Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Is This Arizona?

It has been SO cold here. I guess the universe is preparing me for winters in Spokane!

Right now, I'm working on a brand new Silhoutette Special Edition called "Sierra's Homecoming". It's so much fun! The book is the first of two stories about half-sisters who are descendents of Holt and Lorelei McKettrick, of "McKettrick's Choice", and it has a paranormal element. It's the "parallel lives" book I've been wanting to write for years and years...Sierra returns to the house on the Triple M (it was Holt's house in the historical stories), only to find she's sharing it with Hannah McKettrick. For Hannah, it's 1919! Both women have love stories of their own, and they connect in powerful ways, despite the fact that they're living in different centuries! The book will come out in December of 2006---watch for updates on the website.

I've got so many wonderful projects going, it's hard to keep track of them all.

Next on the writing docket is "McKettrick's Luck", the first of three modern McKettrick tales, to be published in February, March and April of 2007. That's a while, I know, but once the stories start rolling, you won't have to wait long in between!

Don't worry--there's a lot coming in the meantime. "One Last Look", the final Clare and Tony story, will be in the stores the last Tuesday in December. This December. The paperback version of "McKettrick's Choice" comes in late February. The new hardcover historical, "The Man from Stone Creek", arrives in late May. Finally, on the last Tuesday in October, there is the first Mojo book--the beginning of a new series of romantic suspense novels starring Mojo Sheepshanks. It's called "Deadly Gamble", and will be published as a trade paperback.

So, for those of you who say I don't write fast enough, I've definitely pushed up my sleeves!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back from Las Vegas

I had a wonderful time with my beautiful daughter, Wendy. She showed me the first 30 pages of her new script, and it's a doozy! I fully expect to see it on the silver screen in the not too distant future!

We stayed at the Mirage, and even though neither of us won money, we still felt like major winners. Why? Because we were together. We laughed and talked and shopped, which was refreshing after playing the slot machines. When you shop, of course, they give you something back for the money you spend!

Saying good-bye was the hard part. Wendy lives in LA, so she drove, while I got on a plane back to Phoenix. Wonder of wonders, my flight was only an hour late! The plane was packed. Is it just me, or is traveling an exercise in frustration? Probably the holiday weekend. Wendy was stuck in heavy traffic all the way from Vegas to the City of Angels, but she got home safely, so it's all good.

Hope you're all recovering from your turkey-comas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Horses Snug and Warm

Buck, Coco, Banjo and Skye are all snug at the new stables. Clint, their wonderful caretaker, fitted them for blankets, and they allowed him to put them on without a problem--something we had doubts about. Arizona horses, you see, do not know from blankets.

I miss my horse-babies terribly, and will be glad when we're all on the same patch of ground again, but I know they're warm, and I have added that to a long, long list of things to be grateful for, on this Thanksgiving Eve and every other day. They were also loved and taken care of on the family ranch.

Tomorrow, we're having a turkey dinner, but it will be pretty informal. I'm spending the weekend in Las Vegas, meeting my daughter, Wendy, there for a little girl-talk, a Celine Dion concert, and some Wheel of Fortune! Wendy is a writer, too, but screenplays are her thing, and I expect she'll be rich and famous one of these days, sooner rather than later. I'm so proud of her, I could burst.

May each and every one of you be blessed, as we give thanks, and always. May you remember that you can choose joy, and gratitude, and compassion. You can't choose situations, but you CAN choose your interpretation of them. Look for creative ways to celebrate.

Until Monday, then.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spokane Odyssey

I just returned from a flying trip to Spokane, and it was unscheduled. The horses were receiving plenty of TLC on the ranch outside of Northport, but there is no barn, and my poor Arizona critters were shivering! This cowgirl couldn't rest until they were warm, so I jumped on a plane and went up there.

They are now settled in stalls in a wonderful stable north of Spokane, and they even have a pygmie goat for a playmate! Buck will love that goat--he's a companionable sort of fellow. Many a morning, I would look over, after setting a feed pan on the ground, and see him sharing with a bunny!

Have a very good Thanksgiving.

I know each and every one of you are on MY list of blessings.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Messenger to Mortal, continued

Messenger: Who am I? I'm you, Silly. You think you're the only "you" there is, don't you? Wrong! You're a link in a long chain of YOUs. I just happen to be a little further along the chain, that's all.

Mortal: I'm not the only me?

Messenger: Fortunately, no.

Mortal: You got out. Doesn't that mean I can get out, too? Away from this hut-rut, and these damn bears?

Messenger: That's exactly what it means. Look at the bears. They're transparent. The only way to prove this is to go past them.

Mortal: Okay, I can accept that, but I don't have to like it.

Messenger: No, you don't have to like it. You just have to do it.

(Not to be continued. You take it from here.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another Story

Once upon a time, a mortal lived in a hut. It was a comfortable hut, pretty well-equipped, actually, and it's no accident, my dears, that hut rhymes with rut.

The mortal was content, for the most part, but sometimes, he/she would look out the window, see the foothills in the distance, and wonder what was beyond them. (Besides the mountain, I mean.) Was there a valley, lush and green, nestled between the foothills and the mountain? Were there people there? If so, what we they like? Were they friendly? Would they welcome her/him, if he/she chanced to visit?

Oh, sometimes she/he yearned to go out there and explore, with an intensity so deep it hurt.

But he/she was afraid, and with good reason. Or so she/he thought.

What was there to be afraid of?

Well, there were bears on the porch. Big, hungry, growling bears. They would surely devour her/him in great, bloody chunks, if he/she dared step over the threshold! Sometimes, at night, she/he was so afraid, he/she pulled the blankets over her/his head, and trembled with the terror of it all. There WERE bears out there. What if they stormed the place? What if they got inside the hut/rut? Oh, they were there, all right. She/he could hear them. She/he could see them. In fact, when he/she looked out the window, toward the hidden valley he/she just knew was there, one of them would pop up and scare her/him out of her wits. Very big. Very ugly. Very bad teeth.

One day, he/she received an email from someone called Messenger. (I told you the hut/rut was well-equipped. It has a state-of-the-art computer, completely wireless.) You shall know the Truth, the message went, and the Truth shall set you free.

Easy for YOU to say, the mortal wrote back, affronted.

Messenger happened to be online at the time, and got right back to her/him with: The bears aren't real.

Well, the mortal was even MORE insulted. Did this Messenger character think he/she was so stupid she/he couldn't recognize an illusion?

The Messenger knew this, somehow, and sent a smiley face emoticon.

The bears are REAL! Mortal insisted, but some of his/her fury was waning. What if Messenger was right? What if the bears weren't real?

Come and get me, he/she wrote. Right now! I want to get out of here. I need help.

You have all the help you need, Messenger shot back. If I lead you through the bears or make them disappear, what will you learn? You are hypnotized, for all practical intents and purposes, and only you can break the spell.

Mortal: I don't want to learn anything, damn it. I don't know how to break spells. I just want to see the valley!

Messenger: Only one way to do that. You've got to walk through the bears.

Mortal: Great. They'll eat me.

Messenger: They can't eat you. They're NOT REAL.

Mortal: I don't believe you.

Messenger: We have a stand-off, then, I guess. There's only one way out. Through the bears.

Mortal (hopefully): Isn't there a Plan B?

Messenger: Well, you could learn to train the bears. You could make pets out of them, give them names, sew up little tutus for them to wear. That's all avoidance, though.

Mortal: It's a risk.

Messenger: It only seems like a risk. Actually, it's a sure thing.

Mortal: Who are you, anyway?

To be continued....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On a Lighter Note

Bernice, the Yorkie, is sitting on my lap as I write this, at my kitchen table, still in my robe and pjs. She's playing me like a fiddle. The cats, Cha Cha and Jitterbug, just got into a swatting hissy fit by the screen door--they want to go outside, and I guess it just seems natural to blame each other because they can't. Cha Cha has gone over the wall twice, and gotten herself thrown back into the pokey. She doesn't understand that there are coyotes and hawks out there, looking to score a tasty morsel like her. She just thinks I'm being a killjoy.

I wonder if God ever feels this way. We go over the wall, in pursuit of some new idea, and He hauls us back in, not to spoil our fun, but so we won't get eaten. I'm a great believer in trying new things, and obviously, so is God. But ya gotta be ready.

Since it's hard to write a blog with a Yorkie between me and the laptop, I'll sign off for today.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Very Good News!

It should have been obvious, but I was thunderstruck when this insight came out in my personal journal.

The pain-body has a counterpart! The Next Best You is that counterpart. It stands a step closer to the Real You, which is the true source and heartbeat of your life.

If there's fear, anxiety, resentment, frustration, the pain-body is mounting an assault. Sidestep it by moving into the NBY. Things will look very different from there.

Should you believe this just because I said so? Absolutely not! You will only understand if you experience the phenomenon yourself.

Try it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's Ten O'Clock...

Do you know where your pain-body is?

More importantly, do you know what it's up to?

How can you recognize it?

By negativity. By drama and angst. These are the things the pain-body thrives on, and they are valuable signals for that reason. Those hopeless spy-lies? They are coming from the pain-body! They have no basis in truth. The pain-body is a snake-oil salesman, and it's selling sorrow, despair, depression, and defeat. Frustration is on half-price special--get it while you can!

Why does it act this way? Why does it continually generate destructive beliefs and ideas? Because those mind-sets feed it. Its very existence depends on your believing the lies it tells you!

How do you prevail over the pain-body, and take back control of your life? It's simple, but not easy. Recognize it. That is the first step. It is probably well-entrenched, and it will arise to challenge you. Every time you see it for what it is, however, and choose not to play along, it will be weakened. Remember that most of its operations are covert ones, and the ego often joins in, to double-team you. Wise up. Refuse to play the game. Eventually, as we practice this, our pain-bodies will heal.

Fine, I hear you saying, but what about the pain-bodies of others? How do we deal with them? (That guy who cut us off in traffic. That obnoxious in-law. That toxic person at the office.) By looking past them, the cavorting pain-body and ego, I mean, to the Real Person. You meet pain-bodies every day of your life, and egos playing at various levels, and they trick you into engaging with them, bringing out your own ego and pain-body in response to some perceived threat. This takes practice, because most of us have been buying into the Big Fat Lie for a long time. I suspect it's rare to encounter an authentic self, rather than some convenient and transitory guise of the ego or the pain-body. The exceptions to this really stand out, by virtue of being so uncommon. "They're special," the pain-body tells us, in a conspiratorial whisper. Well, I say, that's a LIE! They're not special, my dear--they're NORMAL.

Recently, someone said to me, "Life is suffering." This is a pain-body in full control. Pain is inevitable, in every life, but suffering is a matter of choice. Suffering is the provence of the pain-body, with generous input from the ego. "This shouldn't be happening to ME." "I am a victim." "It's not fair!" (Hello. Expecting things to be fair is playground stuff. It's infantile. Get over it. You're in the show, and that means you'll have low times as well as high ones. The effect ANY of these events have on you is a matter of your interpretation of them.)

Victor Frankel and Christopher Reeve immediately come to mind. There are thousands, if not millions, of other heros and heroines like this. Terrible things happened to them, but they overcame, setting a higher standard for all of us. They knew no circumstance really had power over them, as long as they held onto their divine right to interpret said circumstance from the highest mental and emotional ground they could get to. NOT, take note, from the place of Enlightenment, which few of us reach in physical form, but from the next best place to stand inside their own minds and hearts. That's all we have to do to progress, you know. Just step into that next best place, that next best feeling.

It's a process.

Let's keep going.

So. It's ten o'clock. Where is YOUR pain-body, and what mischief is it up to?

Thursday, November 10, 2005


My apologies if you have emailed me through the website and received no response! I did not know the box was in operation. My assistant, Nicole, will be wading in immediately. Please be patient, and please accept my sincerest apologies. Computers are not my strong suit!

All Those Pesky Selves

It's a struggle. I've got a lot of different selves jockeying for position right now--a frustrated self, a waiting self, a self that wants to throw over the to-do list and head for the casino.

Selves, selves, selves.

It takes practice, I guess, to learn to step back, but I am assured that just noticing these selves, being conscious of them, is most of the battle. Well, I'm sure recognizing them, so I must be making a little progress! How about you?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More on "A New Earth"

Tolle's book is proving to be a really exciting journey for me, and I've found another one that corresponds. It's called "The Intimate Enemy", and the authors are Guy Finley and Dr. Ellen Dickstein. The intimate enemy is, of course, the false self, the person we imagine ourselves to be. Many of us live an entire lifetime without ever guessing that we're playing for the wrong team. The false self, with all its myriad guises, is an illusion. Finley and Dickstein call these guises the "Temporary Person in Charge." In other words, these bad actors show up in response to whatever the false self perceives as the most pressing need. (Dickstein stated an example that really resonated with me. She said her closet is full of clothes one of these selves must have purchased, because she can never seem to find anything SHE wants to wear! I bet a lot of you recognize that one.) All this can only happen because we're not aware of it. Once you consciously challenge these kalidescope selves, and demand identification, you'll be surprised at how fast things start to turn around. The good news is, you can find and live from your true, authentic self. The bad news is, it's work. Hard work. If you're serious about feeling better (now there's an oxymoron), buy these books and read them. "A New Earth" is in book stores now, in hardcover. You'll have to find "The Intimate Enemy" on ebay or somewhere that deals in used books, but it's out there, and it's worth the search.

Tolle calls the false self the "pain-body". For the sake of brevity, let me just say that the closest approximation I can think of for this phenomenon would be J.K. Rowlings' Dementors. You have a pain body. I have a pain body. All God's chillins got a pain body! If you don't know it's there, it will run your life. This is the reason for war and all kinds of violence. There aren't any Real Selves out there on the battlefield--just a bunch of pain bodies, going at it. You see, pain bodies thrive on negativity, on hatred and prejudice and their very favorite dish of all, fear.

Today's question: Who's in charge of your life? The real you? Or is it your pain-body, Siamese twin to the ego?

We've been sold a bill of goods. We've listened to spy-lies. Now, it's time to take back the village. More on this tomorrow.

In the meantime, BREATHE, as my pastor, the inimitable Richard Rogers of Unity of Phoenix often says. Stay present in the moment. We are not going to fight these enemies--remember, they thrive on conflict--we're going to step back and observe them. You see, the one thing they cannot bear is being seen for what they are. Illusions, made of nothing, and surviving only on the power they get from our belief that they're real.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Brace yourself. This story might change your whole way of thinking. It certainly was a powerful insight for me.

Once, there was a village. It was a happy, prosperous, and peaceful place. (You and me, in our natural state.) Unbeknownst to the populace, there was also an invader, eying them from afar. The invader wanted to conquer, but the village had sturdy walls. (Personal boundaries. Faith. Positive attitudes.) How best to get inside those walls? A full frontal attack would not be successful--the villagers would see the army coming and be prepared. With their boundaries, faith and positivity, they would fend off any attack without breaking a sweat.

What to do, what to do.

The invader decided to send in spies--innocuous beings, friendly and sympathetic, disguised as just another villager. The spies are thoughts--seemingly innocent. "Nothing that good could ever happen to you," they whisper, always appearing to have your best interests at heart, of course. "Don't even try. You'll only get hurt." Such caring! This thought seems to really be on your side.

There are, of course, two possible endings to this story. In the first and worst, the spies succeed. The invader doesn't even have to show up--he can just phone in his victory. The spies take over for him, and that's the end of it. The villagers, heretofore so happy, are easily enslaved, because they believe the lies. On the other hand, the villagers could wise up, and we would have a very different ending. They could say, "Hey. My dreams are important. They're my mission and my whole purpose for putting on this body and venturing into the physical world in the first place. Furthermore, they are possible, and I'm going to defend them."

Are you listening to spy-lies?

Send those sneaky little buggers packing, right now, today!

How? By recognizing them for what they are. The key is intention. Is this thought offering wise counsel? Caution, perhaps? Or is it simply negative, out to undermine your self esteem?

Don't let them do it. Don't let them take your village. It is rightfully YOURS.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Lovely Weekend

This weekend was restful, and entirely undramatic. What a concept!

I did some shopping on Saturday--bought a Christmas present, and feel very smug about it--and on Sunday I played hooky from church and had breakfast with a friend. Biscuits and gravy, and I still stayed on program. That's another thing I love about Weight Watchers. It's real-world eating--you can have anything, if you plan and adapt. The bottomline is, some of us have to be careful what we eat, and I am one of these people. I've finally accepted that. I uncovered the rub in my journaling--I wanted to eat mindlessly, I guess, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Well, as Dr. Phil would say, Get Real, Linda. Once again, personal responsibility rears its head. (I was going to say ugly head, but nothing about p.r. is ugly. It's the most beautiful thing in the world, besides love.)

More on my friend. Her name is Sandi, and she's a grief counselor, among other valuable talents. An acqaintance I much admire, and who has always been kind to me, suffered a terrible loss recently, and I've been trying to process it. What to say to this woman, who must be in unspeakable pain? There are so many pitfalls--saying, "It's God's will," for instance. Or, "God needed another angel." (The reaction to that one is likely to be a missile, aimed at your head. After all, the first stage of grief is anger, isn't it?) Still, it's even worse not to say anything at all. Sandi is helping me with it, and of course my journal has been a Godsend. I can get things out of my head when I journal, and onto the paper, where they can be seen from a broader perspective. If I don't do this, I tend to become entangled in a lot of things that are basically none of my business.

Grief is very private territory, sacred ground. Too often, when we are operating from some level of ego, we are tempted to become emeshed in it, and that is an intrusion. We cannot attach ourselves, or truly enter in. And yet we cannot turn away, either. Compassion is called for, and the ability to stand squarely in the moment. It's knowing when to speak and when to keep silent, when to act and when NOT to act, that's the trick. And yet, if I get quiet, I know what to do.

If there's a lot of sound and fury, and flying dust, then it's a safe bet the ego is in charge. The Next Best Linda is only a choice away, though. Just the slightest shift, and I'm there.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another Friday Rears Its Beautiful Head

My "short" story, "The Christmas of the Red Chiefs", an O. Henry reference, will go in to my editor today. Pocket will release it for the 2006 holiday season, headlining an anthology.

The weather in Arizona is cool--at last--even a little crisp this morning.

I intend to spend this Friday well.

I'm going to buy a telescope. I've become a solar system fanatic, watching shows on the Science and Discovery Channels. I recently listened to Dava Sobel's "The Planets" on CD, and was so fascinated that I bought the book as well.

More news, too. I'm back on my Weight Watchers plan, and loving it. I thought I'd have to think MORE about food, but instead, it's less. If any of you are making the same journey, you'll find some helpful information at www.dottisweightlosszone.com. I bought the series of hypnosis CDs mentioned on the site, and they're working! I mean, I am almost on automatic pilot with this! I also found it very inspiring that Dottie, who had a 100 pound weight loss and then regained it all, was willing to share her experience, strength and hope. I gained some of my weight back, but now I'm really putting on the brakes, and that feels good. Also, the site lists the points for food at almost any restaurant you can name. Great recipes, too, and let me tell you, her husband Al writes a mean newsletter.

My friend Sandi will be featured on Lifetime tonight, getting a surprise makeover. I believe it's during the movie, "Human Trafficking". Check it out.

BE a good weekend, ladies, as Iyanla Vanzant would say.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Few Kind Words About the Ego

There are some big, bad egos out there, mostly belonging to various world leaders, it would seem. Warmongers. Planet-rapers. Ruthless exploiters. Bad egos for sure, run amok.

Chances are, though, that your ego is not a fiend. It's simply an overwhelmed, frantic child, crying out for the attention of the adult you.

If you feel...


Then the child-ego is in charge. Tell her you'll take care of everything, and mean it. Tell her to go take a nap. Bring out your inner grown-up and take charge.

You'll find, as I have, that life gets much easier.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My good friend, Debbie Macomber....

Is featured in the November issue of "Guideposts". Her story would be inspiring to anyone, but especially to aspiring writers. Please check it out!

Are you writing in your journals?

Are you trying to live from your next-best self (no quantum leaps, remember), instead of your ego?

Good for you.

As we begin this new month, with Thanksgiving looming on the horizon, let's talk about gratitude.

One of the many things I am grateful for is my longstanding friendship with Debbie Macomber. Another is...YOU.

You've made so many dreams come true. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Middle Self

I am as excited today as an astronomer who has just discovered a "new", as in previously unrecognized, planet!

We spoke a little yesterday about the ego--the shallow, low-level self that is really an overgrown, petulant and spoiled child, with one mantra fitfully offered: Me, Me, ME! We also touched on the True Self, which is the purest essence of being, made wholly of love.

Obviously, the span between these two poles is extreme, to say the least, a gap too wide to bridge in everyday life, surely. I was journaling about that when I realized that there is yet another self--the Middle Self--the intermediary between the two.

This is the voice of reason, of compassion, of calm. This is the self that creates and attracts. The one, as mentioned yesterday, who steps forward in a crisis and takes over. This is the self who whispers, even in deepest sorrow, "Everything will be all right."

Furthermore, there is a signal system. If you feel frustrated, annoyed, resentful, petty, or sad, the ego is in charge. It is like a frantic jester, cavorting desperately to keep your attention on it and it alone. Sadness and pain are a part of the exquisite tapestry of life, but dwelling on them too long is the ego's game.

Let's wise up. Let's become deliberately conscious of which sphere we're operating from at any given time. Your emotions will tell you clearly whether you are on the ego's ground, or standing squarely in the Middle Self.

It's a mental shift, you know. It's a choice. If it feels bad, as my friend Abraham says, it IS bad. It means you are snared in the ego's shell game.

Step back, and get to know the Middle Self.