Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Been a little awol over here at blogger due to being, well, overwhelmed. This cartoon's a bit apropo at the moment because between sitting in front of my work all day and snacking while doing so, I'm starting to feel like that guy on the right there.


Friday, January 23, 2009

What are you reading?

Aside from all the writing and editing still to do, I'm reading a couple of books. I've got a cool new purse that's big enough to slip a paperback in, so yesterday while I waited at the car repair, I got sucked into a story and had trouble shutting the book when it was time to leave. That story is The Face by Angela Hunt.

I've also got an open copy of Marley & Me by John Grogan on my nightstand. And I'm loving that too.

And last week I finished up Patti Hill's amazing The Queen of Sleepy Eye.

Pretty soon I'll turn the last pages of these books, and I need some ideas. Since I'm deep into writing my fourth book, I'll need some fairly light entertainment for when my mind is fried from being in front of the computer all day. So go on, send me some suggestions...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back in the saddle again...

Since the holidays, my writing life has been in fits and starts. The great thing about working at home is, well, being at home. The hard thing about working at home is, um, being at home. Not complaining but the distractions (and food sources) are many around here. Kitchen visits aside, though, I suppose that with the proliferation of cell phones, it's pretty hard to avoid distractions no matter where your desk sits.

I bet you can relate.

So anyway, despite the wind and the barking and the desperate texts from members of my brood, the writing has flown lately (like the wind). The new characters are talking to each other and they're talking to me. Some are even bickering and pulling all kinds of stuff on each other. Great fun, I tell you.

As for Sweet Waters, which'll release next summer, I've received the last few chapter edits from Karen Ball, my editor over at B&H and here's what she had to say on Twitter: "The book came in strong, but now it sings!" Ya-hoo! Once this baby is put to bed, which'll be very soon, I'll be able to devote all my interrupted hours ;) to the next story that has absolutely captured my heart.

Such is life. We work hard, we celebrate, we move on. Here's to the next chapter--for all of us!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

construction humor

cracked me up because the novel I'm currently writing involves a development project along the waters's edge. So just yesterday I emailed my architect brother to ask what the "survey tripod thingie" was called.

He wrote back: "Is that a trick question?" Apparently, it really is called a survey tripod (thingie :).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Big Event (the other one)

Since nearly the whole world is watching TV today, and since from day 1 this has never been a political blog, I've decided to write today about the other event that's been on everyone's mind: The Bachelor (of course)

So here's my 2cents:

Stephanie's elegant--but probably not right for him. I do love her though! Melissa's cute, cute, cute, and probably has a shot at the final two. It's a long way out, but as of now, I think he'll end up choosing Jillian. She seems to dazzle him.

But wait...what's this? In the middle of writing this post, I went on the hunt for the name of one of the women, and ended up spying a supposed season spoiler on Youtube. Of course, I watched it. So, heh-heh, I may be wrong about my earlier prediction.

Moving on, I think it rather unkind the way Jason dumped the blonde gal(eek--can't recall her name). He twirled the rose in his fingers and didn't give it to her. Not nice. But then again, he might have been nervous. Or maybe the mean ol' producers made him do that to turn up the drama. If I were novelizing this, I'd do the same thing. Regardless, I posted a pic of him being dumped by Deanna, you know, to even the score (as if).

Finally, Erica's behavior made me feel very, very sorry for her. Oh to have one's selfishness aired in high-def!

Speaking of bettering oneself I was chastised last week for suggesting that a study of the book of Esther might be a good thing for some of the women, but hey, I'm studying Esther too. So what's good for me, just might be good for them too. Instead of a snark fest like the one shown this week, let's show the women getting down with the Word instead. Personally, I'd like to see it.

And a shout out to my friends battling winter in the east: may God keep you comfy warm today!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Calm, assertive energy

My neighborhood looks like the day after a parade on this fine MLK jr. holiday morning, but at least the winds are gone. For now. Over the past month, we've had many days of super-high winds where dry palm fronds literally pop off their hinges and smack onto tile roofs (we've lost 4 tiles at least) and cars or anywhere really. Maybe it's Global Gusting or something.

Anyway, Charlie the dog and I narrowly missed getting beaned on Friday by a wayward frond, and the sudden, heart-stopping sound of the fall caused the doggy to leap and skitter, and me to call the city parks dept. Still waiting for a call back...hm.

of being calm, Elementary Girl's soccer team played a tourney over the weekend and won their pool. They go on to the next set of games now. My daughter's been playing soccer for years and she's always been good, but let me just ask--when did she become such a monster defender? Oh my. So proud of her! But my heart? Not so calm. Come to think of it, my shoulders were pretty tense too. Lol...anyone else know what I'm talking about? So much for being able to maintain what the Dog Whisperer calls calm-assertive energy.

Ah, well. No games today, and so far, no wind. Think it's going to be a good one. Have a beachy day my friends--wherever you are!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Charlie & Matt

We experienced a miracle last night. If you've visited my blog before (or read my facebook or newsletter), you know about Charlie the Dog. We adopted Charlie last Thanksgiving from a rescue shelter, thinking that life would be idyllic with our new pet. Visions of romps thru the sand, and puppy kisses and happy times...yeah, not.

great with girls. And he loves my husband too. But not so much our teenage son, nor his equally testosterone-infused friends. Their presence brings barking and lunging and even some pants-leg chewing.

We could have taken Charlie back to the shelter. But that was not a good option--for either one of us. I also thought about looking for another home for him, preferably one with a sign on it that reads something like: WOMEN ONLY (except dogs)

But then I happened upon the name/number of doggy behaviorist (not a trainer...more like a psychologist for dogs). He spent about 5 hours with us last night, and helped us see that Charlie is in no way an 'attack' dog, but one fraught with fears. We pretty much knew that on our own, but nothing we tried was sticking--and we certainly never got to the point where our son could HAND FEED! Charlie, nor pet him like he's doing in this picture!

last night, a miracle occurred in our home. It's still a process, but something tells me there's a life lesson in here for all of us, one about not giving up--despite all the barking around us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Obsession Continues...

We've just completed two nights of the new season of American Idol. The calendars have been cleared, and potential visitors forewarned: we are preoccupied on Tues/Wed nights until mid June. (Unless we find something better to do.)

So anyway, I asked twitter/facebook friends what they thought of Kara, and so far, it's all good. I agree. She's a fun and actually helpful addition to the show. Do you think so too? I especially liked the solidarity she and Paula showed on night #1 when bikini-girl took the stage. You go girls!

And there were a few standouts I can think of at the moment, and heart-warming stories too (should have taken notes!). Off the top I remember the 16 year old girl who sang Etta James (nice!), Danny the recent widower (sweet), the mom of three who survived a tornado (she can sing!!!), and the middle school band leader who pulled off a Michael Jackson song (surprising). There were more, so remind me!

Meeting a friend for coffee
this morning, then I'll be writing until late afternoon when our new dog trainer arrives. Hope he can help us tame the wild beast we adopted, Lol... Seriously, Charlie the dog is a sweetie--to everyone except teenish-aged boys. Since we've got one living in the house (and he's got a ton of friends), this won't do. No, no, no. It's been tough, but we're hopeful!

Have a beachy day--wherever you are!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Calgon, do your thing!

Dog got out. One daughter ill. One daughter running late. One minute I'm dreaming of ocean breezes, the next I'm hyperventilating. But if life came easy, would there be anything to write about?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

In fact, it's conflict that I'm working to deepen in my new work-in-progress, the second in my Otter Bay Novel series. New characters, new story line, and yet the same beautiful stretch of coast as setting.

So one of the things I've done in my research is to to study a development battle that happened not too long ago in city similar to Otter Bay (which is a fictional town set on the very real Central California coast). It's fascinating what you can dig up on the Internet these days. Newsletters and articles and blog posts paint a bigger picture than what the finalized deal displayed. Plus, I'm getting first-hand accounts to help me make my own story that much richer. The more conflict, the better (and the more real!).

As for my own bouts of stress, I just might head down to the beach for a little respite today. Last week my husband and I happened to reach the sand just as a whale surfaced off shore. Such a breathtaking sight!!! It's whale watching season thru March, and I wouldn't mind a do over of this! And who knows, when my newest heroine can't take all the conflict anymore, she just might take herself--and her readers--on a little whale watching excursion of her own.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hangin' with Esther

Dashing off to the first meeting of the study I'm doing this quarter: Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman by Beth Moore. LOVE that title! And you should see the cover with its touch of whimsy--I like whimsy! Serious, but sort of humorous too--a thought-provoking mix.

I studied ahead a few days, and think this is going to be a terrific book of the Bible to really dive into. After watching The Bachelor last night (I fast forwarded through all that skin at the beginning. blech.), maybe I ought to recommend this study of super-faithful Esther to some of those gals as well, Lol...

Monday, January 12, 2009

weekend wrap up

I'm cranky today, so I posted this beach pic to lighten the mood.

it's the cold/allergies I'm fighting. Or the fatigue. Or maybe it's because I can't glance at the news without reading ad nauseum about the Pitt/Jolie snub of Ryan Seacrest.

Doesn't anyone have anything better to report?

I had an entire post about the GG written, but decided to delete it rather than make you all cranky too :) Haha--you're welcome.

On to other things: Over the weekend, we celebrated two birthdays and attended a fun dinner and basketball game at Pepperdine University in Malibu. A nail-biter of a game, but Pepperdine rallied and beat Loyola-Marymount by two points. We celebrated with a nearly midnight run to In&Out (for those not in California, this is the best burger place ever.)

Also played around with my sidebar--did you notice? I hadn't checked out the Blogger Basics in a while, so how fun to find that navigation and apps have gotten so much easier. I wrote a bit about my new finds on the CAN blog--a marketing blog for writers--last Friday. Feel free to pop on over and scroll down to the 1/9/09 post to take a look, no matter what your vocation.

I've already
spent the morning editing, now I'm off to write for a bit. I love taking breaks, so feel free to tell me about your weekend. Until then, have a beachy day--wherever you are :)

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's good to laugh

Today's my last day to sleep in. Elementary Girl starts back to school on Monday, and the super early mornings will begin again.

I so relate to Jesus here.


And Happy Birthday Dear Dad!!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Follow me...

Just added the Follow this Blog widget on my sidebar. Giving it a trial run. If you're so inclined, sign on in. (note: spammers will be deleted). Carry on to today's post :)

That's my resolution...and I'm sticking to it

It's been a week of resolutions. Coupon-clipping. Staying focused on writing projects. Watching The Bachelor (okay, some are more faith-inspired than others). Obviously, it's easy for me to get distracted. Ahem.

Where was I? Oh, so I was flipping thru the virtual pages of CWO (Christian Women Online) when I ran across an interview with Rebecca St. James by Lori Kasbeer. In it, the recording artist and author talks about her devotion to Compassion International, and you know, it hit home with me.

I'm coming up on twenty years (ack--how is that possible?) of supporting children thru Compassion, and I've never, ever regretted it. I remember praying that God would show me how I could help a child when I switched on the TV and saw singer Amy Grant talking about Compassion Int'l. I called the number right then and there, and have been with them ever since.

That was when I was single. These days, the kids also write to Nicole, who's able to attend school, be well fed, and learn about Jesus, all because of the Compassion program. She's very sweet and writes us often.

So many resolutions, so little time, right? We want more money, or to lose weight, or to watch reality TV all the livelong night, but what really makes a difference, FOREVER, is helping someone out of the pit of poverty, and into a life of health and faith.

So while I may fail to follow my budget at times, or I may play hooky from writing on occasion and head to the beach (don't tell my editor!), this is one resolution I'm determined not to break.

Is there a cause that's snagged your heart? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Mellow Bachelor

So last night, after a long day of editing, and coupon shopping, and hanging with Elementary Girl who's home for one more week of vacation, my guilty pleasure consisted of watching Jason on The Bachelor try to navigate a female-mine field. Can't say I agreed with all his choices for a rose, but hey, he's the one looking for a wife.

For the most part, it was a mellower show than most (I say 'most' because I've purposely skipped some of the more tacky episodes of years past and can't compare them all). One reason for the more pleasant viewing experience is that Jason's a single dad with a young son who's looking for a wife and a mother for his boy. So the ladies, most of them anyway, were watching their behavior. Besides, viewers already know Jason, and frankly, he seems to be a really sweet guy. (I know, I know, guys think he has us women snowed...)

Oh, but those edited previews for coming shows! Did you see them? Cattiness rears its head--and Deanna comes back! It appears that she tells Jason she made a mistake last season, and furthermore, it appears that he ends up in tears at the edge of a balcony. (I had to explain to my husband that women are not turned off by this sensitive male thing. Quite the opposite).

So it's going to be a good season. And I will be watching to stay current, to be a writer who keeps her finger on the pulse of our ever-changing culture. Yeah, that's why I'm watching, for research :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

money monday

Updated: I saved 91 bucks at the grocery store this afternoon--woot!

Back to our regularly scheduled post :) :

It's the first day of the new year!
Okay, not really. It feels like it though. Something about the holidays being over, and it being Monday, and kids going back to school makes today feel like the start of a new year. And with that in mind, I'm doing what I always do in Jan: Reassess the Budget.

You too?

This year, especially, money seems to be on minds (and in the news). Last year, I opened an ebay account, and actually made a few bucks with it (more on that at a later date). This year? Coupons.

I used to clip coupons religiously. But then I kept having more kids and less time. I started writing more, and found even fewer minutes in the day to scour the ads. Now I have teens--and their friends--and I'm spending a ton on food and all the rest. I love my kids' friends to hang out, so bolting the doors and hiding all the food is not an option.

So last night, I clipped coupons, stuffed them into an envelope with my list, and I'll be hitting the store later on this a.m. I've also signed up for a couple of online services to help me with my quest to save dough: The Coupon Mom and The Grocery Game. One is free, the other isn't, but I read this article online and decided to give them both a fair try.

I'll let you know how it goes. I've got more edits on my plate this morning, and a new book to write, so I can't be spending all my time on coupons, you know? But no one likes a deal better than me (I'm pretty sure of this.) If you find something that works super well, feel free to pass it along in the comments section (spammers will be deleted, however).

And if you decide to try The Grocery Game, please mention me in the referral section will ya? I'll get a couple of free weeks for that (and you will too when you refer others). My grocery game email is djcmailbox-djcextra at yahoo dot com.

Off to work. And then hit the stores. Have a beachy day, my friends--wherever you are!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New...video!

So while my husband was noshing on apps with some old friends in Malibu last night (their table was adjacent to Tony Parker and Eva Longoria's, I might add), I was feasting on pizza & KFC with Teen Kids and a bunch of their friends. Not that I'm complaining--they're all super sweet. It's just that, c'mon, Malibu. On New Year's Eve. How fun would that have been?

Well. In a family of five, including two teens with rocking social lives, there are bound to be scheduling conflicts. So I stayed home to chaperone. I also snuck into the other room to watch The Duchess in fits and starts. Riveting movie, but sad. If I had written this story, I think I might have ended it violently. Lol...if you saw the film and want to discuss this, bring it on.

On to new things. I hope you're enjoying your start to 2009! Already my mind's a whir of possibilities. Hopefully, the momentum will continue, you know? I've got a June deadline for my next book, but I'll try to post as often as possible, 'cuz I love my bloggy friends.

In the meantime, if you don't receive my newsletter (then why not? you can sign up on my sidebar :) Seriously, though, I posted a link in said newsletter to the video trailer that my publisher--B&H Publishing Group--created for my upcoming release SWEET WATERS. I'm re-posting here: you can view the trailer on the books page of my website.

I'd love to know what you think, so let me know, would you? And have a beachy new year--wherever you are!