Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hee-hee ... almost done

So my editor and I keep trading these fun emails about my next book, which I'm so excited about by the way. See, we're in the final stretch of getting this baby out of the bathtub and into something sweet smelling like typeset pages and a cover. Not the final, final, but the advanced reader copy (aka ARC). This is the book that's sent off to reviewers everywhere along with a lot of prayer that they'll LOVE it and say so in time for the book's release next May.

So the other day, one of her comments in the margin used the phrase "for charity's sake." As in, "For charity's sake, why don't you do this?" LOL I made the change she suggested, laughing all the way. As it turned out, she didn't mean it the way I read it and left my original verbiage intact.

See why it's so good to have a sense of humor, people? Writers have the worst self-esteem at times (take it from one who knows), but sometimes we just have to shrug our shoulders and laugh. And then hope that somebody out there somewhere laughs back.

p.s. Happy Birthday to my sweet pre-teen daughter! Age twelve today!

Monday, September 27, 2010

train daze

Taking a little excursion today to celebrate my mom's birthday. She's loved trains forever ~ my grandfather worked for the railroad ~ so we're hopping aboard for some scenery and treasure hunting. We took a longer excursion for a milestone birthday last that here. This will be a quicker trip, but lotsa fun too!

Here's to hoping my editor's not reading that I'm playing hooky today ...;-) Have a beachy day, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Take a hike

So I had this crazy idea that life would slow a bit after I returned from Indy. That I'd sit out by the beach and watch the waves crash while thinking up fresh ideas to write about. Ha ha ha ... not. Anyone else do that? You think "After so and so, I'll have time to do so and so..."?


The good news is that I'm busy with good stuff (except for the laundry. That's bad. Very bad!) Writing and editing and working with the super cool 8th grade girls at youth group. I'm making plans with friends for coffees and lunches, and today I even managed to get to the BEACH with Charlie the Dog (woot!). And, yes, the stirrings of a new story idea piqued my interest as we walked along on this sunny day.

The moral of the story: get out of the office! Even if just for a bit. Never know what fresh new ideas will come your way. Know what I mean?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ACFW conference thoughts (part 2)

I took a class at ACFW called Six Stage Plot Structure. Loved it. Michael Hauge taught it, and although the class is meant for screenplays, the points he made work in the book world too (with some tweaks). I love the idea of creating a story with cinematic quality ~ probably because I'm such a visual thinker. How about you? When you're reading a book, is your mind watching the film? Do you 'see' the characters walking, talking, tripping, smooching (for all you romance readers ;-)? Michael used Shrek, Hitch, & Lars and the Real Girl to demonstrate his points. So, yeah, the classroom with all the laughter coming from it ... that was ours ;)

Also took a class from Jenny B. Jones on writing humor in fiction. Good stuff in there. (And she won not one, but two Carol Awards during the banquet!!!) Jenny pointed out that humor isn't just the slapstick kind in comedies. It's also used to diffuse dark moments in drama. Case in point: Steel Magnolias. I've got a love/hate relationship with that movie. So painful to watch. But the clip Jenny showed was spot on. Sally Field is railing and weeping over the death of her daughter, and just when you feel like your heart can't handle another word, one of the other characters steps in with desperate humor, a startling moment that diffuses one of the darkest scenes of the movie. Excellent class.

The photo is of Jim "Rooms" Rubart and me at the ACFW banquet. (That's CS Lakin looking thoughtful and scholarly in the background ...;) Jim's a B&H author too, and I enjoyed getting to know him better. We talked about our kids, writing, and the wisdom of ordering fish at a restaurant in a landlocked state. Lol

I arrived home and haven't stopped once. In addition to all the fun stuff of mothering (taxi driving, lunch making, homework shepherding, yada yada), I've been tearing through the edits of my next book with my editor, Julee Schwarzburg. On a tight deadline, so we're working fast! Hope to write more soon!

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

ACFW conference thoughts (part 1)

Just returned home from the ACFW conference in Indianapolis. Whew! Whirlwind, for sure. Three days, non-stop classes, appointments, meeting people I've only known via FB or Twitter, Divine appointments, snippets conversations in the goes on and on. Sweet Waters was a finalist for the Carol Award. Didn't win, but such a huge honor to final in the contest. Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay won for Never the Bride ~ kudos to them. I've never read Cheryl before, but Rene's one of my faves :) This photo is of B&H Author Pam Ewen and me at the Awards Night Banquet. Think Emmy Awards for writers. Everybody dolled it up and was on best behavior :)

The night before Julie Gwinn of B&H (my publisher) hosted a delish dinner at Harry & Izzy's in Indianapolis. Burned our mouths on their spicy, TV-worthy shrimp cocktail. No, really ... we were told it was featured on the Food Network's, Best Thing I Ever Ate. Forget sinus medication ... this thing was chock-full of enough horseradish to cure whatever you've got.

So many highlights and so much fatigue (11 hours of travel each way). I plan to write more in the days ahead. If you're interested, come on back. I hope you will! Until then ...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'll be heading to Indianapolis in the morning to hang out with a bunch of crazy amazing writers for one long weekend at the ACFW conference. I'll try to post photos here and there as I can. Have phone will shoot pictures! :)

Also wanted to make sure you knew about Blogmania going on over at through tomorrow only. Lots and lots of fun prizes in two categories: Beach Reads and Life's a Beach. Included in the prize round up is A Shore Thing and a sign from julie's beach shop. Stop on by, leave a comment, and you might win something fabulous. Tell Vicki I sent you :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Enchanted Hill

Turned in the edits of my next book, Fade to Blue, then supervised pre-teen girl as she finished up a monster science project. Phew! Next I turn to packing for my trip to Indy on Thursday. So many details ~ no idea how/if it'll all get done, so if you happen to see me at the ACFW conference wearing mismatched shoes...don't ask.

Anyway, hubby took this photo last time we toured the Hearst Castle. My next book is about a gal who restores art for the castle, so naturally, I had to pay La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill) a visit. It rained that day, hence the old hat :-) We didn't care. The surrounding area is pristine, people, pristine! After sifting through the manuscript, and reading about tidepools teaming with glowing anemones, and art-filled rooms, and casual dinners at the Red Abalone Grill, the local (but fictional :) hangout, I can't wait to head up north to "Otter Bay" for a respite of my own.

Here's to enchanted getaways ... !

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friendship, friendship ...

Did a mini-tour of Borders stores last Saturday with writing pal, Kathryn 'Katie' Cushman. Signed books, ate hamburgers, and yakked for several hours. We're both up for the ACFW Carol Award next Sunday ~ and in the same category. "That's why we're not talking," she quipped during our Q&A time at Borders Goleta. Lol.

Not a chance. Love her and her books. I'll be in Indianapolis for the banquet, and sadly, she won't. But if she wins, I'll do a little dance in her honor (if my feet don't have blisters after a busy, 3-day conference that is :)

It's Monday and the edits of my next book are due ... today! And my daughter's daunting 7th grade 'leaf project' is due in the morning. Sigh. Gonna be a long day ... have a beachy week, my friends (wherever you are :)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Visiting a friend today

I'm over at Sherry's Blog today. Come by for a brief interview and you'll learn a bit about the inspiration behind A Shore Thing. I met Sherry Kyle (that's her in the photo) at the Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference. Not only is she a writer, but she's a sweetheart too ~ and a former Biola Betty. LOL ... apparently that's a term of endearment for the female students at Biola (my son's school). Sherry met her Biola Bob in college...and the rest is history.

Hmm... wonder if they still call the students that? I'll have to ask my kiddo. Gives me an excuse to call, you know? ... :-)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cruizin' the beach

Saw another cool beach buggy down at the, well, at the beach yesterday. Pretty, huh? You can read my previous posts about beach ride obsessions here and here.

Hubby was with me at the time. Whenever I yarn on about beachy rides, he just nods and utters a contemplative, "Hmmm...." Like the other day when a guy in a VW Thing drove by and I swooned a little. So anyway, our youngest can't understand the obsession. She was with us when we walked by this red Country Squire and I just had to have a photo.

"I'd die if you ever picked me up from school in that thing, Mom. I'd die!"

"Not only would I," I told her. "But I'd strap a surfboard up top before heading out to your school!"

I might have even said 'pink' surfboard. LOL

Monday, September 06, 2010

emails that go bump in the night ...

Just keeps getting eerier ... So last week I told you that the hero of another writer's novel called my house. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

Then last Friday evening, I opened up my email and received this (in part):

I'm just curious where you got the inspiration for your Gage Mitchell character because it keeps coming up in my Google Alerts and he sounds a lot like me actually... from what I've read. Strange coincidence, I know.

My name is Gage Mitchell and I own a small sustainable design studio. I think your character is an architect, but I'm a graphic designer. Both creative design fields, both eco-professionals, both with a cool name. ;)


After 'tweeting' about this latest email from 'a character' of a book ~ my book, this time ~ a Facebook friend also asked how I came up with Gage's name (Hero of A Shore Thing). So for the record, here's a glimpse into the strange mind of this writer:

...My hero's name must sound strong. I tend to favor one syllable (so far there's been Doug, Jake, Josh, Gage, and coming up, Seth). And Gage looks like (wink, wink) the actor, Simon Baker ~ so of course, ...the name had to fit. Also, I look at what the name means. Gage means measurer (which works for an architect, don't you think?) and Mitchell indicates faith ~ it is a name that stands for the question Who is like God? Finally, it has to sound good to the ear. Yes, I practiced saying it a few times in the privacy of my tiny office closet :)

So there you have it Real Gage Mitchell (with the real strong name :) and Readers ~ the rather involved steps I take in choosing character names. (Would be so much easier to open up the phone book and choose at random, now that I'm thinking about it ...;)

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

Friday, September 03, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'll be signing books with my pal, Kathryn Cushman, at TWO Borders stores next Saturday, September 11, 2010. If you're in SoCal, stop on by for some early Christmas shopping! (Seriously, we'd be happy to inscribe Feliz Navidad, Happy Christmas, or whatever you'd like :)

(This photo's from 2007, when Katie, Jim Bell and I held our Promises, Chocolate and ... Murder event.)

I'll be signing A SHORE THING, an Otter Bay Novel. In this story, a fiery young woman's fight against a beachfront development gets personal when she begins to fall for the architect assigned to the job.

Katie will be signing ANGEL SONG, her fourth book and one she co-wrote with Sheila Walsh. In this story, angels eagerly watch over Annie Fletcher's every move. She just doesn't know it yet.

If you're in the 'hood, we'd love to see you:

11 am to 1 pm
BORDERS ~ Oxnard
241 West Esplanade Drive
Oxnard, CA
(805) 988-6886.

3 pm to 5 pm
BORDERS ~ Goleta
7000 Marketplace Drive
Goleta, CA
(805) 968-1370