Friday, October 30, 2009


This IS Friday, isn't it?

I'm so caught up in my story, "Garrett", book 2 of the Texas McKettricks, I have to stop and think about what day it is.

Sadie is off to her class today, and Bernice and the kits and I will be hanging out downstairs, in the office.

I'm having a lot of fun in my studio, too--I slip in there on breaks and slap some paint onto something--:) It always gives me a thrill. I've enrolled in Suzi Blu's Les Petit Academy online, and I'm learning to draw and shade faces. Not the super-realistic kind, but the artsy ones. Suzi is quite a character, an excellent teacher, a very good artist. She has a knack for making learning fun and includes PDF files that are really helpful. The other big discovery is I love this one! You can rent how-to art videos for as long as a month and watch them right on your computer. An idea whose time has come.

Of course we're only in the pioneering stages of online studies--all the more exciting to think of what the future holds.

Have you seen "A Creed Country Christmas" in the stores yet? It has a lovely cover, and the story is very close to my heart. Lincoln Creed, the hero, is the stand-up, straight-shooting cowboy who founded the Creed ranch, back in the early 1900s. His lady is Julianna Mitchell, a woman of heart and compassion and unbelievable strength. My favorite characters are the children--and having it all happen at Christmas was just magical.

Which reminds me. Christmas is coming.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let It....SNOW?

Woke up to the first snowfall of the season this morning, and it's still coming down. Lots of small, busy, swirling flakes. Cha Cha-kitty is sitting at the back door as I write this, looking out and thinking, well, who knows what? Sadie and Bernice have both curled up on their beds for a little kitchen-snooze. (The kitchen is Sadie's favorite place, since there's always a chance of falling food.)

This is a perfect writing day. It's cozy, and I love cozy.

So that's one thing I can put in my gratitude journal--one of about a million.

Be happy. It's a choice, you know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sister Pam

My youngest sister, Pam, is in Spokane for a visit. I met her at the airport yesterday and she followed me home in her rental car so we could catch up. (She's actually staying with our mom.) We both speak the same language: ART. Pam is an exceptional polymer clay artist, but her creativity is boundless. She made the neatest miniature table, all from recycled materials--it's an impressive piece of work. Mom, Pam and I are getting together for lunch today.

I'll be working around my writing quota for today. :)

One of my favorite things about art (and life) is the high of an ah-ha moment, a discovery, a little buzz of WOW. I try something in my studio or at my computer--it works--and I'm thrilled. If it doesn't work, that's okay, too, because I've learned something, and it's full-circle back to discovery again. It's win-win!

How I ramble.

So, anyway, welcome to town, Pam.

See you at lunch.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Today's weather is LOVELY--really heart-lifting. (My sister, Pam, is flying up from Phoenix for a visit, and must have sent the Arizona sunshine on ahead.)

I had a very good writing day yesterday--it was rainy and gloomy out, but I was snug in my office downstairs, engaged in the world of the Texas McKettricks. (Not a bad world, all in all.)

Around four pm, I tweeted (on Twitter, which must make me a twit) that the flu had just hit me like a bus. The last time I felt like that, I was on a plane home from the Far East with Debbie Macomber, and I literally knew the moment when I went from well to sick, and it WAS a moment. I was in and out of bed for three weeks. Yeesh. Not only that, but it was December.

Well, THIS time, brewing a hot toddy and taking a nice-warm (my daughter's and my personal shorthand for 'nice warm bath') must have done the trick. I plugged myself into a book on my iPod and snuggled down and lo and behold, I'm much better today. Ready to write and dabble a little with my paints and generally enjoy my good life.

My thanks for the many condolence emails concerning the loss of our Kathy. It means a lot. And she'd be the first to chide me into action if I sat around acting like a sad-sack. :) So I'll do what she'd tell me to do if she were here: Get on with it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Cousin Kathy

Kathy Bannon passed away this weekend.

She was older than the rest of us, and growing up, she was pretty bossy. We used to tease her unmercifully for reading so many Harlequins (how ironic is that?) and she'd either dismiss us with a disdainful wave and a sniff--or chase us all over the farmyard. :)

Kathy loved to read, she was a fabulous cook and, in her day, she was very active in various amateur theater groups--I believe she actually performed in "Nunsense", but probably lots of other things, too. She built and painted sets, helped make costumes, and directed.

She traveled all over the world--in fact, I think her adventurous nature prompted me to travel to faraway places with strange sounding names, as well. Just a few years ago, she spent Christmas in a boat on the Amazon, for Pete's sake. Even as a young teacher, she'd work two jobs during a summer, save every cent, and spend the following summer exploring some exotic locale.

There was so much to admire and love about Kathy.

She was a remarkable teacher--English was her field--and some of her favorite authors were (besides moi, of course) Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz. We shared a passion for books, Kathy and I, and I will miss her recommendations and our discussions.

Yesterday, standing in Barnes and Noble, it hit me with a whallop. Kathy's gone. How can that be?

I know she touched many, many young lives with her firm but humorous manner. She had a way of calling a person on b.s. without making them feel foolish--a real gift.

Kathy's beloved cat, Rudy, I am grateful to say, is happily ensconced at Mary Ann's, and has been for some time, since her mistress has been ill for a while. Mary Ann's promise to care for Rudy no matter what meant a lot to Kathy--and Mary Ann keeps her promises. (Rudy stayed here with me for a long time, but my cats, especially Cha Cha, picked on her too much. At Mary Ann and Larry's place, she is the only kitty.)

For now, Kathy, good-bye.
I'll miss you, big-time.
And I'll see you again some day.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Just in time for the weekend, I'm recombobulating. :) As I can thank my mom for the word 'discombobulation', so I extend felicitations of gratitude to my sister, Sally, who emailed to ask if I was 'recombobulated'.

Weatherwise, we're having a rather dreary day. Rain, rain and more rain--Sadie did not want to go to her exercise session today. Yesterday was her tenth birthday, though, and she got a little extra lean hamburger as a treat, so she needs to work out. (Thank heaven she can't talk, because I know she'd have a few remarks to make about the ironies here.) Mary Ann is out doing errands and Jen is on vacation and the Canadian Wrangler is wrangling, so it's quiet in this house. Just Bernice and the kitties and me, for now anyway.

So, it's off to work. My office is so cozy, I look forward to going there every morning. Maybe I'll even light a fire.

Until Monday....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I think that's a word, anyway.
And it certainly describes me, today.
I could NOT get to sleep last night, no matter what, partly because I couldn't find my iPod and I'm addicted to my nightly book-listening time. (After searching three floors, I finally found the missing item right where I'd left it--on the stair railing in the entry way. ) Yikes.
It was four a.m. when I closed my eyes and six a.m. when the dogs and kitties, who had slept just fine, thank you very much, decided it was time to start the new day.
A nap?
I've got to admit, that sounds pretty good right now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Fog

Fog words have been going through my mind this morning, since we have more of the stuff...

You might say the draw behind my house is fog-swathed--or fog-clogged--

This is what happens if I have too much free time.

Best get back to the story.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Fog Blog 2

I awakened to find the deep draw behind my house brimming with fog this morning. It was beautiful, and I couldn't help seeing it as something of a metaphor. Things I've been 'in the fog' about seem clearer these days.

The weather is cold, and I am grateful to be snug in a warm, well-lit house, with coffee on hand and the dogs nearby, snoring away. (Sadie has exercise today, and Mary Ann will be coming to pick her up around nine.) The cats have been outside and gone back to their mysterious business, whatever that is.

I had big plans to work all weekend, but I didn't. Instead, I slept, read, painted, and babied myself a lot. (Thanks, Universe, I needed that.) I finished reading "Conscious Living" on my Kindle; I came across this book on an artist's website and recommend it highly. The author is Gay Hendricks. I downloaded Barnaby Conrad's "Time Is all We Have" from, too. Conrad is an artist/writer and this is his account of going into treatment at the Betty Ford Center. I liked it a lot--memoirs are my favorites, at least currently. I never fail to learn something.

The new painting is smaller than others--16X16. I will post pictures on Twitter and Facebook later today, although it isn't finished.

And then there's my OWN book--I love this story.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Report

Sadie is in the dog house. She got hold of an old bag of Pupperoni that should have been thrown away long ago and gnawed her way into it during the night. I found the evidence this morning. :) Good chance her weight will be up today! (And all the low cupboards are going to be cleaned out.)

I had a good, productive day of writing yesterday, even having to run out for a mammogram (all clear, thank Heaven)--I was definitely in the zone. I'm still feeling a bit flu-ish but sitting at my desk isn't all that demanding, so that's where I'll be.

Or on Etsy. Or Craftgawker. Or Twitter. Or Facebook.

There are certainly a lot of fun distractions in this world.

Alas, I will save those things, as well as slipping into my studio to paint, for breaks.

I promise.

No, really.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good Morning!

I'm feeling restored on this sunny fall morning. Nothing like a little sunshine to raise my spirits.

Plans for today--"working" on the new book (this shouldn't really be called "work")--maybe putting a few touches on some paintings I've started. I've been using a lot of Gallery Glass lately--it's faux stained glass, available at Michael's or JoAnn's--and I love the way it looks on canvas.

Have posted pix of two pieces on Facebook and Twitter. Favorite comment so far came from my cousin, Barbara, who is an accomplished artist, as are her mother and sister. She said my figure looked confused, like maybe she forgot the baby on the bus. :) We Laels. I gotta tell you, we're a little different. Every last one of us.

I have a mammogram this afternoon. Whoo-hoo! But aren't we lucky to live in a time where such things are available to us?

Cat Cha Cha is trying to eat my red roses. I would post a picture if the kitchen weren't so messy. :)

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

There's a name for this kind of day...

Two of my favorite people, one my mother and one a long-dead writer, Gladys Tabor, who wrote wonderful books about a Connecticut farm called Stillmeadow, would call a rainy day like this one a "pencil-sharpening day". :) I love it.

For me, it will be a print-out-and-read-through-what-I've-written-so-far day. Picking up loose threads, weaving them in, and moving on. I love this story--"Garrett"--Book 2 in the Texas McKettricks series. It touches my heart in some very tender places.

I'm learning Twitter and Facebook. (Check Sadie out on Twitter--lindalaelmiller--she has her new blue coat on, and was VERY reluctant to go out to her trainer's for today's session.) YES! What's next--YouTube??? My own audio podcast, available on iTunes? As a matter of fact, I bought the equipment for podcasting, but I haven't learned to use it yet.

The trouble with life is that there are just too many wonderful things to see and do and learn about, aren't there? At least, that's my problem.

And as problems go, it's not so bad.

Stay dry. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tap Dancing Again

Although I seem to have some kind of flu bug--no energy, coughing, aches and pains--I am feeling better about my life than I have in a long, long time.

It's one thing to create drama in my stories. It's another to create drama in my life.

My imagination is, to put it mildly, well-developed. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Why it's good is obvious: I get to write stories for a living. It's the right life, the best life, for me, and I'm grateful. Why it can be bad is trickier to explain and to recognize when it's happening. It seems I'm in costume and out there on stage tap-dancing myself into exhaustion before I realize that I'm doing it again. I'm dramatizing. Things are magnified--especially fears.

And I wake up with a knot of anxiety in my middle, like I did this morning.

Drat. I've been making another epic production of my life--cast of thousands, with camels and pyramids and miles of sand in the background--a stirring orchestral score, swelling to a crescendo. Maybe Charleton Heston, parting the Red Sea.

(Oh, for Pete's sake. Get over yourself, Linda Lee Lael. :) You're that little girl from Northport, and sometimes you're just plain astounded to find yourself living the dream. Hard to believe it's real, huh?)

Now, to push up my sleeves and do what I love. WRITING stories for you to read, instead of ones in my head, designed to scare the bejeebers out of me.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Shopping on Etsy and Other Indulgences

While I have yet to work up the courage to offer one of my own paintings for sale, I have a growing collection of what I would describe as folk art, most of which I find on Etsy, or by clicking to see who is following whoever is following me (sheesh, that was a mouthful) on Twitter. As you know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I plan to donate my net profits (after sales tax, shipping, etc.) to various charities--when I put something up on Etsy or eBay and IF anyone buys it. :)

There are some VERY talented artists out there in cyberspace, and I think it's wonderful. Really excellent stuff, and the prices are extremely reasonable. I buy only originals, never prints--and this is hard sometimes because I love the images. My choices are cheerful, brightly colored and usually small--some of my favorites, by an artist called Danita, are just 8x8 inches. I like Jane deRosier (may be misspelled)--Jane is GrittyJane on eBay and I have a lot of her angels and saints.

I've been a bit under the weather all weekend--not serious enough for a perscription, get well cards or homemade chicken soup (darn it) but barely enough energy to function. Don't be worried. :) I'm a tough ole cowgirl. Even though it's a holiday today, Mary Ann came to take Sadie for her exercise day--thank heaven for Mary Ann. I just don't feel strong enough to go driving anywhere, and Super Assistant, Jen, Sadie's normal chauffer, is away on vacation. I'm a little behind on the story though, and that worries me.

Have you ever been sucked into a book? This happened to me as I listened to a new story by Audrey Niffen-something--she's the author of "The Time Traveler's Wife"--and the story I heard was "Her Fearful Symmetry". Strange title for a fascinating piece of work about mildly creepy bunch of characters living next to a cemetery in England. (Go figure.) What drew me in was the ghost--I can't resist a good ghost story. This wasn't just a book, it was an experience. If you like mildly creepy ghost stories and good prose, you'll probably like this. I think it's much better than the other title, which was hard for me to follow.

And I digress. Again. Always.

I need to get to work.

Be blessed, be safe, and be kind. Kindness has never been more important, methinks, that it is right now.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A Great Time to be Me

I'm loving my life. True, it's not what everybody would want--there's a lot of stress and pressure, with so many critters and a payroll to meet. :)

I love my daughter--she's amazing.
(The rest of the family, too, of course!)

I love my work.

I love my dogs, cats and horses.

I love painting--mixed media is my thing.

I love my new haircut.

I love my Kindle 2 and my iPod. YES!

I love "That's Clever" on HGTV. (But WHERE are all the new arts and crafts shows, HGTV and DIY?)

I love my editor and my fabulous publisher and my incredible agent.

I love that I'm going to have a great time in Las Vegas during the rodeo!

See you Monday. Make it a good one.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

As the Seasons Turn

Most of my deck garden has gone on to the compost bin, although the tomatoes are still hanging in there. I will miss my beautiful flowers, but I know the ground must rest and restore itself before producing next year's heart-stoppingly gorgeous blooms.

There are a number of October birthdays in my family, so here are some happy wishes going out to:
Niece Kelly (yes, Auntie is late again, but your card is on it's way to your new address!)
Brothers-in-law, Jon Reily and Jim Lang--your cards are in the mail, and best wishes in the meantime. :)
First cousin Lee Bleecker--today's the day! Have a happy one!

Today will be a writing day, of course, with a brief trip to the hairdresser, much needed. My hair has gone wild again. It does that, no matter what the season.

Enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What I Will Soon Be "Reading"

Jeanette Walls, author of the fabulous "The Glass Castle", has a new book out, called "Half Broke Horses." Even as I write this blog, the latter is downloading straight into my iPod--now you know why 'reading' is in quotations at the top of this blog. I can hardly WAIT to start listening to Walls' latest--"The Glass Castle", which I read in print form, was so good I couldn't put it down. Not only that, but it got me hooked on personal memoirs. Can't get enough of 'em, ladies and gentlemen.

Although nothing replaces a good old-fashioned book kind of book, I admit to being a major fan of the recorded variety. At the end of a day at the computer, I'm often tired of looking at words, much as I love them, and prefer to listen. I'm one of's best customers, as you can imagine. I even like to listen to my OWN books sometimes, but only when they've been finished for a long, long time. Too soon, and I'm wanting to change this and change that and I just start fixating and that's no good, of course.

Today, more writing. I'm loving the new book, and I'm hoping you will, too. Eventually, I'll be able to download it from and maybe even be objective.

Or not.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Cool and Sunny

That's today's weather report from Spokane, Washington. :)

It is truly beautiful and close to perfect, as far as I'm concerned.

The horses have coats to wear--special blankets to keep them snug at night. Sadie-beagle's sweater from last winter is now much too big, so she's got a spiffy new fleece number coming in the mail, as does Bernice. Sadie is often still damp when Jen picks her up after her exercise days, so she does need something to keep her warm.

Memories of this year's Lael Reunion linger in my mind. My dear family. What a crazy, funny bunch.

Working on "Garrett" today, and loving this book, big-time. Once I've finished my writing for the day, I'll probably paint.

It's a good life.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Family Reunion 2009

We Laels met in Colville, Washington, at the Eagles Club, this past weekend, as we have done for years. It's always a good time--my family is big on storytelling (go figure), art work and just generally performing. The younger ones sing or read original poetry, and some of the elders do, too. One of the highlights was Uncle Larry's humorous eulogy--for himself. These Laels are a creative bunch, I'm here to tell you, and funny, too.

Not to mention interesting. Cousin Sheri plays a "psycho nurse" (her term, not mine) in John Carpenter's remake of "The Ward". She's also done some voiceovers for Disney, but we love her most for her comedy. She's hands down the funniest member of the family, and in this outfit, that's saying something.

We have lovely, crisp fall weather today. Sadie-beagle is feeling fiesty, now that she's slim and svelte, and we played a little fetch this morning. Interestingly, Sadie always thinks I should do the throwing AND the fetching. Her part, evidently, is just to bark and look cute.

It's a dog's life around here.

Friday, October 02, 2009


So many good things come to us by word-of-mouth. Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wa according to the box, is one of those things. News to me, though I know a lot of you probably already know about this marvelous grain. It has three or four times as much protein as oatmeal, and some claim it is the original manna mentioned in the Bible. You can do about a million things with the stuff. A health-care professional told me about it--so of course I had to try it.

I'll be back on the recipe kick again soon, too. Just looking for slim-jeans friendly ones. :)

Have you seen the Texas McKettricks and the contest to win a trip to Vegas and attend the National Finals Rodeo? There's a link in the letter on the main page of this website.

Today is rainy and cloudy, but that's okay with me. (Fortunate, since the weather does not take orders from yours truly.) We're in for some beautiful weather next week--high sixties and sunshine! I guess it's what we used to call Indian summer.

The Lael reunion is this weekend in Colville, and I'll be attending. It kills me to leave this book, even for a day and a half, but family is family and blood is blood.

You can see Sadie-beagle's sad-dieter face on my Twitter page.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Writing and Painting

The two seem to be intertwined for me, at least these days.

The big piece I call my Renaissance Showgirl is done, except for signing and spraying to protect the paint. She emerged while I was writing "Tate", over a period of many days, a line here, a dab of paint there. That the two pieces--book and painting--are connected on some level seems pretty clear, although they aren't alike in any way.

I will be posting the finished painting on my Twitter page today. I have also posted pictures of both my new books, so you'll know what to look for. :) (

Now, as I compose "Garrett", book 2 in the Texas McKettricks trilogy, two new paintings are in the works. It is an interesting phenom, to say the least.

Mean Girl is on vacation. I'm Eating Sensibily, aka the only thing that works for me. I've already lost 4 pounds, which tells me this weight is more about holding onto things mentally than what I eat or don't eat.

This morning, I had Cheerios mixed with yogurt and a banana. Information you probably don't need. Trust me, it could have been worse.


Make it good.