Thursday, February 26, 2009

Today's the Day, On My Way!

I'll be heading for the airport in a little while--it's off to L.A. to do my satellite media tour and then spend a glorious week (almost) visiting with my daughter. I'm taking my MacAir laptop along, because it's so light, but until I can visit the Geniuses at an Apple Store, those weird little symbols will be turning up in the blog. I know, I know--I hate them, too.

Sadie and Bernice and all the other critters will be well taken care of during my absence, as always. Cousin Mary Ann and her husband, the Canadian Wrangler, will be looking after all 10 of them, plus their own. :)

Travel days are usually hectic, but I've decided this one will be easy. I have a brief layover in Seattle, and that's time enough to have some of the fabulous fried oysters sold in the food court at Sea-Tac. If there's time after chowing down, I'll stop by my favorite airport shop, Fireworks. They always have such unique things!

I vowed to pack light, but I ended up with two bags. How does that happen? Because I didn't get to see Wendy and Jeremy at Christmas, as planned, I'm taking some presents with me. There are others too bulky to pack. Yeesh.

My friend Jake McKenzie, who lives in Northport and helps my beloved Auntie Marian with a lot of handiman type stuff, made me the most beautiful vase you have ever seen, to celebrate the success of "Logan". It has a wolf on the front, painted with such detail that you can see the fur. What a generous, thoughtful thing to do. You can bet that vase will have a place of honor in my office.

I guess I'd better wrap this up and make sure I've packed everything and fed everybody. More from California.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free Day? Right!

The best laid plans. Sadie-beagle woke up yesterday with a case of what we call "scooty-butt" around here, and it was off to her regular veterinarian. Anything further would constitute more information than you probably need :), so suffice it to say, she's on antibiotics. She hates pills, so it's a circus twice a day--I put it in her mouth, she spits it out (two or three times) and eventually swallows. She has a swimming lesson today, and her initial workup with the accupuncture doctor. I'm eager to hear the results of the assessment, and have already arranged for the Good Doctor to come out and have a look at the old Buckaroo. You can't fight old age, but I want him to be as comfortable as possible. He still goes out with the other horses every day, but he's definitely slowing down and shrinking. Inevitably, he'll cross the River, but I take comfort in the belief that my dad will be there waiting, with a saddle blanket over one shoulder, Creed-style.

Speaking of Creeds, "Dylan" is in stores as of yesterday. Lookin' good! I'm off to LA tomorrow morning, but I WILL blog, probably at odd hours, so be sure to stop by. The satellite media tour is on Friday--at the crack of dawn. One sits in a studio and does repeated interviews with TV stations all over the country. It's rigorous, but also a lot of fun. Soon as it's a wrap, as they say in Hollywood :), Wendy and I will be off to her place for some mother-daughter time. I can hardly wait.

You get to choose what you think about. Choose the good things.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free Day?????

I have no outside appointments today. Sadie doesn't have water therapy. I am stubbornly reserving this day to WRITE.

Even though my to-do list (I am the ultimate listmaker) is as long as--forgive the cliche--my arm. Calls to make. Things to gather before my flight to LA on Thursday. How many outfits to take along, and which ones? I am a human DOING, more than a human being.

And Sadie is a dog doing--doing great things! She's lost a total of 6 pounds--huge when you start out at 44 pounds. :) She's really slimming down, and seems to feel better every day. When I get back from California, I will start walking her on the days she doesn't have a "swimming lesson"--since people in the neighborhood allow big dogs to run loose, this is not entirely safe, so I'll be taking another human being along, to help me protect her. And, anyhow, most of these big dogs are just friendly doofuses. NOT walking Sadie, I've decided, is a much greater risk--and it won't hurt me any, either. Would you believe on Wednesday she starts accupuncture??? It is performed by a veterinarian, and can be combined with her swimming work, right there at the facility. According to her trainer--and I truly trust this amazing woman--accupuncture will ease any remaining pain or stiffness and balance her system, so she doesn't get so hungry. Anything for my sweet Sadie, one of the best friends I've ever had.

And anything for Buck. I'm going to ask this veterinarian to pay him a visit. Chances are, he could benefit from accupuncture, too. This week, the doctor will be treating, among others, a llama and a pet goat. :)

Other news: I will be visiting Austin, Texas in April to look at property. While staying with my daughter, I will also check out Southern California real estate. If I can possibly help it, I'm not enduring another Spokane winter. Worst case scenario: I will become a snowbird.

I see that New Orleans is geared up for Fat Tuesday. What resilient people those Louisiannans are! Of course Fat Tuesday is the last day before the beginning of Lent, leading up to Easter. It has been years since I gave anything up for Lent, but I'm doing it this year.

It's time to get back to basics, isn't it? In a lot of ways. A quality life is really about values.

And "Dylan" comes out today! YES!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Talking to Myself

Sort of. :) I've been listening to a radio tour I did with the wonderful Irene Rawlings while in Denver on this last tour. I'm working on getting the link for you; the one I received in email worked, but didn't when I copied it here. Stay tuned.

Hopefully, this one will work.

Irene is a delight and has become a personal friend.

Like most Mondays, this one is busy. Sadie will be heading out for her "swimming lesson" soon. At the moment, she's snoring away on her pink dog-bed, building up her strength. In a few minutes, the telephone will ring, and I'll be participating in a conference call. When that's done, it's off to Stone Creek for a few hours to see what the modern-day O'Ballivans are up to. :)

On Saturday, I had lunch with Karen, one of my sisters-in-law, at Tomato Street. I love their baked spaghetti. We whipped out our digital cameras and swapped pictures, caught up on all that's been happening in our lives in the too-long time since we've seen each other.

The rest of the weekend was devoted to painting backgrounds for a series of collages I'm planning. It was messy work--I think I may have red paint in my hair, and my fingernails look like--well--an artist's fingernails. It was also totally refreshing, great preparation for writing. By some curious alchemy, painting clears my brain and helps me re-focus when I sit down at the computer again.

The week ahead will be a busy one. Tomorrow, "The Montana Creeds: Dylan" will be on sale everywhere, and I'm excited about that, of course. On Thursday, I leave for L.A. and will be spending time with my daughter, Wendy, and future son-in-law, Jeremy, after doing a satellite media tour on the 27th. The TV interviews will be piped out all over the country, so maybe I'll be teleported to your town. :)

More tomorrow. Choose to make this a good day.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wild Turkey Friday

No, I'm not planning to drink whiskey!

We have a flock of wild turkeys in these here parts, and they go trundling past the fence every so often. They are huge! Did you know that Ben Franklin suggested the turkey as the national bird? He thought them far worthier of the honor than the eagle.

Sadie has swimming today, and she's snoring away in preparation. Must be building up her strength. :)

I heard a remark on TV this morning that I liked so much I want to pass it on here: "For 230-plus years, everybody who bet against America lost money." (Bill Clinton)

Amen to that, brother.

WE CAN DO THIS, America.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fog Blog

Beyond the backyard fence this morning, there is nothing but a solid white wall with a few vague tree-shapes etched in. It's delightfully spooky--and it makes me glad, once again, that I don't have to commute. :)

I started "At Home in Stone Creek" yesterday, in earnest. This is Ashley O'Ballivan's story--she's the younger sister of Brad ("The McKettrick Way") and Olivia ("A Stone Creek Christmas") and it will be published this winter as a Silhouette Special Edition.

As I write this, Sadie is sleeping off yesterday's exercise session. She is doing so well, and I'm learning to cope with her increased energy level. The more weight she loses, the more beagle-ish she is. :) Beagles, as you may know, are busy little critters, smart and not particularly obedient. Right about now, she must be wondering what happened to all those years she spent training her mom to spoil her.

"Logan" is still going strong out there in the marketplace, thanks to you. It's on the bestseller list for the third week in a row at #7! I've got two things to say about that: Thank You and Yeehaw!! Next Tuesday, February 24, you'll be able to pick up the second book in the trilogy, "Dylan". This stuntman-cowboy-poker sharp bad boy has a doozy of a story to tell. In short, you can tell a Creed--but you can't tell him much!

Stay tuned, pardners, and stay strong.

We're going to make it through this troubled time Creed style: we've got each other's backs.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beagle Raids

Sadie is redoubling her efforts to get back on the Gravy Train--now that she's more agile, she comes downstairs in the night and barks--trying to levitate whatever food is on the counter, I suppose. :) She opens the door under the sink and tips over the garbage--to the point that I've had to move it. At first, I bought in. She must be starving, I thought. (Right. She weighs 39 pounds.) I didn't give in, but I did ask the trainer if I could give her more food. The answer was YES, as long as what I gave her was green beans, carrots or some other vegetable.

Last night, I gave her brussel sprouts, left over from my supper, and she actually ate them.

It's an adventure. I'm not giving in on this one--I love this dog way too much to undo all her hard work on the treadmill.

Being a writer, I can't help drawing parallels here. Do you suppose, when we really want something and pray hard and believe hard and we still don't get what we asked for, God knows what we're asking for would be bad for us and is really saying, "No. I love you too much."

I know what Sadie doesn't. She's much happier and healthier. She will probably live a longer life. It's a darned good thing I keep saying NO to her.

And it might be a darned good thing if God is saying NO to us.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Weekend

I spent much of Saturday with my mom--we had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Tomato Street, here in Spokane. We raided Walmart, and Mom got two new pairs of shoes at SAS. I met several of her friends, too. All in all, it was a fine Valentine's Day! Came home to find that the ranch crew had left me a box of Valentine chocolates. :)

The rest of the time, I just puttered around with my art work. I finished a collage I'm doing as a gift for a dear one, and have begun a piece I like so much I will probably keep it for myself.

Miss Sadie has her exercise class today--it is still hard to refuse her treats, etc., because beagles have Looking Pitiful down pat. She looks and feels so much better that I am determined to stay on course. She is bright-eyed, doesn't limp, and goes up and down stairs easily--instead of barking for the elevator.

We got a skiff of snow during the night--but no blizzard. YES!

I have a to-do list as long as my arm this morning.

Breathe, Linda.

Friday, February 13, 2009


The sky has been overcast here in Spokane ever since I got home from my tour on the 8th. This morning, the good ole sun is out full force and all I've got to say about that is: YEEHAW!!

Sadie has her swimming lesson today--being all beagle, she has a short coat, so I bought her a brown sweater with pink trim to wear to and from. She looks downright fashionable and doesn't seem to mind dressing up. :) Bernice, on the other hand, hates any kind of costume and would not take kindly to a sweater. Trouble is, she looks so darned cute in an outfit--but she just hunkers down and projects abject misery until someone takes it off for her. Once, at Halloween, I dressed her as an angel. Talk about miscasting. :) She sat down, all four fluffy feet splayed, embarrassed but determined to endure. I snapped her picture and took off the angel costume. Like I said, it was inappropriate anyway. If I just could have found little horns and a pitchfork... or, better yet, a clipboard and rhinestone trimmed glasses that hang around a beaded chain. Bernice's true calling is Bossy Cruise Director.

I'll be spending Valentine's Day with my mom. I haven't seen her in months, and I'm looking forward to catching up.

Have a good weekend. You're all my Valentines.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Old" Dog Learns "New" Trick

First, this just in: "The Montana Creeds: Logan" is holding steady! #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. Yee-haw!!!

With that passed on to the people who made it possible--THANK YOU--I'll explain the title of this blog, quotation marks and all.

Of course, the Old Dog is me. I put "old" in quotations because I don't really regard myself as old. On the inside, I feel like the proverbial spring chicken. The new trick is not really new, hence the punctuation marks. :) Clear as mud?

As many of you know, I like to listen to books on my iPod, because after looking at words all day at the computer, I sometimes need a rest from it. Right now, I'm listening to a wide variety--Civil War histories, the plasticity of the brain (very encouraging to old dogs), etc. Recently, I found an old favorite on iTunes--"The Magic of Thinking Big", by David Schwartz. And that's where I found the "new" trick. Here it is:

I give myself mental pep talks before I undertake anything I regard as challenging.

During the December meltdown, I was using this process for sure--in reverse. I told myself I didn't want to go on the Creed tour, that I'd rather stay home and write. (Man, am I glad I went!) Oh, there were so many things I didn't want to do. And all of them had to be done!

This technique is deceptively simple. One man in the book even made up a mental commercial, extolling all the reasons he could do what he wanted to. He played it in his own head, and nowhere else, and it revolutionized his life. I can see why that would happen. What kind of commercials are rolling in your head? Mine, I've discovered, could use some improvement.

Yesterday, Sadie went to swimming lessons, and I went on to an appointment. After that, I rewarded myself with a visit to a place called Second Look Books--not your ordinary used book store. The place is FULL of out-of-print memoires, histories, you name it. I loaded up! Fascinating stuff, no longer available from the usual sources. Three different books on the lives of slaves during the Civil War, for instance. One on the Underground Railroad. (Until I was in high school, I thought Harriet Tubman and her brave crew ran a real railroad, with tracks and depots. :))

Riches! And I mean that literally. At least one of these books will, I am positive, spark a truly unforgetable Western. (No, I'm not going to tell you the name of it. You'll have to wait and be surprised.)

Books. What treasures they contain! (Thanks, Mom, for boosting me out of the slow readers group with that stack of Nancy Drew books you brought home from the Northport library when I had the Michael Landon flu!) Translation: I adored Michael Landon. If he was going to be on day-time TV, I automatically came down with something so I could stay home and watch him on the tube. :)

And that's another thing about my mom. Being no dummy, she knew I was sick all right--love sick. And she wisely knew that a dose of Little Joe Cartwright wouldn't hurt.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hit the Ground Runnin'

That's the order of the day for THIS cowgirl, anyhow. Lots to do today, starting with Sadie-beagle's swimming lesson and pickin' up speed from there!

More bestseller news about "Logan". It's Number 1 on the Publisher's Weekly list!!! I am over the moon about that.

Thanks, pardners!

We had a skiff of snow during the night, just a dusting. The weather man is predicting some sunshine soon, and I can get behind that.

What with all the hurrying, and me sleeping in late this morning, I've got to make this blog short today. If anything interesting happens, I'll write a second one later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Turtle Wins

Sadie is down another 4 ounces, for a total of about 5 pounds. Yes, progress is measured in ounces--but we're headed in the right direction. This process of getting my beagle-dog back on track has been almost as good for me as it is for Sadie--I tend to be a quantum leap sort of person. When I set a goal, I usually achieve it, but ounce by ounce? That's a new one for me, as many times as I've been to Weight Watchers. :) There is an interesting parallel here, too, it seems to me--once I managed to stablize my own weight, I was able to deal with Sadie's problem. I just wonder if she wasn't reflecting my own dilemma somehow, like a furry little mirror. I don't diet anymore--I just try to eat sensibly and use salad plates instead of full-sized ones, and eat mostly whole foods.

I find that if the rules are too rigid--this many points or calories or fat grams or whatever--I can't stick with it. So while I try to stay away from processed foods, which are not really foods at all, my friends, but chemical creations for the most part, I do indulge in certain soups, like Progresso. I still like to boil up a pot of macaroni and dump in a can of whole tomatoes.

I guess you could call this the Common Sense Diet. :) As any of you who've struggled with weight will know, it's an ongoing thing, but the fact is, most of us know, deep down, what we should and shouldn't eat, and when. The trap of "convenience foods" is just that, they're convenient. Ditto "fast" food. But they don't nourish you. When I see very overweight people, my heart breaks for them--none of the stereotypes are true. (Lazy, undisciplined, etc.) The truth is, their bodies are starved for real food--good old fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish and chicken. And trust me when I say that some of the smartest, most talented, most dedicated and accomplished people I know struggle with extra pounds. When are we, as a society, going to stop judging human beings with a valid place on this planet by the way they look? We have little girls going on diets. Whole generations of women who might contribute something to the world, waste their lives fretting about the size of their jeans, the lines in their faces, all of that. What might we accomplish if we focused on the real needs all around us, instead of ourselves???

I don't know about you, but I get pretty bored with ME. Yada-yada-yada. Me, me, me. What a DRAG. :) Maybe it's because I've just been out on tour, and done so many interviews, but I'm weary of the subject. :) When I go to book signings, the best part is meeting YOU, not talking about myself.

And I'm rambling. Again.

Feet back on the ground. I've got a new book to write (YES!), a radio interview, and a dentist appointment today. Sadie is resting up from yesterday's treadmill rounds, and Bernicie is cuddled up nearby. The cats are roaming the house, the way cats do. The horses are in the barn, waiting for the Canadian Wrangler to serve breakfast and let them out into the pasture.

It's all simple. It's all good.

And as flashy as that rabbit looks, dashing down the road in a fur-blur, you can bet on this much. The turtle will always win. Step by step, ounce by ounce.

Speak a kind word to someone.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Writer at Home

It is a normal Monday morning--Sadie will soon be headed for her "swimming lesson", and I'll be making routine phone calls and doing the preliminary work on a new book, "At Home in Stone Creek", a Silhouette Special Edition starring Ashley O'Ballivan and the mystery man she doesn't want to fall in love with.

As I write this, the kitchen TV is on and I'm watching an interview with the Miracle On the Hudson pilot and crew, and I stand in awe of the kind of skill and quiet courage these people exhibited under incomprehensible pressure. If I live to be a hundred, I will never forget the sight of all those people standing on the wings, the boats rushing to save them. Also, you can bet I listen a little more closely to the flight attendant's safety speech before take-off. :) Pilots are a distinct breed--I know several. Rather than shuddering at the thought of making a landing like that, they actually wish they'd been in the cockpit of that aircraft, at the controls!

Several people expressed the sentiment that they'd never fly again, if they'd been among the passengers. In fact, most of the passengers boarded their connecting flights and went on. That, too, is courage, but it is also practicality. After all, if that happens to you once, what are the chances that it will ever happen again? It's the equivalent of getting right back on the horse when you get thrown.

I want to thank you, if I haven't already, for your amazing response to "The Montana Creeds: Logan". #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list! Yee-haw!!!! You'll soon be able to read all about Dylan Creed, in book 2, hitting the stands on February 24. Tyler's story will follow, coming out on the last Tuesday in March. And just in case you haven't had enough of the rough-and-tumble Creed outfit by then, "A Creed Country Christmas" will be released in time for the 2009 holiday season. The hero is Lincoln Creed, an ancestor of the current bunch, living on the same ranch in 1910-11, and the heroine is Juliana Mitchell, who has just been rousted from her job at the local Indian School, along with four Native American children who remain in her charge.

I'm also thinking about the Texas McKettricks, Tate, Garrett and Austin, and a lot of other future characters, too. No wonder my head is such a busy place!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

No Place Like Home

Be it ever so humble, which, of course, it isn't, really. :) The crew has been working hard, getting the office and studio in shape. Have I ever mentioned that I've got the best bunch of ranch hands in the business?

The sun has only been up for a little while, so I haven't been out to the barn to check in with the horses yet, but Sadie and Bernice threw the usual welcome home party last night. The cats are tolerating my presence with remarkably good grace. :) Sadie is hanging in there with her diet and exercise program--setting a good example for mama. She's a trooper, but still hunting for the missing Beggin' Strips!

I had such a wonderful time out there on the road, I can hardly believe it. When I got home, flowers and champagne awaited me, courtesy of my fabulous publishers, Harlequin.

Except for a grocery run, I'm planning to lay low today. I feel well, and I want to keep it that way. I was slugging back double doses of Airborne the whole time I was out there, and it worked.

Yesterday's flights were easy, on time and uneventful. My bags arrived when I did.

Go figure.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Leaving San Antonio

I arrived in San Antonio on Thursday evening--but my suitcase didn't. It was already too late to shop for emergency supplies, so I ordered a room service dinner and crashed. I expected to be awakened at any time with the news that my wandering bag had found its way to me, but not so. I was so be picked up at my hotel at 2:30 pm Friday afternoon for a book signing, and the bag arrived at 2:00!

By then, I had been to the Riverwalk, the mall, and the Alamo! I had hit the nearest CVS and loaded up on a lot of cosmetics and toiletries I needed--and some I just wanted to try out. :) I arrived at Books-A-Million for my signing in all new clothes and makeup--the airline had promised my bag would be there before I had to leave, but my motto is, never trust an airline. I had spoken to them at least 4 times the night before.

All's well that ends well, though.

I had a great time at Books-A-Million! I chatted for a long time with Wilma Adams, 83, who used to keep horses when she was younger. Would you believe she's heading for Madagascar in a few weeks??? I hope I'm still having adventures like that when I'm 83!!

Greetings to all my San Antonio visitors--it was a delight to meet up with all of you. Linda Looney, thanks for the book about SA and the list of recommended research books. The Texas McKettricks live near San Antonio, on the land Lorelei owned in "McKettrick's Choice", along with the acreage Holt inherited from John Cavannagh, so maybe I need to come back here for a research trip!

Louise Michelson, you were a delightful escort and companion. My thanks.

I'm planning to spend tomorrow in my pajamas, cuddling with Sadie, Bernice, Cha Cha and Jitterbug.

More on Monday.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Catching Up...I Hope

I'm writing this at Gate 11 in the airport in Colorado Springs. On to San Antonio in a little while--the last city on an amazing tour. Since arriving in CO Springs, I've been so busy I didn't get around to going online. When I finally had time, I was too pooped from all the shopping, visiting, TV and radio interviews, to sign in!

While here in this lovely city, I stayed with my very good friend, Debbie Korrell. On the first night, we enjoyed a turkey dinner--my all-time favorite meal. Debbie made sure I got to all my interviews and my FABULOUS book-signing at Beth Anne's Book Corner last night. Lots of people came, and I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Beth Anne and meeting her able staff. We had more than one reason to celebrate with a steakhouse dinner after the autographing--"Logan" is #2 on the New York Times bestseller list!!! It will be in the February 15 issue of the New York Times.

I was snuggled up in Debbie's guest room for a badly-needed nap when my dear editor called. After she broke the news about the list, I went hot-footing it down the hall to Debbie's room and yelled, "Are you asleep???? I'm #2 on the NYT!" After that, there was a lot of whooping and jumping around and we forgot all about the naps.

So many wonderful things have happened on this trip, I can only hope I've remembered to tell you about them. Logan's smashing success is your doing, pardners. Thank you from the bottom of this ole cowgirl heart.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Leaving Denver

On to Colorado Springs. As soon as I finish this morning's radio interview, I'll be moving on.

I had the BEST time yesterday at the Barnes and Noble signing in Lone Tree. I met up with Kimberlee Gard and her little buckaroo, Landon. No more than 3 or 4 years old, Landon showed up wearing little Wranglers and a cowboy hat. He took his hat off when he spoke to me, and I about died of the cuteness. Kimberlee brought me a gift, a big smile and the first reader ATC I've ever gotten on the road. I'm sending her one of my ATCs as soon as I get home to Spokane.

I'll be in Colorado Springs for a couple of days, and appearing at Beth Anne's Book Corner tomorrow night at 5 pm. If you live in that neck of the woods, I sure hope you'll come by and say howdy.

"Logan" seems to be striking a chord out there--I learned yesterday that it's the #3 paperback in the whole Borders chain! Looks like this sexy cowboy is going to stay on the bronc for the whole 8 seconds, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

I'm all packed--a wild job this far into the tour--and I've just had the most delicious granola ever. My stuff is downstairs, and all I have to do is close up this laptop and catch the elevator.

That's how it is when you're ridin' for the brand. In my case, Harlequin's HQN imprint.

Joanie, I sure hope you're feeling better. Kimberlee and Amy, you made my day.

Sadie, keep on swimmin'!

Mom, I love you.

Signing out as one happy cowgirl.

Monday, February 02, 2009


I'm in the mile-high city this morning, awaiting the delivery of my room service breakfast. This is living. Back home, I can't get the trail boss to bring me a tray unless I'm seriously under the weather. :)

I have a couple of interviews today, and a signing at the Barnes and Noble in Lone Tree from 11 to 1pm. I'm not sure how the turnout will be on a Monday, and in the middle of the day like that to boot, but whatever happens, it'll be fun.

I had dinner with an old friend, Dar Tomlinson, last night. We talked a mile a minute getting caught up, as it's been a while since we've seen each other. Dar is an Arizona buddy and a fine writer.

I just heard a room service cart rattle by in the hallway, but I guess it wasn't my food.

Drat. :)

Stay tuned.