Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spa Day

After the busyness of the past week, we could all use a little spa action, right? =). But seriously, it's mid-day and I've finally gotten dressed and started the day. Considering I was up at 4:30 am seeing College Boy off on his cross-country trek to URBANA 12 in St. Louis, I'm offering myself a little grace (and a second cup o' joe). Happy to spread some grace your way too!

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and are looking forward to a rockin' New Year. If you received a Kindle or Nook from Santa, you can pick up The Spa at Winter Beach (A Seaside Novella) for only 99cents (or you can read it on your iPad, iPhone or computer via the Kindle app.) It's short and sweet and perfect for cozy reading by the fire. Please spread the word because I'm not sure how long the price will stay that low.

As for me, I'm taking it slow today, easing my way back into working. Already called a friend, prayed for another, and I think I might watch an episode of Downton Abbey. Appreciating life, as it's just so precious ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

O Christmas Tree ...

Took this photo last weekend just after sunset in Newport Beach where I'd had an early dinner with the "Orange County Girls," as my fam calls them. The "girls" and I've been friends since we were on the opening team of a hotel across the street from Disneyland when we were college students. LONG time ago ... haha ...

Every year we try to get together to swap ornaments, stories, and memories. Mmm ...This year, we actually met up twice. Sweet times. Wild times. They haven't changed, I haven't either, and yet we have.

Then again, after taking this picture and a slew of others, we all ran down to the water in our heels, laughing and screaming like teens. Maybe some things really don't change all that much after all :)

Here's to a beachy Christmas, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Hoppin'

 Happy Wednesday, Sea Lovers! As I mentioned last week during my own blog hop "interview," I've tagged four others to answer questions about their books and/or WIP (works-in-progress). Here are their links so you can peruse their sites:

And if you're not on my occasional e-newsletter mailing list, why not?? Ha. Kidding. But seriously, you can read my latest news here.

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

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Merry and Bright

Been trying to find out if I'm on the naughty or nice list, but Santa won't budge. So I guess I'll have to wait and see ... just hoping no coal finds its way to my stocking (unless it has a name like Coach or Dolce Gabbana etched across it, haha).

Not very wintery out here in California. Low 60s and hazy sun, but that's about it. Still, it's not about the weather or dear ol' Saint Nick anyway, is it? With all the busyness, I'm working to keep my mind and heart focused on the One whose birth we celebrate at this time, year after year.

After posting this, we'll be heading to church to worship and pray. He doesn't need us to be there, but oh how we need Him ~ know what I mean?

How do you keep your eyes focused on that faraway star?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

As I mentioned earlier, The Spa at Winter Beach is now available as an e-novella. Great timing, then, that author and friend, Carrie Padgett, nominated me to participate in this week's blog tour. Seriously, I didn't plan this!

This tour is sort of like a chain letter for readers who love to know the hows and whys behind a particular book. Carrie, whose blog is called Chocolate, No Nuts, answered ten questions about her work in progress last week ~ and today it's my turn on the hot seat. I hope you'll stick around and learn a bit about my new beach read! At the end, I'll nominated four other writers who will post their own answers to these questions next Wednesday, December 12th.

So here we go ...

 What is the working title of your book?
The Spa at Winter Beach

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I originally brainstormed with three other authors to write a four-in-one book set in a spa at Christmastime (Sherry Kyle, Karen O'Connor, Michelle Ule and moi). We put together a proposal for our agent, but ultimately, the publisher we submitted it to was sold. After a time I decided I wanted to finish Juliana Moss's story, and make it a wintertime story instead.
What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary Romance (by the sea :)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Emma Stone, and someone like Hugh Dancy (except with an American accent and a few more muscles).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Juliana Moss, a jilted home stager, hopes that spending a week at The Spa at Winter Beach will cure her broken heart. Will a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger offer healing ... or reopen old wounds? (Okay, that was two.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My first five novels were represented by an agency, but this is my first self-pubbed story.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
I started this story a couple of years ago then picked it up again fairly recently, so it's hard to say. It's not a full-length novel, so probably about 6 weeks.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I've seen reviews of my other books that say my writing is similar to Kristin Billerbeck and Melody Carlson's. I'm honored!
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I'm inspired by the shore, and in this particular story, by the coast in winter. But I also had this quirky idea about a home stager who breaks a BIG rule in the business ~ and then has to "run away" because of it. And what better place to run away to than a spa at the beach?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? This is the perfect read to curl up with by a fire on a wintry night. Although light and romantic, it also stokes the flames a bit about what we sometimes think we know. It's available on Kindle and Nook.

Thanks for reading! Next Wednesday, please visit the following fantastic writers and friends to read about their new books or works in progress (both fiction and non-fiction) Feel free to pop over now because I'll remind you again next week :):

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Sneak Peek Sunday

Update 12/3/12, 8:45 pm:  The Spa at Winter Beach is now available on Kindle and Nook

Ta-da: The cover of my upcoming e-novella, The Spa at Winter Beach. You like? Makes me want to close up the office and head to the beach ~ even in the rain.

I'll be talking about the origins of this story in the days to come, but in the meantime, I promised to show the cover here and on my Facebook page first. The novella itself will be released on Amazon and Nook in the next 24-48 hours.

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Hoppin'

Next Wednesday, I'll be participating in a Blog Hop Tour and answering questions on this blog about my new, soon-to-be-released ebook The Spa at Winter Beach. My friend, Carrie Padgett, invited to this little soiree, so I hope you'll hop on over to her blog today, and learn a few things about Carrie and her latest book. Here's the link: Chocolate, No Nuts.

Happy reading and have a beachy rest of the week, my friends ... wherever you are!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Sunday, Friends!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Truffles and you ...

Truffles by the Sea is free on Kindle for today only.

Happy small business Saturday, my beachy friends, wherever you are ...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seeing Stars ...

Last Friday I had the privilege of attending/working at an event to honor pastors, hosted by our local radio station, KDAR. Here's a shot of me with author and speaker, Greg Smalley. Note to self: Must call my hairstylist, Terri, stat!!! But seriously, Greg is hysterical and poignant, and that's a gift! If you ever get the chance to hear him speak--go.

Mickey Rooney ~ yes, you read THAT right ~ Mickey Rooney was in the house! Let me tell you, there's nothing like seeing an icon like Mickey stand and raise his hands to God as the band led us all in worship. Powerful stuff, peeps! (Just to clarify, in this photo, Mickey is waving at the crowd, not participating in worship, which happened earlier :-)


I also had the opportunity to pour tea for the lovely Margaret O'Brien, probably best known for Meet Me In St. Louis (but my dad, a film buff, will probably correct me about that!).

Today I was back to the drudgery of working in front of a computer screen. Not a celebrity in sight ... ah, well. No complaining here :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gracias ...

Happy Saturday! Rain's coming down, but it's all good (washes the heron poop off the house!). I'm so excited because my designer is working on the cover of my ebook, due to release in just a few weeks. LOVE the photo he's working from, and can't wait to show it off.  I'll reveal it here first =)

Lots of stuff to be thankful for - and in case I forget, my Facebook pages have been overflowing with gratitude posts lately. Yours too?

Here are a few of the things I'm thankful for: Family, friends, a light Saturday rain, the beach :) ... and most importantly God's unending love now and through eternity. Have a blessed and beachy Thanksgiving week, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Island Views ...

Happy Wednesday. It's officially the hardest day of my week, every week, but especially today. Not that I have much to complain about. Life is good, but it just isn't exactly what I want it to be sometimes. Funny thing is, my son recently changed his Facebook profile page to green grass because of the "grass is always greener" cliche. So ... I'm taking that to heart!

One thing that never seems to change (except in a good way) is my view of the sea here on the central coast.. Ahhh ... this morning the sky was pink and the waves were flat. Very [insert Christian zen-like word here].

So here's to Thursday. May it usher in Friday like blue water lapping onto sand :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Breaking news ...

... Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have broken up. (Apparently it's a slow news day :) 

Bad news is it may be too late for Teen Girl who recently took down her more-than-life-size poster of JB. His loss ...

Good news is we may be visiting England next year, home to four of the boys from One Direction. She's already seen them in concert (and yes, she already has tickets for next August's concert in LA ...)

Must find a way to write off a trip like that ... wondering if I should set a book on that end of the pond. Hmm...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

It's Wednesday ...

Watching X Factor and The Voice (alternately) with Teen Girl, writing a super fun novella on my laptop, and munching dark chocolate-covered almonds. Life is GOOD!

Watcha doin'?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pinky swear ...

Teen Girl and I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Philadelphia to visit College Girl who moved across the country more than a month ago. I snapped this shot of them surreptitiously as they walked along, pinky in pinky, like they do at home. My heart swells with happiness just thinking about how close they are, and at how hard I laughed this weekend over ... well, I really can't say. It was girl stuff! =)

The more I visit the City of Brotherly Love, the more I'm smitten. On this trip, we shopped in the boutiques of Old City, strolled through Penn's historic campus, ate decadent desserts in University City ~ the pumpkin cheesecake rocked ~ and watched street dancers bounce on wiry arms in Rittenhouse Square. Such good memories, all.

Today I'm back and doing a final read-through of an editing assignment, then it's on to some writing that's been awaiting my attention. Here's to love, new journeys, and beachy days, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thinking of pie ...

So Teen Girl and I wandered into Pier 1 today and bought some candles that smell like spice cake. And that reminded me that we hadn't stopped at the local pumpkin patch in, oh, about eight years ~ not since she was in kindiegarten and I was one of the carpool moms. It's crazy that just because the kids grow up and move out (two in college now ... sniff sniff) we halt traditions, such as wading through hay and dirt to find the perfect pumpkin to grace our doorstep.

And so while out shopping for clothes that we never did find, we took the scenic route home along corn-dusted farms and leafy fields that stretch nearly to the sea. I love these roads, just a long stone's throw from our beachy neighborhood. By the number of cars entering the makeshift, dirt parking lots, so do our neighbors and visitors.

The big guy in the seat belt looked pretty lonesome out there in the patch surrounded by fashionable plus-sized gourds, their round bellies protruding like giant swim rings ~ and we were both smitten. He has personality, we said. The guy at the wooden check-out shack called him, "lanky." What started out as a hunt through a vast pumpkin patch turned out to be a quick trip when we spotted this big guy and brought him home.

Here's to new seasons that resurrect old traditions. Have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Too good not to post

Hubby took this pic while we sat on a dune and watched the sunset. SO nice after spending the afternoon down south in sweltering heat for our daughter's soccer game.

Happy Sunday, friends! Here's to a beachy week ahead ~ wherever you are =)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

It tastes better than it looks ...

I tried hard to think of a good post to go with this one, but really, I've got nuthin'. We've been back from Philly for more than a week and I'm still missing College Girl. Weird that she's not here in Cali, cracking me up like usual. Changes the dynamics of the house when one of the kids leaves. Incidentally, College Boy is home more these days. He's a junior with classes two days a week, so he comes home the rest of the time. I mean, why wouldn't he stay where the fridge is (fairly) stocked and he can sleep in his own stinky bed?

Our youngest is adjusting as best she can. She's a high school freshman who's usually joined at the hip with her sister. But that's rather hard to keep up when you live on opposite coasts. Every night we pray for her sister--and thank the Good Lord for inventing texting :)

Getting back to the Philly cheesesteak in the photo, you know, I didn't actually order one of these while there (sorry the photo's upside down; Blogger hates me), but Teen Girl tried a couple of them--for comparison sake, of course. I took a couple of bites but they're really not my thing. But as my husband said, "When in Rome ..." So, yes, he had a Philly cheesesteak AND a yuengling, because it's a law or something =).

Happy weekend, friends! Here's to family and dining like the locals ...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We returned from Philly the other night after dropping off our oldest daughter at college. Miss her bunches already, but somehow this beach chick gave birth to a city girl and I know she's happy. So that helps. Moving her in was a lot different from the time we moved our son onto a serene, enclosed campus. As I mentioned, she's in the city ... with traffic ... and zero convenient parking ... and on this particular day--rain, lightning, and 45-mile an hour winds. Welcome to the east coast, right???

Anyway, hubs and I did some last minute shopping at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond that had set up on campus--brilliant marketing plan!--and found this box of duct tape, which incidentally College Girl needed to patch a hole in her dorm room wall (I know, right?). I love this photo because there's not a drab grey in the bunch. Life's too short for plain vanilla, so kudos to BBB for thinking like a college student.

Hmm ... maybe we'd all be better off to think outside the box. Have a beachy weekend my friends, wherever you are =)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Falling for it

As I mentioned to a friend on Facebook, around here we've continued to have summer weather--except for yesterday when the air turned cool and it drizzled much of the afternoon. It was as if the weather knew the pumpkins were coming and that it should act accordingly.

Hate to admit this, but I've got my own Starbucks gold card. Yes, my name is imprinted on it and everything. Addiction at its height, I'd say. But the good thing is I've earned enough stars for a free drink, so woo hoo for that.

Today I'm wearing long sleeves (thin ones :) and heading into Sbucks for my free pumpkin latte (non-fat, of course!). Sometimes it's the little things that act like a dollop of whip cream on a long day.

Hello, fall!

Friday, August 24, 2012


Pink sky at night, sailor's delight ... and all that. Please don't let a little thing like school starting make you think that summer's over. We've still got another couple of weeks, right? (At least on the weekends =)

Not that I'm not looking forward to digging out the fall scarves and picking up a new pair of boots. But patience is a virtue, they say, so let's enjoy those last lovely days of summer .. the sand ... the pink nights ... the palm trees swaying until the sun sets late in the evening. I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more I savor.

A happy FRIDAY to you, my beachy friends ... wherever you are :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy Thursday! Ducking in to let you know that Chocolate Beach (recipe edition) is FREE on Kindle today only. Just thought I'd mention it.

Hope it's sunny where you are. Ventura is humid and overcast today ... what's up with that? Here's to a beachy weekend ahead ... wherever you are :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oldy but goody ...

Update: It's up to a buck 99 now, but that's still a good deal, methinks.

Back to the original post :) :

The owner of Trufflehounds in downtown Ventura said that fans of my book, Truffles by the Sea, took a pic of themselves outside of their chocolate shop one day. How cool is that? If you didn't know, the shop depicted in the book - the one Gaby regularly visits for "sustenance" - is based on our very own local chocoholic emporium :)

If you haven't read T by the Sea and have a Kindle, it's on sale for 99cents. Not sure how long that will last, so wanted to let you know.

Have a beachy weekend, friends - wherever you are :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Surfer's Knoll

Dreaming of last weekend ...

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Are you watching???

Swimming - check. Beach volleyball - check. SOCCER -- check, check!

All those fit people make me want to go out and run farther than my puny two mile beach run. Can you relate?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My girls won two tickets to the American Idol concert tonight, so I made the 2+ hour drive with them in rush hour traffic - with College Girl at the wheel - in order for them to arrive by 7.  And my laptop and I've been at Starbucks ever since ... good thing I'm a gold card member =).

I've never been the Coffee House Office type of gal, but it's worked well for me tonight: free wi-fi, electrical outlet, chai tea ... a restroom, lol.  Who needs to pay rent? I've gotten tons done for only $2.95!

Here's to impromptu concerts and late nights with plenty of caffeine ... 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Morning Glory

When I stepped outside this morning for my run, Charlie the Dog wasn't happy ... because it was raining. Raining ... at the beach ... in July. Suddenly, we're from the east coast! We're not used to this in Cali, and my dog is a big baby when it comes to water. Doesn't like it. Weird, right?

But it didn't faze me. I love running in the rain. As a bonus, the sun was shining ... and there were TWO rainbows over the sea. Two sweet neighbors, both older gentlemen, stopped me on my run today. "See the rainbows?" they asked. Lovely.

The only bummer is I didn't have a camera with me. The good news is that my friend, Patricia ~  in the next town over ~ woke up early and saw the rainbows too. Her backyard faces the west, so she stepped out onto her desk and snapped a few photos ~ and voila ~ she sent them my way.

In Genesis, God said, "... When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I'll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth." 

No wonder rainbows in the sky make us so happy (well, except for Charlie the dog =). Have a beachy week, my friends ... wherever you are.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I'll probably be in a lot of trouble for posting this photo, but then again, my kids don't read my blog so maybe they'll never find out. As you can see by the date stamp, this was 1996, when they were 2 and 5, and I was, well, just a teenager. Ha. Notice my quest to start their beach obsession young. Contrary to how it looks, I fed my son. Even at nearly 21 now he eats like a horse but doesn't have the poundage that I would if I packed it on like that. How fair is that? I actually had another post in mind, but ran across this photo and decided to use it to usher in the first weekend of July. May it inspire you to hit the beach, touristy binocs and all ... =)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just returned from a hastily planned trip to Pennsylvania. My beloved father in law passed away, so we packed up and left California in order to honor his home going. He lived in the same small town nestled in the Allegheny Mountains where he and my mother in law - also in heaven now - raised five boys. FIVE boys. Can't imagine what that was like!

One thing's for sure ... once again, when we arrived, we knew we weren't in beachy Cali anymore. Here's a photo of our niece, our son, and one of our daughters as they chewed on sassafras leaves during a hike. They also picked wild blueberries and spotted bunnies darting out of brush. No palm trees in sight ...

The loss of my in laws is profound, the hole in our hearts unmistakable. And our kids have spent many vacations (most of them, actually) in a town of about 4,000 people where truly everybody knows your name. My son has red hair like his dad's (Dan's is white now), so people recognize Matt as a Carobini whenever we're in town. We're going to miss so much about Ridgway, PA ... but thankful, yes, so grateful for the memories.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Repost ... from November 2010

I've reposted this in honor of The Anderson Family who will soon be moving to the Santa Cruz area, a place that holds so many happy memories for us. Here's to you, dear friends!

On Saturday afternoon, Dan and I strolled along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, bought two tickets, and rode THIS. This is the Giant Dipper, built in 1924, and the site of many childhood memories for me. During the summers, my family spent two weeks in a cabin in nearby Scotts Valley, and a highlight was always our visit to the boardwalk. That and our multiple screaming plunges down that big ol' roller coaster. It's red, white and made out of wood...a roller coaster purist's dream :)

Soon after our ride, our college kid called my cell.

"So, you and dad rode the Giant Dipper?"
"By yourselves?"

After the boardwalk, we headed over to Steamer's Lane to check out the lighthouse/surfing museum, and watch surfers from a nearby cliff. The water looked crazy deep but the waves ran long and smooth, and one surfer in particular was quick enough to catch several (seemingly) unending rides. Best free entertainment of the day, I tell you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Reads on Sale

Wanted to let you know that ALL of my beach novels are discounted this week on Kindle. This is a special, limited time promotion by B&H Publishers. Also, Chocolate Beach, the Recipe Version, is FREE on KINDLE for five days only: June 18 - June 22. If you're interested in picking up any or all, please don't delay because these discounts expire soon.

You can find the Otter Bay Novels on Amazon by my name or by their titles: Sweet Waters, A Shore Thing, and Fade to Blue. Or click on the covers on my sidebar. (Also available at a discount is Truffles by the Sea.)

And if you'd be so kind, would you pass this news along to your KINDLE-loving friends? If you have any questions, just leave me a comment. Thanks much, and have a beachy day, my friends ... wherever you are ...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sometimes it's the little things ..

... like temporary free parking to check the surf. I mean, seriously, do you want to have to pay a buck only to find out that the surf is flat?

Lol ... see? This is why I write about seaside towns in all their quirky glory. I've lived in California all my life so I've got fodder for YEARS, people!

If the sun's out where you are, I hope you'll find some time (even for a break) to ditch the office and let it shine on your face a bit. Have a beachy day, wherever you are ...

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I send out news when I have some to share ... not just any old time. So I hope you'll sign up for my occasional newsletter either on my sidebar to the right (you'll have to scroll down a bit). Or you can click the HOME button up top and sign up on that page. The next issue will go out in about 9 days because I've got some sweet deals to announce! Plus I'll tell you about one of our favorite places to stay on the central California coast and what's up in my writing world.

I hope you'll sign up. I pinky promise not to bombard you with mail =).

Thursday, June 07, 2012

My oldest daughter just finished her last high school paper. For-e-vah. Next week she graduates, and I'm excited, but also can't quite believe it. She's my fun, redheaded crazy girl and I'm going to miss seeing that sweet face every day when she moves away to college. So weird that while she grew up, I stayed exactly the same. Haha...

Congratulations to the class of 2012! May you set the bar high ... but not so high that you forget to laugh a lot. It's good medicine, they say.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

This is Chauncey. My friend, Susan, has a rather dark sense of humor and has made it a tradition to give weird ornaments at Christmastime. She's part of a group of friends of mine in Orange County, CA - the OC girls, I call them - and since we missed our annual Christmas party last year, we met a couple of weeks ago at a posh restaurant in Newport Beach (Enchiladas = 22 bucks!).

So anyway, I chose the first gift: a PRETTY glass stocking to hang on the tree. It was red and sparkly and I loved it ... but then my (so-called) friend, Sharyl, STOLE it. So I had to choose again, and you guessed it, I got this little guy here. I've named him Chauncey in an effort to not be quite so scared of him.

This is the second time I've been stuck, er, graced by one of Susan's gifts. In fact, the last one was so HIDEOUS that he made it into a scene in Fade to Blue. In that scene, the hero and heroine meet at a church bazaar at the table of an "artist" who had created the most unlovely Christmas ornaments ever (except for Chauncey, of course). They were hand-painted golf balls that should have stayed on turf. In an act of chivalry, the hero of Fade2Blue bought a box full of the sad ornaments - and forever sealed himself within the heroine's heart.

Other than finding his way into a book, that gloomy little ornament didn't stay in the Carobini household long. In a prophetic twist, he landed back in the Christmas ornament pile, all spruced up and gleaming in a fancy wrapping paper when an unsuspecting Susan plucked him from the gift table. It was only right.

As for Chauncey, I promise not to become too attached ... after all, our annual Christmas get-together is only six months away ... (insert evil laughter here).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saw a post on Facebook yesterday that said, "No coffee, no workee." Lol ... so my life. But really, I think it should say, "No GOOD coffee, no workee." I mean, life's too short to drink bad coffee, am I right? (You know I am.)

Here's to the little things - like heart-shaped cappuccinos - that make our mornings special. Happy Wednesday, my friends =)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Christmas ... by the Sea

Congrats, Tim! You've won the book on Spiritual Gifts :) It'll be on its way to you this week!

It's nearly 8 pm here on the central coast. Time for me to dig back into this Christmas book I'm writing. Which brings me to a thought for you to ponder. The book I'm writing is set at Christmastime ... at the beach. No surprise there, am I right? Well, recently one of my publishers took a survey and the opinion is that Christmas books must include toasty fires (okay, check. I can do that at the beach) and pine scent (Fabreze, anyone?)

Seriously, there's this belief out there that Christmas and the beach don't go together. Tell that to the millions of snowbirds who flock to the coast in the winter! I just don't get it. As authors, we're told to avoid the same ol', same ol'. Readers want a new experience, we're told. But then sample readers tell us the opposite. Give us tradition, they say. Recycle the story I read last year, they seem to say.

But I think my readers are more enlightened than that, and so I press on. I'm writing a fun story with plenty of thoughtful candy canes to chew on. At the beach. At Christmastime. And I'm writing it with YOU in mind - the cool, laid-back beach readers I've come to know and love.

No worries - I've got your backs, my friends ;-)

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Boo ...

I received a box of these in the mail today because, well, I ghostwrote the study in the back of the book. My name's nowhere to be found in the text, but it doesn't matter. A writer is a writer is a writer. When I'm not writing novels, I'm writing articles, and grocery lists. And study guides. It's one of my gifts and I intend to use it, name on book or not. Do you know your gift(s)? Do you want to? Okay, then, I'm going to give away a copy. Just enter a comment with a way to reach you and I'll pick a winner Saturday afternoon. Easy peasy!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Hello, Monday

It's Sunday night and I'm missing the weekend already. On Saturday the girls and I met up with our pals Angel and Emilee for some cupcakes and beach time. While the younger girls wandered the sand, Angel and I browsed through shops and gabbed as if we didn't have a care.

Only we both do. Lots of cares. Uppermost being concern for my precious father-in-law who's been very ill for weeks.

Eventually, A & I made it down to the beach ourselves. While the girls oohed over a sea lion bobbing in the surf, I hoisted myself onto this ladder-less lifeguard tower, and for just a few minutes, allowed all my worries to blow out to sea. When I hopped off that tower, I felt lighter, refreshed. Such amazing grace, that is.

May you go into this week with your burdens lifted, my friends ~ and have a beachy day, wherever you are ...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

So I've opined about Teen Girl's College search, and I've stressed over the cost, but in the end, the decision has been made. Can I get a hurrah? She's decided on Drexel in Philadelphia. I know, I know ... far away from our sleepy little beach town. Somehow I gave birth to a city girl. Not sure how that happened! Trust me - I suggested Hawaii but she just wouldn't go for it. Where did I go wrong?? LOL Ah, well. Have a beachy rest of the weekend, friends - wherever you are =)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day by day ...

Started working on one project this weekend, then switched gears because another story kept getting in the way. It's something I've thought about writing for years, but could never see it clearly. I can't say that all the pieces have come together yet, but what I can tell you is that the words began to pour out, as if on their own. When I re-read what I'd written, it was as if I saw a reflection of what it will be.

And so I write with faith that the story will become clearer and clearer as I move forward. Ever have an experience like that?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Here, ducky, ducky ...

Saw these little guys on my neighbor's driveway the other day. See, this is why I love living near the sea. My friend, Deb, prefers life in the mountains, near the deer, her horses, and - gulp - snakes. Me? Not so much. I swoon over the pelicans soaring through the sky on my morning run, and at Oscar the Seal, who pops up through the water to greet me (some of my neighbors think his name is "Sally." Whatever.) Oh, and the herons! When they glide overhead, I marvel at their grace.

Hey, it's the little things, you know? Life is busy. Too busy. And don't get me started about the stress - Ay caramba! But it's times like these, stumbling upon ducks on a sunny weekend morning, that quack me up ...

Have a beachy week, my friends - wherever you are =)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Give me some sand and a pair of worn-in flip-flops, and that's usually all it takes to make me a happy girl. So my attachment to this Kate Spade iPhone cover has taken me by surprise. It's calling to me like a lemonade Popsicle in July.

But I told my husband no way. Not going to pay that much for a phone cover. Uh-uh, not going to do it. Instead, we popped into Big Lots and bought one for 5 bucks. So it has an ugly red backing on it? We have college tuition to pay, so a fancy phone cover is o-u-t out.

Then again. Look at it. Can't you just hear the soundtrack of Beach Party playing while you lounge by the pool? Ahh ... maybe it's the call of summer I'm really hearing. Long afternoons beneath a wide umbrella, a cool drink, perhaps a dip in the pool ...

Sigh. Think I'll go put in my copy of Confessions of a Shopaholic. Care to join me? =)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Long live chicky books

Years ago, Chocolate Beach, zaniness and all, was released into the world. I wrote this story about a laid-back beach gal with marriage troubles by the seat of my pants, truly not knowing what would happen next. Even though my craft improved over the years as I tried to - you know - write more serious fiction, CB continues to find new fans. Especially in summertime. Yes, I still get fan mail about Bri Stone and her pal, Gaby, and you know what? I love these characters too! I mean, who can resist a laid-back chick who finds solace from life's dramas by eating chocolate at the beach with her best friend? Right?

Last year, I added bonus content: recipes (Chocolate chili, anyone?) and a new scene, and released Chocolate Beach as an e-book. It's made the rounds, so starting today, Chocolate Beach is available exclusively on Kindle - and it's free in their Kindle Owners Lending Library. If you've never had the chance to read it, and you have a Kindle, you can borrow it. For FREE. (Caveat: you have to be a member of Amazon Prime ...) Here's the link to CB, the e-book.

Happy Monday, my friends! I'm working on a new e-book to be released later this year (woo!), and a couple of other sweet projects. More on that later. In the meantime, have a beachy week ... wherever you are =)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


So you might recall (or maybe you don't) my mini-obsession with Giuliana & Bill. I wrote about "discovering" them here. My daughters are convinced I have a girl-crush on Giuliana. Whatever. Isn't she just so cute though??

Anyway. I watched the premier of their new season last night and cried. Giuliana was diagnosed with breast cancer last year after a routine mammogram to prepare her for IVF. The call from her doctor was the last one she'd expected. Instead of a baby, she got cancer.

She's been incredibly transparent about the ordeal. She had a double lumpectomy, and eventually, a double mastectomy. I love how she's out there telling women to get checked. You might recall that just a few years ago our government issued a controversial recommendation against routine screenings for women over 40 - and don't even think about it if you're under that age.

Giuliana Rancic was 36 when she had hers. So there you go ....

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Even years later, we're still fans of the Gilmore Girls here in the Carobini household. Just the other day my daughter texted me that she was having a "Paris" moment. It happened toward the end of GG's run, when Rory and her pal were getting ready to graduate from Yale, that Paris began getting acceptance letters for grad school. And she couldn't decide. Her initial excitement dimmed with each tear of an envelope as she realized she'd have to make a choice. What if she made a mistake? What if she picked the wrong school when so many had admitted her?

Oh, the angst of making choices.

Kind of where my daughter is at the moment. She's received college acceptance letters to fashion design programs all over the country ... and is having a hard time deciding. I vote for the cheapest one, but that's just me :-)

I recently edited an Amish novel that will be in stores early next year. In it, there's discussion of how an Amish bishop is chosen for each district. In one scenario, a slip of paper is inserted into a songbook, and the man who happens to open that book and find it gets the job.

Hmm. Maybe we could do something like that?

The photo above is one I found on my phone. Apparently one of my daughters took it last week as we drove across the Bay Bridge from Oakland to San Francisco - the locale of one of the college choices, this one an art-focused university. She'd be much closer to home, but it has its drawbacks too. So a pro/con list has been started.

I'll let you know how it goes ... What do you do when you have so many choices?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I'm blushing ...

I need more pink in my life, so when I learned that there were real PINK dolphins in the world, I had to find a photo and post it here. What a dream. I've loved dolphins most of my life, and now I learn that they come in shades of girl. God is SO good :).

Most are found in the Amazon, but this little guy over here (or gal?) is a bottlenose dolphin that was found in a lake in Louisiana. Well, I do declare ... a southerner!

Editing tonight, but I couldn't resist poppin' in to say hello and to offer up a bit of bubblegum cheer. Happy Thursday, my friends!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Skype, anyone?

Anyone watch The Bachelor this season? Me neither. But I did watch the proposal, and all I can say is, "Get a haircut, Ben!" Oy! I tell my son this all the time and just because he's in college and an adult, he thinks he doesn't have to listen to me. Well. All I want to say is that if he ever chooses to go on The Bachelor, he'll be thanking me for correcting his grooming habits now ... before all of America witnesses his inability to dial up the barber.

Aha, actually, my son, Matt (love you, kid!), listens to me about other things, so I can't complain. And he cooks when he's home from school, so I guess I can deal with the hair. Choose your battles and all of that :-) Besides, next year I'll be too busy. A second kiddo will be heading off to college, which means I'll have TWO kids to nag long distance.

Am I right?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

AI is back

The regular Carobini viewing audience of American Idol has dwindled from five to two: young teen girl and Dad. Older teen girl moseyed in and out. I watched a bit of it tonight, but not much. I think I'll get into it when they whittle down the field to the top 12, but I can't stand the first nights of top 24. Two people (right?) will have to go - and what a bummer for them.

I watched the 17 year old boy with the Jason Castro hair wow the girls, and the guy with the punk mullet. Can't recall much else, but I've got a backache and a long day tomorrow, so maybe y'all can fill me in?

Any favorites yet? Any predictions? I'm listening!

Oh, and before I go ... not missing Simon. Are you? ;-)