Thursday, April 30, 2009

Slam Dunk!

As of this week, "Tyler" is #12 on the NYT bestseller list! YES!

Thank you, one and all, for making it happen.

I've been working on "Tate", and hope to be reporting similar exciting news next year, when the new trilogy hits the book stores. You won't have to wait that long for new stories, of course--"The Bridegroom", a Stone Creek historical set in the early 20th century, is scheduled for this August. "A Creed Country Christmas" will be available in November, in gift hardcover, and "At Home in Stone Creek", a Silhouette Special Edition, comes out in December. Soon after that, of course, the Texas McKettricks will appear.

Gosh, I'd better buckle down and get to work!

Where does the time go? For example, when I was a child, it was never Christmas--now, it seems to me, it's ALWAYS Christmas. :) I can't believe tomorrow is Friday--already!

If you could see me, you would probably laugh. My fingers are stained with colored ink--I've been dabbing it onto ATCs and positively reveling in the rich, vivid colors. I especially love metallic copper.

On a more mundane note, the microwave went kaput a few days ago. Not that long ago, it was the refrigerator. It's a toss-up what will need replacing next--stove, dishwasher, garage door opener? It's always something, isn't it?

Spring has come to Spokane at long last, and I'm remembering what a beautiful place it can be. Bloomsday, our big foot race, is this Sunday. The Lilac Festival can't be all that far away. People are tilling up the ground, ready to plant vegetable and flower gardens.

Today, I love Spokane.

Ask me again when the snow flies.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good News

I don't have Swine Flu. I'm just a little crazy. :)

The Creed boys continue to sell like sexy cowboys ought to. If we hit the New York Times list today, that will make 12 straight weeks in the top 15! Yee-haw. I'll be sure to post the news here as soon as I receive it, which will be late today.

Along with drafting my new book, "Tate", (One of the Texas McKettricks if you just tuned in) I've been making ATCs like crazy. I've got a batch of reader mail to go through and I'm really hoping some of you have sent in trades.

Did I brag on Miss Sadie Beagle? She's doing so well. Dr. Rose was here yesterday to treat the old Buckaroo--he responds so well to acupuncture and the other treatments he's receiving. Guess my pal isn't quite ready to cross over the River, and that's the best news of all. As long as he's mobile, eating and not in any pain, I want him to stick around.

This coming week my dear Aunt Billie (Wiley) will celebrate her 90th birthday, and we're all gathering at the Ranch on Sunday to whoop it up. A true cowgirl, Billie was a stand-out barrel-racer back in the day, and if memory serves me correctly, she beat my then-youthful, bull-rider daddy in a horse race, with the prize being a secondhand stove they both wanted. Apparently, one of the grandfathers owned the stove, and decided that a horse race was a fitting way to decide where it ended up. :)

Oh, the things I remember. I wouldn't trade my wild-west childhood for anything!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Hypochondria

OK, I admit it. I am a card-carrying hypochondriac. It's the down-side of having a really powerful imagination. With all this talk about a possible pandemic, I notice every ache and pain. I ask questions like, "Is it just me, or is this room too warm?" I imagine scenes of world-wide destruction. I recall severe Biblical warnings about plagues and pestilences.

Until I get bored with myself, that is. Then I do something constructive, like write, read, or do art.

Sadie has officially lost 10.2 pounds--about 5 to go. The little stinker got stalled there for a week or so, and then I discovered her stash--a forgotten bag of dog-food stored in a large closet. Clever beagle. The game's up now, though.

Dr. Rose will be out today to give Buck his acupuncture treatment. This fascinates me. Turns out my health-care provider covers acupuncture visits--all I need is a complaint.

Hmmm. Shouldn't be hard for a hypochonriac to come up with something.

I DO have all the symptoms of bubonic plague. :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Miscellaneous Monday

I just goofed off all weekend, and wow, was it fun.

I painted. I read. I took naps. I shopped for food and actually cooked some of it for myself, not just the dogs. :) I even won a few nickels at the casino, on a game called Hot Shots.

Now, I'm ready for the new week--and the new book! I begin "The Texas McKettricks: Tate" today, book one of a trilogy. Sadie has her "swimming" lesson. Back to normal.

On the 26th, my beloved sister-in-law, Anna, one of the people I most admire, celebrated a birthday. Happiest of happies, dear Anna. We love you so, and feel blessed to have you as a part of our rowdy clan.

The weather here in Spokane is chilly, but beautiful. Yee-haw--it's really Spring! This winter was a loooooong one. :)

My peony bush is sprouting leaves. Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE peonies?

Time to post this and stop rambling.

Welcome to the new week. Aren't we blessed to be here?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Book is Done!

At last, "At Home in Stone Creek" is finished. My feelings are bittersweet--on the one hand, I'm relieved. Now I can move on to the next trilogy, The Texas McKettricks. On the other, there is some letting-go involved here, as I always become very attached to my characters in the process of shaping a book.

I'm looking forward to relaxing over the weekend; doing some art, reading, and revving down a little. :)

Sadie has swimming today--she's only about 4 pounds from her weight goal, and she's learning to walk on a treadmill. Now, to get MYSELF exercising. :) (My counselor suggests that I might consider taking as good care of myself as I do my dogs and horses.)

As I write this, one of my cats, ChaCha, is sitting in a cardboard box a few feet away, surveying the world. What is it with cats and boxes and bags? I took the cutest picture of her yesterday, sitting in a multi-colored basket. (The basket is part of my ongoing and as yet fruitless effort to Get Organized.)

Most people, I am told, want to keep their pets off the furniture. I buy steps for mine. There is a set next to the bed, and I just ordered two more, one for the studio, so they can get up into the windowseat, and one for the office, for four-legged couch potatoes. Right this moment, Bernice is behind me, snuggled up in a dog bed, and Sadie just came in from the yard. I think she's still deciding whether to climb the stairs or stay down here.

Yes, I definitely want to relax this weekend. Whether I actually will or not remains to be seen. :) I have a tendency to get spur of the moment ideas and go with them; call me unpredictable!

Make it a good weekend. You can focus on your blessings, or on those challenges that seem so impossible, but really aren't. The choice is yours.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Minor Miracles

Another early morning, though not quite SO early as yesterday! (I made it all the way to 4 a.m., which is sleeping in for me.)

I had two appointments scheduled yesterday, and usually when I have to go out, my concentration is so scattered that I don't get much written. Having journaled and done my devotions, fed the dogs and let them in and out, I considered going back to bed. Then I decided I would sit down at the computer and see if I could get something--anything--done. I had an experimental mind-set.

Well, by 7:30, I had finished all but four pages of my chapter, and completed the works by around 10:00! (There's your miracle.) It happened that my morning appointment needed to be rescheduled, because I'd gotten the time wrong, and created a conflict. I took a long mid-day nap and went to get my hair done later on. My hair, as usual, was Out of Control! It grows so fast that in three weeks I'll look shaggy again, but I'll worry about that when the time comes.

Today, I will FINISH "At Home in Stone Creek", and I am both happy and sad at the prospect. I invariably fall in love with my characters and hate to let them go. :) On the other hand, now I can start "The Texas McKettricks: Tate" on Monday morning.


On the good news front--there seems to be a lot of that around here lately--"Tyler" is STILL #6 on the New York Times bestseller list, in its third week!! I am so proud of my 'boys' and so grateful to you for making it happen. Thank you for joining us on this wild trail ride.

I'm going to Barcelona next March, with my travelin' buddy, Sister Sal (she says that term makes her sound like a nun! She isn't.) so I ordered the Level 1 Spanish course (European version) from Rosetta Stone in order to brush up and get into the spirit of the thing. :) This time, we're staying longer, so we can spend the first few days recovering from jet-lag, and breaking up the long return flights by staying over somewhere along the way. Love Prague though we did, we kept asking ourselves, "Why aren't we in a warm place?" Barcelona certainly fits the bill.

More tomorrow. Amazing that another week is almost over, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Return of the Wandering Blogger

Early (and I mean EARLY) Monday morning, I picked my mom up, and we drove to Ellensburg, WA, where my brother Jerry had arranged a signing at Jerrol's Book Store and an evening tea thrown by the local Friends of the Library. I gave a speech and answered questions, and we all had a great time.

I so enjoyed spending some time with my mother--she lives pretty far from my house and we don't see each other enough--and of course my brother, his lovely wife, Anna, whom I love and admire tremendously, and my beautiful nieces, Chyanne and Sydney, and nephew, Jerome.

I was blind tired when I got home yesterday, so went to bed early, which explains why I was up at the crack of doom--I mean dawn :)--this morning.

I am THIS CLOSE to finishing "At Home in Stone Creek". I LOVE this book, which is the story of Ashley O'Ballivan (Brad and Olivia's younger sister) and the mysterious Jack McCall. But is he really Jack McCall? Brad ("A Stone Creek Christmas") is in full big-brother mode, and he wants Jack gone from his sister's life, pronto. He does have some good reasons for suspicion--Jack is keeping way too many secrets! Look for this Silhouette Special Edition in December--all will be revealed.

I've got another busy day ahead. Writing, two appointments, and a stack of books to sign down at Auntie's Book Store for several patient readers. :) Miles to go, as the poet said, before I sleep.

The last couple of days have been breathtakingly beautiful, although a skiff of snow is predicted for Friday, believe it or not.

Has anyone notified heaven that it's APRIL????


Friday, April 17, 2009

The Visit

My friend Jean and I had a wonderful time out at the lake, chatting and just generally catching each other up on our busy lives. Even with a deadline looming, this was exactly what I needed. We ate light meals, drank wine, read books, and talked ourselves blue in the face. Talking with Jean, or any of my friends, always gives me a new perspective.

Internet service is sketchy at the lake, since my office out there is in the process of being moved, and that's why I didn't blog.

Yesterday, we drove to beautiful Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, just because it was a sunny day, and enjoyed lunch at the Red Lobster. (It's a good thing I don't have easy access to those cheese biscuits!) Intending to check out the Coldwater Creek outlet in Sandpoint, we journied on to Sandpoint, but there had been a wreck and traffic was backed up for what seemed like miles. Almost there, we had to turn around and go back. We consoled ourselves with a visit to Borders Books, where my friend Earlee officiates, and it was so good to see her again.

After battening down the hatches out at the lake--making sure nothing is left in the refrigerator, evolving into a science project, etc., we came back to the main house, where the dogs threw a rousing welcome-home party. Spent the evening working on ATCs and sipping the champagne my wonderful publisher, Harlequin, sent in celebration of "Tyler", along with a truly stunning bouquet.

Jean is on her way home, now as hooked on making ATCs as I am.

And for me, it's back to the book.

Life is good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I woke up to falling snow--on the 14th of April!

It's so ridiculous, it's funny. I have decided not to have a breakdown this time. :)

My friend Jean is in town for a brief visit, and we're heading out to the lake later. As I'm on a very tight deadline, I'll be stealing off to this laptop every time I get the chance. Jean, a Lutheran pastor, is recovering from Easter and Lent, and plans to spent a lot of her time snoozing and staring out at the lake. Not surprisingly, she understands that the book must go in.

I'm taking the dogs along, which means carting along lean ground turkey, canned pumpkin, etc., for their special diet. :) Bernice is on the same regime as Sadie, except for the treadmill part. They both get the cod liver oil and joint medicine Sadie receives, and they lap up that green tea! Sadie is down another 1/2 pound. 4 1/2 more, and she'll be at goal. :) Then, of course, it's maintenance time. Her trainer is going to teach her to walk on a regular treadmill, so we can keep her healthy. I am so grateful for this miracle--just when I thought there was no help, there it was.

The thing to remember about miracles is that they don't usually happen suddenly, the way they do in movies and--ahem--books. :) They are processes, going from A to B to C, rather than leaping from A to Z. They require patience and faith, but they do happen, trust me. Sometimes, they're even disguised as heartache in the beginning. Trust me on that, too, because I've been there.

I'm holding you all warmly in my cowgirl heart.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Early to Rise

I broke all the getting-up-early records today--2:30 am! I'm so eager to get back to "At Home in Stone Creek", the current work in progress, that my eyes wouldn't stay shut. I've already fed the dogs (they had the good sense to go back to sleep after chowing down on their green tea, pumpkin, bean and kibble combo), done my morning pages and written in my prayer journal. I hope you had a lovely Easter--I spent mine working happily on the book.

Sadie has exercise today--you should see her! Except for the graying in her muzzle, you'd think she was a pup again. I remember when I thought it was impossible to help Sadie lose weight, and now here she is, down 9 pounds and lookin' good. One of many answered prayers.

I've been examining my attitudes, doing a little Spring cleaning in the old noggin, and I decided to get some new ones. :) I can't choose what happens, beyond a certain extent, but I CAN choose my reaction, and that makes all the difference.

According to the weather man, we might get a few snow fluries today.

Repeat after me:
Snow is okay.
Snow is okay.
Snow is okay.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Greetings

On this Good Friday, I wish you and yours the most joyous and holy of holidays. Some of you are celebrating Passover; may you be blessed by the reminder of God's neverending care.

There's a lot to worry about in this crazy world, but Easter is a reminder, as is Passover, that God is ultimately in charge.

He is Risen!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

I'm home, and some the worse for wear, but loving the bright sunshine and warm weather awaiting me. Sadie lost a whole pound while I was gone, and wasn't home from exercise class when I arrived, so Bernice was able to get all that joy out of her system right away. :) Buck is in fine fettle, ranging all over the pasture with the rest of the herd.

Good news on the book front--"Tyler" is #2 on the New York Times list! I could not be more thrilled. Sure, I'd love to hit #1, but that will come eventfully, when the time is right.

Today, I'm mostly doing all those things one needs to do when they get home from a trip. Gotta get some groceries, for a start.

I had a wonderful time in Austin, but the jury is still out on whether or not I will move there. This is a big change, and I need to make sure I get it right.

If I could do whatever I wanted to today, I'd go over to the casino and play slots.

And I usually end up doing whatever I want to do. :)

Back tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

:) The Things I Forgot to Tell You

"Tyler" is #1 at Wal-mart--thanks to all of you!

And, after being contacted by a reader, I've decided to do an ATC (artist trading card) swap.

The rules are simple. Nothing gross. :) The cards must be 2 1/2 by 3 1/2, but otherwise, go crazy. Make a card (only one, at least this first time), send it to me at the address below, and I will send you one in return, signed, dated and numbered. Response time will depend on the volume of cards received, but I promise--you will get a card, an original. And don't be intimidated--as an artist, I'm a very good writer. :)

PO Box 19461
Spokane, WA 99219

Let's have ourselves some fun!


There was lots of it yesterday--serendipity, I mean--just those little things the angels like to do to let you know they're around. For instance, a few days ago, I mentioned to Wendy that I attended an Esteban concert in Phoenix soon after September 11, and that he'd closed the show with "Here Comes the Sun", cheering the audience up a lot with the reminder that life would be good again. Because my daughter is sweet and generous, she bought me a small music box while we were in San Antonio on Sunday, and out tinkled the notes of that song. Okay, so that was no coincidence--but yesterday morning, as I waited on the telephone for a conference call, the first tune I heard was--you guessed it--"Here Comes the Sun".

What are the odds? There were other things, as well, too small and too personal to relate here.

We loved San Antonio--it's one of my favorite towns, and I've been there several times. I always explore the Riverwalk and make a pilgrimage to the Alamo. It's sacred ground to me--a symbol of courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

Yesterday, we did more exploring--visited Round Rock. Gotta love that name.

Tomorrow, we're homeward bound, Mary Ann, Jenni and I heading back up north to Spokane, and Wendy to Santa Monica. This week has been wonderful Girl-Time--lots of laughter and good Texas food and new sights to see in every direction. This part of Texas is very green, and I'm smitten with the place, though I haven't been here long enough to decide on a move. I'll most likely lease a place for the winter months.

Gosh. I have to come back to Texas.

DARN. :)

(PS-Mom, I'm answering your emails, but they're bouncing back. Is your mailbox full?)

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Exploration Continues

Our first full day in Austin was great! Wendy and Jenni slept in--they'd been up most of the night catching up, since they hadn't seen each other in a while--but Mary Ann and I were ready to hit the trail. We grabbed some of the free breakfast served here at the hotel and off we went--first stop, Target. Given all the cosmetic geegaws I bought, I should be beautiful by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. :)

By the time we got back to the hotel, the girls were up and about. With a little prodding, they got ready :) and we were off again. We're planning more shopping today, but some sightseeing too. We'll be making a drive to San Antonio, to visit my beloved Riverwalk and the Alamo, and I want to see the Museum of Texas History. After all, the Texas McKettricks are from these parts. (Who knows, maybe I'll run into one of them.)

We all showed up in winter clothes, since there was snow on the ground in Spokane last time I heard. What a change! Here, it's blue skies and sunshine. Yesterday was windy--no amount of spray was enough to tame this hair! I found sandals, so I could ditch the sneakers and socks; hope to locate some shorts today. Main stop, though, will be Hobby Lobby. I'm itching to make more ATCs. You can tell I'm away from home--and my studio--because my fingernails aren't smudged with glue and paint. :)

More later.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Greetings from Austin!

For some reason, I couldn't get this blog to publish yesterday. Here's another try, with a new blog to follow!

Wednesday was a looooong day. Mary Ann, Jen and I left the house at 4:30 am, to be squired to the airport by Larry, the Canadian Wrangler. (The dogs and cats are under the care of the Wiley cousins, Deb and Steve.) My daughter, Wendy, was already here in Texas, waiting for us.

It's early, and everyone else is still sleeping. I expect the aroma of brewing coffee will bring Mary Ann stumbling out of her and Jen's room any minute now!

Since we didn't arrive until mid-afternoon, and then there was all the checking in, schlepping, laughing and dinner-having to be done, I haven't seen much of the Texas capitol--yet. I am eager to get out there and take it all in! Plans for today include a grocery store and Hobby Lobby (YES!) and lots of exploring. We're staying in one of those all-suites places, and it's lovely. Nothing fancy, but it does have a full kitchen and two bathrooms--a definite plus with four women in residence. :) Who needs fancy? Clean and comfortable works for this ole cowgirl.

We dined at one of our Arizona favorites last night--Mimi's Cafe.

The sunshine and blue skies are balm to my soul. As of yesterday, it was 34 degrees in Spokane, somewhere in the 60s here.

More later.