Tuesday, December 26, 2006

dolphins and me

Merry, merry, everyone! Hit the beach yesterday for some wave watching with my Hub and Teen Son. The girls were with friends on beach cruisers. The weather around here hit 77 degrees, giving us quite the warm Christmas Day--always a switch for my Pennsylvania-born husband.

So we're sitting in the sand, admiring my shiny new "booksigning" ring--a golden dolphin jumping through a diamond hoop (a gift from my hub!)--when a pod of real, live dolphins swims by. Can it get any better than this?

Wherever you are this week, have a great one!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


(How's that for originality? I really mean it though :)

And may God's peace be yours!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Celebrities who look like me :-)

Found this on Robin Lee Hatcher's site. Too fun not to share, but what's up with that Debbie Harry comparison? I. don't. think. so.

And check this out, a younger Christie Brinkley and I apparently share features. I'm good with that :-)

p.s. If you try this at home, let me know how you fare. I had to shrink to fit. Kinda like when I try on jeans...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Late Nights and Dinnertime

Found the secret to chaos-free Christmas shopping. Um, other than shopping early and/or buy by Internet, that is. Anyway. Hub and I hit the mall last weekend at 8 pm, and wham!, five gifts bought in under an hour. We took a celebratory chocolate cake break at Macaroni Grill to mark the occasion.

Then last night, Teen Son and I hit one store at dinnertime. Yeah, it was still busy, but not overly so. Bunches of gifts bought in about an hour. Celebrated with a couple of pizzas.

On another note, welcome to the 'beta' version of my blog. Sorry if you have trouble posting comments--that's still a problem with old blogger vs. new blogger accounts. But I'm having a makeover and my web designer told me that I'd eventually be made to switch anyway. So I decided to go willingly now. Watch for the new "me" in the coming year :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

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

Found my checkbook at the bottom of the kitchen garbage can today.

And today's trash day.

And, thankfully, Teen Son "forgot" to take out the garbage.

Ho-hum. Anyone else frazzled by all the merriment? Anyone else behind on your shopping? My (ex) friend Angela has finished all hers. Brat.

I'd like to take this moment to give a shout out to my blogging friend, Chaos-Jamie, and to ask if I can borrow her name. Pretty please? ;-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On Lowen & Navarro

Seen Happy Feet? If so, you've heard my cousin, Dan Navarro, singin'. He sings lead on Leader of the Pack and does a flamenco intro and backgrounds to Robin Williams’ vocal on My Way. Love it! Elementary Girl’s been begging to see it, so no more delays!

On a tender note, cuz Dan’s long time writing and singing buddy, Eric Lowen, has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lowen & Navarro have been performing concerts and recording albums for years. My hub, Dan, and I have seen them perform many times because they’re that good. Pat Benatar recorded one of their songs in the 80s, and gave them a hit. Remember We Belong? Yup, they wrote it. On stage they do a mean “Spanglish” version of it. Cracks. Me. Up. Unfortunately, Eric’s no longer able to stroll through the crowds with his guitar, but he’s doing a fabulous job of spreading the word of this insidious disease. Click here to see the documentary-style clip. In it, Dan and Eric appear with Queen's Brian May (now there's a history blast for you) and singer Lynn Carey Saylor, who has re-recorded We Belong.

Also from Saylor's site:

...donations are now being accepted for The Eric Lowen Trust. Donations will help to offset the enormous costs of fighting his illness and help support his family, which includes 5 minor age children.
The Eric Lowen Trust 2554 Lincoln Blvd. #255 Venice, CA 90291 U.S.A.

If wishing to donate via PayPal, the address for that is EricLowenTrust@LowNav.com

Encouraging letters, well wishes and mentions of how much you enjoy the song are also greatly appreciated and can be emailed to Eric Lowen directly at elowen@lownav.com

Monday, December 11, 2006

wave riders

I'm repeating a picture from a previous post because, well, I want to :-) Actually, our painter, the poor guy we periodically call to paint over the fingerprints in varying heights along our walls, is also an avid surfer. Call his voicemail, and you usually get a message stating he's "at a board meeting." Get it? "Board" meeting?

Anyhoo, we've got some bare wood around here that needs some priming and painting and I actually got our 50-something painter-guy on the first ring. Turns out he'd just had "the best ride of my whole year!" He'd just entered into a turn when he glanced over and saw two dolphins taking the wave with him. Can you imagine?

This is why I write about the sea.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

sunny saturday

It’s Saturday, and all I can say is, “Whoo-hoo!!!”

The marketing and writing hats have been replaced with sweats and a lazy attitude. I’d post more, but my mind’s gone to the beach.

Have a beachy weekend, and I’ll see you Monday!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Move over Steve, Rodney

So I wander into a local bookstore yesterday, postcards & chocolate in hand, to let the staff know about my new! debut! chocolatey-good! novel. Alas, no eye contact. No interest. Nada!

So this is how it's going to be?

I'm like Steve Martin in the Pink Panther: "How 'rood'". And like Rodney Dangerfield, "I get no respect."

update: Phoned the manager later in the day (she hadn't been available earlier) and got a much warmer reception. Think it was the chocolate?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

All I want for Christmas ...

UPS dropped off a big box of postcards today bearing the cover of Chocolate Beach.

If you're one of the tens of people :) pre-ordering my debut novel to give as a gift this Christmas, I'd be happy to send you a signed postcard to wrap up and put under the tree. (CB will be available on or around Feb. 1, '07.) Email me your snail mail address through my website: www.juliecarobini.com

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

livin' the dream

Ever been awakened from a fabulous dream? The kind where you're swinging in a hammock on some tropical beach. Sun's overhead, but not too hot. Wind's on your face, but not too cold. Everything's just so, then your neighbor's dog barks like a rooster at 4 am, yanking you straight out of paradise?

Yeah, me too.

Spent the past week with my head buried in Gaby's story. Gaby's the heroine of my second novel. I love Gaby. I want to tell the world about Gaby. But the marketing end of novel writing has pulled me away for a few days. Chocolate Beach is nearly here (someone give me an Amen!), and I've got to do my part to make sure its presence doesn't recede like a fast-moving tide.

Kristin Billerbeck talks about the passion of writing--this "high like no other"--on her site today. Compared to other aspects, such as editing and marketing, she says she never wants to take it for granted. And over at Brandilyn Collins' site today, fiction and truth collide in a hilarious way. Gotta be some way to market that!

Monday, December 04, 2006

about The Nativity Story

I came. I saw. I wept. As did another member of mi familia.

Want to read the novel? Angela Elwell Hunt adapted the story from the screenplay by Mike Rich. Find it here.

Sometimes you just have to pass it on.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Despite the city of Chicago's paranoia, we'll be taking the kids and ourselves to see this movie over the weekend.



Thursday, November 30, 2006

On violence and better things...

Saw the latest Bond flick and I have to say: Too Violent. It didn't help that the only seating left was in the first two rows. Yeah, that's what I want-- to see all that bloody horror--and close up too!

On a higher note, Teen Son started off Christmas Right last night with a trek downtown with his youth group to offer hot chocolate and kind words to the homeless living on our streets. Couldn't have come at a better time because the weather's been uncharacteristically cold and windy here in So Cal. Of course, it's always a good time to do unto others...

Speaking of Christmas, I'm still refining the gift list--and rethinking the inclusion of that radio-controlled rat. My mailbox has been bulging lately with catalogs, but who has the time? If you come up with anything new and exciting, send it my way, will you?

Off to writing land. I've gotten so caught up in the story that I'm starting to miss my turns when driving through town. Sounds bad, but to all the writers, that's a good thing--is it not?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gifts of Randomness

Scrooge has left the building... More lights when up in our neighborhood yesterday, and there's a distinct nip in the air (and spike in our gas bill) that proves the impending arrival of Christmas. My grinch-like attitude is fading, and actually, despite the cold, the 'hood looks downright festive (except for my house, which like I said before, still thinks it's Thanksgiving).

Have to get my word count in again today, but am taking a break to offer you these fine (and some not so fine) gift ideas found on the Net:

Indiana Jones Fedora--for that adventurous guy

Stuffed Yodeling Goat--for the mountain wanderer

Perfume Laboratory--for your little scientist

Pre-ordered copy of Chocolate Beach--due out in February, and worth the wait :)
Leg Lamp--for lovers of The Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out!")

Whoopie cushion--just because

Radio-controlled Rat--can't think of a good reason for this one

The Secret Life of Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck--for moms, especially those who like a touch of fantasy in their fiction reads

Reclining Man Tape Dispenser--for the guy who has everything

Beach Blanket, any color, any design--can you ever really have too many of these?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm dreaming of a right Christmas...

Wrote nearly 1,000 great (okay, pretty good) words yesterday. On to another writing day (with sick kiddo at home). Sigh...

But before I go, what's up with all the elaborate Christmas displays everywhere? The Griswolds are livin' in my 'hood (you know who you are :), while our place looks more like the grinch's hangout. Hey, I'm still clearing away the centerpieces from last week's Thanksgiving shin-dig. (It is still November, btw.) Alas, our neighbors will be happy to know that hubs has already stocked up on lights, so fray--here we come!

Not that I'm not at least thinking about Christmas. I am. But other than whirled peas, my Christmas wish list this year is simple: time. I want time to walk the beach, drive up the coast and sleep in way too late. Oh, and I'd like all that with a side of spotless house, perfectly well-behaved kids, and another 30k of my novel written.

Hm. Not happening. Besides, it's not my birthday anyway.

Guess that's the rub. All this pomp, all this circumstance, all those dreaded snowmen in the stores--kind of empty without at least a mention that we're supposed to be celebrating Christ's birthday. Nativity scenes are seriously lacking in my neighborhood. Tried to pick one up for our yard at the local big box store, but not a one found. None!

Maybe this is why I'm like a curmudgeon today (well, that and the fact that Prince Lorenzo dumped sweet Sadie last night. Grrr). I want lights! I want green & red wreaths! But I also want meaning, people! So that's it. Today, I'm writing (and wiping Elementary Girl's nose), but later this week, say in December, I'll be digging into the shed for our homemade nativity sets--oh, the wonders of toilet paper rolls and popsicle sticks!--and starting the season off right.

How about you?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday, monday...

Happy day after Thanksgiving weekend dear blogger community. Great time with family, but I've had my fill of turkey, stuffing, pie, oh my! And you?

Since we've got just under a month left before Christmas, I've decided to bury my head in book 2. Other than hanging the lights and decorating the tree, I plan to concentrate time on this fun story that's developing :-). I'll give you a hint: seashells...lots of pretty seashells show up in my next novel. Having a blast studying them, and can't wait for my heroine, Gaby, to tell you all about it. Anyway, I'll look up as often as I can for a quick post, so please do say hello!

In other news, The Bachelor Rome finale is tonight! Will Sadie be a married lady? Or will Jen be the Prince's one and only? (Maybe I should go into writing ad copy...sheesh) Didn't get any comments on my last post, but LOTS of visitors who stayed awhile. Hm. Me thinks there are closet Bachelor fans out there. No worries--I won't rat you out :-)

Tomorrow--Christmas wish list. Until then, peace!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On castles and princes

Pre-teen Daughter and I are hooked on Bachelor Rome. Sad, but true. Seriously, though, who can resist an Italian prince? I haven't watched the last couple of installments of the show--just too shallow to enjoy--but I got hooked by this year's "No place like Rome" theme. I am married to an Italiano, after all :-). Then I was intrigued by this season's bachelor who actually seems like a gentleman. Teen Son laughed at us one night when we swooned over something sweet "Prince Lorenzo Borghese" said. "He's such a player!," my son said. "Not so!" we argued. Hubs just shook his head and tactfully stayed out of it.

Anyway. Next week's the big proposal--at least we hope there'll be one. On last night's tell-all, the Bachelor's jilted dates made their predictions: 7 to 3 they picked Jen. We dig Jen, but oh, we love Sadie. (Makes me want to sing that line, "Sadie, Sadie, married lady!"...but I digress.)

Sigh. Some great gal's going to be disappointed. I'm always telling my daughter, "You know, this isn't how it's done. You know that right?" To which she huffs a sigh back and says, "I know, Mom. You keep telling me that." Then I make her gag a little when I plant a smooch on her father's cheek and remind her that some fairy tales do come true. After all, I found my prince.

:-) What's your prediction?

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Monday, November 20, 2006

My baby and me

Elementary Girl and I kayaked together this past weekend. Too lazy to drag out two singles, we borrowed a tandem from friends and paddled together for nearly two hours. It's late November, but you'd never know it by the baby blue canopy stretching above us and into the horizon. With soccer season done (can anyone give me an Amen?), we spent much of the day yanking weeds and planting golden yellow pansies to greet our upcoming holiday guests. Productivity is cool, but something about that still-warm sun and calm sea made us drop our garden tools and head out.

Two days later, I'm still thinking about it. As much as I loved the time by the beach, it's the moments with my 8-year-old that keep replaying in my mind. I know that winter's coming--even here in So Cal we'll have plenty of stormy days that'll keep us out of the water. Until then, though, I'm savoring each sunny minute--and thanking God for a sweet girl to share them with.

winter by the sea

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Give thanks with a grateful heart...

It's carnival day, and the chicks are talking about thankfulness. I've spent the past weeks coordinating home re-do projects--you know, because we'll be hosting Thanksgiving for 20 and we wouldn't want our guests to see last year's wall color--and it's been easy to get caught and buried in the whirlwind. Who knew there were that many shades of white?

Now that all is done, well, mostly done, I'm working to refocus and to remember to be grateful that I have a house to decorate. And a yard that needs tending. And a family that needs feeding. I even remembered to buy a big ol' Tom this morning. So this Thanksgiving, I plan to offer thanks for life, family, friendships, and of course, the coast--you didn't think I'd forget my beloved beach, did ya?

How about you?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Generation NeXt Parenting by Tricia Goyer

You know what I love about this book? It’s not dull. It’s not pages and pages of text in the same font, saying basically the same thing over and over again: Give it up, Mom! Your kids are beyond repair! That’s one reason I’ve forever chucked many parenting books. I know that I mess up on a regular basis; I don’t need to be reminded of that fact in 300+ pages.

Maybe that sounds harsh. But, seriously, give me something I can use. Okay, I'm teasing. Yes, there are some good books out there (and, from personal reading experience, some very bad ones). This one, however, is special.

In Generation NeXt Parenting , Tricia Goyer identifies with Gen Xers because, well, like me, she is one. She says, "My generation is serious about parenting—just look at all we expect from our children and ourselves!" Ooh, can I relate to that.

The book looks different too. It's designed like a magazine because, as the back cover says, no parent has time to read a non-fiction (I added the 'non' because you'll all make time for fiction, right?) book cover to cover. Amen, sistah! It’s got quotes from Gen X parents, quizzes, sidebars, and I love this—song lyrics from the 70s and 80s. Can anyone say Hall & Oates? Mixed in to the stories from Tricia’s childhood, and fun bonus material, are helps for all of us on the parenting battlefield—especially those of the Gen X crowd.

Tricia and I sat down in cyberspace (can you imagine?) and had a little chat about her new book. Join us, won’t you? BYOL (that’s bring your own latte :-)

1. What's a Gen Xer?

A Gen Xer is anyone born between 1961 and 1981--Basically part of their formative years touched the 80s. Of course, some people who are a bit older or younger but have kids in elementary school can also be considered Gen Xers--since they have the same concerns.

2. Why this book? Why now?

Good question! I am addicted to books and parenting books, but whenever I read one I felt like I could never live up to what they were recommending. Somehow I felt that while the 70-year-old male writers had great advice, they couldn't relate to what I dealt with as a mom in this time in history.

As for the "why now," I wanted to encourage parents. It is no coincidence that we are parenting these kids during this time in history. God has chosen us during this time. Not only that, He can give us the wisdom and strength we need to succeed!

3. Tell us about the design. How did you come up with that non-conventional layout? What's the feedback been like?

Well, since I was writing for young parents, like me, I know we don't have a lot of time to sit down and plow through long chapters. Yawn. I wanted fun, short chapters that draw readers in. I also made each chapter title be the lyrics to an 80s song. Overall, I wanted the layout to be as interesting as the content :-)

The feedback has been excellent. I've had many, many people tell me, "I can't put this book down," which is not something one usually hears from a parenting book!

4. How can Gen X parents take some of the negatives of being a child of the 70s/80s and learn from them?

A few things that are common with Gen Xers include the facts that many of our parents divorced, many of us were latch-key kids and we spent more time watching TV families than interacting with our real ones.

Today I think that Gen Xers swing the opposite direction. Parents today are spending more time with their kids than ever, they are commiting themselves to giving their kids everything they didn't have. So, we are already on the right track, but at the same time all our commitments are overwhelming. And we can only turn these negatives into positives with the grace of God!

Visit Tricia at the Gen X blog.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Not so strange fiction

Just a brief comment before posting my review of Generation NeXt Parenting...

Hubby and I saw the movie, Stranger Than Fiction last night. I.Loved.This.Movie.

If you're a writer, a reader, or have ever entered into the literary vs. commercial debate, go see it. Oh, and expect to see a different side of Will Ferrell, and Emma Thompson? Amazing.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Galleys Done!

That sound like a train roaring along the tracks is my sigh of relief...

Next up...I'll be telling you about a couple of books I'm reading: Generation NeXt Parenting by Tricia Goyer, and Straight Up by Lisa Samson.

Off to do some reading.

p.s. On a side note, did anyone see Gilmore Girls the other night? All I could think was that Harlequin authors must be writing for them now--a CLASSIC romance set-up going on there, in my opinion.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Off to Haiti

So Elementary Girl decides to take a turn at writing to our Compassion-sponsored child, Nicole, who lives in Haiti. I'm a writer, yet I always struggle over what to say--my notes to Nicole are pathetically thin. Elementary Girl, on the other hand, wrote until she had to shrink the text and run it beyond the margins. Tugs at a mother's heart, I tell you.

On a funny note, Elementary Girl tells Nicole that her mother "loves!!!!!!!! the beach"--that's 8 exclamation points in case you didn't count them. (She knows me well ;-) In the next breath she says, "I pray for you so much and what kind of food do you eat? I eat pizza, macaroni & cheese and hot dogs." Yup, those two things go together, all right.

I'll be mailing off the letter and the drawing EG included (It's of a beach, just in case Nicole's never seen one...) later today. Just wish I could be there when Nicole gets the mail. Maybe someday...

Monday on the Links

Kids have 1/2 days this week...proofing the galley pages of Chocolate Beach...writing book 2...prepping for the Turkey Day shin-dig that's just a couple of weeks away (!)...in the middle of a couple of house-fix-up projects...but wanted to throw out a "hello" to my blogging friends!

It's a frenetic time, so welcome to my jumbled thoughts. Here's a potpourri of fun for You:

Ran across this fun site for the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau. Chocolate Beach is set in Ventura, so have a look.

Laughed myself silly this weekend over this movie from way, way back in my childhood. Despite the PG label, it contains an unfortunate spattering of profanity. Other than that, and the fact that it's a tad long, it's a crack up. Eh, Katerina!

Chocolate Beach has made it into Barnes&Noble.com--if you're a member (like moi), see my sidebar on how to pre-order CB today (she said, unabashedly.)

I DIG this intro video to GodChicks.com. Just sorry I missed the conference! Maybe next year, eh?


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sleeping with the fishies

Last night, pre-teen girl and friends slept (and gabbed!) next to a giant tank full of sea otters. When was school ever this much fun? Seriously. The students were attending an all-night field trip at the Long Beach Aquarium, home to sharks, jelly fish, and overnight guests of the middle school variety.

Sheesh. Whatever happened to walking trips to libraries and museums--maybe a park? (I'm not jealous or anything. sniff)

Welcome home, sweet-pea :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Got prayer?

The galleys for Chocolate Beach sit in a neat pile on my desk. Notes and chapter pieces of book 2 clutter the rest of my desktop. It's November, and I'm hosting the annual Thanksgiving bash...which means I'm in the middle of a homemakeover--natch. The kids keep me driving 'til all hours, it seems. All this busyness has driven me to my knees. Crazy as it is, it's all good.

So. What's on your plate today?

Saturday, October 28, 2006


We're back in California...blue skies, warm sun, not a drop of moisture anywhere. Although the weather turned cold while we were in Pennsylvania--it was below 44 degrees the entire week!--tons of red and yellow leaves still gave us the color we'd been hoping for, and we managed to bundle up, pick some, and bring them all the way back to CA.

Just wanted to give a shout out to our friends at the Ridgway Public Library, the only place in town with a free wireless hotspot--a favorite stop of ours during our stay back East. Here's a pic of me, tapping away, on a cold fall afternoon.

Forget modern steel and glass. IMO, this is what libraries should look like. Makes me feel smaht, somehow. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fall into Reading

I'm back in this lovely old library with its creaky floors and high ceilings. I could stay here all day; I really could. Makes me want to tear down our house near the California coast and put up something that at least looks old and charming and full of books (but, you know, with a new kitchen and all--lol)

Just noticed that Amazon posted my cover. Exciting stuff. Now when all my fans--all of them!--visit Amazon, they'll see Chocolate Beach's cool cover instead of that annoying "no image available" notice. Yay!

I'm learning that although it starts with the writing, there's much more to actually getting the book out on shelves--or onto cyberspace bookstore sites. That beautiful cover will hopefully catch eyes (one reader told me she'd want to pick it up and take a bite out of it!) Then there's the editing being done, and the marketing and advertising stuff--lots of folks behind one book. Makes me want to switch off this computer and dig into some of the many, many volumes surrounding me in "this old house."

Here I go...

Friday, October 20, 2006


...to my Daniel, the love of my life--who woke me with a kiss and a new suede jacket from Ann Taylor Loft (Yessss!)

16 years of FUN!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

For those interested in the publishing process...

While I flesh out book 2, I've been receiving tidbits about book 1's debut. Since I'm a newbie in the book publishing world, I'm continually being surprised (the happy kind) by the bits of info/questions/suggestions that crop up. Like today when I found new copy about Chocolate Beach on Bethany's website--copy that I helped write! Woo-hoo! Soon I'll get the galleys, and promo materials, and then the finished book wrapped in all its chocolaty goodness.

Btw, I just tore through a bag of chocolate beach pebbles that I purchased over the Internet--no joke. I'm thinking of giving some away during Chocolate Beach promos. Then again, I think I'll have to do more research on this...


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Did you see her?

My aunt Celie popped up on last night's episode of The Unit. She was playing one of the ten patients left behind during a hospital's evacuation...even got carried off to a helicopter by Dennis Haysbert.

How cool is that? (I'm so proud :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


So we're packing up for our trip from the California coast eastward to Pennsylvania, and it occurs to me that I haven't actually packed a thing. Instead I've been cleaning out drawers, wiping down baseboards, and other piddly things that have absolutely nothing to do with our travels.

My friend Angela says she and her sister play a similar game, except before they hit the road, they embrace the need to return things to various stores, like those bathroom rugs that really didn't match or whatever. Odd, isn't it?

Bri wouldn't do that, I'm sure of it. Bri's the heroine of Chocolate Beach. She's a laidback beach chick and I'm pretty sure she'd just throw a few pairs of flip flops into a bag with a stash of casual wear and be on her merry way. I'm a beach lover too, but our similarities just about end there. I mean, doesn't Bri know it's like 30 degrees in Pittsburgh right now? That's how you get sick!

Then again, I'm the one rubbing a splat of of stress relieving lotion into my skin at the moment, hoping to get myself focused on the task in front of me: packing for five. Sheesh. Bri's carefree attitude looks pretty good right now, as opposed to, well, all those windows that need washing. Sigh. Time to pull those suitcases out of storage and get crackin'. Wish me luck--and hey, one pair of flip flops for the trip wouldn't hurt, right?

Friday, October 13, 2006

How I lost my passenger seat

It's Friday near the beautiful southern California coast. Drizzly outside, but the weekend's nearly here, so who can complain? Anyway. I've got to get to my kids' school for an event, so I have exactly 3.2 seconds for a post. As I sped out of the driveway this morning, my coffee, purse and miscellaneous stuff strewn about, it struck me that I've lost my passenger seat. That's the place I always used to--neatly--store the "stuff" that had to come along on the ride for the day. I've lost that special little storage spot to my kids, who are big enough to sit up front, yet young enough to fight over whose turn it is. I lose things now on a regular basis. Like lipstick under the mat, papers shoved between the seat and gear shift, and my cellphone that mysteriously disappears after Pre-teen daughter or Teen-son borrow it (it's not like they don't have their own. sheesh.)

Anyway. I realized today that although it seems like I'm losing my marbles most of the time, it's really just a product of the lost passenger seat. If you're a taxi driving mom, you know what I mean.

Off to school... Rain or shine, have a beachy weekend :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kinda like The Wedding Singer

At the risk of dating myself, I got a kick from this crazy fad site, where I found all kinds of fun stuff from my childhood. Remember break dancing and Rubik's cube (the champ was in my chemistry class--no joke!) and jelly shoes? Yeah, me too. Thank the good Lord I was too level headed for a mullet (pun intended :-0)

What takes you back?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Heading for the 'burgh

When I lived farther inland, a former neighbor who hailed from upstate New York planted a liquid amber tree in his backyard. It was his way of bringing a bit of east coast fall to our very west coast neighborhood. Now that we've moved even farther west, fall colors are even less evident. Yeah, the sun shadows the lawn a bit differently, and my white birch trees are dropping their leaves, but frankly, I kayaked today, so it might as well be summer.

In a couple of weeks, though, we'll be heading east to visit family in Northwestern Pennsylvania (north of Pitt). I hope the leaves wait for us! If you live in that area, look for our little family of five, eyes all agog at the blindingly brilliant displays of orange and red and yellow. Though I love the beach (you knew that already, didn't you?), I admit that this coastal girl is giddy at the prospect of viewing another fall in the east.

Just wish I could bring my kayak :)

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Friday, October 06, 2006

"A good story is life with the dull parts taken out."

Alfred Hitchcock said that, and it's posted in my office. Alas, the story is that I spent most of today (and yesterday) doing the marketing thang for Chocolate Beach. Had no idea how time-consuming "getting the word out" could be--seriously! (And the book won't be out until February!)

Not that I'm complaining, though. No way. I'm livin' my dream, writing novels set in pretty locales, and lovin' it. Still, today tired me out. So this afternoon, Elementary Girl, Elementary Friend, and I hit the beach. Think blue sky with cottony patches of white mixed in like a dollop of cream. Picture wind rippled water and daring kayakers. All else paled in the shadow of this afternoon's God-invented surroundings. After an hour or so of making softballs from wet sand, and listening to the cry of seagulls as they discovered the arrival of dinnertime, the week's craziness melted away, taking the tightness of stress with it. So today had its dull, monotonous moments? The contrast of time spent away from the office made it all worthwhile.

Have a beachy weekend!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


It's Field Trip Day for Elementary Girl, so I have to dash off. But I thought some of you wordsmiths might like this post by Brandilyn Collins. Like Rory on Gilmore Girls, newly discovered words intrigue me. Et tu? Can hardly wait to use 'garbology' in a novel...

Have a beachy Wednesday!

Friday, September 29, 2006

We're full o' beans

So my friend Deb and I hit the 101 freeway this morning, a route that takes us along the coast to a tiny beach town just north of us. It's Deb's birthday, and coffee is how we celebrate. Preferably in large cups and far away from our disheveled homes. But the thing is, we both have kids, three each, who have to get to school first. Just to wake up enough to make lunches, drive the school bus, and look decent, we both have to drink coffee first. Which kinda defeats the meeting-for-early-coffee purpose, but we both do it, and neither one talks about it. It's understood.

So we sat outside on this breezy beachday, guzzling caffeine and laughing about nothing much. Later we strolled along, poking around in antique stores and surf shops until reality called us back home. It turns out that the kind of coffee doesn't always matter that much--today she was a decaf drip (and I mean that in the kindest way) while I sipped a vanilla latte--but it's the company with the java that makes the day just so much better.

So, what kind of coffee are you? Wanna find out? I took this coffee quiz last February, but it seems I've changed. Change is sometimes good, ya know? Take the quiz, then hit a coffee house with a friend. Do it soon.

You Are a Cappuccino

You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.
However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.
You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.
You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Welcome to the CAC

I used to think that LOL looked dumb, just hanging there in so many emails, posts, etc. I always read it "EL-OH-EL", and then would just screw up my face with a big, "Huh?" After awhile I figured out that it meant "laughing out loud" (yeah, I'm slow). And somewhere along the way, even though I told myself I never would, I started LOL-ing it through my own comments. That, and the occasional, "Btw", is about as acronym-savvy as I've become.

One breeze through Pre-Teen Daughter's emails, though--and, yes, I do snoop--and I found a whole new crop of married letters (But don't even get me started about all the grammatically-offensive shorthand I found there as well!). So here are a few of my favorites: BFF (best friends forever), KK (Okay, I don't know what this means but it looks so cute in all of those girlie emails she gets), TTYL (talk to you later), ROFLOL (rolling on floor laughing out loud), and UR (you are).

Okay, that last one's kind of dull. But still.

Anyway, I've come up with some of my own contributions to the Cyberspace Acronym Circus. Feel free to add your own, but one rule--keep it clean, people:

CMU--crackin' myself up
RME--rolling my eyes
BOOMM--bored out of my mind
GTTB--going to the beach

Quote for today

Started (okay, re-started) a Bible study recently, and found myself mulling over this quote from Priscilla Shirer:

"On the stage of life, you're so busy trying to play somebody else, who's going to play you?"

Shirer believes any one of us can be held captive by the "pharoah" of comparison. As a writer who reads way too many author blogs, yeah, I can relate. And as a mom who reads way too many mom blogs, again, I relate.

Anybody else?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Lift-off

Did anyone else see that ball of dust that was my weekend? Sheesh. Busy, busy, BUSY...but it's Monday afternoon, and I'm finally feeling alive again. Yep, the after-the-weekend malaise has lifted.

Anyway. On to more important news. First off, Gilmore Girl Fanatic is calling for new season predictions. You'll want to stop on by.

The girls write out gals have posted the ACFW awards, although apparently they were having too much fun to remember the title of one of them. Ahem.

Let's see, oh, and my new friend Cara Putnam arrived home from the big conference with her first contract. Congrats Cara!

As for me, I'm anticipating the marketing fun I'll be having with Chocolate Beach in the coming months (can anyone say, 'Free Chocolate'?), and actively brainstorming new twists for my next seaside novel. Now...off to do some, uh, research...:)

See you at the beach!

Friday, September 22, 2006

News Flash!

Just received a call from my agent who's in Dallas to attend the ACFW conference. The news? Bethany House has just picked up my next novel. Yeah, baby! Details to follow, but I can give you one hint: it'll be set in a seaside locale. (Big surprise there :) There will, of course, be plenty of other surprises in store so...stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Surfboards and woody wagons

Picking out fabric to recover my dining chairs should've been easy. Gobs of luscious designs and textures packed every aisle. Chenille, tapestry, linen and jacquard--you name it. For years I'd covered (and re-covered) the chairs in "family-friendly" fabrics, those with surfaces slick enough to wipe away small fingerprint-shaped smears of all kinds.

But my children are older now, I thought, and so am I. It was time for grown-up chairs. So I perused and fussed, and fingered and fretted. Swatches made their way home with me only to be tossed aside like soiled rag dolls.

I made one last attempt to make a decision, pacing the store, my mood becoming darker by the second. And that's when I saw it: a half-hidden section of beach-style fabrics. Wouldn't you know it? My heart lifted as if the sun had just burned through a blanket of fog. Who needs formality anyway? Have a seat:

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Robyn tagged for this meme because I was too lazy, uh, busy, to do the last one... Thanks, A LOT, Robyn :)

Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Handed out cheese samples at the Swiss Colony in the Eagle Rock Plaza.
2. Secret shopper for Taco Bell (I’m not making this up).
3. Ghostwriter for trade magazines
4. Tour & Travel Sales Manager in the hotel industry

Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. Sleepless in Seattle (although that silky shirt Tom Hanks wears is getting mighty dated…)
2. The Sound of Music—yeah, I pretty much agree with Robyn on this one
3. Notting Hill (“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, wanting him to love her." With lines like that, what’s not to love?)
4. Pride & Prejudice (Here again, the lines get to me: “You bewitch me, body & soul." Now that's romance!)

Four Places I have lived:

1. Eagle Rock, CA
2. Lake Gregory, CA
3. Diamond Bar, CA
4. Los Angeles, CA

Four things I like to do:

1. Go to the beach (duh).
2. Run (when knee’s not hurting), otherwise I walk it.
3. Do anything with hubby ;-)
4. Hang out with my kids, especially when they’re all getting along!

Four of my favorite foods:

1. Chocolate anything
2. Tamales, enchiladas, tacos…basically almost anything Mexican
3. Grilled seafood
4. Guacamole and chips (could eat it for dinner!)

Four places I would like to be right now:

1. No question, the beach
2. The beach
3. The beach
4. On Moonstone beach with my Dan :-)

Four websites I visit daily:

1. Amazon.com , you know, to see if any brave, dear, wonderful souls have pre-ordered Chocolate Beach (I can sorta tell by the Amazon rankings…it’s a sickness, really)
2. Local realty sites because, unfortunately for my long-suffering husband, I’m always on the lookout for my dream house.
3. My blog & website, to see if anybody has popped in for a visit.

*I’m starting to see a troubling pattern here…it’s all about ME, isn’t it!!!

4. A private blog that chronicles the recovery of my good friend Jeanette, who recently had a stroke. Btw, I visited her yesterday and she’s showing progress every day. Praise God!

Four places I have been on vacation:

1. Ridgway/Pittsburgh, PA (Family!)
3. Niagra Falls (sigh)
4. Sonoma, CA aka Wine Country. (Bellisimo!)

Four friends I think might respond—-hmmm

1. Holymama!, because she always likes a good meme
2. Vintage Wine Design all the way from Stockholm!
3. Alison Strobel Morrow , because she's got spunk
4. Tricia Goyer because she's got so much extra time on her hands (Not!)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What a Feeling...

Trish Ryan introduced me to a novel approach to book marketing. You.won't.want.to.miss.this.video.

The Flash Dance reference moved me, in particular.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

So much to do!

Busy stuff going on around here but I thought I'd take a minute to say, "Hey," to my blogging buds. Hope you all are getting into the fall groove. We don't see many leaves change along this end of California, so for those of you in the East, I hope you'll take an extra glance at those fiery colors for me when the time comes.

For those interested in watching a fun fiction experiment unfold, stop by Charis Connection.

For those dying to discuss violence in Christian Fiction, stop by FaithinFiction.

Here's a shout out to my brother Dan Navarro, who claims he hasn't gotten much (okay, any) press on this blog. (sheesh) You'll find him listed on the staff page of a prestigious architecture firm. (There, is that good?)

Have a fabulous day, wherever you are, and I'll check in soon!

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Chocoholic's Dream

All the chocolate you want...without the fat. Tell me I'm not dreamin'!


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Thursday, September 07, 2006

write stuff

Unlike other author blogs, I don't regularly post fiction writer helps. That would be kind of like the blind leading the blind (forgive the cliche and possible violation of politically correct standards). That said, a lot of writers stop by here (thanks for that, btw), so I thought I'd give a shout out to a super site for yet-to-be-published novelists. Randy Ingermanson, physicist-turned-writer (you know, because the pay's just so much better :-), has a site you should check out: Advanced Fiction Writing.

Tell 'em I sent you.

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High 5, Low 5

Not feeling the love?
Click here and there will be a high five waiting for you.
Left handed? No problem.
Industrial accident? No problem

What can I say? I've been in a funk lately, and this cheered me. I got it from here, who got it from here.

Try it. There now. Doesn't that feel better?

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hand me a towel already

One of my future heroines will be a klutz. I say this because I am fully qualified to write such a character. Not long ago I wrote about making a real life appearance in a Hitchcock-style scene. And, yes, the Advil and ice did the trick. Thanks for asking.

The other day, my friend Angela and I kayaked in tandem in a nearby harbor. Pretty uneventful, unless you're counting all the the times she pointed and laughed at my wet rear (seems I forgot to put a towel on my seat, but hey, what are friends for anyway.)

Anyhoo. We docked the kayak and Angela hopped out and tied up the front end of the boat. That's when it got dicey. See, I tried to tie up my end, but I couldn't reach the cleat-thingy. So I sort of lunged, (physics people, help me out here) which caused my end of the boat to push away from the dock, which in turn caused me to become momentarily suspended between the dock and my boat. I could see the shock on Angela's face--oh the horror--but at less than 5' tall, she's not exactly in the position to haul me out of my precarious position. (Although when she sees that I've just mentioned her height, she'll probably become infused with a sudden, raw strength and either kill me or hurt me real bad.)

And so my ever-shrinking ego and I hit the water kerplunk.

Let's be honest. Children diving into a blue lake are pretty. Toddlers splashing in a wading pool are pretty. But this! This.was.not.pretty. Not even a little. And if you think Angela was laughing before! Don't even get me started...

Anyway, I've lived to blog about it. And who knows? Maybe this little pride-buster will find its way into a future novel. Truth makes great fiction after all.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm Rory

Had a little bloggity badness today ... et tu?

Anyway, I was finally able to login, and it's a good thing because I wanted to send you this kewl quiz from a fella blogging chicks site (priorities, priorities, you know). If you're a Gilmore Girls fanatic like she is/I am, then take this quiz.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, then that's very sad.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Spring Fever...in August

Got a package from Bethany House this week. I'd been expecting it: the spring 2007 catalog (deep breath in, then let it out...good). This is the catalog the bookstore Buyers see, the one that helps them decide what books to stock next spring.

I tore open the package, and found the catalog which included a sneak peek of Chocolate Beach and info about me (one more breath in, open an eye, then the other...) And there it was, two full, yummy pages. My swirly chocolatey cover looks delicious in 3-D, and my author pic is set against the background of azure waves. (My kids are divided on my pic, but that's to be expected, I guess.)

Some of you are writers and know the feeling of seeing your first book in print. Some of you are yet to be published, and carry the hope of a book deal around like a favorite blankie (I know that feeling, believe me!) Others don't care a rip about publishing, but are interested in the process just the same. (I love reading about musicians and what it takes to get that first song from paper to CD, but let me tell you, you'll never hear me sing--trust me on that!)

So wherever you are on this journey, thanks for sticking around. I'll let you know how it goes.

TOMORROW: Take the Gilmore Girls Quiz

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Get noticed!

Just for fun (it is Monday, after all), check out Ron Estrada's Top 10 Ways to Get Noticed by an Editor

On another note, Cara Putman tells the story of a man stuck in vat of chocolate for two hours. Some people have all the luck.

Speaking of my favorite legume, on Saturday at the big boxing event, my brother's date, Ivy, and I discussed the merits of chocolate in its various forms. Of course, my brother had his own opinions. So my question to you is this: If you had to be stuck in a vat of chocolate for any length of time, which would you prefer--dark or milk? I really wanna know!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Celebrity Sightings--part deux

Attended my uncle Hap Navarro's induction ceremony into the California Boxing Hall of Fame today. The event took place at The Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City. Here's a pic of Uncle Hap, a boxing promoter in the 40s & 50s; my father, Dan Navarro, author of Navarro's Silent Film Guide; and me, author of you-know-what :-)

Had a fabulous time and didn't get knocked out once! (Buh-dump-bump)

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Celebrity Sightings...and other randomness

Had dinner with the beautiful people in Malibu last night. Lots of "pretty" everything: pretty cars, pretty waitstaff, pretty food (which explains the pretty-big prices). Saw Gidget (the Gidget, the one the novel was based on--she's still tan and pretty) in the lobby, and someone-I-didn't-recognize-but-my brother-did from General Hospital sitting right behind me.

Great night with family, but I'm telling you, after all the preening and rubbernecking going on in the nearly-fabled oceanside town of beautiful people, my comfortable home to the north felt so good again. (Seriously, who needs that sort of pressure every day?)

Check this out! If you've ever written a novel, published or not, you'll probably dig this trailer for a new movie (and no, this is not a paid advertisement--I wish :-) Even if you've just fantasized about writing a novel--you gotta see this.

Speaking about famous places and movies and beautiful people, my Uncle, Hap Navarro, is being inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame this weekend. Cool, huh? (Hopefully there won't be too many black eyes in the place :-)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sing it: Let me...entertain you...let me...

I come from a family of entertainers--okay, so that gene hopscotched right over me, unless, of course, you consider my writing entertaining, and then I'd have to say 'bless you one hundred times over' and where shall I send your check?

But I digress. One side of my fam bulges with actors, the other, with musicians. My auntie, Cecilia Hartfeld, recently appeared in a documentary about movie extras, also known as Background Actors, and it's making the rounds. Check out this site--she's third from the left in the back row (watch the trailer and you'll see her doing a little soft shoe :-)

The movie's called Strictly Background, which, coincidentally, could be the title of my autobiography. But that's another story...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Love can build a bridge

Saw WYNONNA at the fair last night. She strolled onto stage with little fanfare, but as soon as the crowd spotted her, it was over. The place roared, I tell you. She belted out song after song--and they weren't all Country. She sang some Foreigner too (and some from another group, one that must've been before my time because my hub was singing along and he's, uh, *older* than me :-)

For her encore, Wynonna and her two backup singers sang an acapella version of How Great Thou Art that ROCKED the place. More hootin' during that than just about anything else she sang. Then she pointed toward the sky and said something like, "I'm only 'one' to the world, but to the 'One', I'm the world." Probably an old saying, but I hadn't heard it until last night, and don't you just love it? Charlie Daniels Band and Brad Paisley have also sung hymns at their recent concerts.

I think this is why I've been drawn to Country music over the years. The world's always leaving Christians out of the party (public schools, for instance), and frankly, we Christians have a way of leaving the world out of our party too (you're inviting him to church?). Sitting last night in that big open pit of a Grandstand, the beer sloshing around us, I couldn't helping thing that at times we're all a bunch of lost people, really--judgmental, arrogant, unkind. How beautiful that in the midst of what we are, a singer can stop the show with a song that shines a spotlight on the One who cares about us anyway.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I love blogging theme

I love blogging because it's a way to laugh at myself

It's a way to give other writers a little plug here and here

It's a way to dream out loud

It's a way to laugh with a friend

It's a way to cherish a moment

What about you?

If you get the chance today, stop on by the blogging chicks to see what they all love about the blogworld too..

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Blog with the Chicks

It's summertime--join the carnival! Usually the carnivals are only open to blogging chick members (see my sidebar), but this Sunday, if you're a chick, you're invited. Only other rule is you must link to this Sunday's Carnival in your post. C'mon, you can do it! August 6 Theme: What I love about blogging. Submit your post and your link to Michele by tonight, and tell her I sent ya.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Music to my ears

Hey, Bethany House just posted more info about Chocolate Beach. You can read it here. Although it's not mentioned in the blurb, my novel contains a bunch of Country music references.

Speaking of Country music (nice segue, huh), we just got back at 1:30 this morning from a little ol' trip to see Carrie Underwood at the California Mid-State Fair. No time for a long stay, so we just made the 2.5-ish hour drive each way in one afternoon-evening. I have to say, for a chick-a-dee that young, who's only been entertaining large crowds for maybe a year, Carrie really shined. Even sang some Guns 'N' Roses tunes, if you can believe that. Thankfully, she also sang Jesus, Take the Wheel.

Did I mention that Phil Vassar was there too? Phil started the show and rocked the place for an hour! (Just Another Day in Paradise, Last Day of My Life). Awesome talent and performer, that one. My kids and I took a bunch of pics with our camera phones, but I can't figure out how to post them here. (I'll try, try, try...) On a side note, my 7-year old girlie screamed and hollered like a teen and looked so cute waving my lighted cell phone in the air like a seasoned concert goer. (I had to cover her ears, though, when Phil sang what's become known as The Hot Tub Song :-)

What concerts are on your list this summer, "y'all"?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oh, the Irony

Had a little mishap with the espresso maker this a.m. I bumbled around early and put on workout clothes, you know, with the intent of actually "working out." In a moment of wifely-love, I started the cappucino--ground the coffee, tamped it down, switched it on--then left it for hubby to find when he stepped out of the shower. Still sleepy, I hit the pavement for not exactly a run, maybe more like a plod.

Anyhoo, I came home to a lecture. Something about never being allowed near the espresso maker again (Missy!). Seems I forgot to add water (oops). But, egads, of course I messed up--I hadn't had my coffee yet.

Sort of a chicken and egg thing, don't you think? I mean, really. What did come first--coffee or wakefulness?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I wrote a book about my favorite things: the beach and chocolate. Yeah, it's called Chocolate Beach and will be out next year. But life's not always a day at the beach, so to speak. Like the other day, when I'm moseying along, minding my very own biz, and I'm accosted by another beach lover.

Yep, my daughters and I are biking along a narrow, windy path together when I'm attacked. By a seagull. STOP laughing! It's not that funny. Actually, the seagull almost got me. It came at me from the right, I screamed, and it flapped two massive wings backward while I swerved to avoid it, wrenching my shoulder in the process. I spent the rest of the day on Advil and ice, but other than that, it was a nice day at the beach...

If you get a chance, head on over and say 'hey' to the other chicks blogging about their fave things today. Hopefully, none will involve a scene from a Hitchcock movie.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Get it Write

We're back!

As beautiful as Lake Arrowhead was, there's nothin' like the beach, people! Last night Dan and I sat on a wall watching boogie boarders ride the waves and young builders create structures of driftwood. Despite the fog and muggy air, it's good to be near the ocean again!

WANT TO WRITE A BOOK? I thought I'd give a little plug today for the Fall Mentoring Clinic at Mt. Hermon. Check it out here. Last year I attended the spring conference and participated in the mentor clinic there. It's a harrowing few days of placing your work-in-progress (WIP to those in the know) and allowing them to publicly ridicule it (as opposed to publicly ridiculing you).

Much more stressful going into the process than coming out of it. In fact, my mentor group, led by Randy Ingermanson, helped me figure out where to go next with my WIP. I left the conference with a ton of notes and hope, and thankfully, sold Chocolate Beach to Bethany House soon after.

If you're up for the "abuse", why not give them a try?

Monday, July 24, 2006

In the Treehouse

Still have another day up here at the lake and I've learned a few things:

My laptop is super slow :-(

French fried potato salad prepared by my chef-kid is great (read about Matt here.)

There's a Christian camp across the street from the house we're renting. We're in the "noise-zone" so we were invited with the "real" neighbors to a swim party and BBQ. First of all, it's not really noisy here at all, and second the folks at the camp really walk the talk, if you know what I mean. More on them later...

Lakeweed tickles.

I love the sound of wind through pine

There a bugs here that we just don't see at the beach (thankfully :-).

I've got more fodder for future stories (yay!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

To the Lake

It's been muggy along the coast here in California lately. So sticky that by mid day I'm ready to sit and do nothing but sip a tall iced tea & lemonade. Sometimes the winds whip around way too much but today? A little breeze would be nice.

Had this scathing post to share with you all today, but I cooled down and didn't post it after all. I was inspired by this funny, sad, outrageous post over at Holymama! a while back, and thought I'd share a gripe of my own.

Anyway, I was so peeved that instead of posting my missle I sent it to the Sales & Marketing VP of the company that had done me wrong. THAT worked! I think. Anyhoo, I received a couple of calls after that and a promise (with a tracking number, thank you very much) that a refund check would be overnighted to me. If it doesn't come, you can bet I'll be posting a play by play of the whole thing.

Btw, the anger I felt over being ripped off fueled a writing streak this morning as well. All is not lost!

I'm off to a lake retreat (and yes, there is a 'beach' there!), so see ya when I get back.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Dream Weavin'

From my perch this morning on a dew-covered bench I watched the tide gliding onto shore. Only 8 am, yet gobs of beachcombers meandered along the sand, as if the call of warm sun and gentle waves proved just too perfect to pass up. Dog lovers pitched tennis balls to zealous pups, while a few die-hard surfers prayed for surf while bobbing on the relatively flat sea.

As for me, I longed to walk off the extra lattes (with whip!) I'd consumed during the week, but couldn't pry myself away from the view. So I sat, my track pants soaking up the dew, and giggled at the early morning frivolity (and yes, for a night owl like me, 8 am is defined as "early morning").

These are the days I dream of, when the weather bites, and the children fight, and the deadlines loom. So I chose to linger awhile longer, to take a snapshot of the moment--not with my cell camera, which thankfully was tucked safely at home--but with my mind. Hopefully I'll find that image there the next time I find myself just too busy to dream.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Beachy Keen

Just found my upcoming novel, Chocolate Beach, listed on CBD.com, Amazon and Borders. How exciting is this? No cover, reviews or excerpts yet, but rest assured, you can preorder :-).

Btw, Chocolate Beach is set in Ventura, a real place along the California coast. Heroine Bri lives close to Marina Park, and I decided to stop by there on a recent fogless day. I found this cool new mural at the entrance. Pretty, don't ya think?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Face It

Yesterday Pre-Teen Daughter had her first voice lesson (American Idol...here we come!) I sat in and all I can say is FASCINATING. The teach likened singing to not only playing an instrument, but building one too. She commended my kiddo for being brave enough to try something that most people would run from, ie. performing! (Yeah, I'd run!)

Frankly, PT Daughter was nervous, but she did it anyway. Isn't that what it's about? Facing down those hideous fears, knowing that a higher call beckons? I knew PT Daughter was scared, but deep down, I think she also knows that God has gifted her. That's how it is with writing (or anything else you may be 'called' to do.)

I've written non-fiction articles for years, but to open up my mind and pour a made-up story onto the page, in front of strangers, feels kind of like bungee jumping during the prom: exhilarating, crazy, and, frankly, a little embarrassing. But, whoo-hoo, what a fun ride!

What are you facing today?

For My Writing Compadres

Happy day after the 4th!

Today I'm working on an article assignment, and two book proposals, in between shuttling kids here and there, and of course, sitting on the beach--(at least, I'm wishing for that last one). Hope your summer's a blessed mix of fun and productivity!

Here's a note for you from my friend, writer Camy Tang:

"I'm having a Story Sensei Summer Sale - A writers' summer event! From now until July 15th, I will be holding a fabulous contest for my Story Sensei critique service. I will draw the names of TWO lucky winners! They will each receive:

A free synopsis critique – up to 10 pages single-spaced, a $40 value! AND

A coupon for 25% OFF any manuscript critique – whether full or partial manuscript, any number of words. For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's a savings of $250!

In addition, EVERYONE WHO ENTERS will receive a 10% OFF coupon for any service, whether synopsis, query letter, or manuscript critique (full or partial). For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's a savings of $100, just for entering. Go to my Story Sensei blog and post a comment to enter the contest! http://storysensei.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lost in Story

So I'm driving along the other day, with my teen son in the front seat, and my daughters and friend in the back. The girls are chattering on and my son's agitated, but do I notice? Nuh-uh. I'm lost in my own story world, creating a scene that'll knock the wind out of my readers (okay, so I'm at least hoping for this...)

Finally, my incredulous son shouts, "Mom! Don't you hear what they're talking about?"

To which I respond, with equal annoyance: "No! I was in Chapter 2!"

Anybody else been there?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Summertime blues

I have a confession to make. The kids have been out of school for nearly two weeks, the sun's a shinin'--but I've yet to make it to the beach. I live near the coast, and let me tell you, not lounging on the sand during the summer is just so wrong. I don't know what's the matter with me, but for some reason, I suffer from forgetfulness, meaning, I forget that every year I get all giddy waiting for summer, and every year I forget that I end up spending my days playing taxi-mama.

Not that I'm bitter. At least my left arm's nice and tan from ridin' around all day with the window down. (Big baby whine here.)

I'm thinking tomorrow I might find a free hour, say, somewhere between driving to and from VBS, waiting for the repair guy to show between 1 and 5, and picking up oldest from youth group. One can hope, eh?

Recent Reads:
Breaker's Reef by Terri Blackstock
A Garden in Paris by Stephanie Grace Whitson

I'll be hitting up the bookstore later this week to load up on more books and take said reads straight to the beach for some lazy day lolling. At least, that's my intent. (Note to self: teach kids that, unlike what I may have said in the past, loafing can be a good thing.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Missing in Firefox!

Eek...several of you have let me know that my sidebar doesn't appear in Firefox. Until recently, I didn't know what Firefox was (she said, sheepishly). Anyhoo, I'm trying to get this fixed. If anybody out there has any inside advice on this, give me a holler, will ya?

On another note, hope you're enjoying the summer! The pic at the top left of my blog (and I sure hope that's not missing!) is from my recent trip to Catalina Island, just off the Southern California coast. Pretty, isn't it?

Question of the week: Where are you vacationing this fine summer of 2006?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It's Official: I'm a Blogging Chick

Hey, meet my new friends at the Carnival of the Blogging Chicks! Or find them name by name on my sidebar. Happy blogging :-)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No Fear

Had the neatest experience the other day. A friend called to say that her son had been experiencing bouts of fear. Um, no. That’s not the neat part (silly); it’s what happened next.

She and her husband spent time with their child, praying and talking with him, and showing him they cared. The next day, she opened up her copy of Focus on the Family Magazine and noticed an article on childhood fears. Huh. She flipped to the page and began comparing the list of suggestions to what she and her husband had done, checking off as she went. “We did this.” Check. “We did this one.” Check, check. “We did that too.” Check, check, check.

Then she noticed that I was the author.

She called that same day to tell me that God had used that article to confirm much to her and her husband. Can anyone say, “humbling?”

It was.

Frankly, I’d been a bit cranky about that piece, noting just days earlier that my jokes had been edited out (well, I never…) And some of my cute little anecdotes didn’t make the cut either (so it’s really not about me?) Obviously, though, what God wanted in, stayed in, and he’s already begun using it as only he does: to instruct, to comfort, to confirm.

In spite of me.

(p.s. I wrote this piece a few years back. My daughters are older, and they'd like you to know that :-)

Friday, June 16, 2006

I Am...

Okay, so I couldn't stand Sharon Hinck's pathetic begging anymore (see comments
from June 15), and finally decided to tell you which Becky Miller friend I (supposedly :-) resemble most from Sharon's highly-scientific quiz:

High tech, high powered, successful. You always rise to the top in any situation. You’ve got your life under control, so it’s sometimes tough to lean on God, but you’re willing to ask Him the hard questions.

I'm thinking that yes, I do have control issues. Not so sure about the high-tech, high powered thing though, LOL.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Here's your sneak peek! The pub. is still tweaking, so let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Crazy day in the Carobini household. Two graduates in one week, plus we're hosting "Ditch Day" for our daughter's class. Hubby thinks it's just so wrong to let kids have a ditch day, but what can I say? Mama's a pushover. (And frankly, he's really an old softy...)

ANYWAY, I just got to take a peek at the cover for CHOCOLATE BEACH. Yay! The designer over at Bethany House came up with a very cool idea, and I'd love to get your reaction. I'll try to post it in between festivities...probably late tonight.

Hope you'll stop by!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ABCs of Me--I got tagged!

Jamie tagged me with this meme. Hey, thanks a lot, girlfriend.

Accent: Not unless I'm lapsing into my sorry high school Spanish. Hola! Que tal! Como se llama dice?
Best personality trait: Hubby says I'm "witty." (Oh brother.)
Chore I hate: Cleaning toilets!
Dad's name: Dan
Essential make-up/skin care products: Eyeliner. (I agree with Jamie on this one!)
Favorite perfume/cologne: sea air
Gold or silver?: Yeah right--it's diamonds, baby, all the way.
Hometown: I'm FROM Eagle Rock, CA. Isn't that a cute name?
Interesting fact: I used to be a ghost writer
Job title: Author (sounds kinda snotty though)
Kids: Three.
Living arrangements: Too close for comfort, hahaha...(jk kids!)
Mom's birthplace: Los Angeles
Number of apples eaten in the last week: Does apple pie count?
Overnight hospital stays: Too many to mention (although some were for giving birth and that's a good thing...)
Phobias: Public speaking. SNAKES.
Question you ask yourself a lot: Why did I say that?
Religion: Christian
Siblings: 2 brothers
Time I wake up: 7 a.m. (Time I get up is another story...)
Unnatural hair color: Used to be a blondie. Well, sort of. I overbleached and the hairdresser was unable to get any other color to "stick".
Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: cabbage (blech)
Worst habit: Changing my mind. Although, now that I think about it, that's a good thing. Then again...
X-rays?: Again, too many to mention.
Yummy food I make: Brownies (um, those who previewed my book, you knew that was coming, didn't you?
Zaniest trait: Again, I asked hubby. Apparently my degree of zanyness is so high, he can't just pick out one.

I tag Camy.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sharon Hinck is in the House!

Sharon’s here to talk about her debut novel, The Secret Life of Becky Miller, just released by Bethany House Publishers.

Check out what's on the back cover:

Becky Miller is a young mom who wants to do Big Things for God. Her vivid
daydreams help her cope with the pressure to be a Wonderful Wife and Marvelous Mother. Yet the tape going through her mind continues to play:

YOUR MISSION—support your husband when he loses his job, nurture an eccentric circle of friends, raise perfect Christian children, cook delicious
meals in a spotless kitchen, lead the women’s ministry at church, and live a
life filled with Meaning and Purpose.

How does this supermom react when her grand plans start to fall apart?
What will it take for her to turn off the tape and listen to God’s voice

Hey Sharon, where did Becky Miller come from?

My friends and I commiserate all the time about some of our shared challenges
as moms, wives, and Christian women who want to make a difference in the world. Becky is an exaggerated version of all the good-hearted (but unhealthy)
driven-ness that plagues our lives.

It’s been said that you should write what you know. What aspects of this book come from within you?

That saying has always confounded me, because I don’t know much. :-) But I did
weave a lot of unusual experiences from my life into Becky’s fantasies. I’ve been scuba diving (and was horrible at it), I’ve done short-term missions in Hong Kong
(a great setting for a secret agent scene), I’ve been in television studios and on stages. I’ve been a ballerina. So I used my “inside feel” for some of those things. I also know about over-achieving to the point of craziness, and convincing myself it’s what I’m supposed to be doing and ignoring God’s gentle nudges to step back, rest in Him, and let Him steer the course. I do have children, so I could stir up the not-so-far distant memories of sleep-deprivation and diapers. The plot is pure fabrication...none of Becky’s experiences with her volunteer position or the magazine article, or her sister (I don’t have a sister) have happened to me. But I’ve felt the disappointment of pouring out work for God and feeling unappreciated or misunderstood. My husband and I have struggled with times of career challenges. I’ve wrestled with doubts through some severe health crises (though nothing like what happens to Becky ever happened to me).

I guess in summary, the HEART is very much from my experience, but the SPECIFICS
are Becky’s unique story.

So, do you think that many women have a ‘secret life’?

I think everyone dreams of doing something beyond themselves...serving God in a way that makes a difference...being the “hero” of our own life story and making courageous choices when they are needed. What’s interesting is that the exciting and heroic adventures are often NOT the big successes (from a world’s perspective) but the small loving acts, and worshipful attitudes we embrace each day...in the midst of the very ordinary.

So true! Sharon, how do you as a writer keep the creative juices churning?

Honestly, I’ve always had a brain that doesn’t turn off...and now I’ve found a use for it.

What sage advice did you receive on your journey to publication?

All the usual – I’ve posted some of the things that helped me on the writing resources pages of my website, www.sharonhinck.com. But one thing that particularly helped my journey: “Write the next book.” While my first manuscript circulated, I wrote the next and the next. I was building the writing muscles I needed and also not fixating on “finding a publisher.” THE SECRET LIFE OF BECKY MILLER was my fifth completed manuscript. I know for authors cherishing their one, first novel, it’s hard to think about moving forward before finding a home for that one. But keep in mind that your first precious baby may well get a contract after your later books break in.

Reflect on the past year. Is writing, editing, and promotion like the good, the bad and the ugly? What was it like and what did you learn for next time?

I once went down a huge water-slide and as I began the descent, I started to panic. I tried to press my palms against the sides to slow me down and that hurt. I wanted to control my speed and couldn’t. Then I stopped fighting it and let the water carry me. I swooped around curves, and glided down into the waiting pool and felt like I was flying. I scrambled out of the water and marched straight to the stairs to do it again. In the writing life, many, many things are out of our control. Trusting God’s purposes, relaxing, and screaming a little all make the ride more fun. Digging in my heels, grabbing for the sides, and resisting the water all make me miserable. Some days I’m taking the slide with a head-first dive. Other days I’m shivering at the top thinking the structure looks like it needs new rivets. But it’s a very fun adventure.

Well said. What are your future projects?

March, 2007 RENOVATING BECKY (Bethany House) - Becky and her family buy an old farmhouse to fix up, hoping to find the simple life. Becky’s mother-in-law moves in, her best friend pulls away, work pressures mount, and Becky wants to fix it all.

March, 2008 IN THE KEY OF MOM (Bethany House) - An orchestral flutist is raising her teen daughter alone, and finally gets her long-delayed chance to play professionally. But someone is sabotaging the concertmaster, and Amy sets out to solve the mystery before the problems destroy her chance at her dream. She wasn’t counting on her daughter’s new venture into cheerleading, or Clara’s persistence in uncovering the truth about her biological father—or the tug toward a spiritual journey Amy didn’t want.

I’m currently working on a fourth book for Bethany House. I’m also developing a project with another publisher that I hope to be able to announce soon.

What are your goals?

to get better at this.
to get better at crafting words that sing
to get better at waking up with a smile and trusting God during the work
to get better at not obsessing over reviews, sales, critiques
to continue to appreciate the opportunity and the wonderful supportive people that are part of the process

From Sharon:
Julie, thanks so much for letting me visit your blog on the beach. I’m SO jealous of your access to beaches. Minnesota has a lot going for it, but sadly, no oceans. I can’t wait for your book to come out next year!

Thanks, Sharon—by the way, the Becky Miller Friend’s Quiz is too cool. Readers, check it out here. If ten or more of you take the quiz and post your answers, I’ll reveal which Becky Miller Friend I am most like…on Monday.

Have a beachy keen weekend!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Beach Reads

Lots of posts out there about summer reading. As for me, I've got the following stack (so far) sitting on my nightstand:

A Garden in Tuscany by Stephanie Whitson
A Girl's Best Friend by Kristin Billerbeck (can't believe I haven't gotten to this one yet.)
Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble (again, I'm behind on my reading...)
Emma by Jane Austin (um, yes, classics are a good thing.)
Blah, Blah, Blah--Making Sense of the World's Spiritual Chatter by Bayard Taylor (theology unmasked!--non-fiction by debut author and friend.)

Add to my list! What are you reading this summer?

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Picked up my copy of The Secret Life of Becky Miller from Barnes & Noble, and it's already dog-eared from being schlepped around while I play taxi-mama. I'll be interviewing the author, Sharon Hinck, on Friday, June 9, so stop on by for a chat, won't you?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wake up, sleepy head

Remember that movie Awakenings from the 90s about a group of folks who suddenly snap out of their catatonic state? Couldn’t help thinking about that odd little film this past weekend when people from all over emerged from their cocoons to descend upon The Beach.

Here along the California coast we’ve had more than our share of fog and drizzle over the last few months. Can anyone say yuk? I’m all for the sleepy beach town feel, but hey, even I was starting to wither from the May Grey, as the weather’s been called. But—yippee!—So. Cal. snapped out of the haze this past holiday weekend, blanketing us with heat and a warm, rippling wind.

Rode my bike down to the beach and just watched the parade. Teens dragging surfboards toward the shore, guys in board shorts holding hands with chicks in aloha wraps, older folk sipping frothy coffee drinks while taking in the sun and waves. Ahh—heaven. Early though it may be, summer has come. The sun has blasted apart those dense clouds and for the first time in months, I’m feeling more awake then ever.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Girl Meets World

Learned some funny things about tracking systems this week. I can look and see how people are finding my humble little blog. I know who you are. Haha…actually, unless you tell me, I really don’t, but I am finding out what’s sending some of you here. For instance, one visitor recently Googled “swimsuits” and the poor thing found my whiny post about swimsuit shopping with Preteen Daughter. Another visitor, and you know who you are, Googled “seagull poop” and found my meme last week on Works for Me Wednesday when I pooh-poohed the use of plastic bags at the beach.

I feel like Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life as he paced the sidewalk with Donna Reed’s robe in one hand while tapping his chin with the other saying, “This is a very interesting situation…”

Make no Bones about it, I’m learning ways to be a Survivor, and I don’t even have to leave my House, like a Desperate Housewife. Nope, I can stay away from The Office, and have some Good Eats on less than $40 Dollars a Day, and watch American Idol while burying all kinds of popular words into my posts. More than I Everwood before. I’m not Lost about this at all. Oh, no, I’m like a doctor climbing into my Scrubs, ready to do whatever it takes to give my blog an Extreme Makeover.

I guess you could say that the blog world is my oyster, and I’m in 7th Heaven at the moment. Even if you have to Google “seagull poop” to find me here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

You Gotta Have Friends

It’s Honor Frequent Visitor’s Day at Beach-Lit Writer. I’m (supposed to be) writing today, but wanted to take a minute to point you toward some of my friends who show up here regularly. Stop on by, won’t you?:

Camy Tang, the loud Asian chick who writes Asian chick-lit (I am not making this up):

Jamie Driggers, writer, reviewer, and adoptive mama:

Geekwif, married to a Geek…and proud of it:

Kelsey Byers, hysterical mom to 4 (who seriously doesn’t need anymore cyber traffic, but go anyway):

Praying for a prodigal, a mom whose blog will drive you to your knees:

Rebecca LuElla Miller, fantasy writer, friend and worldview blogger:

Monday, May 22, 2006

Latte 101

It's Monday and we've got water!

Because of so many disasters in our world last year, we stocked up on drinking water. I'd forgotten that until yesterday morning when we woke up to NO running water. Actually, I would've forgotten about it completely until my husband asked if I'd picked up coffee after dropping our son at church (see yesterday's post).

Hub: Didn't you pick up coffee?
Me: Starbucks is closed. NO water.
Hub: Wha????
Me: Yeah, NO water, NO coffee.
Hub: Hey, didn't you get an emergency supply of water last year???
Me: Um, yea. I think it's in the garage somewhere.
Hub: NO coffee. Sounds like an emergency to me.

Like the spa bath from yesterday--and yes the entire family ended up taking one so as not to offend those sitting in the pew behind us (oooh, bad pun)--another crisis was averted.

Enough of this frivolity :-) It's "Writing Monday" in my little home office. The coffee's flowing, so I'd better get to it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Squeaky Clean

NO running water in my neighborhood today ‘cuz of a broken water pipe or something. Not one trickle. All day. Found this out in the early a.m. when I awoke my teenager to take him to church. Had to drop him off early because he was going to be “interviewed” at two services, and could not imagine letting him do that without a shower. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. It’s not about image; it’s about serving God. Yeah, but have you ever taken a whiff of a teenage boy who hadn’t showered in 24 hours?

So while the rest of the fam slumbered, I paced and fretted—without the aid of coffee, mind you—until the heavens opened and down trickled the perfect plan: the spa.

So around 7 am., my teen took a dip in the spa—and did I mention it was raining?—and came out smelling like, um, chlorine. But hey, it was better than the alternative.

Update: As of 9 tonight, no water still. We could send a man to the moon, but...well. Maybe Monday. (Lots of chlorine going in that spa tonight, let me tell you.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sandy Dollar

Found this while beachcombing today. The tide was out leaving behind leftovers from the ocean's tumult: dried out crab shells, separated bivalves, driftwood, and this, an intact sand dollar. I brought it home for my youngest who often appeases her mama's love for the sea by joining me as I sift the sand for treasures such as this.

Have a beachy keen weekend :-) See ya Monday.