Great Library Event!

Had such a great library event on Saturday!

Here was my view as I was speaking. I asked everyone to wave:

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I talked about my my Oprah moment that started me on my romance-writing journey and my road to publication, offered some tips I learned along the way, shared my “bag of writing secrets,” and answered questions.

My mom brought cookies for everyone, and my SIL Denise brought raffle tickets (we did two raffles, one for The Red Bikini, and one for Ten Good Reasons). Denise also brought a cash box and helped me sell a bunch of books!

Then I signed books and said hello to a lot of friends who came to support me. It was so fun.

Here’s me and my SIL Barbara (my brother’s wife), who helped with photo-taking:

Barbara and meSigning lots of books:

5-4-2015 1-41-09 PMAnd me and a bunch of friends from high school, believe it or not! The library event was very near our old stomping grounds, so had a lot of VHS friends show up with their moms, who I grew up with also. So fun:

5-4-2015 1-45-16 PMI had such a good time!

Fresh Start to a New Year


So how is the new year treating you so far?

Mine has started with a bang! New writing deadlines, a child flying back to college, general clean-up of holiday stuff, feeling behind already, a few feelings of omg-is-it-really-only-week-ONE?, and … wow … snow!

We got snow on our Southern California mountains on Dec. 31. (So not technically 2015, but it was still exciting and felt like a nice way to start a new year!)

This is called Saddleback Mountain, and it’s normally dry and brown, with some flashes of green in the spring after it’s rained for a bit. (Unfortunately, the green only lasts a nanosecond.) But the morning of Dec. 31, I pulled out of my housing tract, glanced to my left to look for oncoming traffic, and sucked in my breath when I saw this:


I seriously breathed out “Wow!” right into my empty car. I did a quick U-turn and parked on the side of the street to take the above photo. (The things in the street are palm fronds that blew off the trees and into the street the night before, during our rainstorm.)

Hubby had called me in the morning and had told me there was “snow on Saddleback,” but I wasn’t prepared for THIS. Usually when there’s “snow” it only covers that very top peak, not ALL the mountains!

So I drove up to the lake (about a mile up that road) and took these:

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I wasn’t the only one! There are a ton of people standing right behind me taking the same photos, and there were even cars parked on the side of the street with snow on them, who drove from about a mile away, from the base of the mountain. I guess they were even able to play with snow in their back yards! It was such a treat of beauty for us.

This last photo is one of my favorites because in all my 18 years in this town, I’ve NEVER seen snow on top of those mountains to the right! What-the-whaaaa?

(Plus, who doesn’t love a nice palm-trees-against-snow picture?)


So that got my new year off to a crazy, you-never-know-what-to-expect start! I hope the rest of the year is filled with such magnificent, beautiful surprises.

How is your year going so far?

A Whale-Watching Adventure

We had so much fun this weekend going whale-watching!

I received tickets from Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching Co., who hoped we’d have a good time and would do a write-up for my other blog — Things To Do In Orange County.

I’d never been whale-watching before, so I was excited to give it a try. And Superman had brought it up a few times as something he’d like to do. And both my teens were really excited about it. (Rene even had it on her “high school bucket list”!)

So we were off!

We went to pick up our tickets at will-call in Dana Point Harbor, then had about 45 minutes to kill, so we wandered around the harbor area and looked at the shops and boats. I always forget how pretty Dana Point Harbor is!

We chose a noon boarding time (options were 10 a.m., noon, or 2 p.m.), which was perfect because the morning gloom burned off right around 11:45, and it got sunny just as we were boarding. Continue reading

Weight-Loss Challenge No. 1 — A 650-Foot Elevation?

So here’s where the weight-loss story starts getting comical:

In the spirit of “The Biggest Loser” competition at my work, one of my coworkers planned a “Fitness Friday” lunchtime hike at one of Orange County’s wilderness parks, and at first I thought “I’m in!”

I love the outdoors. And I love Orange County’s wilderness parks — they’re kind of desert-y, but they have some beautiful oaks and sycamores, plenty of wild birds and rabbits to make you realize you’re in another world, an amazing fragrance of California sage, and a true “get away from it all” feel. Just recently, in fact, I was chatting with my old neighbor about joining the OC Hiking Club, which is something I suggested years ago to my friend Debbie (but we each got busy with our kids, and weekends suddenly filled up).

Plus I love vacations to Tahoe or Yosemite, and we always find at least one fun hike to do there each trip.

But, admittedly, my version of “hiking” involves a camera, a slower walk, and the time it takes to notice my surroundings. Continue reading

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