Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Conehead the Barbarian

The Sadie saga continues! She got a fresh bandage yesterday, having successfully managed to chew off the old one, in spite of her cone. She's adjusting pretty well, smiles a lot, and seems perky most of the time. She loves all the attention and sympathy. I can woo her into the elevator with a treat, but she still takes the stairs, and since this is a three-story house, it's hard on her sore foot.

Today, I took her outside on the leash to do her thing. She stood stalk still in the middle of the driveway, mesmerized by the gobbling of wild turkeys in the nearby woods. When I tugged at her leash, cone, collar and all came off! I am not a mechanical person, and lest you think for one minute that my life is glamorous, picture me sitting on the kitchen floor, trying to get that cone back on Sadie's head.

Sheesh. I don't know who will be happier when this is over--Sadie, or me.

Probably me.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sadie is a Conehead!

My poor, pudgy beagle! She had to have an operation on one of her forepaws, and it is bandaged in neon pink. Because she would chew on it if she could, she has to wear a plastic cone on her head--hence her new nickname. She holds up her pink foot as if to say, "See? I have an owie."

I don't know who's having the bigger problem adjusting to that cone--Sadie, or me. I would wear it for her, if I could. And I'm counting the days until it comes off. Still, I am profoundly grateful for the care she's receiving from her new veterinarian. She has a microchip now, put in while she was knocked out for surgery, and she had her teeth cleaned, too. All systems go.

Does all this qualify as more information than you needed?

Friday, May 26, 2006


I've almost caught up with myself!

I promised to tell you about my trip to Washington, D.C., this past weekend, so here's the skinny. My wonderful publishers, Harlequin's HQN, treated me like a queen. The first day, I went to their booth at the big Book Expo America trade show and signed a hundred copies of "The Man from Stone Creek". Afterward, I went shopping, and I bought a killer purse, I'm here to tell you. That night, I had dinner with my agent, Irene Goodman, at a fabulous restaurant.

Then the drama started. I woke up at 2 a.m. with all the symptoms of food poisoning! I will spare you the details--suffice it to say, I was down for the count for the next twenty-four hours. My friend and personal publicist, Nancy Berland, took excellent care of me--she rounded up a doctor, bought me Gatorade, and went out to have my perscription filled. As for Book Expo, well, I missed the ENTIRE day.

Sunday morning, I felt better. I went back to the venue for another signing, returned to the hotel, and crashed for a few hours. Debbie Macomber and I met later in the bar, and caught up on some of our talking! The next day, we flew back home together. Tuesday morning, I was back at this computer, blogging and writing "McKettrick's Pride". I should be finished around the middle of next week, and do I love this book!

Life is what happens when you're making other plans, as John Lennon once so aptly put it. Today, Sadie is at the vet, having a thorn or something removed from one paw. So, yes, I'll be writing my daily quota, but a part of me is just waiting to go pick up my beagle.

Have a terrific three-day weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Unanswered Prayers

I'm grateful for answered prayers. I'm even MORE grateful for unanswered ones!

I think, dear reader, that if we could actually see what we've been spared, when God said "No", we'd be jumping up and down and shouting hallelujah. Those disappointments and set-backs? What if they were really rescues?

That prince who never rode up on his white horse. Whole passel of problems in his saddlebags, babe.

That job you didn't get. Where would the path have led? Was it a place you really wanted to go? I think not. God knew what waited at the other end, and because He loves you, He flatly refused to let you go in that direction.

Oh, yes, if we could only see the whole picture, we'd know just how faithfully we are loved.

In the meantime, let's take it on faith.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Here comes...

That Man from Stone Creek.

Sam O'Ballivan will be riding in on fast horse, real soon. In some places, as early as next Tuesday. Maddie Chancellor will be on hand to give him plenty of trouble.

You and I? We get to sit back, with our feet up, and enjoy the adventure.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


The lost dog's name is Scrappers, and he's the beloved and much cherished pet of a lady who had the wisdom to have a microchip implanted. He and his mama are visiting from Las Vegas, and he wandered off during a backyard celebration of some kind. After certain clearance questions were asked by the veterinarian's assistant, all systems were go. I hear there was a lot of hugging, kissing, crying and face-licking when the reunion took place.

Bunny the Divine

This is a tribute to a friend of a friend--Bunny, the Divine Dog, who 'belonged' to my good friend, Sandi. (She would tell you, I'm sure, that the reality of the situation was quite the reverse: she belonged to Bunny.) A black Lab, he died last Friday, at the age of 15 and a half, after living a life of the kind of devotion and faithfulness only a dog can manage with any real grace.

My friend is grieving deeply--right now, she isn't taking phone calls. But even in her sorrow, she is actually celebrating Bunny's life, as much as mourning that he's moved on. She loved him as completely as he loved her, and that is a sacred and beautiful thing. It is right and good, however painful, that she honor his passing with tears. It is a necessary rite of letting go.

Sandi stands, meanwhile, as an inspiring example of someone who really loves. She was with Bunny until the very end--she didn't back away, she didn't let him down. She repaid his faithfulness with her own. She held him until he breathed his last, wrapped him in his favorite sheet, and carried him the last mile. The day after he died, she took his leash and walked the familiar route they had traveled every morning for years. That, my friends, is LOVE.

Sandi is in tremendous pain right now. She is fully present to that pain, and for that, as well as having the courage to love so fully, I honor her from the very bottom of my heart. It would be easier to shut down, to try to avoid the hurt of this loss, but she's too brave and too honorable to do that.

Most of you know how deeply I care for animals. To me, the measure of a society, or an individual, is not wealth, achievement, or success. The true measure of a human being, or a nation, is the way they treat the helpless ones. The innocent ones, who have no voices.

Yesterday, my cousin and general foreman, Mary Ann, found a little dog huddled in the middle of the road. She stopped and picked him up, because she, like Sandi, is one of the devoted ones, the ones who do not turn their backs. We're trying to find his owners. In the meantime, he is safe with us. We will enfold and protect him.

Bunny's heart safely trusted in Sandi.

Godspeed, Bunny the Divine. I know that, when Sandi steps out of the darkness and into the light, you'll be there waiting. After all, you're a dog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Leaving a Day Early!

I'm off to Washington D.C. tomorrow morning, bright and early, so this will be my last blog before next Tuesday morning.

I am very excited to be making this trip. As I said yesterday, it's one of the perks of being a writer. A break in the long chain of mostly ordinary days, spent sitting at this very computer. Make no mistake--I love what I do. But it's nice to get away once in a while, and it's doubly nice to be appreciated. Writing is, for the most part, a lonely activity.

In the Other Washington, I'll be meeting with business colleagues, who are also friends, and signing copies of "The Man from Stone Creek" for booksellers and other folks on that end of the business. My publisher, HQN, literally treats me like a queen. I don't mind telling you, I love it.

When I get back, I'll have stories to tell.

In the meantime, be blessed. Make it a great weekend--by doing something nice for yourself.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


To those friends sending forwards--I'm deleting them. I'm up to my eyeballs in the new book, and getting ready to fly off to Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning, to attend Book Expo America. BEA is one of the perks of my job--lots of fun, wining and dining, and meeting and greeting.

I'll barely catch my breath, when I get home, before heading off to Texas to promote "The Man from Stone Creek", which will be in some stores as early as May 30. Oh, for a man like Sam O'Ballivan!

Update tomorrow. Meanwhile, back to "McKettrick's Pride". I'm just going into the 3rd and final part, and I can't tell you how deeply this book touches me. It's about lost dogs, lonely children, and women who feel invisible. And the love that can heal all those wounds.

Friday, May 12, 2006


For being 'one of those days', yesterday turned out pretty okay.
My daughter sent me a lovely bouquet of yellow roses in anticipation of Mother's Day, and we had a long schmooze on the telephone. She's about to graduate from UCLA's extension program in screenwriting, and now she's considering learning to direct. She's amazing, and I am so proud of her!
I also revised and submitted the first 200 pages of "McKettrick's Pride", the second book in the trilogy.
So why did I title today's entry the way I did?
Because I've learned something important, returning to Weight Watchers. There is always a choice-point--to eat or not to eat--and all my results hinge on that moment of decision, however small it seems. Each time I stop and ask for the power to make a better choice, I get that power. It's only when I rush ahead, under my own steam, that I get into trouble.
Now, it occurs to me that this process applies to everything in life.
I'm an impulsive creature. I tend to rush in where angels fear to tread. Then the Boss and I have to spend a lot of time on damage control that could have been put to better and happier use. Moving forward, for instance.
Will I always remember to stop and ask? No. I'm frightfully human. But here's another good thing--catch it early on, and the damage will usually be minimal. Rather than beating my breast for days, months, or even years, I can just turn to the Boss and say, "I did it again. Please help me make a better choice."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

One of Those Days

Surely you've had them.
The sky is a bit overcast, and your energy is running a little low.
You know nothing spectacular is going to happen, but you've still got responsibilities to fulfill.
This is one of those days for me.
I've decided to let that be okay.
No great expectations.
No huge efforts.
Today, I'm just going to be grateful that it's okay to be a slacker once in a while!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wild Horses

My brain is like a herd of wild horses sometimes, rushing off in every direction. Like many creative people, I am impulsive--likely to barrel ahead first, and think about it later.

Resolved: I will stop, when I start feeling that wild-horse urge, and ask for the power to make a better choice.

It works, you know.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cups and Hearts

I read the most uplifting thing the other day, in Beth Moore's "Praying God's Word". She compared the human heart to a cup--one all of us are trying to get filled.

We hold it up to jobs. To alcoholic husbands. To people who are as needy as we are.

Cups get broken, and cracked. Some folks give up on them entirely, and either wall them off in a dark dungeon or throw them away.

There is only One who can fill your cup. Never mind that it's cracked and broken and maybe even a little dirty. (Or a LOT dirty.) Hold it up. That's all you have to do. The filling of the cup, however damaged, always heals.

Be blessed, this day, and every day. Somebody loves you.

Hold up your cup.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's Working!

Six and a half pounds gone, the first week on Weight Watchers! This is such a simple way to eat. No forbidden foods. Just a certain number of food points per day. I can DO this!

The blog was patchy over the past week, and I apologize. It's just been wild around here, but in good ways. I will say that if God is in the details, the devil must be in the distractions.

It won't be long until "The Man from Stone Creek" hits the book stores. It has a beautiful cover, and the story inside will touch your heart.

More tomorrow.

God's peace, my friends.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Back to Basics

When I stepped on the scale Saturday morning, at Weight Watchers, I was appalled to see that I had gained back half of the weight I lost a couple of years ago. The trauma quickly passed, however, because I know I can DO Weight Watchers. I'm back on the magnificent machine, too, and yesterday I took a beautiful walk around my own sylvan acres.
The land is so peaceful.
That is my watchword for today. PEACE.
There is a lot going on in my life, and most of it is wonderful, but even good things can be stressful if we don't stop and take a peaceful breath once in a while.
So this ole cowgirl is back to basics.
Once again.
At least I know my way around!