Monday, August 31, 2009

Back in the Real World


I finished the revisions on "Tate" over the weekend, and pretty much did nothing else. The book has gone to my editor--PHEW--and now she will do her magic.

Today, it's on with "Garrett", the second Texas McKettrick, and Tate's brother.

I'm not sure about the weather--it's cloudy today, might rain. I watered my deck garden anyway, because the tomatoes and dahlias especially seem to need a lot of water. My zinnias are going crazy, and so is my yellow rose bush. It's just bursting with blossoms! I've learned lots of lessons in this my first year of gardening, the primary one being : FERTILIZE! I've been composting for a while now, so next spring I plan to have plenty of good compost to add to the potting soil. My dinner-plate dahlias, down in the flowerbed, are HUGE. I'll get a shot of one and put it up on my Twitter page. www.twitter/


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Blog Challenged AGAIN

I finally gave up on yesterday's blog--it simply wouldn't post, no matter what I did.
I am a persistent ole cowgirl, but I finally decided it just wasn't meant to be.
I wanted to tell you that I finished "Tate" and I will be revising for the rest of the week, then starting on "Garrett" next Monday.
I took a mental health day yesterday--read, painted a little, and napped a LOT.
I read Jennifer Lauck's wonderful memoir, "Blackbird" (about 5 years after the rest of the world!) and was so taken with it that I ordered her second book, "Still Waters" and steamed right through it. I love memoirs, as I've probably mentioned before. Lauck spent a few years in Spokane, something I didn't know before. I was so impressed by her courage, even as a young child--at one point, her stepmother simply dropped her off at a commune/homeless shelter, where she slept in a big room with all kinds of people crashing on bare mattresses and was expected to help out with meal preparation in order to earn her keep. Her age? Eleven.
She learned to take a bus to and from a church, where she was also expected to work, and got herself to and from school.
The strength of the human spirit constantly amazes and humbles me.
On the other hand, I'd love to get into the boxing ring with that stepmother. How in the world can anyone justify leaving an eleven year old child to fend for herself, and among strangers no less???
OK, I guess I've sounded off enough.
Children and animals are my cause--they are small, they are helpless, and they have so few rights.
God bless them all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tate is DONE!

The book is done.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I'll do a little of both, probably.

Time to water the flowers, write in my journal, get dressed, wait for my editor's verdict.


Maybe I'll paint something. Maybe I'll cook something.

The possibilities are dazzling.

But first--water plants.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Cowgirl Never Quits

She may back off for a while, though, and figure out how to take another run at a challenge.

I must have written my blog three times yesterday, but when I tried to post, all or most of it would crumble and drop away into cyberspace. I finally decided those things, simple and ordinary as they were, just plain didn't need saying.

Here I am again, giving it another shot.

I wrote yesterday. I watered flowers. I let dogs and cats in and out, and of course fed them.

Today? More writing. A possible run to the grocery store. No need to cook, though--my second and much better batch of Baked Spaghetti is in the fridge. The first effort was good, this one was wonderful.

A cowgirl never quits.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tweet On

This morning, there is a photo of a huge pink dahlia from my garden at

Welome to all the new Twitter followers! I'll do my best to keep it interesting and fun.

Look for shots of my horses soon, as in later on today.

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment and a hair cut (desperately needed), so I will be working on "Tate" very diligently today.

Interestingly, the next book is "Garrett", the second brother, and Garrett's lady is named Julie. Ironic, considering I planned the stories and named the characters long before I developed my current Julia Child fascination. You see, Julie Remington, my heroine, is a super cook!

I may take another stab at the Baked Spaghetti today, between pages.

Lovely weather here; garden and pets flourishing. Ole Buck is looking pretty good.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The temptation was just too great. I sneaked away from my computer yesterday and went downtown to see a movie. I think it's the first one I've gone to, instead of waiting for the DVD, since last December, when I was alone in Vegas and killing time.

You won't be surprised to know that it was "Julie and Julia", and I loved it, even though I've read both books--the script is a combination of the above-mentioned title and "My Life in France", a sort of bio-auto-biography of Julia Child, and therefore pretty much knew everything that was going to happen. The performances were amazing--especially Streep's--with her usual brilliance, she did not portray Julia Child, she became Julia Child.

It was so much fun to watch the cooking scenes--and I was pleased when the Boeuf Bourguingon (sp?) looked exactly the way mine does!

Rare is the movie I will watch more than once. I have a hard time sitting sitll unless my interest is TOTALLY engaged. Add this one to the list, along with "Benjamin Button", "Secondhand Lions", "The Bishop's Wife" and "It's a Wonderful Life". When the DVD comes out, I'll be there to get it.

After the movie, I made a short stop at Williams and Sonoma for a blue enamel skillet to match my beautiful blue casserole. Now I'm all set, Julia-wise. (And actually Wal-Mart sells some colorful and sturdy cookware, designed by Paula Deen, for very reasonable prices.)

Having gone to the movie I've long wanted to see--two more on the list--"My One and Only" and "The Time Traveler's Wife"--I came home, fed the dogs, and WROTE happily for several hours. I had leftover Boeuf-B for supper, along with a nice glass of wine.

It's all good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Twitter Fiend

If you haven't checked out , you might want to go there. I just managed to put up a picture of Sadie--and also the zinnias I wrote about on today's blog.

Zowie. I'm going to be a picture-posting maniac now that I've figured this out!

Perfection is...

A mason jar with zinnias in it! Honestly, this bouquet is so beautiful--the colors clash, but I don't care. I picked some of the prettiest blossoms and put them in a jar that once contained spaghetti sauce, and every time I look at these flowers, my heart soars. It still amazes me that such beauty can come from tiny seeds, in such a short time. One of those ordinary miracles we all need to notice more often.

And, oh, the dahlias! My mom and I both love dahlias. I have lovely yellow, lavender and pink ones--huge and leafy and so gorgeous, and just a couple of months ago, they were bulbs.

Although it is still hot out, there are signs that fall is coming. I'm planning to put in daffodil and tulip bulbs, in anticipation of spring. And I've ordered rose bushes--mostly the English variety. They are lush and full and resemble peonies, my absolute fave, but they last a lot longer.

There are a lot of movies playing that I'd like to see. "Julie and Julia", "The Time Traveler's Wife", and now "The One and Only". When I finish this book, I may reward myself with a movie marathon. Buy several tickets and move from screen to screen, and gorge myself on popcorn. :)

Did I tell you we're getting our own theater right in Airway Heights?? I can't wait for that to open. We're really hitting the big-time! Last year, a new Wal-Mart, and now a cinema?? Is there no end to this madness???


Monday, August 17, 2009

Tweet, Tweet

Yesterday I included a twitter address, and today I changed it. Those of you who already signed up will be transferred over, so no worries, but for everyone else it's:

I mostly tweet about cooking, and from my cell phone. It's a lot of fun.

I have yet to figure out Facebook, but never fear, I'm on it.

I worked all weekend, though my sister and brother in law and their friends were here for reheated Baked Spaghetti. It was a big hit! (I think.) I made another batch of Boeuf Bour. (I can't spell it) between pages last night, and although it's delicious, I added too much tomato paste and that changed the lovely chianti taste. We live, we learn.

As soon as Sadie leaves for her exercise day--those brown eyes are harder to ignore when there's beef stew around--I'll bring the pot out and let it simmer on the stove.

We've had a lot of rain here lately, but now we're in for more heat.

Got to water the tomatoes and let in the cats.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spaghetti, Etc.

Well, I made a pretty good dent in that baked spaghetti last night at supper, and I thought it was delicious. I would definitely make it again, with a few tweaks. Maybe a little tomato paste and some garlic. That's the fun in cooking--you can always tinker a little, and that's fun.

I've been writing, writing, and writing--I should be done with the book by Friday, and that will be a big relief--and a little bit sad, too. There's always a letting go process, and it's a bit like sending a child away to college. They're still your child, and they will always love you, just as you will always love them. But they don't need you in the same way.

I'm having a lot of fun with that Twitter thing. I just realized I invited all of you to follow, and didn't give you the proper address. It is:

What I'll be cooking next: Paula Deen's Cheese Biscuits.

Between the cooking and the quitting smoking--it will be 2 months next week--I'd better get myself a pair of good walking shoes and take to the trail, or I'll need a crane to mount a horse.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Good News and Baked Spaghetti

I'm loving this book--"The Texas McKettricks: Tate"--it's among my best, but it's been a long, hard pull, too, for reasons that have nothing to do with the book itself. I expect to be finished in a week, and zooming right on into book 2: "Garrett". These Texas McKettricks are something else, and so are their ladies.

Picture me downstairs in my office yesterday afternoon, writing away, Bernicie behind me in her dog bed, and Sadie upstairs, snoozing in the kitchen. (She stays close to the kitchen in the daytime, just in case someone should suddenly relax the Sadie-food rules. :)) The telephone rings, and I hear very good news--I'll be heading to the big rodeo in Vegas again this year, but this time, I'm 'appearing' at a well-known casino right on Las Vegas Blvd. December 8 and 9th. Full info will be on my website soon, along with Harlequin's. Trust me, gang, this is BIG!

Today's priority will be writing, of course. I'm trying a new recipe, too--Baked Spaghetti. I'll let you know how it turns out. If I can manage any spare time this weekend, I'd love to head for the theater to see "Julia & Julia."

I've mentioned my sister, Sally, a lot on this blog, and I thought you might like to see some of her artwork. Check her out at

Tell her Lindy sent you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I'm always going on about zinnias--and they ARE beautiful--but it occurs to me that I might have given dahlias short shrift in the process. Three giant lavender blossoms grace my table as I write this--I did not intend to cut them, but (gardening lesson #422), the larger varieties need to be staked because they become top heavy and the stems break. They make a very nice cut flower anyway, and you can bet I'll be adding dahlias next year. These are growing in a pot; when the season is over, I will transfer the bulbs to the flowerbed and mulch to keep them snug and warm through a Spokane winter.

You know all about Spokane winters. :)

I will soon be starting my next Texas McKettrick book soon, "Garrett". Garrett's heroine, Julie, is a cook--named long before I read the book or the movie was released--so I'll be able to include my own new interest--cooking.

Lots of work today, so I'll make this short.

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lovely, Cozy, Rainy Day

I love this weather--partly because I get to stay home and work on the book. No outside appointments.

My deck garden is flourishing--I've harvested a lot of cherry tomatoes (delicious) and chopped one of my own green peppers for today's omlet. (As it turned out, all three of the tomato plants I put in this year produce the tiny variety. You garden, you learn.)

I had an appointment yesterday, so stopped by Williams and Sonoma (it's the Julia thing again, and I haven't even see the movie yet!) to buy a decent lidded casserole dish. I chose a 7 and 1/2 quart Le Creuset in a lovely shade of blue--do you know what those things cost? I was astounded. In any case, I (along with generations of descendents, given how sturdy this pot is) am all set up for all kinds of savory stews and other delectible dishes. I'm definitely planning to make the Boeuf Bour. again, but I want to try a lamb stew first. Navarin Printanier (Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables, page 345, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.)

I've been doing a little theraputic painting, too. I started a new mixed media series called "Showgirls". My plan is to put some of my art work up on Esty, with gross profits going to our local shelter, Spokanimal, among other worthy creature-related clauses. My sister Sally (yes, the travelin' buddy) is on Esty as Moonlight Sally. Maybe she can help me get my shop up and running.

I'll be sure to let you know.

Meanwhile, I'm tweeting pretty often now. Sally assures me I'm not a twit for tweeting on Twitter. :) She's just being nice.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Boeuf Was a Hit!

I'm inspired! The bunkhouse crew loved the fancy French beef stew as much as I did. I can't wait to make it again, this time with a few touches of my own, like more stew-meat and more carrots. I hope Julia doesn't roll over in her grave when I say this, but I think I'll simmer the next batch in a slow cooker. I think that would really bring out the flavor.

Of course I'm doing the usual things, writing, taking care of dogs and kitties and plants, recovering from my tour for "The Bridegroom".

Quitting smoking has been an adventure. I think it threw my brain chemistry off a little, so now my medication has to be adjusted.

I've done a little painting, a dab here and there--with all that's been going on lately, most of my time goes to either writing or plotting the book.

It's time to water the plants--we're in for a hot one today, with thunder and lightning tonight.

Are you following me on Twitter? I tweet quite often, from my cell phone. If one tweets on Twitter, does that make one a twit?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Where's the Boeuf?

I did it! I followed through on my first Julia Child recipe--shopping, gathering ingredients, chopping, measuring and mixing. Boeuf Bourguignon, ala Linda Lael Miller. :) According to Julia, the dish is better after a night in the refrigerator, and it was after eight when the stuff had finished its two-and-a-half hour stint in the oven.

I made a few mistakes, so I'll be trying this dish again, but I can tell you this: it tastes GREAT and smelled almost as good in the oven. I actually had rainbow trout (yum) for dinner, as BB takes so long, but I'll be diving in at lunch time today, and we'll see what the bunkhouse crew thinks. (They lean toward cheeseburgers and the like, but they're adventurous.)

This blog has not wanted to cooperate with me today--I started it early this am and it would not post. Let's hope this try is more successful.

I'm writing today. Best of all worlds.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Before I get into the subject matter of this blog--my new and totally unexpected interest in cooking, of all things--let me say that although I enjoyed the tour for "The Bridegroom" (#9 this week on the New York Times Bestseller list!!!) I am VERY glad to be home. Home is where the dogs, cats and horses are--and thus where this cowgirl's heart is.

As I've often mentioned, I listen to a lot of books on my iPod, and I just finished "My Life in France"--by Julia Child, with a great deal of help from her nephew by marriage, Alex Prudhomme. I'm reading "Julie and Julia", with delight, and of course I plan to see the movie when time allows.

Being of a certain age, I remember seeing Mrs. Child (she adored her husband, Paul Child, and would surely have poo-pooed the "Ms." so many of us like to use), first on PBS and later doing segments on major morning news shows. She was always such a good sport, so positive, and so confident. I was too young to truly appreciate what a pioneer she was, and too poor to buy the special pots and complicated ingredients necessary to whip up dishes I couldn't pronounce, let alone spell, but I liked watching her. Her relentless good cheer made her likeable in the extreme. Lots of things can go wrong on live TV--but back then, in the days of black and white and cables snaking everywhere, ready to trip up the unwary, Murphy's Law could so easily run amok. Escaping lobster? Omlet on the floor? Nothing flustered Julia.

Now there are many TV cooks, but Julia blazed the trail.

Maybe it's a natural outgrowth of my new passion for gardening, this new penchant for flavor and texture and color in food. Maybe it's because I've stopped smoking and things taste so much better--I'm not sure. But I have my copy of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", and I'm planning to tackle a few good recipes--I know I will not be able to kill lobsters--starting with Boeuf (Beef) Bourguignon--yes, I had to look up the spelling. This is a beef stew, made with red wine, bacon, onions and mushrooms, and often served, according to Mrs. Child, with boiled potatoes.

Don't worry. This isn't going to turn into a food/cooking blog. But I will share my Boeuf Bourguignon adventure here. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Time for a Brief Blog

I'll be going to the airport in a little while, and I still have stuff scattered around, waiting to be jammed into some bag, somewhere--and THIS when I'm deliberately leaving things behind, lightening the load.

Breakfast will arrive soon.

Travel days are challenging--but home is at the end of the trail. And home sounds mighty good to me.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Online At Last!

Well, I've had a dickens of a time getting internet service here in Reno, even though my fabulous publisher installed me in a very nice hotel, in the concierge tower. Casino/hotels don't want you hanging out in your room, after all, blogging and writing and living as normal a life as one can hope to in a Reno they don't make it easy. The remote for the TV is impossible, and you can make 1 cup of coffee at a time.

In any case, today I managed to make a stop at a Best Buy--my escort, Dianemarie, took me there--and a wonderful young man named Trent fixed me up with a special connector-dealie, and here I am!

I have been tweeting regularly on Twitter--if you're into that sort of thing, I hope you'll sign up to follow me.

I arrived in Reno night before last, pretty tired, and found out that 1) my luggage hadn't made it onto the plane and 2) the car service thought I was coming a day later. You deal. American Airlines promised to deliver my bags to the hotel as soon as they came in--I had no makeup, no pajamas, no fresh clothes. What I DID have was a 5:30 am pickup for a TV show. I decided to be philosophical. S*** happens, right? And the tour had been remarkably trouble free.

I checked in, had some dinner and explored the gift shops downstairs, hoping they had basic makeup and grooming supplies. NO. Just poodle skirts and shot glasses, things like that. So I hiked to the supermarket--just across the street. Easy, right?

Easy, WRONG. Just getting from one side to the other was an act of death defying bravery, even with the 'walk' and 'don't walk' sign. On the way over and on the way back, I got no farther than the center line before the "stop" hand started blinking.

Still, like the trooper I am, I'd managed to collect emergency supplies. I figured the clothes I'd worn on the plane would be okay in a pinch. I tried hard to relax. I took a nice bath. I called the bell desk. No, the bags had not arrived. Long story a little shorter, they finally DID arrive--at 1:30 am! I managed to speak coherently on my TV interview, but when I got back to the hotel, I put the 'do not disturb' sign on the door, climbed into my pajamas, and CRASHED. I must have been ill, because I slept 20 out of 24 hours. Lunch and dinner were both room service--I never got out of my pajamas. (I was so glad to HAVE pajamas.)

Life on the road. It's fun, it's exhausting, and let's face it, it's Not Normal.

I'll be doing a book signing tonight at Borders here in Reno tonight, from 6 to 8 pm. I hope you'll stop by if you live in the area.

I'm headed home tomorrow morning. If all goes well technologically, I will try to blog before leaving for the airport.

If not, I'll be blogging on Thursday for sure.

The tour has been great. Being at home with my critters and my plants will be even better.

It's all good.