Days at the beach

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good morning, friends--

Today was another lovely day in paradise. Blue skies, pale white clouds, bright sun, and the restless, soothing surf. My friend, Christina Dodd, dropped by to say aloha, and we spent the day sitting in our beach chairs, talking.

What's better than a day at the beach with a friend? We talked about all the usual things--our kids, our careers, our crazy everyday lives. And we laughed. That's one of the best things about friendship; no matter how often you actually see each other, you can dive right back into the deep end. Pick right back up where you left off. By the time Jill Marie Landis showed up, we were in girlfriend heaven. I'm sure you could hear us talking all the way down the beach to the state park. We called another writer-friend, Teresa Medeiros, who swore that we called not to say hi, but rather to gloat. :)

And then there's the reading. One of the best things about my vacation time in paradise, is the time I have to read. So far I've read Stephanie Meyer's "The Host" (I know, I know, I got an early peek at an ARC), Alice Hoffman's "The Third Angel," Stephen King's "Duma Key," Christina's "Touch of Darkness," and Jill's "The Homecoming," which will be available in a few months. Next on the pile is Harlan Coben's "Hold Tight." Am I a lucky girl, or what?

Supposedly we're going "zip-lining" on Monday. I'm not entirely sure what it is or how one does it, but I'll let you know how it goes. Picture a bunch of crazy women hanging from strings, flying above the trees. We MUST be mad...

Jill just called and invited us down for drinks on the beach and a barbeque, so I guess I'm off to the store for my part of the pot luck.

I'm sending you all good thoughts, and hope that the weather whereever you are is kind. It's been terrible in my hometown lately, and I swear it's not my fault because I came to the sun.

And LOST is back on!! So it's impossible not to smile...



Aloha at last!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Aloha, friends---

Well, after a crazy week of preparations and edits and packing and planning, I am back in my favorite place in the world. On the beach in Hawaii. Can you hear my deep sigh? Imagine my smile? Right now, I'm sitting on my lanai (that's a deck in Hawaii), in a big ole comfortable chair, with a mai tai on the table beside me, staring through a gorgeous, blooming plumeria tree at the white waves in the distance. I can smell the flowers in the air, and the salt, and even the clouds that are slowly moving in this direction. Yes, it will be raining soon, but that's okay. Better than okay, really, because when it rains, I get to curl up on my sofa and read. :) You all know what a treat THAT is: a day spent doing nothing but reading. For the past couple of days, in fact, I've been so buried in a book that I haven't even gone snorkeling. I blame Stephen King. His newest, Duma Key, hooked me on page one and wouldn't let go until I finished.

And I have a new that actually RUNS when it's not plugged in, so I'm especially grateful; I can sit outside and communicate with all of you at the same time. Which reminds me, I want to say how much I appreciate all of your comments. It has been really fun sharing our lives for these past few weeks. A few of you, I actually feel I'm getting to know. It seems we all have a lot in common. As I've often said--we women live each others' lives a lot of the time. If you need more proof, go to the contest part of the website and read some of the best friends entries I received. I LOVED reading these entries--every one of them. Choosing winners was a nearly impossible tast that kept me up at night. Honestly. In the end, I was so torn, that I posted almost a dozen more essays that I'd originally planned to. In truth, they were simply too moving--some funny, some sad, some poignant--to keep to myself. So I hope you'll hop on over and read a few. And to those of you who took the time to enter, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your stores were brilliant; shining examples of why women matter to each other, why friendship matters.

Maybe I should have another contest, in fact. Anyone have an idea of what would be good?

Let's see...what else is going on? Well, I finally completely finished the edits on the book for 09. My brilliant editor was like a Jack-in-the-box. She kept popping back up with new ideas, things that would make the story better, sharper, cleaner. Bless her heart for that. As I've told you--I think--I like writing, but I adore editing. Refining characters, sentences, ideas, themes; that's what really floats my boat when it comes to this remarkable job of mine. Soon, I'll be able to share the ins and outs of the story and pass along the title, but once, long ago, I released a title early and then changed it...and I'm still being asked for that phantom book, so I've learned my lesson. When everything is set, I'll come out with a pair of sparklers all lit up.

I do know they're working on the cover, so perhaps this is a good time to ask you all what you thought of Firefly's packaging? And what colors/images draw you to a book? What are some of your favorites covers/titles?

Speaking of the next book. I'm getting an awful lot of emails about a sequel to Firefly. I don't have any plans to do that yet, but to be honest, it's on my mind. I just have to find the right story. A certain television journalist definitely has a story that needs to be found..

Well, that's pretty much the scoop from paradise for the moment. And I can hear drums and ukelele music coming from down the beach. Someone must be having a barbeque. If I'm lucky, they'll be dancing the hula. Better check it out...

Talk to you all soon, and thanks again for sharing your friendship stories with me.



The Boss and Leavenworth...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Good evening and happy April!

Last weekend was a rocking good time on a couple of levels. First of all, I had my last book signing for Firefly Lane. It was in a lovely, Bavarian-decorated small town tucked into the mountains not far from my home. Leavenworth, Washington. It's long been one of my favorites places, and A Book For All Seasons is always a welcoming place to spend a few hours. This time, however--like has happened so often with this book--the signing turned into a kind of old friends week. First off, an old friend showed up--I hadn't seen Pam in probably 35 years. Can you believe it? Thirty five years. We were babies back then, singing along with Jim Croce and Carole King and Supertramp. Our fathers were close friends and it was great to reconnect, even if only for a short time. And then a friend from high school showed up with her daughter, and we got to talk about old times and old friends. It was especially great, given that Firefly Lane is set in the town where we grew up.

And thanks to "the girls from Leavenworth" who are such a great support network. Mary, Lori, Heather, Maria, Christie, and Erin. You gals are the greatest, and it was totally fun to spend time with you. Hi too, to Janelle and Sheila and Andrea for keeping me company at the signing.

After the great signing, my husband and I headed across the mountain pass for a once in a lifetime treat. Seats for "the Boss." Bruce Springsteen. Those of you who have read my contemporary novels can no doubt see how important this artist has been in my life. Bruce's song are like markers that remind me where I've been. Dancing in the Dark, I'm on Fire, Streets of Philadelphia, Glory Days. Each of these--and dozens more--have meaning for me and my friends. He's truly a poet as well as a musician and seeing him live was something I'll never forget. So thanks to good friends Gretchen and Lisa for making a memorable night...

When I think about it, it feels as if this whole year has been about friends and memories, and Firefly Lane was the start of it all. The novel seems to be drawing people from my life back to me, and I'm incredibly grateful for that. My letters indicate that I'm not alone in this. I'm glad we're all celebrating the people and places--and music--that matters in our lives.

I don't have any book or movie recommendations this week. I've been a lazy slug when it comes to reading. Too much fun on the road and in the Key Arena, I guess. :) But I'll be back with recommendations soon enough, because...I'm heading back to Hawaii. Back to my favorite pink sand favorite oceanfront favorite tiki bar. There's no place that speaks louder to my soul than Hawaii. If I can figure out how to download photos, I'll send a few along. So, the next time you hear from me, I'll be sipping a pina colada and listening to Iz.

What about you? Tell me what are some of your favorite concert moments? Favorite vacation spots? Where do you go to regroup and recharge?

And now, it's elimination night on Idol. I've got to go make sure that little David Archuleta is safe... fingers crossed.

Aloha for now,