Saturday, June 30, 2007

Because I know....

Some of you worry about me, bless your hearts.

Me and the pink boots are home, safe and sound. I'm at the main house for the time being, and you'll be happy to know I'm no longer writing this blog from the side of my bathtub.

I had a wonderful time in both Kansas City and Denver. Just as I expected, those towns are cowgirl-friendly! I was very careful to take it easy and rest, but I did get to Chico's in Denver, where I met Holly Lail. Yes! We're related. Isn't that amazing?

I'm catching up on some email and other stuff tomorrow, but I'll be on the blog on Monday morning, though whether from here or the lake house is anybody's guess. The horses aren't coming home until Tuesday, which makes me happy because then I can be here when they arrive. I'll post pictures as soon as I can, and guess what?

I'm getting a new horse. Her name is April, she's 16 and gentle, and I will be riding her as often as possible.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Still on the Bathtub's Edge

I leave for Kansas City this afternoon, and won't get in until late tonight. Anyway, I decided to grab one more chance to blog. The painting is finished in my room, and big, strong men are coming on Friday to set up my huge, luxurious new bedroom set, which looks like something the queen of England might sleep in, so perhaps my days of blogging from the side of my bathtub are almost at an end. (Yes, this cowgirl has a fancy side.)

After all my excitement about the horses coming home--they're arriving while I'm on tour, the little stinkers. Their stalls are all ready, with fresh shavings, and hay has been ordered. When I get back, they'll be here! How lovely it will be to come down the driveway and see them enjoying their big ten acres of wandering space. I can just picture them trailing along the inside of the fence--on his last visit, Dad said the place "looked like Kentucky".

I miss him a lot. There are so many things I want to tell him. We shared an interest in American history, for example, and every time I come across something new in my Civil War research, I wish I could share it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pink Boots

Off I go in my new pink boots.
Back on the blog July 2nd, with stories to tell.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dad's Legacy

That's how it is these days. Show up. Suit up. Get into the game.

Today, I'm taking Sadie and Bernice to a nearby park for a walk. We all need a little sunshine, green grass, and fresh air.

Next week, I'll be on the road, visiting Kansas City and Denver, two towns that are very friendly to cowgirls! I bought myself two new pairs of boots for the trip, one bright pink (I DO love pink) and one with lovely flowers embroidered on the sides. Truth to tell, I considered postponing this tour, promoting my new hardcover, "A Wanted Man". I figured I had two pretty good excuses, losing my dad and a world-class case of bronchitis.

But one of my dad's qualities was something he called "gumption". It's a cowboy/Marine Corps word, meaning to push up your sleeves, stand toe-to-toe with whatever's in front of you, and get it done.

The bronchitis is better. The Dad-shaped hole in my life will always be there.

I'm strong, whether I want to be or not.

And I'm looking forward to seeing your smiling faces and hearing your warm voices.

If I tear up a little, I know you'll understand.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The horses are coming home soon! Their stalls are ready, with fresh shavings and state of the art waterers. Hay is being delivered, even as we speak.


Very soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

I know I said I wouldn't run on about my dad's passing away, but I lied. There's more I want to say.

The celebration was of Dad's life was held at the home he shared with my stepmother, Edith, in Grand Coulee, Washington. We gathered in the place he loved--his yard, in the midst of his lovely flowers. The crowd was big, and there were military honors, since my dad served in the United States Marine Corps, and was among the forces invading Iwo Jima. My cousin, J.D., sang and played his guitar--I know Dad loved that, as we did. Cousins Becky and Barb attended, too--Becky traveling all the way from Oklahoma. Niece Kelly Lael came from Washington, D.C.

I have felt the outpouring of your love and support, and I appreciate it so much.

Thank you.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I'm All Right

So many of you have expressed concern and condolence. Thank you so much. I can actually feel your caring.

I'm be back on Monday morning.

If you have a dad, hug him, once for yourself, and once for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Saddling Up

I don't know what else to do but saddle up and ride this trail wherever it leads. It's one day at a time for me, but that isn't a bad thing, is it?

One of the things I've noticed about this experience, losing a parent, is that there is something very sacred about the process.

The kind words of friends and family mean more than anyone who hasn't been through this could ever know. I feel enfolded by love and consolation, and I am grateful.

Family is already arriving. The ceremony will be held on Sunday--Father's Day.

We'll be in one of the places my dad loved best of all, his beautiful yard, with all its splendid flowers.

Father's Day. Now, that seems fitting to me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

One Moment At a Time

I've never lost a father before, so this is a new trail to ride. There's no map or guidebook.

I am always grateful for my faith, but even more so now.

I'm grateful, too, for all your kind words and prayers.

In the interest of doing what my dad would want me to do, I'm not going to record the whole journey of mourning on this blog. I'll share what feelings and insights seem appropriate, but after this week, I'm going to try to talk about the things we usually talk about. The abundant blessings of this life--the newest book--the one in progress--Sadie and Bernice, the horses coming home (very soon), the antics of my two crazy cats--the process of renovation at the main house.

Life, after all, goes on. The sun comes up. Light sparkles on the lake. Sadie snores. Bernice yaps at everything. And it's all precious.

Today, niece-assistant Jenni is taking me out for breakfast. Then we're going to stop off at Michael's for a few craft supplies. If ever there was a time for art therapy, this is it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Last Birthday Card

My dad and I shared a birthday. This year, we were planning a family party to celebrate, along with my nephew, Jerome. As many of you already know, Dad had a serious heart attack early in the morning of June 9.

While we kept vigil in his hospital room, my stepmother, Edith, gave me a beautiful card Dad had picked out especially for me. It showed a lone cowboy in silhouette, riding along the crest of a hill, with a dazzling sunset behind him. Inside, the card read, "Even the wide open spaces aren't big enough to hold my love for you." On some level, he must have known he'd be taking another trail soon, and this was his way of reminding me that he loved me, and that he was depending on me to use the strength he gave me.

Last night, just before nine, my all-time favorite cowboy turned his horse and rode into that sunset. And while I will miss him until I too catch up with the herd, I am profoundly grateful that this active, dignified man did not languish in a long illness. He would have hated that so much. He loved his home, his flowers, his family and his friends. And in my memory, I see that smile and those clear blue eyes.

Happy trails, Cowboy. I'll see you on the other side of the river. In the meantime, I'll do what's there to be done.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Dad

In the wee small hours of June 9, the day before our shared birthday, my dad had a massive heart attack. He's holding on, but the prognosis isn't very good. I spent all of the 9th and most of the 10th at his bedside, then returned to Spokane, exhausted and fighting off another onslaught of that flu I told you about last week. Of course, I've got one ear out for the telephone, and will return to Grand Coulee as needed. In the meantime, I'm hoping to go back out to the lake house and write. You see, my dad isn't much for handkerchief-wringing--he's want me to do my work and carry on with strength and dignity.

There's always the meantime, isn't there?

I told him I love him, and that he's been the best dad anybody could ever hope to have, and promised him I would be strong--because he taught us to be strong. My creativity and talent for words come from my mother. My true grit is Dad's gift.

Thanks, Dad. I love you. And whatever happens, I'll be strong.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

News From the Side of the Tub

Still writing the blog in my bathroom. That has got to be unusual!

"The Man from Stone Creek" is off to a great start out there in the marketplace. Hitting all kinds of lists. I think I'd really be dancing if I didn't have the cold from hell. Heading for the lake later today--my haven, my port in a storm. I'm still hoping to write, but may end up on the couch, slathered in Vicks and staring out at the lake.

The weather is overcast today--the kind of weather that goes along with a bad cold. Guess I'll light the fire and devote fifteen minutes to feeling sorry for myself. (Hard to do in a beautiful lake house, with a book on every major list.) Like my characters, Sam O'Ballivan and any or all of the McKettricks, I'm not much for crying in my beer. But, hey, I'm only human. I'm entitled to that fifteen minutes. After that, it's the family credo all the way: Suck it up. We're burning daylight here.

Love and thanks to you all. I'll blog from the lake house tomorrow. (Hi, Susan. It's twenty-five minutes from here.) That is, if it doesn't fall into that fifteen minute period of unbridled whining.

Cheers. I raise my glass of Nyquil to all of you. :) (Way too early for beer.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Always a First Time

I've never written my blog sitting on the edge of my bathtub, but there's always a first time. (I just got back from BEA yesterday, so I stayed at the main house instead of going back to the lake, and since my room is being redone, the computer has been moved to the bathroom!)

I had a wonderful time in New York. I got to meet and sign books for a lot of nice people, and my publisher, Harlequin the Fabulous, treated me like royalty. It could turn a cowgirl's head, all that attention, but now I'm back home in the country, just plain old me. (But with a lot of happy memories.)

One of the highpoints of the trip was getting to meet Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife, Beth, both of whom I admire tremendously. Who else prays for their captives before and after they slap the cuffs on them? :) Often, when you see a celebrity, you doubt your own eyeballs, but when you see either Dog or Beth, you know it for sure. What a kick that was, getting their autographs and chatting a little.

My fine editor, Joan, who is also a dear, dear friend, took me to see "The Lion King"--I was positively enchanted--and then we had dinner at the recently reopened and refurbished Russian Tea Room. Delicious! And only a Russian could get away with that red and green decor!

I dined at Cafe 123 with my long-time agent, Irene Goodman, who has been a close friend since the beginning of my career, and then we went to see "A Chorus Line". It was an absolutely remarkable evening. And on top of all that, Irene had a lovely bouquet of flowers waiting for me when I arrived at the hotel.

Like I said, it could turn a cowgirl's head.