Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Post Office Box

Okay, here's the deal. Send a stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope for one autographed bookmark. My way of finding out how many people are actually reading the blog.

Linda Lael Miller
29834 N. Cave Creek Road
Suite 118-272
Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Until tomorrow....

Do you believe in angels?

I do.
And even with all the angel books and general angel "stuff" available today--journals, candles, figurines, cards, etc.--I think angels are still underestimated.
Angels, I have discovered, work in teams.
They like projects.
They have wonderful ideas, and know how to get them up and running. What good are fabulous ideas, after all, if you don't DO anything with them?
They're a fun bunch to hang out with, too. There's something to that hackneyed saying about how they can fly because they take themselves lightly. Might it behoove us to do the same?
I like to think of angels in this context:
I imagine myself in a boardroom, similar to the one on "The Apprentice." (I do have better hair than the Donald but, then, almost everybody does!) The angels are not 'apprentices', but an able and energetic team, every one of them qualified to run any company, any time, anywhere. Yes, I can ask them to help with specific tasks, but I also need to be open to their suggestions and ideas. They want to help, but too often they are like Secret Service agents when the President doesn't want them getting underfoot. They spend a lot of time in their shirtsleeves, playing Pinnochle in the White House kitchen!
If you think this idea is crazy, you haven't read "Think and Grow Rich", by Napoleon Hill. It's the Master Mind concept, in which Hill recommended assembling a team of imaginary advisors and consulting with them on problems, objectives, and goals. It is most effective before sleep. Why? Because when we sleep, our conscious mind, that assiduous gatekeeper, is not in charge. Now, a gatekeeper is a good thing, because we don't want just any old sludge getting in to gum up the system, do we? The problem is that the conscious mind is a little TOO careful, a lot of the time. It filters things through old beliefs and perceptions and even superstitions that our best selves have long since outgrown. It's sort of like putting a first-grader in charge of a classroom entrance at Harvard. The conscious mind is habit-ridden, and it would rather stick with crayons than risk learning to use a supercomputer, for example. This is partly laziness, and partly just plain old, ordinary inertia.
I'm beginning a formal experiment in working with an Angel Advisory Board, and I will report regularly on this blog, honestly and with examples.
As a postscript, I've completed the 30 Day Tarot experiment I told you about, based on Mark McElroy's wonderful book, "What's in the Cards for You?" I've acquired a fabulous new tool for generating story ideas, insights, and the like. I have learned to see how the cards can tell a story, in a series of pictures, and I would not trade any of my discoveries for a brand new Jag.
Now, if the thought of using cards gives you the heebie-jeebies, well, that's a sure sign of an overzealous gatekeeper. Old tapes are playing. Examine them, using your journal, and ask yourself if you've outgrown them. Tarot cards are not the tools of the devil. (The devil gets way too much press, in my opinion. In fact, he's the archetype for Excuses.)
At some point, we are going to start going through the Tarot, card by card, perhaps on a weekly basis.
Tune in tomorrow for a PO Box where you can send feedback and request a free "McKettrick's Choice" bookmark, personally autographed by moi. One to a customer, while they last, and you have to send an SASE.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Old Dog, New Trick!

As previously mentioned, I'm a first-year student at the University of Phoenix, and I'm loving it, but let me tell you, it's a real challenge. But I just mastered a new skill, and I'm so pleased I have to shout it from the rooftops. I can do PowerPoint! I constructed a presentation on using Tarot cards and other insight tools for brainstorming, and I'll be giving it tonight in my Communications 110 class. I'll let you know how it goes in tomorrow's blog.

Other good news on the dog front: Sadie has lost 4 pounds on the homemade dog-food diet, and Bernice is down 1! It's working!

I'm living by my to-do list these days. The first Mojo book, now officially titled DEADLY GAMBLE, coming from HQN in November of 2006, is well underway, with 100 pages done.

So, much as this old dog would like to go on howling, there's work to do.

Monday, August 29, 2005

God Bless New Orleans

Let's keep the Big Easy and all her children in our thoughts and prayers today.

New Orleans is one of my favorite American cities. There is no place quite like it. The people are friendly, and to say the least, unique. The food is marvelous.

Please pray for New Orleans.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Living in the Solution

Pick a challenge, any challenge, something in your daily life that you'd really like to change. For a start, I'd suggest something small, but this is YOUR experiment, so do it your way.

Sit down, preferably with pen and paper, or if you're a techno-type, open a fresh document on your computer.

Get a clear idea of what you want to change, but don't write it down.

Now, take a few moments to envision yourself with the problem solved. How would that look, feel, taste, smell, sound? Who would you be? Really get inside that solution. Try it on, like a wonderful new outfit at your favorite store.

Write a paragraph from the mindset of the solution. You might use a stem like, "Here's how it happened--"

Now, without judging--no idea is too stupid--and very quickly, in a stream of consciousness style, write down 20 ways you might find that solution. Start with #20 and work down. That way, you'll get the crazy stuff (I've written things like, "Jump off a cliff") out of the way first.

Don't get discouraged if The Idea doesn't jump out at you on the first try. This technique takes practice. Keep centering yourself in the solution, and do a fresh page of 20 possibilities tomorrow morning.

If you do this, you will amaze yourself. If you just think, "What a nice idea, maybe I'll try it sometime", nothing will change.

Go for it!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Law of Correspondence

Like many of the best things I've ever learned, the Law of Correspondence comes directly from the material of Brian Tracy, motivational speaker extraordinaire. He got it from Aristotle.

Simply stated, the Law of Correspondence means that the internal dynamics of a person or a situation will determine the outward effects. I think Jesus said it: As within, so without.

How we rush around, putting bandages on symptoms. It's so simple, really--maybe too simple. I know I'm always looking for that big, parting-of-the-Red-Sea solution, when really it's a matter of drinking more water, or following some problem back to its origins--always a thought or an attitude I haven't consciously examined.

You really don't have any secrets, you know, except from yourself. Be a detective. Look at your outer life, and follow the clues. Hint: they lead inside.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What makes a great hero/heroine?

I've been giving that a lot of thought, both for professional and personal reasons.
What IS it that really sets a hero and/or heroine apart from the herd?
In my humble opinion, it's the courage to love. Full-out, sweaty, sometimes bruised and bloody, but always loving, in the face of every challenge.
Now, lest any of you get snagged on the bruised and bloody part, let me state clearly that I am NOT advocating any rough stuff. Love and violence don't mix, any more than drinking and driving. I've got zero tolerance for both.
I'm talking about the willingness to face any challenge or ordeal, for the sake of love, the courage to make the journey, however painful and scary it might be at times.
Sam O'Ballivan, in "The Man from Stone Creek", coming next June from HQN, is a good example. He's as tough as they come, a fast gun, with a brain like the proverbial steel trap. But Sam has a gentle side, too--he loves the children who attend his one-room schoolhouse, the hooker needing a hand and a place to hide, and every stray animal within a fifty mile radius. His heroine, Maddie Chancelor, is also his equal. She has her own business, her own goals. The courage to love comes a little harder to Maddie, but she finds it within herself, overcomes her fears, and makes the journey.
Love conquers all.
It's only trite because it's been true for so long.
Love is the answer to every question, large and small.
Think about it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Day 22 of the Tarot Experiment

Well, THIS is certainly a mind-bender! Turns out, each one of those 78 colorful cards is a little window, straight into my psyche. Not only that, it's a window into my characters' deeper minds, too. Get rid of the fortuneteller image. Get rid of the Jamaican chick recently rousted from the world of informercials. Forget the world of smoke, mirrors, candles and flowing robes.

Carl Jung, the great psychologist, who first articulated the power of personal and collective archetypes, was fascinated by the Tarot. Joseph Campbell, Mythologist Fantastico, pondered them in depth. WHY? Because the subconscious mind thinks and speaks in symbols. There is indeed magic here, but it's not the scary, Ouiji board kind. It's the magic of opening communication with--ta-dah!--YOURSELF.

I'm currently writing a new romantic suspense, which I call "Dead Husbands", although HQN might call it something else. Every morning, before I write, I get calm and hold my Rider-Waite Giant Deck--which no one else is allowed to touch, not because of superstition, but because I don't want the energies confused. (Remember our conversation about energy? It's REAL. Best learn to deal with it.) I ask 3 times, slowly and silently, writing the question on a blackboard in my mind, "What do I need to know about this character?" (Nothing magical about the three question technique--the subconscious mind also understands ritual, which is why candles can be effective, if you don't find it creepy.) Then, when I feel ready, I deal out five cards. I look deeply into the "windows", using Mark McElroy's wonderful technique from "What's In the Cards For You?" (Get it. Do it. You'll be amazed.) I imagine the images on the front of greeting cards, and try to figure out what the message on the inside would be.

The insights have been nothing short of amazing. They've taken the story in a whole new direction, and I've seen inside these characters in a way that is totally new, at least to me.

So if you're not a writer, what good could this do in YOUR life?

You figure it out. You're smart. Just remember--the magic isn't coming from Woo-Woo Land. It's coming from you.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Scattered forces

Do you ever wake up with the frustrated, disjointed sensation that your emotional forces are scattered all over some inner landscape?

I certainly do. This very morning was a case in point.

As I always do, I journaled to get to the bottom of the question. Essentially, by going online on my laptop last night, in my bed, which is supposed to be my sanctuary, I unwittingly opened a channel to a lot of sludge. Yes, the internet is a wonderful tool. It is also an energetic sewer, in many ways, and when I'm tired, I'm vulnerable. It's the same with certain TV programs, especially those that focus on crime and general depravity. So here's my insight, for what it may be worth to you.

We live in an ocean of energy, and just because we can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. Can you see magnetism? Gravity? Electricity? But they are THERE, aren't they? Too often, we're like jellyfish, floating in the energetic sea (read: collective unconscious), skinless, unprotected from any passing predator. It seems prudent to consciously don a skin, flexible, but strong as steel. How? By envisioning that. See yourself surrounded by a golden bubble, especially when you are going to be around a lot of people. (Remember yesterday's blog about garbage stew? Well, other people's garbage bays often spring leaks. They can pollute your whole day, if not your lifetime.)

This is, at the bottom line, a boundary issue. You have a choice about the energies you allow in. Make it consciously--don't just drift.

I'm not asking you to believe it works. I'm asking you to try it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Garbage Stew

Well, if you got past the subject line, you are a very brave soul.
What IS garbage stew, you may be asking, and why should I think about it on a beautiful Sunday morning? Good questions!
Garbage stew is the unconscious sludge that keeps us stuck--if we don't know it's there. The image that comes to my mind is that brilliant scene in the first "Star Wars" movie. Do you remember Luke, Hans and the princess--the robots, too, I think--plummeting into the noxious garbage at the bottom of the ship?
Now, George Lucas was a student of the great Joseph Campbell, mythologist extraordinaire. I'm sure he deliberately used the garbage bay as a representation of the subconscious mind. (Gee, and it only took me 30 years to figure that out!)
I hear you. Linda, you are saying, somewhat impatiently, what on earth are you getting at?
Here's your answer. When you feel bad, it's a good bet you've gotten stuck in that garbage stew--things from the past that you regret, or wish you could change, disappointments, mistakes, all that sort of sludge--and just by realizing where you are, and making a choice to climb out and clean up, you can. REALLY. The only reason you stay in the stew is because you don't think you have a choice.
Me? I ask the Gardener to lift me out and hose me off. And He always does.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Today, I had an email from the manufacturer/inventor of my Marvel Machine. He's been reading the blog--isn't that great? It seems I should try for the full four minutes on the lower body workout. This is an upper-body day, so I can take the day to think about it. I lowered the resistance to the minimum and managed two full minutes yesterday. You know, I THOUGHT I was in better shape than this. Alas, successes are not single events, but the cumulative results of small, steady efforts, made on ordinary days. It's the choices and decisions we make, the attitudes we adopt--every day--that make all the difference.

I'm loving this machine. Yes, it was expensive, but it was one of the best choices I've made. I'm worth it, after all.

Have a wondrous weekend.

And a special hello to my sweet sister, Sal, and my friend, Vicki Webster. I love you both dearly, and it means a lot to me that you read this blog so faithfully.

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's Friday--again!

Where does the time go?
It's amazing, how fast a week passes these days.
So many things going on! Planning the dog yard. Writing the new book. Making the most preliminary of plans for the dream house. A particularly challenging course at the University of Phoenix. It constantly amazes me how much I DON'T know! And my adored niece, Angie, will be visiting this weekend from Oregon. I'm really looking forward to that.
Sadie is doing very well on the diet of homemade dog food. She's sleeker, and her eyes are brighter. Her coat shines. She's still got a ways to go, but she's definitely making progress. The week's grub is simmering away in the crockpot as I write this. From the crockpot to the Cuisinart to Sadie's tummy.
I watched the moon set this morning, over the courtyard wall. It's full--somehow that always sneaks up on me, and I DO feel the effects of a full moon--and it was extraordinarily beautiful, huge and orange with the reflected light of the rising sun.
Oh, yes, it's a wonderful thing to be alive, even in uncertain times.
It's nothing new, you know. The uncertainty, I mean. But somehow, we just keep on going, don't we? The moon follows its cycles. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. What a marvel life is. What marvels we are.
This is the day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Breaking News

I was born in Spokane, Washington, on June 10, 1949. I've always liked the limelight. When Mom went into labor that sunny summer morning, Dad was in a panic and raced up a one-way street--the wrong way. A motorcyle cop whipped in behind him and flipped on the whirling lights. Dad explained, and I got a police escort to Sacred Heart Hospital!

My point? I'm planning to move back home, to Washington, and build my dream house on forty acres of beautfiul property. The dogs and horses will love it, as will I. The deal for the land is still in flux, so I'll keep you posted. The reasons are many--my family is there, I yearn for trees and changing seasons and even snow.

Meanwhile, there is TODAY to think about.

Four minutes on the machine.

Four hours on the computer.

It's all good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Just About Everything

Of course I'm not an idiot, at least, not a complete one, and neither are you. However, I am so fond of these books that I thought I'd say a few words about them here.

I probably own thirty of these bright orange tomes. Right now, beside me on the kitchen table, where I am taking advantage of wireless technology, using my laptop, a stack of volumes teeters, full of invitation. (Please excuse all the commas. My beloved editor is on vacation.)

For instance, there is the CPI's Guide to "Body Language". What writer couldn't benefit from that? Indeed, what anything couldn't benefit by learning to read and interpret another person's stance, mannerisms, etc.? What if you could tell if somebody was lying to you, for example?

Another volume: the CPI's Guide to Mary Magdalene. Fascinating! Whether you subscribe to the Da Vinci code theory or not, (I don't, as it happens) she's one intriguing lady. I'd like to get to know her better. Get past the patriarchal propoganda to the nitty gritty. Was she really a disciple? Did she get sidelined by the old boys' club? What do YOU think?

Next, there's the CPI's Guide to Frauds, Scams, and Cons. Handy information, if only to protect yourself. Even handier if you're a straight shooter, like I am, trying to come up with interesting and believable crimes for your villains to commit.

The CPI's Guide to Pet Psychic Communication. (I'd like to tell my beloved Beagle, Sadie, why she has to be on a diet.)

And then there's the CPI's Guide to Algebra. Math has always been my nemesis, and I'm back in college, so I'm doing some reviewing. I'm mid-way through "Criminal Investigation" right now, and "Private Investigating" is next on the docket.

It's possible to get a pretty eclectic education from these books, and I'm committed to life long learning. It keeps me off the streets, and it's way better than television.

A suggestion. Pick ONE book. Read a chapter a day until you finish. Use a highlighter, or even get a notebook and anchor salient points.

Did you know that if you read just seven good books on any given subject, you are for all practical intents and purposes, an expert? Why? Because something like 97 percent of the population never opens another book after high school.

Sobering statistics. Fortunately, the other 3 percent of us read like maniacs.

Stretch yourself a little. Read something you wouldn't ordinarily get into. You have nothing to lose, and whole new worlds to gain.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New book begun yesterday

Yesterday I started--really started--the first book in my new trilogy of contemporary romantic suspense stories. The title, provided my editor and publisher agree, is "Dead Husbands", to be followed by "Dead Wives" and "Dead Lovers." Yikes! While writing these stories, I will have to be careful to think more than usual about life.

I've put in my four minutes this morning, and it feels good. Tomorrow, I'll be back to the lower-body session, and that was hard yesterday. I'll have to rein in my enthusiasm and go for 1-2 minutes, until I get stronger. It became painfully clear that I'm going to have to deal with my pet vice, and give up smoking for good. I have a plan for that, too. My friend Kathy quit quite easily using a plan found at She felt great and had hardly any withdrawal symptoms--in fact, she said she was embarrassed at how easy it was! "Easy" sounds good to me. I'll read through the e-book on Saturday morning--you can take the course free, or download the whole enchilada by donating as little as $10--and then go through the ten-day process. The logic is sound. When we try to break any bad habit, we are in resistance to it, and the white-knuckle method simply doesn't work. The other excellent point made by this course is that we struggle because we frame whatever we're giving up as a form of deprivation. Instead, the objective is to take a celebratory attitude, because we're doing something VERY good for ourselves.

I'm impetuous, so my first thought was to jump in and go for it, right after that busted exercise session yesterday. I lasted two hours. No short cuts allowed--I have to go through the process. I'll keep you posted here, on the blog. Please send positive thoughts my way!

Monday, August 15, 2005

More on Linda and the Marvelous Machine

Wow. I did almost four minutes on the lower body part of the machine, and was really undone afterward. Winded and a little dizzy--the dogs rushed to offer consolation and concern. My mama didn't raise no fool--I'm cutting back to one minute on that exercise, and will build back up to four. I don't have the same problem with the upper body exercise, fortunately.

It's Monday, and today I officially begin--once I catch my breath!--the first book in my new romantic suspense series. I'm thinking of calling it "Dead Husbands".

Are you intrigued?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Day 2 on the Monster Machine

Same pattern as yesterday.
Pray. Pee. Get on the machine.
The lower-body workout proved MUCH more difficult than the upper one.
Here was my mantra:
It's only four minutes. It's only four minutes. It's only four minutes!
I'm taking special care not to frame this as something difficult.
It's only four minutes.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dateline: Cave Creek

The mongo monster machine has arrived! As predicted, it dominates the living room. (Yes, it's a big house, but there doesn't happen to be a good place for eleven feet of gleaming steel.) I got it unlocked and running, all by myself, and this morning, I did my first four minutes. I didn't give myself a chance to procrastinate: I prayed, peed, and got on the machine. I mean, we're talking about four minutes here. No excuses allowed.

While journaling, it came to me what a lesson in manifestation this machine represents, and the insight is worth passing on here. I first saw this behemooth in Psychology Today, many years ago. I wanted it, big-time, but the price (nearly $15,000), stopped me cold. Impossible, I decided. I was still raising my daughter then, and even though I was successful by anybody's standards (except maybe my own), I was still a single parent and I had my back to the wall most of the time, financially and in almost every other way.

I've been blessed, and things are a lot easier today, but let's face it, fifteen grand is still a CHUNK o'Money! Especially for an exercise machine, when a person has a history of buying every machine known to man and infomercial, and then leaving it to gather dust. This was a major decision, and the money wasn't in the budget. Now, I have it.

What was different? Here's what came out of the journal.

1) I made a choice.
2)I focused on what I wanted, not on the obstacles.
3) I believed I could find a way, that God would carve a path where there wasn't a path. (God runs the Department of the Impossible, you know.)

And now I am the proud owner of a magnificent 4-Minute exercise machine.

What do YOU need to turn over to the Department of the Impossible?

Take it from there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Monster Machine Arrives Today

The marvel cost more than some cars I've owned.
It's 11 feet long, and will reside in my living room, for the time being.
The beauty of it? Strength training, aerobics and stretching, all in--brace yourself--
Four hard minutes.
Four long minutes.
But ONLY four minutes.
My time is valuable.
My body is valuable.
I write every day.
At 56, I'm a freshman in college.
I have a life. Dogs. Horses. Cats.
So if I can be fit in four minutes a day, it's well worth the price tag.
If you just can't stand the curiosity, check out the ROM at
Who said this blog isn't varied?
Do something good for yourself today, and for someone else.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Office Supply Stores

I had an email from a good friend this morning, commenting on my remark about how much I love places like Staples and Offices Depot and Max. She's a writer, too, and our electronic conversation got my imagination going.

In my mind's eye, I saw Dickens pausing on a quaint London street to peer through the stationers' window at journals bound in rich leather, their pages clean and unmarked, awaiting the point of a quill pen. I saw Mark Twain, stepping stunned into an Office Max, marveling. He would be drawn to the rich selection of paper, the many pens and other accoutrements of writing, but he loved machines, too. No doubt he would be considered a security risk, peering into printers, studying fax machines, striding behind the copy desk to watch the papers spew, collated and crisp, from a huge and whirring device. Emily Dickenson would probably be overcome by the noise and the hurry--she was a recluse, you know, and wore her nerves on the outside of her skin--but I can easily imagine her in one of my very favorite places--Kate's Paperie, in New York city. 57th Street, I think. Given the space and time to adjust, I think dear Emily would be spellbound. Surely, she would think to herself, running a fragile hand over fine marbled papers and delicious journals, this is heaven.

Oh, yes, Emily.
It is indeed heaven.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Tarot Cards

I am fasincated by Tarot cards.
Now, some of you may feel inclined to pray for my immortal soul, believing, as you might, that I am in league with the dark side. If so, have at it, with my blessing. This country girl will take all the prayers she can get! When it comes to Old Scratch, I figure we have all the devil we need with the collective unconscious, and the evil in this world results from our own individual and group choices, but for now, that's all I'm going to say on the subject.
I see the Tarot as a valuable insight tool, rather than an oracle. It is also excellent for plotting novels and getting a bead on what really makes a character tick. In fact, I'm planning to use it as I frame the first Mojo (romantic suspense/contemporary), but it has other very interesting uses.
For a further explanation, see Mark McElroy's excellent book, "What's in the Cards for You?", which is a practical, no-nonsense guide to using the Tarot to brainstorm stories, solve business problems, and generally become more aware of your own interior workings. Every day, you do a new exercise to familiarize yourself with the cards. I'm up to Day 8, and I can tell you, it's a fascinating thing! In fact, I've taken to copying the pertinent cards and collaging them into my morning pages notebook. (You ARE writing 3 pages in a notebook every day, aren't you???) I use my Xyron machine, the collage artist's friend, available at any good craft and hobby store. I also use the Rider-Waite "giant" deck (it's just age), accompanied by the Tarot Affirmations deck, which provides affirmations and deeper understanding. For added insight, I read about each card in "The Everything Tarot Book". One important caveat: don't allow others to handle these cards. They are merely outpicturings of your own unconscious mind, but obviously, you don't want to muddy the psychological waters with somebody else's issues.
We're not talking about finding out if so and so will fall in love with you, here, or if you're a cinch for that promotion. What the cards will tell you, if you're receptive, and not hidebound by superstition and fear, is what YOU need to do, within your own sphere of influence, which is yourself and not much else, to get on track.
Goals are reached, not by the waving of a wand, but by growing into the kind of person who can achieve them.
Make it a good day. BE a good day, for someone else. Practice kindness.
May you be richly blessed.
May I be richly blessed.
May all sentient creatures be richly blessed.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturday morning

Semi-flexible plans today.
The only thing on the agenda is a visit to my wonderworker of a hairdresser, Franco.
My hair is a strange entity. It's thick, and I can go a long time without a haircut. Then, I solemnly swear, between one day and the next, it goes absolutely wild, and facing myself in the mirror, I know I must either call Franco or get a whip and chair to keep my coiffure in line. When I reach that point, Medusa, with her head full of hissing snakes, is not far behind.
Sadie's diet is progressing nicely. Would that my own were going quite so well!
After I've been sheared, I intend to stop at the office supply store--one of my favorite places--and purchases huge packets of post-it notes and some of that heavy poster board. Have I intrigued you?
I've discovered a new (for me) brainstorming method, based on the book, "Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes", by David Straker. (It will be my under-the-drier reading--I do so HATE to sit still.) I plan to use it to streamline the plotting and characterization process, but obviously it would be applicable in just about any area of life. If you positively can't stand to wait, you can order the book on If you are of a more patient bent, watch this blog for a progress report. If it works, I'll let you know.
Have a good weekend.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The latest at Springwater Station

I'm putting in a yard area, off the front courtyard, where the dogs can run. What makes Sadie and Bernice happy makes ME happy. They miss the big grassy expanse we had in Scottsdale, and so do I. Sadie--the beagle--and I used to get down on the ground and wrestle.

It's the ordinary joys, don't you think, that make life so wonderful?

It's not so much the big career advancements, the new house or car, the lottery win. It's things like writing to you from my kitchen table, listening to Karen Taylor Good. It's wrestling with a happy dog in a grassy yard.

What makes your life sing? A good book? A child? A simple, heartfelt prayer at sunrise, when it really strikes you, what a miracle it is to be alive?

Do more of the little things.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Man from Stone Creek and The Petticoat Cattle Company

This is what one of my favorite writers, Gladys Tabor, called a "pencil sharpening" day. I think the modern term is "mental health day". After more than a week in Reno, my brain is like jelly.

Several people have asked when to expect "The Man from Stone Creek" and "The Petticoat Cattle Company."

"Stone Creek" will be out in hardcover, from HQN, next June. It's a meaty western, starring Sam O'Ballivan, an Arizona Ranger posing as a schoolmaster in a little one-room school. The heroine, Maddie Chancelor, is a feisty take-charge type who runs the general store and serves as the post mistress. "Petticoat" will come a year later, and it's going to be long. Trust me, if you've registered in the guest book section, you'll get several emails with exact dates. "Stone Creek" is done, and I'm super proud of that book. I'll be writing "Petticoat" around the first of the year, but I'm already doing character journals and research. It's the story of the Petticoe sisters and their men, and takes place in Alberta, Canada, circa 1905. The next project I'll be tackling is the first Mojo Sheepshanks book. These are contemporary romantic suspense, and there's just one little problem with Mojo's ex-husband, Nick. He's dead, which makes it doubly unnerving when he pops up in her kitchen in the middle of the night. No title yet, but this will be a series, with at least three stories.

I've been advised not to set up an email response address, because there are a few bad apples out there, but you can still send questions and comments by registering on the guest book. I do read them.

On a personal level, I have contractors here. I'm putting in a yard for my dogs. When I lived in Washington, I took lawns for granted. In the Arizona desert, they're a novelty. Sadie, Bernice and I want to play frisbee!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I should be journaling....

Instead, I'm sitting at my kitchen table, with my laptop and my coffee, writing this blog. I've just gotten wireless service, as I mentioned, and I am much enamored with the portability of the whole thing!

We had one heck of a thunderstorm last night, and this morning, the sky is still overcast. More "monsoon" weather to come, I imagine. I'm one of those people who love a good sky-breaker of a storm, the more flash and boom, the better. There's something elemental about it, something that gets into the blood and pulses there. Our rainy season was late in coming this year, and it's welcome, as here in Arizona, we always need water.

My beagle, Sadie, is balking at her diet. The other night, she got into the trash somehow and filched a chicken carcass. She'd devoured the whole thing before I caught her. While she would love for all of you to get up in arms and write letters protesting the starvation of beagles everywhere, I can assure you she's hale and hearty!

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Better Every Day

Life just gets better every day. Even when it's messy.
Go figure.
It's a paradox. What I think is bad so often turns out to be good, at least in the long run, but what's good is always good.
How can you lose with a deal like that?
What I'm listening to: Karen Taylor-Good. Man, can she sing, and her songs touch my heart--sometimes in the raw, quivering places.
What I'm reading: "Goddesses in Everywoman", by Jean Shinoda-Bolen. My agent, Irene Goodman, turned me on to this marvelous book years ago, but I wasn't ready. Now I am, big-time. If the archetypal stuff we talked about a few blogs ago intrigued you, find this book. It's out of print, unbelievably, but you can find it on Amazon and ebay. Well worth reading.
Aspiring writers will find a new way to create deeper and more substantial characters.
People who want to grow, and understand others, will find it inspiring.
It is rare for a book to touch me at this level. I am reminded of the first time I heard Joseph Campbell, in the famed PBS interviews with Bill Moyer. I felt as though someone had lifted the top of my skull and let the light pour in.
I guess I'm rambling.
Make it a good day. The choice is always yours.
No, you often can't control what happens to you. But you CAN control how you perceive it, and the meaning you assign. If you can't immediately find the precious lesson, look deeper.
I promise you, it's there.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Back from Reno!

I got back last night from the Romance Writers of America conference in Reno. Were the dogs ever glad to see me--and I was even more glad to see them!

I hung out on the periphery of the conference this year, just to get some perspective. Connected with old friends, and made some new ones. I spent one delightful morning in the spa at the Siena Hotel--what a wonderful experience. Long massage, hydrotherapy, and one of those facials an Arizona country girl only dreams about.

Reno is a crazy place. Everywhere you turn, there's a machine shouting, "Wheel--of--FORTUNE!" (I shouldn't complain, as the slots were good to me.) You never know, though, if it's day or night, and the old body clock gets pretty turned around. Too many big meals, too much rushing to and fro. I'm a creature of habit, and looking forward to settling into my familiar routine. Exercise. Lean Cousine. (My beagle, Sadie, is on a diet and for the time being, so am I.)

More tomorrow, when my thoughts, I hope, will be much more coherent.