Monday, December 31, 2007

Out with the old...and in with the Happy New Year!

What a year! Book signings, a coastal book tour, conferences, radio and print interviews, a blour…I’m pooped. As an article writer for nearly 16 years, I was used to sending in my stuff and moving on.

But books are different, and I’ve learned to take time to step out from behind the computer screen occasionally to meet fiction fans. For a nervous nellie like myself, it's been daunting, yet exhilarating too. THANKS SO MUCH to all of you who’ve popped in here to visit, or joined me at signings. I’ve enjoyed getting to know YOU!

So here’s that year-end wrap up I’ve been mulling. One thing I’ve learned is—other than book signings—I don’t get out much, lol. Seriously, I reviewed the list of 2007 films and found that I hadn’t seen many. I’m listing those I liked, plus one I probably would have liked should I have actually paid the 9+ bucks to see it. Feel free to leave a comment with some of your faves.

Okay, Movies of 2007 I liked

Dan in Real Life
(Sooo sweet, plus scenes of coastal Rhode Island, ahhh)
Freedom Writers (Patrick Dempsey plays such a dweeb)
The Ultimate Gift (Lots to chew on here)
Blades of Glory (Kinda sick, but made me laugh)
Hairspray (Great music!)
Amazing Grace (Didn't see it, but it’s on my dvd watching list for 2008)

2007 Books I Read and Liked
(I'm probably forgetting some, but these are standouts.)

A Promise to Remember, Kathryn Cushman (Riveting, a real page-turner, I loved it.)

Surrender Bay, Denise Hunter (Stunning allegory)

The Book of Jane, Dayton & Vanderbilt (fun, smooth reading)

Renovating Becky Miller, Sharon Hinck (Made me want to find myself an old farmhouse, lol...not)

Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell (Children's classic, but I ate up this story about a lost indian girl on an island not far from where I live. A must read, even tho' it came out way before '07!)

Every Good & Perfect Gift, Sharon K. Souza (I read this for endorsement; it’s not out yet. All I can say is “Wow!" A new author to watch.)

2007 TV Shows

Samantha Who? (I miss Gilmore Girls, but have found this fun new show. Weird premise, crazy characters—wish I’d thought of it.)
American Idol, of course.
House Hunters & House Hunters International (my poor husband...)

YouTube of the Year: Hilarious. I come from a family of sensitive guys, so this makes me laugh every time. If you’ve never watched Scrubs (I wouldn’t blame you since it’s gotten pretty outrageous), these guys are best friends on the show.

And finally, Inspiration of the Year:
I want to be this girl when I grow up. May she inspire us all in 2008 to get out there and serve somebody.

Teen brings school to Cambodia

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Name that Fave

Just popping in to say hey--have an early appointment today. I've been noticing a lot of round ups or wrap ups, whatever you want to call them, appearing on blogs. So I'm going to do one too, but closer to New Years. You know, fave movie of the year, song, TV show, etcetera.... I already have some opinions, but I'm open to bribes your suggestions, so while I'm mulling, fire away.

Have a beachy day ;)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A First Look!

My editors over at Bethany House surprised me on Christmas Eve with a freshly-baked copy of... Truffles by the Sea! Thanks Charlene and Sarah!

I wasn't expecting to see a copy for a couple of weeks, then just after picking up our Christmas Eve tamales, I found the book-sized package waiting for me on my front steps. Woo-hoo!

I wish I'd taken a pic of it for you
, but after smelling its freshness and then letting my family take a peek, I wrapped it in Christmas paper and gave it away--to my mother, 'cuz this one's dedicated to her :)

It should start appearing in stores
in about a month, so be sure to stop in around then. I'll be giving away some on this blog (and on a few others as well--I'll post links so you can find them). And seriously, what's better than a free book?

Speaking of free stuff
, whad'ja get for Christmas this year? Other than extra pounds, that is ;) Anyway, hope it was a beautiful, healthy and happy one for you. Now spill on the gifts.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Not too sick to vote...

What do Nyquil, 1000% of vitamin C and Claritin all have in common? They're all coursing through my veins right now.

But I've come out of my haze
to let you know that Truffles by the Sea made it to the second round of voting over at the ACFW book club poll. The club's in the process of choosing the February read, and if you'd like to vote, it's easy to do. Just join the club by sending a blank e-mail to Once you're in, click on 'polls', locate the one for Feb. and vote!

Thanks so much for the support. My book's up against a couple of my faves, so--and I'm totally serious here--it's an honor to be nominated!

p.s. Poll closes December 26 :)

Friday, December 21, 2007


Taking a bit of a break from blogging as I attempt to finish wrapping gifts, make homemade candy, and prep Christmas Eve dinner, all while keeping the house decent with three kids home from school. In other words, the usual. You mamas out there know what I'm talkin' about...

In order to do these things with a smile on my face, I'm sucking down drinking a bit more coffee than normal. So it's not unusual that this list of "signs you're drinking too much caffeine" posted over at my local coffeehouse caught my attention. Thought I'd share it with y'all. Maybe you can relate? (Yeah, me too)

Here's to all the plans ahead in the next few days...and staying awake long enough to enjoy them all! Bless you guys!

- You answer the door before people knock.

· Juan Valdez named his donkey after you.

· You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.

· You lick your coffeepot clean.

· You’re the employee of the month at the local coffeehouse and you don’t even work there.

· You chew on other people’s fingernails.

· Your T-shirt says, “Decaffeinated coffee is the devil’s blend.”

· You can type sixty words per minute ... with your feet.

· You can jump-start your car without cables.

· Cocaine is a downer.

· You don’t need a hammer to pound nails.

· You don’t sweat, you percolate.

· You buy ½ & ½ by the barrel.

· You’ve worn out the handle on your favorite mug.

· You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.

· You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it’s not plugged in.

· You forget to unwrap candy bars before eating them.

· You’ve built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.

· You’ve worn the finish off your coffee table.

· The Taster’s Choice couple wants to adopt you.

· Instant coffee takes too long.

· When someone says. “How are you?”, you say, “Good to the last drop.”

· You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity in a coffee can.

· Your birthday is a national holiday in Brazil.

· You’re offended when people use the word “brew” to mean beer.

· You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.

· You can thread a sewing machine, while it’s running.

· You don’t even wait for the water to boil anymore.

· Your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.

· You think being called a “drip” is a compliment.

· You don’t tan, you roast.

· You can’t even remember your second cup.

· You help your dog chase its tail.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

mall hopping and poll vaulting

Did some rainy day Christmas shopping in SoCal with my girls today and found some fabulous stuff...for me. LOL No worries, I was a good girl and focused on my list instead. I'm not usually into shopping but seriously my inner-chick showed up today and had a ball. Could almost hear Perry Como singing as I rushed home with my treasures...

In other news, the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Book Club poll is up today and Truffles by the Sea is on it. Yay! The book that 'wins' in the poll will be read and discussed some time in February. Honestly, my newest release is 'competing' against books by some of my favorite people. It's humbling, I tell ya.

If you'd like to vote,
you need to be a member. Anyone can join the book club by sending a blank e-mail to And membership is FREE FREE FREE. (And considering all the shopping I did today, that's an especially great thing ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The elephant in the ...

So my son's participating in a white elephant gift exchange this week and guess what he chose to wrap up and give away to some unsuspecting recipient?

Yeah, my novel, Chocolate Beach.

At first I was flattered. Of all the things he could give away, he chose his mama's first book. But that was when I thought it was a simple Christmas gift exchange. Didn't realize it was a white elephant exchange.

For those needing a refresher
, here's one definition of white elephant: a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of.

Well. Need I say that this is not true of my 10-month old booky? I may be readying myself to birth again, but I will always love CB because she is my first (insert dramatic sigh here).

So I'm back to being flattered, and a little impressed, because Teen Son also thought (totally on his own!) to include a postcard for Truffles by the Sea with the gift. And if a guy chooses it? Well, then, I hope his mother enjoys it.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Suzi Lu Who?

I took this quiz right after my latte and this is how it turned out. I may take it again after a day of shopping followed by searching for my car for an hour :]]
How about you?

You Are the Furthest Thing From Grinch

You love and live for the holidays. You even love the Grinch!
You're in the holiday spirit year round... because you're all about celebrating and giving.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Writing is easy...'s the reviews that can be hard ;0

During a recent discussion with other writers, a friend told of a lousy, unmerited review she received. Of course, this got the ball rolling and other writers chimed in with their review sob stories. THIS one got to me, though, and with her permission, I'd like to share. Read on:

"I got mostly really good reviews for Petticoat Ranch. But there was a classic one-star that I copied and did a Find on so I could count the number of times the reviewer used the word 'disgusting'. Well, I put up with it as it appeared, word for word, on CBD, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on and on. Until finally I'd had enough and I wrote to the reviewer and said, "Mom, if you can't say something nice about somebody, you shouldn't say anything at all."


You can visit the author of this "sad, somewhat fictionalized, tale" at

p.s. Truffles by the Sea will be out in about a month. Go easy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Machine Broke

How often does a nearly new, state of the art radiation machine break? Apparently at least once. That's what Kristy was told yesterday when she arrived for her first radiation treatment. Her and hubby Milton's reaction?

They laughed.

And that's what I've come to love about them. They live out the verse in the Bible that says a merry heart makes good medicine. They also gave credit to the thousands out there praying, telling the technician that "all these prayers overpowered your machine."

I think that's why I choose to write stories that have an element of humor (you do think I'm funny, right? lol...) As I've continued to brainstorm new ideas (Sorry for that awful pun. Something tells me Kristy would laugh at that, though), many have serious overtones, yet a sort of organic humor often pours from the situations. My mother tells me that when I had my own tumor, I did crazy, funny things. (Some might have thought it was the meds talking, but my mother knows me too well ;) Seriously, I think God gave us laughter to help us combat the things we just cannot control.

Like machine's that break. It's absurd that Kristy would have to emotionally gear up for treatment only to be told the machine is broken. But I like her's and Milton's style because they laughed. As they've said, "God is at work, and we choose to trust him." And they're not kidding.

For more on Kristy, read her blog here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

pass the chocolate...

OhAmanda's giving away a basket of chocolaty-beachy-goodness over at her blog (including a copy of Chocolate Beach--natch). Find out how to enter her oh-so-fun contest on her site.


Still have much Christmas shopping to do, do, do! How about you? If I could just plow through without all those coffee and sweet stops, maybe I could get-her done. LOL


Thanks for praying for Kristy (see post below if you haven't already). I'll give you an update when I can.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Prayers for Kristy

You can make a difference in Kristy Dykes' life! Kristy's a writer who recently learned she had a brain tumor. She's already had surgery to remove much of it, but she's in need of a miracle. You can read about it on her blog, which her hubby Milton faithfully keeps up to date for her.

THIS Monday, Dec. 10, 2007, at 3:30 pm EST, thousands of people will be praying for Kristy at the time of her first radiation treatment.

Would you join us? Although my own was benign, I too had a brain tumor years ago. Kristy's story has so touched me and I'd be so honored if you would join me in prayer for her (and others you know with cancer--I have a close friend going in for surgery this very week, so she's in my prayers as well!)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Looky, looky!

Just got in some bookmarks for Truffles by the Sea. That's both sides over to the left. Aren't they pretty? If you want one, send a snail address to me via my website.

Also, I still have lots of Bethany House bookplates left. If you're giving the gift of Chocolate Beach this Christmas, I'd be happy to sign one and send it your way.


Off to the yearly Christmas program at our daughters' school. Pray none of the donkeys get loose or any angels fly off the stage. Haha...kidding. That couldn't happen. Right?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I've been nice. Really, I have.

Saw this on Cara Putman's blog. She swiped borrowed it from Tina Forkner's blog.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Monster waves have been slamming the shore over the last 24 hours and words is they'll continue until Friday. Police have set up electronic signs all over the place warning people not to go to the beach, but surfers never read those :) Seriously, just this afternoon Teen Daughter and I saw a bunch of surf dudes carrying their boards northward, presumably after taking the ride of their lives.

So anyway, something tells me Hawaii's seen surf much more "kickin'" than this, but still. For those of us who can hear the earth being pummeled by waves taller than my living room ceiling, it's da bomb, I tell ya.

Sunscreen, anyone?

Monday, December 03, 2007

We believe

I've wanted one of these statues for years, and finally found one in a nearby nursery. It's sitting on my mantle now, right next to the row of brass stocking hangers that spell out the word PEACE.

Isn't this the coolest?