Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Things I've discovered...

Every day is an unopened clam waiting for its tightly-clenched shell to be pried open by life's razor-sharp peculiarities. Now there's a cheesy line if I ever wrote one! Seriously, though, I've had my ups and downs lately--and don't we all at times?--and I long to shake them off. Writing is one sure way to help me out of a funk. That and much prayer. How about you? What do you do to swat away the swirl of fleas that stinky times can produce?

Like when:
--you find out that your camera was stolen from your car
--you are criticized
--you lost something important
--your waistband's beginning to tighten ;)

Thankfully it's not all bad. My friend and fellow ACFW member, Becca, just sent me some tickets to a Chris Tomlin concert. Woo-hoo, good timing, Becca!

And then there's the dark chocolate Altoids I just discovered at the checkout stand. Hey, sometimes it's the little things that help so much, you know? (Unfortunately my girls also discovered the curiously strong mints' medicinal qualities and now I have to go buy more. Not fair.)

Phew. I'm feeling better already. How about you?

Monday, October 29, 2007

And the winner is...

Stormi from Missouri has won a copy of Katie Cushman's "A Promise to Remember."
Congrats, Stormi!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by for Friday's chat.

Silly boys, trikes are for kids

There's still time to enter the drawing for A Promise to Remember by Katie Cushman. Just leave a comment on last Friday's post. I'll pop in sometime tonight with the name of the winner!


Spent Saturday afternoon over at the Ventura Harbor watching adults wearing weird costumes (these pics don't show much of that aspect so you'll have to trust me on this) drive strange contraptions through water, sand, mud, and of course, on asphalt. Ka-razy. It's a charitable fundraiser called the Kinetic Sculpture Race that drives engineers to do these things--and crowds, like us, to watch. Could give you a play by play but thought the pics might just say it all ;) Wish I'd remembered to whip out the camera earlier but was just too mesmerized by the spectacle. So anyway, for your Monday viewing pleasure:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Meet Katie, and win a book (maybe)

Kathryn (Katie) Cushman is no stranger to this blog. If you've been around you've heard about our recent trip to Dallas, our brave (yeah, right ;) participation in a public speaking class, and that cake that wowed us at the Borders' signing.

Katie's first book, A Promise to Remember, just released a few weeks ago--and I've got an extra copy to give away. Woo-hoo! Leave a comment at the end of this interview and I'll put your name into my lone winter hat. Elementary Girl will randomly choose a name sometime Monday afternoon, so be sure to check back. It could be you!

Okay, here's a peek at the back cover of A Promise to Remember:

Andie Phelps is the envy of Santa Barbara. A devoted mother with a loving son and a successful husband, her greatest joy comes from reaching out to others...

Melanie Johnston
is the envy of no one. A single mom who works long hours to pay the bills, her greatest joys relate to her teen daughter and son.

Then the accident that changes everything. When opposite worlds collide, the impact reaches far beyond these mothers' personal losses.

Two wounded women...two families seeking hope...a community torn apart... How far will they go to fulfill: A Promise to Remember

* * *

Crystal Johnson, says
"...once you start reading there is no way you won't be affected in some way .... Kathryn Cushman is bestseller material!"

* * *

Since Katie writes serious, thought-provoking stories, I decided to ask her like-minded questions (not). Okay, here goes:

You used to be a pharmacist. How is a novelist different?

Ha! Fun question. It is different in almost every way.
Pharmacist-- feet ache from standing all day
Novelist-- backside aches from sitting all day

Pharmacist-- work long shifts, lucky to sneak in a bite of food occasionally
Novelist-- Spend the entire day eating cookies to "spark creativity" while working

Pharmacist-- might spend half an hour verifying an unclear order, or notifying a doctor's office about a serious drug interaction, then spend the next 10 minutes being berated by that patient for the long wait
Novelist-- spend half an hour writing a scene that treats a character abominably, then get an email from a reader saying how much it meant to them

LOL--I think you made a great career switch. Okay, next question, who and/or what inspires your writing choices? Most of my ideas have come from some little tidbit of real life-- something I've seen on the news or heard about somewhere. It usually involves a question I don't know how to answer, so I invent some characters who I hope will figure it out for me!

Think you'll ever delve into other genres? If yes, which one(s)?

When I first started writing, I wrote romantic suspense. In fact, I finished two romantic suspense manuscripts. But... when I started writing A Promise to Remember it was sort of that "Aha!" moment for me, when I finally realized I was writing exactly what I wanted to write. So, until I feel called in another direction, it's going to be rather serious women's fiction for me.

What's your favorite ice cream?

Baskin Robbins' German Chocolate Cake. My mouth waters just typing those words-- gee, I wish there was a Baskin Robbins near me!!!!!

That's okay since there's one near me. C'mon down, and I'll buy :) Here's another question, this one dear to my heart! If you were chocolate, which kind would you be? Why?
I'm milk chocolate-- a Hershey bar, actually. Nothing glitzy or glamorous like the imported or dark chocolates. Dependable, predictable-- but still lovable :-).

Yes, you are! One last thing, finish this: A good writing day is like ...

For me a good writing day is the day the dam bursts, and the ideas that have been blocked come pouring out so fast my fingers can't keep up. I love the tap, tap, tap of the keyboard moving at warp speed.

Me too, Katie! Thanks for stopping in--you're always welcome.

Thanks Jul!

If you'd like a copy of Katie's novel, please remember to comment--and to check back next week. Beachy weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Something to talk about

With a topsy turvy schedule, residual smoke in the air, a house full of kids, my mind is like that vacuum over there. It's like I just suck things in and forget about them. Like blogging. I'll get a great idea that I must run to the computer and post right away and then bam--I forget. Can you relate? Or is it just me?

Had my car broken into the other day. Did I mention that already? (Can't remember.) Actually they didn't 'break' in, because I'd apparently left the door unlocked. When Teen Son got into the car and told me it was a mess, I didn't give it a second thought. I think I just rolled my eyes. Mess, yeah that's new. But when I got in, I saw what he meant. Someone had rifled through all my papers and glove box and thrown them every which way--even tore apart my dayplanner. That. was. not. nice.

They didn't get anything
because I just don't leave large wads of cash unattended in my car (if I had large wads of cash, that is). But the whole experience felt yucky just the same, like I wanted to spray the insides of my car with oust or something.

So anyway, it's a new day with a nice empty bag inside my head waiting to be filled. Let's just hope I'll catch something worth talkin' about ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In the thick of it

Came back yesterday from a relaxing anniversary trip up north only to find skies filled with ash and smoke. The fires in So. California have sent their plumes northward and I can only imagine how terrible it is for those in the midst of them. We talked with one neighbor's daughter who had been evacuated. She said that she had to come all the way home to her parents' house because her friends had all been evacuated as well--and that the first 8 miles of her trip took 2.5 hours. Send some prayers heavenward when you think of it, okay? Firefighters and residents need help and comfort.


All three of my kids are on fall break this week which means I'm cowering in my bedroom...haha, kidding. Actually, it's after 9 and they're still sleeping, and isn't that the way breaks should be? Especially with skies so unhealthy from the fires, I think I'll just let them be...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Woo-hoo, it's Friday

Happy Friday Friends! I'm working up a new newsletter for fall (I know, finally :) So if you haven't signed up yet, please do so on my sidebar to your rrrrright! Rumor has it I'm in the mood to give away chocolate...

Whew! It's been quite the month of writing-related stuff (in addition to, you know, living). Just the other night Dan and I had dinner with my fabulously fun agent--and got kicked out of the place. LOL Actually, they needed our table and invited us to vacate to the bar (we declined). Restaurant dramatics aside, the timing of our meeting was perfect, a God-thing really, and I'm looking forward to announcing stuff when I can.

Okay, enough of that. It's the weekend, well, it's almost the weekend so I wish you a good one. The weather's still beautiful around here, with temps in the high 70s. If I could, I'd head out on the outrigger again :), except this time just for kicks instead of competition. Know what I'm saying?

Have a beachy weekend! Find something special to do this weekend and I'll see ya back here on Monday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Catching up on the rest of the weekend. It's only Thursday, after all.

Here's another close up of that magnificent cake made for last week's book signing. As Katie, Jim and I waited in the back, in an area we affectionately dubbed "the green room", we could hear announcements made in Borders to let folks know we were about to start. Something like "Welcome Readers to our author signing and chat, Promises, Chocolate and ... Murder!" That last word was always said with a sort of DU-DU-DUUUU tone. Such a crack up.

So when I saw this picture with that serrated knife there on the left, I laughed. Then I got creeped out. Then I laughed again.

Okay, moving on...

Took a tour on Sunday of a green house (not to be confused with the green room mentioned above). And not one with plants in it, either, but one built with sustainable materials, like bamboo and crushed glass and, um, hemp (okay, so I'm not sure about that last one, but I have seen some cool purses made of it). So anyway, I joined my mother, brother and his ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE girlfriend to tour the house, our $20 entrance fee going to charity. Not sure exactly why I wanted to see it. There's a lot of controversy these days with going 'green' because, unfortunately, the idea of using our God-given resources wisely has become a political issue. Yuk. I'm so not into that aspect.

But anyway, the house is in Venice near those lovely canals, so what do I care about politics? I just wanted to see it. And my first faux-paux? I wore a suede jacket and leather shoes. LOL Uh, hello, the place was crawling with people wearing clothes made of wheat. Okay, maybe only some of them. Did I mention I stood in a room with Jackson Browne, admiring the stylish use of fluorescents? (Jeans and a cotton tee, just in case you were wondering.)

I'm actually pretty amazed by what a clever builder can do with fly ash. And the windows on the toured house are gigantic and beautiful, really bringing the inside out (or is it outside in?) But one thing does bother me. We later found a few open houses and, basically, the houses all looked the same. Kind of like a stack of rectangles made of metal, glass and wood (or at least it looked like wood). Nice ideas but so modern, and so not me.

My question, then, is can I get a builder to make me a house using God's resources wisely but that looks like something I'd actually want to live in? I'm thinking maybe a shingled cottage by the sea...

Really, is this too much to ask?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Books and readers and writers ... oh my

Tried to post some captions, but blogger's not cooperating. Eh. Anyway, here are some pics from the weekend. There's Jim wowing the crowd, and Katie doing the same. There's the crowd (Becca Dowling from the ACFW is sitting among them, in lavender. And Carrie Padgett, Genesis Winner, is standing in the back. Hi Becca! Hi Carrie!). Then there's me, making a rather odd face. Oh, and there's Katie and Jim, riveted by my ablity to stand in front of the crowd without fainting. LOL--fun stuff. Thanks to all who made it out on such a rainy night in California :)



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sweet Stuff

Last night's book signing in 'Katie Cushman Country', as Jim Bell put it, was a blast. Kate Schwab over at Border's in Goleta made this ordered this completely edible, totally delicious cover cake for us--can you believe it?

Petrifying as it was to stand up in front of more than 100 Katie Cushman fans :), I felt honored to be included.

Today it was back up to Santa Barbara with Katie and Jim to teach at a writer's conference. More on that, and the signing, later this week (after a looong nap....!)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What I won't be doing at Friday night's signing

An oldie but goodie. Cracks me up every time.

So. Katie? Jim? Either of you up for it? (I'll bring the camera-ha!)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Locally Inspired: promises, chocolate ... & murder

That's the event title that our contest winners, Becca and Janneke, came up with a month or so back. (We morphed their entries into what you see up there.)

If you're in the Santa Barbara area
this Friday night, October 12, stop on by Borders in Goleta at 7 pm (7000 Marketplace Drive, Goleta, CA 93117). I'll be there answering questions and signing books with my pal, Kathryn (Katie) Cushman, debut author of A Promise to Remember, and bestselling suspense author, James Scott Bell!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday absurdities

Saw a homeless guy working at his laptop in a coffeehouse yesterday. If I wrote that in a book, they'd say, "no way." But I live in CA, so all I can say is, "Way."

Saw the headline at a magazine stand, "Angelina gains 10 lbs.!" And we care about this why?

Drove alongside
a driver who held a cellphone to her ear with one hand while tapping out a cigarette with the other. Either she has three hands or ???

Met a guy recently who told me he was reading Chocolate Beach--and that it was the first novel he'd ever read all the way through. LOL, I doubt that, but I'll take it as a compliment anyway.

Attended an auction
the other night where a guitar signed by Green Day went for more than most peoples' mortgage.

life's been striking me as funny lately, giving me much fodder for books. Let's face it, truth really is stranger than fiction sometimes, don't you think? Oh, the stories I could tell you about my own relatives--lol--but I won't! Kidding, of course!!! (Don't want to be shut out for the holidays or anything :)

So what cracks you up?
What strikes you as funny in the day to day? Sometimes ya just gotta laugh.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Red sky at night....

..sailor's delight. Sigh.

Have a beachy weekend!

p.s. Breaking news--the cover for Truffles by the Sea is now up on Amazon. It's so pretty :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Why self-publishing is growing...

Haha--my agent sent this, but just to be clear, my editor's not like this ;0

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've been off on a class trip all day and just have a minute, so here's a pizza quiz for you. Not as random as it seems. See, after the traveling and the birthdays, I'm tired, but life's still moving at warp speed. So I need a bit of comfort food, and what's not to like about pizza? (answer: nothing). Anyhoo, quiz on.

Oh, and one more thing (Dad, this is for you!): The author of this blog is only directing you to one quiz, not the whole arsenal over at blogthings. (Last time my pops took one of my quizzes, he followed a bunny trail into questionable quizzes...then blamed me! Well, I never... )

Love ya, focus :)

What Your Pizza Reveals

Your appetite is pretty average. You don't go overboard - but you don't deprive yourself either.

You aren't particularly picky about pizza. It's so good... how could you be? You fit in best in the Western part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.

You are cultured and intellectual. You should consider traveling to Vienna.

The stereotype that best fits you is hippie. You knew it was coming.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

For Dan

Roses are red, violets are ...

How do I love thee? Let me ...

Your eyes are like ...

Ripply sigh.

Hubby, it's your birthday and just the thought of you makes your writerly-wife all flustered ;)

Happy Birthday, my love.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Aye, Matey! Spent Sunday (nearly ALL of it) hangin' at Disneyland to celebrate Elementary Girl's 9th birthday. One of my favorite rides is Pirates of the Caribbean, or as we've affectionately dubbed it, Pirates of the Carobini.

So anyway. Love the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow to the ride. This is our second trip out to the big D in just a few months, so it's not the first time to get a gander at the ride's changes. Depp, as Sparrow, shows up in several places, and even though we know it's not him in flesh and blood--I mean, sheesh, how could it be?--man, it looks like him.

Tired as all
get out as there's been barely a break between traveling and writing and parenting and everything, but it was our youngest's birthday, so there you go. We rode just about everything from Small World (getting an eensy bit boring, but, you know, it's tradition) to Space Mountain (so glad it's dark in there; best not to see all the twists and turns in that one!) to the Matterhorn (who doesn't like bobsledding in the alps?), and I do believe it's at least one of the happiest places on earth.

it's Teen Son's b'day--did I mention that we've got three b'days in a row in the Carobini house??? (If you saw the bags under my eyes you would've known, I tell ya). Anyway, not quite so much planned for him, but suffice to say, his "toys" are more expensive than Elementary Girl's so there's a reason for a more low key day ;) He's sixteen which means driving and dating and a whole lot more prayin' around here!

Tomorrow is my super-hot husband's b'day...if I don't post, just know it's because I'm at the mall. LOL Poor man deserves so much better. Having the third b'day in a line of 3 is probably as bad as having your day fall on Christmas. Thankfully he's happy enough to have the love of a good woman, lol (am I right, hon???)