'll also be giving away a "beachy" Lazy Susan too. Hope to see some friendly faces!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Beach reading ...

Something about summer and reading that just goes together, you know? Kind of like fall and reading; and winter and reading; and spring ... you get the picture! Anyway, I've been writing and editing for so many years that, sadly, my reading time has been cut drastically. So in July, I decided to pick up a few titles that I'd been eying for a while.

Started it all off with In the Company of Others by my favorite author, Jan Karon. Savored every morsel of this beautiful book. It's set in Ireland and I just learned that a good pal of mine is headed there next month. So guess who I'm loaning my copy to?

Next I read The Help. I've written here about this book before because it's amazing. Kathryn Stockett wrote it in first person, in three different points of view. I loved each one of the characters whose minds we were allowed into. The movie was terrific BUT not as good as the book. What can I say? There's something about allowing the characters' voices to sprout into real, live human beings in one's own mind that visual productions can rarely match.

I've loved Kristin Billerbeck's writing for years, and her earlier first-person novels inspired me to write a few of my own (I loved What a Girl Wants, for example). Her newest, A Billion Reasons Why, is a fun and romantic story set in New Orleans. Never been there, but reading this story made me feel as if I'd visited. SO hungry for a beignet now ...

Just finished Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax. Never read Wax before, but the title and cover just drew me. Big surprise there, huh? Some sketchy language but you know what? It wasn't gratuitous; the words fit the characters. I grew to love not only this story, but the characters themselves. And I learned a ton about Florida, which is cool because I now have several family members living there. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to visit ... after hurricane season ;-)

I'm back to writing today and for the rest of the week. But I'm on a roll, so I've got another book started on my nightstand. How about you?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Saddle up

College Boy's in the market for a car. He's only got so much mula, but we want to make sure he finds something safe and reliable for his bucks. Guess it's an age-old problem. Lol ...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Editing and ACFW Conference Special

In addition to the ghostwriting assignment I mentioned yesterday, I also work as an editor on various projects. My love for the details feels like a sickness sometimes. I recently picked up the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (aka the editor's bible) and was positively giddy. I'm involved with an online editor's loop and we get into all kinds of discussions, such as whether to include quotes in internal thoughts or why in the world Jan Karon's latest book uses single quotation marks throughout for dialogue.

Like I said, it's a sickness. But for those who need an editor's eye, such nerdyness (okay, a made up word) can also come in quite handy. So I've updated my editorial services page to include more offerings and details. Find the button above or click on this link: Editing Services

Oh, and I recently joined CEN (Christian Editor Network) too. Members of CEN are required to pass rigorous (read: super tough) tests before acceptance into this nationwide organization. Yowza! T'was like going back to school. Glad to know I've still got it. Lol ...

p.s. One more thing! If you or someone you know is a member of ACFW, I'm offering a special for those attending the upcoming conference: $15 OFF the price of my Fiction Proposal Critique Service. See Editing Services page for what this service includes (scroll down about half way). Just mention the conference when contacting me. Thanks!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Write on

Today, I'm working on a ghostwriting project. At least, I will be when I log off ;) Years ago, I worked as a ghostwriter for trade journals, writing articles for executives in the insurance and banking industries. Yawn, right? That's why I don't do that anymore ... Fortunately, I'm doing something much more interesting and life affirming and I'd tell you about it, but then I'd have to kill you. Sorry.

So we had an amazing weekend, but now it's back to school for one kiddo, and back to a deadline for me. Saw The Help. Liked it, but liked the book better. Isn't that the way??

Also made an impromptu stop at the Ventura County Fair on Friday night to see Trace Adkins. HUGE crowd; so fun! Afterward, we walked to downtown Ventura and joined our girls who were taking photos of the cast of a locally-filmed movie, Bellflower, in front of the theater. My girls handed a camera to a bystander, then jumped into the cast photo (that's them on the right). Lol ... not sure where they get their moxy ...

Have a beachy week, my friends ... wherever you are.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clear daze

As usual, we've got heavy fog this morning. The good thing about this summer is that most days the haze clears by afternoon. Here's a photo (sorry about the quality) from a couple of days ago. Charlie the Dog and I sat on a bench contemplating life (well, maybe he was contemplating seagulls aka dinner ...), while the water glimmered and beachgoers frolicked. Totally enjoyable.

The Fair is still going on and the nights have been so clear that we can hear the bands from our house. Pretty weird since it's quite a drive down the road from us. Last night I could hear Lifehouse singing Take Me Away from my bedroom window. And a few nights ago, hubby and pre-teen girl sat outside and listened to the Beach Boys (I kid you not!). We sit around and theorize that the night air carries the sound through the cloudless skies then bounces off the water and into our bitty beach home. Or something.

School starts next week for my youngest and I'm not ready. Last year of middle school for her, though, so we're going to savor it. Glad that next year she'll start later in the summer! Hoping to enjoy every moment of her last weekend of freedom :). We're going to see The Help, go to a couple of pool parties, and maybe even stop by the fair one mo' time.

Here's to a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are :) Feel free to drop me a note about your doings, okay?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Help is on the way ...

I am EXCITED to see The Help this weekend. Wanted to see it today, but I'm waiting for Teen Girl to finish the book. Soon! I love this photo because it reminds me of, well, me. Not that I look--or ever looked--like Emma Stone, but because I was the popular girl in my college dorm whenever someone wanted to borrow my typewriter. I, of course, had one. Even in college, when I studied to find a real job, I dreamed about writing books someday. I bought my electric typewriter with part-time job money and lugged it around with me to writer's conferences whenever I could afford them. Actually, I rarely could afford them, but went anyway.

Since reading The Help, I've read another book, but I'm still thinking about the former. The characters are so real. The images so seared in my mind. The writing so counter to what so many writing teachers advise. "Don't write in first person!" "Don't write in present tense!" Yada, yada, yada ... baloney. I was sucked in from page 1.

Have you read The Help? Plan to see the movie? If you do, tell me -- but don't giveaway any secrets, 'kay? :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sittin' on the top of the bay ...

So College Boy's gig as a camp counselor is winding down. Many of the counselors have left to head back to their homes in other states, but since we're fairly local (only about 25 minutes away), Matt has opted to stay on another week or so. As I mentioned before, the group came by one Saturday night for food and fun, but this past weekend, they dropped by again. This time, they brought a ton of sandwich fixins and drinks (thanks for the leftovers, guys :), and just hung around making YouTube videos, watching our youngest daughter's copy of Bieber's Never Say Never, and generally saying goodbye after a long summer of camp counseling. They also kayaked.

When we moved to the beach about 8 years ago, D and I went a bit crazy one weekend and bought three kayaks: 2 singles and 1 tandem. Best. Investment. Ever. Over the years we've acquired a few toys that stuck for a while (trampoline, anyone?), but it's the kayaks that have endured the longest. Now that college days are here and we're sorta broke ;), kids and friends can still grab the boats and the paddles and hit the water. For free. Love!

Have a toy like that? Do tell! And have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are :)