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California, United States
I'm a wife, mom, mom-in-law, grandma, and writer. To read more, visit :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Days 256 – 259

Friday – Monday, May 27 – 30, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Delved once again into Christopher Vogler’s The Hero’s Journey, in my opinion the best (as in easy to follow) presentation of how to write a novel. Very helpful in preparation for teaching a workshop in June.
            THE DETAILS. . .My Guy and I began the holiday weekend Friday evening at the amphitheater down at the beach: the Marine Band played and then the movie Top Gun was shown. =)
The music was great and included a surprise ending: an F-16 flew over. Whoa! The movie is 25 years old and because it was filmed in San Diego – and most especially because the house scenes were filmed at a house still located across the street from that amphitheater – the community decided to celebrate. Very fun.
We actually saw one of the scenes filmed (the chase on the steep hill) with our kiddos when they were little; we just happened upon it 25 years ago. . .
Old friends (as in have known each other since before Top Gun was a movie) came over for dinner Saturday night.  Yummy new recipes: tabouli from one friend, a pesto from the other.
Monday we celebrated my birthday – yes again; it goes on and on and on. This was something I’ve long wanted to do. We took a photo caravan tour at the Safari Park (a.k.a. Wild Animal Park): 2 hours in the back of a pickup riding out in the fields where the giraffes and rhinos live. We fed acacia leaves to a giraffe. I kid you not. We really did. Amazing.

Day 255

Day 255
Thursday, May 26, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Reader correspondence.
THE DETAILS. . .Happy Anniversary to Son and Daughter-in-Law!  =)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 254

Wednesday, May 25, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Richard Rohr writes that he prays for one humiliation a day. Eww. Not there yet!  But the point is, if we’re paying attention, such a thing causes us to confront our false self, that ego that craves stroking.
            Book reviews can do both: stroke and humiliate. Two things I don’t seek, don’t truly on the deepest level need, but there they are if I read one.
            I read one by accident. Well, I got to it by accident (hunting down an interview I did about Desert Gift) and naturally the ego engaged my eyes and I read it. My response: ack! where do I go to write a review of the review?!?   I mean, come on!  =)
            I say I understand: my stories do not appeal to everyone. . .not everyone is going to “get it”. . .my writing is not great literature. . .a review is one person’s opinion. Fine. But still. . .ack!
            This came on the heels of reading several emails from readers who do “get it” and waxed eloquently about what specifically spoke to their hearts through the characters and how grateful they are to have received that touch. Sigh. This is why I write.
            Speaking of which, I caught up on emails sent to my AOL address, which I no longer use but is still out there as my main contact address. It takes a bit to inform everyone about the switch. One of those tech things that can drive me up the wall like when I get a couple dozen messages: mail returned, undeliverable, no such address, mailbox full.
            NEW ADDRESS:
            Speaking of reviews, I received a “tag” via Facebook that very positively discusses Desert Gift.  =)  Then I got comments to that tag that encouraged. I have to get in there to FB and figure out what/how a tag works.
            I dropped off books at the local library for one of their book clubs; members are reading different titles for their July meeting. Nice.
            Post office run, mailed more books to winners and an uncle in Mississippi who shares them.
            THE DETAILS. . .A bike ride.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Granddaughter Music

Days 248 – 253

Thursday – Tuesday, May 19 - 24, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .New manuscript is good to go.  =)  This means it needs no major overhaul. My editor will suggest and then I’ll tweak. Am I happy?  =)
            Meanwhile I am sliding back into Desert Gift mindset, talking about it, writing about it. Online interview, emails with readers, sending out copies, Facebook and blog posts. . .  
            THE DETAILS. . .Details, details. House, life in general. Blah, blah, blah.
            Friday My Guy and I drove eight hours over to Arizona.  =)  Sweet hugs and catch-up downtimes with Grandgirls, Son, and Daughter-in-Law, soaking them all in and savoring. Attended the girls gymnastics show, coached by D-I-L. Fun and amazing! Drive home on Monday.
            The desk mess still overwhelms. Actually most of it is out of sight in the closet. Ha, ha.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 246 – 247

Tuesday – Wednesday, May 17 – 18, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Spending much time (and technical effort! ack!) on marketing-related online stuff.  =)  It is such a delightful privilege to be able to connect with readers via the Net so readily and (somewhat) easily.  I still enjoy receiving handwritten notes in the real mailbox at the sidewalk, but of course this other enables many more of us to “meet.”  I love how many names are familiar to me.
            Became acquainted with Shelfari, a site where one can create a virtual bookshelf, fill it with “books” (covers are displayed) that one has read or wants to read, and add opinions.
Rather a cool place.  I would tell you more but I do not know more.  I signed up.  Added Desert Gift and Ransomed Dreams character names, themes, quotes.  Saw pics/icons of people who have these titles on their shelves.
            I arrived at it via  Does this help?  =)  It may show up under the “Book Extras” tab on the Amazon page that describes one book, how to order it, reviews, etc.
            THE DETAILS. . .You’d think I’ve been asleep for six months.  My catch-up to-do list grows longer even as I cross things off.  Yes, I needed a midweek break.
            My Guy and I saw There Be Dragons, a wonderful film that basically has been kept under wraps; I am surprised to see that it’s still playing at our local theater (which caters to those who enjoy animated and/or lots of violent furious action). 
It’s about Saint Josemaria Escriva who lived in Spain during the Civil War, had to escape (priests were being killed), and spent his life teaching about the sacred being everywhere, not just in a church setting. He taught about and epitomized forgiveness. He died in 1975 (so for us old folks this is fairly recent history). 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Guy

The water is not warm . . . He sports a winter-weight wetsuit, boots, gloves, and hood.

Day 245

Monday, May 16, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Wrote emails to readers and yes at last, I finished putting order to the addresses transferred over from AOL to Yahoo – and some Facebook time.  Sooo fun to offer free copies and see the eager response.
            Gathered materials to use for a presentation for June workshop in Iowa.
            THE DETAILS. . .Washed windows. Watched My Guy body surf. Perhaps I’m putting some order back into life as well as the online address book?  ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Days 242 – 244

Friday – Sunday, May 13 – 15, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Still basking in the joy of holding that book in my hand.  =)  Internet work, mostly regarding its release.
            THE DETAILS. . .Ugh. A three-day bout with vertigo, a positional thing that pops up rarely, not even once a year.  Sometimes what seems to set it off is a long, long time with head facing the laptop and then getting up from the desk.  The timing stank – I planned to attend a local meeting of American Christian Fiction Writers, but was unable to do that.  =(

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 241

Thursday, May 12, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .!!!!!!!  Copies of Desert Gift arrived!!!  \O/  One of the most deliriously fun things to do is share a new book with others.  I signed, sealed inside padded envelopes, and took to the post office several copies for family and readers (some winners via Facebook, some influential in passing along “reviews,” some who helped my research [noted in the Acknowledgments]). 
            There were a few oh-no moments this morning.  I learned from the publisher that the boxes had been delivered yesterday, left at the front door.  Uh, not at my house.  I investigated.  Some nearby houses are vacation rentals and vacant much of the time.  I took a walk.  Front doors, like ours, are on the side of houses so they are not visible from the sidewalk.  Two doors down, at a house number that transposes mine, sat my boxes of books.
Yes, prayers of thanks were said for an email on another matter from the marketing lady, which led to my inquiry, which led to the discovery and I danced a little jig.  I did not even grouse about the delivery person who obviously reads numbers like I do.
            THE DETAILS. . .What else is there?  =)   Oh yeah, farmers market and home group and a bike ride.  If you’ve read bits of this blog, you could have told me my Thursday activities.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Days 239 - 240

Tuesday – Wednesday, May 10 – 11, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Shhh. Is that a UPS truck I hear?  One bearing boxes of Desert Gift?   Ha, ha, ha. Okay, yes, I am checking the street. Often.
            “Created” (templates make things so easy for us non-designer folks) and ordered business cards.  They are an easy way to give out contact info to writers, readers, booksellers, not to promote my work. The site I worked on offered mom cards (so-and-so’s mom; very cute), an easy way to give other moms phone numbers, etc.  My need falls somewhere in between business and mom.  
            THE DETAILS. . .Still heavily in the catching-up mode for life's details. Accomplished some kitchen spring-type cleaning.  Disappointed that this chore was not on my list, though; I have nothing to cross off.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 238

Monday, May 9, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Filled with gratitude and delight as I wrote about Desert Gift on the Facebook author page.  Yep, happy as a lark except for the struggle to post the back-cover words and the cover’s image.  Ack!  But I succeeded.  And I announced winners of copies to women who participated in the discussions which was way fun. 
            Reviews are out there.  I wince at the thought of reading any.  I am such a coward. They will affect me, although not for long or intensely:  for a few minutes I will be giddy or bummed. Oh well, it comes with the territory – if I read them.  Ha, ha.  They are a great help to readers, of course.  I use them all the time when choosing a book.
            Google informs me about things concerning my books.  A review showed up, I peeked.  =)  Here it is: “Review of Desert Gift by Sally John : A true gift of inspiration for a hurting soul.” Nice, huh?
            Read more at:            
Last week I donated books (the ones set in San Diego) to a school fundraiser. My friend, a mom at the school, said the books did well in the silent auction, which was nice to hear.  =)
THE DETAILS. . .At last, a lingering, creative grocery store(s) run. And I actually spent more than twenty minutes in the kitchen. Yummy spaghetti (with low-carb linguine). 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Days 236 - 237

Saturday – Sunday, May 7 – 8, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . . OH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It arrived in the mail!!!!  My first copy of Desert Gift.  Talk about bee-you-tee-ful.  Of course I’ve seen the cover image online and I’ve held the covered book in hand, the advanced reader copy with its extra words all over it and inside it.  But this!  Words escape me.  =)  This is it.  I can hardly wait for everyone to read it.
            This means it’s being shipped, it’s on its way to bookshelves across the country.
            Thanks be to God.
            THE DETAILS. . .I did not get the mail until late Saturday evening, so the above celebration was not for the entire weekend.  ;) 
            My Guy and I had a movie date, saw a French movie with subtitles, silly fun in a totally French way.  Then we bundled up (summer temps are gone again) and enjoyed a picnic (French bread and brie) at a grassy area above a cove where seals hang out.
            Happy Mother’s Day!  Phone conversations with Daughter and Son and my mom blessed me.  Hallmark Holidays are okay.  

Day 235

Friday, May 6, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Emails, etc. Shifting gears from story submitted to the new book coming soon.             
            THE DETAILS. . .Finished the green space project.  It’s bee-you-tee-ful.
            Hit the tired-every-which-way wall.  Maybe the project was finished because my knees wanted time off.   =)  So I read. . .fiction. . .in the middle of the afternoon, a special treat to myself.  I imagine if I were an editor and read fiction all the time, this would not be such a big deal.

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Green Space

Here's one corner in front of our house.
The gorgeous bougainvillea is actually flowing over from the neighbor's yard.
The grill and the fire-ring-turned-impatiens planter both survived the wildfire that swept through our backyard a few years ago.
The potted yellow flower on the wall and the cross were housewarming gifts three years ago.
The green foliage on the ground, behind the grill, is a type of epiphyte (air plant) that is growing on a piece of word. So amazing. This was a gift from friends recently.

Day 234

Thursday, May 5, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Did I mention the great cover for next year’s book?  =)
            THE DETAILS. . .Plants, flowers, dirt. . .  Coffee with a friend, another catch-up time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 233

Wednesday, May 4, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Received image from publisher of a cover idea for Heart Echoes, the book recently turned in.  Woo-hoo!  It’s beautiful!  Some of the story takes place in Oregon, along the coast. The main photo is of the coast.  I love the three covers together for the books in this series:  a Mexican village, a desert, and now a coast.  Very, very nice.  I voted yes.
            THE DETAILS. . .Another lunch with a friend.  =)  Have I mentioned this is my social catch-up time?  We met at a writers conference about a month before the fire in 2007, learned we lived near each other, planned to meet for coffee.  Then we both lost our houses.  Yes, we have a few things in common (although she is much younger and has young ones).  We know how to take each other's emotional temperatures.
            Worked in my green space; laid stepping stones because walking barefoot on bark chips is not fun.
            Happy Birthday to my Illinois Sister-in-Law!  =)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Days 231 – 232

Monday – Tuesday, May 2 – 3, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Some online writing-related correspondence; mailed an advanced reader copy to a reviewer.
            This is the waiting time, the weeks when I catch-up on the rest of life and check in with reality. It’s a time to breathe differently. It can be a time of I hope I hope I hope oh I hope they like it.  =)  Gratefully, when that thought comes regarding Heart Echoes, it is soon followed by I did my best and they know how to make it better.
            THE DETAILS. . .More garden work.  I’m loving the creative and physical work. The “front yard/patio” space is maybe eight by fifteen feet (wild guess; I have no clue about distances; it's the size of a large room) plus some side yard with sidewalk leading to the front door which is actually on the side of the house.
The Santa Ana winds are blowing like crazy and the 82 degrees feels extra wonderful after a longer-than-what-I-remember rainy, cool winter.  It’s supposed to be days of “May gray” before next month's “June gloom,” but three days into it and that’s not here yet.
Lunch and girl talk with sister-in-law and cousin-in-law.  =)
Am sooo excited about a book that just arrived, The Five Books of Moses, a translation by Everett Fox.  It’s a literal Hebrew rendering of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Fox takes a long introduction to explain this Hebraic voice. Simply put, he has tried to “mimic the … rhetoric” by using the repetition, alliteration, and wordplay found in the original texts.  The result is a sort of prose-poetry that begs to be read aloud so that the ear might take part in the power of the language. 
I’ve read to Genesis 1:19 and am surrounded by beauty. I’ve never ready anything like it.  =)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Days 229 - 230

Saturday – Sunday, April 30 – May 1, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .Soaked in the writing behind a play.
            THE DETAILS. . .The play: Let Me Down Easy. We went downtown to a matinee performance. I don’t know where to begin to describe this original work. Written and performed by Anna Deveare Smith (actress). . .based on her interviews with a wide range of people. . .she presented each character answering her questions. . .the result was an energetic slice of American life. And a whole lot more.  =)
Happy Anniversary to Daughter and Son-in-Law!!

Day 228

Friday, April 29, 2011. . .
            THE WRITING. . .A full morning of email/online writing-related tasks.  Mailed the manuscript to my Daughter-in-Law, a first reader with a good editor’s sense.
            THE DETAILS. . .A plant-infested afternoon at a store, choosing just the right ones for our small area: drought-resistant, six hours of sun, part-sun/part-shade, shade (we have all of the above in the space); can survive in a pot (I’m not into digging up the landlord’s ground).  Bought bark chips too (no grass, very little concrete, the chips cover most of it). Fun.
            Watched a replay of The Wedding.  =)  I’ve been in love with England since my first Gothic-governess story waaaay back when and so this was thoroughly enjoyable.  An interesting note: The Earrings resembled the ones my Daughter wore in her wedding.  I guess the word got out how beautiful they were.  =)