Sunday, January 22, 2006

Off to Spokane

I'm off to Spokane this morning, to close on the new house. There may or may not be a blog for the next few days.

I'm so excited about this move! It would be easy to be overwhelmed, though, with all there is to do. I'm going to pretend everything will be all right. That's a new/old trick I've recently learned--in the 12-step programs, it's called "Acting As If". I'm doing some major acting-as-if these days.

Blessings to all of you. I will have a full report later.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Herein Lies a Tale...

Yesterday, I was fighting the flu, and the flu was winning. The phone lines are down here at the Station, and I had a dinner date with an old friend, Louise, which I knew I had to cancel. I tried frantically to reach her by cell phone, but no luck. My cousin and household manager, Mary Ann, was going out on some errands, so I went along, to have comfort food for lunch, hoping that and some fresh air would help. I was still fretting about reaching Louise. What if she drove all that way, etc., etc.?
Well, what do you think happened????
Louise was just coming out of the one restaurant among literally HUNDREDS, where we stopped for lunch, when niece Jennifer spotted her! What are the chances of that? There are something like 3 million people in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area!
I don't think so.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's a Madhouse Around Here!

We're coping!
How did one woman manage to collect so many books?
So many knickknacks?
So many THINGS? I wish I had a nickel for everytime I've taken something off a shelf, or out of a drawer, and asked myself, "What was I thinking?"
I'm off to Spokane this weekend to take possession of the new house, visit my horses, and try to get acclimated to the weather change. Good thing I have all those fake fur coats--many two-litre pop bottles gave their lives to make that happen.
Do any of you live in Spokane?
I'll be at Auntie's Book Store on February 28, in the evening. Come in and say howdy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Crazy in Cave Creek

The moving process is picking up speed. There's a frenzy of sorting and packing going on--what to keep, what to give or throw away. There is an obvious allegory here!

One thing I'd like to throw away is what has become an almost constant litany with me. "I'm tired. I'm SO tired." Is it any wonder that my personal energies are in flux, when I'm affirming that? Time to flip another thought-switch, gang.

Today is my youngest sister Pam's birthday. She and Mom and I are all going out to lunch to celebrate. That will be fun! And tonight I meet with my wonderful writing group--we call ourselves the Divas of Denny's. That will be fun, too.

So I'm going to focus on the wonderful gifts of this day.

I'm NOT tired.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions

The emails have been coming in, and a lot of you have asked certain questions, so I'll answer them here.
Q: Will there be more Clare and Tony books?
A: As with the vampires and the medieval stories, I'm not planning more Clare and Tony books at this time. Perhaps a Christmas mystery at some point, though. The Mojo books will start in November of this year, and I think you'll like Mojo and Tucker as well as Tony and Clare.
Q: I wrote a book. Do you have any advice for me?
A: Yes. If it's a romance, join Romance Writers of America. There simply isn't a better writer's organization. They have local, regional and national workshops and events. Successful, working writers donate large amounts of time to teach the ins and outs of writing and selling a book. Start there. You need to join the national organization, but then you can join a chapter. At the very least, you'll make some wonderful new friends.
Q: Are you still using the ROM machine you wrote about on your blog?
A: No. I'm ashamed to say that, between writing, traveling and celebrating the holidays, I got off track. But I'm going to get back to it. TODAY.
Q: Why are you moving to Spokane when you have such a great life in Arizona?
A: There are many reasons. Spokane is home--I was born there. I miss the changing seasons and the trees. My dad lives nearby, and I want to see him more. The horses need cooler summers and more room, and so do the dogs. I will be closer to friends and family. As a little girl in Northport, I wanted nothing so much as to leave. See the world. Live in lots of different places. I did that. Now, I'm ready to go home. It's a full circle kind of thing.
Q: From my sister Sally. Do you still love me? You're not answering my emails.
A: YES, I still love you. It's your internet server I'm not so wild about. I am answering your emails.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Of All the Gin-Joint Lives...

In all the world, He walked into this one.
(For you spring chickens, that's a reference to a famous line in Casablanca.)

I heard Him knocking. I kept saying, "Just a minute. Let me straighten things up in here a little!" There were so many old attitudes lying around, you see. So many judgements and hurts, frustrations and mistakes and failures. So many things that just weren't presentable.

The "minute" stretched into decades.

Still, patiently, He waited. And He knocked.

I've given up on trying to be presentable. I can't manage it on my own. And looky-there--He's got a toolbox in His hand. He's the Carpenter--and He's here to renovate.

And He is welcome here. At last, at last, I've opened the door.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Still Poppin'

Have you read "One Last Look" yet?

Things are accelerating around here, to say the least. Another prospective buyer coming to look at the house, and me writing madly in the middle of the frenzy, to finish "Sierra's Homecoming" and send it off to my editor next week. I'll catch my breath for a few days, then start right in on "McKettrick's Luck", the first of my new contemporary trilogy. McKettricks, McKettricks, everywhere! As of now, I write in the living room. One of the things I'm most looking forward to is having an office in the new house. I'm even considering adding an office wing, but the barn has to come first. I need to get those horses back home.

Beagle Sadie goes to the gate every day, hoping the UPS man will pull up. He always gives her a cookie. When the Fed Ex man comes instead, she's really disappointed. His next visit ought to cheer her up, though--I happen to know he's bringing a batch of raw buffalo bones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Things are Poppin' Here at the Station!

Springwater Station is a lively place these days.

My longtime friend and bookkeeper (actually, executive manager), Debbie Korrell is arriving today to help whip the Station into shape for the big move. Wow! It's really happening! Cousin Steve and others are headed this way, ready to load and drive trucks. Others have volunteered to come and help unpack on the other end. I am truly blessed with a wonderful family and a flock of friends.

Furthermore, the website is being flooded with new sign-ups! Welcome, all of you.

On top of all this, I'm on the homestretch with "Sierra's Homecoming". In fact, I'm heading to the computer as soon as I finish this, and I can hardly wait to get there! I am LOVING this story. Two heroes, two heroines--two different centuries, in the same house. On Friday, it will be finished--except for the final polish, before sending it to my Beloved Editor, Joan Marlow Golan, for her special touch.

How to celebrate?

Well, let's see. I'll probably play some slots--I'm lucky as all get-out on those things. New Year's Eve, Althea and I went to the casino, and I won three BIG jackpots. A little extra sleep wouldn't hurt, either. Maybe I ought to double up on my vitamins, too.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Did You Receive a Newsletter?

If you're registered on the website, you should have received a lovely printed newsletter, complete with pictures of Springwater Station, the horses--with Buck taking center stage--and me with some of my good friends from Harlequin. Have I mentioned that I adore my editor, Joan Marlow Golan? There will be more of these mailings in the future--another one coming in late May, for "The Man from Stone Creek", which is a June release, in hardcover, and it will contain pictures of me at the new place, too, and some preliminary information about "Deadly Gamble", the first Mojo book, which is scheduled for November of 06. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Barry Gibb Buys the Cash House

I am so pleased that BeeGee Barry Gibb and his wife Linda are the new owners of the Cash house in Hendersonville, Tennessee. I have been there numerous times and I am glad to know that it won't be empty anymore, and music will once again echo off the walls. Songs will be written and sung. People will laugh and tell stories. Victories will be celebrated, and losses mourned. In other words, life goes on.

John and June would be the first to celebrate.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Back to Work

Althea and Ti Amo have gone home to Santa Fe, and how I miss them. However, it makes me happy to think of them settling in and getting a great start on 2006. And it's time I got back to work! Today, I plan to read through the pages I have of "Sierra's Homecoming", and make notes for the final 100 pages. I'm also making concrete plans for the next projects--three modern McKettrick books. "McKettrick's Luck" will be Jesse's story. "McKettrick's Pride", Rance's story. And "McKettrick's Heart", Keegan's story. The initials are a clue--Jesse is descended from Jeb, Rance from Rafe, and Keegan, from Kade. They're just as hard-headed as the original McKettrick men, and the women they attract are more than equal to the job of loving them!

Have you read "One Last Look" yet?

I'm eager to hear what you think of it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Althea and Ti Amo will be going home to Santa Fe. I will miss them so much!

Yesterday was Althea's birthday, and we celebrated by having massages at the famed Fairmont Princess, in their spa. What elegance! What wonderful relaxation. Afterward, we went to the White Chocolate Grill (which lives up to its name), and enjoyed a late lunch. The conversation was even better, because we have so many things in common, and just enough differences to make things really interesting! Althea is truly remarkable. She survived a devastating divorce, and built a business. She literally has friends all over the world, and she travels as far as Sri Lanka, to do her healing work. She wept at the destruction there, from the tsunami last year. And yet she is mischievous and full of laughter, and her visit was a much-needed break for me, because I tend to be way too serious about everything!

And Ti Amo? Well, he's a famous dog, you know. He's been on the cover of COSMO GIRL. He sounds like a squeak toy when he barks, and joins in to help when Sadie and Bernice decide they have to raise the alarm about something. It cracks me up. None of them are really sure what they're barking at, but they plunge right in anyway. After all, they are dogs.

Dogs. How I love them. They are really great big hearts, covered in fur. They can teach us so much about unconditional love, and celebrating the ordinary miracles of everyday life. When I come home, whether I've been on the other side of the country or just to the mailbox out on the main road, I get a lively welcome-back party.

Bernice, along with Waldo, the one-eyed dog who belonged to my friend, Josanne, before he went on to the next life, is featured in all the Clare and Tony books. When you read "One Last Look", you're meeting real dogs, not fictional ones. Sadie appeared in "Springwater Wedding", and wants me always to keep in mind that she's a famous dog, too. She's doing great on her diet, by the way.

Now, to work on mine.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Emails, I Get Emails!

Judging by the number of newsletter sign-ups I've been receiving, a lot of new people are joining us. Welcome. We've been watching the road for you.

Over the past week, "One Last Look" has been hitting stores across the country, in a trickle here, in a torrent there. Today, it should be practically everywhere. The long wait is over, and I am delighted that so many of you are eager to read this third and most powerful episode in the Adventures of Tony and Clare.

I've narrowed the scholarship applications to 10 finalists. These stories of women facing almost insurmountable odds not only touch my heart, they inspire me to be better and stronger and braver myself. Even in the most desperate of circumstances, these great ladies persist. They fight for their children, and for themselves. They have a vision, and they're determined to follow it.

Did YOU enter? If not, we're already gearing up for a new round, and in 2006, the total award will double to $10,000. If you did enter, your phone may ring soon, with very good news. And if you weren't chosen, please do not despair. If I could, I'd give everyone a scholarship. What I CAN do is tell you that I know you have all it takes to make it, scholarship or none, because of the courage and faith I saw in your essays.

I was impressed by how many of you want to enter nursing. How wonderful to know there are so many committed healers out there. I was deeply moved by the challenges so many of you face, each and every day. I cannot touch all of you, but there is Someone who can. There is Someone who knows your sorrow, who cares, and wants to help. Reach out. Say the words. "I am only one woman, God. These children and others depend on me. I can't carry the whole burden alone. Please help me."

The answer will be the best scholarship of all. How do I know that?

Because I was the woman who prayed that prayer. I had a daughter, a mortgage payment, and lots of worries. At times, I didn't know where I would scrape up enough change to provide lunch money for my little girl. I was frazzled and overwhelmed--but I asked for help, and I got it. It was a long, winding road, often difficult, but something changed when I prayed that prayer. In time, everything changed.

Prayer changes circumstances, but only because it changes you first.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

2006 is a wonderful, blank slate. We can write what we want it to be, and focus our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and actions accordingly.

Althea and my friend Sandi and I did an empowering exercise on New Year's Eve that I want to share with you. We drew paper-dolls, to represent ourselves, and then wrote in all the things we wanted to let go of--old ideas, worn-out beliefs, perspectives that no longer fit. We said some prayers, and did some letting go. Then we put the dolls in the fireplace and let them burn. Yesterday, on New Year's Day, we made new dolls, and this time we wrote in positive qualities that we want to nurture and develop in ourselves. These, we're keeping--and we're so excited.

Have you read "One Last Look" yet? You're gonna love it.