Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Art Class

I attended my second art class last night, and enjoyed it immensely. (The teacher pinned up our efforts from the previous week and you know what? Mine wasn't all that bad. :)

As I mentioned yesterday, "A McKettrick Christmas" will be in stores today. I'm going out to the book store to see it, but also to buy a magazine I've been waiting for. It's called "Where Women Create", and features artists in various disciplines and their studios. My own studio is still a jumble, full of boxes, but I'm looking for ideas.

My #1 goal for 2009--and I'm starting early--is to GET ORGANIZED. I am forever looking for something--a book, a particular tool or paint, you get the drift. What good are excellent art supplies if you can never FIND the darn things???

I'm off to Lincoln, Nebraska tomorrow, to appear at the Grand Opening of a new Hy-Vee store. (It's already open. :)) I'll be there around 3 on the afternoon of the 30th, so if you're in that neck of the woods, come by and say howdy. I'll be signing copies of "A McKettrick Christmas" and there's going to be a drawing for a gift basket of stuff meant to make a cowgirl happy.

Now. Where is that airline ticket?

:) Just kidding.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A McKettrick Christmas

Tomorrow, my newest book, "A McKettrick Christmas", will be in stores. For those of you who've been asking for more stories about the early McKettrick women, here you go.

Lizzie, Holt's daughter, is all grown up and on her way home to Indian Rock and the Triple M, having spent several years going to school in San Francisco. She's counting on a down-home, family Christmas, and she's eager to introduce the man she thinks she wants to marry to her legendary grandfather, Angus McKettrick, and the rest of the outfit. After the holidays, she'll be teaching at Indian Rock's one-room schoolhouse, and she's excited about that, too.

Of course, the attractive, taciturn Dr. Morgan Shane, who happens to be aboard the same train, might just complicate things. He's headed for Indian Rock, too, to set up a medical practice there. And he's a darned good man to have around in a crisis, as Lizzie soon discovers.

Christmas plays by its own rules, though, just like love. And it's magical.

Well, friend, the coffee's on. There's a stall for your horse out in the barn, and a place set for you at the long table in the ranch-house kitchen. Come join us for a McKettrick Christmas.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Did you ever have one of THOSE days???

Yesterday was one for me--Mercury Retrograde, in overdrive. Murphy's Law, run amok.

You get the point. If it could go wrong, it DID go wrong.

But, as always, there were good things, too. Friends who jumped in to help (thanks, Chris and Larry, the Canadian Wrangler!), and a good buddy, Cindy Leuty-Jones, come to take pictures for my website and the back of my books. Cindy and I go way back, and she's an easy guest, not to mention a gifted photographer.

Still, in my prayer journal this morning, I asked for an easier day today. :)

Today, we'll do as many pictures as we can. And when we're finished, we'll probably make some ATCs. Cindy is quite talented at that, too. My goal? Get the work done so we can Goof Off!

It's still very early--I went to bed early last night, you see, and naturally WOKE UP early. Time for a breakfast burrito. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

If It's Tuesday...

This must be Spokane!

Honestly, I have been so ridiculously busy lately, I meet myself coming and going.

I attended my first art class last night--at least the first one I've taken in recent years--and I really enjoyed it. I certainly have a long way to go--we drew corn cobs and mine is disembodied from the stalk :)--but that's okay. I'm there to learn. Since I'm an overachiever by nature, it's both a struggle and a relief to let go of the desire to excel and simply draw.

Even in one go, I gained some insights. Art, according to my teacher, is really about learning to see. As I drove home, I was amazed to realize that the lines and shapes of things I passed were fairly jumping out at me. And that was in the dark!

I'm really onto something here. In fact, I can hardly wait until next week.

In the meantime, there is lots to do. I'm polishing "The Bridegroom" right now, and on Monday I'll be starting a brand new story, "The Christmas Bride." This year's Christmas stories are "A McKettrick Christmas", in stores on October 27, and "A Stone Creek Christmas", a Silhouette Special Edition, will be part of the December lineup. In fact, if you belong to Harlequin's book club, you probably already have it.

Since Christmas is my favorite holiday, I love writing stories set during the Holy Season. I'm still a little girl at heart, when the snow falls and the sleigh bells begin to jingle...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Who Would You Be...

Without your story?  (By story, I mean the things you've always told yourself, ABOUT yourself.  For instance, "I'm fat", "I'm smart", "I'm this, that, or the other thing...")

This is a question I'm asking myself today.  It was prompted partly by my journal, and partly by a random newsletter received by email.  (Divine intervention?) "Who Would You Be Without Your Story?" is, I believe, the title of a book by a very wise woman named Byron Katie.

We creative types are especially good at telling ourselves stories.  I'm a past-master at it, because I've been spinning yarns, on paper and in my head, since I was a very small child.  It's a necessary part of my work, telling stories.  It's what I do, and I love it.  The trouble is, I often forget to shut off the storymaking machine in my head when I leave the computer.

I tell myself a variety of things.  Many of them are good.  A lot of them, however, could use some improvement.  :)  And it's only logical to wonder how many of these tales are actually TRUE?

When I make a mistake, I tend to berate myself for it, because one of my many besetting sins is perfectionism.  I'll bet a lot of you can identify.  If I'm not careful, I might tell myself something like, "You're an idiot."

Is that true?  (Depends on who you ask.  :)  Just kidding.)  I'm gloriously imperfect, being a card-carrying human being, but I'm definitely NOT an idiot.  

Stories.  They become our operating system, like Vista in a PC, and guide our thoughts, attitudes and, inevitably, our actions.  I don't know about you, but I'm going to take a much closer look at the things I'm telling myself.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Horses and Radio Interviews

That's how my day started today. Before dawn, I was up and around, writing in my journals, dressed in yesterday's Wranglers and wearing barn boots. I'd put the horses in early yesterday, since it looked like rain, so I knew they'd be hungry. I started out there once, in the dark, and thought, "This is ridiculous. They're still asleep!" and went back, much to the joy of Sadie and Bernice, who probably thought I'd gone on another road tour. (If Bernice, the Yorkie, had her way, I'd be a hermit. Sadie-beagle is a little more philosophical.)

As soon as there was any light at all, though, this barn goddess was on her way. You see, I'm task-oriented, and a little obsessive, and I wanted those horses taken care of before my phone-in radio interview at 8 o'clock straight up. Now I've completed both, so I ought to be able to mellow down a little. (Jury's still out on that one, ladies and gentlemen.)

I'll be at Barnes and Noble in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho tomorrow (Saturday, 10 am) to sign "The Rustler" and swap howdies with anybody who shows up. I'll also have some ATCs along--not one trade on the road, except with my future son-in-law, Jeremy, but I'm not one to give up.

Hope to see you there, or somewhere down the road.

Make it a good day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Home Again

And were Sadie and Bernice ever happy! I know they thought I was dead, and had resigned themselves to being Jenni and Mary Ann's dogs. Jitty-kitty is happy, too--Cha Cha is still annoyed by my audacity for leaving in the first place. She'll eventually forgive me.

Around this place, you've got to hit the ground runnin'! The Canadian Wrangler is a little under the weather, so guess who's feeding the horses? I'll just put on my Wranglers and my barn boots and get it done.

Coming home always means a long to-do list, but it's still too early to get started on most of it. The horses will appreciate being at the top, right up there with this blog.

For somebody who was on the road for two weeks, I'm feeling remarkably chipper. Plan to do some revisions on Gideon's book, "The Bridegroom", today, among other things. (MANY other things.)

I had such a lovely time meeting all of you. Thanks for showing up. One woman drove 55 miles in a rain-storm--gotta feel good about that.

And now I'd better get into those Wranglers and get this ranch rollin'.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Trail Leads Homeward

The only thing better than a good road trip is going home again.  I've been on the road since September 30, and while I've had a fabulous time out here, meeting readers and promoting "The Rustler", I'm definitely read to get back to the ranch.  Two little dogs will be mighty surprised to see that I'm still among the living.  :)

I've had a great time in every city--even though it has rained both days I was in Omaha.  The people have been so friendly, as they have been all along the way.  There were stressful moments, those are inevitable, but the Lord sent an angel, in the form of an especially kind person, every time I needed one.  This blessing serves as a reminder---often, we are called upon to BE that angel.  To go just a little out of our way, offer a smile and a caring word.  As a recipient of that sort of kindness, I can tell you that it makes all the difference to a weary and frazzled wayfarer.  Tage, a young bellman in Salt Lake City, should have had wings sprouting from his uniform.  He'll probably never see this, but his warm smile and willingness to help made all the difference to this traveler.

Well, I've got a plane to catch, so I'd better get presentable.  Good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, as we say down home, I'll be blogging from my personal computer tomorrow morning.  

Home.  That's a mighty fine word.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Power of the Blog

Another great signing last night, at a Barnes and Noble here in Omaha.  I'm here to tell you, my readers are the greatest!  
As for the power of a blog--you'll recall that I wrote about the pleasures of Vicks vapor rub yesterday.  :)  Well, as the signing was about to begin, a warm-eyed woman named Terry came up to me and handed me a box with a jar of Vicks inside!  She said, "Sandi asked me to give you this." 
My good friend, Sandi Howlett, who lives all the way out in Arizona, reads this blog.  She contacted Terry, her good friend, and voila!  Vicks!  I was delighted, of course, as well as moved and amused.  Terry and I had a good chuckle, and when I shared the story later, everyone else enjoyed it, too.  This kind of funny and very thoughtful thing is typical of Sandi.  Thanks, Girlfriend.  I needed that Vicks!  
It rained all day yesterday, but that didn't stop me from heading down to the Old Market section of Omaha in the morning, where I found a great store called Overland Trading Company and took a serious chunk out of my bank account.  Older and wiser than I was at the beginning of this two-week tour, I had my purchases sent home.  (And here I swore I was through shopping!)  I also bought the usual t-shirt and a few other things--among them a button to pin on my coat.  It reads:   Well-behaved women rarely make history.
I'm a friendly ole cowgirl, that's for sure.  But well-behaved?  No.
Will I make history?  Probably nothing future generations will study in school.  But in my own small way, I intend to leave a legacy, make the world a slightly better place than it was before I came moseying along this trail.
I'll be in Lincoln tonight, at Lee's, and the shindig starts at 7:30.  (Sandi: I left all my diamonds at home.  Mind sending one of your friends down with a few?  :))
I hope to see more of my Nebraska sidekicks there--and don't worry about being well-behaved.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Amanda Peterson!

It's my good friend Amanda's birthday today!  Best wishes from a hotel room in Omaha, Nebraska, Amanda-girl!

Yesterday, in transit from Salt Lake City, I had another road adventure.  My water bottle came open in my purse--on the plane--and soaked everything--including my iPhone.  Now at home, getting me on a cell phone is even harder than getting me on a landline (have I mentioned that I hate telephones?), but on the road, that little sucker is vital.  It seems to be working now, except the volume won't go up and this ole cowgirl can't hear it unless it's glued to the side of my head.

I was a little under the weather when I left Salt Lake City, but I'm happy to say I'm feeling lots better now.  I was sure glad to get to this lovely hotel last night, order room service and take a nice, hot bath.  I watched some bull-riding on TV, read and just generally relaxed.  (Nothing like watching a cowboy ride a bad bull to cheer me up.)  Still, I might pick up a jar of Vicks today, while I'm out, in case I need some down-home, mama-inspired comfort.  When we Lael kids were little, and came down with something, Mom would slather us with Vicks.  To this day, I feel better if that smell is filling my nose.

I'll be signing "The Rustler" tonight at Barnes and Noble, 3333 Oakview Drive, here in Omaha.  Seven o'clock sharp.  Hope you'll stop by if you're in this neck of the woods.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On My Way

In a couple of hours, I'll be leaving Salt Lake City, a beautiful town full of friendly people, for Omaha.  This morning, I woke up to a skiff of snow, and I hear it's cold up home in Spokane, too. It would seem we're skipping fall altogether!

My friend and associate Leslee Borger joined me in SLC, and it was sure good to see her.  I've been on the road nearly two weeks, and it was great to see a familiar face.  (I got spoiled in Oklahoma City, with Carol Smith taking such good care of me.)  Leslee left early this morning.

I shipped more stuff home yesterday--suitcase and all.  Down to one (big) suitcase, and that will make traveling a little easier.  Now, if I can just stay out of that wonderful store at the SLC airport--I've been there lots of times, in transit to somewhere else, but this was my first visit to the actual city.  I wanted to go to the Mormon Temple, but it just didn't happen.  This ole cowgirl has only so much energy, and I don't mind admitting I'm starting to run down just a little.  Fortunately, when I arrive in Omaha, I can go straight to the hotel and relax.  I have a radio interview tomorrow morning, but it's the kind you call in for, and then I'll be stopping by a number of stores to sign copies of "The Rustler" on hand.  In the evening, I have a book signing.  If you live in the Omaha-Lincoln area, I surely hope you'll stop by to say howdy.

More later--provided I can get online.  That's been an iffy kind of thing on this trip.  :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sugar House

What a terrific group of readers I met last night at the Barnes and Noble in the Sugar House section of Salt Lake City!  I had way too much fun chatting with you all--and it's lovely to get to know you in person.  My thanks to all of you for turning out and asking great questions, and of course for buying books.  :)  Writing is an isolated business and when I get a chance to jaw with my reader friends, I'm in hog heaven.  Special thanks to Lydia, who planned the event, and to the B&N staff in general.  This is a beautiful store, so if you're in Salt Lake City, you might want to check it out.

I'm taking a tour of the Mormon Temple today, with my good friend and publicist Leslee Borger, and crack author-escort, Jim Durham.  As some of you know, the Temple is world famous, not only for its beauty and its Tabernacle Choir (I plan to hook myself up with some Christmas CDs), but for its Geneology department.  Now, I'm pretty clear on the Laels and the Bleeckers from whom I am descended (they're stuck with me), but it occurs to me that this might be a great source of surnames for future characters.  As mentioned, I'm already planning to write some Oklahoma Cowboys!  (They might be Creeds or McKettricks, but they might also be a new family entirely.)  The name of a character is vitally important to me--get the right one, and they spring to life.  Get the wrong one, and I can't get a yarn spinning for anything.

I'll be heading out to Omaha tomorrow.  That's the last stop on my tour.  I've loved this tour, but I'll love being back home, too.  I sure do miss my ani-mules.  :)  And I happen to know Sadie and Bernice, the dogs, are planning a welcome home party with lots of tail wagging and dog kisses.  I'll be heading straight to the barn for a look at Skye, too, who is on the mend as I write this.  Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts--they worked.

If I missed your city, not to worry.  I'm hitting several more when the Creed books come out, in February, March and April.  Sister Sally and I are heading for Prague in March, for one of our vacations.  I'm not sure which cities I'll be in, but you can be sure it will be posted on this site as soon as it's definite.

Be blessed.  We're all riding for the same outfit, and I think mighty highly of all of you.

(If I have to go to the Geek Squad, I'll get rid of these odd little symbols.  Bear with me.  My computer at home doesn't do that.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm in Salt Lake City

I'm on TV in a couple of hours, so I should be spiffing myself up.  However, I wanted to write this blog and my morning pages first, so I'm sitting at my laptop.  (I need to find an Apple store because this thing keeps shutting down for no apparent reason.)

My good friend Leslee Borger is coming in today.  What a pleasure it will be to spend time with her.  We'll be talking about Harlequin's plans for publishing and promoting the Creed books, my new trilogy  (February, March and April) and just generally having a good time.  Leslee is a hoot, and a cowgirl-after-my-own-heart.  

I just left Oklahoma, and I've got to tell you, I was so impressed with that place and it's history, not to mention the friendly down-home people, that I'm planning on setting some books there.  Maybe I'll come up with a new family, but I think the Oklahoma Creeds has a certain ring to it.  :)  Carol Smith from Nancy Berland's office (they do personal PR for me) schlepped me all over town--we went to the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Hobby Lobby, and Coldwater Creek!  As you can see, there was some goofing off mixed in there with the research!  We also had lunch at Toby Keith's restaurant, and that was definitely a cowgirl's kind of joint.

Time to write those Morning Pages.  Thanks for buy "The Rustler" in such numbers, ladies and gentlemen.  I've had a peek at the cover for Gideon's story, "The Bridegroom", and all I've got to say about that is YUMMO.

Back tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Busy Day Ahead

I have a really busy day ahead--lots of TV and radio, and a signing tonight.  

So far, not one ATC trader has turned up along the way, though.  (Except for my future son-in-law, Jeremy, who brought 3 fabulous cards to swap when I was in LA!)  I'll have cards along tonight at the autographing at the Quail Springs Barnes and Noble, 7 PM.  If you're in the OK City area, I sure hope you'll show up and say howdy.

"The Rustler" sure seems to be getting a good reception out there, though.  And I appreciate that more than I can express.

We had a sick horse at home, and I'm happy to report that Skye is doing much better as I write this.  They had to put styrofoam padding on her forefeet and add about 8 inches of shavings to her stall, to keep the pressure down.  Thank heaven for my Canadian Wrangler and the other ranch hands :) and a good vet and farrier.  They take good care of my babies.  I was praying like crazy but tried not to worry, because energy is a factor and I didn't want to send anything but healing light.

The ole clock is ticking, so I guess I'd better get myself spiffed up and ready to ride.  I'm visiting the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum tomorrow, and I can already tell it's a place I will want to come back to on a separate research trip.  The ideas are always brewing in this cowgirl's head.  :)

Make it a good day.  I certainly intend to.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Where the wind comes right behind the rain!

No rain, alas, but I'm kind of into that song.

And I'm really happy to be online again, and able to update you on my doings.

I've got TV shows tomorrow, and a wonderful steak dinner to look forward to tonight.  (I also need to do laundry.  :)  Alas, the real world....)

My friends from Nancy Berland Public Relations greeted me with smiles, a basket full of goodies (including a cookie shaped like the state of Oklahoma) and a bottle of wine.  I broke into that wine as soon as I was settled in my room.  :)  (Traveling is stressful.  :))

I'll be hitting the hay early tonight, that's for sure.  But my energy is holding up pretty well, all things considered.  

More later.

Leaving LA

Heading for Oklahoma City!  I'm excited--I've never been to OK, City--and I always love going to a new place.

In LA, I got to spend a lot of time with daughter, Wendy, and Jeremy, her future husband.  Last night we had seafood at the BEST place--it's called the Galley and it's in Santa Monica.  The place sparkles with colored Christmas lights and serves such good clams that I remembered them from previous visit and back we went.  Excellent food, even better company.

Wendy and I hit five bookstores yesterday, and I did stock signings.  It was great fun to meet so many booksellers--a stand-out was Blanche at the BookStar Barnes and Noble in Studio City. Hey, Blanche!  The store is housed in an old theater, complete with marquee--great place, great people.

Since I never know what the wireless situation is going to be in the next hotel, I can't exactly promise another blog when I hit OK, City, but I'll do my cowgirl darnedest.


Monday, October 06, 2008

At LAST!!!!

I'm back!  I've had the hardest time a) getting online and b) getting to this blog!!  In Vegas, my last stop, I finally schlepped the computer to the Apple Store in Fashion Show Mall and had a 'genius' appointment--with a genius named Randy.  :)  He showed me how to get online, and I schlepped back to the Venetian Hotel, only to find that my part of the building wasn't set up for wireless!  Then, today, I had to get up at 3:15 am for a satellite media tour.  So this is the first real opportunity I've had to get back to the blog.

I had a wonderful time in Henderson, Nevada, doing a chat with Robyn Carr at the Paseo Verde Public Library--hope I got the name right!--and meeting a whole crowd of my readers!  Special thanks to Robyn, Arlene, Tom, Michelle, Trudy and Steven.  All I can say is, I'd love to come back and do that whole gig all over again, it was such a kick.

I'm in LA today and will be going on to Oklahoma City tomorrow.  After that, Salt Lake City and Omaha.

My horse Skye has been sick--things always happen when I'm away from home--but the Canadian Wrangler and the rest of the Triple L crew did a great job of getting the vet out there and the treatment started pronto!  (Thanks, guys.)

This morning, I got up at 3:15 AM (yes, you read that right) to do a satellite media tour, which basically means sitting in a studio and doing a series of live and taped interviews with TV stations all over the country.  This is always fun.  My daughter, Wendy, is here with me and that's even better.

I know this is jumbled.  I wanted to catch you up a little, and I will be back on the blog tomorrow.  Barring more technical difficulties, of course, and I'm sorry about those little symbols in the text.  Who KNOWS what's causing that!