Thursday, November 29, 2007

Free Autographed Bookplate

Buying Chocolate Beach for someone special this Christmas? I'd like to send you a signed publisher's bookplate that you can include with your gift. (As William said to Anna Scott in Notting Hill: "Very useful for lighting fires, wrapping fish, that sort of thing.")

Anyway, just email me your snail address and the name of the recipient by mid-December, so I can get it to you in time! (If you live outside of the USA, delivery may take a bit longer.)

Here are some of the online (and discounted! :) outlets where you can buy Chocolate Beach:,

Silly me, I forgot to say that you can e-me through my website :*)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Lucy!

One of my writing buddies just launched True Christmas cards. You can order cards and a portion of the proceeds will benefit your church or other non-profit (check with them on the details on that). Anyway, I just took a peek, and the cards are pr-et-tay!

So I was curled up on the couch last night watching A Charlie Brown Christmas when I had to hit the pause button and holler for hubby to come on out to the living room.

"Watch this," I said.

Lucy was whining to Charlie B. that all she ever gets for Christmas are dumb toys and clothes, and what she really wants is....REAL ESTATE!

LOL, that's just so me it's not even funny. Hubby just laughed, shook his head, and walked out. Poor guy. I think I'd better take another look at those Christmas cards and think about the true meaning of the holiday...

And besides, there's always my birthday, right hon? Hee-hee!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Deja who?

Sat around last night watching Samantha Who?, a series about a gal with amnesia, and felt like I'd fallen into a world of deja vu myself. Teen Daughter and I giggled nearly every time a new character walked into a scene because we knew them so well from other shows, like Gilmore Girls, Related (two characters from that one!), 7th Heaven, Designing Women (okay, TG's too young to remember that one, but still). The heroine of the show (that would be Samantha) grew up on a show I wasn't allowed to watch ;0, so we won't mention it here...

So anyway, I'm wondering if my pal Gilmore Girls Fanatic also feels a bit melancholy when seeing one of our beloved GG cast members in a new role...sigh. (Yeah, obsession runs deep.) First there's our Sookie playing a ditz on the aforementioned show, then afterward another show popped on and there was Kirk with a very odd haircut, and of course, our Lorelai playing Noah's wife...

Me thinks it's time to crack open a new book.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Spent Thanksgiving up in the Yosemite National Park this year. In case you're wondering, we rented a cabin...I'm just not a camping girl. Besides, it was c-o-l-d up there--brrr. Thankfully, I had my Dan there to keep me warm...

Anyway, there's something so poetic
about 'making do' when you're out on the road, especially during a holiday. We spent our days there with some family friends who also have three kiddos in the same age range. Before dinner, our youngest girls collected fallen pine cones to make a centerpiece, then they decorated store-bought cookies with M&Ms and candy corn. When my friend Deb and I realized we'd forgotten to bring mixins for stuffing, we combined our resources and ended up with a version that was oh-so delicioso (the garlic essence lasted for days, but that's another story...:)

Even though we were far away from the conveniences of home, including a large market, like most Americans we ate way too much and had more than enough (hence the foil-wrapped leftovers we brought back with us to the beach), and for that I am truly grateful.

How about you?
How was your Thanksgiving this year?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bring on the ala mode

Big plans for Thanksgiving this year, so in honor of all the eating I'll be doing that I'm thankful for, I give you this quiz. Let me know how you fare, and have a HAPPY holiday! Quiz on:

You Are Apple Pie

You're the perfect combo of comforting and traditional. You prefer things the way you've always known them. You'll admit that you're old fashioned, and you don't see anything wrong with that. Your tastes and preferences are classic. And classic never goes out of style.

Those who like you crave security. People can rely on you to be true to yourself - and true to them. You're loyal, trustworthy, and comfortable in your own skin.
And because of these qualities, you've definitely earned a lot of respect.

Monday, November 19, 2007

will write for ...

Went to a little Thanksgiving chapel at my daughters' school, and Elem. Girl's class gave a presentation set to music. During the song, each kiddo climbed up onto a box and held a large poster board over their head, proclaiming what they were thankful for. Elem. Girl hadn't told me what she'd written; she wanted me to be surprised, and yeah, I was when she held up a sign to much applause:


We're not obsessed or anything...;0

Then on Saturday, we helped my mom put on a little baby shower for my sissie-in-law, and what was one of the highlights, you ask? Hint: it's over there on the left.

Don't you just wanna dip yourself in it? LOL I think the management would have frowned on that, so we 'settled' for dipping strawberries and rice krispy treats and melon and oh-my-goodness marshmallows in it.

I've got an inkling of where Elementary Girls gets her obsession...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How writers dine

So when I met up with Katie Cushman for lunch last week, I brought along all kinds of stuff. There were the books I wanted her to sign (I made her sign them right there at the table, giggling at the sidelong glances from various wait staff). And the magazine from my recent vacation that had an ad in it featuring one of the models from the cover of Katie's book--seriously, it was her, only this time, instead of looking downcast over the tragic events of her life, she was curling a bicep under the weight of a small barbell (yeah--it was a gym ad).

Then while Katie waited for her corn chowder to arrive, I flopped open the pages of another mag.

"Look at this," I said.


"I want to write a book about this," I continued, pointing at one small paragraph in an article I'd found in my favorite magazine. I waited as she read the nugget that had caught my attention.

"I like it!"

And just like that, an idea received a bit of nourishment as we talked about what kind of book this might one day become.

Brainstorming while eating is nothing new to me. Come to think of it, my mom and I have had storyboarding breakfasts for years. And hubby often listens to me drone carry on during dinner about some idea I've been cooking up. Hm. So while it's all about the food or the wine or the service for some, for writerly folks it's more about the story--pass the 'what ifs', por favor?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Chocolate Series

So last summer I put out the call for good chick flicks that Teen Daughter and I could watch together (that's an all-time fave of mine over there on the left). Your responses coupled with the ones I received through a forum over at the ACFW supplied us with a list long enough to cause Teen Son and Hubby to run screaming out of the living room on several occasions. Even when the movies were duds, that in itself made them worth it ;')

We've gotten restless again, TD and I, and we're back to spending weekends mocking watching films again. Like the other night when we watched a perplexing and occasionally witty movie called Elizabethtown. I'm still not sure what that was all about, but we plowed our way through two plates of nachos in a quest to find out.

So anyway, last night we watched Hidden Places, a film based on the Christy award winning novel by Lynn Austin. And it's a Hallmark too. Sweet, charming, predictable, but it was a school night so we weren't looking for anything too taxing. I especially liked seeing Shirley Jones wearing a depression-era wig and spectacles, although I occasionally caught myself humming, "C'mon get happy!"

Which brings me to a new thought. Stay with me here. How about Chocolate Beach & Truffles by the Sea made into chick flicks. Better yet a mini-chick-flick-series. (And whatever happened to the mini series anyway?)

Seriously, can't you see it? It could be during February, a sort of week long Valentine's Day celebration. Just think. Girls and mamas everywhere bonding over chocolate-laced chick flicks, with faith in the mix. What's not to love?

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's in the air...

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for a bit of swooning. Have y'all heard about the guy from NY who fell for a gal he saw on a subway train in NY...lost sight of her...then started a website to find her? He did. Find her that is, and to prove it, they went on GMA together (If I'd written their story, I probably would have given them a more romantic place to rendezvous, but that's just me.)

Anyway, wish I'd thought of it, but something tells me they'll write their own book. ..

video of GMA interview of nygirlofmydreams guy & gal

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day everybody!

For you fiction readers, my pal Tricia Goyer has written several awesome novels set during WWII and other time periods that you might want to check out this weekend.

As for me, I'll be reading, relaxing, attending church and praying for our troops (you know, in between all the mothering stuff like providing taxi service and feeding three squares a day ;). I'll also be bundling up and doing some beachcombing with my Mr. So Perfect, and looky-looing into Open Houses we come across (right, honey?)

Whatever you do, have a beachy weekend...and remember to fly your flag!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

KK & me

Decided to come out of hiding and actually intro myself to novelist Karen Kingsbury. So glad I did, because she was warm and helpful to this newbie writer. After I gushed a little, she patiently answered my probing questions and signed a fresh-off-the-press copy of Between Sundays. And before that, she entertained the crowd with stories about her writing life, her family, and the recent Hannah Montana concert she and her son, Tyler, attended. LOL, my maternal respect o'meter shot up at that point.

Before the event, my hub, Dan, Teen Daughter, Elementary Girl and I stopped by Casa Cushman for pizza and cookies, then followed Katie & her youngest over to Border's. I think I can safely say that Katie (as in Kathryn Cushman) gushed at least as much as I did, only she did it in an elegant sort-of way :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Off to spy on see Karen Kingsbury tonight. Hoping some of her bestseller status will rub off on me. I'll be the one taking copious notes, and wearing dark shades with a cap pulled down low. Will report on what I uncover tomorrow...;)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

workin' 9 to 5

The Galley is in! So to celebrate I've curled up with a novel and plan to stay this way all the livelong day. LOL--not. But, oh, how nice that would be (she said, wistfully).

Actually, the dryer broke, and I paid a repair guy 50 bucks to come out here and tell me it's dead. So today I'm on the hunt for a bargain. And I need to restock the empty fridge with food, and to clean dustbunnies that have multiplied throughout my neglected house, and to pay the bills. Sigh. My work is never done...;)

Can you relate or what?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Makes my heart want to sing...

just thinking about the Chris Tomlin concert I attended with hubby, Teen Son & TS' friend on Friday night. Here's a camera phone pic that doesn't do the night justice, but there you go.

The concert was held under a cool blanket of fog at the Santa Barbara Bowl, yet as Chris led us in worship under the heavens that fog blew out and we saw stars. Big, bright stars. If you've never had a chance to hang with 4,000 plus worshippers under a clear night sky, I passionately recommend it. I'm still glowing from the experience (can you tell?)

On the way in
we ran into all kinds of friends old and new; lots of hugging going on. Funny trivia: my pal, Katie Cushman was there too, with hubby Lee and Teen Daughter--in the same row! What a coinky-dink, huh? And the couple seated next to us were from a town just east of here called Ojai. Turns out they knew friends of ours from church. It's a small world when believers get together :)

Special shout out to Becca Dowling,
writing buddy, who graced me with the tickets. I needed this night and probably would not have pursued it on my own. So thanks, girlfriend. Also there that night was writer/speaker Lou Giglio who riveted us with stirring words of God's greatness. If you've never heard Giglio speak then You. Must. I just picked up Chris Tomlin's CD See the Morning and it has a bonus DVD with it which includes several music videos from the tour along with an appearance by Giglio. Woo-hoo. Hey, listen, if you can stop a concert mid way and take command of an audience with a 40 minute speech, then you have been gifted by God. All I'm sayin'.

And here's a bit of trivia
that even I hadn't remembered until Friday night. When I began to write Truffles by the Sea I typed out the refrain from one of CT's songs called Indescribable. Know it? Anyway, I used the words to inspire me to write about a woman who in the midst of various disasters finds beauty all around her. She even mentions the song in one of the last chapters. When the book was complete, I'd erased the refrain from that first page, and sent it to my publisher.

I'd forgotten about that
when at the concert CT launched into that song. And as he sang, I fought the tears so I wouldn't ruin another pair of contacts, lol. The galleys for this book are due in just a couple of days, and as I struggle at times to make sure that all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted, I'm assured that God's not perplexed. He inspired me at the beginning, and He will carry me all the way through.

Friday, November 02, 2007

writing wrap up

Becky Miller wrote in to ask if I'd blogged about teaching at the Santa Barbara Christian Writer's Conference. I hadn't, but I think that's because I'd just capped off a month-long time of busy family and writing events, beginning with the trek out to Dallas in September. In other words, I was pooped.

So rewinding just a bit, yes, I did teach article writing at the SBC conference on the beautiful Westmont College campus, the day after the Bell/Cushman/Carobini chat at Borders. See, although I've written and sold a couple of novels, it all began with articles for me. I wrote for my college newspaper, then Sunday School papers and my local paper a bit, then on to magazines both online and in print. So while Jim spoke on the writing life, and Katie mentored fiction students, I worked mainly with those interested in writing articles.

So anyhoo, I had a class of eager students all with very different ideas of what they wanted to write next. So cool. I taught the Train of Thought Method, which is not a new idea, of course, but one that's finally been put into book form by my friend, Kathi Macias. (You can use it to write fiction too!) This is how I learned to write readable magazine articles. (In other words, apologies all around to college students forced to read my stories before I'd learned much about writing. Hey, you gotta start somewhere.)

So there you have it.
I taught, ate too much, and enjoyed the camaraderie of new and seasoned writers. For you locals, I'll be sure to post info for next year's conference when it becomes available.

On another note, there's romance in the air. Do you feel it? I'm off to finish reviewing the galleys for Truffles by the Sea, and in case you hadn't heard, it's heavier on the romance than my first book. Even when re-reading I find myself, I think I've found my calling :) Anyway, it'll be out in late January, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Have a Beachy weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hungover today

No, not that kind. The kind from eating all of this!

Say what you want about October 31, but you gotta admit, there's at least one benefit...;]]