Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The blog somehow fell by the wayside, with traces of my jet-lag lingering, and a visit from my dear cousin, Barbara Lynn, and her son, Adam. We caught up on old times and told lots of stories.

Woke this morning to more snow, though it's pretty light and not expected to stick. According to the weather report, we can expect rain and high winds later in the day. I don't remember paying so much attention to weather reports when I lived in Arizona. :)

Buck, my old horse, is getting better and better. A combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and a product called Stem-Tech seems to be easing his joints and increasing his energy. The other day, coming home, I was delighted to see him up at the far end of the pasture with the other horses.

Sadie and Bernice are on a special joint medicine, too. And they're getting cod liver oil, along with a daily dose of green tea. Sadie now weighs 36 pounds even, a smooth 8 pound weight loss since she began her program. I spent a few hours on Saturday mixing up her vet-recommended food--1/4 cup each of canned pumpkin (plain), veggies, lean turkey and her regular kibble, Instinct. God bless her dedicated veterinarians--Dr. Steve Bauer, at Latah Creek, Dr. Rosemarie Asperino, who administers the alternative therapies, and Dr. Harai, Sadie's gifted surgeon. Special kudos to Joni Bories, who has quite literally transformed my beloved dog to something resembling puppyhood--at 9 years of age!

I'm drinking the remainder of Sadie's green tea myself. Loads of antioxidants and a purported ability to speed up the metabolism. I draw the line, however, at cod liver oil.

Off to Austin tomorrow, to check the place out. Wendy will be there to meet me. All I've got to say about that is, YEE-HAW!

Look for a blog Thursday morning at the latest.

Lastly, the big day has really, truly arrived! "Tyler" is officially on sale, as of today. I've already gotten emails from some folks who managed to get it early, and they're saying they just wish there were more Creed brothers. Surprise! After next year's Texas McKettricks, be on the look out for the Colorado Creeds--as wild a bunch of cowboys as you've ever met up with.

Enjoy the day, and DON'T BE AFRAID. That's what our enemies want. Let's not give them that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oops! Blame Jet-Lag

I think I may have jumped the gun, as we say out west, by saying "Tyler" would be out now--it's always the last Tuesday of the month, and I just realized that would be the 31st. Sure hope I didn't send any of you to the store for nothing. :)

I've been pretty much a pajama-bunny since I got home, but I'm much better today. This morning, as soon as I woke up, an idea for the current story popped into my head, and while I was waiting for Sadie to come down the hall so we could make that all-important first run down to the back yard, I burst into song. "Come on people, smile on your brothers!" (We use the term 'people' loosely around here.)

Look out, folks. I'm back!

Alas, I leave for Austin, my possible new home, on Wednesday morning. As I've mentioned, the Texas McKettricks, Tate, Garrett and--Austin :)--live in that neck of the woods, so it's partly a research trip, too. And partly just an excuse to soak up some Hill Country sunshine and down a few margueritas. Daughter Wendy will be joining us, and I can't wait to see her again. The problem with grown children is that they have lives of their own--I've always thought it ironic that a woman carries them in her womb for nine months, raises them with constant attention and care for some eighteen years--all to prepare them not to need her!

Like I said, I'm jet-lagged. Ought to be more perky on Monday.

Have a great weekend, and make sure your fire extinguisher works. "Tyler" is one HOT book.

Don't say I didn't warn you. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hitting the Wall

That old standby, Denial, has failed me. I'm STILL tired, despite all efforts to catch up on my rest. I hereby declare this to be Stay in Bed Day. I will cancel an appointment, doze, read, watch the programs that have been accumulating for weeks on my Tivo. I am wearing my warmest pajamas and I am swathed in Vicks Vapor Rub. I intend to eat Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup, too. I just love those little noodles.

On the good news front, "Dylan" is still selling like crazy. It's on the New York Times Bestseller list for the third week in a row--#9! And TOMORROW, "Tyler" arrives in book stores everywhere. Yee-haw!

Fatigue does very peculiar things to the mind. I seldom remember my dreams, but the first night I was home, I launched into a dandy practically the moment I closed my eyes. Sadie-beagle stole a Ford Fairlane and drove off in it, signaling a left turn at a stop sign. The vehicle must have had paw-controls, since she surely couldn't reach the gas pedal or the brake. :) Jenni suggested turning the image into a small piece of art, since it made us all smile, and I dashed off a preliminary sketch. When I get my strength back, I plan to start the project.

I will try to be more entertaining after this. Thanks for understanding.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jet-Lag Rambles

Having slept for approximately as many hours as I spent flying back from Prague, then from Atlanta, then from Seattle, I feel somewhat human this morning. No guarantees that I won't be going back to bed after Miss Sadie leaves for her exercise day, though. :) If nothing else, I've learned that I'll come down with something if I don't rest.

They say travel broadens one. Literally speaking, it didn't. Sally and I did a LOT of walking--and I managed to resist the fresh strawberries dipped in milk chocolate. On a deeper level, though, Prague changed me in some profound ways, ways I find hard to articulate in this jet-lagged state.

The visit certainly gave me perspective. Times are tough here, and I won't minimize that. Too many people are losing jobs, retirement accounts and homes, and that's sobering, no way around it. In the Czech Republic, though, and places like it, hard times are nothing new. They spent 50+ years under Communist rule, after all. They soldier cheerfully along, glad of freedoms we have long since taken for granted. They are well-spoken and well-educated, and somehow, through the rise of the Nazis and then the Communists, they held on to their own culture, to their stories and their history. (There are buildings in Prague that were old when George Washington took office--and most of these stand on the foundations of their medeival predecessors.)

Prague is a city of beautiful squares and stunning structures--cathedrals and castles, former private homes with amazing facades. Ancient cobblestones line narrow streets, and one has to follow a lot of arrows to find a McDonald's--thank heaven.

The Czechs are a brave people, and a resilient one. Every place seems to have its own favorite form of execution--there, a surprising number of unfortunates have been pushed from high windows. Splat, right on the cobblestones. One lucky fellow landed in a huge pile of manure and thus survived--expect that to happen in one of my future books. :)

The signs were often amusing. Aboard our tour bus, there was one that read, "Keep the bus in the cleanness. Think of turists (their spelling, not mine) after you." Another, on the same bus, the driver's pledge to keep us safe: "I protect your lives on my own head!" A shopkeeper asked Sally, "What are you interesting for?" We chuckled over that one, coming up with a series of comical (okay, silly) answers, like, "Well, I crochet a little."

Strolling along behind a couple on a sidewalk, we delighted in the way a brochure in the pocket of the man's very tight jeans bobbed up and then down out of sight as he walked, with clockwork precision. In years to come, we figure that is what we'll remember, since castles and cathedrals tend to run together after a while. I expect to remember the look on Sally's face when her trout arrived one day at lunch, still wearing its head. I will remember how we laughed and shared confidences in our lovely room at the Imperial Hotel. I will remember taking a picture of a sign in the mall's food court, advertising "L.A. Finger Foods". (What appeared to be a veal cutlet on a stick--never saw THAT in L.A.)

I guess it all boils down to this. Every day is precious, whether that day is spent in Prague or Spokane--especially if you get to spend it with someone you love as much as I love my sister Sally.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back in the USA

Just completed a 10 hour flight from Prague to Atlanta. Sally is at Panda Express--she's a picky eater and was hungry for "American" food. Go figure. I guess she made a better choice than I did, though--I'm in a smoking room, writing this blog. :) She came in, coughed pointedly, and left again.

We'll get as far as Seattle tonight, arriving around midnight. The plan is to--excuse the term--crash in a hotel room near the airport. In the morning, Sally will go on to Portland, while I head for Spokane. I will sure be glad to see all my critters and, oh, yeah, the people, too. :) With another week of exercise under her belt, Sadie-beagle must be looking downright svelt!

I LOVED Prague--it is beautiful, like a fairy-tale city, with all kinds of spires and minerets. I didn't paint or draw while there, but I sure got inspired! The people are so friendly--with the exception of one store clerk who seemed to miss the Communist regime and would make an excellent Russian border guard. :) The weather alternated between snow flurries and dazzling sunshine lighting up an impossibly blue sky.

As much as I enjoy traveling, though, it's always good to set my feet on home-ground again.

In only 4 days, TYLER will be in the book stores. Am I excited?


For now, though, I'd better go find my sister.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Greetings from the Future

In this time zone, we are eight hours ahead of Pacific and five ahead of Eastern. My brother-in-law just asked Sally, via email, if she'd check out the lottery numbers and get back to him. (Insert smile here.)

Today was our last day in Prague, and we made the most of it, taking the Grand City Tour and finishing up our shopping. We spent the last hour or so trying to cram everything into our suitcases and carry-ons. My favorite purchase, I think, is a Charlie Chaplin marionette, fated to sit on one of the bookshelves in my office.

The weather was VERY cold today--I ended up buying ear-muffs AND a scarf. I'm sure I looked perfectly ridiculous, since Sally kept chuckling when she looked at me. (Insert another smile.)

We saw Prague Castle, St. Vitus (sp?) Cathedral, and the Jewish Quarter, among other places.

It is now time for dinner.

Good night from Prague.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Prague Blog

At last! I'm blogging!

I'm working on the hotel's computer, as my room is not set up for wireless. When I first got online, the blog-dashboard came up in Czech. Although I'm a pretty quick study, I haven't learned the language yet. (Insert smile here: the keyboard is Czech, too.)

The flights over were long, but not uncomfortable. Sally and I arrived in Prague early yesterday morning. Our hotel room is beautiful, with this gi-normous bathtub. We both slept like dead women last night, but awoke refreshed and ordered a room service breakfast. (What is with those scrambled eggs???)

A light snow fell, on and off, all day. We walked miles, exploring shops and touring one museum, consisting entirely of the art of Alphonse Mucha. I had a delicious goulash for lunch--adventurous me. I had no idea what to expect, but it was a lucky choice--at least in Prague, goulash is sliced (yes, sliced) dumplings, stewed beef, and a thin, very tasty gravy. Yumo!

We saw the astronomical clock, one of the things Prague is famous for. It is beautiful and very old, this clock, and if I understand correctly, no one is quite sure how it works.

Tomorrow, we're planning to take a tour of the city, to make sure we don't miss any of the high-points. The shops sell a combination of lovely things and junk, like most such shops in all the cities of the world. Nesting dolls are very big here, along with all manner of crystal items. I bought a gorgeous vase and a bouquet of gerberra daisies to fill it. One of the many things I love most about Europe is the availability of fresh flowers.

I may be rambling a little. I think it's time for this this ole cowgirl to head for the bunkhouse.

More later.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Are you wearing green?

I'm not, but I hope to get through the day without being pinched. :) Happy Saint Patrick's Day, one and all.

Today's the day! I board a plane for Seattle this afternoon, meet up with Sister Sal, and the two of us will have a quiet and hopefully early night at one of the hotels near the airport. Since our plane leaves at 6:30, that wakeup call is going to come before we're ready.

Good Lord willin' and the creeks don't rise, I ought to be able to blog from my hotel room, once we reach our destination. I'm armed with not one but TWO cameras, and I'm sure Sally has at least one in her gear, too. I may even wear one of my FAKE fur coats, since I've heard it's cold over there. Many 2-litre pop bottles gave their lives to make those coats, and I never wear them.

Here's my plan. I'm going to have fun with my sister, try borscht, shop A LOT, sketch, take pictures, take MORE pictures, see chocolate, smell chocolate, eat chocolate, and generally make the most of every moment.

Yee-haw! A vacation!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Say a Little Prayer

For my good buddy, Flint Rasmussen, who suffered a heart attack after working out too hard, and for his family. From what I hear, Flint's on the road to recovery, but you can't have too many prayers.

Tomorrow is the big day--sort of. Sally and I will meet in Seattle, spend the night, and wing it on out of here early Wednesday morning. Although reports are that it's snowing in Prague, we are undaunted. We are going to look, laugh, explore, eat and shop, like good Americans abroad!

Just call me the gadget queen. At Saturday's RWA conference, a lot of my fellow writers were sporting a small computer I'd never seen before--the HP Mini. It weighs two-point-two pounds and will fit in my purse! YES! I was at Costco as soon as they opened at noon on Sunday! Will I be able to blog from Prague? (Hey, an unwitting poem!) That remains a mystery. I will definitely try. If not, look for photographs in my next printed newsletter.

Sadie, over her infection, is off to therapy today. Honestly, you would not believe the progress this beloved dog has made. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she wag-tails it out to the truck in her brown sweater. :) What a sport she is!

I really had a wonderful time at Saturday's conference. I saw an old friend, Stella Cameron, and made some new ones, too. There are many animal lovers in the group, and I felt right at home.

Since I have miles to go before I sleep, I will make this short.

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of the Spokane cowgirl!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sadie's Day Off

Sadie had a small procedure at the vet's yesterday--you don't want to know--so she's taking today off from "swimming lessons". As usual, Dr. Bauer and the crew at Latah Creek Animal Clinic took excellent care of my baby--thanks so much, everyone. We're all celebrating the beagle's progress at slimming down.

While waiting for Sadie, when I went to pick her up, I made the acquaintance of a wonderful three-legged dog named Joey. He's a Labratriever, one of the happiest pooches I've ever seen. Dr. Bauer and his staff took him in after he was abandoned, and cared for him until he was adopted. Don't believe in angels? I do. A lot of them wear scrubs to work, and you have to look closely to see their wings and halos. Joey's new dad was there, too--I'll never know his name, but he had the kindest eyes.

I wrote yesterday, though not as much as I wanted to. Between going back and forth to the animal clinic and getting my hair done, I ran out of time before I ran out of projects! That always happens to me. I am interested in way too many things--there are piles of books I want to read. Pictures to paint or collage. Trips to take.

Speaking of trips, I've changed my mind about taking my laptop. Sister Sally is a decade younger than I am--I'll con her into lugging it. :) And you heard it here first--I'm checking out Austin, Texas the first week in April, partly to do research for the next trilogy, The Texas McKettricks, and partly to check the place out as a possible place to move. I guess I'm just getting too old to handle these Spokane winters. If Austin feels like the right place, the whole herd of us, two-legged and four-legged, will be heading south. I'll keep you posted, of course.

Harlequin sent me the most beautiful bouquet, along with a bottle of champagne, in honor of the continuing success of "Dylan". Who really deserves the flowers and bubbly? YOU. Thank you so much for taking to my Creed boys the way you did.

You make it happen. Never forget that I'm grateful to you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sunshine Continues

Yesterday was a good day--I got a whole chapter written. I'm working on "At Home in Stone Creek", which will be published as a Silhouette Special Edition this year.

My hair is out of control again, so I have an appointment this afternoon. Want to look good at the Spokane chapter of Romance Writers of America's conference this Saturday, and also in the pictures that will inevitably be taken in Prague. :) I imagine my great-great-grandchildren examining the photos and asking each other, "What was up with the hair?" That's later this afternoon, after I pick Sadie up at the vet's office. She's having her teeth cleaned. They call her Sexy Sadie there. :)

In between, I'll be in modern day Stone Creek, catching up with the goings on. You will recognize most of the characters, but there will be some new faces, too, and some of them are furry. Of course.

I'd best get downstairs to my desk. Work to be done.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Sunshine

Hallelujah! It's colder than a witch's you-know-what, but the sunshine makes up for a lot. Still, I'm grateful and glad that I don't have to go out today!

I'm gearing up for the trip to Prague, but it still doesn't seem real. Sister Sal and I will fly to New York and then over the Atlantic, arriving at around 6:30 in the morning. Since our hotel room probably won't be ready that early, we're determined to sleep on the plane and hit the ground running. It's important, of course, to stay awake as long as possible on that first day--we did that on our trip to London, and it was a challenge because all we wanted to do was fall face-first into our beds. Instead, we walked around, had lunch, kept ourselves busy for as long as we could--not hard in my favorite (so far) foreign city--but we sure slept that night!

I'm often asked why I want to go to Prague. It's a fairy-tale city, one that just begs to be sketched, painted, photographed, explored and absorbed. I can't wait to get there, because I so love seeing new places, wherever they might be, and traveling with Sally is so much fun. I'm taking very few clothes, and some art supplies, as always. My camera, definitely. No laptop, though--too heavy. I'm counting on using the business center at the hotel to blog and keep up with my email. (Keep up? I'm hopelessly behind even now.) Once again, if you don't see a blog during the week of March 17-24, please don't give up. I will definitely be back, and I'll have so much to tell you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lazy Day on the Triple L

I've got what the old time cowboys and Mr. Lincoln called "the slows" today. I'm not sick, I'm not depressed and I'm not buried under 5 feet of snow--I'm just locked in low-gear for some reason. And that's okay.

I'll write--but slowly. :)

Life just gets a little too frenzied sometimes, with all that goes on out here in the country. Errands to run. Animals in need of attention. Roads to be plowed. Etc., etc., etc.

Today, Buck will have another accupuncture treatment for his joints. He seems to be responding well to this. Sadie gets a second treatment tomorrow, as part of her therapy. I can't help smiling when I imagine what my grandfathers would have thought of all this--but, hey, it works.

Maybe I'll try it myself. Now there's a concept--taking care of myself. Most of my friends say that if souls are reincarnated, they'd like to come back as one of my pets. :) Not a bad gig, I've got to admit.

Have a good one.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Back in Harness

I painted and collaged all weekend, and now I need a rest from my hobby! Alas, I don't do anything halfway--it's full-throttle or dead-stop. :)

I've made a special collage to get my subconscious mind rolling on the next trilogy, which will begin as soon as I've finished the current project. I can't show it to you, because the images come from magazines, and are thus copyrighted. It's a nice piece, though, and I get a little thrill every time I look at it.

We've been getting little skiffs of snow all weekend, but so far nothing like the Blizzard of Ought-8, thank heaven. That one triggered an inner storm that I'm still getting over.

Sadie is off to her exercise session, and Buck has begun his accupuncture treatments. When the vet came, I went out to the barn to meet her and there was the ole buckaroo, bristling with needles and calm as could be. He did stay pretty close to the Canadian Wrangler, though. He gets another treatment tomorrow and will be on some special supplements for his joints--just goes to show that around the Triple L, the critters come first. :)

Next week, I'm going to Prague. (I can't believe it!) I'll do my best to blog, but after the computer debaucle in California, I can't promise anything. Hang in there if there are no blogs--I'll definitely be back. Blogging with you has become such a habit that I miss you when I can't post for some reason.

In the meantime, back to work. Where IS that harness?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Wandering Blogger Found Safe

:) I meant to blog on my trip to California--I truly did. But my MacAir laptop and the various local wireless networks did not seem to want to cooperate.

On the first morning, I rose at the unGodly hour of 3:15 am (early even for me) and stumbled downstairs to meet my publicist, Leslee, and tumble into the back of a waiting car. Leslee is a dear friend as well as a colleague, and her bright, shiny smile was as good as sunrise. We rode to a nearby studio, where I was made up (repeatedly) and my hair was pouffed about a jillion times. I looked like another Linda, from some parallel universe--would that I could have pouffy hair and studio makeup every morning but, alas, a cowgirl is a cowgirl. At home, it's jeans and sneakers, etc., and "writer's hair", meaning if it gets poufed, it's because a high wind came through or I've been jamming my fingers through my golden tresses over some knot in the story.

Following the interviews, I did several "spots"--just little chats for various people, including the Humane Society of the United States and the Harlequin sales force, which just happens to be the very best in the world! And I have proof--not only did "Dylan" debut at #3 on the Times list, "Logan" was still hanging in there at #14!!! Two books on the list! Yowzer, that news blew back this cowgirl's hair.

Once I'd finished at the studio, I went back to the hotel for my things, and the driver so graciously provided for me took me to my daughter's place in Santa Monica. Wendy and I spent a lot of time together, much needed, laughing and sometimes crying a little, shopping and visiting our favorite restaurants. Of course we hit several book stores, too, and I found several dandies. If they pan out, I'll be describing them here on this blog.

Perhaps our favorite stop--mine, anyway--was a huge Pearl Art Supply store. I really loaded up, and back at home, Wendy and Jeremy and I spent many happy hours at their table, gluing and painting and talking, talking, talking. I left the supplies with them, and hope they'll continue making glorious messes with acrylic paints and mediums of various sorts. It's therapy.

When I left, Wendy came down with a cold. I can't help thinking it was because her old mama wore her out a little. Wish I could be there to make chicken soup, but life moves fast. In a very short time, I'll be heading for Prague, for a week's vacation with my sister, Sally. Yeehaw!

Sadie kept up her program while I was gone, and there is a noticable difference in her. She's lookin' good--no more big belly. Bernice had had a haircut and a bath--I wasn't the only one who got poufed, I guess!

Last but not least, thank you for the success of "Logan" and "Dylan" and all the books that came before. You made the difference, with your loyalty and your love of a good yarn. On March 27, the final story of the trilogy, "Tyler", will be available. Meet me back at camp--we'll sit around the fire and I'll tell you a one heck of a story....