Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday Chatter

I'm a contrary old cuss about some things. (You probably didn't hear that here first.) It's a Lael trait to be contrary, after all.

Years ago, when it was a cutting edge deal (pun intended), I had laser surgery on the old eyeballs. I traveled all the way to Toronto to have one eye done, waited six months, and went back for the other one, wearing a single contact in the interim. There was no pain involved, unless you count the stabs to my pocketbook, and each eye only took about a minute to do. As soon as the technique had been performed, I could see like a young eagle.

Expensive as it was, I got my money's worth.

Yesterday, I went to the eye doctor, having suspected for a while that I need glasses, and not just the ones from Walgreen's that I wear when I read. Sure enough, I was right. I resisted this for so long, but now, being a Lael, I can hardly WAIT to get those glasses, and it bugs the heck out of me that I have to wait 7-10 days.

Go figure. I told you I was contrary.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Video Clip!

You can see an interview I did at RWA at:

Notes on a Weekend

The weather is sunny and beautiful here in Spokane, if a little too hot. (Coming from a former Arizonan like me, that's saying something!)

I signed at the Borders in Coeur d'Alene, ID on Saturday. I saw my friends, Dave and Sue, and we had an interesting conversation, as always. AND there was an added gift--Cheri came! Cheri and I were good friends, years and years ago, when I lived in Bremerton. Our daughters went to the same dance school, and that was how we met. Both of us poor as churchmice at the time, we haunted the Bremerton library and brought home stacks of books. We'd often recommend a particularly good one to each other. We devoured Taylor Caldwell's epic novels, also Velda Johnston, Naomi Hintze, and others whose names I don't see anymore. Now, Cheri lives right here in Spokane, and we're planning lunch so we can get caught up on all the inbetween years.

On a sadder note, my dear friends, Sam and Janet Smith, lost a beloved dog, a boxer named Thor, to prostate cancer. My heart goes out to them.

The horses are thriving, out there in their new pasture, their coats washed in sunlight.

Living and dying. A time to hold, and a time to let go. I had to say good-bye to my favorite cowboy, but there are new babies in the family. Some days, it's all you can do to put one boot in front of the other. Others, you skip down that trail. Far as this cowgirl can tell, it's all about showing up.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Coeur d'Alene Book Signing

For those of you who live in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area, I will be doing a signing at Borders on Saturday, July 28, at 2:00 pm. Please stop by to say howdy if you can.

I'll be the one in the pink boots. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Slept In!

I slept late this morning, so am very late getting the blog up. Sorry about that, all you early risers!

Usually, the first thing I do in the morning is make coffee. Then I let the dogs out and when they're through, I write in my journal, often for an hour or two. After that, I write.

Well, today, it was 8:30 before I even opened my eyes. I stuck a toe in the pool--cousin Mary Ann is here and had already brewed the coffee and tended to the dogs--and it was warm as bathwater. What else could I do? I put my suit on and jumped in.

Bernice keeps a wide berth of the pool, though she did take a short dip yesterday. Sadie is a water dog and comes to the side, wagging her beagley tail and wanting to be hoisted in. She's a solid girl, but light in the water, of course. She loves to paddle around a little, then go and sit, half-submerged, on the top step of the pool.

Now, my suit is drying in the sunlight, and I'm heading back to Stone Creek, to meet up with Wyatt and Sarah. They're probably wondering where the heck I am. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"The Rustler" is really moving along, now that I've been able to settle down and write!

It's a little cloudy today, but the pool is warm as bathwater--I dipped a toe in this morning--so I'll probably swim later. Provided, of course, that there is no lightning.

I worked all day yesterday, inside the house, on my laptop. Getting to know Wyatt (Rowdy's brother) and Sarah, is a real kick. Sarah, it turns out, has to tell so many lies to support a certain secret that she writes them in a ledger book, trying to keep her story straight. Things are heating up in Stone Creek, because Wyatt decided, practically at the moment he first saw Sarah, that he's going to marry her.

I spent the whole weekend reading "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Great book--I couldn't put it down. Next on the reading pile is Nora Roberts' new hardcover--the name of it escapes me at the moment--but it's about a female hostage negotiator. You can always count on Nora for a good story. I usually read nonfiction--mostly American history, centered on the Revolution and the Civil War--but I'm going to read more novels from now on. It's like an inner vacation.

Well, I'd best wrap this up and get on in there. Sarah and Wyatt are ready to roll, and I want to know what's going to happen to them today!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Rustler

I'm working on "The Rustler", the next Stone Creek novel, which features Rowdy's outlaw brother, Wyatt. There will also be a book about Gideon--a lot of you have asked about that.

Keeping this short today, as I'm out in the office and the dogs are inside the house, barking. For some reason, the laptop isn't cooperating, the way it did in Dallas, so I'll probably have to call in the Geek Squad again.

Better go. I think Sadie and Bernice are plotting a coue.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Lake Won

Here I sit, in my Uncle Harry chair, in the living room of the lake house. Both dogs are at my feet, Sadie snoring, Bernice watching me closely. I'm convinced that dogs read energy--she knows I'm planning to go out later for fresh flowers, some groceries and a copy of the new Harry Potter book.

The weather is quite cool, so I probably won't be in the pool. It looks as though we might get some rain a little later in the day. That's fine with me--it's cozy here, and quiet.

The living room floor is finished, up at the other house, and does it ever look fabulous. Still more carpets to rip out, in the guestrooms (there are four) and the downstairs, where my office is going to be, but it feels like progress! It occurred to me this morning, as I was journaling, that the outer construction and renovation--barn, floors, etc.--is really a reflection of the changes I'm making on the inside.

I use a simple but very effective emotional-release technique from a book called "The Sedona Method." Since it's copyrighted material, I can't explain it here, but check it out if you're feeling stuck. Powerful stuff.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chickens Still Sleeping

Not that I have any chickens. Yet. :)

I woke up at 3:30 this morning! Not a thing wrong, just done sleeping. I went downstairs, nuked a cup of yesterday's coffee, and journaled for a while. Now, the sun is painting the rim of the eastern hills a lovely apricot, so I figure I might as well stay up. The show's already on the road--nothing left to do but participate!

I wrote the prologue of my next western yesterday. It's called "The Rustler", and it's Wyatt's story. Wyatt is Rowdy's older brother--Rowdy being the hero of "A Wanted Man", if you haven't read it yet. What with losing my dad, and then all the traveling, it's been a challenge to get this book running, but now I'm on track and the fun part begins. Writing IS fun, or should be, though it's a lot of work.

I'm debating whether to stay here at the main house or zip out to the lake for a few days. The problem with going to the lake is that I tend to goof off a lot out there. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't mix too well with deadlines. I look out at that water and I'm spellbound. I take a lot of naps. I go to Wal-mart too often.

Alas. It's a tough life, but somebody's got to do it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

And the Rains Came....

The draw is damp and misty this morning, the sky full of watercolor-gray clouds. I saw a few flashes of lightning at bedtime, and opened the blinds so I wouldn't miss the show, if there was one. Then I conked out anyhow!

Sadie and Bernice are still in bed, just across the room, Sadie snoring away. Me, I'm thinking coffee! I figure there's a pot brewing somewhere in this big house, and I'm heading out to find it.

Still recovering from the trip to Dallas, but I got a lot done yesterday, and I'm raring to go on the new book.

Something interesting happened. I was going through the galleys of one of my books, written months ago, and in it, a woman is dealing with the impending death of her father. It was weird, seeing that down on paper--I had to wonder if I knew, somehow, that I was about to go through a very similar experience, way back when I was writing those words....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Homecoming

As much as I love to travel, I agree with Dorothy--there's no place like home. The dogs met me with exuberant delight--Sadie got so excited she had to run and stick her head under the mattress in her dog bed! Bernice is sticking to my heels like a wad of gum.

There are clouds out over the draw, and it looks like we're in for a drencher. The horses may or may not return to their stalls--word is they didn't even go in during a thunder and lightning storm while I was away! We just leave their stall doors open and let them roam, since they love all that pasture. It does my heart good every time I look out there and see them. I plan to ride April soon, and might change her name to Cherokee. They say it's good sometimes for an animal to get a new name along with a new home. Fresh start, and all that.

There's still a little fairy dust hanging in the air, after all that glamor and fuss in Dallas. Yeehaw! That was some ride!

Work to do around here, and a trip to the dentist this afternoon. Right before I left for RWA, I was munching on some taffy, a gift from my brother Jerry, along with finding April for me and delivering her, no less. Anyhow, off came one of my crowns. Fortunately, my dentist worked me in and took stop-gap measures. (Play on words deliberate.) Today, he'll glue the repaired crown back into place.

Oh, the glamorous life of a writer!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Going Home Day

I am very eager to go home and see the critters again. Oh, yeah. And the people, too!

Yesterday, Jen and I were living high on the hog. We had a driver to take us from mall to mall, so we revisited Northpark, then went on to the Galleria. I spent a fortune at Sephora, as we don't have one in Spokane, but otherwise, I was pretty good. I have this thing about Sephora--I guess hope springs eternal! I used to need mascara and lip gloss to look semi-beautiful--now I need a case full of stuff just to be presentable! We hit a grocery store, too, and a DSW. I tried on a lot of shoes at the latter, but in the end, I didn't like the way they felt, so I didn't buy. As for the groceries--well, the W Hotel has the best, most cheerful service of any hotel I've ever stayed in, and that's saying something, but the food is stuff like deep-fried risotto balls. Now, I've got nothing against risotto--having spent a lot of time in northern Italy, I never met a risotto I didn't love. That's the point. Risotto is delicious in its natural state. No need to roll it into balls and boil it in grease. :)

I didn't find those rhinestone studded boots, but, hey, there's always next time.

Dallas is a great city--one of my favorites. But the place outside Spokane sounds pretty good. My own bed. My own bathtub. Certainly no deep-fried risotto (or any other kind), but I'll get a welcome home party from Sadie and Bernice for sure. Can't wait to snuggle with my pets--horses included.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Boots and Bubble Bath

Yesterday, I slept in big time. I didn't even open my eyes until almost 10:30, which, for me, is the middle of the day! It's around 8:30 now, and I'm working on a bowl of room service oatmeal as we speak.

Niece/assistant Jen and I trekked off to Dallas's West End Center, where the "Taste of Dallas" festival was going on. We had lunch at TGI Friday's, and then shopped. I found a wonderful Western wear store, and bought this great leather shawl type thing, trimmed with fringe (Oh, Linda LIKES fringe!) and studded with turquoise, etc. Jazzy! (And the boots! WOW! But I'm holding out for a pair with rhinestones.) Also visited a store called "The Bath Junkie"--I definitely qualify--and bought one of those big balls that fizz in your bathwater and make you smell good. Dinner was at a steak house--it had a German name--where we were served by Ray, the nicest waiter I've ever encountered. If you're going to be in Dallas, do visit the West End Center and say Hello to Ray. Tell him I sent you.

Today, more shopping! I've hired a car, and Jen and I are going to hit a few of the malls. Not surprisingly, the last stop of the day will be at one of those mailing places. Going back home tomorrow, in the early afternoon, so I'll blog at least once more from Dallas.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Last Night

First, I'll tell you I didn't win for "Deadly Gamble". As I told you, the competition was fierce. The award went to Annie Solomen for a book called "Blackout", and I'm sure she deserves it to the max. My sincere congratulations to her and to her proud publishers.

What I did receive was the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. It was a wonderful, thrilling experience--a Powerpoint show, me at two on a horse with my cowboy daddy, etc. Lots of kind words and a standing ovation--or two. Champagne afterwards, with the lovely people who help make all this stuff possible. And the shining RITA statue, now gracing a table in my hotel room. (You can bet she's going home in my carry-on, if not my hot little hand!) Jen and I have renamed her Estelle.

Today, I slept in, as you know if you checked earlier to see if the blog was up. It was glorious! No more fancy author clothes--it's back to my regular Wal-mart jeans and a souvenir t-shirt. Room service, rest, maybe a movie or two on TV. But a little journaling first, because I've got some insights to explore.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Yesterday was certainly a whirl! It all culminated at Harlequin's special party, held in the ballroom of the elegant Fairmont Hotel. Everyone went glam, dressed to the proverbial nines! Again, I had a car and driver--those HQN people are seriously good to me! I'm not much of a nightowl, but I had a glass and a half of wine, chatted with some RWA folks, and scarfed down one of the best chocolate desserts I've ever eaten.

Today is absolutely stuffed with activities--first, a TV interview on Dallas's channel 4, then a luncheon in my honor with the Harlequin folks. After that, another interview, this time for LifetimeTV.com--again, I'll let you know when you can access it--and THEN dinner with my agent and editor, two people who are very dear to me. You'd think THAT would be enough Cinderella stuff for one day, wouldn't you? But no! The big award ceremony is tonight! I'll be presented with my Lifetime Achievement Award, and my book, "Deadly Gamble", is up for a RITA, too. The competition is pretty stiff, but hey, it's an honor just to be put in the same class with these amazing writers.

I'd say wish me luck, but the fact is, I'm already so blessed that luck would be gravy.

If I win, I'll post the news here.

Have a happy day. I certainly intend to!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Still in the Big D

I did an interview for Romance TV.com yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. We'll put up a link when the time comes, but you might want to check out the site if you haven't heard of it before. I'll be on MySpace and Gather.com soon, and you will be able to ask questions directly, etc. I can't promise to answer all of them, but I'll do my best.

Jen and I snatched a few hours to visit Northpark Center yesterday. We had a terrific lunch at Maggione's--the walls are covered with autographed pictures of famous people and the food is great--then did a little retail therapy. I got 2 great sparkly jackets at Dillard's, one red and one blue, and wore the red one to Harlequin's HQN dinner last night, at a great restaurant called the Iron Cactus Grill and Margarita Bar. I had a driver, even. His name is Frank, and he's a retired homicide cop, believe it or not. How fun is that? I've booked Frank to take Jen and me shopping on Monday.

There's another busy day ahead, so I'd better finish my room service coffee and get ready to roll. An interview with Lifetime.com today, lots of other fun stuff. I'll tell you all about it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dateline: Dallas

The fun continues here at the big Romance Writers of America conference in Dallas.

Last night was our big Literacy Signing--every year, publishers donate piles of books, and the published authors at RWA attend the autographing to end all autographings. The proceeds go to the literacy programs in the city hosting the conference, and of course the event is open to the public, though we buy tons of books from each other. :) I'm pleased and proud to say I sold all my books--"A Wanted Man".

Today, I have an interview scheduled for an internet program on Romance TV. I'll let you know on the site when it is going to air. I will be doing another for Lifetime.com as well.

Exciting stuff!

Met up with Nora Roberts outside in the smokers' area yesterday--it's almost a tradition. The woman doesn't age. We talked about grandchildren--she has two, and I'm still back there at the starting line. I saw a tiny pair of pink western boots in a store yesterday and had a serious yearning for a granddaughter!

Well, I've got to order room service and figure out what I'm going to wear today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Did It!

I'm actually blogging from my excellent if messy hotel room in beautiful downtown Dallas!

Yea! Perhaps there is hope for me in this technological world after all.

The flight was problem free, partly because I was in first class between Seattle and Dallas, and a driver met me at baggage claim. I actually have two hotel rooms--one at the conference and one at another place, nearby. The explanation is long and involved, so I'll spare you, but I'm mainly using the room at the Hyatt as a retreat. It is FILLED with beautiful flowers, congratulating me on winning the Lifetime Achievement Award, which I will proudly accept on Saturday evening.

Nancy Berland, my personal publicist, and Elizabeth Middaugh, one of her account execs, took Jenni and me to Palimino for dinner last night. Excellent! I had the paella, a dish that is not commonly available in Spokane, as you might guess.

I'll keep you posted on the doings here. Word from home is, cats, dogs and horses all fine.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My Surprise

I came home from the casino yesterday--don't ask how it went, I'm traumatized--and I got a fabulous surprise. During my absence, my brother Jerry had delivered my new mare, April. She was safely ensconced in her stall, munching hay.

What a beauty she is. A registered Arabian, no less. (I had no idea she was pedigreed--I just wanted a gentle horse to ride.) I'm thinking of changing her name--right now, "Cherokee" is out there in the lead. If I remember correctly, that was what Little Joe Cartwright's horse was called. And hey, what's good enough for Little Joe, my first great love, is good enough for me.

The previous owner wanted assurance that April was going to a good home. My brother just chuckled and said he'd be willing to live in my barn. Anybody who knows me knows my animals get the best of everything--above all else, copious amounts of LOVE. Several friends have said if they died before I do, they're going to lobby to come back as one of my dogs. Most people, for instance, train (or try to) their dogs to stay off the furniture. Mine have special steps so they can get up and down easily. After the pet food scare, I switched them over entirely to fresh meat. Oh, yeah, they're spoiled.

On another subject, I've had a wireless card put into my new laptop, and I'm thinking I'll be able to keep this blog up while I'm in Dallas for the big Romance Writers of America conference. (Cross your fingers. Technology isn't my strength, much as I love electronic gadgets!)

Lots of packing still to do, since I leave for the conference very early tomorrow morning. Wouldn't you know it, I lost a crown and have to wedge time into my already busy day to see the dentist. (I know, you're right. If I'd stayed home from the casino, I wouldn't have so much to do today.)

Alas. I am gloriously imperfect.

Friday, July 06, 2007

They're Home!!!!!!

Buck, Skye, Banjo and Coco are HOME, at long, long last. They've loving their big new pasture, running and rolling--no interest at all in the fancy barn. (Yet.) Or in me, actually. But, hey. They're busy being horses.

Life as it should be. What a joy it is to see them, heads and tails high, coats gleaming in the bright July sunshine.

This here is one grateful cowgirl.

Now, where did I put those barn boots of mine?

Watchin' the Road

Today's the day.
The horses are supposed to come home, after nearly two long years at boarding school.
I hope they remember me.
Off to watch the road....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Celebration

Bernice, Sadie and I celebrated the 4th with a dip in my heavenly swimming pool. Ok, Sadie and I went in--twice. The groomer had just been here, and Bernicie didn't want to spoil her do, so she lay in the shade of a patio chair and watched.

Later in the evening, a fireworks show erupted over the lake. Spectacular! A gift. Bernice, being only nine inches tall, was terrified, and tried to climb on top of my head as we sat on the couch to watch. After a little while, she realized there was no Yorkie sacrifice on the schedule, and though she still clung pretty tightly, she stopped shivering and turned to look. Sadie, having already retired for the night, did not bestir herself. Beagles are pretty unflappable, for the most part. Bernice probably thought the planet was blowing up. Sadie just snored away, blissfully unconcerned.

Tomorrow morning, the horses are scheduled to COME HOME. I'm waiting to get excited, because there have been several delays already. Once the truck pulls in, and we've gotten the motley crew unloaded and settled into their spiffy new quarters, you'll be the first to know.

I promise.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On Being American

This being Independence Day, it follows that I've been thinking even more than usual about what being American means to me.

It's easy in uncertain times like these to yearn for the proverbial good old days. As an avid student of this nation's history, I can tell you that the whole experiment has been a big, lively, complicated and absolutely glorious mess from Day 1. George Washington wondered, many times, how he could possibly hold the whole thing together. Lincoln, even more so. In other words, this is nothing new, gang, and the 'good old days' are right now.

I will leave the decrying of this nation's faults and shortcomings to others. We've made lots of mistakes--that's what happens when you DO things. With Mr. Lincoln and many others, I believe the central tenets of the American philosophy, however imperfectly executed, are indeed the last great hope of mankind. Freedom is a lot of things, but free ain't one of them.

To the detractors: Detract away. Many good people have sacrificed their dreams, property and very lives to preserve your right to complain publicly or in private.

I am a self-made woman. I raised a child, forged a career, and amassed considerable property, tangible and intangible. With no pedigree and a very limited education, by most standards, I could not have done that in any other country. I will pursue the American ideals--liberty, progress, courage and compassion, to name just a few--to the best of my ability. One nation, under God. My dad flew his flag proudly, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, one of the brave men who landed on Iwo Jima...he actually saw the famous raising of Old Glory, albeit through binoculars. (Did you know it was done once for real and once for the photo op?)

From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli. My dad, and countless others like him, fought our country's battles, on the land and on the sea.

Semper fi, Daddy. Ever faithful.

I love you, and there are still a lot of us willing to carry the torch.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Horses Today?

Who knows? There's some problem with the horse trailer at the boarding school, and the much-anticipated arrival of my valiant steeds is up in the air. If there's one thing I've learned, it's not to get excited over delays. This is the horse world for you. It's enough to know there's a fine place for Skye, Buck, Coco and Banjo--and soon April--to settle in for the duration.

Life continues to buzz along here at a low hum and a steady clip. Next week, while I'm away in Dallas at this year's RWA conference, yet another hardwood floor will be installed. Slowly, the house is coming together and, hectic as it is, that's life in the thick of things. I've always liked being in the thick of things--this cowgirl doesn't do well on the sidelines.

I'm seeing my new hardcover, A WANTED MAN, everywhere I go. The reviews are good. Have you read it yet?

Monday, July 02, 2007

It's the Beginning...

...of another exciting week here at the main house. The barn is almost finished, and the horses are slated to come home TOMORROW. I can hardly believe the day is finally--almost--here.
I'm not sure when my new baby, a mare named April, will arrive--my brother found her for me, and she's ultra-gentle. No bucking broncs for this cowgirl. (Yes, there will be pictures.) In fact, I'm going to have a friend teach me to upload photos right into the blog.

As for today, I've got writing on the schedule.

I continue to come across things I want to tell Dad, or buy for him. I just go ahead and tell him, knowing he hears, (Dad, did you know Stonewall Jackson sucked on fresh lemons constantly, even in the heat of battle, and it's a mystery where he got them, given the blockades and general shortage of supplies on the Confederate side?) and he would have said not to spend the money on presents anyhow. He was one of those rare people who considered what they already had to be more than enough. He was happy with my stepmother, Edith, the yard and flowers, the wood shop downstairs, family, and a legion of friends.

The many cards, letters and notes I have received have been a great comfort to me. I love the wonderful way other people remember him--as a good friend, always ready with a bouquet of flowers from his garden or a new joke.

Love you, Daddy.