Friday, March 31, 2006

Spa Day

Heading off for a day of pampering with my pal Deb. Lest you think I make this a regular habit, well, I don't. I've actually never been to a spa (gasp). But our husbands bought us this day trip for Christmas, so we're heading up to the mountains to relax. I hope. We're both moms, 3 kids each, and do you know what it takes to prep for an entire day away???

Needless to say, we're both ready to relax. Or pass out. One or the other.

Check back Monday to see how it went. I'm bringing along my copy of She's All That, by Kristin Billerbeck, just for fun :-)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

One for the Family

I just told my daughter to, "Wash up! Idol's almost on!" The excitement is palpable around here...oooh, somebody's getting the boot tonight. A sad reality, I know, but someone's reality just the same.

Since time's short, we'll do some predicting. My husband thinks it'll be Bucky. My eldest daughter and I are thinking Lisa's time has come (I know, I know, a big turnabout from a couple of weeks ago.) My son says he doesn't care (yeah, right) and my youngest can't decide.

Now check it out man (in Randy Jackson's lingo), who says family night is dead?

Monday, March 27, 2006

It's a Beautiful Mornin'...

Sun’s shining today in California. Is that redundant? Actually, it’s been rather rainy/cloudy/windy the past few weeks. If you’re in many other parts of the country, you’re probably used to it. Me? Not so much. So when the clouds part and the sun shines after winterish weather of any length, we Californians join with the angels in singing a rousing chorus of Halleluia, and head outside.

I’ve got just a week until I receive those edits I mentioned last week, the revision suggestions to my book. In the meantime, I want to lay down more pages of the next book I’m working on. (You know, before it’s time to switch gears and return to the story of beach girl Bri Stone and her crazy life.) The kids are in school this morning, the sun’s rising in the east, so I too am heading outside, to give my new characters some fresh air and time to jostle around in my brain while I wander the neighborhood. Here’s hoping they do something fabulous in there, so I can dash home and spill the next scene onto blank page.

If you’re a writer, what do you do to prep for your next writing session? Are you an outliner? A seat of the pants (SOTP) writer? Storyboarder? Or maybe you do something rather outlandish, like hanging upside down from a thick tree branch until the story of the century (and lots of blood) fills your head. What do you do?

Friday, March 24, 2006

New View

Got stuck in the dining room yesterday as our old dingy carpet was ripped out of the bedrooms and office, and replaced with a blanket of snowhare (fancy name for speckly-beige). Managed to set up the laptop on the table and download this new "look." You like? I'm not sure. Looks a little too much like I'm still trying to write sweeping literary masterpieces, as I mentioned in my March 21st post.

Anyhoo, I'm still tweaking it. Learning lots of HTML in the process (I feel so smaht :-) Should really get my brother Mikey (Navarro) on this. My baby brother's a graphic animator for movies and TV, and my kids' hero (SpyKids, anyone?) And the guy owns his own rendering company, RenderRocket.

Maybe if I left this stuff to the experts, I'd actually get some writing done...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

On Gettin' It Write, Um, Right

Just heard from my editor that suggestions for my next draft will be coming in a couple of weeks. Did I hear that right? Draft? Breathe, breathe, okay, I'm calming down. Not that this was unexpected mind you. Colleen Coble, although we've never actually met, prepared me for this moment quite well in her November 18, 2005 post. Go here and scroll down to see what I'm talking about. Anyway, as I told my editor, I'm curious/excited/nervous to see what the reviewers liked, and well, what they'd like me to work on.

My heart may want to run like the wind, but my writer's mind tells me to revel in being able to work with seasoned editors to make this project--and all the others to come--the best they can be. I need to do that for you and for me. So I'm swallowing that lurking beast of pride today and in Colleen's words, asking my editor to 'bring it on.'

I'll let you know how it goes...:-)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

From One Beach Chick to Another

Can a gal spend an evening reading chick lit and still respect herself in the morning? Read that question on the NPR site yesterday (and I take the Fifth over why I was there in the first place)

Of course, the writer was speaking about the trashy versions (Bridget Jones, anyone?). But the article got me thinking about the proliferation of the genre and the subgenres that my writing style falls into. Chocolate Beach itself falls somewhere in the sub-genre of Christian Chick-Lit. My character is married, so maybe that makes my book Wife-lit. Then again, she’s a mom. So maybe it’s Mom-lit. Still, she’s one cool beach chick, so maybe I oughtta just stick with Chick-lit and let it go at that.

Decisions, decisions.

I’m digressing, of course, avoiding the answer to the question. I think that’s because it goes deeper for me. For years I’ve imagined myself writing sweeping literary masterpieces set against tantalizingly gorgeous backdrops of rolling green hills and azure skies. Even tried to write a couple. Let me tell you, you haven’t seen melodrama like that. Ever.

So I continued to hone my craft, writing and selling articles to various publications, always hoping to find my way back to fiction. It happened for me one sunny summer day when I picked up a pink cartoon-covered book over at B&N. That thing was sassy, sarcastic and written in first person. From page one, I was sucked into the character’s mind and I never looked back.

I had discovered my niche.

And yet I hid my discovery for a while. I mean, the world values serious writers, do they not? (Yeah, right, as if I'm not serious.) So I guess you could say I struggled for a while. Struggled over whether I could write chick-lit style novels and still show my face at church. And you know what? I got over it. Big time.

Kristin Billerbeck has this quote by Jennifer Armstrong on her email tagline: “The biggest difference between them and the snobs who think they're writing the ‘great American novel’ is that chick lit writers have a realistic sense of their place in the world.”

So, yeah, I guess you could say that after a night of chick-lit frivolity, I still respect myself in the morning. Even more so now that I’m not working against the tide, trying to be something I’m not.

Speaking of being something I’m not, take a look at my new blog title. I write chick-lit style novels set along the California coast. I’m thinking my new title defines my writing style best—and I’m not afraid to say it.

Btw, sorry to make you wait, Jamie :-)

Monday, March 20, 2006

On Chick-lit et al

Beach-Lit Writer

Gotta run out the door, but check back later for my thoughts on Chick-lit (and bring along some of your own.) Until later...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pick Me, Pick Me!

Reality shows, in my humble opinion, aren't reality at all. They're fake, almost every one of them. I mean, please, do men really get to pick their mate for life from a pod of 25 beauty queens living in a swanky house in Paris or Malibu or wherever? (Okay, maybe if your George Clooney, although personally, I don't get that.)

But does American Idol qualify as a fake reality show? I think not. Once again this week, our family sat glued to the set, knowing that one of the contestants would have to go. I had my opinion--yes, Kevin, that means YOU--although my dear daughter begged to differ. But I was wrong!

In the end, Ace, Lisa and Melissa were in the bottom three. Did you get that? Ace and Lisa! Shocking, I tell you. Seeing their deer-in-the-headlights faces, knowing that any one of them might be leaving the competition, reminded me of all the times I tried out for things growing up. Auditions for theater and commercials, drill team, student government...yada, yada, yada.

Now I'm all grown up, but still dealing with reality (and aren't we all?) My book's been written and I'm waiting for edits from Bethany House. Once the rewrites are done, I'll be waiting most of a year to see what "the public" (that would be you) thinks of my work. Do I worry about being kicked out of the competition? Do I stress that you all might vote me off, never to pick up another of my titles again? You betcha.

Like Ace, Lisa and Melissa, this corner of my life is not "fake" reality, it's the real thing. Just praying the good Lord keeps me out of the bottom three :-)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Who's Havin' the Better Time?

Found this pic on a local realtor's website. Would you look at that air!

Living Beyond Yourself

Recovering from the flu, living in a bedroom torn up by a remodel, running late for the eye doctor...but heard that Lauren is setting up an online Beth Moore study and had to stop and tell you about it. Did the Believing God study (another of Moore's) last summer and it changed me. I'm still quoting lines from it when I need a shot of faith (i.e., I am who God says I am; God is Who He says He is, etc....) Anyway, it's been a great help to me in many ways so I wanted to let you know. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What's the world talking about?

Friend and fellow writer, Bayard Taylor, has just launched the website and blog. Stop by for stimulating talk on worldviews.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I Have a Dream

Dashed into Target yesterday for a couple of things (came out with more than a dozen, but that's another story...). Perused the fiction section hoping to find, at the very least, a slim section of Christian novels. Didn't happen. However, and in my opinion this is even better, I came across several Christian titles mixed in with all the others. Not segregated. Not buried beneath issues of Poodles Quarterly. Not hanging beneath a disclaimer sign warning: THESE NOVELS DO NOT CONTAIN SMUT. Just THERE. Whoo-hoo! So I picked one up by Tracey Bateman, you know, to show my appreciation.

Here's hoping for more smut-free books in the local discount shop...and time to read them all!

Monday, March 06, 2006

A rose by any other name...

Recently joined the acfw, and lovin' it. If you're serious about writing faith-based fiction or inspirational fiction or Christian fiction or whatever we're calling it these days, check it out. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Make it a grande with a lid, please

So my daughter and her friend are riding their bikes home from an unnamed corporate coffee source, when the friend falls into the middle of the street. She scrapes up her elbow and her ego, but what remains unscathed? That would be her whipped mocha coffee something or other. Somehow in her scuffle with the blacktop, my daughter's friend managed to keep her frothy coffee drink upright and intact.

Does this deserve our admiration or what?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Freaky Friday

I don’t know about you, but traditionally, Fridays are pretty slow email days around here. It’s disturbing. No, not that I don’t get much cyber traffic on that day, but that I care so much. Remember that line in Sleepless in Seattle where Rosie O’Donnell’s character is whining about how men just don’t converse the way women want? It goes something like: “Verbal ability in a man is highly overrated and our pathetic need for it is…blah, blah, blah…” For some reason, I hear myself in that line. Today I’m moping, just knowing that my inbox will sit quiet for most of the day. So in my head, I’m chiding myself with a similar line: “E-mail frequency on Friday is highly overrated, and my pathetic need for it is…blah, blah…”

You get the picture. So, if you’re so inclined, post a comment today, and put me out of my Friday misery. Tell me what you thought about the castoffs from American Idol last night (my daughter was horrified that Heather was let go). Tell me what you’re reading these days (it’s another rainy day in CA—three days this year! Time to hit the bookshelves :-) If you’re a writer, help me further avoid my WIP and drop me some shop talk.

Okay, now, bring it on!