Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Miscellaneous Tuesday

Well, I got to messing with my crafting--burned fingers are healed, for those concerned--and got to the blog page late.

The nonfiction book about Buck is on hold, but I'll keep you posted on that. Meanwhile, this just in--I'll be rewriting an older book, "Willow", over the course of the coming year. It's a dandy western, and I've always wanted to make it longer and stronger--go into more depth with all the primary and secondary characters. When I sold that book, there was a paper shortage on, and the publisher wanted things kept short. "Willow" will have a new title and a new cover, and I'll keep you up to speed on all the details as the project progresses. I promise, even if you've already read the story, even if you LOVED it, it will be bigger and better in every way.

I'm off to San Diego--yes, San Diego--on Thursday to participate in the annual LaJolla Writer's Conference, put on by my good friend, Antoinette Kuritz and her wonderful husband, Rich, and son, Jarod. It was fun last year, and I expect it to be great this year, too. Big added bonuses: my daughter Wendy will be attending, at least part of the time, and friends Lisa Jackson and Natalie Bush will be there, too. (I've been assured the fires will not stop these intrepid writers from gathering.)

I'll take my laptop and blog from the conference. More tomorrow--hopefully, on time.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Craft Injuries

You have to be smarter than the hot glue. Alas, here I sit with two burned fingers, so this blog will probably be short. I have to keep dunking my hand in the bowl of cold water at my side. :) Undaunted, I WILL craft again.

And of course I will write, because that's my job. I have a new appreciation for my fingers--they are really quite useful, all things considered.

Fortunately, it wasn't my slot-machine hand. :)

Sadie is recovering beautifully from her surgery--hardly any limp at all and, thanks to her new dog diet--she's lost about 5 pounds--she's as spry as a puppy.

Gayle Mackie and Regina Winkler, if you read this, call me. I lost your cards.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catching Up

Well, I missed two blogs, and some of you were concerned, which I think is very sweet. Here's what happened: I finished "A McKettrick Christmas" sooner than expected, so I decided to goof off! I went to Walmart on Thursday, early, and by the time I got home, I was, as my mother says, too pooped to pop. Yesterday, Jen, Mary Ann and I went on a day-trip to Canada, with a stop-off in Northport to visit Auntie Marian. (She's Mary Ann's mother.) She was making soup for Soup and Games night at the church, and did that house ever smell delicious.

Boxes of art supplies have been rolling in--I'm on a real tear. I made a great necklace from an old photo of Dad and I on his horse, Peanuts. It must have been taken in 51, 52 at the latest; I was about two, and sitting that old horse like a pro. Anyway, I shrunk that photo down and cut it to fit a necklace setting I'd bought on eBay. I had several false starts before I got it right, but if there's one quality I can lay claim to, it's persistence. (A good trait everywhere but at the casino.) First try, the ink bled, so I painted the next attempt with a sealer. That didn't work, either, because the sealer was water-based. So then I took a different trail and used liquid polymer clay instead of sealer. That worked great, but the lines where I'd drawn the circle around the photo showed. So I ripped that one out, too. I finally succeeded, and poured a wonderful product called Diamond Glaze over the picture. It hardens to a beautiful transparency, and there are Dad, Peanuts and me, looking out of that locket.

I plan to do some more goofing off today. I got way behind on it when I was working on the last book. :)

Monday morning, though, I'll be back at the computer, dealing with Olivia O'Ballivan, direct descendant of Sam and Maddie, in "A Stone Creek Christmas." Olivia is an animal communicator, as well as a veterinarian, and the appearance of a reindeer named Rodney at the foot of her driveway starts a whole chain of events. A reindeer in Arizona???? Well, that's a stretch even for Olivia.

If you can goof off today, do it. It's refreshing. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Musings

Well, I got up late again, though I did get to spend some precious time with my journal. This is a form of prayer for me, and it never fails to get me on the right track.

The fires continue in the San Diego area, as you know. I encourage you all to pray along with me, and to contribute whatever you can to the appropriate charities. My contribution will be going to the Red Cross, because I think they do wonderful work, but there are certainly other good ones. And here's an experiment. Instead of sinking into the doldrums, let's all believe together that those who suffered losses will come out of this stronger and more blessed than ever. Yes, even in a disaster of this magnitude, there can be blessings. Clap your hands if you believe.

I am almost finished with "A McKettrick Christmas", and I've gotta tell you, I LOVE this book. I know, I know. I always say that. But it's still true. I poured my heart and soul into the story, and it seems like a part of me now. Maybe it always will.

Be blessed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Back Home

I came home a day later than planned, which is why I didn't have a blog up yesterday.

My visit to Oregon was absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed my gig at the Northwest Women's Show enormously--put a microphone in my hand and I turn into Oprah--but by far the best part was spending time with my lovely sister, Sally and her funny, fabulous family. I visted my niece, aka Miss Lang, at the wonderful little school where she teaches. I honestly did not know there were still schools that small--it was even smaller, I think, than the one I attended in Northport. I also dropped in on my other niece, Sam, at the shop where she works. What fun it was to see my nieces in such an adult context. Didn't get to hook up with nephew, Jesse, but next time. I did get some time with his beautiful little son, Jaden the Extraordinary.

Sally and I, along with sister Pam, are craft fanatics. We visited Craft Warehouse, in Salem, and I went absolutely crazy. I had to buy an extra suitcase to carry home the loot, and Sally STILL has to send three boxes!

My heart is very heavy over the fires in the San Diego area. So many people losing their homes, and all those displaced pets. I'm praying hard, and know all of you are, too.

As for the homefront, we're ready to begin the staff house on the adjoining property--the lumber has been delivered. We're all believing Mary Ann and husband Larry will be in by Christmas. I'll be giving you regular updates on that.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cowgirl on the Road

I'm leaving in a little while to fly to Portland for the Northest Women's Show. Details of the appearance are on yesterday's blog--I hope you'll stop by and say howdy if you happen to be in the area.

There will be a lot of free time on this trip, so Sister Sally and I plan to hit some craft and fabric stores, and schoomze up a storm. All I've got to say about that is, "Wah-hoo!"

When I get back home, I'll have yarns to spin.

Have a truly wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Winner Is...

Last week, when I appeared at the Grand Re-Opening of the Liberty Lake Albertson's store, I held a drawing, offering a wonderful bracelet from http://www.montanasilversmiths.com/ as a prize. Lots of people signed up.

The winner is Gwen, of Deer Park, Washington! Congratulations, Gwen. Your bracelet is on its way.

I like giving away prizes. From now on, I'll hold a drawing at all my signings. There will be a great necklace set at the Northwest Women's Show in Portland this weekend--stop by and sign up. I'm there on Sunday, October 21, in the Author's Corner, arriving at 1:30 pm. I'll give a speech, do some Q&A and then sign books. See you there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

News from the Triple L

Sadie is recovering rapidly--still snoozing away on the bed as I write this, along with Bear. I got up a while ago, expecting to take Sades down in the elevator for the customary backyard visit (Bear won't set foot in the elevator unless you drag her, and gets lots of good exercise running up and down stairs to keep up with the action. Hmmmm...maybe I should teach Sadie to push the down button herself and take Bear's route!)

I'm so into my new Christmas book. Writing it has taken longer than I thought it would--everything does these days, it seems--but I'm loving the story. I hope you will, too.

On the travel front, I'm off to Portland, Oregon this Thursday, to spend some quality sister-time with Sally Jean, do an interview and sign books at the show on Sunday. I'll post the time later--if you live in the area and can stop by, that would be great!

Collage and polymer clay are consuming all my spare time. Nice change from the casino. Not that I'm over it--I've won either four or five jackpots in the past six weeks or so.

The weather has definitely cooled off, and though the trees are mostly Douglas fir around here, there are some maples and oaks. And they are glorious! Everything from yellow to crimson, blazing in the sunlight. I think I'll plant a few maples down in the draw next spring. If the deer don't eat them, I'll have splashes of color to admire as I write, blog or sip wine on the back deck.

It's a rough life, but somebody has to do it!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gadget Crazy

Well, friends, I have gone gadget crazy. Right 'round the bend. I'm an amatuer collage artist and polymer clay jewelry maker, as some of you know, and I've FINALLY learned how to use a scanner. I was enthralled all weekend long. Goll dang it, you can actually transfer any image you want onto a piece of polymer clay!

In the last little while, I have ordered: a Flip, one of those little deals that takes 30 minutes of video (goal: get some pictures of the horses and dogs up on this site), a digital recorder (goal: audio blog), super scanner extraordinaire (goal: oh, what the heck. I just want to scan!), computer and monitor dedicated just to art work and photography.

Good thing I won a big jackpot a week ago on Queen of the Nile! :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Up-to-the-Minute Sadie Report

Mary Ann and I just got back from picking Sadie up at the surgery center. She has a big purple polka dot bandage on her leg, and her fur was shaved to the hip, but she's fine. Her ligament was repaired, and in a few weeks, she'll be as good as new. She was so happy to see us there in the waiting room, but by all reports, she made a lot of new friends. (Sadie makes friends wherever she goes.) She's downstairs now, drugged up and snoozing on her bed.

We've made a real committment around here to getting her weight down. As I said yesterday, when you see those tiny little bones in the x-ray, you know they can't carry around so much dog without a lot of strain.

Bernadette is feeling better--thanks for all your prayers. Sadie benefited, too, and I know little Molly got the prayer-whammy she needed. As soon as I get any news about this sweet baby, I'll share it with you.

Thank you. It's good to know you're out there.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sadie Report

She'll be fine. We met with the surgeon this morning--cousin Mary Ann went along for moral support--and the doctor decided Say-Say needed surgery. She was able to get right in, and I'll be there to pick her up in the morning, when she's slept off the anesthetic. She was pleased to greet other dogs in the waiting room, especially the beagle! The doctor is an extremely nice man, and I had confidence in him immediately. He came highly recommended by Sadie and Bernice's regular vet, Dr. Steve Bauer, whose opinion I greatly respect, so I wasn't worried.

Chris-aka the Nazi Dog Nanny--has her all set up for a diet. Too much dog for those little legs to carry comfortably. Too many treats, that's Sadie's problem (i.e. her problem is MOI). More ear-scratching and tummy-rubs will help her through the withdrawal stages.

Buckaroo doesn't know he's going to have his own book yet. Sadie was in "Springwater Wedding", and Bernice appeared in all three Look books as herself. Now Buck is going to be a star, too. He'll be the talk of the barn.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

All's Quiet on the 'Western Front

It looks as though this will be a quiet day. That's good, because things have been mighty hectic around here lately. As I write this, Sadie and Bernice are snoozing on the bed. Sadie's still got a hitch in her get-along, but she sees a specialist tomorrow morning.

Plans are underway to convert one of the guestrooms, temporarily, into an art studio and exercise room. I am so jazzed about that! As some of you know, I do collage and some polymer clay work. My first house in Scottsdale had a wonderful craft room, but here and at Springwater Station, it's been a matter of messing up the kitchen table, big-time.

Great news from my publisher. I'll be doing at least one nonfiction book, and probably several. The first will be about Buck, my beautiful rescue horse. The tentative title is "A Horse With Heart", and that certainly describes Buckeroo.

I had a wonderful time at the family reunion last week--it was hard without Dad there, but there was so much love and laughter that it was as though he was actually there. In fact, I'm sure he was, along with Aunt Lily andUncles Jack and Wes. Pam and I played a little at the Chewelah casino, and she and Sally and I had a nice visit at the lakehouse. Pam is the polymer clay maven, and she showed me some terrific stuff. I can't wait to try it.

Which brings me back to the art-room-to-be. Whoopee!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Molly/Bernadette/Sadie Report

Thank you all for your prayers.

Little Molly made it through the surgery, but there are still challenges ahead. Poor, brave little mite. I'll keep you posted.

Bernadette is home from the hospital but still pretty knocked out. As I understand it, they are controlling the pain, which was severe.

Sadie tore a ligament in her knee. How bad the tear is remains to be seen, but it's not life-threatening and it can be handled. She sees a surgeon on Thursday morning, and he'll determine whether the injury will heal on its own or require a little help from him. She's comfortable and, being Sadie, relentlessly good-natured.

Situations like this remind me how blessed we are, in this day and age, to have skilled surgeons, veterinarians, nurses and other health professionals. As I pray for the well-being and recovery of Molly, Bernadette and Sadie, I'll remember to say Thank You.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lake House Sisterly

My sisters Sally and Pam and I spent yesterday and last night here at the lake house, following the family reunion in Colville this weekend. We have had a marvelous time. We hit Walmart and Michael's, two of our favorite places, and had dinner at the Outback. After that, Pam, the polymer clay maven, showed me how to make some cool canes. While Sally sewed--she's not into clay, but can she sew!--I watched Pam work with an eagle eye. I did a background for a collage I've had in mind for a while--that's the hard part, waiting for that paint to cure so I can glue stuff on! When we get together to do something fun, we call it a Sisterly--a tradition started by our aunts.

On a more serious note, little Molly, the granddaughter of a good friend, is having surgery today. Please pray for this tiny spirit, not even a month old, trying so hard to live.

Sadie's gimpy, so she's going to the vet at four this afternoon. I'd appreciate prayers for her, too. I don't think it's serious, but she's not putting much weight on her hind leg.

It's a day for asking for prayers, I guess. Just heard my right-hand man, Chris, sent his wife to the hospital by ambulance this morning. He has to stay home, because he has a 91 year old mother in law with Alzheimer's, and she can't be left alone. Initial reports are that Bernadette is suffering from kidney stones.

Hoping for good news on all these fronts.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Major PS

My friend Cheri's little granddaughter, Molly Ann, born on September 22, is having surgery on Monday. I know I can count on all of you to say a prayer for this precious baby.

What a Day!

Yesterday was just fabulous! First, lunch at Luna with Sam and Janet and my new best friends, Gail and Regina, who are both associated with Spokanimal. We got on like the proverbial house afire!

It was on from there, through rainy streets, to the spiffy "new" Albertson's store in Liberty Lake. Jerry and Debbie, thank you for all you did to welcome me to the store. It was grand! The folks from Benjamin News came, too--Julie and the whole group made me feel like a big star. After a very successful signing--a lot of you turned out--we all went to Clinkerdagger's for a big dinner. The food was terrific, and the company even better.

Sam and Janet--what can I say? I love you both. It is ALWAYS a pleasure to spend time with you. Have a safe trip home and hug the puppy for me.

In a little while, I'm off to collect Sister Pam, and we'll hook up with Sister Sally later. The Lael reunion is this weekend, and it will be bittersweet. First year without Dad. Brother Jerry, stepmother Edith, my sisters and I will be heading up to Northport to scatter his ashes on familiar ground. There will be a few tears, and a lot of laughter as we all share favorite memories.

Sally and Pam and I plan to have a 'sisterly' at the lake house on Sunday. We'll be shopping, eating, and messing around with polymer clay.

These are the things that count.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

No More Stitches!

So far, so good. The stitches are history, but I have to wear the surgical boot for another two weeks. THAT I can deal with. I was supposed to wait until tomorrow to have that bath I've been looking forward to, but, uh-oh, cowgirls don't always listen. You won't tell, right? :) I dried the foot carefully and smeared it with antibiotic cream, so I figure I'm good to go.

And a busy day it will be. First lunch, with Sam and Janet Smith and two women from the local Humane Society, then a break for a few hours, then the appearance at Albertson's in Liberty Lake. I'll be there from 3-6--they added an hour--and I surely hope you'll stop by if you're in that neck of the woods.

Sam is National Account Manager for Harlequin Books, but I've known him and Janet for years and years. They are the most delightful, intelligent, entertaining people! We had a good time at Prospector's in Airway Heights last night. Very cute waiter. We tried to recruit him as a cover model, but he's bent on teaching high school science.

Hope to see you later in the day.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Houston, We Have Sunshine!

I don't know how long it will last, but I'm enjoying every sunny second of it.

I have a family reunion this weekend--nice to see the aunts, uncles and cousins, but my dad will be missing, so my feelings about this are bittersweet.

I sure have to hit the ground running tomorrow morning! Stitches out (halleljuah) at 7:30 AM, then on to the Albertson's store in Liberty Lake, where I'll do an interview, and later--between 3 and 5, sign books. I get to see my good friends, Sam and Janet Smith, and my sister Pam is in town for the reunion, so we'll hook up sometime on Friday.

I've been a little under the weather lately, but feel as if I'm on the upswing again. I sure won't miss having to nursemaid this foot of mine.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Day in the Life

The morning started out as usual--dogs out, dogs in, dogs out again, dogs in again---you get the picture. After that, coffee and some quiet time with my journal. What was different about this morning was doing a radio interview by phone. I almost spaced it out--received a reminder email at 9:18 am, and the call was scheduled for 9:30. Phew!

Then a woman came to measure for new vinyl flooring in two of the bathrooms.

Work? Who, me?

I might just go over to the casino instead.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cuddle Weather

It's cold, and we're getting a lot of rain in Spokane. Sadie and Bernice, the two-dog pack, are sharing a fluffy dog bed downstairs by the fire, where Mary Ann (cousin and housekeeper) and her husband are living while they wait for the staff house to be built.

Sadie, Bear and I have a routine. When we wake up, Sadie immediately shakes her head, flapping her beagle ears, and that's the signal. "Get up, Mom. We're burning daylight!" So the three of us head down the hall, the cats trailing. Sadie and I get into the elevator--Bernice won't set foot inside it unless she's shanghaied--and descend two floors to the basement. Bernice, aka Bear, is so fast that she usually meets us as we get out. Backyard-time follows, while I drink coffee with Mary Ann. It's a nice way to start the day.

Of course my writing quota will take precedence, but this is a good day for curling up on the couch with a good book and a fire on the hearth, and I'll probably do that later. It's a good life.

The foot is healing up nicely, and I hardly use my crutches--don't tell the doctor--I'm just such a klutz that they're more hindrance than help. Stepmother Edith asked if it was my stirrup foot that went under the knife. Nope, it was the other one. I'll be back up on that horse of mine in no time.

Lots going on here. Guess I'd better get to work!