Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Catch-up

I intended to blog yesterday morning, and take the weekend off.

Life happens.

My stepmother, Edith Lael, fell in her kitchen yesterday morning and broke her left leg. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital for surgery, and I am awaiting updates. Please pray for her, and for my dad, too. Edith is a spirited lady, and will probably thrive. (A couple of years ago, she had pneumonia over Christmas and had to be hospitalized. She went on and on about how nice the nurses and doctors were, and how good the food was. I think she's the only person I know who could make being in the hospital at Christmas a positive thing!) She's a talented artist, active with her local little theatre group in Grand Coulee, and has tons and tons of devoted friends.

On a much more mundane note, I also spilled wine on my keyboard and had to replace it before I could write a word. (Told you I had other vices.) A waggish friend, reading both the Prayer Shawl blog and the one on Cleopatra, my favorite slot machine, suggested I wear my prayer shawl to the casino. Sandi, I love your sense of humor! And I sure miss those get togethers in Cave Creek for biscuits, gravy and philosophy.

Have a wonderful weekend and a very happy New Year's Day. I'll be on the blog Monday morning, as usual, and bring you up to speed on the doings here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

You Never Know With This Blog

One day, it's prayer shawls.
The next, it's slot machines.
I am a complex individual, and a poster-child for Grace.
I absolutely adore Christmas, but, conversely, I am always glad when it's over, too.
(And by the way, I didn't make it to the casino last night. By the time I got finished with my writing, I just wanted to eat a nice dinner and go to bed.)
What will be the subject of tomorrow's blog?
Who knows?
I'll let you know when I find out.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


After three solid days and nights in this house (beautiful as it is) I needed to get out for a few hours, so last night I went over to the local casino, bought some tickets and played my favorite penny slot machine--Cleopatra. The objective is to get three or more Pharohs, because then you get 15 bonus spins. The bonuses, of course, are hard to find. That's why they're bonuses. These particular machines are popular, and I've seen people literally throw themselves across them to claim one. At busy times, it's hard to even get one, but I usually manage. (I have perfected this technique. I walk sedately through the front entrance, nod affably to the security guards--who are probably thinking "You again?"--and then run like a crazy woman.)

Cleo and I have a love-hate relationship. Being a computer, Cleo always says, at the end of a bonus round, "THAT was brilliant." Even if it's two dollars, Cleo calls it brilliant. This got Mary Ann, my cousin, housekeeper and partner in crime, and me to thinking of things Cleo should say.
Our favorite is, "THAT was pathetic!" Other contenders for favorite Cleo sayings:

Go home. You forgot to feed the dog.

Can you really afford to be doing this?

You don't really think I'm designed to do anything but fleece you, do you?

And then there's the most accurate one: Sucker!

When the drink server comes along, asking if we'd like anything, I usually want to say, "Yeah, a sledgehammer." But clobbering Cleo like that would get me arrested and--even worse--banned from the casino. So I behave myself.


We all have our vices, I guess. Now you know. Cleo is one of mine. (Unfortunately, there are others.) I'm hoping it will make my eventual "Biography" episode more interesting. (No, there isn't one scheduled--I was kidding.)

Plans for today? Write a chapter. Take Sadie-beagle in for a follow-up visit regarding her infected ear. And, maybe, just maybe, I'll go play a little Cleopatra.

After all, I'm up a hundred bucks. Can't have that.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Prayer Shawl

I was home alone this Christmas, if sharing space with Sadie, Bernice, Cha Cha, Jitterbug AND my cousin Kathy Bannon's cat, Rudie, can be called 'alone'. The Readmans, who are not just staff, but family, are away spending Christmas in Northport. They will be back sometime today, the good Lord and the highway department willing, and I will be glad to see them.

I am indeed the classic example of the woman who has everything, and I have sincerely asked friends and family NOT to give me gifts. Several still persist--silver earrings from my dad and stepmother (they're lovely), the world's softest bathrobe from Mary Ann ( I think it really is), and numerous other things, too. One stands out, though--the prayer shawl made by my busy, creative sister, Sally. I wrapped myself in it this morning, and yesterday morning, too, for my prayer and devotional reading. I felt enfolded in the love and grace of God--and of my sister, too.

Thank you, Sally. For the gift of your time and your love. I will always cherish the shawl. And I will always cherish you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

More Snow

I love the snow. It's really coming down this morning, whitening the world, blanketing it in that benediction I've spoken of before, in previous blog entries.

Since I'm a writer, I see parallels in just about everything. And it seems to me that snow is like Grace--it covers the landscape in glistening purity. But, of course, Grace is far better--because it never melts or turns to slush or mud or ice, the way snow does.

My life is so good, and I am so blessed. Still, my heart aches for friends facing hard struggles, for forgotten children and animals and wayward adults who do not know that the Shepherd would willingly, joyfully take them into His flock, at a word, at a turning of the heart. It is not my many material blessings that make me rich, you see. It is knowing Him.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Early Morning Snow

Sadie and Bernice, being Arizona dogs, are mystified by snow. It's fun to watch them trying to figure out what that white stuff is--has the sky broken? Did the clouds shatter into soft, glistening shards? What's up and why is it coming down?

Dog thoughts. Sadie actually thinks of little, I suspect, beyond food and grabbing every opportunity to kiss people. She has the sweet, trusting nature of an innocent saint. The Yorkie, Bernice, likes to investigate everything--she's a hall monitor at heart, and something of a tattletale. If the cats tussle, she referrees, and usually 'flats' one of them. Cha Cha and Jitterbug think Bernice is their mother, and endure the flatting with equanimity.

I have the head cold from hell today, and will probably go right back to bed after journaling and devotional reading, but I feel blessed anyway. If you're going to have a cold, the Triple L is a mighty fine place for it.

Special greetings to my good friend, Vicki. Hang in there, kiddo. Lots of people are praying for you, and the Big Guy is definitely in the loop.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Dawn is glowing in the eastern sky, pinky orange, as I write this, sitting at my kitchen table. A few of the pine tops are visible, like dark etchings. The coffee's on, the dogs and cats have been outside, and I'm about to settle down to my journaling. I've written Morning Pages for years, and for the past several, I've journaled my prayers as well. It will be cold in Spokane today, but probably clear. We're hoping for a white Christmas, but you never know.

For me, Christmas happens in the heart, at many and varied times of the year, when I stop rushing around long enough to look outward, at the beauty of God's Creation, or inward, to that peaceful place where He's always waiting for me.

2006 was a year of tremendous blessings--and some losses, too. As I've mentioned, two favorite uncles passed this year. My very dear friends, the Websters, are facing a difficult health issue, and I hope you will add your prayers to mine.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Than Words

I'm honored to be writing a story for Harlequin's wonderful 'More Than Words' program.

Here's how it works: Harlequin runs a big contest, looking for people who do some uncommon and innovative good in their community and, often, nationally and even internationally. Winners are chosen, and then a group of writers are assigned stories, inspired by the work those wonderful women do. Harlequin rewards each organization a sizable donation. I am privileged to be patterning my story, "Queen of the Rodeo", after Jeanne Greenberg, who started an organization called SARI, in memory of her daughter, of the same name. Sari was a Downs Syndrome child, and the absolute delight of her dedicated family. After her passing, Jeanne started her therapuetic riding program, matching horses with children who would benefit from riding. It is a sacred thing, the communion between an animal and a person, and Jeanne's work, as far as I'm concerned, is holy.

Watch the website and your email box for more information on the 2007 edition of 'More Than Words'. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I Believe...

That one night, two thousand years ago, a Great Light penetrated the darkness of sin and suffering and sorrow, and changed the fate of humankind forever.

That Jesus of Nazareth was and is this Light, and that all who turn to Him and speak an invitation will be transformed.

That when we "die", we awaken, as one from a shallow, restless and troubling slumber, and say to Him, "I had the strangest dream..."

That Home is a place where there are no shelters, for human beings or for animals, because shelters are not needed. There is no war, no sickness, no poverty or oppression, deception or abuse.

That we are wanderers here, but not so far from Home as we imagine. Once in a while, in a peaceful moment, I catch a glimpse of the Place, with the eyes of my heart, and I feel hopeful again. I remember that I am a dreamer, in the process of waking up.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Blog

I would have written a blog on Friday, but the power was off due to a big wind storm. I did the only sensible thing and hied myself to the casino, where there was light, warmth, and action. The whole experience got me to thinking about how many things I take for granted--hot coffee and hot baths, for example. And my computer, which, since I'm not a telephone kind of person anyway, has become my means of staying in touch with the outside world.

I came home when it got dark, still not knowing if the power would be back on, but not wanting the dogs and kitties to be alone and scared. How my heart lifted when I saw the Christmas lights glowing colorfully in the dusk!

I forget to give thanks for things like electricity--until they're gone. I want to do better in the gratitude department from now on.

Today, I'm meeting a favorite sister-in-law and her beautiful grandchildren for lunch. Sadie's ear infection is under control, and she's feeling her old frisky self. I got the packages mailed and some of the cards. It's clear and sunny today, and the needles of the pine trees in my draw glisten with light.

So very much to be grateful for.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Up Before the Chickens

Yikes. I woke up this morning, thinking it was around six a.m., went downstairs with the dogs, then put the coffee on to brew. It was chortling away before I glanced at the clock and saw the real time--2:25! I thought about going back to bed, but by then, I was wide awake, and so were Sadie and Bernice, not to mention the cats, Cha Cha and Jitterbug, aka JittyKitty. So I sat down with my devotional books and my journals, and now here I am on the blog. It is, at this moment, 5:27. If I had any chickens, they'd still be sleeping! (Which begs the question, Am I smarter than the average hen?)

A glistening tree has sprung up in my living room, most of my packages are ready to mail, and I've even drafted my Christmas letter. Just yesterday morning, all that seemed impossible. I was a little overwhelmed, I must admit, having just returned from three days in Las Vegas. Sadie has an ear infection and had to be taken to the vet. As I write this, she's snoring contentedly behind me. (Am I smarter than the average beagle? Apparently not.)

Somehow, it all gets done.

Looking back over 2006, I have to say, it was a full, busy year. I lost two uncles--my pair of Jacks--Jack Lael and Jack Wiley. I made the move (with a LOT of help) from Arizona to Washington State, and acquired not one but two beautiful homes. I wrote five full length books, saw my first TV movie produced, joined forces with the Humane Society of the United States, and traveled all over the country.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to 2007, which promises to be--well, a year--filled with blessings and the challenges that enlarge our hearts and make our spirits stronger.

I'm ready.

I guess.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

All found at Cowboy Christmas, in Las Vegas.

The most beautiful western jewelry I have ever seen! It's made, with love, from pieces of old china. The piece I bought is literally a work of art. Look for at least one piece from this collection to turn up on the website as some kind of prize.

Very nice jewelry. I have a pendant, shaped like a horse's head, and the mane spells 'McKettrick'. Ditto the website prize.

Simply the most remarkable western purses, handcrafted. Check it out!

There's one more outfit, out of Telluride, CO, from whom I bought several Double D Ranch jackets, my very favorites. They're pricey, but the classiest western wear I've ever seen. The fringed jacket I wear in my publicity photos is DDR, and hands-down my favorite garment. I bought it several years ago, in Santa Fe, and the saleswoman told me she'd only sold one other one--to Randy Travis's wife, Elisabeth. I said put it on Randy's account, he'd want me to have one, but they didn't. (Just kidding.) Once I find the information, I'll put it on the blog.

Meantime, getting ready for Christmas. It seems to come around faster every year. Cards to write. Packages to mail. And not one but TWO full length anthology stories to finish before New Year's Eve.

Miles to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cowboy Christmas

I got back from my short vacation in Vegas a day late, which is why I didn't get the promised Monday blog written. When we arrived at the airport, there were at least 2000 people in the security line, but the crowd management was efficient, and we got through pretty fast. We stayed at the Venetian, where we had a lovely suite, and the room service was absolutely atrocious. (The slot machines were tight, too.)

National Finals Rodeo was going on--hence the Cowboy Christmas trade show at the Convention Center--and there were cowboys aplenty for me to admire. I am definitely going back next year, but this time, I'll go to the rodeo and spend a lot less time at the slot machines. I'm normally pretty lucky at them, but this year, it was a bust.

Tomorrow, I'll be telling you about some of My Favorite Things, and passing on at least two website addresses so you can see the merchandise. Hey, if Oprah can do it, so can I!

Today, lots of loose ends to tie up. Be blessed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Time for One More Blog

I'm ready to go out the door, so I decided to take one more opportunity to write.

The sunrise is lovely, we still have snow on the ground, and just a little while ago, I saw a lone coyote trotting by at the top of the draw. The wild turkeys have taken to the trees--I wondered where they found shelter--but they'll be around later to peck at the ground and drive my poor Yorkie crazy. She considers them a grim threat to the safety of the household, along with the UPS man and the propane-delivery guy, and is quick to raise the alarm. Sadie-beagle just wags her tail, smiles a dog smile, and wonders if they have any food on them.

Many, many good things are happening. I just learned I'll be doing a series of Christmas books for Harlequin's HQN imprint, starting with a revisit to Doss and Hannah, of "Sierra's Homecoming", and I'm super-excited about that.

I'll be talking to you when I get back. Have a wonderful weekend. I certainly intend to!

P.S. If you'd like to hear one of my recent radio interviews, it's available at

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I just checked the calendar for the year of my birth.
Turns out, I'm Friday's child, not Wednesday's!
Now I have the rethink the whole thing, darn it.


I've always liked Wednesdays. They're not hectic, like Mondays, mundane, like Tuesdays and Thursdays, or oh-the-heck-with-it-it's-almost-the-weekend, like Fridays. I was born on a Wednesday, so maybe that's why I like them. Wednesday's child, that's me.

What's special about today? Well, first of all, it's a DAY, and that makes it a precious gift, in and of itself.

I did a radio interview, first thing this morning, and it always jazzes me to talk about the current book--in this case, "Deadly Gamble", with a mention of "Sierra's Homecoming." (That's available from, by the way, and I enjoyed listening to it on my iPod, plus it got me up to speed to write "The McKettrick Way", my next Special Edition.)

"One Last Look", the final story in the Clare and Tony trilogy, is out there in mass market right now. If you didn't catch the last episode in trade paperback, you might want to pick it up.

And this week, Thursday won't be mundane. I'm headed out on a brief and badly-needed vacation. I'll try to blog tomorrow, before catching my plane, but travel days being what they are, I might be too rushed. I'll be right here on Monday morning, though, waiting for you to show up for a visit.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tis the Season

For buying presents?
For decorating trees?
For sending cards?
Baking fruitcakes? (Okay, I know that one's a stretch. Who has time for such an enterprise in this day and age?)
All these things are fine, but they do tend to obscure the Reason for the Season, don't they?
Before the birth of Christ, the earth was shrouded in darkness--spiritual darkness, the very worst kind. And then, oh amazing, holy, eternity-altering night, a door was flung open, and the Light of Heaven itself entered the world, broke through the barrier, and changed the rules forever. And of all places, in a stable--in the presence of animals, the innocent ones, the pure-hearted ones.
My mother used to tell me, as a child, that on Christmas Eve, at midnight, all the animals in the barn would talk, celebrating the Birth . I always wanted to be there to witness the phenomenon, but, of course, I never made it. I was asleep, with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, long before the midnight hour. And it's just a story, anyway.
Isn't it?
My new barn is still in the planning stages, so there will be no midnight visit this Christmas Eve.
But next year?
I might just head on out there, when the clock is about to chime twelve times, with my ears and eyes wide open. And my heart, too.

Monday, December 04, 2006


My beautiful daughter, Wendy is offically engaged to a wonderful man named Jeremy. He proposed at sunset, on an ocean beach. Is that romantic, or what????

Friday, December 01, 2006


As I write this, looking out over the draw from the bay windows, I am again struck by the beauty of snow. The trees are all dappled with it, and there is a low-lying fog, promising more white stuff. It's cold and the roads are icy, but it's a stay-at-home day for me, a writing day.

There's a man downstairs, fixing the fireplaces. (None doesn't do household repairs. Or much of anything, for that matter.) A new kitchen table is being delivered today, and yet another man is coming to measure the upstairs hallway for hardwood. When the pounding starts, Bernice, Sadie and I will head for the lake. In the meantime, everybody, human and furry, is safe and warm.

It's all good.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Delay--Or Process?

I am an impatient person. It is one of my flaws, and I have all too many of those.

I just hate to wait. Hope deferred, as the Bible says, makes the heart sick.

Don't think I'm not grateful--I have been blessed with a career I love, and all the benefits that come with it. I just have a tendency to focus on future goals, to the point where I miss the wonderful things that are happening in my life right now.

I have reconnected with my cousin, Jay Dee, the singing cowboy and champion motorbike rider. (His dad, my Uncle Jack, was the rodeo cowboy I told you about, and Jay has the same spirit.) His beautiful sisters, Barbara Lynn and Becky, are an inspiration to me. Their courage, faith and creativity would fill a hundred blogs. They make jewelry, and many other ingeniously lovely things, and write poetry that touches the heart. Oh, indeed, they are a blessing. Google Jay Lael, and you'll see what I mean.

Here is what came out of my journaling this morning. Suppose what I see as delays are REALLY sacred processes instead? So often it is not the event that troubles us, but the way we perceive that event. Do we see some setback, large or small, as a delay? Or might we examine it more closely and, as Tony Robbins says, "reframe" it?

I know there are things you are praying for, and things you are waiting for, and maybe your heart is even a little (or a lot) sick, because you have named the challenge "Delay". Try naming it "Process" instead.

You don't have to look very far to see that God works by process. Great trees don't spring up overnight. And neither do great dreams. Would you plant an acorn and stand over the place where you buried it, wringing your hands and lamenting, "When, oh, when, will there be a tree?" (Variations on this pitiful theme are: "God must not want me to have this tree" and "Trees grow for others, but not for me.") NO, of course not! You would say, "I planted an acorn here. A great tree will grow on this very spot." You might water the ground, or even place a protective fence around it to keep it safe. But you would trust in the Process that makes a tree. So it is with dreams--you plant them, you nurture them, and you believe they will grow. You water them, often with tears, but you don't dig them up to see if they've sprouted. You trust the process.

Think about it. Are your dreams delayed? Or are they in process?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tonight, We Glow

Even as I write, there are workmen in front of the house, putting up Christmas lights. It's very cold, and we have a light snow covering the ground. Tonight, we glow!

This is just the kind of job I can't depend on None to do. He doesn't mow the lawn, take out the garbage, or add to the family income. I don't know why I put up with him.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


There's a skiff on the ground, and the sky is burdened and gray.

Let the flakes fall!

Why do I love snow so much? Well, admittedly, loving snow is something of a luxury, because I don't have to commute.

To me, snow is sacred. It mantles the ground, like a benediction of purity. It is magical. As a child, I knew, even before I opened my eyes in the morning, if it had snowed. There was a special stillness in the air, full of festive promise.

There is much to be sad about, in the world today. But the planet and the world are actually too distinctly different places, aren't they?

Think about it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

None and I

Computers. They can be funny.
Recently, thinking of joining a discount club, I filled out an online form, asking for pertinent information. I entered the usual name, address, phone number, along with my great-grandmother's lingerie size. (Just kidding, but sometimes it seems that specific!)
I soon came to the line for spouse's name.
Dutifully, I wrote "None".
A few minutes later, I received a very nice email in response, inviting None and I to come into the store and take a look around.
It quickly became a running joke here on the Triple L, as such things generally do.
None is actually a pretty great guy. He doesn't hog the covers, leave his shorts on the bathroom floor, or the toilet seat up. He never gives me any backtalk or gripes about charge card bills.
Dear None. He's my favorite kind of husband.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Frenzy

Today, the crew and I are getting ready to schlep food, dogs, blankets and relatives to the lake house, where we will celebrate Thanksgiving.

May you be as blessed as we are.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I've been thinking a lot about angels lately. There are a lot of books, websites, videos, fortune-telling cards, etc., out there--and angels are the subject. Some of these venues present angels as celestial bellhops, others practically advocate worshipping them. As a Christian, I'm uncomfortable with either approach.

Still, there must be something to this angel thing. The Bible mentions them. What, exactly, is their function, and how are we to relate to them, if at all?

I'm a writer. I think in metaphors, and here's what came to me as I journaled this morning.

Suppose you were the President's daughter (or son). You would have access to the Oval Office, but you would also have a contingent of Secret Service agents, assigned to protect you at all costs. While you might presume to order them around a little, their real instructions would come from the President and only the President. With me so far? They might buy you an ice cream cone, but only if the President wanted you eating ice cream. In times of danger, they would close ranks around you, fierce warriors, deadly to any attacker. Why? Because they know the President loves you, and they were assigned to take care of you. Other times, they sit around in their shirt sleeves in the kitchen, playing cards and telling inside jokes, while you sleep peacefully in the next room. That's how I see angels.

I am ashamed to say I have not always been an easy charge. I've tried to sneak out of the White House--thank God (literally) I could never shake them. I've thrown tantrums. I've folded my arms and refused to speak to them. Once, I even accused them of sitting on their butts since 1992! Now, I'm changing my attitude.

I'm grateful, guys. I'll try to co-operate, and not just because I'm going to be in big trouble in the Oval Office if I don't. I apologize.

Now, how about dealing me in on the next hand of cards?


I've been thinking a lot about angels lately. There are a lot of books, websites, videos, fortune-telling cards, etc., out there--and angels are the subject. Some of these venues present angels as celestial bellhops, others practically advocate worshipping them. As a Christian, I'm uncomfortable with either approach.

Still, there must be something to this angel thing. The Bible mentions them. What, exactly, is their function, and how are we to relate to them, if at all?

I'm a writer. I think in metaphors, and here's what came to me as I journaled this morning.

Suppose you were the President's daughter (or son). You would have access to the Oval Office, but you would also have a contingent of Secret Service agents, assigned to protect you at all costs. While you might presume to order them around a little, their real instructions would come from the President and only the President. With me so far? They might buy you an ice cream cone, but only if the President wanted you eating ice cream. In times of danger, they would close ranks around you, fierce warriors, deadly to any attacker. Why? Because they know the President loves you, and they were assigned to take care of you. Other times, they sit around in their shirt sleeves in the kitchen, playing cards and telling inside jokes, while you sleep peacefully in the next room. That's how I see angels.

I am ashamed to say I have not always been an easy charge. I've tried to sneak out of the White House--thank God (literally) I could never shake them. I've thrown tantrums. I've folded my arms and refused to speak to them. Once, I even accused them of sitting on their butts since 1992! Now, I'm changing my attitude.

I'm grateful, guys. I'll try to co-operate, and not just because I'm going to be in big trouble in the Oval Office if I don't. I apologize.

Now, how about dealing me in on the next hand of cards?

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Weekend

I had a great time in Silverdale and Seattle this weekend. I spoke and signed books at the beautiful new Barnes and Noble book store in Silverdale's Kitsap Mall, and got to see my good friend, Ruthanne Devlin, all too briefly.

When the event was over, I was whisked back to Seattle in a lovely Lincoln, driven by Damian, who owns and operates the Galaxy limousine company and has driven such notables as Debbie Macomber, and put up at the beautiful Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I had time to hike down to visit Chico's and Coldwater Creek, two of my favorite stores. Stopped briefly at Nordstrom, but they're having their half-yearly sale, which is chaotic. Back at the hotel, in my lovely suite, I ordered room service and lounged in a hot bath. It's a hard life, but somebody has to do it!

Good books I've read recently, or am reading now: "Thirteen Moons", by Charles Frazier, author of "Cold Mountain," "The Glass Castle", a memoir that fascinated me, Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper", and the wonderful "Marley and Me", a story of an incorrigible Lab and the joy he was to a devoted family. (If you have an incorrigible pet, PLEASE don't give up. Go to for pointers that work in the real world.)

I'm spending Thanksgiving at the lake, as I've probably mentioned. We're having a crowd, dogs and people, so it will be happy and hectic--just as Thanksgiving should be. Sadie-beagle and I will probably both have trouble sticking to our diets!

Those of you who missed the first run of "Last Chance Cafe" may have seen it last night, on Lifetime. As anybody who reads this blog knows by now, I was very pleased with the whole production. There will eventually be a DVD, and I'm sure the network will rerun the movie--check your local listings and, of course, Lifetime's website. There's a place to request movies you'd like to see.

In the meantime, "Deadly Gamble" is out there in the marketplace, along with a Christmas anthology, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Sierra's Homecoming", a Silhouette Special Edition and the beginning of the modern McKettrick series. Sierra, as well as her sister, Meg, is a direct descendent of Holt and Lorelei. If you've been wondering what life is like on the Triple M today, check out "Sierra's Homecoming", to be followed in February by "McKettrick's Luck", in March by "McKettrick's Pride", and in April by "McKettrick's Heart." The launch book, "McKettrick's Luck", will be a Wal-Mart Read of the Month. These three are stand-alone paperbacks, not part of the Silhouette line. Next year at this time, Meg's story will be available, as a Special Edition, under the title "The McKettrick Way." Watch for a new McKettrick or two to show up, and witness the connection between Sam and Maddie's ("The Man from Stone Creek") O'Ballivan descendants, and the McKettricks. Sparks will fly when these two proud, stubborn families meet through two lovers, Meg and Brad.

Alas, the weekend is over. Time to push up my sleeves and work. Good thing I love this job.

Blessings to you, and yours. Human and furry, finned and feathered.

The Lord God loves us all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kevin as Chance

I'm still thinking about the movie, as you can see. Who could blame me?

All the actors in "Last Chance Cafe" did a truly marvelous job. Kevin's performance, however, particularly moved me--and not just because he's cute. (Which, of course, he IS.) Kevin actually read the book, and he's a talented and very professional actor, it goes without saying. But I believe he captured Chance so well because he's like Chance. He's a committed family man, with a beautiful wife and children. He's down-to-earth, intelligent, funny, and soft-spoken. These are just things I gathered about him during a very brief meeting on the set, but we have a mutual friend, and she verifies it all.

Do you remember a few blogs back when I mentioned the spiffy-guy who gets his tux wet to rescue a dog stranded on a rainy median, not knowing which way to go? Well, that's the kind of person Chance is, and all my other heroes, too. And I strongly suspect it's the kind of guy Kevin is, too.

I guess it all boils down to this. My heroes--and my heroines, too--are not the kind to drive by, thinking somebody ought to do something. They slam on the brakes. They jump out of the car (more often a truck, because I'm a country girl from way back), the rain be damned, with their sleeves pushed up. And they do what needs to be done, whether it's convenient or not.

I think Kevin is the same kind of man, and that's why his performance stirred me so deeply.

Kevin's not the kind to drive on by.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

From the Lake House!

I just spent my first night at Sanctuary, my lake retreat. Sadie and Bernice are still adjusting, and sticking pretty close.

I plan to work on a book today, and frankly, I'm still coming down from seeing the wonderful production of my Lifetime TV movie, "Last Chance Cafe". For those of you who missed the Monday night premiere, it will be on again on November 19. There is a DVD in the works, as I understand it, but I don't know when that will be available. Be sure to watch the website and this blog for developing stories.

We had high winds during the night and are expecting more today. The house is cozy, though, with a spectacular view. Right now, Sadie, Bernice and I are in my wonderful new loft office, where I expect to write many wonderful books.

More news tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I thought "Last Chance Cafe" was a slam-dunk winner, though of course I may be prejudiced!

Kudos to:

Josanne Lovick, a force of nature, and the person who brought this project from conception to airtime. You are a champ!

Kevin Sorbo: Honey, you are easy on the eyes, and you SO nailed Chance. Watching you, I believed you were Chance. (And you were right about the hat.)

Kate Vernon: You did a fabulous job as Hallie! Thank you!

Samantha Ferris: Your performance as Madge was letter-perfect.

Pam Wallace: screenwriter extraordinaire, co-author of "Witness", what an honor to have you adapt my big and unwieldy book into a fine script. Thanks for staying so close to my original intentions for the story.

To the director: I don't have your name handy, but that doesn't make me one bit less grateful. You fit a lot of story into a very small space, and you made it work.

To the fabulous little pro who played Kiley: You were terrific, honey. Someday, you'll be an amazing leading lady.

All members of the cast: I wish I knew all your names. Every single one of you blew me away.

One last thing: thanks to all of you for being so nice to a star-struck writer visiting the set of her very first TV movie, including the stellar crew.

What did I enjoy most about the movie, besides seeing my name on the screen in big letters?

The first kiss.

WOW. Now THAT'S romance!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tonight's the Night!

I am over the moon with excitement! Tonight, I get to see my book, "The Last Chance Cafe", come alive on Lifetime TV! We're planning to dine on popcorn and champagne and, as the cowboys say, really whoop it up.

I should be writing today, but the truth is, I just can't concentrate.

I'm too happy, too blessed, and too grateful.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Auntie's Again Tonight!

I'll be at Auntie's Book Store, in downtown Spokane, tonight at 7:30. I hope some of you will stop by and say howdy.

As for me, I'm living in happy disruption--there is painting going on, and carpets are being replaced. (Bernice, my Yorkie, alluded to the reasons why in her recent blog.) At the same time, we're getting the lake house set up for occupation. I plan to write my next book out there. Yesterday, while waiting for beds to be delivered, I watched a bald eagle soaring over the water. Not so long ago, they were almost extinct. Now they're back. (Of course I'll be extra careful to watch out for Bernice when we're out there.)

And there is always the meantime. The movie has me tremendously excited, of course. The reviews of "Deadly Gamble" have been wonderful.

For those of you who have been following the Clare and Tony stories, "Don't Look Now", "Never Look Back" and "One Last Look", the third and final 'episode', "One Last Look", already out in tradesize, will be released in mass market paperback by Pocket Books on December 6.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Snow is falling again--as graceful as a benediction.


Yesterday was certainly an emotional one. We gathered, Laels and friends, to say good-bye to my uncle, Jack Lael. We will all miss him very much. He was a genuine cowboy, the real article. My cousins, Barbara Lynn, Becky and J.D. were all there to say farewell to their dad. Later, J.D. took out his guitar and sang, and it lifted all our hearts. Jack left these three a legacy of courage, laughter in the face of adversity, and good old-fashioned grit--along with good looks. They all inherited their mother, Arlee's, talent for art. I'm so proud of all of them.

In the evening, I saw the ad for "Last Chance Cafe" for the first time. I can't believe it--the time is finally near--the movie will actually air on November 13--this Monday! I am so excited.

That's life, isn't it? A combination of joy and sorrow and everything in between. What a rich tapestry the Lord weaves for each of us.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Possible or Impossible?

A good friend emailed me this morning, asking where I would draw the line between possible and impossible. The answer came to me rather quickly, perhaps because I had just come from my prayer/journaling time.

For me, this line lies inches from the feet of Jesus Christ. In Him, I truly believe, all things are possible. Without Him, well--stay home, with the covers pulled up over your head, because if He's not part of the equation, it's a bust.

As you know, my beloved Uncle Jack has passed on. I'm going to his funeral today, not so much to mourn, but to celebrate a life fully lived, with others who loved him as I did.

I'll be back to blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Last Chance Cafe

The movie got a mention on "Access Hollywood" last night, complete with a clip!

I am delighted, of course.

Remember to watch--Monday, November 13, six Pacific, nine eastern.

I'm so eager to see that movie, I can hardly stand it.

In the meantime, though, Mojo is waiting to wrap up the second spooky adventure in the series. And you know how she gets, if you read her blog entries. (Have you read "Deadly Gamble" yet?)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Jack "Jiggs" Lael

My Uncle Jack passed away a couple of days ago, and he will be sorely missed.

I've written about my uncle before on this blog--he was a famous rodeo cowboy in his time, Elvis-handsome, and once won a contest for the best hard-luck story. This afforded him a trip to Dallas and much attention--especially from cowgirls. He rode at Madison Square Garden and on two different occasions, he won the privilege of kissing Miss America.

There are so many great stories about my uncle I couldn't fit them all in here, but in his memory, I want to tell one or two. He was famous for collecting and driving old, rattle-trap cars, and in his later years, when the ranching business went sour, he took a job at the lumber yard in Northport, owned by a man named Bob Wilson. One winter day, when my dad (Jack's younger brother) was supplementing the family income by driving a schoolbus, he came upon one of Jack's old cars in a snowbank, abandoned. Footprints led back in the direction of the ranch, so Dad figured Jack had hiked on home, and didn't worry overmuch. (The Laels are a tough crew.) A little farther down the road, here was a second heap, and more footprints headed back toward the ranch. (The Laels are persistent, too, though some would say 'bull-headed' would be a better description.) Dad chuckled and shook his head and went on. At last, he rounded a bend and found a third jalopy, broke down and going nowhere. This time, however, my uncle was there. Dad whooshed open the schoolbus door to offer a ride. Uncle Jack looked at him with that crooked cowboy grin and said, "You tell Bob Wilson I tried to get to work!" Each time a car had gone kaput, he'd gone back to the ranch for another one.

On another occasion, when I was five or six, the powers-that-be bussed all us kids to Colville, a bigger town than Northport, which isn't saying much, so we could get our shots. I'm here to tell you, I hated shots, and I was having none of it. Once we got to the clinic in Colville, I made a break for it--and ran right into my Uncle Jack in the doorway. I still remember how safe I felt in his arms, all those years ago, and how he grinned and said, "It'll be all right, Lindy." He held me until the shot was over. I don't remember the prick of that needle. I DO remember the comfort of my uncle's presence, and the quiet strength in his words.

Jack was always horse-crazy, and as you know, another Uncle Jack passed on earlier this year, to join his brother, Raymond, who had gone before. Here's how I figure it. When Jack Lael crossed over, Jack and Ray Wiley were surely waiting for him, on horseback, with a third horse saddled for him. I'll bet they grinned their cowboy grins and said, "This outfit ain't half bad to ride for."

Godspeed, all of you.

And you'd better me waiting with a horse for me when I get there!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Foggy Mountain

If I were naming this place today, I'd call it Foggy Mountain. Yesterday afternoon, I was delighted to look up from my writing and seeing snow coming down. Today, the draw is shrouded in fog, ghosting the great pines to specter trees.

It's a day to have the fire going, and a pot of 15-bean soup bubbling on the stovetop. Bernice is curled up on my bed, and Sadie is downstairs somewhere, trying to cadge an extra breakfast from some upsuspecting soul. The kitties are performing clandestine missions, as usual, little furry spies with all manner of secret hiding places.

And it's a perfect day to write. The fog imposes a cozy, stay-at-home kind of atmosphere. On days like this, I become a little reflective. Today, I'm thinking of a TV commercial I loved--I couldn't tell you what the product was for sure, but here's the scene: a man and woman are driving through a slashing rainstorm, both of them dressed to the teeth for the opera or the symphony or some expensive benefit, and they see a wet, bedraggled dog trapped on a median. They stop, and the man gets out of the car, in his exquisitely tailored tux, sprints through the relentless downpour, hoists the dog up in both arms, and loads him in the back of their SUV. You know they're going to take that dog home and keep him safe and try to find his owners.

I could love a man like that, one who cares a lot more about compassion than ruining his tux or getting the carpet wet in his SUV. Oh, yes. I could love a man like that.

Maybe that's why I'm always so crazy about my heroes. Each and every one of them would do the very same thing.

Wherever you are, and whatever the weather there, I hope you are snug and safe, with one or more beloved pets to keep you company. You will never have more devoted friends than they are.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Breaking News!

I looked up from today's chapter and guess what--IT'S SNOWING!!!


The weather is turning cold, the leaves are falling, and I await the first real snowfall of the season.

The house is being painted, and I've been shopping for furniture for Sanctuary, my lake place, with excitement. Just yesterday, I found the perfect table to gather around on Thanksgiving Day. (Cousin Kathy Bannon is the appointed cook, and she says if there isn't a table, she's not cooking!)

Although there is year-around gratitude around Chez Linda, November always awakens the spirit of Thanksgiving in me. What a blessing to gather with loved ones, laughing and telling stories, hoisting a wine glass or two. 2006 has been a memorable year in our family. There was some sorrow, when the uncles went on, but there were so many joyous things, too. Moving to this wonderful house, buying a second house on a beautiful lake, a new contract with my wonderful publishers, Harlequin.

In point of fact, I'm wondering how I'll fit it all into my Christmas letter this year.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Yorkie Gets a Turn

My name is Bernice, and I'm a Yorkshire Terrier.

Frankly, I resent Sadie calling me a nervous traveler in yesterday's blog. I'll have you know that I rode in a car, all the way from Cave Creek, Arizona to Spokane, Washington, with my Aunt Jen, without incident. Okay, so I did throw up on one hotel bedspread along the way, but noyorkie's perfect.

Sadie's just jealous because I'm a lap dog, and she's a big, chunky Beagle. Mom tries hard to keep the cuddles equal, but let's face it, I'm easy to pick up and hold. With Sadie, you'd need a forklift.

We have all kinds of nicknames, Sadie and I, and we answer to all of them. Snuggle-bug. Beeg. Porky Yorkie--and those are just a few. (And I am NOT, as it happens, 'porky'.) There's a really long one I don't actually understand, too--Who's-Responsible-for-This? Whatever it is, I think it's the reason Mom is always having carpets torn out and replaced with something she can mop. (Like she ever mops. She doesn't even know how to turn on her own vacum cleaner, but this is a big secret, so please don't tell.)

She bought me a tiara once, in an airport gift shop. (Los Angeles, of course.) I don't know what gets into humans sometimes. And my two-legged sister, Wendy, sent me a cowboy outfit of all things. Hello? I'm a girl. Mom says I'm a little cruise director, and should have a clipboard and a pair of rhinestone trimmed glasses hanging around my neck on a chain. It's true that I like to instigate things, and I'm forever investigating. Around this house, it's called "Bernice Reporting", like I was starring in a TV show or something. I just want to be in the know, that's all. Knowledge is power.

God told me to come down here and be cute. And I'm doing a great job of it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Beagle Speaks

My name is Sadie, and I am Mom's beagle. Since she's busy writing the last few chapters of "Deadly Deceptions", her second Mojo book, ("Deadly Gamble" being the first, and available now), I decided to fill in for her on the blog. This is no small challenge, considering I don't have opposable thumbs, but here goes.

My mom travels a lot, and my sister Bernice, the Yorkie, and I miss her a whole lot when she's away. When she comes home, whether she's been gone for a week or an hour, we always throw a big party. I get so excited, I can't contain my joy, and often run wildly around the house for a few minutes, with my ears tucked all funny, just to use up some glad energy. The cats are happy to see her, too, but they don't want anybody to know, so they act subtle. The truth is, the four of us are spoiled rotten, and we've never known anything but love in our whole lives.

Mom was writing "The Last Chance Cafe" when I came along. She and my two-legged sister, Wendy, happened to visit a mall in Scottsdale, Arizona, and there I was, galloping around in a pet store window. Mom had planned to buy two Yorkies and take them with her everywhere she went, like Amy Tan does, (I'm not sure who Amy Tan is, exactly, but Mom thinks she's great) but she fell in love with me and the rest is history. So much for the take-them-everywhere plan--I wouldn't fit under any airline seat, and Mom wouldn't put me in the cargo hold. Anyhow, I'd want to run up and down the aisle and kiss everybody, and share their inflight snacks. Bernice is way too nervous to travel. So we stay home, where we are safe and comfortable and very well cared for. It gives us plenty of time to plan the welcome-home parties.

Today, Mom would probably do things differently. She'd get rescue dogs. But I'm awfully glad she chose us the way she did, and she is, too. After all, we already existed, and we needed homes, too.

Cha Cha and Jitterbug, the cats, were feed-store kitties, so that almost counts as rescued. They cost $10 each and were cuddled together in the back of a wire crate, cool, calm and collected. Mom had gone in to buy stuff for the horses. The nice lady at the feed store said Mom could only have them if she promised they could live in the house, not the barn. (Like Mom would keep cats in the barn. If they wouldn't squash us and poop everywhere, the horses would probably live in the house, too.) They got all their shots and came to live with us, and let me tell you, it was funny, because they thought Bernice was their mama and she went around with little spiky tufts sticking out all over her neck because the kittens tried to nurse. Mom said it meant they'd left their mother too soon, and she was sad, but we all love them and now they're big cats. But they still think Bernice is their mama, and they head-butt her all the time. She just sighs and walks away. Sometimes, she and Cha Cha sit side by side, and Cha Cha wraps her big, fluffy tail around Bernice, like a boa.

Yep. Mom loves us a whole lot. What's not to love?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Check them out. All sorts of great information, and a lot of it is free. I ordered Christmas cards, too.

I had a fabulous time in Washington, D.C., made some wonderful new friends, had dinner with niece Kelly, and did some power shopping. Oh, but I am glad to be home, too. Home is where the heart--and the pets--is. Are?

We had a little skiff of snow during the night, but this morning it is clear, cold and sunny. I'm nearly through with the second Mojo adventure, "Deadly Deceptions", and am I ever having fun with it. Copies of my December Silhouette Special Edition, "Sierra's Homecoming", have arrived. This book is technically the first of the modern McKettrick series, bringing Sierra home to the Triple M--for the first time. It has a paranormal element I think you'll enjoy, and you'll get a brief glimpse of Jesse, the hero of "McKettrick's Luck" (in stores in late January, and the first book in the McKettrick Men trilogy). I'm proud to announce that "McKettrick's Luck" will be a Wal-Mart Read of the Month!

More tomorrow. Mojo is ready to roll.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Humane Society of the United States

I just met with the wonderful people at the HSUS, and am so looking forward to our association. They are energetic, creative and, best of all, deeply committed to the welfare and humane treatment of our best but often neglected friends, the animals.

A line from a beloved old hymn comes to mind: "...all creatures, great and small...the Lord God loves them all."

I love them, too. And I want it to be an active love, a wade-in, do-something kind of love.

If you're having trouble with a pet--and I know how frustrating that can be--check out the HSUS's wonderful Pets For Life program. I'm so impressed with all these people have going on--would you believe online courses, devoted to various pet challenges and to general good care. They have a great program to provide for your pet in the event of your illness or death as well.

Look into the eyes of the nearest dog, cat or ardvaark. You will see love there, and trust.

Live up to that, and you will become your best possible self.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The LaJolla Writers' Conference

I had a great time at the conference--met some fascinating people!

It was a real thrill to share keynoting duties with two famous thriller writers, Steve Berry, "The Third Secret", "The Romanov Prophecy" and James Grappando, "Got the Look" and "Hear No Evil"--both have more books, too. Also present was Margaret Weiss, who is an institution in the fantasy genre (Dragonlance series) and too many other top notch writers from various disciplines to name. The setting--Mission Bay, outside San Diego--was heavenly. I wanted to stay, walk on the beach and do a little shopping, but alas, it was not to be. I'm off again tomorrow morning, on another junket, this time to the Washington, D.C. area to meet with the Humane Society of the United States. You'll be hearing a lot about that in future blogs and newsletters, so watch this space.

I hope you enjoyed Mojo's visit. You can get to know her in "Deadly Gamble", which will be in stores tomorrow. This, I hope, is only the first of many Mojo adventures. She and I have almost completed the second story, "Deadly Deceptions", and it was a lot of fun. As Mojo likes to point out, she's MUCH younger than I am, and a whole lot skinnier. I have to be up on my vitamins and get lots of rest when Mojo's around!

I'll try to post while I'm on the road, but I'm not very technical and I have trouble with even the "easy" high-speed connections in hotels. I'll be home the 28th of October, and there will be a blog the 29th. Please be sure to check back.

As usual, I will have stories to tell!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mojo/4 and final

I've enjoyed writing this blog, but frankly, I'll be glad to turn it back over to Linda. She's not very good at technical things, but I'm even worse. So I'll concentate on fighting crime and not joining the ghost-brigade before my time, and let her do this.

She's going to California tomorrow, to speak at the LaJolla Writers' Conference, and next week, she's only home on Monday. She has a meeting with the Humane Society of the United States, to discuss being some kind of spokesperson, and that's something I can really get behind, because I love animals as much as Linda does. In fact, I can't wait for you to meet my basset hound buddy, Russell, in "Deadly Gamble", and my cat, Chester.

It seems to me that if everybody was as genuine and affectionate as your average dog, and as self-possessed and dignified as your average cat, it would be a better world.

Check back often. Linda will have lots to tell you--about her meeting in Washington, D.C. with HSUS, upcoming projects, the Lifetime movie, "The Last Chance Cafe", starring that hot Kevin Sorbo (November 13), a great new contest that will give you a chance to show off your pets, and the lake house, which she has decided to call Sanctuary, instead of Primrose Cottage. (No way anybody's going to see THAT place as a cottage--it has a pool, for pete's sake!) Sure beats my little apartment over Bad-Ass Bert's Biker Saloon, I can tell you that. Not that I'm complaining. Whenever Linda is writing a Mojo book, I'll be around, probably lounging by the pool. (I will say I look a lot better in a swimming suit than she does. I'm eternally 28, remember. She's 57 and movin' on.)

See you soon. In fact, let's meet on Page 1 of "Deadly Gamble", which will be in the stores October 24. If you're game, we'll share some hair-raising adventure, a few laughs, and a lot of red-hot romance. (Tucker had better watch it. That Kevin Sorbo is seriously cute.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mojo/Day 2

I've already written this once. Hopefully, the blog gods won't zap it into the ethers this time.

I wanted to tell you all about Tucker Darroch, the man in my life. Unlike Nick, he's alive, which is a big plus. He's an undercover cop--when I met him, he was posing as a biker, complete with motorbike. He's in his early thirties, with honey-colored hair that's always a little too long, green eyes that miss very little, and he's built in a way that assures the continuation of the species. He's funny and smart, and he's an expert on body language, which is probably why he can get me into bed even when I'm ready to rip his lips off.

Tucker's not perfect. He has a history--so do I. The main thing that keeps us from getting really serious is this: he has an ex-wife, Allison, and two great kids, Daisy and Danny, seven-year-old twins. Allison still clings a little--make that a lot--even though she and Tuck were already divorced when I met him. I want it known, right up front, that I'm no homewrecker. He loves his kids, and he's determined to be there for them. How could I fault him for that?

Mojo Day 3

Dead people.
It's me, me, me with them.
Find out who killed me, pass on this message--yada yada yada.
Wouldn't you think they'd KNOW who killed them, for pete's sake? But no. Truth is, a lot of them haven't even picked up on the fact that they're dead in the first place. If there's a Cosmic Complaint Department somewhere, I'd like to find it. I think the intake system on the other side needs some tweaks, big-time. Signposts, maybe. Or even billboards, saying things like, "Hello! Get a Clue, Bozo. You're Dead", or "See the Big Light? Step Into It".
They seem so confused, dead people. Many of them think they're having a bad dream.
And here's the real kicker. From some of the experiences I've had lately (Linda and I are almost through with the second Mojo adventure, "Deadly Deceptions"), I wonder if they ARE dead--at least in the way we think of 'dead'. More on that later. Once "Deceptions" is finished, I'll be on hiatus for a while, while Linda deals with more McKettricks and some cowboys of the old west variety.
Who knows what will happen in the third adventure? I sure don't, and here's a flash for you, Linda doesn't, either. It'll be a big surprise to both of us.
I like surprises.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mojo/Day 1

I guess one of the first things you need to know about me—Mojo Sheepshanks—is that I'm determined. Due to weather in Spokane, Linda's computer won't go online. So I'm writing this, and then our good friend, Nancy Berland, will post it on the blog. Voila!

Okay, so enough about all that!

I'm 28 years old and live in Cave Creek, Arizona. (Linda can live wherever she wants, but I'm staying in Arizona, because I like it here.) One advantage of being a fictional character (though, trust me, I'm every bit as real as Linda) is not getting older. No matter how many books Linda and I do together, I will always be right around the age I am now, and we're planning to do plenty.

I work as a private detective. I sort of fell into the job, and I've got way too many non-paying clients (as in, all of them, at this stage of my illustrious career), but it sure beats what I did before—medical coding and billing for a lot of arrogant, pushy doctors. Due to an early trauma, detailed in DEADLY GAMBLE, which will be in the stores October 24, I had to reinvent a whole new persona for myself. A disturbing part of that new persona is a "gift" I'd rather give back to whomever gave it to me in the first place, but nobody's willing to own up, so far. I figure my dead ex-husband, Nick DeLuca, is the culprit, but I can't prove it.

Basically, my problem is this: I see dead people. Everywhere. In supermarkets, restaurants, casinos—oh, especially in casinos—and mostly they mind their own business, but sometimes they decide to haunt me. It's not my charm—I do have some, whatever my detractors may say to the contrary—they want me to be a go-between, find out who killed them, stuff like that. And it all started with Nick turning up in my bed one spring night, two years after he'd died. He was on a mission, and it soon became clear that he wasn't going to leave me alone until I helped him accomplish it. I suspect he wrote my name on the equivalent of some celestial men's room wall—IF YOU NEED HELP, HAUNT MOJO. I've been getting a steady stream of dead visitors ever since, and I don't appreciate it.

Now, all this would be trouble enough for one woman to manage, wouldn't you think? But there's a live man in my life, too. His name is Tucker Darroch, and I'll tell you all about his red-hot self tomorrow.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sheep and Shepherds

(Still Linda. Mojo comes on Monday.)

Recently, I've read a book that has touched me deeply, and taken me to a new level. It's called "A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm", by Phillip Keller. I have always loved that Psalm, but I have a greater understanding of it now.

I guess it follows that a Psalm about sheep and shepherds would resonate with me. My paternal grandfather, Jacob Daniel Lael, called "Dan" by those who knew him, kept sheep. He knew a lot about them, paid close, assiduous attention to their health and well-being. He guarded and defended them, and made sure they were sound. Once, in fact, sometime in the 1930s, probably, he bought a car, took the back seat out, and hauled a couple of them up to the house. My grandmother was not pleased. The car was new, and here was Dan Lael with a couple of ewes bahing and dirty-wooled in the back! She protested, and Grampa's reply still rings through the annals of Lael Lore. "Dora, these sheep bought this car, and they can ride in it!"

My grandfather moved his sheep from one pasture to another, and knew where all the good watering holes were. He took some heat from the cattlemen around Northport, I'm sure, though in the case of a tragedy or hard times, he was always one of the first to pitch in and help--even, perhaps especially, when the person in need was not a fan of sheep.

It is widely believed, largely because of western movies, that sheep ruin any land they graze upon. This is patently not true. If sheep are properly tended, and moved when they should be, they can improve a pasture so vastly that it won't even look like the same place.

It's all in the shepherd's care.

My Shepherd knows just how to tend this scruffy, rebellious, distractable little sheep. He knows where the best grass is, and the still, pure waters.

If He had a car, I bet He'd even let me ride in it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

Don't say I didn't warn you.
I'm taking next week off from the blog, and Mojo Sheepshanks will be taking over for me Monday-Thursday. On Friday, Mojo and I are both going to California, where I'll be keynoting the LaJolla Writers' Conference.

Just to prepare you a little--as if anybody could ever really be prepared for Mojo--she's the heroine of my (okay, Moje, our) new romantic-thriller series, which begins with "Deadly Gamble". It will be available as early as October 24, I'm told, and everywhere in November.
Mojo has a peculiar talent--but I'll let her tell you about that.

Make it a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Crisp, Cool and Sunny

That's how it is this morning, in Spokane, Washington. There's a chill in the bright air, though, as if we might get snow. I would love that, even though it's pretty early in the year for the white stuff. I remember one Halloween in my childhood when we had three feet of snow. It was beautiful, but I was bummed, because it meant I'd have to cover up my costume with a hooded coat.

I'm closing on my lake house tomorrow, and on Monday afternoon, the key will be in my hand. I am told that the lake sometimes freezes so solidly that fools drive cars across it. Nature's gentle way of weeding out the stupid, as my daughter would say.

A lake house. This is a gift from Heaven. He leadeth me beside the still waters...

But I shall be content to let Him walk on them--even when they're frozen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ordinary Days/Magical Days

I'm grateful for Ordinary Days--Tuesdays, like this one, with no appointments and no planes to catch. For me, it's thanksgiving. I can write. My dogs are nearby, and my cats. (The horses, alas, are still up the road at boarding school, but I'll have the barn up by spring.) There are wild turkeys beyond the fence, pecking at the ground and singing their gobble-gobble song. And my beloved pines stand sentinel in the draw, awaiting their lacing of snow.

Speaking of Thanksgiving--Canadians celebrated it yesterday. I think they're smart to have it then--ours is too close to Christmas. I'm nostalgic for the old days, when Hallmark didn't have their cards and ornaments on sale in July. We had time to appreciate holidays back then, it seems to me, and they were clearly differentiated from each other. Halloween was great fun in Northport--there were pumpkins and scarecrows taped to the windows of the schoolhouse, and deciding on a costume was something to savor for weeks. It was safe to trick-or-treat at every house in town, and a night's haul would fill a pillowcase. Thanksgiving, too, stood separate and distinct. Turkeys on the school windows then, and little pilgrim figures in the middle of everyone's table. No one rushed out to shop the next day--we were still digesting the feast. Christmas came in December, not November, and certainly not in July. Dad would take my brother, Jerry, and I up into the woods to pick out the tree, somewhere around the 14th of December. I will never forget that piney, snowy scent, clinging to the lush branches of that tree. I loved to plunge my face into those prickly branches and breathe deep. When we returned home, Mom would have cocoa ready, or cider, and Jerry and I were in a sweet agony of waiting, because the tree had to 'set' a while, dry off and let its branches down. Finally, the time would come to put it up in the corner between two picture windows in our living room. Dad muttered as he untangled the lights. Mom unwrapped precious ornaments, scuffed with memories, from tissue paper and bits of paper towel. We decorated the tree, and that in itself was a holiday--we loved the waiting, the anticipation, counting down the days. We'd stand outside, Jerry and I, in the gathering dusk, marveling at the way the multi-colored lights glowed through the frosty window glass. We looked forward to the lighting of the Lion's Club Christmas tree, at the center of town, and the programs at church. Uncle Harry used to play Santa--he had a mop for a beard, and he was skinny, but it was still utterly magical.

Magical days. It's the ordinary days, Tuesdays and the like, that make them special.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weather Report

It's crisp and cool this morning, with a bright sun shining its blessings down on all of us.

This past Saturday, I attended the Lael Family Reunion in Colville, Washington (for those of you who don't live around these here parts, it's pronounced CALLville, not Coalville.) There was the usual laughter--the Laels are a witty bunch, inclined to laugh even through their tears. My cousin Dave, the MC, told his jokes. (Some of them, Dave, were even funny.) The senior Lael sibs all read a poem or sang a song--it's still strange that Uncle Wes isn't there, with his silly hats and his bed-pan banjo. Uncle Jack, a famous rodeo cowboy in his time, is confined to a nursing home now. When I went to see him, he greeted me with that old crooked grin of his and said, "Is the romance-writin' racket still being good to you?" I was happy to tell him it sure is. My cousins, who were kids yesterday, all seem to be grandparents now--there was a tribe of little Laels running around. My sisters, Sally and Pam, both attended, as did my mother, Hazel. Dad, being one of the original Lael brood, was there, of course, with his cowboy hat and his friendly smile.

So here's MY personal weather report. Clear, grateful skies. And if the clouds roll in, I know what to do. Laugh.

Because I am a Lael.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Major P.S.

How could I have forgotten????
There is a Christmas anthology out now, called "I'll Be Home for Christmas", and my story, "The Christmas of the Red Chiefs", is the headliner. If you're in a "snowy" mood, as I am, and starting to think of the festive season just ahead, you will love these stories.

Turkeys and Trees

There are wild turkeys behind my house, gobble-gobbling! They seem to know they're in no danger of becoming Thanksgiving dinner. (Or Sadie's dinner, either, though she barks at them with all the good-natured ferocity of any self-respecting beagle!) The deer visit, too--we have seen a doe with twin fawns occasionally, since spring. Now and then, there is even a moose--I've only caught a glimpse of one, since I write at the back of the house, looking out over my splendid draw full of dignified pine trees, and the mooses (meese?) seem to favor the ten acres of flat ground at the front.

The driveway is lined with young maples, now clad in spectacular gowns of yellow that will deepen to rust and crimson as autumn advances. The tall Aspens whisper among themselves, rustling a little in the cooler breezes. "Winter is coming," they say to each other. But they are not afraid. They move so gracefully between one season and the next. How I missed the seasons when I was away.

Although I lived in Arizona for eight years, and am not as used to Northwest winters as my beloved pines and maples and aspens, I look forward to the snow. For we are old friends, the snow and I, eager to be reunited. I remember the way snow muffles the world and makes it peaceful. I remember that particular cast of the light. I remember waking and, before I'd even opened my eyes, knowing snow had come in the night, just by that certain singing quality in the air.

Oh, yes. I shall welcome the snow.

For I have, after years of wandering, returned at last to the place my heart has always called...HOME.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Blog was Broken

And now, hopefully, it's fixed.

I'm officially halfway through the next Mojo book, "Deadly Deceptions". Meanwhile, the first Mojo, "Deadly Gamble", will be in stores soon.

I'm getting ready for the Lael family reunion this weekend--always a good time.

A bit under the weather, but I expect to be better soon.

Much love,

Friday, September 29, 2006

Questions You Might Want to Ask...

But probably wouldn't dare:

How much money do you make?

Answer: A LOT.

Your books are pretty sexy. Do you write from experience?

Answer: Wouldn't you like to know.

Some of the things I've read on your blog indicate that you're a Christian. Your books are seriously hot. What's up with that?

Answer: I am definitely a Christian. As for the 'seriously hot' scenes in my books, well, I don't subscribe to the Purtianical/Victorian notion that sex is inherently evil. In fact, I think that's diseased thinking. God created sex, after all, and that means it's good and wholesome, in its proper place. Like electricity or nuclear energy, sex can certainly be perverted and used for destructive purposes, but in the right context, it is a beautiful and sacred form of communion between two adults. The heroes and heroines in my books are not always married, but they are always in love with each other, whether they know it yet or not, and the love scenes are meant to be unabashed celebrations of that love, with all the attendant passion.

Don't you get letters about the sex in your books?

Answer: A few. These days, most people communicate by email. The response to my love scenes is almost overwhelmingly positive, but I do hear from a few poor, shame-based, repressed souls who hate it. I usually feel sorry for them.

Do you advocate free love? In other words, if it feels good, do it?

Answer: Of course not. What kind of question is that? Sex is sacred. It is, at essence, a pale reflection of the Passion God feels for His people.

When people buy romance novels, are they looking for sex?

Answer: No. They're looking for LOVE. For entertainment. For temporary refuge from their busy lives and their troubles. If they only wanted sex, they'd buy porn. Yes, yes, I know. Some people say romance novels are porn. Poor, misguided creatures. It must be a real bummer to be married to them.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions

I get some of the same questions, over and over again, in reader mail, emails to the website, etc. I thought it might be a good idea to address some of the most prominent ones here, in the blog.

#1 Most Asked Question: Are you going to do any more vampire books?

Answer: I have no plans to write another vampire book, but that doesn't mean inspiration won't strike. Valerian was one of the best characters I've ever come up with, and he would be hard to top.

#2 Most Asked Question: When are you going to write the third book in the Redclift series, medieval romances begun with "My Lady Beloved" and "My Lady Wayward"?

Answer: I do hope to finish that trilogy someday. HOWEVER, publishing is a business, and the plain truth is, the first two books didn't sell very well. For the foreseeable future, I will be writing about cops and cowboys. That seems to be what I do best.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Busy Me

The current work-in-progress, "Deadly Deceptions", (November, 07, HQN.) is going well. Every day, Mojo surprises me with some new adventure. She certainly is a busy girl. I have to take vitamins, eat right, and get a lot of sleep--just to keep up with her!

October will be a busy month. First, there's the Lael family reunion in Colville, a flying, one-day trip for me, then I'll be keynoting at the LaJolla Writer's Conference later in the month, THEN on to a suburb of Washington, D.C. to meet with the Humane Society of the United States. I'm going to be partnering with them in their Pets for Life program, and I'll be giving you regular updates on that. On top of all this, of course, I will be writing, finishing "Deadly Deceptions" and moving on to write another Silhouette Special Edition. This one is called "The McKettrick Way", and stars Meg McKettrick, a direct descendent of Holt and Lorelei. ("McKettrick's Choice", HQN, in stores now.) You'd think that would be enough to fill anybody's month, wouldn't you? Well, there's more. I close on my lake house in mid-October, too, and will be christening it Primrose Cottage.

I probably won't even get to catch my breath before November hits, and that's big, too. The first Mojo book, "Deadly Gamble", comes out October 30, and I'll be promoting it throughout November in various ways. AND--mark your calendars, do not forget--Lifetime's presentation of "The Last Chance Cafe", starring the delectable Kevin Sorbo, is scheduled for November 13!

Lest you think I'm complaining--NO WAY. I am a very happy camper indeed, and a grateful one, too.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Aunt Donna's Book Club

Last night, I had the pleasure of visiting my aunt's lively book group, with the added bonus of seeing my late uncle, Otis 'Wes' Lael's widow, Shirley. Would you believe, I was so tired from the Buffalo-Chicago-South Bend-home again experience I told you about yesterday that I didn't recognize Shirley until late in the evening? Now, that's just getting way too tired!

The book club discussion was fascinating, and this after Aunt Donna had served a lovely dinner, and we got to catch up on some of our visiting, too. You know me and dogs. Aunt Donna has a Westie named Lael, who loves to play tug of war. Lael's a real charmer, and I love her name for obvious reasons.

Thanks to all the ladies who showed up and made me feel so welcome.

Now, back to work on the current project, "Deadly Deceptions", the second Mojo Sheepshanks book. I wonder what she'll be up to today?

Monday, September 25, 2006

What a trip!

First, I flew to Buffalo, New York, to sign copies of "Deadly Gamble" at Harlequin's wonderful distribution center. As usual, I was treated like a queen! Special thanks to Laura Wiltse, who facilitated everything and made the hard work a delight, and to John Reindl, the manager. To KO, Marleah and Sarah: it meant the world to me when you showed up to have lunch with us!

From Buffalo, it was on to South Bend, by way of Chicago. I should have known there would be problems when my plane was late leaving Buffalo--by the time I got to Chicago, where they were throwing one of their famous midwestern storms, I'd already missed my connecting flight to South Bend, Indiana. Not that it mattered, because that flight had been cancelled, anyway! So I was on standby, with about a million people ahead of me, and really worried that I might not make it to South Bend for the library event at the main branch of the Saint Joseph County Library. In the end, I rented a car and drove to South Bend. If you'd asked me if I could drive in Chicago in a rainstorm, I'd have said no. But I did it, because I had to. I made it to my hotel in South Bend--but my luggage didn't! Just more of the glamor of being on the road. No pajamas, no toothbrush, no clothes for the next day. Yikes. In the morning, though, I called and glory be, my suitcases were in South Bend. The hotel's shuttle driver took me out to the airport, and I picked them up. Never in my life have I appreciated clean clothes as much as I did on Saturday morning!

The event was fabulous. (Thanks, Frances, for being the ultimate escort!) I met a Mark Twain impersonator, and enjoyed his performance immensely. I shared a stage with Jeanne Ray, who wrote "Julie and Romeo", among other books, and inspired me with her message that people over sixty DO, after all, have lives. A wonderful writer in her own right, Jeanne is also the mother of novelist Ann Patchet. Jeanne and I instantly hit it off, and I'm sure we're going to be good friends. Just as exciting, I met readers, people who love libraries as much as I do. My thanks to all of you for coming to say hello. I always enjoy meeting you.

The best part of any trip is coming home. Sadie and Bernice were almost as glad to see me as I was to see them.

Work to do. Be well, and be happy. It's mostly a choice, you know.

Monday, September 18, 2006


The plumber is coming today. The hot water dispensor will finally work! Yea!

I'm writing Chapter 5 of "Deadly Deceptions", the second Mojo book. It's an amazing experience--what an adventure! (I get the fun and excitement; Mojo gets the real danger.)

And I found a wonderful little book at Wal-Mart over the weekend. It's called "God's Creative Power", and it was written by Charles Capps. Although I have been a Christian since I was ten years old, I received some powerful insights reading this. If your prayers have been bouncing off the ceiling lately, read it.

In the meantime, don't let the news scare you. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7. (Anything else comes from the other side.) Right now, I'm concentrating on the 'self-control' aspect of that verse as I am working to establish a new eating program.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dogs Deserve Better

Check out this website:

This woman was actually arrested for saving a dog, chained and lying under a porch.

The pictures speak for themselves.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's Official

"The Last Chance Cafe", starring Kevin Sorbo and Kate Vernon, will air on Lifetime at 9 Pacific time, on November 13. Do I need to tell you how excited I am? This is SO a dream come true!

Keep an eye on the website. We're working on a downloadable kit for a 'viewing party'.

I've neglected the blog lately, and for this, I apologize.

First, I was running madly to finish "A Wanted Man", the western HQN will publish in hardcover next July. (The paperback version of "The Man from Stone Creek" will appear in June). I took a few wonderful days of R and R in Grand Coulee, with my dad and stepmother--very peaceful!

Now, rested and ready, I'm two chapters into "Deadly Deceptions", the second Mojo Sheepshanks book. It's a romantic thriller, and great fun to write.

What's coming up? Well, if any of you live in the South Bend, Indiana area, I'll be speaking at the Open Book Festival on Saturday, September 23. The Festival is being held at the Main Library auditorium, and I'll be speaking from 1-2 pm, with an autographing to follow. I sure hope some of you will come by and say howdy. It's always a pleasure to meet readers in person, and I love doing gigs like this because I love libraries.

More tomorrow. Right now, Chapter 3 awaits. I can't wait to see what Mojo and the crew of ghosts and a certain hunky undercover cop are up to!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bring Your Lunchbox

My dad used to tell a wonderful story--it happened to him or to someone he knew, I'm not sure which. (I'll ask him this weekend, when I go for a much-needed visit.)

Once, there was a man who wanted a job. The local plant was plastered with NOT HIRING signs. Undaunted, the man showed up, on time and dressed for work, with his lunchbox in hand, ready to work. Day after day, there he was, spit-shined, smiling, with his lunch packed. You guessed it--one day the foreman got sick of looking at him and gave him a job.

Now, since I always like to put a spiritual twist on these stories, how does this relate to prayer? Have you asked for something, and asked again, and not received an answer? Well, Hebrews 11:6 says He is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I believe He loves to bless His children, but He also requires us to step up, develop our faith muscles.

So ask again today. Ask tomorrow. And the day after that.

And bring your lunchbox.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Wanted Man

The book is finished.
I had tears in my eyes at the end--I always celebrate, when I finish a book, but there's some heartbreak, too. I feel like a mother, sending her children off to college all at once, letting them go, sending them out into the world on their own. I feel both pride and sorrow at the prospect.
Anyway, there's another batch moving in soon--I'll be starting the second book in my new romantic suspense series--"Deadly Deceptions", after a short visit to my dad and stepmother in Grand Coulee. The first is "Deadly Gamble", and you'll be hearing more about that as the time to release it approaches--November of this year. And wait until you see the hot cover!
Which leads me to another subject. The books I've written this year--amazingly, there are four of them--are sexier than anything I've written in a long, long time. At the same time, they have a deeply spiritual quality. Go figure.
I had a letter from a dear woman who had read "The Man from Stone Creek"--twice. She was, however, offended by the love scenes. God bless her, she certainly has a right to her opinion, and I respect it. But, as Father Andrew Greely once said, when criticized for the love scenes in his books, the love between a man and a woman is but the palest reflection of the passion God feels for His Creation. You won't find my heroes and heroines involved in promiscuous sex, because I believe that's destructive. Sex is sacred, holy. But you WILL see more passionate love scenes in all future books.
I'm really taking the lid off.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, August 28, 2006

She bloggeth, she bloggeth not

I can only plead end-of-the-book madness! I'm on the homestretch with the new book, "A Wanted Man" (July 07, HQN hardcover), starring Rowdy Rhodes, of "The Man from Stone Creek" fame, and his lady, schoolmarm-with-a-secret Lark Morgan. All hell's breaking loose in Stone Creek, and I don't mean maybe.

Train robberies.
Love scenes that will peel the paint off the walls.

It's crazy.
It's exciting.
Best of all, it's FUN!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rowdy and Lark

They're the hero and heroine of my work-in-progress--and they are red-hot.

Mom, don't read this book. :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

At the Kitchen Table

One of the best blessings of my life as a writer is the freedom. I've got a killer deadline, but I can set up this laptop anywhere. There other day, I wrote an entire chapter while watching QVC. (I don't recommend this method, although it will improve your wardrobe.)

Today, I'm blogging at the kitchen table, after my usual stint of journaling and personal devotions.

In a little while, I'll go upstairs and write another chapter of "A Wanted Man". I can't wait for you to read it.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Did you know that words have vibrations? Good words bring good experiences, and the reverse, of course, is also true.

My life is full of fabulous things, and I'll bet yours is, too. I sometimes get distracted by all the non-fabulous stuff, and then I get into alignment with it, and it isn't any fun at all.

I'm planning to have a FABULOUS day today.

How about you?

And here's an affirmation we can all use:
I believe something fabulous is going to happen to me today!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Showing Up

Some days, and this is one of them, I'd like to crawl back into bed and sleep, sleep, sleep...

I can't, of course, because I have a deadline.

I always have a deadline.

What's a cowgirl to do? Get up, pull on her clothes, give those boot straps a good hard tug, saddle up and RIDE.

I don't always feel like writing, as much as I love it.

Some days, it's all I can do to show up.

Fortunately, that's all the Boss asks of me. I get on that horse.

And then it carries me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For or Against?

This might be a good time to point out that, instead of being against cruelty in any form, I am for kindness, compassion, mercy and grace. Look at physics, the earth-science type, I mean--when we resist or oppose something, it will push back. Our pushing only makes it stronger. But when we are FOR goodness and mercy, when we stand firmly in our position and speak up for the things we believe in, we align ourselves with All That Is Good.

Wounds heal from the inside.

God heals by being Present in any situation, and He transforms by that Presence.

Our part? To be aware of Him. To believe, because few things dishonor Him more than doubt.

He does the rest. Whether it's a cut in your pinky, or a world-wide disaster, He heals from the inside.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Wanted Man

A little about my work in progress, an historical western starring Rowdy Rhodes, who appeared briefly in "The Man from Stone Creek", and Lark Morgan, a lady with secrets as big and dangerous as Rowdy's own. The novel takes place in the fictional northern Arizona town of Stone Creek, where readers of the previous book will run into old friends, Sam, Maddie and the Major, and make some new ones, too.

It's 1905 when Rowdy arrives in Stone Creek, summoned there by Sam and the Major, in their capacity as Arizona Rangers, with little other information to go on. His dog, Pardner, comes along, and serves as a canine deputy when Rowdy is once again sworn in as town marshal.

It's a heart-driven, complex story, and I think you'll love it, even if you haven't read "The Man from Stone Creek". That will be out in paperback next June, and "A Wanted Man" will follow in hardcover in July. I've seen the art work for the cover, and those fine folks in the HQN art department have done it again. It's wonderful!

Most of the household is off today for a wedding in Canada. I'll be staying home to ride herd over the four-leggers and work on the new book. More tomorrow.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Suicide Race

Some of you have asked for clarification on the infamous "Suicide Race" taking place every year at the Omak Stampede.

Horses are forced to run a VERY steep down hill track. They often tumble, end over end, and are crippled and killed in the process. Should they survive, they are required to perform the same brutal and irresponsible spectacle the next day! And people pay money to watch this abuse; that disturbs me almost as much as the terrible danger the horses are subjected to.

Horses are, obviously large. They fear few things more than falling, because they're vulnerable when they're down. Their own weight works against them. They are prey animals, remember.

They are also magnificent creatures, with truly amazing spirits.

Some people actually argue that they enjoy the race.

Horses are sporting animals. Some of them do love certain rodeo events, such as barrel-racing. I have several rodeo cowboys in my family--father, brother, uncles--and I am NOT opposed to rodeo, as long as the animals involved are treated humanely. The Suicide Race at the Omak Stampede certainly doesn't qualify as humane--it is brutal, primitive, and absolutely insane.

The riders have a choice. I don't have much sympathy for them.

The horses DO NOT have a choice. And they have no voices.

Is there an event like this in your community? Speak out, and whatever you do, DON'T buy a ticket. This is all about money.

If you live in Washington State, write to your Senators and Representatives. All that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to remain silent, to do nothing.

Remember--those who will mistreat animals will mistreat children. Brutality is brutality, and abusing the helpless is WRONG, whether the victim has two legs or four.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Suicide Race

There is a spectacle going on at the Omak Stampede, right here in my beloved Washington state, called the Suicide Race. But it isn't suicide from the horses' perspective: it's murder.

Every year, horses are crippled and killed in this "race". This kind of blood-spectacle should have gone out with the Romans, feeding Christians to lions and pitting gladiators against each other. It is a cruel travesty, and there is no excuse for it. It galls me that people will pay money and turn out in droves to watch something like this.

The horses have no choice. They are forced to participate.

I'm speaking out against this, every chance I get, from every possible platform. It's JUST PLAIN WRONG.

Furthermore, it's NOT the cowboy way. Can you see Sam O'Ballivan endorsing something like this? Or any one of the McKettricks?

NO WAY. This is unspeakably cruel.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thank God

Pray for peace, and for the safety of all innocent travelers, everywhere.

And while we're at it, let's say Thank You to a gracious and merciful God, for Scotland Yard and all the others, everywhere on earth, who work and keep watch, night and day, to guard us all.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Humane Society of the United States

I will soon be officially associated with these fine people; they are a voice for the voiceless, the animals who cannot speak.

Do you remember the lost pets, abandoned or separated from their human families during and after Hurricane Katrina? Well, the HSUS was instrumental in getting legislation passed to protect and provide for our faithful companions in the event of disaster.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. The measure of an individual or a society is NOT wealth, accomplishment or military might. It lies in the way they treat the helpless, the dispossessed, the lost and the hungry and the sick. The ones with no voices, no power, no influence.

The Master set the example. It is up to us to follow it.

Monday, August 07, 2006


On Saturday, friends and family of Jack Wiley crowded the historic little church in Northport, not so much to mourn as to celebrate a life well and honorably lived. All of us had stories to tell about how Jack had touched our lives in so many positive ways. Tears were shed, but there was laughter, too.

Jack would have wanted it that way.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Margaret Mitchell House

One of the highpoints of my trip to Atlanta was a visit to the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote "Gone With the Wind". Now, lest you think she had the run of some big place, not so. She and her husband shared a very small apartment in the basement. (The rest of the house has burned, not once but twice, but the apartment remained intact.) She sat at a tiny table, facing a window, and wrote what many would consider the Great American Novel on an old-fashioned typewriter. Each of the 63 chapters of the novel was tucked into its own manila envelope (writers are strange creatures, as you may have guessed), and Mitchell steadfastly refused to show the pages to anyone. (Her friends finally convinced her to give it to a famous editor visiting Atlanta in search of new writers--she literally ran into the lobby of his hotel, dumped 63 manila envelopes on a table, and ran out again!)

Among my favorite lines from the book is, "You should be kissed, and often, and by somebody who knows how." Rhett Butler. (Oh, baby.)

Friends, it doesn't get any more romantic than that.

Favorite Margaret Mitchell quote? "In a weak moment, I have written a book." I love that so much, I bought a coffee cup inscribed with her picture and those words.

In a weak moment, I, too, am writing a book.

I'd better get back to it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday Mornin' Comin' Down

Still descending from the heights of attending both the filming of "The Last Chance Cafe" and then trekking on to Atlanta. Heady experiences, both.

Now, for the real world.

Chapter 1 awaits.

A new adventure!

This cowgirl says: YEEHAW! Turn this bronc out of the chute, cause I'm ready to ride!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Snail Mail

If anyone wants to write an actual letter, I'm receiving mail at:

Linda Lael Miller
PO Box 19461
Spokane, WA 99219

Include an SASE, and you will get an answer.

Back from My Travels!

What a busy couple of weeks I've had!

First, I flew to Vancouver and watched, fascinated, as Kevin Sorbo and other members of the cast of the Lifetime movie of "The Last Chance Cafe" brought MY story to life! (Kevin, I'm here to tell you, is seriously cute, not to mention gracious, and he SO nailed my character, Chance Qualtrough, who is called Chance Coulter in the movie. ) As I understand it, the movie will be shown in November. You may rest assured that there will be plenty of advance notice on the website. The whole cast is excellent, and they were kind enough to include a very star-struck writer in some lively conversation. If you haven't done so already, please check out Kevin's

I'd barely dumped my suitcases and washed my laundry when it was off to Atlanta for a week, to attend the annual Romance Writers of America conference. As usual, I had a wonderful time. And you should see Debbie Macomber! She's looking skinny. and oh-so-glam.

Highlights were: Nancy Berland's breakfast and lunch events for such bookselling and publishing notables as Daisy Marlys, of "Publisher's Weekly". Dinner at Nicolai's, with my long-time agent and friend, Irene Goodman. (The food was presented with a flourish, and we each got a rose at the end!) The Harlequin people gave me the star-treatment, and I lapped up every minute of it. As if that weren't enough, assistant Jen and I had the privilege of nearly colliding with none other than Morgan Freeman as we were entering an elevator at the Ritz Carlton, and we also ran into a delightful four-year-old who could sing most of Johnny Cash's repretoire! She did the first line of "Jackson", from her stroller, no less, and it was a kick.

Atlanta is a beautiful, friendly city, if a little hot and muggy for my taste. I don't think I've ever encountered so many engaging, warm people all in one place! We made a pilgrimage to the Margaret Mitchell house, and also visited the Coca-Cola museum and the best aquarium I've evr seen. Of course, I worked in some shopping, too.

Big news on the home front: I've made an offer on the lake house I told you about, and it has been accepted. It's twenty-five minutes from this house, and has a perfect office with a view of the lake!

Truly, I am blessed.

And you are among the greatest of those blessings!

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I finished and submitted the last book in the McKettrick Men trilogy--Keegan's story, "McKettrick's Heart". I was so touched by these stories--all of them had some element from my own life--my deep love for animals, for instance. Finishing was both a triumph and a heart-rending good-bye. When I complete a story, I always feel like a mother sending her children off to college.

Off to Vancouver tomorrow, to visit the movie set! We'll be taking lots of pictures, and you can expect them to appear on the website soon.

Sadie is in the dog-house. She got into the treat cupboard in the pantry last night and ate half a bag of Beggin' Strips. No wonder she wasn't up for breakfast this morning!

Downstairs, folks are getting things ready for a family barbeque. It's a wonderful blessing to hear those dear, familiar voices, talking about ordinary things.

As you know, if you've been reading the blog, my uncle, Jack Wiley, passed away day before yesterday. And what do I treasure most? Memories of his mischievous, crooked smile, and that impish look that came into his eyes when he was telling tall tales. And I remember the sound of his voice, talking to other dear people, now go on, about ordinary things.

Treasure the ordinary things. They are precious.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Jack Wiley

Jack Wiley, honorary uncle and cherished friend of the Lael family, passed away today.

By now, he's home on the ranch, as he loved and remembered it.

Gramma is calling him in to supper.

Grampa will want more wood carried in for the fire first.

Godspeed, dear uncle.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Auntie's Tonight!

I'll be at Auntie's Book Store, in beautiful downtown Spokane, tonight at 7:30. I surely hope to see some of you there.

For those of you who've been asking how to get signed copies of my books, Auntie's is your answer. We'll be putting all necessary info on the website very soon. Auntie's will have a signed supply of each new book, available as soon as it comes out.

In the meantime, I'm on the homestretch with "McKettrick's Heart", and getting ready to visit the movie set where my friend, Josanne Lovick, producer extraordinaire, is filming an adaptation of my very own "The Last Chance Cafe"! We're even bringing in our dear mutual friend, Pastor Jean, to bless the production.

The movie is wonderful, but the friends are the greater blessing. I've known Jean for almost thirty years--and what a history we have.

Be blessed. And have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More McKettricks Today

I'm on the homestretch with "McKettrick's Heart"--and what a heart Keegan McKettrick has!

I'll be writing Chapter 12 today, and although I know in general what will happen, Keegan and Molly have a way of surprising me, just as Jesse and Cheyenne did. And Rance and Echo.

Yesterday, I visited a local lake--there are something like 70 lakes around Spokane--and I fell in love. I'm in the market for a lake house, and I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Up to My Eyeballs in McKettricks!

I'm sorry I missed blogging yesterday. Those McKettricks are REALLY keeping me busy! Things are heating up big-time in modern-day Indian Rock, where this trilogy is set.

In the midst of all this, a dear uncle is wrapping up the last days of a truly good life. We will miss him, one of our pair of Jacks, but we also know he will love the New Place. I think he'll be back on the ranch, as he remembers it, with Gramma cooking one of her savory suppers at the old wood-burning cook stove, and Grampa ready to spin one of his wonderful limericks.

As if these things weren't enough, my Lifetime TV movie, "The Last Chance Cafe", is about to begin filming in Vancouver. I hope to make a flying visit to the set on my way to Atlanta, for this year's Romance Writers of America conference. And the minute I get home, I'll be writing "A Wanted Man", Rowdy's book, which is the sequel to "The Man from Stone Creek" and very likely the beginning of a whole new series--about a family of outlaws!

No rest for the wicked. And none for ME, either, apparently!