Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the shopping grinch

It was inevitable. No matter how I tried to avoid it, it was bound to happen. Yeah, the daughters and I are heading to the mall for some after-Christmas shopping.

I'm sort of the anti-chick when it comes to the shopping scene. Oh, I love to have new things...just don't like to go hunting for them (or shell out cash, uh-uh.) My first book was about a beach chick who hated shopping too--wonder where I came up with her?

So anyway, I probably could've avoided the whole mall thing today by proclaiming the truth that "I'm broke, I'm broke!" But nowadays, our Christmas booty is overflowing with gift cards, so my reasoning no longer works. Know what I mean?

How 'bout you? Do you dig the after holiday deals? Or want to ignore that they exist and head to the beach (or mountains or backyard) instead?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

stuff for readers and writers

Readers, if you're interested in receiving the latest news from some of your favorite authors all in just ONE newsletter, stop by the Christian Authors Network. You can sign up to receive our newsletter on the right side bar. Besides news, we hold contests periodically, too.

Writers, members of CAN post marketing tips Mon-Fri over at the CANblog. Please stop by. You can read my latest post here. Once there, you can click on Main to read all the latest posts, or find an author you like on the sidebar and read everything they've posted. Easy peasy.

Have a beachy weekend--wherever you are!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hoska with the moska...

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Just took this pic of the start of our Christmas morning fare. There's the gingerbread house Elem. Girl and I made, pumpkin bread, fruit, and hoska--a family tradition that's been passed down from my grandma.
Off to sip a latte with hubby before the rest of the fam drags themselves out of bed :) (We had a late Christmas Eve tamale fest...)
Merry Christmas, All!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cheer-ful ? or Cheer-less?

You Spread a Lot of Holiday Cheer

During the holidays, you represent the true spirit of Christmas.

You give freely, and you enjoy this special time of the year.

There's a good chance that you spread cheer every time of the year... not just during the holidays.

You're kind, upbeat, and generous. Anyone who crosses your path is lucky.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Writing on Friday--Editing

Happy Friday! Hopefully most you are playing/shopping/eating raw cookie dough, rather than working. I, on the other hand, still have edits looming over my bed head. Thankfully this doesn't keep me from gnawing on that cookie dough...

Anyway. On to writing stuff. With my new set of Otter Bay novels, I've been using techniques I had not tried before with my other books. Had a little discussion about this with another author at a Christmas party the other night put on by a local publishing house. We agreed that it's good to look for ways to improve the craft, and to not be afraid of new ideas. Feels like I'm stretching and growing--and not just because of all the noshing on decorated sugars and fats, ahem ;)

So not only has the writing process changed, but the editing journey has as well. My new editor has been emailing me several chapters at a time, and I've been going through them line by line, tightening and clarifying and falling in love with these characters all over again. It's work. It hurts my head sometimes. But in the long run, this book will better for it. Can't beat that!

So here's to the writers
striving to perfect the craft--and to everyone who sets out to do anything well. May you succeed far beyond your dreams. And may you find plenty of time to feast on sweets that show up ad nauseum this time of year :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Go, Quick!

Author Tina Forkner is giving away a very cool package containing her book, Ruby Among Us, and some CDs from Point of Grace, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and others. It's easy to enter, so go on over--tell her I sent you :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

If you're ever in a jam, here I am...(sing it!)

So I drove 5 hours roundtrip yesterday to visit girlfriends I've known for more than 20 years. (That's three of us in the pic from our outrigger race last year--scary, huh ;)

Anyway, thought I'd make the drive, have a little lunch, then head back before it got too late. But no. Ended up staying at my pal Sharyl's place in Carlsbad for about 7 hours--eating, laughing, more eating, exchanging weird Christmas tree ornaments (seriously, the one I got is u-glee!)--before making the trek north in the dark (and did I mention the heavy rain?)

Ah, but it was worth it!

And something we don't do often enough.

Took a million pictures, and hopefully I'll have one to post soon (something to wipe that cheesy aloha pic out of your heads). In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this last week before Christmas, and that you can take some time to spend it with friends!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The firefighter's name is...


The winner of a free book is GAYLA. Congrats!

You guys are so much fun! Thanks for playing and for the comments. Elizabeth's reasoning came closest to mine, and maybe I'll post sometime about how authors choose names. I do have to say that Mimi's comment about T'n'T cracked me up--why didn't I think of that? LOL...

Btw, that's a pic up there of the arc for Sweet Waters. I'm a word person, not a visual artist, so I'm GRATEFUL for the amazing designer who created this cover!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What's in a name? Win a free book!

Years ago I read a book about a gal and a guy on the rodeo circuit. Half way through I recall flipping to the back cover to see if I could find any hints of where the story was going (I know, bad reader, bad). Anyhoo, imagine my surprise when I found that the back cover copy listed a different name for the heroine. My guess is the author changed it, but somehow that info didn't make it to the design folks.

So yesterday I learned that a similar thing happened with review galleys of Sweet Waters. The change has been caught, so the snafu won't show up on bookstore shelves, but those who venture to read a preview might notice that one of the characters (not the heroine) has a different name on the back cover.

So here are questions for the contest:
Which do you think is the name I really gave the hero, a firefighter, in Sweet Waters--Trent or Josh? And why did you pick that name?

The rules: Give me your pick, and the reason why. I'll put all the correct answers in a hat (or similar) and randomly choose one for your choice of either Chocolate Beach or Truffles by the Sea to keep for yourself or give away. Easy peasy!

Just so you know, some online sites still list the wrong name--so looking up the book might just lead you astray! (IOW, no cheating ;))

So what's your guess and why?Contest ends Thursday at noon pst.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas shopping--shameless promotion

So there've been some ripples of disruption in the publishing industry lately. Layoffs at Random House and Simon & Schuster, Barnes & Noble prophesying that holiday profits will be down, and Borders restructuring.

I don't get it.
Books are the most inexpensive vacation you can take (not that I'm biased or anything ;) Seriously, give someone a beach read (again, not biased...) and a box of chocolates and you've got one inexpensive gift--and one happy gal! For men I suppose a sports book and a beef stick would be the appropriate counter to this.

Then again,
I just ran across this pic of a high school senior unabashedly reading Truffles by the Sea. Looks pretty pleased about it too. Ha! So, here's where it really gets shameless... just click here and you can pick up Truffles by the Sea for the special gal (or guy!) in your life this Christmas.

As for me,
I'm hitting the online bookstores myself--no joke--because my plan to have all shopping done by Thanksgiving failed miserably! How about you?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Haha...laugh your face off

Thanks to Kelli Standish for my crack up of the day ;)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Saw this on Marla Alupoaicei's site today:

“Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud.”

With a busy household of five, plus one rambunctious doggie, coupled with the holidays and a writing career, I think I needed that.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Saturday

Okay, so I'm a day late--all that tryptophan tired me out ;) Anyway, for all of you who stayed in yesterday unwilling to face the marketing-induced crowds at the mall--and even for those who braved the madness--I'm repeating my offer from a couple of weeks back to make your Christmas shopping easy peasy. In case you missed it, here it is:

I'm signing copies of Chocolate Beach for the holidays at the super low price of 7 bucks each. Lower than Amazon! And signed too! (Hopefully that doesn't devalue it much, ha.)

Anyway, if you'd like to pick one up for a friend (or yourself ;) this Christmas, please stop by signedbytheauthor.com and place an order. You'll be able to note who to sign the book to on your order form, and they'll be priced this low while the supply lasts.

As for us, we survived the fabulously fun Thanksgiving Day at my house: 22 guests and a new doggie who growls at boys. Ca-razy! Currently, we're obsessed with Cesar Milan aka The Dog Whisperer. Guess which DVDs top my Christmas List this year??? Haha. (Seriously, we've already tried a few things that both our trainer and Milan suggested and we're making progress--yay!)

Have a beachy weekend--the rest of it anyway--wherever you are!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sailing away...

About 22 family members and friends will arrive tomorrow to feast on turkey and all the fixins. Teen Son--who's studying to be a chef--and I just cooked up the first round of vittles. I'm pooped! It's just too much work to do it all in one day, ie. tomorrow, so I'm trying to get a head start. Anyone else do this?

Anyway, I'm plopped on the floor, trying to catch my breath, when I read this article about some entrepreneurs who decided to open up their local harbor-docked boat as a B&B. How cute is this? The 34ft. Villita, the article says, was commissioned in 1936 by cinematographer Ed Lyons, for his wife, a starlet named Violet Schram. This is especially news because even tho' our economy's in need of a transfusion (or several, actually), business for the floating B&B has been super strong.

There's something about the call of the sea that's awfully inviting to me at the moment...lol

How about you? If you're having the big shin-dig at your home tomorrow (if you're American, that is), what do you do to relax in the midst of the craziness? I'm open to new ideas :))

Chances are I'll be too buried in turkey juice to check in on the blog tomorrow, so here's wishing you a beautiful--and beachy!--holiday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Writing on Monday--Brainstorm

So we adopted our beagle-mix, Charlie, on Saturday...and he keeps growling at Teen Son. His foster parents tell me poor Charlie was probably abused by a boy or two, because they experienced the same thing on occasion. We're working through it (God Bless Teen Son for trying), but if anyone has some fabulous advice, then in the words of Frasier Crane, "I'm listening."

Other than growling at Teen Son,
Charlie's been easy peasy, playful, and funny too. Reminds me why so many people write dogs into their books. Don't be surprised to find one in an upcoming book of mine--my mind's a whirrin'!

Speaking of brainstorming, how many of you writers think about your stories during church? Go on. Be brave, and be honest. I certainly do. (shhh...best not to mention this to my pastor). During yesterday's service in particular, the ideas were swirling, the plot solidifying, new characters yakking...yeah, I'm heading into a new book.

And not the book I'd planned.
See, I'm writing a series of three stories set in picturesque Otter Bay, CA. Until a couple of weeks ago, I was heading into book 2, but after much internal debate, I've decided to move book 3 into the 2nd position, or 'posish', as Teen Daughter would say.

All the more reason
to be storming my brain with new thoughts and twists and plot points. Time is of the essence, especially during the holidays (not to mention the doggie-training days), so when I'm seated in church, and away from the hub-bub, I seem to hear God better about both life and books.

Maybe I should've asked His advice about the growling doggie...;)

p.s. For those who have asked, I'm juliecarobini on twitter.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just poppin' in before dashing off to take Elem. Girl to school, but we just heard a few minutes ago--Charlie's coming home with us tomorrow!

Talk later :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dog Daze

Elementary Girl and I wandered into the local animal rescue shelter the other day--and fell in love with Charlie the dog. Wanted to take him home right then and there, but I've learned, this isn't how it works. First we had to fill out an application. Then we were interviewed. And today? The home/yard inspection. Oh my goodness--who knew? I just hope they don't check under the beds, LOL!

Hopefully, our little pal
will be coming home with us in a day or so. Anyone else ever adopt a pet? What else might we expect?

In other news,
I bought a turkey yesterday. Anyone else find this exciting? It's just that actually plunking down moola for the bird makes the approach of the holidays that much more real, know what I mean? I think you do!

Other than prepping for our new pup
, I'm putting up some new pics in the hallway in time for Thanksgiving. My parents' hall is full of pictures, and we 'affectionately' call it the "Wall of Shame." So, yeah, it's time we had our own shameful display too.

I'm off to sweep the porch! Elementary Girl's beside herself with anticipation of Charlie's arrival. Pray we pass inspection :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Writing on Friday--Fire and the CAN Blog

It's hot and dry this November day along the coast where I live. Just to the north of us, residents of Montecito could use your prayers as a fast moving fire has already consumed 100+ homes. I also learned that my good pal's niece had to be evacuated from Westmont College, where already several buildings have burned. I've got soft spot for Westmont as I've taught there for the Santa Barbara Christian Writer's Guild. From what I've heard, the students had to hide out in gym all night until they could be rescued--and it was quite tramatic. Many of the students are from out of the area, and cannot get to family right away. Keep them--and all of Montecito--in prayer, okay?

On another note, I posted about group book signings over at the CAN blog today. If you're a writer (or even if you're not, but interested ;), please pop by and say, hello, would you?

Have a beachy weekend, my friends--wherever you are!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Busy, busy today, but I wanted to drop in and let all my techy friends know that I've joined the masses by twittering and facebooking. Fun! Feel free to look me up.

Have a beachy day--wherever you are!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas shopping made easy peasy

I'm signing copies of Chocolate Beach for the holidays at the super low price of 7 bucks each. Lower than Amazon! And signed too! (Hopefully that doesn't devalue it much, ha.)

Anyway, if you'd like to pick one up for a friend (or yourself ;) this Christmas, please stop by signedbytheauthor.com and place an order. You'll be able to note who to sign the book to on your order form, and they'll be priced this low while the supply lasts.

Speaking of the holidays,
I usually post some kind of list of quirky gift items around this time. Each year I get a ton of hits looking for some wacky tape dispenser I'd mentioned once, isn't that a hoot? So what unique gifts have you come across this year? (Other than a signed copy of Chocolate Beach, that is...ha)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Tuesday

So my brother, Mikey (Navarro), the animator, attended the cast party for the film he's been working on for the past year: Disney's BOLT. As with other movies he's worked on (Spy Kids, Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, Night at the Museum...), he's received an animator or artist credit at the end. This time, however, because so many babies were born to the crew during the making of the film, the credits have a twist. When you watch those ending credits, be on the lookout for the Other Productions category, and there you'll find a list of those new little ones--including my nephew, Enzo. Isn't that cute??? I talked about Enzo's entry into our family last January here. Ten months old and he's already walking...my brother and wifey are in for it now, Lol...

And it's an offical holiday, so hug a Veteran today, and thank them for serving our beautiful country!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Writing on Monday--School Holiday

Happy Monday! Elementary Girl's home from school today, and teen kids will be home tomorrow. Ahh, the holidays are upon us...;)

With Elementary Girl home from school, writing is pretty much on the back burner for the day. That's really okay because at times like this I tend to let my mind run free with ideas, and jot them down for later review (i.e., when kids are in school :) With another couple of books coming due, my mind can't completely take a break, so it's a matter of grabbing the ideas when they appear...

The weekend, however, was pretty much work-free (yippee). I managed to finish reading a novel, watch Austen's Mansfield Park (Bliss, I tell you!--the rest of the fam was at a football game between our city's rival high schools), watch Elem. Girl's playoff soccer game, peruse an art show, and attend a special celebration event at church. Super nice weekend out here in CA (although windy enough yesterday to spray our small patch of paradise with palm fronds...)

How about you? What went on in your neck of the world over the weekend? And how do your days change when the kiddos are home from school?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Start Spreadin' the News

It's been a few weeks since our trip back east, but I was just looking through some of the pictures and getting nostalgic. So I took this little quiz, several times actually, because I wasn't quite sure if the description works for me. But I did love Greenwich, and actually took this picture of a purple door in the village. Just struck me as cool and funky.

So maybe this non-scientific quiz does have its merits...lol. Let me know how you fare.

You Belong in Greenwich Village

Avant garde and bohemian, you're quick to adopt new ideas and lifestyles.

And while you're a bit less weird these days, you still have a "live and let live" philosophy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm happy that...

today's a new day.

That I had the opportunity to hop on my bike and work off some calories in brilliant sunshine.

That I've got fun kids and a hunky husband.

That my votes were counted and that several of them went my way.

And that God created chocolate.

I'm currently reading a soothing balm of a book called Chocolate Covered Friendship by Artisan Chocolatier Bethany Thouin and Angela Fox. Let me just say--and I know this might be a cliche--but it's delicious.

It's a book you can leave on your nightstand and pick up anytime to just feel...what am I looking for here?...well, to just feel good. Really good.

The book's filled with stories behind the names of Thouin's beloved truffles. There's Tina's Dark Chocolate Truffle, named for a tried and true friend. And the one named for her sister--Sarah's Frangelico Truffle--because of her sweet devotion. I really loved the story of the truffle she created for her friend Julie--Julie Anne's Orange Truffle. She said it represented her friend's talent for being human, a great person who can be taken at face value...so she made the truffle a little happy and a little dark to represent her sunny side and her biting honesty.

Oh, how I'd love to have such an honor bestowed upon me!

In addition to the great stories of friendship are recipes and quotes and decadent pictures. This is a great one to curl up with as the days shrink and the nights grow. Thanks to Angela for sending it my way. Bloggy Friends, you can read more about this beautiful little book here.

"The world is bursting with beauty that begs to be interpreted artistically. As a chocolatier, I use chocolate as my medium." --Bethany Thouin

Monday, November 03, 2008

Writing on Monday--er, Wednesday

To my American readers, How can we be thinking of anything other than tomorrow's election? I'll get back to writing on writing this coming Wednesday. In the meantime, please make time to cast your ballots tomorrow--and expect the lines to be long (bring a copy of one of my books or something ;)

1 Samuel 16 says, "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Writing on Friday--Marketing & Rachel Hauck's Book Trailer

Happy Friday, my friends! (Okay, so it's Thursday, but for some reason, I'm gunnin' for the weekend ;)

Anyway, B&H Publishing Group has created a book trailer for SWEET WATERS, but this isn't it...LOL I'll be posting that sometime in the new year. However, I found this trailer for Love Starts with Elle after author Rachel Hauck visited this blog the other day. I've already read the book and loved it, so wanted to show you this fun and fabulous trailer that she created.

I've been on the fence about trailers for awhile, mainly because like some books, they just don't hook me. However, my publisher has been creating some terrific book trailers that you can view over at the B&H site (Click on one of the books listed to see if there's a trailer for it.)

What do you think? If you're a reader, do you watch book trailers? Why or why not? If you're a writer, do you think they're helpful in spreading the word about your books?

Regardless, I think you'll find Rachel's trailer creative and easy on the eyes. So is her book :)

Have a beachy day, my friends--wherever you are! On Monday, I'll tell you about a delicious non-fiction book I'm currently devouring. See you then :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Teen Daughter...on Broadway?

The main reason we traveled to New York City last week was because, last year, Teen Daughter's school had to cancel their own NY/Boston trip due to low participation. She was sooo disappointed! (Teen Son had gotten to go to Washington DC during his own last year of middle school.)

So I'd promised her we'd find another time. Since schools in these parts have a week-long fall break, we figured the timing would work well. However, it also meant that Teen Daughter would have to miss the call backs for a show she had auditioned for at a local award-winning theater.

So one night the girls and I were hurrying down Broadway, between 49th and 50th, right smack in New York's theater district. We were meeting the guys for dinner, but had gotten way-laid by some fabulous shopping, Lol (Discount designer duds in NYC :) So anyway, I glanced down at my phone, thinking the boys would wonder where we were, and sure enough, there was a message. Only the message wasn't from my husband, but from our hometown theater--saying that Teen Daughter had earned a spot in the Christmas Program. So we're walking on Broadway, along the 'Great White Way', when we learn this news--how cool is this???

I'm grateful to God for carrying us to and fro safely, and making the entire trip so special! (Btw, that's a poster of Ace Young, starring in GREASE, in front of the theater where we saw the show.)

Thanks to all of you who've stopped by with comments and/or email over the past couple of days! I'm still working on that deadline I mentioned, so I've appreciated the notes from the 'outside', Lol...

Have a beachy day, my friends--wherever you are!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Writing on Monday--New Cover!

We're back home again! (jiggity jig :)

I'd planned on sending out a newsletter soon to show off the cover for SWEET WATERS, but Relz Reviews beat me to it! The prolific Aussie reviewer has a preview of Sweet Waters and several other upcoming B&H books over on her stand-out site, so 'hop' on over there (sorry, couldn't resist a kangaroo ref :) to read all about it!

As for me, I'm on deadline this week, and will be chained to sitting at my computer for hours on end much of the day. Please send me a comment so I won't get lonely :))

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hello from Pennsylvania

I'm sitting next to a picture window in my in-law's home, admiring the color of turned leaves and continuous drizzle. A far cry from the still-warm beachy neighborhood where I live in CA.

It's good to experience
how others live, I think. Early this week we were in uber-busy NYC, where all kinds of smells (good and, well, really bad) emanated from the streets. Lane lines are regularly ignored, as are Don't Walk signs and street vendors (Although I did snag a good deal on a really cute pink purse from one of those vendors--check it out above!).

For the past couple of days we've been in my husband's PA hometown, where most of the population comes out for the high school game (despite the cold), and the shops actually shut down for two hours (just when I had a hankerin' for a panini!) in order to hand out candy to little kids in a pre-Halloween celebration. Dorothy and Toto costumes would work super well here, whereas they'd probably be run right out of Time Square, lol...

Leaving for home tomorrow, where'll I'll be hitting the writing first thing. Had a conversation with my editor, Karen Ball, yesterday about a small addition to my next book, and I'm anxious to get it going. In the meantime, we're enjoying the presence of fall color, our big Italian family and all the provolone we can eat :))

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On the move

The rest of our time in New York was non-stop amazing: Empire State Building, GREAT shopping (Macy's, H&M, Kira Plastinina...), crazy cab rides, men singing and playing the accordion on the subway, LOL. Can't wait to go back.

Tuesday eve we loaded up the fam and way too much luggage and took a train to New Jersey to have a fabulous home-cooked dinner with friends, then it was off to the hotel. Hubby got our suite comped when we learned (much after settling in) that there was NO HEAT in one of the rooms. They gave us space heater the size of a small dog. As if. Ha.

The rest of the week
we're in NW Pennsylvania to see family. Shoulda seen the look on this California Girl's face when I learned that the local sandwich shop no longer sold lattes! Are. you. kidding. me??? Thankfully--and believe it or not--the gas station does! And, woo-hoo!, they're actually pretty decent (and cheaper than at home). Lol, that put a smile on my face.

Monday, October 20, 2008

LIVE from New York...!

First off, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Love of my Life. 18 years and counting!!!

About the trip, it's hard to know where to begin.
NYC is unlike any place I've ever been. People drive like absolute maniacs (okay, I've been to London, so I guess I have seen similar driving before, lol), everything's BIG, and Manhattan is up all night.

In the last two days we've walked the Brooklyn Bridge, had lunch at John's pizza in Grenwich, strolled through Central Park and along Fifth "Av", we've bought stuff from street vendors, hung out in the lobby of NBC while Sarah Palin was guesting on SNL, and last night we saw a Broadway show--Ace Young in GREASE!!! Yes, my AMERICAN IDOL friends, that Ace. Let me just say, the guy can act and dance and sing!

Today we're hitting the subway for more sights (probably risky considering it's Monday and there'll be all those commuters...). I'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, that pic at the top is of the view from our hotel, and the other is of my family walking on the bridge to Brooklyn. Hubby's got elementary girl on his shoulders, and my teens are the red heads.

Have a beachy day--wherever you are!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Writing on Friday--I miss my blog!

Packing for a family of five for a cross-country trip is one of those things that no matter how hard you try, you're never quite prepared for. Mainly because there's all this living to do in between--know what I mean?

Elementary Girl's been off school all week (her school has a two week fall break, as opposed to Teen Kids' school's upcoming one week). Love her, love her--but every time I sit down to start a post, I hear, "Mom?"

Lol...you moms know what I'm talkin' about.

Anyway, we leave tomorrow for the Big Apple, but before then I still have:
--To buy jeans for Teen Son (He told me this morning)
--All the banking stuff for the trip
--Get Elem. Girl ready for tonight's Cotillion
--Pick up Teen Daughter from mid-day appt., take back to school, then pick up again after school.
--Finish all the packing
--Scrub the house sparkling clean so I can come back to cleanliness--anybody else do that???

I'm sure there's more to do, but this is all I let myself think about at the moment...

And yesterday my new publisher sent me a list of things to do. Fortunately, I'll be able to work on all that on the plane. Flying is not one of my favorite things in the world, so distractions are welcome :)

Attn: Chocolate Lovers: Before heading off to tackle my to-do list, here's a link my Pennsylvania sis-in-law Diane sent me (Thanks, Diane!!!) Find out if you're a chocoholic...I failed miserably, so tell me how you fared!

Have a beachy weekend, my friends--wherever you are! (And p.s. I'll post from NYC whenever I can ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shoe-bee dobee do

Did a little shoe shopping yesterday for the trip to NYC and came away with...nothing. Bleh. Too busy today, but will try again tomorrow. In the meantime, I've taken this little unscientific quiz, and although I prefer a little more heel, the look is fairly accurate. Let me know how you fare...

You are Flat Sandals

Casual yet flirty

You look great in a simple top and jeans

Your look is approachable and cute!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Writing: It's the Team, Grommit!

COUNTDOWN: 6 Days till the Big Apple

Before I get into writing, let me just say, next time I'm hiring a travel planner! Holy cow, it's a lot of work to plan a trip to a strange place for five people, even though we've plenty of friends who've lived in or near NYC. We're basically trying to cram two weeks of sight seeing into four days in one of the most expensive places on earth--can't wait, Lol!

But, alas, it's Monday, and aside from all the last minute buying for the trip, I still have some writing details to handle. Here's a SHOUT OUT to the SALES TEAM at B&H Publishing Group who are meeting this week! Thanks for all you do for your authors, Team!

Just learned the other day that a trailer has been made for SWEET WATERS, and that it's FABULOUS! Haven't seen it yet, but as soon as I'm able to post, I will. And that brings me to today's topic of team writing. I've often been asked if I design my covers, and after a bit of chortling, I offer a resounding 'No." See, that's not my gift (my brother Mikey is an artist/animator for movies, such as the upcoming BOLT by Disney, but that's a story for another day...)

Anyway, I'm thankful that so far I've been assigned cover designers who do have 'the gift.' Chocolate Beach's was surprising and amazing all wrapped into one, and my newest cover is exactly what I would have designed--if I'd had that gift myself.

So while I write the words that eventually get sliced and diced slightly edited before making it into the book (kidding, but that's also a story for another day), it's other people that take that story, wrap it in a winsome cover, and convince bookstores it's worthy of shelf space. No author (The Shack author aside, haha) could do it without them. And with all the competition out there, not to mention the economic woes we'd have to hide under a boulder to avoid, book sales people have their work cut out for them.

Tip of the day:
Be a part of the sales team! If you don't find your favorite book in your local store, ask them to order it for you. I've been doing this for years to let my bookstore know what kinds of books I think :) they should be stocking.

Have a beachy day, my friends--wherever you are!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Writing on Friday--Public Appearances and other fun stuff

Updated Friday Afternoon: Mrs. Sidney over at Mommy Accountability blog is giving away a copy of my first book, Chocolate Beach. Stop on by to enter for your chance to win :)

Back to today's post...
So while out on a bike ride last weekend, hubby and I make a stop by the neighborhood picnic when someone calls out, "There's the famous author!" Other than the fact that this is not true, it still gives me pause. Suddenly I'm wondering why I chose to wear that faded tank top and whether I remembered to put on lipstick. I'm wondering if those nodding in agreement truly enjoyed my books--or thought they were drivel.

When I made the shift from article writer to novel writer, I hadn't seriously considered this part of the job. If you write books or want to write them, have you? Do you realize that to some you will have reached a seemingly unattainable position, and to others, you're just a hack?

Don't get me wrong. When someone takes the time out to come and see me at a booksigning, I'm humbled, and thrilled to meet them. Quite a few of you--you know who your are, lol--have kept me from being the lonely girl by the table of books! But when I'm in the grocery story, or tooling around on my bike, or just about any place that lacks books, I'm probably thinking more about whether or not I left the iron on rather than the (little known ;) fact that my name's on a few book covers.

So that's why a neighbor's announcement last weekend surprised even me. (And made me wish I'd thought a tad bit more about my accessories, ha...)


I've been a little obsessed with all the economic news lately. You too? My friend, author Kathi Macias sends around a weekly devotional to those interested, and yesterday she reminded me that my trust is not in the stock market, or a presidential candidate--but in God. "Regardless of how busy you get," she says, "or how bleak the circumstances, stay close to Him, listen for His whisper and His heartbeat, and trust Him to enable you to remain faithful today…."

Good advice! You can subscribe to Kathi's weekly devo by following this link.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)


And just for fun...

Is Sarah Palin royalty? Check it out here.


Have a beachy weekend, my friends--wherever you are!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Delicious Doings

This is cool. I found Truffles by the Sea on this site. It's at a low price and 5% of the order price will be donated to your school of choice. Just thought I'd share...

Speaking of giving back, Teen Son brought scones home from his chef-ing class yesterday. Is chefing a word? Hm. Anyway, he's been taking a culinary arts course that requires an internship at a local restaurant, and let me just say, I'm not opposed to this. So far he's brought home all kinds of leftovers: buttery scones, chopped onions (there's a right way to do this apparently), quiche (real men eat it you know), fattening chocolate cookies...can't wait to see what's next (although does my waistline really want to know ???) My author buddy Katie Cushman tells me all this chef-e-ry in my home reminds her of Jake from Truffles by the Sea. Lol...I'd have to agree.

Btw, I'm reading a new book about chocolate and friendship, and so far, it's marvelous (and delicious!). More on that when I've had the chance to devour read the entire book.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday, Monday

Happy Monday, my friends! Saturday was a rainy California day but that didn't stop 30 or so teens from converging on the Carobini homestead to celebrate Teen Son's 17th birthday (hold the press...I have a 17 year old son? How can this be??? Breathe, breathe).

So anyway, would the teen who left the grocery cart in my patio please come and get it? Lol... Seriously, the kids were fabulous--lots of fun to have around ;)

Also, I got a peek at my book cover for SWEET WATERS on Friday and it's AMAZING! I'm IN LOVE with it and can't wait to show it off to you. I should get the go ahead on that from B&H Publishing Group by late next week, but I'll send it out to my newsletter subscribers first! So if you've never signed up, you can do so either on my website or over in that box on the sidebar to your right. I'm cookin' up a new contest too, and the info will be in there as well.

Back to writing this morning. Have a beachy day, wherever you are!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

island girl

One of the awe-inspiring signs of the arrival of fall around here is the emergence of an island view just off the coast. The string of Federally-protected islands--the Channel Islands--are shrouded in fog much of the summer, but oh!, when the weather changes a bit, the haze lifts and we can see those beauties again (The close up on the left is of the famous arch at the tip of Anacapa Island). In winter the view will be even crisper.

Lately during my drive along the foothills from Elementary Girl's school each morning, those magnificent islands rise up like great mountain peaks out of the vast ocean and it's hard to imagine not being able to see them at times.

In a couple of weeks we'll be out East admiring the changing of the leaves, but even here along the west coast we have our reminders that the seasons are a changin'. Maybe I'll set a book out there one of these days (although Scott O'Dell did that with Island of the Blue Dolphin...could I top that???)

Enjoy the view, my friends--and have a beachy day, wherever you are!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

God's Sense of Humor


It's birthday week in the Carobini household. That's right, Elementary Girl turned a whopping '10' yesterday, Teen Son turns '17' today, and Hubby turns 'mystery number :)' tomorrow. (Me thinks Teen Daughter's grateful for her own month ... )

Is this crazy or what? (Btw, my mom's b'day was two weeks ago.)

It's pretty much been a celebratory month, with parties held on different nights to accommodate a variety of friends. The actual day then becomes, um, 'icing on the cake' for the birthday people, with special breakfasts in the morning, and dessert in the evening. Man! I'm getting chubby--ha.

If you don't hear from me in a while, you'll know why. Oh, and I did mention that our wedding anniversary's in a couple of weeks, right? Lol

Monday, September 29, 2008

Writing on Monday--coffee, chocolate, and oh yeah, some work too

Happy Monday, my friends. Well, never did get over to see Fireproof this weekend. With a funeral, three b'days to celebrate, and a school picnic, it just didn't happen. Thanks Lynn for letting me know what you thought...anyone else? Hopefully it'll be in theaters a bit longer...

And did you all read the news? Cadbury had to pull their melamine-laced chocolates from shelves. What's the world coming to when you can't eat chocolate without risking poisoning??? Several years ago my mother pointed out that some dried fruit I'd bought at Target was actually made in China--I'd no idea. When I read last week about the tragedy of melamine used in Chinese dairy farms (those poor families), I'd wondered if anything sent to the US was affected. Apparently, so.

As you know, I'm all about chocolate, but better be safe and check your supplies, ladies and gents. Life's too short to eat bad chocolate, you know?

Had a latte at home this morning, then met my pal Deb for coffee at Starbucks. I'm all wired up! So for this Writing on Monday, I'll be prepping for my next book, and doing some marketing to libraries (thanks to author Judy Gann for the ideas!)

Have a beachy day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Writing on Friday--Hooky!

It's too beautiful to work! Katie Cushman (who's visited the blog a time or two) and I caught up with each other at The Boathouse at Hendry's Beach in Santa Barbara. She ordered the shrimp, and I noshed on crab cakes. BEAUTIFUL day--you'd think it was still summer! Even spotted a pod of dolphins swimming by...

May you find the perfect time and place to ditch the office, my friends. And have a beachy weekend--wherever you are!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Have you seen this film?
I'd love to see your review, as I'll be looking for it this weekend...

The movie opens in theaters starting tomorrow, and I just learned the extraordinary story of the creation of a book that appears in the film. The handwritten book, a 40-day challenge to practice unconditional love, was used as a plot device in the film, but so many pre-screeners wanted a copy, that the screenwriters had to actually write one ;) I'm thrilled to report that B&H Publishing group--my new publisher!--has released the book, The Love Dare. You can read about the book's creation here, and the film itself by clicking the links on the cool widget above.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's official...

Fall is here. I know this by the aroma of pumpkin spice in my nearby Starbucks ;) So to celebrate the changing of the seasons, here's a truly (un)official quiz.

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You prefer change to come slowly. You need a long transition period when your life changes.

You find love to be the most comforting thing in the world. You feel at peace when you're with your loved ones.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Writing on Monday--Edits!

First off, congrats to all the 2008 ACFW Genesis (unpublished manuscripts) and BOTY (published novels) winners! Great list of writers and books--wish I could have been there to see the awards handed out! I had the opportunity to be a judge this year for the Genesis contest, and I'm thrilled to see one of my favorite reads make the winner's list! Oh, and Katie Cushman, who's visited this blog many times, won 3rd place (Women's Fiction) for her debut novel, A Promise to Remember. Excellent job, my friend!

If you're a writer interested in knowing more about ACFW, click here.

On to Writing on Monday
...These are the best of times, these are the worst of times. Lol...I'm told that sometime this week I'll receive the edits for my next book. Some writers abhor this part of the process, while others get simply giddy over it (hello, Colleen Coble :)) My own feelings are mixed. I love the results that edit notes--revisions suggested by an editor on a project--bring to the completed book. Oh, but the work of it all! Sometimes going back in means slaying your little darlings, and that can be tough. Of course, maybe I'll just hear..."Perfect! It's a wrap!" Ha...dreaming is good.

Anyway, as you've probably heard before, writing is really more of a RE-writing process. When you read a book that's smooth as buttah, you better believe that plenty of globs of fat were removed along the way.


This has nothing to do with anything, except that it made me laugh. Check out the name of this Idahoan hog caller ;)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Writing on Friday--Publicity Photos

So earlier this week, I had some head shots taken for my new publisher. Let me just say, there's a reason I'm a writer. As a writer, I can work super hard--in my jammies. I don't need makeup or nice hair...or even to talk to anyone (except, of course, my characters. But that's a story for another day...) Basically, the in-studio process of smiling for the camera is way (way, way...) out of my comfort zone.

Anyway, out of more than 15 pictures, I could accept (sort of) 3. And out of those 3, I'm currently down to 1 (thanks Dad for the photoshopping! ;)

So over the weekend, I'll be doing it all again. Only this time, I'll be at my beloved beach, and I'll also be taking a kid or two to make me laugh. My pub. should be pleased to learn that they'll have a choice of more than, uh, one picture. I'll let you know how it all turns out...

On another note, Chocolate Beach made an appearance on author J. Timothy King's latest YouTube video. Cracked me up. Please take a minute to check it out here.

And have a beachy weekend my friends--wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy trails

Just a quick post to say 'hey' to all my ACFW friends who are about to head off to Minnesota for the annual writer's conference. I opted not to go this year, partly because in just a few weeks I'll be leaving for New York (woo-hoo, can't wait!!!) Still, I'm thinking about you all, and praying for a successful event!

Monday, September 15, 2008

And the winner is...

Rebecca LuElla Miller, aka Becky Miller! Congrats! And thanks for playing everyone. Becky, I'll be getting Waiting for Daybreak out to you.

I'm peeking out my office window into beautiful California sunshine at the moment. The past few mornings have been thick with fog, so I welcome the light. Last Saturday, despite that fog, and some ripples on the water, Elementary Girl and I kayaked out in the Ventura Harbor. Both on the way out and back, we ran into a big ol' fat sea lion, and I couldn't help but think about Sweet Thing. If you read Truffles by the Sea, you know that lonely and drama-prone heroine Gaby befriends a sea lion named Sweet Thing.

Anyway, the problem was that the sea lion Elementary Girl and I kept coming across was fairly HUGE and intimidating. She lounged crossways in a rather narrow channel, making it tough not to get too close when we passed. Making it tougher was the way Elem. Girl screeched and fearfully clutched the side of my boat--how am I supposed to steer when I can only put the paddle in one side??? I just knew she was going to dump us (Elem. Girl, not the lion), but thankfully, I was wrong about that. Despite that, ahem, roadblock, our time on the water was a super fun respite after a busy week.

So fill me in. What fun stuff did you do this weekend?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Writing on Friday--Katie's new book!

It's Friday, and today I'm working on the acknowledgments page for my next book. That, and several other 'pick up' things that need to happen before jumping into a new writing project. But--stop the show--I wanted to mention that I just received a copy of Kathryn Cushman's newest release, Waiting for Daybreak. Katie and I have been pals for a few years. We traveled to Dallas together last year for the ACFW conference, participated in a Borders author event with Jim Bell in the fall, and took our books on the road via train travel last spring. She puts up with me--which is reason enough to give her books a plug--but she's also a phenomenal story teller. We like to say that I make you laugh (hopefully) and she makes you cry (definitely).

Drop me a comment, and I'll randomly choose someone to win a free copy. It won't be the copy on my nightstand, though--that one's mine :)

Have a beachy weekend--wherever you are! Drawing on Monday. Click here for more info on Waiting for Daybreak.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A new day

Unless you are very young (and if that's the case, why aren't you in school?), you remember the morning seven years ago that rocked our country. I was getting my kids ready for school, when my mother called and said to put on the news. All I remember is lowering myself onto the bed as the infamous images played over and over again. Tears, shock, sadness, and kids who wanted to understand what was happening. Every time I see that bumper sticker that says, "Never Forget", I'm reminded that I never will.

And yet today, I'm thankful to have a new memory attached to this day...my cousin's sweet baby girl was born during the wee hours of this morning, and we're thrilled (tears again!). I can't wait to see her, and hold her, and be reminded of the Bible verse that promises, "I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Can we talk?

Argh...more computer problems the last few days! Thankfully, after a full day of researching and tinkering and screeching at speaking lovingly to my no good blessing of a computer, it's fixed. Yay.

I did take a break this morning to attend Bible study after the summer off. We're doing a study on the tongue called Can We Talk?, by Priscilla Shirer. Considering I spent much of the day humiliating my computer with my one-sided verbal sparring--lol--I think the timing's great. Don't you?

Speaking of verbal sparring, i.e., 'politics', (ha)..I just read that opticians around the country are having a difficult time keeping up with a sudden demand for rimless, titanium eyewear. Lovely librarians...unite ;)

Tomorrow, more on Can We Talk? (unless another random idea takes over...)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Writing on Friday--CAN

Heading into the weekend but wanted to stop in and let y'all know about the launch of the new CAN (Christian Authors Network) website. I'm happy to be a part of this organization, which serves both readers and writers. For readers there's the You've Got Books! book club, giveaways, and sneak peeks. For writers there's tons of networking fun. I'll refer to the organization periodically, but for now, feel free to click here to poke around the site yourself.

Have a beachy weekend--wherever you are!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chocolate Beach at Starbucks

Here's a shout out to the book club of Westminster Presbyterian. Aren't they all super cute? The gals read Chocolate Beach and invited me for coffee to talk about it (skinny decaf cinnamon dolce, thanks very much ;) Not exactly sure what the hand under the chin means, but Kathy (in lavender) says it's tradition...so why not? I'm game :)

Thanks, Gals, for a terrific night!!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Movin' Slow

So I took this holiday weekend off. Didn't go out of town, but went to dinner with friends, breakfast with family (or 'brat feast' as one daughter coined it ;), and biked, ran, and kayaked. Yeah, I'm Sarah Palin. Lol...kidding. I couldn't do all that and have my hair look so good.

Anyway, it's Tuesday in September and time to get serious. Not quite the brand-new-start feel of New Years, but doesn't the fall bring about its own 'fresh start' appeal?

Before I get too serious, though, I was tagged for a meme by J. Timothy King. Admittedly, these often make me yawn (especially reading my own--ha), but his kept my interest. So here are 7 weird and random facts about me. Feel free to scroll on down if you'd prefer. Back to serious stuff tomorrow. Maybe.

1. For 9 months, I was a phantom shopper for Taco Bell.

2. I was a ghost writer for 3 years.

3. I've had brain surgery (explains a lot, I know).

4. I went to the Donny & Marie show as a kid--and saw Bob Hope up close.

5. Team Chocolate Beach, of which I was part, participated in an outrigger race last summer.

6. My brothers are both creative types: one's an animator for major motion pictures, the other is an architect for rich folks in LA. I can draw stick figures, barely.

7. Found out I was pregnant while training for the LA Marathon, so on the day of the race, I ran three miles of event--then went and had waffles.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Reading on Friday...and all weekend long

Happy Friday-before-a-holiday-weekend my friends! As I said earlier this week, I've been catching up on all kinds of stuff now that my latest projects are off to editors. Yesterday I listened to the entire Wicked soundtrack while cleaning Teen Son's room. I know what you're thinking--TS should clean his own room--but in his defense, we've been storing stuff in there all summer because of a project going on in another part of the house. It had gotten SO BAD, that somebody older and wiser had to step in (and she did ;). Anyhoo, it's up to him to keep it clean now.

Anyway, with some prime reading and relaxing time ahead of you this weekend (and for you moms at home--now that school has begun), I wanted to make a couple of recommendations:

Last night I finished a novel that's both strange and entertaining, hilarious and wise. Skid by Rene Gutteridge (who I met at a conference once) is the third in her Occupational Hazards series. The 'Hazards' are a bunch of grown circus kids whose parents have died in an unfortunate spa accident leaving them to find new careers and lives. If that doesn't catch your attention, what will? LOL. Anyway, Rene's a master at quirky humor, evidenced by the flying pig, petrified prisoner, and quizzical captain, and yet I found myself tearing up over the final scenes which served as a metaphor for trusting God with our lives (my interpretation).

I mentioned Rachel Hauck's latest book, Love Starts with Elle, in an earlier post, but somehow I deleted it. So here's a two-fer. This is a super-romantic story that kept me reading into the night. It's about a woman who gives up her dreams to follow love only to end up questioning her future with him. Cool love triangle in this one. And there's a thought-provoking subplot involving Elle's sister, a single mother with a secret.

Today, my first book, Chocolate Beach, got a mention on Becky Miller's site, A Christian Worldview of Fiction. Glad to see interest continues with CB, and that it's still available! And I continue to receive fan letters about Truffles by the Sea (thank you very much!). Five stars on Cbd.com--yahoo! (There's a deep discount here if you buy them together.) I loved writing Gaby's story, and call me strange, but sometimes I wonder what she's up to now...;)

Next up, I think I'm going to read a classic Jane Austen novel. There are a few to choose from, so I'll peruse a bit before deciding. Might even watch the Jane Austen Book Club this weekend, to help me decide ;)

So here's to hitting the books, and a wonderful holiday, my friends. Have a beachy weekend--wherever you are!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today I think I'll...

It's a weird feeling to send off one's manuscript after cleaving to it for many months. I did that yesterday. And last week, I sent off the revision of another book idea that a pub. had been requesting. So basically, I'm FREE!!! (clears throat) Um, until I get feedback from my editors...

In the meantime, I've rehung some drapes, sold items on Ebay, cleaned out overstuffed school folders that hold my kids' work, contacted teachers about various issues--basically, all the stuff I've been ignoring for a while. Today I think I'll clean out & reassess my makeup drawer--especially since Teen Daughter's been pilfering (I just know it)--and spruce up the fridge. I'm also meeting a friend for lunch (have to eat, you know).

Ever have a season like this? I bet teachers who take summers off do. Yeah, we all think they're lolling at the beach, and maybe they do, but something tells me that summertime is also when they clean out the dustbunnies that have been holding tea parties beneath the beds all year.

So, when's your nesting season?