March 16, 2013

Teaser #2 from Coast to Coast

Thank you to everyone who helped get me over 200 likes, when I woke up this morning we were at 216! All of your sharing and support is greatly appreciated.  And of course, as I promised I would, I'd like to share another teaser from Coast to Coast.  I thought this part was especially appropriate today, as I'll be getting together with my whole family tonight to eat my Grandpa's delicious corned beef and celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  So here it is. Enjoy!

The beach house had been in my family for years.  My Grandma had always dreamed of living on the ocean.  We’ve been taught that our bodies are 70% water.  My Grandma said she believed this because she felt the spirit of the ocean dwelled inside her and the crashing waves against the shore pounded out the rhythm of her heart.  My Grandpa loved her more than anything, and although he was actually the one to make her heart pound, he wanted to do everything in his power to make her dreams come true.  They got married after he returned from the war.  He found a part time job in real estate that eventually turned into a career.  When the opportunity finally presented itself, he snatched up a little piece of land right on the beach in the city of San Clemente.  He built them a beautiful little home on that land with what money they had left.  It wasn’t much to look at, but it was perfect for them.  They called it home for the next 60 years. 

That little beach house saw many changes over the years.  Three girls were born and raised there and with each new baby came a new addition to the house.  For their 25th wedding anniversary they built a state of the art kitchen where they could explore all their culinary curiosities.  It was pretty elaborate for the 70’s.  A few years after that they gutted the upstairs completely to create a huge vaulted ceiling for the main foyer and living room.  By then all three girls had moved out, were married, and starting to have children of their own.  Brand new bedrooms were constructed in yet another addition so the girls and their families could come home to visit anytime they wanted.  And they did.  Every summer the whole family came together for a few weeks.  For their 50th anniversary they had a new master suite built complete with a master bathroom.  It featured a whirlpool tub big enough for four with a picture window overlooking the ocean and shoreline.  It was my Grandma’s favorite spot in the house.  And while she joked that it took her 50 years of putting up with Grandpa to get it, we all knew she was proud of the house and proud of the life that her and Grandpa had made. 

When the upkeep became difficult for them to handle alone they hired help.  A gardener came a few times a week to help my Grandpa with the property and a maid helped my Grandma with cleaning and laundry.  Grandma refused to have anyone cook for her, but they did take turns running errands or driving them into town.  This arrangement worked quite well for a while.  About five years ago, it became clear that they needed more help than a gardener and maid could provide.  They moved into an independent living community a few miles away and their three daughters took over the beach house. 

We continued gathering together at the beach house every summer.  Not everyone could make it every single time, but the effort was made.  It got more difficult as us kids grew older.  School, sports, jobs, and life in general got in the way.  Three weeks turned into two, then two into only one.  Some family members only stopped by for a few days.  When our family wasn’t staying there, we rented it out.  My mother and her sisters managed the rental of the property.  The gardener and maid had stayed on after my Grandparents left.  They were basically the on sight managers and very heavily trusted by my family.  Other staff was brought on as well to assist the guests.  Again, this new arrangement worked quite well the past few years and even provided some extra income which the families split.  But it was all coming to an end. 

This would be the last year the beach house was part of our family.  It was becoming too much work for my Mom and Aunts to manage as a rental property.  My Mom was busy running her own Bed and Breakfast back in Lemon Cove and my Dad was a pilot always on the go.  My Aunt and Uncle were looking to retire early to Arizona or Florida.  My other Aunt and Uncle already lived up in Northern California and it was too hard for them to manage long distance.  So they had hired a general contractor to fix the place up.  He was to give it a complete facelift and modernize everything from appliances to drapes.   It was decided that my cousin Jessica and I would stay at the house all summer to oversee the work and help make decisions on interior design and such.  The rest of the family could come and go throughout the summer as they please.  At the end of the summer, when the work was complete, the beach house would be put up for sale.

March 14, 2013

Treadmills & Bloggers & Likes...Oh My!

Well, the day is finally here! My extra bedroom is clean, treadmill has been moved upstairs into the room, and hubby finished my workstation for the treadmill.  God bless him and his devotion to my work. He had to build it, then realize it wouldn’t fit through the door frame, unassemble it, get it in the room and reassemble it.  I love you honey :)  Here’s a little photo progression so you can see what we did to the room. Here's the original messy extra room...
Starting to organize... Woo, look at that filing system that's starting...
Now the room is clean, organized, and cleared out to make room for the treadmill. 
And here is my treadmill with my new workstation! 
 So Excited!
Another view. Love it!
Thank you so much Terry!!!
And for those of you who knew and loved MaryAnn, I hope she's looking down on us and thinking, "Thank you for using my treadmill and TV for a good purpose. I'm glad that you and Terry quit smoking and are making smart choices in your life. I wish you the best." Thank you MaryAnn for pushing us the right way, even if you didn't get to see the results.
Next up...
I want to share an article that's been circulating on the internet about bloggers, indie authors, and self-publishing.  I know a lot of you already understand the blogger/author relationship and the importance of social media, but I also have some friends, family, and fans that don't know the first thing about any of this. So, I think this is a fantastic article for anyone who wants a better understanding of books and authors in this e-reader/internet based time. It's from a blog called Dear Author and it does feature my favorite author, Colleen Hoover, but I think it has many interesting points and is well worth a quick read. Please click on the link below to read this article.

I WILL share another teaser from Coast to Coast, but I need at least 200 Facebook "likes" to do so.  Thank you to all my new fans, I really appreciate your love and support, but I still need a few more.  So please, like, share, comment, message, whatever you want to get me past 200. I promise it'll be a good clip of the book!

March 9, 2013

New Post (for real this time)

I want to start by thanking everyone who participated in my giveaway. I gained so many new fans and followers and I really appreciate your support. Let me welcome you and say I hope you continue to follow me on my journey.  And of course… CONGRATULATIONS to the giveaway winner…Michelina Di Campo. She chose R.K. Lilley’s book “Grounded”. I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet myself, but I’ve heard fantastic things about the series, so Mikki, I hope you enjoyed it and thanks again for becoming a new fan of mine.
Next, I’ve been invited to participate in a group of authors that promote each other through Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, any and all social media.  So when you see my posts about their pages or books PLEASE check it out. They’re a fantastic group of women and writers and they deserve your attention.  Believe me, I’d never promote something I didn’t fully believe in, so you can rest assured that I’m making solid recommendations to you. 

Lastly, my new work space is still “under construction”.  I had a few days off work and I made significant progress, but it’s still not done yet.  For any of you with spare bedrooms that you use as a catch-all you can understand how difficult it is to clear it out.  Much harder than I thought it would be.  But, I’ve certainly made progress and actually I’ve come across things I wrote years ago that have been kind of fun to read.  So since you all have been so patiently waiting for me to share more ( I can’t share another part of the book until I get to 200 “likes” on Facebook), but I can share something silly from my early days of writing.
I know I was young and nothing ever came of it, but I used to write country songs and submit them to agents I found in the backs of music magazines. Whenever I got a response to a song/letter I sent, it was usually positive encouragement that made me feel good.  But some really and honestly critiqued my songs and didn't treat me like a kid.  I look back on these now and I feel proud that I was willing to put myself out there, so exposed and vulnerable at the age of 14.  I didn’t have money or the resources to promote a song, but I wrote and I tried to promote myself.  Funny, it’s almost 20 years later and I’m still kind of doing the same thing, but completely different. This time around I know what I’m doing…I think?

Probably not, but I had some great people that took pity on a young girl and humored her with some positive criticism.  My favorite quote from a response letter is, “You have talent, and if you learn and your interest stays high, you will do well.” Wow, that means the world to me! (And yes, he underlined those words.)  He also compared one of my songs to Tim McGraw's "Please Don't Take The Girl" and said with a lot of rewrites he would think of pitching it to him.  Well, needless to say, I never went anywhere with my songs.  Probably because I have no muscial ability, but I do like to write.  I'm much more comfortable and confident with telling a story through a novel.  But it was nice to find some of these old things and remind myself that I may be older and have more life experience now, but deep down I'm still the same person looking for the same thing, a way to share a story with the world.  Only now, the tools exist to make this a reality.  Back when I was submitting my songs we didn't have the internet, much less Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon and Kindles.  The biggest complaint that this agent had about my song submission was that I didn't include a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope for a response!  I bet a lot of young people today don't even know what a SASE is.  My point is, I know I haven't really changed, but the available technology has, and it might just be possible that my 32 year old self can make my 14 year old self's dreams come true.
So again, thank you for all the ways that you've showed your love and support, both internet-based and in real life.  Keep following and I hope you like Coast to Coast too. I’m nervous about this whole endeavor, but I feel better when I know I have people like you that are kind and understanding and helpful and supportive.  Thank you all!!!