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! (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?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here Comes the Judge

As Sarah pointed out yesterday, American Idol just hired a new judge: Me. Haha, kidding. I don't know a cowbell from a triangle... Actually, it's Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi. According to the AI website, the original plans for the show called for four judges, rather than the three we've all come to love (or hate, as the case may be ;)

My guess is it's more than that. We know the show can survive on three judges, but what if one of them leaves? It's probably a good idea to get audiences used to a new face, so if the time comes and someone drops, it'll be an easier transition. Don't you think?

In other American Idol news, David A's first cd, Crush, is about to be released. David Cook's cd is supposed to be released soon...I hope!

Anyway, auditions have already begun (not sure if they're over yet), so another season--#8--will be here before we know it. With all the homework the kids already have this year, and more writing deadlines for me--oy vey--will we be getting any sleep at all?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spread Thin

I've noticed a trend lately among my blogging buddies: Burnout. Weekly I run across blogs announcing that they're taking a break, or never coming back. Just today I learned that the Blogging Chicks Blogroll that I've been on for a couple of years is about to go dark.

Even I've had less to say lately (although hubby would probably not back me up on this...) Is it the proliferation of online communities that have spread us too thin? (Myspace, facebook, shoutlife, CCM, yadayadayada...) Have businesses caught on and blocked users? Is it the reality of what sitting too long does to a person's bum? (I'll be heading out for a walk after this, btw)

Eh. Don't know. What do you think? Have you noticed this too? What's the cure? Hm...I think the folks in this video may have found one...;) Take a min. to watch--it's worth it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

That's what someone said to me one year when I told them I'd just dropped of my kids for their first day back at school :)

Back to School came a little too quickly for me this time around, partly because this summer's been rougher than usual. Two dear people in our lives passed away, and I find myself thinking of them--and eternity--often.

I've also had the book deadline to contend with--a blessing for sure, but tough with three kids and a revolving office door. (Note to self: Next summer, thicker insulation and a new lock for the office...)

So yesterday, after the kids were settled in their classes, and after I'd spent some time editing my book, I hopped on my bike and headed to the beach. The sand was virtually empty, except for gulls and the occasional mom with toddler in tow. Blue sky, breezy sunshine, warm air--a welcome, meditative mindset. Why don't I do this more often? Why do I allow myself to regularly miss days like this?

I'm not sure of the answer, and I'm still a little sad that summer's come to a close (maybe not on the calendar, but in the household for sure). I'd like to think, though, that as my kids began a new season yesterday, so did I.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome to my World!

For all who've wondered, here's a looksy into the publishing world. Notice the importance of rhythm to the process, LOL... My favorite part is when the editor shoves his current manuscript off his desk, haha, that's classic. Wish I'd thought of it!

Friday, August 15, 2008


Let's Hear it for the Boy... Almost Paradise... Holding Out for a Hero...

Lol...yeah, some of the old classics for you. Last night Teen Kids and I saw a live production of Footloose, a musical based on the film about midwestern kids fighting for their right to dance. Lots of terrific characterization and faith questions too. (Word is that a remake is in the works, with Zach Efron. Perfect.) I've waxed poetic about live theater on several occasions, including when Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber appeared on Idol.

Anyway, in case you missed it, Kevin Bacon's a dancing maniac in the 1984 movie of the same name. I had the album in college (Go ahead; do the math. I'll wait. Ready?) Anyway, I played that thing constantly in my dorm room. Actually, it went more like this: I'd put on the album, and jump onto the bed while my roommate Tracy threw open our door and shouted into the hall, "Everybody get foot-loose!" Then we'd scream and dance and occasionally throw a trashcan out each other. Not sure why on that last one.

Ah, memories. Lol...

So back to last night. Kudos to the Rubicon Theater Company!!! What an amazing, electric production! The singing, the dancing, the serendipitous trip down memory lane... Especially fun since the kids all new at least a couple of the performers. Wish I could see it again.

Have a beachy weekend...wherever you are!

p.s. If you're a Footloose fan, I'd love to hear about it :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random writings...

Author and reviewer, Donald James Parker, over at The Christian Pulse posted a super nice review of Truffles by the Sea. Fun to read a guy's perspective. (Other than my hubby and father's--since they have to be nice to me ;) Please stop in, and while you're over there, check out the Pulse's cool features.

Just finished up a 10-page marketing packet for my editor over at B&H Publishing Group. Phew! Wrote it while watching more of the Olympic swimming semi-finals, so I hope I didn't accidentally change the hero's name to Phelps or anything...Lol

Anyone have a Kindle? Yeah, me neither. But if you do, and you'd like to see my books on Kindle, you can do a one-click request over on Amazon. Click on the page, look beneath the book's cover and click on "Please tell the publisher: I'd like to read this book on Kindle." Here and here.

It's nearly midnight, on a school night (still finding that hard to believe), so I'm off to get some sleep. Sweet dreams, everybody...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer...don't go

Elementary Girl started school already. Already! Teen Kids start up in a week. Hello, summer? Where'd you go?'

Despite the rigors of early mornings and homework, summer's still here, and I'm not ready to let it go just yet. Admittedly, the weather's turned to the breezy, cool side here along the central coast (Global cooling perhaps?) But just a momentary blip, I'm sure. Until the calendar makes it official, I plan to enjoy the long days as much as possible.

My dad gave me an email lashing of sorts the other day because I've not been talking about the Olympics. Um, sorry 'bout that. I guess since the latest news loads up every time I log on, I figured 'nuffs been said. That and my own watching of it has been spotty (too much time hitting the beach--not)

I missed the fabulous French trouncing the other day by Phelps, but caught most of his other great races. Watched in awe last night as a super-strong Chinese gymnast wowed the crowd, and took in those graceful synchronized divers too.

The swimming events are probably my most favorite to watch--I competed for three years on my high school swim team back when (100 Free, 100 Back, and 500 Free, not that you asked). Too out of shape to swim more than a lap these days (working out, another thing on the to-do list), but it's still a thrill to watch those maniac swimmers attacking the water they way they do.

Anyway, what's been your favorite race so far?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

That's SO ... Raven

Today's the last day of the Ventura County Fair at Seaside Park. Waaah! Our fair's a hit along the central coast because it's practically on the beach. When the ride lines get to long, you can get your hand stamped and actually walk over to the beach for a breather.

Went twice this time around, and don't even ask how many times Teen Kids went (I'm broke. 'nuff said). One of the nights, I accompanied a group of girlies to the Raven Symone concert. That's Raven in the pic, shaking her booty. Wasn't as much a concert as it was a dance show, but the girls loved it so what do I care? They even opened the mosh pit half way through so the girls could see the sweat on Raven's brow.

Btw, I've embraced texting--the only way I could truly communicate with Teen Daughter all the days of the fair. I mean, it's so loud you can't hear enough to talk, but whenever I needed to find her, texting was the way to go. I used to abhor the idea, until I heard Bible teacher Beth Moore talk about how she texts with some of the teens in her small group. I realized that if I wanted to keep up with the times, with my own kiddos, then I'd better join the program.

Now my kids can't get rid of me, Lol...

Ah well, the sun's out, and God is good, so I'm heading out to spend the day with family. Have a beachy day, my friends, wherever you are!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What's your philosophy?

Elementary Girl had a couple of teeth pulled this morning. Three kids, and three dental surgeries in the past two months. I'm thinking of getting a second job...kidding.

Seriously, though, I watched in awe as the dental assistant prepped EG for her minor surgery. She gave her some laughing gas, and adjusted a flat screen to eye level so she could watch The Parent Trap as the doctor pulled her teeth. How cool is that? We could've had them knock her out, but then she'd have to deal with all the lovely aftermath of that. This escapism thing was much better, in my opinion

Lately, I've been working with a publisher on a non-fiction project. I mentioned this months ago, and some of you kindly responded to my survey for SAHMs. The project continues to morph, and at this writing, I'm re-working it in various ways, including writing it with all busy mothers in mind.

But in the process, the issue of escapism has come up, and we're not talkin' teeth here.

We all have our ways of dealing with hard things, and even just the daily tough stuff. Is it escapism when we run off to the beach to heal? Or distract ourselves with Disney movies during dental surgery? Or is that just learning to deal with life's tough stuff in ways we humans know how?

I admit, I've want to escape at times. Often in raising kids mothers get to a point of no return, a place where they're so worn and frazzled that they need to refill somehow. I'm not blaming this on the kids (at least not at the moment, haha). There's just a lot to do--a lot I want to do--and sometimes I just run out of steam. Know what I mean?

As a Christian, I know the power of the words God left for us. Often, I pull out my Bible (I love The Message version), and I don't need to read long before feeling a Supernatural strength holding me up.

Other times, though, I still have to get out of my disorderly house, or I'll go crazy. I'm enormously thankful to live near the beach, where I can go to pray without someone asking 'what's for dinner'--others prefer the mountains or a park or a river, and hopefully, they can find access to one. Many, many other people do not have the luxury of 'escape', their lives too oppressive, cluttered, demanding.

So is this escapism? Or reaching for solace in times of need? Maybe it's what we reach for that's important. Hm... I'm still working through some things, so tell me what you think...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Finding Stephanie

Finding Stephanie is touring this week! I've been reading this novel in between editing my own book, and really enjoying it! It's got romance, suspense--and horses :)

About the book: When she put her dreams on hold to help run the family ranch, she never imagined they would slip out of sight. Luckily for Stefanie, those dreams are about to come knocking at her door.

Lincoln Cash has gained fame and fortune on the big screen, but a crippling secret leaves him one last chance to make his mark on the movie industry. With dreams of hosting a new film festival, Lincoln intends to remodel a sprawling ranch in eastern Montana to make it the new Hollywood hot spot.

Unfortunately, a house fire threatens his plans. So does opposition from his new neighbor Stefanie Noble, who's not thrilled about his Tinseltown changes. What Lincoln and Stefanie don't know is that the fire won't be the last disaster to threaten Lincoln or his future. Someone is out for revenge... but who? And who is the real target?

Read an excerpt here.

About Susan: Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. (She's also a fabulous teacher and fun person--we met in Dallas last year.) Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia , was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia , Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

Grab your magnifying glass and join Susan on a Fact-o-Find!

Answer these questions about (some of) the bloggers on the tour and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to the movie theater of your choice (you know, so you can see some of Cash's great movies *G*)! Email Amy your answers ( )

Ready, get set, giddy-up!

1. Which blogger is adopting a girl from China ?

2. This word 'featherbunkle' is found on which blog?

3. Which blogger is supporting the 'Pickens Plan'?

4. Which blog is "The Cutest Blog on the Block"?

5. Which blogger is a S@HM and also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, nursery director, and woman that is just trying to keep it all together?

6. Which blogger is taking the Southern Reading Challenge?

7. Which blog asks 'How may we serve you'?

8. Which blogger refers to her son as 'super good big guy'?

9. Which blogger is a self-proclaimed 'Starbucks Addict'?

10. Which blogger is a big Trekkie?

See blog tour schedule here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Changed for the better

Just got in from seeing Wicked at the Pantages, a classically ornate theater in Hollywood. Hubby, kiddos and I drove down early and parked at my cousin's home, then made the less than a mile walk to the theater. Along Hollywood and Vine, we walked over a bunch of 'stars'--Audrey Hepburn, Shirley Temple, The Beach Boys, to name a few.

Loved the show! Have you seen it? It's a 'wickedly' creative precursor to the Wizard of Oz. Lots of fanciful story twists (always fun for a writer to see), awesome effects, and good music. Teen Daughter sang a solo/duet of For Good at several performances during her final year of middle school, so of course we all new that one by heart ;)

And yeah, we're the diehard fans who wait behind the theater by the stage door, hoping for autographs. Took an hour, and some tired feet, but we got (most) of 'em! (One actress wasn't feeling well...:( )

p.s. The title of this post is a nod to the song, For Good. Just can't seem to get that one out of my head...!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Kara Down Under's giving away a copy of the book that started my novel writing career: Chocolate Beach. Click on over (or would it be 'under'?) and leave a comment to be entered.

Took Elementary Girl and friend to the fair today. They rode every crazy ride in sight; things that twisted them around, spun them upside down, shook them side to side. At the end of the day they decided to go on a 'baby ride' over in the kiddie section, just for old time's sake. It's one of those tea-cup style attractions that has a turnstyle in the center for participants to control.

Well, when they emerged from spinning themselves silly, they were both green. (And we're not talking the environment here, unless you consider restless stomach bile to be environmental in nature ;) They had to sit down, and recover, from the 'baby' ride. Isn't that the way...?

And no, I didn't ride any rides. But I had a nice vanilla latte, and at least a dollar in change leftover on the way out, so I've no complaints. Have a beachy weekend, my friends--wherever you are!