Monday, January 29, 2007

On making spectacles

So hubby and I decide to pop into our local chain bookstore to see Chocolate Beach on an actual book shelf. Just a quick trip on a rainy Saturday afternoon, with no plans for any brouhaha. We could’ve taken a peek and left quietly, but no. Dan grabs the camera (okay, I admit that I brought one), and has me stand by the display. Instead of discreetly snapping a shot from between the bookracks, he backs way up and stands in one of the busiest walkways. Then focuses for a long, long time. (Notice my strained smile...)

So he’s standing there, focusing away when he’s approached by a staffer.

“No photographs are allowed in the store, Sir.”

“Why not?”

“Copyright violation, Sir.”

“But she wrote the book.”

“Oh. Well. Then it’s okay.”

Meanwhile my smile felt more pasted on than a preschooler’s Christmas project.

I speak up. “Um, I have a shelf talker.” That’s a fancy word for one of those narrow cardstock signs that say “Local Author”. They fit on the shelf just beneath the books and, hopefully, draw the attention of buyers.

The staffer looks at me. “Would you like to do some signing?”

“Um, sure.”

After looking up my book and grabbing some “autographed copy” stickers the staffer realizes that there are only three books on the shelf.

“Hm," she says. "There should be four copies."

I point toward the bestseller table. “There’s one over there,” I say.

She doesn’t ask.

While I block the aisle and sign away, my husband sees an acquaintance from church. “Hey,” he says, “my wife wrote a book. Your wife would love this book!”

My cheeks heat up, and I sense my olive complexion turning the color of Mexican pavers. Next thing you know, the man has found his wife, she's holding my book in her hands, and promising to buy it.

At least we didn't follow them to the counter...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

You're Invited...

to romp around my new website, where the water's always fine
When: Always and forever (Yeah, that's a Peaches & Herb reference :-)

BYO beach towel. Sunscreen provided. See you on the beach!

I'm on my head

Just got back into the home office here and see that I'm sort of upside down. Which in itself isn't all that rare--ha. Anyhoo, I think it's a sign that my web designer extraordinaire is working on my new blog. (Yoo-hoo...Hi Kelli!) The new website & blog will be up sometime in the very near future. We're just waiting on a domain transfer--I think that's the techy term. So keep your eyes peeled (what a weird saying, eh?), and I'll let you know when they're all, uh, right side up :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In pursuit of lightness

Recently an interviewer asked me what I liked least about writing. My answer? The extra poundage I've been gaining from all this sittin' around :) (Although I guess the two brownies I ate for dessert last night might also play a role.)

Back in the day, I ran about 20 miles a week. These days, if my knee's hangin' in there, I'll do about 4. Maybe. So, as some of you know, I took up spinning a few weeks ago. I feel thinner! I feel shapely! I feel EXHAUSTED!

Anybody relate?

Will it get better?

Bri, the heroine of Chocolate Beach, doesn't 'get' spinning. Calls it a mouse-on-a-treadmill track course. Fortunately I've got a great teach who keeps me entertained as my muscles scream out for mercy. When the electricity blew during yesterday's class, and we could no longer listen to heart-pumpin' music, she sang to us. Now that's commitment!

As energy-zapping as it can be at first, I'm planning to tough out my semester-long spin class. Either that or give up writing. Or brownies. Nah...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hello Monday

My first online interview is up today at Novel Journey. If you're interested in my particular path to publication, you'll find some answers there. Thanks to Gina Holmes for hosting me today!


For those looking for a thought-provoking story about two cousins who handle their personal tragedies like polar opposites, you might want to take a look at Straight Up by Lisa Samson. From the publisher:

Georgia Bishop, a could-be jazz great, has thrown away her life, her marriage, and her talent for her drinking habit. Her cousin, Fairly Godfrey, is living the good life in New York but wonders if deeper meaning exists beyond the superficial world in which she finds herself.

It takes a Congo refugee, a soul food chef, a persistent husband, and one desperate night on the brink of freedom for Georgia and Fairly to realize how far they have come from their God-given purposes. When they face the most difficult choices of their lives, only the power of grace can bring them to true healing.

Julie here. This book is not for the faint of heart. My own lighter touch is reflected in the stories I write. But to stretch my writing muscles, I read a lot of genres, and Lisa has a way of exposing truths often hiding beneath a blanket of faith. She makes me think deeply, and that's a good thing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chick Lit Musical and other randomness

Thanks to all who've emailed me with promises to look for Chocolate Beach in your local stores. You rock! Just minutes ago, I heard from a friend that CB had made it to Texas. Yee-haw :-)

Did y'all see Scrubs last night? Hilarious. Virtually the entire show was done in song, and made me think about all the live shows my dad took me to when I was a teen: Chorus Line, Cats, Le Miserables, etc. Hubby and I've gone to a bunch ourselves: Annie, Phantom of the Opera, Beauty & the Beast...

So I was thinking, how about a Chick-lit musical? I want to write one! Only I'm not a song writer, nor do I sing or play an instrument. Hmm...could be trouble.

It's Friday, and I'm all out of usable brain cells (obviously). So I leave you with a charge to enjoy your weekend. Go to the beach or a mountaintop. Do something special. I'll see you Monday (and keep those emails comin'!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Seattle, and snow in California

I don't know about you, but I just can't get Unchained Melody out of my head today... If you watched American Idol last night, you know what I'm talkin' about. Poor Seattle. Seriously. Then again, those siblings who auditioned took the show up a notch. They've got looks! They've got talent! But the mother in me does worry what'll happen if one makes it to the top, and the other doesn't...

On another note, it 'snowed', and I use that term loosely, in Malibu last night. Nearly had to give my Pennsylvania-born husband Dan CPR last night as he chuckled and snorted through the evening news which showed whole families by the side of road throwing shards of ice at each other and squealing, "It's snowing!!!" (This beach-lover has to admit, it was kinda cool.) Then one man said, and I quote, "This is the best day of my life!"

Nearly sent Dan over the edge.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In defense of Minnesota

Could American Idol have been any sadder last night? Seventeen people out of 10k were sent to Hollywood to face even more rejection. Seventeen! And how many of those did we see last night? Okay, I didn't count. But it felt like 3. The rest of the two! hour! special! was spent watching contestants' hopes dashed, and dreams buried. In AI's defense, some of those contestants knew that going in. I mean, c'mon--Urban Amish? Cowardly Lion impressons? What was that?

Still, an awful lot of jokes were tossed around at the expense of Minnesotans. And obviously, some great talent was edited out of the final show. These are my peeps were talkin' about because my publisher, Bethany House, is located in MN.

All I can say is look out they come...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Whatcha reading?

38 degrees this morning! It's been Down coat-wearing weather in So Cal lately, so I've dug out the scarves and gloves and told my kids to zip up (as opposed to zip it :-)

On to warmer thoughts...As I mentioned the other day, Chocolate Beach has been making its way into stores and into readers hands a little early. If you're a writer and you've never read Anne Lamott's, Bird by Bird, then you must. go. get. a. copy. Don't miss the chapter on Publication, because it'll have you spurting coffee through your nose. Unless, of course, you'd rather not have hot liquid spurting through your crevices.

I especially enjoyed Anne's mention of early reviews: "I have gotten prepub reviews that said I was a treadmark on the underpants of life. Perhaps this is not exactly what they said, but by reading between the lines, I coud see that this is what they were implying." pg. 212, Bird by Bird

Oh my. That's pretty, isn't it? To get that image out of your mind, I invite you to check out Vintage Wine's comments about Chocolate Beach here.

Here's to warmer days, good chocolate, and happy reading...!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chocolate Beach sightings...

So I'm walking into church this morning when my friend John points at me and says, "Omaha!--I was in Omaha this week and saw your book in a bookstore. How cool is that?"

Oh, that's seriously cool. 'Specially since it's not officially released until February.

And author Diann Hunt echoed my church friend's excitement, telling me she also saw Chocolate Beach as part of a Valentine's display in an Indiana bookstore.

I hope you'll excuse my newbie enthusiasm, but I'm a bit giddy. Please let me know if you happen to spot my book in your town.

Humor me, will ya?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's conference planning time...

There are a ton of them out there: musical cruises, get rich quick seminars, doggy dance classes. Okay, I made that last one up. But still. If you're a writer, or interested in writing, you might want to check out the Spring Writer's Day sponsored by the OC Christian Writer's Fellowship. And mercy!, they've invited me to teach...on article writing. Since I've written far more articles than books, I think that's appropriate. Dave Long from Bethany House (my publisher) will also be there, as will my good friend, Kathi Macias. If you attend, make sure to stop by my table and say 'hey'.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The room's spinning...

For those of you who scoffed and/or warned me to avoid my new spinning class at. all. costs. Well. I made it through day one. And I'm still walking today. So, um, there.

Did I mention that it's a college class and the first day is always orientation? Hm. Yeah, well, we spun for about 15 minutes. So there you go. (Quit snickering)

Before I turn out the lights on this windy and warm California day, I'd like to give a shout out and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dad. Love you, Pops!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's Here!

The stork delivered my very first copy of my very first (soon to be) published novel. After walking around while cradling it all evening, my husband pointed at me and told the kids, "See that? That's how she used to carry you guys around." LOL He was right.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Your Age in Chocolate

As a sort of last hurrah to our beloved 2006, I give you this age in chocolate calculator.

1. Pick the number of times per week that you would like to have chocolate (more than 1, but less than 10--gluttony's a sin you know)

2. Multiply this number by 2

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50 ((go ahead; use a calculator)

5. Add 1756

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born (works for most people, unless you're, say, Jesus)

You should now have a 3-digit number

7. The first digit of this was your original number

8. The next two numbers are your age (If you have already had your birthday this year, then it will be your age from last year--and let's face it, we'd all like to be a year younger. Am I right?)

Do tell if this works for you, as it did for me (she says, while unashamedly stuffing her face with bon bons...)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"I don't read my reviews."

It's been said that this is the biggest lie writers tell one another, but let me tell you, I don't lie. I actually read the reviews. Sometimes with a couple of Tums.

Here's an antacid-free review of Chocolate Beach by Armchair Interviews. And just so you know, I'm flagrantly biased and will only be linking the good ones here. Just so you know ;-)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

One off, two to go

Dropped Teen Son off at school today. To say he was reluctant to go would be the understatement of 2007, but I promised to pray for him. In a world filled with empty words, how awesome to be able to say something like that, mean it, and know it'll help.

Speaking of positive intentions, right after dropping Teen Son off at school, I popped into our local college's registration office and signed hub and myself up for a spinning class. All I can say is: the. fat. must. go. Can I get an amen?

Girls are still home from school this week. Yay for them, not so yay for my next book's progress. In a way, though, it's nice to take a vacation from all this vacation. Know what I mean?

On the Chocolate Beach front, my first novel's release is less than a month away. My website is undergoing surgery; it's currently in Kelli Standish's capable hands, and I'll be announcing plans for a launch reception, and a California coast book tour soon. Gack. Better get crackin' :)


Monday, January 01, 2007