Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello, 2014 ... You Look Mahvelous

Even though we've undecorated our tree and I headed back to my editing job, I'm still basking in the lingering glow of Christmas. (Sorry about the three Rs and lowercase Christmas in the photo. It's hard to snapchat in the dark, I've found.)

Anyway, tonight is New Year's Eve and for the first time in a long while, we have no grand plans to stay out all night and spend lots of cash. Great big sigh of relief!

Instead, we'll watch New Years' Rockin' Eve (or similar), turn down the lights and sip some champagne ... maybe even light a candle or two. How about you? Night on the town? Or are you spending it with Ryan Seacrest too? :)

Whatever your plans for the night, here's to a beachy and very happy 2014, my friends ... wherever you are!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Winner of Fade to Blue

Congrats to Bonnie, the winner of Fade to Blue from my stop on last week's blog hop over at Ashley Clark's blog! If you didn't have a chance to read that, you can find it here.

There's still time to enter to win a copy of Johnnie Alexander Donley's ebook in the post below. Just read and comment! We'll announce the winner this coming Saturday. UPDATE: Chris Granville has won the ebook!

Happy Thanksgiving, my beachy friends ... wherever you are!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

BLOG HOP: Here's Johnnie ... (and enter to win her ebook!)

Update: Congrats to CHRIS GRANVILLE, winner of Where Treasure Hides!

My writing pals and I have been doing a BLOG HOP to celebrate the release of our stories in Guideposts Books' new collection, A Cup of Christmas Cheer--and TODAY is the last stop! Johnnie's story, Beneath the Christmas Star, appears in vol. 2
of this two-book anthology, and both volumes are sold together (The set is available here.)

And we're giving away prizes!

*To enter this post's drawing for a free e-novel, please leave Johnnie a comment sometime this week. Winner will be announced next Saturday.

To enter the BLOG HOP'S grand prize drawing worth $125, which includes a replica tea set, Amazon gift card, and other goodies, you need to leave a comment at every blog on this list.

Okay, now that the rules are out of the way, I'm so excited to tell you about Johnnie's story! 

Set in 1944, Beneath the Christmas Star, is a beautiful story of longing during one cold Christmas season near the end of World War II: a son longing for word from his soldier father, a wife longing for her husband, and a soldier longing to be home again. Sounds simple, but life in wartime is anything but. As a reader, I loved how quickly I became engrossed in the characters' lives, and the way this story gently showed the grace and wonder of God in the midst of uncertainty. If you love history and a touch of mystery, you'll enjoy Johnnie's story as much as I did!

*This week's prize: Johnnie is giving away her novel (available only as an ebook), Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale House), to one reader. To enter, please leave a comment. Johnnie will come back next Saturday to announce the winner.

Here's a Link to Chapter One of Where Treasure Hides:

More about Johnnie: Author Johnnie Alexander Donley writes stories of suspense, intrigue, and romance set in World War II. Her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for Historical Fiction in 2011. A history enthusiast, Johnnie has also edited nonfiction manuscripts and textbooks. She is a founding member and current president of the ACFW Central Florida chapter. A longtime Florida resident, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, stacks of books, and her papillon Rugby.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Where I am today ...

Ashley Clark reviewed Postcards at Christmas over on her blog. If you leave a comment, you may win a copy of Fade to Blue. (And if you leave a comment on every stop on our blog tour, you may win our Grand Prize worth more than 100 bucks :).  Here's the link:

Sunday Nov 17th  Julie Carobini on Ashley Clark's blog 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas blog hopping ...

To celebrate the release of A Cup of Christmas Cheer (vols. 1&2), a new anthology released by Guideposts Books, my writer friends and I are visiting each others' blogs and giving away all kinds of things--including a grand prize package worth over 100 bucks!

My story, Postcards at Christmas, appears in vol.  2 (although the books are sold together at Shop Guidesposts)

To enter any of the daily drawings, drop by the blogs and enter. 

To enter the grand prize drawing, you need to leave a comment at every blog on this list (it's okay if you're starting late ... you have at least a week per blog).

Bookmark this list! (more stops may be added):

Friday, November 8th, Carla Olson Gade is on Carrie Fancett Pagels' blog 

Saturday, November 9th,  Ashley Clark is on Anita Mae Draper's blog.

Saturday, November 16th, Anita Mae Draper on Johnnie Alexander Donley's blog.

Sunday Nov 17th  Julie Carobini is on Ashley Clark's blog 

Friday, November 22nd,  Carrie Fancett Pagels is on Carla Olson Gade's blog.

Saturday, November 23rd,  Johnnie Alexander Donley is on Julie Carobini's blog 

Friday, November 29th,  Colonial Quills Blog to announce Grand Prize winner.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Chocolate Sunrise ...

Okay, so I'm doing nanowrimo for the first time ev-ah! Writing the third book in my popular Chocolate series (finally!). If you're doing it too, want to be buddies? Leave me a comment with your username or search me: julie-carobini. I've got 45k to go and need all the help I can get. You?

Here's to late nights of writing the GAN (Great American Novel :) with Pandora playing by our sides ... :)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Endless possibilities ...

Went on a little jog this morning and my faithful chaperone, aka Hunk o' Burnin' Love, the one who hasn't allowed me to run alone since my "episode," took this photo of a storm brewing over the ocean.

So many story possibilities in this image: An ill-fated boat trip, a mystery on a deserted beach, or maybe something more metaphorical like lovers at a crossroads, the swirling clouds representing the tumult in their relationship. Ahhh...!

THIS is why I love the beach. Endless possibilities, my friends. Endless! Here's to a beachy week ... wherever you are ...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why my red pen and I are so thrilled!

So last week, one of the novels I edited for B&H Books ~ and the darling Amy Lillard ~ won the coveted ACFW Carol Award!


Especially sweet since B&H shut down their standard fiction line recently and we said our goodbyes. Loved working with them, with Amy, and with my co-editor Julie Gwinn (who has now moved on as well.)

Here's to good stories, great friends, and bright new opportunities. Have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Writing Life

It's a strange thing, this writing about one's own life. I'm writing a story that will sound oh so familiar to some, and yet not so much. It's the story of a guy who experiences tragedy then meets a gal who faces a couple of terrible situations of her own.

For those of you who are writers, don't worry ~ that wasn't my elevator pitch.

Anyway, it's based (loosely, sort of) on the early years of Dan (husband) and me. Sometimes when I look back on who we were back then, and where we were emotionally and spiritually, I have to pause. Life was really hard. Yet meeting each other was really sweet ~ and sometimes pretty tough.

I didn't start off this post with any kind of outline, or with a solid direction of where it would end up. This isn't a round-up piece, like the ones I used to write for giftware magazines and the like. It's just me thinking out loud about how odd it is to make up a story that's not completely made up.

Like the other night when I was writing a scene from the male character's POV. It's one of those reflective scenes that could easily bore a person to tears, so I knew that something had to happen. So of course, he sees her. As I moved deeper into "the zone," the scene crystallized in my mind. I knew what he was thinking, and instinctively, what would happen next.

When I got to the part about him seeing her jogging toward him, and the way he described her long limbs striding, her dark hair blowing behind her, I giggled a little. Because technically, he is Dan, and she is me, and I basically wrote that I was willowy and strong. A reader might actually infer that she/I was pretty.

You see why this is so difficult?

Ours is a great story, one that's continuing to unfold. I've wanted to novelize it for years, and with Dan's prodding, I'm finally doing it. Just hope I can successfully blend fact and fiction, leave the boring parts out, and show the beauty that truly can come from ashes.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Best weekend in a long time. Feeling better. Sun was out, as were many happy faces at the beach. We walked the sand today, Dan and I, sharing a cappuccino and watching the revelers. Somehow I'd like to carry this sense of well-being all the way through fall. And then through winter. And so on ...

Also had some time to write while lounging in a beach chair on Saturday. I've mentioned before that I've been working on a fictionalized version of happenings from my own life. (Some might say that all of my books are fictionalized versions of my own life ... ha ha ha ... so not true!)

Seriously, between my recent dramatic "episode" and my new position at a publishing house, though, I haven't had the energy (and did I mention brain cells??) to write much. But my sandy office stirred something afresh in me and I realized, again, how much I love playing with words. I may be tired, but my muse doesn't sleep apparently. (She doesn't even get circles under her eyes like I do. Darn her.)

So I will write. I may even post some chapters here, just to see how they're received. Why not? Could be fun.

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

Sunday, August 11, 2013

True Fiction

I learned the other day that, sometimes, writers don't want editors to know they've had a medical set back, or divorce, or other emotional emergency.

I can understand people wanting their privacy from the masses. Social media has challenged that basic right, am I right? And perhaps these writers are simply worried that an editor might question their ability to deliver on deadline. That's a legit concern.

But as a fiction writer, here's what I've learned:

Real life experiences give novelists stories that resonate with souls. And great editors know that.

I will never be able to forget my recent heart attack ~ nor the brain surgery I had in my 20s. What human can easily forget such things? But writers can use all the hard stuff ~ and the great stuff too ~ to pen stories that both entertain and ring with truth.

... and that's no lie ;-)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

I Thought I had the Flu ...

About a month ago, I had a heart attack while on my morning run (aka jog). I'm writing about it now in hopes that others will learn some helpful things from my experience (and mistakes).

So on my run that morning, I noticed that both of my shoulders felt tight and stressed. Not uncommon for my right shoulder because of all the computer work I do, but this time my left shoulder ached as well. Missed cue number 1.

Instead of questioning this unusual pain, I cranked my left arm around a couple of times to loosen it up ~ and then I told myself to push harder, to "stretch it out." Farther down the road that pain in my shoulder worsened and spread to my upper chest. Then I began to get nauseous and an overwhelming pressure dropped over me, sort of like I'd suddenly slipped into a not-so-comfortable suit of armor.

I stopped jogging, of course, even though I was almost to my favorite spot at the beach and my dog continued to yank me forward. But I'd never felt like this before and knew something was terribly wrong. My mind searched for answers ...

Was it last night's pasta?
Too much chocolate for dessert?
Or maybe that glass of Prosecco I'd had with dinner ...

I realized then that I hadn't brought a phone. I've been running for 30 years and have never brought one with me. True, when I began jogging, they hadn't been invented yet, but still. Now I know: It's DUMB not to bring a phone when exercising. Not knowing how I would get back home was both lonely and frightening.

So I started walking back, stooping once to pick up Charlie-the-Dog's poop. Eventually I sat on the wall of an empty house because I felt short of breath and zapped of strength. And I kept dry heaving. And my shoulder ached so much that if not for modesty, I would have pulled off my shirt right then and there (In my increasingly clouded state of mind, I remember thinking that maybe my running bra was just too tight ...).

While I sat on that wall, I asked the Lord (begged, actually) to send me an angel ~ and he sent me two: my neighbors on their golf cart. They were so kind to get me home quickly. So kind that the wife of the pair had to run my dog home since their doggy wasn't keen about allowing another canine to climb aboard. (I have no recollection of what happened to that bag of doggy poopy ...)

At home, my husband Dan tried to call 911, but I fought him, saying, "I just have the flu!" I've since learned via the American Heart Association that women who are in denial often say the same thing! Although I tried to convince him to let me get some sleep, Dan forced me into his car and sped me to the hospital. I will be forever grateful to my husband who followed his instincts ~ starting with ignoring my misguided protests!

The ER docs took it from there ... and I now have new forever friend named, Stent.

Have you seen this video, Just a Little Heart Attack, featuring Elizabeth Banks? Although I didn't experience all the warning signs depicted here, such as sweating and jaw pain, I did have some of them as noted in bold above ~ and like her, found myself dangerously in denial.

Please take care of yourselves, my beachy friends ... wherever you are.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spent a few days in the hospital recently. A week or so later, I came home to find this Kate Spade bag on my pillow, along with a sweet note from my oldest daughter ~ a college girl who's working retail this summer ~ telling me I deserved it. So not true! But I accepted her generous gift anyway :)

It's probably meant for special occasions, this bag with its supple leather and fancy bow, but I chose to wear it today with a maxi skirt, cotton top, and beaded flip-flops. Just because.

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

Thursday, June 06, 2013

It's My Thang

In my little hometown of Eagle Rock, CA, VWs were everywhere. When I was growing up, a couple of dads in town ran a shop in someone's backyard and that's where locals got their V-dubs cleaned up ~ and souped up. We weren't close to the beach at all, but it felt like the beach was close to us.

So last weekend my (longsuffering?) hubby humored me and drove us more than two hours north to a classic VW show in foggy Pismo Beach. Omgosh ... so fun! Hippies, music on the sand, beautifully restored bugs ... and some rusted out ones too (I mentioned there were hippies there, right??)

And Things. I've been talking about getting a VW Thing since we moved to the beach nine years ago. I could see myself and my bambinos cruising along the shore, but the hubster wouldn't have it. Said they're ugly (the cars ~ not the kids). Eventually, I resorted to putting a Thing in my second novel, Truffles by the Sea. (See what I just did there?)
Ah, well. Thing or no Thing, I'm already loving the longer days and laid-back nights. Hope you are too! Here's to a beachy weekend, my friends ... wherever you are!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Spa at Winter Beach

My seaside novella, The Spa at Winter Beach, has a new cover! You like?

As for me, I love the model's dress. Teen Girl and I shopped in Santa Barbara today and I bought a few things that are "perf" for summer. Life is hard, peeps! So it's good to celebrate the little things--and for me, that was having lunch and going shopping with my sweet youngest.

I do hope you like my book's new cover. It's the story of jilted home stager, Juliana Moss, who hopes spending a week at The Spa at Winter Beach on the California coast will cure her broken heart. Will a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger offer healing ... or reopen old wounds?

It's available on Kindle and Nook for only $1.99.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Throwback Thursday -- Lady and the Sea

You've seen it on Instagram and Facebook, so why not a Throwback Thursday post on Blogger? Here's a post from 2011. Enjoy!

(The long weekend is coming ... and with it, a cool cover reveal from me. See you then!)

I'm beyond happy to introduce you to my cyber-friend, Sharon Leaf! We met via this blog, and since then we've corresponded many times here and on Facebook--and Sharon even interviewed me on her BlogTalk Radio program last January. Now she has her own book out, Lady and the Sea. Is she a woman after my own heart or what? She's a kick to know, so please read on ... and have a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Here's Sharon ~

Since turning forty, Sharon Leaf has traveled to over fifteen countries, including living in Sweden while attending an international Bible college, traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and volunteering on a World War II ship, whose sole purpose was to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel. She received a degree in theology at sixty, proving that it's never too late to fulfill another dream. Lady and the Sea is Sharon's debut novel. She lives in South Carolina with her husband.

Sharon hopes that Lady and the Sea will encourage readers as they struggle through their rip-tides and hurricanes of life that there is a silver lining and smooth sailing ahead as we rely on the Captain of our ship ~ Jesus!

About Lady and the Sea

After two failed marriages forty-eight-year-old Rosie Atkisson struggles through the painful process of rebuilding her life with husband, Jesse, in Southern California. But the settled rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel MS Restoration.

A special mission to transport Russian Jews from Sochi, Russia to Haifa, Israel, means an adventure of a lifetime; does she dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life? In spite of her fear of water and the unknown condition of the ship, Rosie thinks this might be the opportunity she’s been waiting for to serve God.

After surviving fourteen months on board the old ship, from a hurricane to a heart attack, from miracles to menopause, and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa Harbor, Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor.

Excerpt from Chapter One ~ July 1995

Within minutes of entering the Haifa harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II vessel. Two soldiers aimed their deck-mounted machine guns at the MS Restoration. An Israeli soldier shouted instructions through a loud speaker in his native Hebrew.

The ship, the crew, and their special passengers--the Russian Jews--had finally reached their destination. No more troubled waters. No more hurricanes. No more delays. On this hot July morning, they were home-free, or so they thought.

Rosie had heard stories about people who had experienced close-call situations. Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the China Sea during the war. “At that moment, my whole life passed before me,” he said.

Now, as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their high-tech binoculars, Rosie knew this was her moment.

You can pick up your own copy of Lady and the Sea at Amazon and other booksellers.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hello again ... and a Freebie

It's EMBARRASSING how little I've written on the blog lately. I'm happy to announce, though, that my story for the upcoming Guideposts Books Christmas anthology has been written and turned in ... woo! Postcards at Christmas tells the story of how a young woman's search for a miracle brings a dying town to life. I cried at the ending! And not because I was writing a Christmas story in 80+ degree heat - haha.

I'll let you know when it shows up in stores.

On another note, it's nearly summer and time for a sale. My oldie but goodie, Chocolate Beach, is FREE on Kindle today (Friday) and Saturday. If you don't have a Kindle, but you do have an iPad or iPhone, you can download the app for free at Amazon ~ then order any Kindle book you want!

Chocolate Beach will be free on Kindle at this AMAZON LINK today and tomorrow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Into the wild

This big guy on the left flashed his gorgeous feathers when we encountered him at a winery in Avila Beach the other day. We had planned to go up the coast for a day of beachcombing, wandering, and other non-plans, when a friend told us about Kelsey Winery off See Canyon near Avila where peacocks roamed free.

Of course, I had to go.

A corgie greeted us and became our lifelong friend when we became the only visitors on the premises to put up with his constant demands to play. No joke ... I think we tossed his slobbery tennis ball about 30 times. Each. But it was my birthday and he made us laugh, so we didn't mind.

And then there were the peacocks, waddling around and piercing the air with their mating calls. The excursion was like a trip to Wild Kingdom, Lol ... all within a few miles of the Pacific Ocean.

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

Friday, April 12, 2013

Psst ... Freebie Friday (and Saturday :)

I know it's been around awhile, but not everyone's read it (haha ... I can't believe it either!) So ... Truffles by the Sea is free today and tomorrow on Kindle. Here's the blurb:

Follow up to Chocolate Beach. This second in the Chocolate series was an ACFW Book of the Year Finalist. Determined to turn her life around, Gaby Flores moves to a Ventura seaside loft, takes on a new motto--Be gullible no more--and begins to rebuild her flower store while searching for Mr. So Right. But when a lawsuit, an eviction notice, a near-empty bank account, and quirky neighbors invade her beachy world, not even chocolate can solve her worries as her fledgling faith is put to the test. Discussion questions included.

Have a beachy weekend, friends ~ wherever you are ...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Inspired by the Hotel Del ...

The Spa at Winter Beach, my seaside novella inspired by the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California, is 99cents on Kindle and Nook.

Storyfinds.com has posted an excerpt on their site. 

And you can find the 99cent sale at one of these sites:

KINDLE link 

NOOK link 

Happy Saturday before Easter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beachy Saturday

College Girl arrived home late Thursday night from Philly and the first thing she did was go to the beach (after sleeping, that is ;-). Is she her mama's girl OR WHAT? Then last eve, after one very long day, Dan and I walked to the beach before sunset. I wondered why he was trailing behind, and when I turned around, he snapped this shot. We had that stretch of the beach to ourselvessss .... love.

Thankfully, he brought his wallet and we were able to stop at a nearby cafe and have a bite before walking home.

It's the weekend and I'm editing a lovely new novel by Amy Lillard. And after that? Back to the beach. Of course =)

Have a beachy weekend, my friends - wherever you are!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Seaside Sunday

After church we walked to the beach and yogurt shop for some cappuccino fro yo with crushed Heath bars and chopped almonds ... heaven in a cup, I tell you. I'd thought about opening my laptop and doing some work on this day of rest, but my inner self rebelled and strapped on my walking shoes instead. Yesterday was fog city, so when the sun peeks out around her on the central coast, one must take advantage. Besides, it's a day of rest. 'nuff said.

These happy little sandpipers were scurrying around in the waves, dodging wayward dogs (such as ours), and gulping down sand crabs. Some of the best free entertainment around.

Have a beachy week, my friends!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Freebie today

Happy Saturday, peeps. It's foggy at the beach today ... makes for a lazy feeling day ... even though I've a ton to do. Still, makes me want to say, "manana, manana ..." =)  If you've never read my first book, Chocolate Beach, it's FREE today on Kindle. Here's the link.

Also, I sent out a newsy newsletter this week. You can read about a contest and more here.

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

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

My new old life

I posted a photo of my special Adirondack chair over on Facebook, but wanted to give more of the story here.

Years ago, my parents gave me two sparkling white Adirondacks that I set up at the edge of our sprawling garden. They stayed there until we moved close to the sand and had to face the fact that beach backyards are, truly, about the size of a postage stamp. But I didn't care really, because from our new home we could walk to the sea!

Within a few years, though, we found out that it's true what they say--salty sea air can be rather unkind to outside furniture (and doorknobs, and cars, and anything with metal or wood or ... you get my drift.). So eventually, both chairs rotted out and were relegated to our side yard (yes, we are one of those families that really needs to rent a garbage bin for our old stuff ...)

My parents bought me a new and pretty chair for my birthday. It's a luscious blue and has a footstool (to do pedicures on, naturally). But every time hubby or I would walk past the graveyard of Adirondack parts on the side of the house, my heart dipped a bit.

Then one day, "handy" Dan got the idea to salvage what he could and surprise me with a "new" chair. And voila...my writing chair was born. Someone asked me on FB if I get splinters sitting in it and I honestly said no, because the wood on this baby has been worn smooth.

Here's to dreaming, and stories, and bringing old dreams back to life, my friends ...

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Trip to the Spa for 99cents

My little novella about a jilted home stager's escape to a spa in Winter Beach, California is on sale this week for 99cents on both Kindle and Nook. The price will go back up next Saturday, so I wanted to let you know.

This is the link for Kindle
And this is the link for Nook

In other news, we've had a spike in temps here along the coast during the past few days, a welcome blessing since it's the WEEKEND. Woo! On our walk with Charlie the Dog yesterday, Dan and I stopped to admire Herbie the LoveBug parked near the beach. So wanted to jump in and take it for a spin, but I think the German Shepherd occupant might have found a problem with that ... ;)

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fat Mints

Last week I posted a simple question about the enduring thin mint: freezer or cupboard? This is unverified, but I think I received more replies from that post than from any other that came before it. (Including book giveaways. Go figure.)

Some of these yumsters did, eventually, make it to the freezer. But considering they had to get past me first, not too many. As I said on Facebook, #thisiswhyIjog

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blue Ferry ...

Freebie Weekend - My friend, Suzy, was so tickled that I gave away her book, At the End of the Ferry, that she sent 4 more copies. How fun is that? I decided to throw in an equal amount of my novel, Fade to Blue, so if you want to win the pair please head on over to my FACEBOOK PAGE so you can enter.

Happy Three Day Weekend!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dreaming of the central coast ...

I wrote the Otter Bay Novels:

a) To explore ensemble casts
b) To introduce more drama and relationship struggles into my novels (you know, like real life!)
c) to take a bunch of road trips up the coast under the guise of "research ..."

Okay, so that last one was the best reason - next up, Italy! (Right, honey? :))

Anyway, a few days ago my publisher, B&H, delivered some fun news: Until Friday, the 15th - the day after Valentine's - the first two books in the series, Sweet Waters and A Shore Thing (NOT Snookie's tale) are available on Kindle and Nook for $2.99.

Consider this a summertime warm up ... three months and counting - woo!

If you're interested in loading them into your e-reader, here are some links:
Sweet Waters - Kindle
Sweet Waters - Nook
A Shore Thing - Kindle
A Shore Thing - Nook

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

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Inspiring minds

Some people play music for inspiration ... others show movies made from classic British novels in the background ...

Hey, we all have our vices =)

I've been helping out a new friend as he creates a website for a ministry that has been burning within him for years. I've got some final touches to put on what I've written so far, so naturally, I popped in a DVD of P&P for inspiration.

I'm sure purists will wither at my choice of this more recent version - I'd be remiss not to admit my own affection for Colin Firth as the smoldering Mr. Darcy in the PBS version - but I actually enjoy Keira in the role of Jane. She's smart and conflicted and able to deliver killer lines with ease.

Kind of like me. Not. Ha ha ha. 

Back to those inspiring lines, all spoken in very proper British accents ... a writer's gotta do, what she's gotta do ...

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Birds of a feather ...

These big guys have been flying overhead at the beach for days. That means: There's good eatin' in these waters. They fly so low and circle so long that Charlie the Dog and I often find ourselves ducking when they're overhead during our runs.

Okay, so, maybe I'm the one doing the ducking, mainly since Charlie's often more interested in searching under cars for cats.

Oh, but these birds are just sooo gorgeous. And with their wings spread, they're massive. Normal people would probably be scared off by their bravado, but I'm awed by them. So is my Dan. Today we stood watching them, pointing our cameras toward the water, then up in the air, then spinning around as we both tried to get the perfect shot, no doubt looking quite mental in the process.

Afterward, Dan watched the Super Bowl, while Teen Girl and I headed north to visit some of our bffs in Montecito. Such a very good day ...

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

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Chocolate Beach, recipe edition - FREE Today

My first novel "baby" ~ Chocolate Beach ~ is FREE today only on Kindle. And the e-book version has recipes :)

Don't have a Kindle? Neither do I ... but I have the app on both my iPhone and my laptop. I've read many Kindle books via these apps and you can too. Here's how:

1. Download the Kindle app from your iPhone App Store
2. Go to this link and download the Kindle reader for your PC.

Happy reading, and have a beachy weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Update: And the winner is ... posted here :)

I received this sweet book as a gift ~ and love it. So much so that I managed to get another copy of At the End of the Ferry just so I could give it away. It's the story of a woman's life (my friend, Susan's) in the Pacific Northwest for a year. Great for end of day reading ... will lull you with its imagery of lapping waves and gentle rolling tides.

Is this my kind of book or what?

To enter to win, please head on over to my new Facebook Author Page. Like my page and leave a comment on the post about At the End of the Ferry. Easy peasy!

I'll announce the winner on Saturday morning (on my FB page). See you over there =)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Traveling the World ... and other Adventures

So I read that story today about the family of 14 (!) that sold everything, bought an RV, and are now livin' the dream, baby! So naturally, I sent the link to the article to my three kids, copied my hubby, and told everyone to "pack your bags." So far only one of the three kiddos answered me, and here's what he said: "No."

Well, at least he responded.

Part of me wants to ask this family if they're - how shall I put this? - nuts.

The other part of me is inspired.

Inspired to purge our home of unnecessary clutter, to spend more time outside together rather than behind our iPods/iPhones/laptops, and to let every day be the "weekend," as the father pronounces. Kind of hard to make a living with that last one, but whatevs.

And there's the little problem of our middle child who's at college across the country at the moment (She could always study online, right?)

Sigh. Truth is, I've never really liked camping. Glamping - yes, but camping? Not so much. And five of us in a long, narrow room on wheels could become rather, um, stinky.

What I'm most intrigued by, though, is the idea of living a life that's unexpected, that isn't so much concerned about prepping for the next day as it is about experiencing each and every moment, a life that's more about the journey and less about checking a box.

I'm well aware that I look hideous in this photo, but I don't care. This is College Girl and me last year when we (and Teen Girl) were traveling the country in search of the perfect college. We flew the red eye and got to NYC at - hear me - 2 am our time!!! We took a cab to Times Square, found a Starbucks and reveled in a city that actually does sleep. Yup, that's Times Square at about 5:30 am, and it's empty.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shifting tides

I'd like to say that I waded through the tide today, but not so much. Today was all about catchin' up: laundry, errands, the dreaded FAFSA. That's the Federal financial aid for college application. Blech.

Then again, maybe I did wade through the tide after all. Only it was at a higher-than-ideal level and carried with it a stiff current.

On the flipside, Teen Girl and I picked up orange chicken bowls from Panda Express for lunch, so it wasn't all work today =). And later, she and I hit the grocery store for the all-important task of choosing the perfect snack for a hangout with friends she'd be attending. Couldn't decide between chocolate eclairs or cream puffs. Chocolate Eclairs. Cream Puffs.

So, of course, she bought both. Scratch that. I bought both. Although why I did not think to buy a third box for my dessert-loving self, I do not know. (Then again, my hips are incredibly grateful for the oversight.)

Ah, well, there's always tomorrow, right? Here's to glorious Sundays and the grace to start again. Pass the chocolate ...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

For the past few days here along the central coast, the waves have been larger than usual and crashing hard. We can hear them late into the night from our house down the block. Sometimes I sit outside at night with my husband and just listen. We don't even have to talk (I'm thinking he enjoys the reprieve ... ;)

I've got an incredibly arduous week ahead. Lots of work and engagements and I'm sitting here tonight wondering why I didn't do laundry ... Seriously, this is one of those weeks that I'm hoping will fly by. And, naturally, when the weekend shows up, I hope it will shuffle along like a snail.

In the midst of it all, I'm glad for the waves that remind me that there's something much bigger than me and my worries, someOne who rules over the surging sea and stills the mounting waves. All I have to do is listen ...

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So crushed ...

So on our excursion north the other day, Teen Girl and I met up with two of our besties at Crush Cakes, whose claim to fame started with an appearance on Cupcake Wars. But even if the shop hadn't appeared on TV, we'd have stopped in. My key lime and coconut cupcake was DELISH, not to mention the chocolate / peanut butter concoction in the photo that TG had no choice but to share with me (since I gave her life and all ...;)

Christmas may be over, but Valentine's Day is on its way, and hey, a girl's got to plan (i.e, taste test). This is why I can't hang up my running shoes anytime soon. Know what I mean?

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