Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hello from Mt. Hermon!

It's like I've gone from one great family gathering to another. My brother Mikey and his beautiful bride, Rita, were happily married last night, so this a.m. I headed to the Santa Cruz area to catch up with the Mt. Hermon writer's conference. Got here about 10:30, after way too much coffee, and immediately caught up with writing-buds Sharon Hinck and Camy Tang and Patti Hill.

I've been attending this conference for years, usually fretting through the whole thing hoping not to have spinach stuck in my teeth while pitching an idea to an editor. Thank God for the friends God has brought me along the way. Like Erica Faraone who I haven't seen in ten years but who I've email prayed with many times (she sang beautifully tonight, btw). And Barbara Curtis, who I've admired ever since my first conference when I found out that the mother of 12 sells hundreds of articles a year (she's blogging tonight too, btw). Then there's Kathryn Cushman, a new Bethany House author and friend who lives just a half hour from me, and who saved me from the effects of too much onions for lunch with a Listerine tab (thanks, Katie!) Also got re-aqcuainted with Jenn Doucette. Haven't read her work yet, but I hear that her books are funny. After having dinner with her tonight, I so get that. And did I mention that Becky Miller and I yakked by the side of the road for nearly an hour tonight?

Learned a few things about writing too, but I'm too pooped at the moment to remember exactly what. I'll make notes next time and get back to ya...:-)

Tomorrow's Palm Sunday--God Bless!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Goin' to the chapel...

Busy, busy! Little brother's marrying Rita on Friday (yahoo!) and all three of my kiddos are in the wedding...leaving for the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference...packing up Teen Son for a mission's trip with YWAM...trying to breathe...but had a fabulous eyebrow wax yesterday, so all is well, lol.

Before heading off, I'll be stopping at Tiffany Amber Miller's place, so please, grab your beach towel and come on by.

p.s. If you're interested in the doings at Mt. H, I'll try to post some highlights over the weekend. They've got great wireless access in the coffee house, so posts will probably be highly-caffeinated ;-)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Psst...over here

Had a celebrity sighting on my blog yesterday. Heather Ivester popped in to say that she's giving away a copy of Chocolate Beach on her site--but you gotta tell her what kind of chocolate you like first. I've loved her site since the beginning of (blogging) time, so I'm honored ;-*)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What I'm doing instead of writing

LOL, this cracked me up. Keep in mind I love my husband, I love my husband, I love my husband...

Your 80s Heartthrob Is
Kirk Cameron

Friday, March 23, 2007

Congrats to...

Amanda! You just won a new copy of Valley of Betrayal, by Tricia Goyer. Please send me your snail mail address via my website and I'll get it right out to you (excuse the formality, but the web contact form helps fight the dreaded spammers...)

Through my window I'm watching several mighty palm trees leaning against a blue and white sky, and I'm thinking of playing hooky and hitting the beach. But, no. Can't do it today. Bummer. Makes me think of the recent conversation hubby and I had about a trip to Hawaii next October. Can you believe we've never been there? Such a sheltered life we lead ;-)

Anyway, we'll only have a week, so if you've been there, where should we go for our first-ever Hawaiian getaway? We're taking the whole fam so keep these particulars in mind: Hubby likes fine dining, mama likes lounging on the beach, teen son likes sailing, pre-teen daughter absolutely must have good shopping, and elementary girl likes to swim.

What say you?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Win Tricia's Book

Said bye to Stephanie last night on American Idol and I think it was too soon. Only one will win, but her vocals were so much stronger than several others, don't you think? This is when we start to see the popularity aspect of the show rather than the talent factor. Kind of like life. Hm.

On to better things...
Hey all history buffs! The other day my buddy, the talented Tricia Goyer guested on this blog to tell us about her new book, Valley of Betrayal. I'll be randomly picking someone from TODAY'S comments to win a free-free-free copy of this first book in Tricia's series, Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War. Stop on by tomorrow to see who's won.

Lately, some pretty nice reviews of Chocolate Beach have popped up in cyberspace--and I didn't even pay 'em, ha! Seriously, I'm sooo grateful for the time so many people have taken to actually read and then write about my first "baby." Really, really, really grateful! I've posted two recent reviews here: titletrakk and deena's books

Okay, off to work...

Sun's out--surf's up!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yo! So check it out, Dog.

Had a fabulous post all ready for you last night, fabulous I tell you--and lost it. Sigh. Okay, tonight, it's the final 10. Will Sanjaya finally be voted off? Will Phil's screaming ways be turned away? Or will Stephanie, who had a rough night, be packin' her bags? And what did you all think about that lulu of a Lulu? Or Peter Noone's kindly ways? So cool that I'm too young to be familiar with either one of those 60s singers, lol.

If you've no idea what I'm talking about, sawwy. This year's Idol doesn't quite have the edge of last year's edition--Remember Ace's eyes? Elliott's makeover? McFever? Yeah, baby, those were the days. So far, it's been a little ho hum, but still kinda fun anyway, so the fam and I will be gathering around the flat screen tonight to see the results. And you?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sing it

Crunch time around here with my brother's wedding just around the bend. All 3 kiddos are in it which for the girls means shoes! dresses! hair! nails! makeup! and for the boy: a suit. So not fair.

Anyhoo, we've had misty fog around here for a week, but do we let this get us down? Nah--okay, a little. But I look at it this way, if it were hot and sunny, I'd want to be out there instead of doing all the stuff I've got to do.

Speaking of beaches (we were, weren't we?), I've been invited to hang at a new cyber-beach pad today. New to me, but maybe not to you? Please stop by singalullaby and say hello to my new friend on the net! She's a sweetie!

Happy American Idol Tuesday :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Will work for chocolate

FREE CHOCOLATE Need I say more? LOL Sign up to receive my occasional newsletter (see sidebar) and you just might win yourself a 1 lb. box of scrumptuous chocolates. (And no, these aren't the virtual kind, hah.) You can also sign up on my home page at (and read the details there too.)

But don't leave yet...because author and new blogger, Annette Irby, has invited me for a chat on her cyber-beach blanket. Come on by and welcome her to the blogosphere, okey dokey?

Happy Monday--only 4 days left until Friday :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Welcome, Guest Blogger, Tricia Goyer!

Tricia and I have been friends since the mid-90s when we met as newbie writers at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference. Her talent, humility, prayerfulness, and friendship (yeah, I could go on and on about her!) have inspired me ever since. She's got a new book out and I thought I'd let her tell you the story behind it in her own words:

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:

Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.

From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who had volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side--half never returned home.

Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light. These are the stories behind
Tricia Goyer, October 2006

Friday, March 16, 2007

Oh Sun and Sand, Where Art Thou?

Last Sunday's baking 85+ degree weather was an abberation, an abberation, I tell you! Sigh. The sky's been mucky all week. On the upside, I've got writing goals to meet, and wouldn't have gotten out there to enjoy it anyway.

But here's the thing: The beauty of cyber tours is I can beach hop and nosh on bon bons in my home office, no matter the weather. So can YOU! It's a beautiful thing. So I wanted to let you know that tour stops continue to be added to The List, so please take a sec and check out where I'll be and when.
Thanks again to all my hosts! Here's a chocolate kiss for ya'll--mu-waah!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hey CJ!

Say hello to CJ! We met a couple of weeks ago on my "mini-tour" of bookstores along the coast. Though working alone on a busy day at Parable, CJ threw out the welcome mat for me (& my gift of chocolates, natch) by buying my book on the spot--and "encouraging" another customer to buy one. (She did; I signed them both) Never mind that said customer came in to buy one of Davis Bunn's books, LOL. (Don't look at me like that...she bought both :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tell me your adventures!

Good Morning! To say that I've had less time to blog than usual would be quite the understatement, don't you think? As my heroine Bri would say, sheesh!

Because of a crazy schedule last week which included writing 8k words, chaperoning two all day fieldtrips, attending a school open house, observing two cotillions, accompanying friend and fella-writer Kathryn Cushman to a celebrity authors luncheon (alas, we were spectators and not participants...), hub and I decided to do the Sunday warrior thing. So after church we kayaked for a couple of hours then headed out for ice-blended coffees and a stop at the beach to visit friends. Nothing like squishing all the fun into a few short hours. Ho hum. I'm pooped! And it's Tuesday!

Started all over again yesterday. Can you relate? Most people I know can. I guess that's why I'm actually scheduling breaks. Like yesterday when I crashed coma-like onto my bed in the mid afternoon. Ten minutes, but oh!, how fab to just turn out the world for awhile.

Okay, so I'm rambling. (Tired people do that.) Let's do this. You tell me what you're doing for Easter/Spring Break this year. I'll be writing like wild, so entertain me with your adventures so I can live vicariously through you. Tell me, tell me.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

We have ourselves a winner!

The party's over, but the glow remains. Pre-teen daughter did the honors tonight by randomly choosing one name from all the party comments, so Congrats! to Julie Arduini, who isn't me but whose name is seriously close to mine. Julie's the winner of an autographed copy of Chocolate Beach.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Life's getting hectic, so let's all take this moment to breathe in the view. Ahhh...

Have a peaceful day :-)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Singin' the blues

So yesterday I had a Lorelai and Sookie moment when Elementary Girl and I were seated in the very last row of the ginormous local civic arts theater. Tissues for nosebleeds anyone? Remember that sort of 80s flashback episode where the Gilmore Girls bopped on over to NY city to see the Bangles? Lorelai and Sookie gave up their seats to Rory and friends, and had to settle for the top section. They snorted and laughed through the whole from-a-distance show, much to the chagrin of the other paying customers stuck around them. Ho hum, funny stuff.

Anyway, we were on a fieldtrip and I just kept questioning the wisdom of seating hundreds of 3rd graders in a steep balcony, but hey, I wasn't in charge (Their bad :). Thankfully the performance topped the seating arrangements.

Speaking of performances, anyone else disappointed in this year's Idol offerings? Just seems that thousands of auditioners should have produced some stronger vocals. But who knows? Maybe the boys'll get some training over the next few weeks and surprise us. Trust me when I say that I will be surprised if a guy wins this year.

Enough of this frivolity. I'm off to write another 2k words, and brainstorm a title...(and scrounge around for my stash of truffles -]] )

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chat with my end cap buddy!

Today I'm talking with author, friend, and end-cap buddy, Sharon Hinck! Sharon and I met last year at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference and quickly became friends. Sharon's the author of The Secret Life of Becky Miller, and the recently released, Renovating Becky Miller. Please follow this link to read the first part of our chat. Then c'mon back for the last half. We hope you have as much fun as we're having :]]


In answer to Sharon's question:

Julie: Hey thanks, Sharon! Yes, I think I always have loved to write. It’s in my blood, I guess. My grandfather owned a Spanish newspaper, and he also wrote for La Opinion. My father wrote freelance and recently self-published a book on Silent Films, and my mother writes freelance (and inspires me daily!). As far as my recent reads? I loved Renovating Becky Miller, and I’m not just saying that! Some interesting perspective in there on how ministry can turn into marketing and how poor Becky has to rise above it. I also loved how Becky daydreamed about movies, with her as the main character—lol. Oddly enough, I was able to guess just about every movie in there without flipping to the list in the back. Right now, I’m also reading The Mitford Bedside Companion, by Jan Karon. Love it! Of course, I’ve got a stack of others I’d love to get to…sigh.

And Sharon! I’ve heard that we’ll be endcap buddies at stores in the near future! How fun is that? But guess what? I stopped at the Parable Stores in both San Luis Obispo and Atascadero—and we were already hanging out together! Here’s a pic of my mother, Elaine, and me, next to an endcap display of our books (And nope, I did not set this up. They were like that when I got there! -]]

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Cool, huh?

Sharon: Very cool!

Julie: Now that our “babies” are growing up and coming into their own, what’s up next for you, Sharon? Still writing? (ha!) Still loving it? Give me the scoop!

Sharon: My next novel, The Restorer, releases in May from NavPress, the first of a series, with book two coming out in September, book three in January, and then two more stand-alone novels coming out with Bethany House in 2008. How about you? When’s the next story coming out? What’s it about? Do tell!

Julie: Um, you’re busy, girlfriend. Congrats on all of it, and may you find peace and rest!

My next story will be out in early 2008. The title’s currently in a state of flux, but it involves seashells and bon bons—yum!—so really, what else do you need to know? LOL Anyway, it’s second in the Ventura beach series, this time focusing on Bri’s best pal, Gaby, who after a series of near catastrophes, resolves to be Gullible No More! Other stories are also in the works, so feel free to pop in and visit my beachy website for updates anytime: You can also sign-up to receive news on my home page.

Had a blast, Sharon! Let’s do this again, sometime, okay? Thanks to all who’ve stopped by today, too. WE APPRECIATE YOU!

Friday, March 02, 2007

You're invited

I just joined the party! You can too. The gals over at are throwing a party and everyone's invited. Go on over and you might win a cool prize. But don't leave yet! If you leave me a comment at this post between today and March 9, I'll enter your name in a drawing for an autographed copy of Chocolate Beach! (If you're new here, Chocolate Beach is my debut novel, released just a few short weeks ago.) Summer's coming, so join the fun! Sunscreen not required :)

Ultimate Blog Party

longing for lazy days

Woo-hoo, it's Friday! Love that. Got back last night and the family gathered around the flat screen for the latest Idol installment. So sad to see AJ go. Just wasn't time for him yet, we thought. Btw, on my mini tour I stopped at two stores in his home town of Santa Maria, CA. He's got a strong voice and sweet personality...but something tells me America's 11 year old girls had taken over the phone lines for Sanjaya. Sigh.

What say you?

Anyway, I'm longing for some beachside reading sans responsibility but life's just not always like that, you know? I long for it anyway. I've got a growing stack of fiction to read, just for fun. Maybe when the house is clean, the next book's done, my kids' projects are all finished, yada yada yada--Calgon, take me away!

What do you long to have time for?