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 (!) 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& 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 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?