Saturday, December 31, 2011


Hope you all have a beautiful new year's weekend! If you're not on my occasional newsletter list, then you missed my latest one. Here's a copy for a brief update on Carobini doings :)

And here's to a joyful and productive 2012, my beachy friends ~ wherever you are!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Day after Christmas

Hubby secretly snapped this photo of College Boy Matt and me as we walked the bluffs in Carpinteria. Beautiful day after Christmas here, so we had to get out and explore. Was impromptu, really ... and I'm so glad Dan suggested we stop.

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

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Parade of Lights

Last night we wandered down to the park to watch Ventura's Parade of Lights. It was like going back in time for us because before we moved to the beach area, we would drive to this same park and watch the parade from there. After moving to the beach, though, we made some close friends who invited us to watch from their dock every year. Sadly, they moved earlier this year.

Wasn't sure if we'd bother with the parade, but I'm so glad we did. Rather than drive over to the crowded harbor where the event originates, four of us moseyed on over to the park and watched from a bluff. SO fun. The night was cool, and we experienced moments of rain, but no wind! Yes! Loved how one of the boats had a Happy Birthday Jesus sign on it, and how others lit stars high atop their masts.

After the parade, fireworks were shot into the sky over the water. Ahhh...does it get any better? All this was free community fun, so yes, I guess that makes it even bettah :)

As they say in the movie, The Holiday, Happy Christmas, friends!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like ...

The whole brood is home for the holy-days! College boy arrived today, and the girls will finish classes tomorrow. Dan and I continue to work. Isn't that the way? Ha.

No matter. I've got a list of chores a mile long and I'm not afraid to assign them. Lol

Seriously, though, there are some things that I love to do at this time of year that have slipped through the cracks, so to speak. We're busy, for cryin' out loud, but it's time to slow down. To sit by the fire and enjoy the white lights of our tree, to walk the neighborhood after dark and watch the houses light up, to wander into the local garden store that transforms every year into a Christmas wonderland. We also have plans to visit some dear friends. These are the things I want to do this weekend.

What's on your list?

Monday, December 05, 2011

View of the Hudson

Teen Daughter's college apps are in, so now we wait. I say "we" because college-planning-and-decision-making has become a family affair. We sent College Boy off to LA a couple of years ago, and here we go again. Only this time, instead of a two-hour drive away, our eldest daughter wants to live in or near NY. Sigh. All but two of the schools she's considering are far, far away.

I don't know how I'll stand it.

But I do know this: she's not getting rid of us that easily. We've got skype and frequent flier miles--and we're not afraid to use 'em.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's that most wonderful time of year ...

You’re standing on a rocky overlook, sea spray landing on your cheeks, sunlight kissing your nose—and the hint of danger in the air. That’s the feeling of standing “this” close to a 5,000 pound elephant seal basking in the sun along California’s central coast. Thankfully, viewing areas, wooden fences, and friendly docents make it easy to stay safe. Ah, but what a view!

I’m a sucker for these animals in the wild. If you get a chance to visit California’s central coast during birthing season—December through March—do! (If you have to wait until spring, however, no worries. May is peak time to see female seals and their “pups” birthed earlier in the year.)

With its dazzling seascapes, rolling hills, and gorgeous wildlife, I’ve been fascinated with this picturesque stretch of California for years—so much so that I set several novels here. In fact, the coastal area from Cambria to San Simeon is the setting (with a bit of poetic license from me) for the Otter Bay Novels.

Oh, and this is fun—when you reach San Simeon from the south, look up the long and winding hill to your right and you'll see the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The castle has a prominent place in my recent release, Fade to Blue. From there, drive another five miles or so north, and you’ll come upon the Piedras Blancas Rookery. There you’ll find thousands of barking elephant seals swimming, fighting with each other, or simply lying around on soft sand—not unlike your typical, beach-loving family!

I hope the Otter Bay Novels inspire you to take your own trip along California's coast someday. If you do, tell me about your adventure, won’t you? I’d love to hear from you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Low Tide

Beautiful weekend on the coast! Summer is often foggy here, so late fall/early winter is the best. The tide was so low on Thursday that I could walk out (almost) to the end of the jetty. Sooo fun--at least I thought so. Doggy didn't seem to care for it, ha.

Ah, well, I'm back to work. Have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Black Friday! (Does that look as weird as it sounds?) Hmm. Anyhoo, wanted to let you know that ALL of my beach reads are discounted in my beach shop and include FREE shipping in the USA. I'd be happy to sign any or all for gift giving. Just let me know.

You can reach Julie's Beach Shop on the button bar above, or go directly to the beach read category here.

Happy shopping (and wrapping) :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mind Over Madi

UPDATED: 11/23/11 Congrats to Lauri! You're the winner of Mind Over Madi. Woo-hoo! Thanks, everyone, for playing!

Fellow ACFW member, Lynda Lee Schab, and I met online several years ago after she read one of my books and dropped me a note. (Thankfully, it wasn't a scathing review or anything, ha ha.) I'm SO excited to announce that Lynda has a book of her own now, Mind Over Madi, published by OakTara.

Here's the blurb:
All men cheat. At least, that's what Madi's mother has always told her. Madi McCall admits her husband lacks a little in the romance department, but all in all, he's been a good husband, a good father. Now, though, she suspects Rich is having an affair with Fawn Witchburn, the mother of one of his fourth-grade students. To say Fawn shows off her "assets" more than should be legally allowed in public is an understatement, and Madi's insecurities kick into high gear. When, in a heated moment, she asks Rich to leave and he complies, Madi is forced to deal with her issues. Issues of love and trust she's tried so hard to avoid. Issues that trail all the way back to her childhood and make her act like a total moron.

Julie here. I've got an extra copy and would love for one of my readers to have it for the holidays. Just comment on this post with your email address AND tell me what time your family has Thanksgiving dinner. (I won't be showing up or anything ... just checking to see who's paying attention :) I'll let you know the winner's name on Wednesday at noon, PST.

Now, go forth and comment! (p.s. Just learned that IE sometimes prevents people from commenting. Until I figure out why, try Mozilla. Works great :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You like?

Kelli Standish of Pulsepoint Designs lightened up my website and blog for me. Amazing what a new shade of lipstick, er, background colors can do for the psyche. Know what I mean? I wanted the same design, but a little less, oh I don't know, boom. I wanted some softness with my sizzle, some seaglass inspiration for my beachy website.

So anyhoo, she's lighter and brighter and that fits me--and my mood--just fine. Now if only I could find that perfect shade of lipstick ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I have disappeared ...

If you're looking for my website, it's a bit under the weather today. Hang on ... my trusty web designer is on it!

Updated: I'm back. Thanks for noticing I was gone in the first place ... :)

p.s. Busy schedule lately. If you're on FB, feel free to connect with me there. If not, I'll try to post something fabulous here soon. Pinky promise.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

college daze

This is the building that houses the admissions office at Drexel University in Philly. Doesn't it make you want to go to school? Outside the locale is urban and hectic, but inside evokes reverence. The hallowed halls of learning and all that ...

Teen girl is deep into application time, which for a fashion design student means more than transcripts, essays, and test scores--as if that weren't enough. It means creating dazzling portfolios for each school. Have I mentioned that my drawing talent goes no farther than the stick figure? Yeah. I'm not much help to her.

I honestly don't remember things being this complicated when I applied to college. But then again, I applied to one, got accepted, and went there. Bada bing bada boom.

Anyone else going through the college app process with their child? How's that going for you? :-)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Live in the 805

My son, Matt, attends BIOLA University and works as a school ambassador. He gives tours, makes phone calls to prospective students, and he blogs for the university. His blogging gig even landed the school in the Huffington Post and you can read about that here.

Anyway, Matt usually blogs about dorm life, but this weekend he came home and waxed poetically about that instead. (He even posted a gorgeous photo of the Ventura coast that makes me want to walk to the beach this instant!) Thought you'd enjoy a snippet of life in Ventura from a college kid's perspective. Notice the first two draws on the list are food, hmm ...:

Matt's Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Four states in seven days

If you're a friend on Facebook, you've probably already seen some of the photos I posted from our trip back east. My daughters and I arrived home late Saturday night after a week of travel. We flew to NYC and visited colleges, then drove through NJ to Philadelphia where we toured Drexel University. The first photo is of Independence Hall (close to wear the Liberty Bell resides). One special benefit from the timing of this trip is we were able to enjoy vibrant fall color. We don't see much of that at the beach :-)

We then drove to Northeast Pennsylvania and stopped in to see my sweet father-in-law, Geno. By that time, the weather had turned colder, drizzle had begun, and leaves had fallen. My daughters are in the second photo, strolling through weather in the low 40s. By the next day, the temp had dropped to 26 degrees! (And yes, we had a light dusting of snow).

We finished up our trip in Ohio, where the sun came back out to greet us. When we arrived home--after a 3.5 hour delay in Phoenix, of all places!--we learned that parts of the east were snowed it. Yikes.

All-in-all we toured five colleges: Marist (Poughkeepsie), Pratt (Brooklyn), FIT (NYC), Drexel (Philly), and Kent State (Kent, Ohio). Loved the trip, but so glad to be back at the beach--and to write to all of you again!

Have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Monday, October 10, 2011

our divine romance

Our 21st wedding anniversary is coming up next week, but it's sunshine and roses around here all the time anyway. LOL ... doesn't that make you gag? Seriously, I love my husband. People ask, What will you do for your anniversary? And I have no idea. He gave me these roses weeks ago for no apparent reason, so I guess that's why we're not particularly organized about the anniversary. (Although I do have to say that he surprised me last year with an amazing dinner out, but still.) The truth is that the man's a romantic, through and through, no matter what time of year.

Maybe it's because our early years were tough ~ something I've begun to (finally) write about. We met when our lives, individually, were deeply painful. And God's been working on me for the past two years (maybe longer ... was I listening?) to write the story he gave us. Every time I tried, though, I gave up. It became tough both emotionally and creatively and I always turned to something else. Ever done that?

I'm not sure how long it will take me to get this story out. I've got editing projects, a writing assignment, plus several proposals floating around that may be picked up soon. When it comes to God, however, you can run, but you can't hide! Or I guess you can, but who wants to hide from the Savior of the World?

Not me :-)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A little editing humor to start your Tuesday

Unless you don't find this particularly funny (as I obviously do ;-)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Soar on

College Boy's having a blast working as an Ambassador for BIOLA University. He blogs, makes phone calls, gives tours - and writes the occasional ditty to advertise the school. How cool to do something you love AND earn gas money! (Mommy is thankful ...)

So anyway, you've heard of "planking"? That thing crazy kids do where they lie down like a "plank," often in weird places (say, across the tops of bathroom stalls, which is pretty gross, but apparently popular ...)

BIOLA students, however, are being encouraged to "soar." And their mascot is an eagle, so why not? There are cool photos on the school's FB page showing students "soaring," i.e., suspended in mid-air. Some are pretty funny, and you have to wonder how many takes those took.

In this video, Matt (on the right) and his friend, Seth, are singing a song Matt wrote about soaring. I'm shy and would never sing in public, but Matt inherited the hambone in our family (my dad is super hammy ...), so that explains it ;-)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cel-e-brate good times, c'mon ...

It's birthday weekend in the Carobini house starting today with pre-teen girl becoming Teen Girl II (because we already have a Teen Girl ...).

Tomorrow College Boy turns 20 - wha?! what?! When did THAT happen?

Then on Sunday, Hunk o' Burnin' Love turns, ... well, another year older =)

Yes, three, count 'em three, family birthdays in a row. God has such the sense of humor, don't you think?

Happy Birthday to all of my dear ones. Let the par-tay(ing) begin!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Waters on Kindle

Learned this morning that Sweet Waters, the 1st of the Otter Bay Novels, has been experiencing a second-wind with brisk sales in the digital market. PTL! To celebrate, my pub decided to drop the price on Kindle to $2.99 for a limited time.

Something's up because paperback sales of A Shore Thing, the 2nd book from Otter Bay, have also been on an uptick. My guess is readers are missing summer and all the beachy-goodness that goes along with it, so why not take a virtual vacation to Otter Bay?

No magic formula exists for book sales (well, other than begging Justin Bieber to hold up a copy at one of his concerts or something =), and there's so much vying for readers' attention these days (think: "Squirrel!" from the movie, Up), that all I can say is Thank you so much! for giving the Otter Bay Novels a spot on your nightstand. I'm honored and tickled pink! (Insert squeal here.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mobile Office

BEAUTIFUL day here on the coast! Now that fall has arrived, fog has been lingering lately, grey and web-like. The kind that sends even a beach-lover like me fleeing eastward to Ojai (where you can find lots of heat, mountains, and celebrities hiding on their ranches ...)

Okay, fine. Not really. I only threaten to head to Ojai. Like the skies care when I beg them to turn blue? Anyway, today the fog managed to dissipate early - hooray! I'm working on a project that requires concentration, so instead of staying in my home office surrounded by disarray of all types, I packed a bag and hit the beach. Came home sandy, and turning pink, but - voila! - I have something ready to be typed. I think I'll treat myself to a piece of Dove chocolate. =)

My daughter's watching last night's episode of Giuliana and Bill on our DVR in the other room and I'm smiling. Have I mentioned how cute those two are? (And SuziQ, I must get a copy of their book! Thanks for telling me about it.)

Okay, back to work, in my normal, desk-outfitted office. At least there's still sand between my toes!

Have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whipped cream with that?

The nearby foghorn's constant drone finally convinced me that summer has left Ventura. To mark the occasion, I allowed myself a pumpkin smoothie from Jamba Juice. I've been turning up my nose at all the pumpkin-y offerings around town - lattes, muffins, yogurt - because, frankly, I didn't want to see my beloved summer end. It left me anyway and I've settled into resignation. And noshings with nutmeg added ...

On the upside, the beach is still nearby, fall flowers have their own special golden glow, and I'm on to some new editing and writing projects. So I guess you could say that the turn of the season is really Just another day in Paradise.

How are you adapting to the changing season? More importantly, how do you feel about drinking pumpkin?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Otter Bay eBooks for under a buck

Woke up to an email from my biggest fan ~ my mom ~ announcing that my first two Otter Bay Novels are a keen 99 cents on Kindle and Nook.

In Sweet Waters, Tara Sweet longs to live the fairy tale she remembered from her childhood in Otter Bay. When she arrives, she finds a soap opera waiting for her instead.

A Shore Thing is the story of Callie Duflay, an activist in Otter Bay who fights both the development of coastal property and her growing feelings for the architect assigned to the job.

I didn't know about this sale, so I've no idea how long it will last. In other words, get 'em while their hot! =) And please spread the word, too! (UPDATE 6:00 PM: You can also find these 99 cent eBooks on and iPad.)

Here are the links: Sweet Waters KINDLE, Sweet Waters NOOK

A Shore Thing KINDLE, A Shore Thing NOOK

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

The shimmer of Time Square ...

Teen Daughter and I are planning a quick trip to NYC in the fall (That noise? That's the sound of our savings spilling down Fifth Avenue ...)

Angie's a high school senior and hopes to attend college in NY, or possibly Ohio (I know ... what?). So she and I will head east to tour campuses and buy shoes. I just hope we can hit up all the places she wants to see and have time for a show and maybe some streetside haggling. It'll be a whirlwind, for sure!

This photo is from her summer college program in New York last July (second from left). She spent a couple of weeks out there studying Fashion Design--and was hooked. Like we were really surprised ... ;)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Super-size me

The more I write and edit, the more I have to wear "cheaters." You know, those lovely glasses you pick up at Target? Hubby tells me they look sexy (right), but it feels more like I'm wearing indoor goggles. That's a pretty picture, huh?

Maybe it is the kind of work I do. Yes, that's it. It's not, pshaw, age or anything. It's the work, I tell you. Ha!

Ah, well. If only life were written in large print ...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Giuliana & Bill

Yesterday I called my mom to see if she wanted to help me walk off all the poundage I gained after eating my way through the holiday weekend. Instead, Dad invited me to join them for lunch. What's one more day?

So while we're eating, my dad asks me for the billionth time, "Do you watch The Closer?" I laughed and reminded him that, no, I do not. Nor do I watch Blue Bloods or any of the other TV shows that make you think. My parents actually watch TV to think. Apparently, I was adopted.

So anyway, I don't watch those kinds of show, but instead I'm obsessed with Giuliana & Bill on the Style channel. This is a fairly new obsession. I caught a couple of episodes last year and couldn't get enough of the reality show of a prince and his bride. Okay, he's a winner of The Apprentice and she's an E News anchor, but they're SO cute together. Who cares that their reality show is scripted? She's Italian and he's, well, he's not, but they have great chemistry and what appears to be genuine love for each other.

And they make me laugh. Last week Giuliana stressed over Bill's surprise 40th b'day party. Bill didn't want any big party, of course, so the entire show was spent with her convincing him to have a little weekend getaway with friends ~ which they do ~ only that was really a smokescreen for the BIG bash she planned for him later in his hometown of Chicago. Loved watching her blubber during her speech at his bash, talking about how much she loves him and how much he loves all his friends and family, etc., etc. ... sigh. With moments like that, who needs to think?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Learned today that one of my shop's vendors just sold their brand. So hoping this is a good thing and that my supplier doesn't change much because my little beach shop would be so sad without their beachy products. The Webkinz people bought them and ~ how weird is this? ~ my new rep lives in ... Ventura. A national company and the rep is in my backyard. It's got to be a sign or something (A beach sign, perhaps? Lol ...). Seriously, I think I could sell beach stuff all the livelong day and be happy.

A friend and I were talking about careers over coffee the other day and she said something like, "I know what I do well, and so I do that. But if you ask me what I'd be happiest doing ... well, I have no idea."

As for me, it's hard to say. When a story gels in my head and makes it onto paper, I'm happy. When readers write to me, I'm happy. But I'm fickle. I get bored. Sometimes I wish I could travel the world finding treasures to stock my beach shop. Then again, I'd probably spend more time buying than selling, and there's this little thing that my family enjoys doing called "eating" ...

Ah, well. There's a darling shop in downtown Ventura that draws me in like a cat to catnip. It's filled with beachy signs and shell-encrusted mirrors and seaglass-inspired everything else. I call it my "happy place" and laugh all you want, but just walking in there puts a smile on this girl's face.

Have a place like that too? What's it like? And if you could do anything (and still eat), what would that be?

Monday, September 05, 2011

Laboring in the summer sun ...

After a couple of chilly, foggy days, the sun showed up bright and early this a.m. Wa-hoo! A sunny Labor Day! My husband declared that I should enjoy the day since I was in labor three times over the years (delivering the kids, he meant). I can accept that! So after some house and yard "labor," hubby and I took a leisurely ride along the state beach bike trail. Lots of peeps out and about, but we tried hard not to hit any of them ... ;-)

Portions of the bike lane had been crumbling into the sea for years, but finally, the trail has been fixed. This second photo shows how pristine and wide open it is now. Nice!

Hope the weekend was a beautiful one for you, too. I pretty much ate my way through mine ~ not proud of it, but hey, it was a holiday! (She says as she wads up another Dove chocolate wrapper and tosses it into the trash ...)

Here's to a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are =)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One lump or two?

So a writer-pal started a discussion on Facebook about whether or not she should give up the pen and apply for a job at Starbucks. Got me thinking. Maybe I should apply? Did you know that employees receive a pound of coffee per week. Can you imagine? Sumatra one week, Espresso Bean the next, and French Roast after that ... Would be like a veritable smorgasbord of morning wake-ups every day!

Maybe I'm not really joking. Sometimes my eyes are tired and so is my creativity. The waiting for everything in this business ~ decisions, contracts, sales figures, emails ~ can make a young girl like myself ;-) feel downright old and decrepit. Not to mention all the sitting that must occur before and after said decisions are made. (Sitting too long can shorten the lifespan they say!)

So I'm thinking coffee should be my next career. A couple of local stores are hiring. Hubby says I'm nuts, that they'll make me get up at 4:30 am to open the store. "They're open till 11!" I tell him. Ah, but he thinks that newbies will get that oh-so frightening early morning shift. "But think of all the neat coffee tricks I'll learn!" He hesitated at that.

Maybe I could be one of those baristas who etches works of art into the froth. Hearts are so yesterday. I'm thinking bigger, like writing DREAM or JOY on top. Or maybe a nice GOD LOVES YOU (would that even fit?). Oh, but drat. It all comes back to writing, doesn't it. Sigh. Maybe writing and editing has become more than a career ... maybe, it's become my addiction.

Kind of like that first cup of coffee in the morning ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beachy weekend

First off, The Marketplace in Tustin is HUGE! You know you're from a small town when you can't believe you can drive through an outdoor mall for more than five minutes and still not figure out where you're supposed to be! Of course, I've always been directionally-challenged, but whatever :)

The good news is we found the big LifeWay store at The Marketplace in Tustin and I made it to my signing. Woo-hoo! I walked in to a flurry of activity (VeggieTales characters were there :) and began signing books nearly immediately. Not only did buyers pick up Fade to Blue - oh, how I love that story - but the store sold out of the other Otter Bay Novels too! Thanks to Karl, the manager, and the staff of this beautiful, new store for making me feel welcome!

Also thanks to ACFW members Scott T. Barnes, Paula Michelson, and Marlayne Giron for stopping by too! So enjoyed meeting you all in person.

Today is GORGEOUS in Ventura. I'm stuck in front of the computer with some writing/editing stuff, but in a few minutes I plan to pull on my Nikes and hit the beach for a nice run. Okay, a slow jog. But, still.

Have a beachy week, my friends, wherever you are! (And prayers for those in Irene's path ... may she skip right over you and into oblivion.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Veggietales and Me

This Saturday, I'll be signing Fade to Blue at the NEW LifeWay store at The Marketplace, 2902 El Camino Real in Tustin, CA. Can you believe it? A NEW bookstore??? With the demise of so many, this is definitely something to be celebrated. (The photo's from a previous signing at a different LifeWay store.)

So in honor of the Tustin store's grand opening, I'll be there. As will Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber of VeggieTales fame (I kid you not!). I keep telling my friends that maybe I'll dress up like "Julie the Jalapeno" and vie for a role in the next VeggieTales DVD. Could happen =)

If you're in SoCal and want to check it out, I'll be there at 1 pm (the fabric/human veggies will be there before me). And I'll also be giving away a "beachy" Lazy Susan too. Hope to see some friendly faces!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Beach reading ...

Something about summer and reading that just goes together, you know? Kind of like fall and reading; and winter and reading; and spring ... you get the picture! Anyway, I've been writing and editing for so many years that, sadly, my reading time has been cut drastically. So in July, I decided to pick up a few titles that I'd been eying for a while.

Started it all off with In the Company of Others by my favorite author, Jan Karon. Savored every morsel of this beautiful book. It's set in Ireland and I just learned that a good pal of mine is headed there next month. So guess who I'm loaning my copy to?

Next I read The Help. I've written here about this book before because it's amazing. Kathryn Stockett wrote it in first person, in three different points of view. I loved each one of the characters whose minds we were allowed into. The movie was terrific BUT not as good as the book. What can I say? There's something about allowing the characters' voices to sprout into real, live human beings in one's own mind that visual productions can rarely match.

I've loved Kristin Billerbeck's writing for years, and her earlier first-person novels inspired me to write a few of my own (I loved What a Girl Wants, for example). Her newest, A Billion Reasons Why, is a fun and romantic story set in New Orleans. Never been there, but reading this story made me feel as if I'd visited. SO hungry for a beignet now ...

Just finished Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax. Never read Wax before, but the title and cover just drew me. Big surprise there, huh? Some sketchy language but you know what? It wasn't gratuitous; the words fit the characters. I grew to love not only this story, but the characters themselves. And I learned a ton about Florida, which is cool because I now have several family members living there. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to visit ... after hurricane season ;-)

I'm back to writing today and for the rest of the week. But I'm on a roll, so I've got another book started on my nightstand. How about you?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Saddle up

College Boy's in the market for a car. He's only got so much mula, but we want to make sure he finds something safe and reliable for his bucks. Guess it's an age-old problem. Lol ...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Editing and ACFW Conference Special

In addition to the ghostwriting assignment I mentioned yesterday, I also work as an editor on various projects. My love for the details feels like a sickness sometimes. I recently picked up the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (aka the editor's bible) and was positively giddy. I'm involved with an online editor's loop and we get into all kinds of discussions, such as whether to include quotes in internal thoughts or why in the world Jan Karon's latest book uses single quotation marks throughout for dialogue.

Like I said, it's a sickness. But for those who need an editor's eye, such nerdyness (okay, a made up word) can also come in quite handy. So I've updated my editorial services page to include more offerings and details. Find the button above or click on this link: Editing Services

Oh, and I recently joined CEN (Christian Editor Network) too. Members of CEN are required to pass rigorous (read: super tough) tests before acceptance into this nationwide organization. Yowza! T'was like going back to school. Glad to know I've still got it. Lol ...

p.s. One more thing! If you or someone you know is a member of ACFW, I'm offering a special for those attending the upcoming conference: $15 OFF the price of my Fiction Proposal Critique Service. See Editing Services page for what this service includes (scroll down about half way). Just mention the conference when contacting me. Thanks!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Write on

Today, I'm working on a ghostwriting project. At least, I will be when I log off ;) Years ago, I worked as a ghostwriter for trade journals, writing articles for executives in the insurance and banking industries. Yawn, right? That's why I don't do that anymore ... Fortunately, I'm doing something much more interesting and life affirming and I'd tell you about it, but then I'd have to kill you. Sorry.

So we had an amazing weekend, but now it's back to school for one kiddo, and back to a deadline for me. Saw The Help. Liked it, but liked the book better. Isn't that the way??

Also made an impromptu stop at the Ventura County Fair on Friday night to see Trace Adkins. HUGE crowd; so fun! Afterward, we walked to downtown Ventura and joined our girls who were taking photos of the cast of a locally-filmed movie, Bellflower, in front of the theater. My girls handed a camera to a bystander, then jumped into the cast photo (that's them on the right). Lol ... not sure where they get their moxy ...

Have a beachy week, my friends ... wherever you are.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clear daze

As usual, we've got heavy fog this morning. The good thing about this summer is that most days the haze clears by afternoon. Here's a photo (sorry about the quality) from a couple of days ago. Charlie the Dog and I sat on a bench contemplating life (well, maybe he was contemplating seagulls aka dinner ...), while the water glimmered and beachgoers frolicked. Totally enjoyable.

The Fair is still going on and the nights have been so clear that we can hear the bands from our house. Pretty weird since it's quite a drive down the road from us. Last night I could hear Lifehouse singing Take Me Away from my bedroom window. And a few nights ago, hubby and pre-teen girl sat outside and listened to the Beach Boys (I kid you not!). We sit around and theorize that the night air carries the sound through the cloudless skies then bounces off the water and into our bitty beach home. Or something.

School starts next week for my youngest and I'm not ready. Last year of middle school for her, though, so we're going to savor it. Glad that next year she'll start later in the summer! Hoping to enjoy every moment of her last weekend of freedom :). We're going to see The Help, go to a couple of pool parties, and maybe even stop by the fair one mo' time.

Here's to a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are :) Feel free to drop me a note about your doings, okay?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Help is on the way ...

I am EXCITED to see The Help this weekend. Wanted to see it today, but I'm waiting for Teen Girl to finish the book. Soon! I love this photo because it reminds me of, well, me. Not that I look--or ever looked--like Emma Stone, but because I was the popular girl in my college dorm whenever someone wanted to borrow my typewriter. I, of course, had one. Even in college, when I studied to find a real job, I dreamed about writing books someday. I bought my electric typewriter with part-time job money and lugged it around with me to writer's conferences whenever I could afford them. Actually, I rarely could afford them, but went anyway.

Since reading The Help, I've read another book, but I'm still thinking about the former. The characters are so real. The images so seared in my mind. The writing so counter to what so many writing teachers advise. "Don't write in first person!" "Don't write in present tense!" Yada, yada, yada ... baloney. I was sucked in from page 1.

Have you read The Help? Plan to see the movie? If you do, tell me -- but don't giveaway any secrets, 'kay? :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sittin' on the top of the bay ...

So College Boy's gig as a camp counselor is winding down. Many of the counselors have left to head back to their homes in other states, but since we're fairly local (only about 25 minutes away), Matt has opted to stay on another week or so. As I mentioned before, the group came by one Saturday night for food and fun, but this past weekend, they dropped by again. This time, they brought a ton of sandwich fixins and drinks (thanks for the leftovers, guys :), and just hung around making YouTube videos, watching our youngest daughter's copy of Bieber's Never Say Never, and generally saying goodbye after a long summer of camp counseling. They also kayaked.

When we moved to the beach about 8 years ago, D and I went a bit crazy one weekend and bought three kayaks: 2 singles and 1 tandem. Best. Investment. Ever. Over the years we've acquired a few toys that stuck for a while (trampoline, anyone?), but it's the kayaks that have endured the longest. Now that college days are here and we're sorta broke ;), kids and friends can still grab the boats and the paddles and hit the water. For free. Love!

Have a toy like that? Do tell! And have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer surprises

Finally feeling better! How strange to get a cold in mid-summer. It's unAmerican, Lol. Ah, well. Wanted to mention that my friend, author Carrie Padgett, wrote an article about a couple of my Otter Bay Novels for Salt Fresno Magazine. This was a complete surprise and it's wonderful! Hope you'll check it out. Here's the digital link to the magazine (it's also available in print):

After clicking on the link, just use your cursor to turn the pages until you hit page 9. I'm next to an article on Soul Surfer, which is pretty nice company if you ask me :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

3 bucks, 2 bags, 1 me ...

Had a party here on Friday night for College Boy's fellow camp staffers, a yard sale early the next morning, then picked up Teen Girl at LAX late last night (plane was two hours delayed). Today, I'm sick. Waaaa! I know people say that men are babies when sick, and women are toughies, but basically, I'm a baby. And my man does a good job taking care of me (Honey, will you pick me up some cold medicine and make me breakfast, lunch, and dinner? kthanxbye!)

At least I'm honest. I hate being sick (doesn't everyone?), and on days like this all I want to do is hide in my room with my remote and a stack of dvds and magazines. So glad it's Sunday and an "official" day of rest, because otherwise I'd be forced to face the world.

On a happy note, my daughter's back from her 2+ weeks in New York where she studied how to take the fashion world by storm. I'm seriously jealous of her. Okay, not. But happy. Really, really happy to see that she traveled on her own, made a ton of new friends, saw the sights of NYC more than once, and learned so much about fashion design from Marist College. You raise them up and hope they fly with confidence, and when they do? You get to breathe a sigh of relief ... even if it's a little wheezy from a cold.

p.s. Know where I snagged this title from ... ? :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Start spreadin' the news ...

So Teen Daughter is still in NY on her pre-college trip (studying Fashion Design) and last eve, the college took a trip to the city. They visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and viewed the Alexander McQueen exhibit, Savage Beauty, had dinner at Ruby Foo's, then took their seats for a Broadway musical. Priscilla Queen of the Desert recently won a Tony for best costumes, so it was a natural choice for Fashion students to see. But what wowed my daughter was the finale because ... my cousin, Dan Navarro, co-wrote it. We Belong (remember Pat Benatar sang it??) is a song my fam can sing in our sleep! My kiddo texted me from the theater, beyond excited. I contacted Dan and it turns out that he and his son were in the theater the night before. Considering they live in CA, this is a mighty small world were livin' in!

Cheers, Friends!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Relax ...

Relax: To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon the water is the most perfect refreshment. Love this sign. Sometimes that's all I want to do ... just sit and look upon the water and think about, well, nothing. For some reason, I'm reminded about our trip to Pennsylvania about this time last year. We attended a family reunion at Parker Dam and, at one point, several of us rented kayaks. The day was humid and I found myself alone in the middle of the lake just resting my eyes on the water, noting the expanse of mountains around us. I remember wanting to stay there as long as possible so that I could recapture the loveliness the next time life became less-than.

Something about water, you know? It's mid-summer, what have you done to relax?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday tidbits

Kidless this week because College Boy works at a summer camp (and lives there), Teen Daughter went to NY for a pre-college program (that's the "lunch" she and her suite-mates had the other day. Oy!), and Pre-Teen Girl is away at church camp. No pressing writing deadline at the moment either, so what a blessing to have so much time for my sweet mama who had to be admitted to the hospital a few days ago. She's back home now and resting (hospitals are terrible places for that!), so that's another relief.

Did you hear that William and Kate were in nearby Carpinteria? Many reports said they were in Santa Barbara, but the truth is, the polo club where William played is located in Carp, the next big town north of Ventura. Snobbery abounds around here, tho, because Santa Barbara apparently sounds so much more "Grey Poupon." Whatever!

Off to mail a package to my travelin' girl who will spend her 17th birthday in NY. Is it okay to admit I'm a bit jealous??! :) Actually, I'm thrilled for her. She's having a ball!

Have a beachy week, my friends ~ and drop me a line when you can.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Free summer read

Happy Tuesday! I hope you're enjoying your summer. Wanted to let you know that K. Dawn Bird is featuring Fade to Blue today and she's giving away a copy. I love this book and the feedback received so far. Would love for one of my blogger lurkers (you know who you are :) to win it. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment over on K. Dawn's blog.

Ciao for now :)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Lazy day of summer ...

Had one of those days that's the stuff of dreams. Well, maybe not some people's, but in my laid-back beach chicky's dreams anyway. No soccer, so we dallied around the day together with various members of the household spilling in and out.

The hot sun shone overhead, so D & I set up pre-teen girl and friend in our pedal kayak. Gave them a good shove and a wave, then we walked Charlie the Dog to the beach. Along the way, we passed neighbors on bikes and on foot, and strangers too. This was one of those days when people stroll about with lazy smiles on their faces.

Later on, we headed out for iced coffee, then passed our girls and friends heading back down to the beach. Hubby had some work to do, so I sat in my lounge chair and sketched some possibilities for our backyard re-do on the cheap. (You should see the stack of Sunset and Coastal Living magazines I went through!)

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm bragging because the truth is, life is often, no it's usually, fairly chaotic. I've got deadlines, family beeswax and taxi-driving to do, but for some reason, not today. Have you had those kinds of days? Sure hope so! I'm thankful for a true beachy day ... and for the freedom to live it that way.

Happy 4th of July weekend to all my buddies in the USA. And a beachy rest of the weekend to all my friends ~ wherever you are :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Repost day! ~ Why My Wallet is Empty Today

Just for fun, a post from 2006:

Just got an email from my publisher. They want a photo of me for next year's catalog. Oh my. Well. The thought sent me flying into the bathroom to rifle through my paltry makeup drawer. Ugh--not good. Did I mention that I went to the mall after that? Got myself loaded up on under-eye concealer, blush, lipstick, and even some thermal skin polisher (whatever that is). Everything I need to look as fresh and line-free as possible. Check out the photo, above.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sandy Shoes

I love this sign's sentiment. There's something so carefree about it, don't you think? Life is so often not carefree that I like to remind myself of its potential :->

I sell these in my beach shop and have yet to snag one for my own wall. Think I'm going to have to change that ...

Have a beachy day, friends (wherever you are :).