Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year of No Resolutions

I'm not making any formal resolutions this year. I always break them, anyway. :)

In 2011, I will simply ENJOY my life. I plan to celebrate the blessings I have Already Received, which are beyond counting.

I will laugh with family and friends.

I will explore my first and most beloved art form: writing. Quiet the committee of critics in my brain and just do what I love--tell stories.

I will follow that priceless British advice: Keep Calm and Carry On.

There may well be rough waters ahead, but we're up to it. We can do this.

I hope your 2011 will be the best year ever, followed by progressively better ones.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Home Again

I made it! I'm home in Spokane, arriving yesterday evening in a flurry of snow. As we left Seattle, we were warned that we might not be able to land here, and would have to return to Sea-Tac, but thank heavens, it didn't happen.

Today, it's a winter wonderland out there. Truly beautiful. I'm so grateful to be snug and warm, here in my own house, with my dogs and kits for company. The power went off last night around nine, stranding Sadie-beagle and me in the kitchen--she was hoping in vain for a snack and I had just brewed some decaf in my handy-dandy Kuerig machine--but we managed to navigate our way upstairs and zonk out. The electricity came on again--bedside lamp shining in my face--about two o'clock. All this meant I had to skip a night with my sleep machine, but here I am, alive to tell about it.

I'm worried about all my friends in New York. They REALLY got slammed by that last blizzard. And where ARE the snow plows, anyway, Mr. Mayor???

I'm definitely tired today, and a bit under the weather, as I usually am after a trip, but I expect to rally soon.

Stay warm, stay safe, and stay kind.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I can hear the rare Santa Monica rain pattering on the roof top as I write this. I'm at Wendy and Jeremy's place, having spent Christmas with them, and I slept in the loft room.

I feel completely restored--no trace of the pleurisy, thank heaven. We opted out on the planned trip to Disneyland and just took everything pretty easy.

Christmas was lovely. I did receive gifts--my daughter knows me and therefore picks amazing gifts. The best of all, though, was a donation to an organization digging wells in places all over the world, where the water isn't good.

I fly out in a few hours. I'm ready to get home, see my critters and the crew, and get back in harness. Those mother-daughter writing sessions I mentioned, as you might have guessed, didn't materialize. Wendy just finished with three projects that were all on very tight deadlines, and she was tired. We did hit a wonderful craft store, went out for delicious Mexican food and to our perennial favorite, the Galley in Santa Monica. We watched movies and caught up on everything, and it was all so great.

I am still dazzled by one of those movies, "True Grit". As a die-hard John Wayne fan, I was skeptical that anyone, even Jeff Bridges, could pull off a remake of a classic like that one. Well, he did. He WAS Rooster Cogburn, come to life, and the other actors blew me away as well. Especially the actress who played Matty Ross. WOW. If you love a good Western, as I do, see this one. It's GREAT.

So that's the news from Wendy and Jeremy's guest room.

Tomorrow, good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I'll be back at my kitchen table, blogging away.

Hope you'll join me.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, One and All

I'm visiting family in Southern California and having the best Christmas ever!

I was tired when I arrived, and still a little ill with pleurisy, but I am recovering rapidly, with all this love. :)

I hope you're all enjoying the holiday, as I am.

More tomorrow.

May you be blessed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

June Lund Shiplett

My friend June Lund Shiplett passed away very recently, and this blog is a tribute to her.

June was a writer's writer--two of her early books, "Journey to Yesterday" and "Return to Yesterday", were great favorites of mine, time travel stories I remember fondly all these years later. She was hugely popular in her day, and appeared on several national TV shows while on tour--I clearly recall watching her on Gary Collins' "Hour Magazine", with her beloved husband, Charlie. The host asked Charlie, a down-to-earth midwestern type, how success had changed their lives. Dryly, Charlie replied, "Well, we drive a little better car."

Eventually, Charlie became seriously ill, and June took care of him with a dedication and goodness of spirit worthy of the strongest romance heroine. This was a forever kind of relationship.

June taught writing courses for years, and won many, many friends with her elfin smile and twinkling eyes. I will miss her, as will countless others whose lives she touched, but I like to think she's with Charlie again--what a reunion that must be.

I can just see them, beaming at each other and launching into a wild polka.

So Godspeed, my friend, and say hello to Charlie for me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rush, Rush, Hurry, Hurry

Yikes. Five days til Christmas. How did this happen???


I spent the weekend in p.j.'s--the pleurisy kicked in again. Mom and I had to reschedule our holiday lunch--thanks for understanding, Mom.

On Friday night, I watched Debbie Macomber's movies, back to back--"Mrs. Miracle" and "Call Me Mrs. Miracle"--and I enjoyed them so much. Well worth seeing if, like me, you are schedule challenged and missed them. (Mom finally gave me a nudge, and I was able to Tivo.) I loved "November Christmas", as well. Any movie with Sam Elliott in it is okay by me. :)

Wendy and I both have deadlines, so we're going to do our mother/daughter writing act while I'm visiting. We're both determined to make a miracle. :)

In the meantime, rush, rush, hurry, hurry.
Miles to go before I sleep.

And that's the news.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gone? The Whole Week? Already????

Yep. Time flies when you're having fun, as the old saying goes. :) The pleurisy hasn't been all that much fun, I must admit, but the rest of it--writing, doing art, getting ready for Christmas--has been great.

I have these new rubber stamps. Frida Kahlo. (Famous Mexican artist, one eyebrow.) I'm stamping anything that stands still, I love these images so much. Here, kitty, kitty....

Mom and I are going out to lunch on Sunday--it's been too long since we've seen each other.

Be warm, be safe, be kind.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our Snow Headed East

I can actually see green lawn out my windows as I write this blog at my kitchen table, per usual. According to the weatherman, it's a temporary respite.

The book is moving along. I swear, I'm loving every minute of writing it. Delicious experience.

I'm feeling better, too. Pleurisy is no fun, of course, but my dear editor, Joan, has something worse--hers came with a fever. :( Feel better soon, Joanie.

One of my art pieces will be up for auction on Brenda Novak's site--she raises tons of money toward finding a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. Go, Brenda!

Gotta brag on those homemade tamales from DeLeon's, here in Spokaloo. YUM. (D.i.e.t.? What d.i.e.t?)

Still goin' crazy with the Friendly Plastic. New favorite color? Pink sherbet. Hard to find, but so gorgeous. I made a pretty spiffy Christmas tree ornament and I will post a pic when Chris is around--he's the computer geek in our outfit, as well as the back-up dog nanny and housekeeper. :)

That's the news, peeps. Stay safe, stay warm, and stay happy.

Remember, it's a choice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sometimes I Amaze Myself

But not very often. :)

Yesterday was crazy. I had to see the doctor about the chest bug (pleurisy), pick up the handmade tamales I'd ordered from DeLeon's (an absolute necessity!) and have my sleep machine adjusted by a professional. Despite all that, I managed to finish my chapter of "The Creed Legacy". And even mess around with my 9 million colors of Friendly Plastic a little bit.

Like I said, I'm amazing. Or, at least, I was amazing yesterday.

Today, I hope, will be a quieter day. Just writing. Hallelujah!

My Christmas trees--one in my office and one in the living room--are so pretty. I enjoy shiny things, as you know. :)

The next play at Civic Theatre is "Don't Dress for Dinner". I can't wait! There is a magic about sitting an audience and watching live actors at work.

Now that's amazing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sick Day

Today, I'm calling in sick.

Chest cold--or something.

I'll be back soon--later today or tomorrow morning.

Not to worry.

It's just a bug.

Some news that is, from my kitchen table. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

White Christmas

The Civic Theatre performance of the old Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye show was wonderful--especially the tap-dancing. And, of course, you can't go wrong with that music.

I may have to see my doctor today--I have all the symptoms of a chest cold. This I do not need. I have a deadline, and I'm leaving for my California Christmas on the 22nd. Please pray and/or send good thoughts.

Wendy and Jeremy adopted a kitten over the weekend, and there was all kinds of drama. It seems the kitty had ear mites and a whole host of other problems, but Wendy took her straight to the vet's office and it's all systems go. Now, to acclimate New Kitty with Older Kitty.

I'll keep you posted.

That's the news, such as it is. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010


It's Friday. We made it through again, gang. For me it was a wonderful, creative week, though I was certainly saddened by the death of Elizabeth Edwards.

I completed another chapter yesterday--as I've said, this book is emotionally challenging for me, the challenge being exceeded only by the rewards. : ) Zounds, this is a good one, if I do say so myself. And I just did, didn't I?

The house is decorated for Christmas, with a small tree in my office and a 6 footer in the living room. Gone are the pumpkins and pilgrims; now I have the most beautiful Advent candle holder--a Nativity--on the mantlepiece, and a shiny wreath on the kitchen wall. I won't be here at Christmas, barring a mega-weather front, but still. I love Christmas, and I like to stretch it out. The lights alone delight me almost as much as they did when I was little. (I was the original Christmas kid, along with my brother, Jerry, who is closest to me in age--we also have two sisters, both considerably younger--dubbed December 23 Christmas Eve Eve. "Let's get this show on the road!" was our motto.) Presents are being wrapped (okay, I admit I'm not doing the actual wrapping) and sent off by mail. Secrets are being bantered about, too.

This weekend, I'll be at Civic Theatre, one of my favorite places, enjoying their production of "White Christmas". "The Buddy Holly Story" and "The Cemetery Club" were both so good, I can hardly wait. :)

Lastly, since Spokane is Bing Crosby's hometown, the theatre named in his honor has been running marathons of his old movies. I love everyone of them, but I'll have to be content with DVDs and whatever I can Tivo, because there is only so much time, and I've got a book to write, after all.

Which brings me to the title of this blog. :) I bought a personal oxygen machine from Sharper Image, and I love the thing. It gives me more energy and clears my head.

And that's the news, for the day and the week, from my kitchen table.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I Love Brody Creed

I can't help it. I'm in love with a storybook cowboy. Writing this book is an experience--the emotions are intense and that makes me want to shy away sometimes, while pulling me in at the same time. Alas, Brody only has eyes for Carolyn Simmons, the heroine of "The Creed Legacy". She's a complicated lady--a self-proclaimed gypsy, because she's moved around so much. She loves horses and art--now where did THAT come from?? :)

On the art front, I'm doing Soul Collage again. Years ago, while I was still in Arizona, and before I started this blog, I read a book on the subject and I was off and running. The cards (you could use any kind) are 5x8. They're cut from heavy-duty mattboard, so they can handle a lot of paint and glue. We all know how I love to collage. :) The more layers, the better, in my view.

My plan is to make a personal Tarot-type deck over the coming year. And I WILL post at least some of the cards on this blog. I'll leave out certain cards, because this isn't about fortune-telling. I see the Tarot as a great creative tool, full of interesting archetypes. Carl Jung found it fascinating, and so do I.

Today--surprise--I'll write! Later, I'll melt some Friendly Plastic--the shipment arrived--and see what happens--remember, it's all about experimentation with me. When I have something worth showing you, I'll post it.

The weather is in between--perfect. Cold, but the roads are dry and lots of the snow has melted away.

And I will be heading to California soon, to spend Christmas with daughter Wendy and her guy, Jeremy. Also Jeremy's folks, Sheri and Pat, great people. We're going to Disneyland and will almost certainly do some livingroom bowling via the Wii.


And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards

I didn't know this amazing woman personally, but I admired her so much. What courage, what class, what strength. What dignity. Ms. Edwards set a sterling example for all of us.

I believe, like she did, that we are reunited with friends and loved ones on the other side of the River, and I know she's with her young son, Wade, now. I pray that those left behind will be guided, protected, and consoled in this difficult time.

Godspeed, Elizabeth Edwards. You ran a fine race.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

My Art Journal Page

Posted by Picasa

The Book

Right now, the book is pretty much all I'm thinking about.

I promise a better blog tomorrow.

Stay warm and safe and be kind to each other.

We're all we've got.

Monday, December 06, 2010


That's how the snow looks in this welcome and wonderful sunlight. As though someone sprinkled the whole world with silvery glitter. Gorgeous.

I was a little under the weather over the weekend--fighting off a cold. Hence, I didn't accomplish much--I mostly vegged around in casual clothes and warm slippers. :) Not that I usually dress up--I don't.

Sister Sally sent me an art journal, deliciously blank pages just waiting to be glued and painted and glittered--I have one page well underway and I'm very pleased with it. I took a picture and tried to upload it, so I could post it on this blog, but I ran into a snag. As soon as I figure it out--again--I'll put it up for you to see.

Today? To work. I've had a serious case of the Slows lately, but since I'm so in love with Brody Creed, it shouldn't be difficult to spend the day in Lonesome Bend, Colorado.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Friday, December 03, 2010

New Experiment

While I wait for my shipment of Friendly Plastic to arrive (I'll bet you think I'm kidding, with the word 'shipment'--think cargo container), I'm experimenting with a paper quilling kit I bought on the last run to Hobby Lobby. This is actually quite intriguing. There is some gluing, but it isn't all that messy, really. I like it anyway.

I plan to work on the new book this weekend--I'm slam-dunk IN LOVE with Brody Creed. The emphasis is there because I tend to change my mind a lot.

I'm well into the audible version of Keith Richards' book, "Life". He's a crazy guy but, then, we all knew that, didn't we? What I didn't know was how smart he is. He READS. He's articulate. These are very appealing qualities in a man. :) I haven't gotten to the part where he and Mick fall out yet--that has me curious. He's also very strange, but, again, we knew that. On one of the early tours, the Stones turned up for a show in shabby outfits, probably pretty travel-worn. (Okay, sweaty.) They were ordered to change clothes. So they did. :) With each other.

I love it.

Be happy, and don't get too carried away with the Christmas shopping. People want love, not stuff.

See you Monday.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Friendly Plastic

I love this stuff!

It's shiny. It's messy. It comes in a million colors, and there are all kinds of how-to videos online.


Check out for some interesting stuff.

And now, to work.

Not much in the way of news, but there you go.

I promised not to talk about the S-Word!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The S-word

Still coming down, though only in flurries now.

On to Chapter 2 today--YES!!

I just had to get out of the house for a little while yesterday, so Jenni drove me out to Hobby Lobby for a change of scene. :) I still got my work done, I'm happy to say--I do get cabin fever now and then.

I'm having lots of fun with my ATCs, too. Just sent out a card for the Snowman trade on Swapbot. I used "paper paint" to make the body of the snowman--wonderful stuff. When it dries, it has the same consistency as handmade paper. Very cool. I also love Ranger's line of Liquid Pearls--and any product in the Tim Holtz line. He's the master of grunge, a look I really like. Next experimental medium? Friendly Plastic.

Stay tuned.

I promise to use the S-word less.

By June, for instance, you won't be hearing a thing about the stuff.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Here's what I'm wondering. :) Is the whole winter going to be like this? :) If the present snowstorm produces four inches, we will have broken a record for November. In fact, according to Sam Champion on GMA, we'll have had more snow in this one month than all of last winter put together.

I wrote a chapter yesterday--finally got everybody in the new story right where I want them--and it sure feels good to be working.

Caught a minor cold--unfortunately, it's not the kind that rates hot toddies and sympathy. :) Joking aside, I am VERY glad it won't keep me from writing.

I finished listening to Patty LuPone's memoir and moved on to another book. I'm not going to name that one, because I don't like it. And if you can't say something good about a book (or a person), I firmly believe it's better to say nothing at all.

I've moved all my art stuff downstairs, and I go down there on breaks, etc., to fool around with the current crop of ATCs (artist trading cards). As I've said before, I experiment a lot, so about half of my creations end up in the circular file. :) I like to think of the discards as "prototypes". That way, it doesn't seem like such a waste of paper, paint and glue. Since I'm a perfectionist by nature, this process is good for me.

Did I mention that it's snowing here in Spokane? :)

I love snow.

No, really....

Monday, November 29, 2010

5 Cows A-milking

Well, the hype is here--officially.

Black Friday. Pre-Black Friday. And now, Cyber Monday.

For Pete's sake.

I guess I'm old-fashioned (okay, I KNOW I'm old-fashioned), but I miss the days when Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's were separate and distinct. We had time to enjoy each festivity as it came, and really savor it. What a concept. :)

This year, I'm giving milk cows as gifts for Irene, Joan, Leslee, Nancy and the Toronto Harlequin crew. (Irene expressed concern about keeping livestock in a New York apartment :) )Of course the actual animals will be given to needy families in parts of the world where food isn't so readily available that whole television networks are devoted to it.

I've been listening to Patty LuPone's new memoir, and it's fascinating. Wendy and I once saw Ms. LuPone starring in "Sunset Blvd." over in London. LuPone was brilliant--and who knew she was going through H-E-Double toothpick at the time??? She was bumped from the New York production and replaced by Glenn Close (saw her, too. Amazing.)

Next up for a listen is Keith Richards' new book. I want to know why he doesn't like Mick. :)

And, oh, yeah. We've got plenty of snow.

That's the news. Stay warm and stay safe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude: An Everyday Thing

For me, Thanksgiving rolls around 365 days a year. (OK, sometimes I have to adjust my attitude, but, hey, I'm all too human.)

I'm grateful for the obvious: God's love, being born and raised in a free and still wonderful country, my family, friends, and beloved pets. My dear editor, Joanie, and Irene, who has had my back for so many years. My publishers--every single person at Harlequin. You rock, people! My many loyal readers--God bless you.

Then there are the LESS obvious things.

Sunlight glittering on snow.
Music spilling from my iPod into my waiting ears.
Mashed potatoes and gravy. :)
Spokane Civic Theatre
Hobby Lobby
Snuggling down in a warm bed, with a beagle snoring nearby and a Yorkie cuddled against my side. (And two kitties doing their own thing at all times.)
My craft room and everything in it--including the mess.
Robin Roberts on "Good Morning, America"
"That's Clever" on HGTV
Horses on the run just because it feels good
A new story to write.
Everybody reading this blog right now!

May you and all your loved ones be blessed.

I'll be back on Monday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More To Love

Snow! It's beautiful, it's several inches deep, and it's still coming down. Good thing I already bought the turkey. :)

We saw a cow and bull moose passing the fence yesterday, a lovely sight in the snow. These animals are truly magnificent, though I certainly wouldn't want to encounter one of them up close and personal. :) They range over a pretty wide territory, as I understand it, so it's a real treat when they come through our neck of the woods.

I worked on the book yesterday, and did some art work on breaks--I'm having a ball pouring resin on things. :) Plus, I'm still making progress with organization. It makes a huge difference now that I paint and and snip and glue downstairs. The dogs get lots of exercise, too, going up and down--Bernice especially likes to keep me within radar range. She's baffled by the snow, as it's as high as she is, but Sadie barrels through the stuff like a puppy. There are Sadie furrows out back, but they're rapidly filling in. :)

We're planning an extremely quiet Thanksgiving here on the Triple L. We have so much to be grateful for, all of us. High on the list is the fact that I don't have to get on an airplane today or tomorrow. :) As I write this, the bird is thawing out in a sink full of ice water. Slow process, that, but of course it's important to be safe. Picked up a few tips last night, listening to one of my favorite podcasts, "The Splendid Table". Now, to hook up a dog sled and mush my way to the grocery store.

:) Not. Sadie and Bernice, beagle and Yorkie respectively, aren't up to the task.

That's the news from Spokane.

And, oh, yeah. More snow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let It Snow

The stuff is coming down in earnest now, and it's beautiful. Easy for me to say, I know, because I don't have to go anywhere. Sadie may be having a snow-day today--depends on how her "driver", Jen, feels about the state of the roads.

The weekend was a restful one for me--I puttered with my art supplies, watched a lot of "Pawn Stars", and thought about my book. :) Daughter Wendy and I were on the phone for an hour and a half yesterday--we had lots of catching up to do.

As I've said before, for me, art is about experimentation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's fun either way. The ATCs (artist trading cards) I'm making now are mostly dimensional collage--I'm using Angelina fibers, bottle caps, both new and rusted, and lots of ribbons and buttons and, of course, glitter, foil glue and "jewels". If it's shiny, I like it. If I can find a way to glaze an image with liquid resin, I do it. I love the old-fashioned look I get by adding a drop or two of amber dye. I'm also recycling old book pages, especially dictionaries.

Today, of course, is a writing day. YES!

And that's the snowy news from my kitchen table.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Rolls Around Again

It's always Friday, it seems to me. Time just flies by these days.

We have a thin layer of snow on the ground here, the crunchy kind. The dogs and cats are still rather puzzled by it--I guess they don't remember the winter of 08. :)

I'll be continuing with Chapter One today. That one always takes longer than the others, since all the players need to be on their proper mark, and this involves some switching around. I'm loving the whole process. When people ask me which one of my books is my favorite, I always say, in all truth, that it's the one I'm working on right now. I fall madly in love with the hero, become the heroine's new best friend, and hand my heart over to the horses, dogs and cats in the cast. Writing a story like this essentially means living a story like this, and that's not always easy. When my people go through tough times, so do I. At the risk of sounding like a politician, I really do feel their pain. But I also feel their joy, so it all balances out.

I'm planning to read, make artist trading cards and plug away at the organization campaign over the weekend. A little sunshine wouldn't go amiss, but whatever happens, I'm gonna love it.

Or die trying.

:) That's the news from my UNCLUTTERED kitchen table!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Overnight Snowfall

Spokane got the long-promised snow during the night. As I write this, sunrise is still forty minutes away--yes, I got enough sleep, Mom--but it's pretty. Of course I might not admire it so much if I had to commute. :) I'm determined--whatever the weather brings, I'm gonna love it.

The black mold seems to be under control. The process is painstaking, long and fairly noisy, given that fans will be running for a while. Bernice yapped at the workmen continuously as they came and went, despite my assurances that they were supposed to be in our house. :) But, then, Bernice yaps at everybody, including me. She's a yapper, through and through.

I started the new book yesterday. What with all the disruption, I wound up with a paragraph. :) I always have to remind myself that the first chapter takes longer than the others do. I just LOVE this story, though, and I can't wait to get back to it.

I won't be attending the big rodeo in Las Vegas this year. I'll miss seeing my Vegas buddies, like Steve Miller and the Montana Silversmiths' crew, and I hate to skip Cowboy Christmas over at the convention center, too. It's okay--I have work to do, and I'll be heading to Wendy and Jeremy's place for Christmas. THAT will be great fun. We're going to Disneyland again, at my request. I'm just a kid at heart.

It's great to be feeling better.

Look for one of my mixed-media art pieces to be up on the website as a prize soon. There will be more coming along later. Ultimately, I hope to contribute art work to various charity auctions. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life is what happens...

When you've made other plans. :)

I certainly hadn't planned on finding black mold in the basement store room, but there it is. Fortunately, it hasn't spread, and there are people coming in to deal with it. One of those jobs I'm glad somebody wants to do, because I sure wouldn't. It might explain some of the low-energy problems we're had around here, animal and human, too.

I'm getting used to the machine. What a difference oxygen makes.

Sadie and Bernice spent all day yesterday at the vet's office--had their teeth cleaned, etc. The house is just too quiet when they're not here.

Yesterday, I wrote the outline for "Creed's Legacy" and today I'll be drafting chapter one. Yeehaw!!!

My organization campaign is coming along well--tackling the over-filled book shelf in my kitchen today, after I finish writing.

The weather man has been predicting snow for a while now, but so far, we've only had one little p+*%-ant storm. It wasn't even pretty, for Pete's sake. Whatever the weather might do this winter, however, I've already made up my mind to like it. :)

Hold me to that, will you? :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


What a concept. Thanks to my new machine, I'm actually getting oxygen through the night, and I have more energy every day! Hallelujah, brothers and sisters.

Working today, another reason to shout "Yeehaw!"

In fact, I think I'll make this short and get to work.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Foggy Days and Mondays

Never get me down. :) (As long as I decide in advance not to let them.)

I'm so excited, because I'll be gearing up to start writing "Creed's Legacy" today, and I can't wait to get started. Brody Creed is the original bad-a*& cowboy, and he's about to be roped in, for good.

I'm making progress in the decluttering efforts, and that feels really good. This year, I asked the friends who generally give me holiday gifts to donate to the Humane Society, their local shelter, or a children's charity instead. Everybody seems to like the idea, which isn't surprising, really. Most of us, by the time we reach a certain age, have too much stuff. I know I do, and I'm beginning the long and somewhat daunting process of simpifying. It won't be easy--at least not all the time--but worth it? You bet.

Sadie is at my feet, hoping for a supplemental breakfast. No dice, beagle.

Miles to go before I sleep, so I'll close now.

Be well, be kind, be grateful. Yes, we have many pressing problems as a nation and as a planet. We also have each other, and that's why we're gonna make it. As my old dad used to say, "We're partners."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

I get my "sleep machine" today. Am I thrilled?

No, but I'm grateful. And I'm hopeful, too--friends tell me I'll see a night/day difference in my energy levels, etc. Like the d.i.e.t., I will not be saying a whole lot about this, for fear of boring you out of your minds.

This morning when Jenn came to fetch Sadie for a day with her adored trainer, she spotted a huge bull moose standing in the little clearing partway down the draw. What an amazing sight that was!

Plans for today also include: drafting the outline for "Creed's Legacy", Brody's story, working on my decluttering program, and playing with my digital image programs. :)

It's all good.

Have a great weekend. I certainly intend to. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

A moment that shines in my memory happened at the National Finals Rodeo, on December 7, 2008, during which the opening ceremony is traditionally bang-up magnificent, honoring those who served at and after Pearl Harbor. Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the USA", and all us western types were on our feet, rocking that arena with our cheers. A color guard with representatives of all the Armed Forces presented the flag. All of this was deeply moving, but the best part was yet to come: proud veterans of Pearl Harbor, all in their eighties, stood at proud attention, saluting. I mean, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

These are people who quite literally saved the world, ladies and gentlemen. They and others like them, all the way back to the Continental Army, have won, preserved and protected our freedom, and that's all too easy to take for granted.

Today, their modern and equally brave counterparts are fighting the same battles, for the same reason. May God bless them, and their families, one and all.

For all the problems we face today, as a nation, we are blessed beyond the wildest dreams of the Founding Fathers.

If you're out and about to today, you might see someone in uniform, or someone selling red poppies. Buy one. (Hallmark has a great promo going on--you can buy one of those recordable story books for a soldier who won't be home for Christmas. The soldiers can read the story, of course, and then the book goes back home, so the little ones can hear Mom's or Dad's voice. It doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it?)

You can read what you want to read, say what you want to say and, as long as no-one else gets hurt, you can do what you want as well. A staggering number of good people have given life and limb to make that possible.

I know I'm grateful.

Thank a soldier. I do it all the time.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Finishing Touches

Today I'll be putting the finishing touches on "Creed's Honor", my latest book. "Creed's Legacy", of course, is waiting in the wings, ready to go. It's always exciting to complete a book, and it's equally exciting to start a new one. :)

I took yesterday off and did nothing really constructive, including writing this blog. I spent the night before at the Sleep Institute, hooked up to all sorts of wires and electrodes and monitors, being tested for sleep apnea. Guess what? I have it. Yep. There are much worse things to have, of course, and I'm not complaining. It is what it is.

As usual, I'm making ATCs when I have the chance. I've discovered matte photo paper, thanks to an article in one of my art magazines, and I print images for my cards on that. It gives a much clearer and more vivid image. I've upgraded my iPhone to handle some of the new photo apps--favorites are Pic Grunger and Vintage Scene. (My thanks to my friend Val Millette for tipping me off to them.)

What an age we live in.

And that's the news.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

More Sunshine! YES!

I'm soaking it up!

I'm always working hard and fast to finish "Creed's Honor", and that's where my focus is these days, for sure.

I'll be back to the blog by Monday morning, at the latest--earlier if I have something to report. :)

Be blessed.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another Sunny Morning!

I'm loving this sunshine. It's positively medicinal!

And I am so close to finishing "Creed's Honor". Two more days, max! And then it's straight on to "Creed's Legacy", also an exciting prospect.

Part of my good mood stems from this: election day is past! Yes. No more muckraking commercials. Of course I'm glad to live in America, where voting is a right, and I definitely cast my ballot, as always, after giving every issue and every candidate considerable thought. I can't help wondering, though, what we might accomplish as a nation if we could work together for more than five minutes at a time.

I can dream, can't I? :)

My art supplies are Out of Control. Yikes. I don't want to end up on one of those TV shows about hoarders. :)

And that's the news.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

Thank heaven. We've had gloomy weather for days now, but today the sun is making an appearance. Hooray!!!

I am still working on "Creed's Honor"--VERY close to being finished. I had planned on writing over the weekend, but I think I'm going to have to accept that 7-day workweeks are no longer part of my style. :) The story is emotionally powerful and I'm so eager to share it with you.

Speaking of books, have you seen "The Christmas Brides"? This beautiful reissue of my two most recent holiday hardcovers, "A McKettrick Christmas" and "A Creed Country Christmas", is in the stores now. If you haven't read these stories, I hope you'll pick them up. They might just get you in the spirit!

Every year, I like to choose a word to live by. I've decided that 2011 will be the year of ORDER. I will cut down on clutter, sort my art supplies (yikes!), etc., but I also plan to unclutter my thoughts and beliefs.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Cemetery Club

I returned to Spokane Civic Theatre on Saturday evening to see a play called "The Cemetery Club" in the studio area downstairs from the main stage. It was a remarkable experience; so intimate that being in the audience felt almost like being in the play. I loved the show and continue to be wildly impressed by the talent pool in our community.

Next up is "White Christmas". I'm very excited about that--although this year I'm not dreaming of a white Christmas--I'm dreaming of a California Christmas. :)

I bought some candy for last night but, alas, no trick or treaters. :( I miss the old days, when it was safe for little children to ring doorbells.

And now, having blogged, to work.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Case of the Slows

Maybe it's the rain.

Maybe it's because it's Friday.

For whatever reason, I'm off to a slow start today.

My plans for the weekend include: work (I'm VERY close to finishing the new book), art (that's my personal form of therapy) and possibly, some slot-machine playing. I'll also be seeing "The Cemetery Club" over the weekend, at Spokane Civic Theatre. Yee-haw! I'm looking forward to that, Big Time.

Sadie is off to her trainer. Bernice is badly in need of a bath.

And let me just say that, even with a case of the slows, I love my life.

I'm so grateful.

Make it a good one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spokane's Dumbest Criminals

I have a real winner to report. :) Last week, a local rocket scientist, who shall remain nameless, called in a bank robbery.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly.

Nameless (Brainless?) actually telephoned a Spokane bank and threatened to blow up schools if a sizable sum of money wasn't delivered directly to his house--of course he provided an address. Believe it or not, he was surprised when the police came, dressed in banker's garb and carrying briefcases. The suspect's response was not publicized, but that's okay.

He has the right to remain silent.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Think I Misplaced Yesterday

I was so immersed in "Creed's Honor" yesterday that I completely forgot about the blog until it was too late to face a computer screen. :) Sorry about that.

I'm off to Spokane Civic Theatre again this weekend, this time to see "The Cemetery Club". I'm still rockin' and rollin' to Buddy Holly tunes--what a show that was! SCT is one of my favorite places--way back when, I used to participate in plays there. I had small parts in both "Funny Girl" and "Oliver". Alas, I no longer have the time for acting, but I can support the organization by sitting in the audience. And I'm looking for other ways to get involved, simply because I LOVE live theatre.

Today, I'm working on Chapter 14 of the book. It has 19 chapters, total, so I'm closing in on the big finish. Telling Conner's story has been a blast so far--and I'm only expecting it to get better. I'm also looking forward to telling you all about his identical twin brother, Brody, in the next book, "Creed's Legacy". Those Creeds are a wild bunch--wild as their cousins, the McKettricks. :)

The weather is overcast this morning, but I call that cozy.

Make it a good day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Morning Moose

I thought one of the horses had gotten out when I caught a flash of movement through one of the front windows this morning. Alas, a young bull moose was passing by! What an amazing sight, and there I was, without my camera. Yorkie-Bernice was in the back yard at the time, and would usually be yapping her brains out. She's nobody's fool--unless she has backup (as in, ironically, a peace-loving Sadie) she just puts her tiny paws up on the fence, wags her tail, and watches the proceedings with the kind of interest only a terrier can summon up.

As for my mystery outing on Saturday evening, I was time-traveling--I went back fifty+ years to watch "Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story", at Spokane Civic Theatre. It was a wonderful experience--for 2 1/2 lively hours, this mostly-Boomer audence was young again, clapping and yelling and swaying in our seats. The whole cast was fantastically talented, and the music was beyond even MY expectations: Brian Gunn's portrayal of the rock and roll legend was nothing short of amazing. He's a first class guitar player, for a start, and he handled all those great old songs--"Everyday" and "True Love Ways", among many others--not only well, but with a Buddy-like poignancy that touched my heart. Jhon Goodwin (the Big Bopper) and Paul Villabrille (Richie Valens) were incredible, especially in the jointly performed number, "La Bamba". The kicker, though, was "Johnny B. Goode". WOW. I defy you to stay in your seat when that song cranks up--it was a rave! What a thrill that show was, from start to finish. I'm glad I'm a season-ticket holder, that's for sure.

The rains came over the weekend, making all those sunny autumn days even more precious. The leaves are so gorgeous--I'm preserving a few for art projects.

It's all good.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday? Really????

How can it be Friday already? That's ridiculous--five minutes ago, it was Monday!

Time really DOES fly when you're having fun, and that's exactly what's happening with the new book, "Creed's Honor". I enjoy writing all my books, of course, but these identical cowboy twins are a real kick.

I'm planning to write through the weekend, but I've got something terrific planned for Saturday evening. I'll tell you all about it on Monday. (Hint: It's NOT a date, but I do have to dress up.)

It's another gorgeous fall day here in Spokane. We're expecting a rainy weekend, but that's okay, too.

I will be so glad when election day has come and gone. I sent in my ballot at least a week ago, so now I'm entitled to gripe about politics. :) I'm sick of all the mudslinging and the tacky 'vote for me' signs springing up in yards and along roadways like weeds. We've got a lot of work to do, and I think we ought to stop bickering across the aisle, push up our sleeves, and get it done.

We're all Americans, after all. We're in this together.

And that's my piece. Having said it, I will shut up.

Have a wonderful, restorative weekend. If it rains where you live, put a pot of soup on the stove to simmer and curl up with a good book. That's the cure for a lot of ills.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foggy Blog

There's fog in the draw this morning--the trees look wonderfully ghost-like, the tips rising out of a pool of white. Today will be sunny, though, and the sun is already shining. What a beautiful planet this is.

I've booked my tickets to fly to California for Christmas and I am already excited. Chris the Dog Nanny will be here to take care of the housepets while I'm gone. I love spending time with my daughter and future son-in-law, Jeremy. Last year, we went to Disneyland, and I hope we can do that again. I am still a kid at heart. So cross your fingers and repeat after me: "No blizzard, no blizzard, no blizzard..."

I'm working today, as usual, but I do have a hair appointment this afternoon. Right now, I could go trick or treating and scare everybody. Fright-wig city. :)

That's the news from my kitchen table, friends.

Be happy. These are the good old days!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Fabulous Weather!

Autumn. It is SO beautiful.

The wild turkeys are back--I keep warning them about Thanksgiving!--and the moose are around, too. There are HUGE hoof prints out by the barn, but the horses don't seem to mind the visits. Trust me, if the horses are unhappy about anything, we know about it pronto. :)

I'm writing, writing, writing! And I LOVE this book. I can't wait to share the new Creed series with all of you.

In my 'spare time', I play with my art supplies. I'm taking two art vacations next year--I'll be attending Teesha Moore's Artfest, in April, over in Port Townsend, WA, and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, in New York, next June. I am so excited! The latter is famous,among other things, for the before and after self-portraits, one drawn the first day, one the last. The contrast is usually amazing, and I promise I will be blogging and posting my drawings. (This may not be possible from Artfest. I'm not sure there's wireless on site and its more of a mixed media kind of deal. Translation: messy. :)

And that's the news on this crisp Wednesday morning.

13 Bean soup for lunch.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Case of the Missing Blogger

This just in: Linda Lael Miller was found, writing like a crazy woman, at her home in Spokane, Washington. She is alive and well, but very focused on the new book.

LLM told this reporter that she's also doing backgrounds, etc., for her artist trading cards, in her spare time. She was on a cooking kick over the weekend, making up a batch of 13 Bean soup, most of which ended up in the freezer. She also stated that last night's pot roast experiment was a flop, though Sadie-beagle lobbied actively for a sample. :) Sadie is ultra-perky these days, not to mention svelte.

LLM's future son-in-law, Jeremy Hargis, presented her with a wonderful original painting, his own rendition of a bunch of skeletons, jitterbugging. There will be a photo in the blog very soon, she promises. Jeremy is also into making ATCs.

And there she goes now. Headed for her office.


Friday, October 15, 2010


More lovely weather.

Sadie is off to "school".

I'm settling in to write and, later on, to do some art work.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Rescued Miners

It's nice to see a miracle unfold, isn't it? Those Chilean miners, their families, and their rescuers are all heroes, as far as I'm concerned. A true testament to the power of the human spirit--these people chose to believe things would turn out well for them. They could certainly have panicked, fought among themselves, or simply given up, but they took the experience day by day and probably moment by moment. It seems to me that, particularly in these challenging times, they've set a fine example for the rest of us.

As the British say, "Keep Calm and Carry On".

The roses have been pruned back, and Larry brought in the last few blossoms to grace my kitchen. As I write this, Cha Cha kitty is nibbling away at them. :) Must be the Vitamin C.

I'll be writing today--I'm having the BEST time with Conner and Tricia and all the other characters in "Creed's Honor". Today, as a public service, I must take time out for an emergency haircut--I look like the subject of alien wind-tunnel experiments when I wake up of a morning. Alien hairdressers are a running joke between my sister Sally and me--we send each other cell-phone photos of the most dramatic examples!

It's all good.

Keep calm and carry on, pardners.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Recommendation

I purchased copies of "The Secret", both the book and the DVD, for many of my friends and family members, but in the end, I thought it was missing something. Not so with the author's second book, "The Power." This time, it's all there. I not only plan to reread "The Power", I plan to study it.

What is the Power, anyway? You won't be surprised when I tell you: it's LOVE, of course. And I think we hear and read that word so often that many of us have become numb to it. "The Power" certainly gave me a new and deeper understanding--it's an indepth description of how to love, not just romantically, but in the broader sense. Like, love thy neighbor. (Well, that's great, but exactly HOW does one go about that, especially if said neighbor happens to be a real pain in the patoot?) (Just an example, folks. My neighbors are nice people.)

This reminds me of a story about my dad. A long, long time ago, he read one (count 'em, one) self-help book. It was called, "How to Live 24 Hours a Day". In typical Skip Lael fashion, he took in the info, applied it to his life, and never felt the need to read another book of that kind. :) I wish I could say I'm that quick of a study myself, but I'm not. I've read hundreds of these books. And I've got to tell you, if I HAD only read one, I'd want it to be "The Power".

It's amazing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday, Tuesday

Spokane's weather is GORGEOUS. In case you were wondering, which actually seems pretty unlikely....:)

Today is a writing day, with no interruptions (knock on wood) for doctor appointments, etc. As much as I enjoyed last weekend's trip to California, I'm so happy to be home and back in action. Yesterday, I saw a doctor--I'm doing an overnight sleep study soon--that's getting older for you. (It sure beats the alternative, however.)

Having written, I plan to mess around with my art work for an hour or two--I've moved that operation downstairs, which makes for a much tidier kitchen table.

And that's the news.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanks, OCC!

My special thanks to the Orange County Chapter of RWA. I had a fabulous time attending your birthday bash this weekend. What a great bunch you are, and you treated me like a queen. I like that quality in people. :)

Today, it's back to work on The Book, which is going well, plus a routine doctor's appointment. As my friend June Carter Cash used to say, "The older I get, the harder it is to get everything headed in the same direction!"

We've got more glorious fall weather today, I see. Missed the weekend rain, darn it, because I was in sunny Brea, California. Daughter Wendy and future son-in-law Jeremy joined me for part of the weekend, and that was terrific--we visited the biggest Target this ole country girl has ever seen. Yee-haw! Darned if it didn't have escalators--PLUS a special one alongside to transport the shopping cart. What WILL they think of next?

Dogs and cats and horses are all thriving. I was warmly welcomed by the dogs, as always, but the kitties waited until it was dark to cuddle up, lest word get out that they actually like me. :)

I'm happy, I'm feeling good, and I'm grateful.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Another Beautiful Day 2

This weather is so beautiful. I know I keep saying that, but it's true. We're enjoying fall at its very best here in Spokane--bright skies, and the greenest greens. Sunshine, but a medium temperature. I love it.

Sadie is off to her day of exercise and acupuncture. Bernice and the kitties and I are holding down the fort. Mary Ann, the trail boss, is headed out to pick up some horse feed, and the Canadian Wrangler is busy out at the barn.

Situation: normal.

And that's a very good thing.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Blue skies, lookin' at me....

The weather is GORGEOUS today. There simply aren't enough adjectives to describe it. :)

Sally's headed back to Oregon as of this morning--Pam left yesterday. It was so much fun to see everybody again.

I'm writing Chapter 7 of the new book today, and I'm also reading a version of "A Creed in Stone Creek", coming next March, before it goes to the typesetter.

I'll be leaving for California on Friday morning--I'm speaking at the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America. It's always fun to see my writing buddies, and as a bonus, daughter Wendy will be joining me for the weekend. It's a quick trip--on Sunday evening, I'll be back in Spokane. Phew.

That's about it for now.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Reunion

I got together with the family over the weekend--specifically on Saturday--and it was great, as always. It was your typical family reunion--plenty of little kids running around, Cousin Dave MCing (look out, Dave, little Aidan is after your job), the beloved elders who share their memories, the cousins who traveled from far and wide to be with us. We are quite an outfit--and I think we'll be going back to our usual venue in Colville next year, for many reasons, one of which is a food service worker who snarled at everybody in the buffet line if they picked up a plate to serve themselves. :) We're not real fond of "crabby" in our family.

Cousin Jay Lael sang his songs and played his guitar, and even brought along CDs of his music. I was lucky enough to get one. Jay is one of my favorite people--a handsome dirt-bike champ in a cowboy hat, who reads Jane Austen. He likes to remind me that I sold him his first guitar for $15.

There are many funny people in the Lael tribe, so we do a lot of laughing.

Family reunions, like families, are gloriously imperfect, and thank heaven for that, as I wouldn't fit in, otherwise. :)

Back to work on the new book today. Sister Sally is visiting, and we've had a ball. Pam was up from Oregon, and she and Mom came out for a visit yesterday. Pam and I share a deep interest in art, especially mixed media, so it's always fun to talk shop.

It's raining and that makes me feel very cozy in my warm, bright house.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It Can't Be Thursday Already!

Can it? :)

Very much looking forward to this weekend's family reunion. There will definitely be stories to tell.

I worked yesterday, and enjoyed it immensely. Bought some yellow long stemmed roses at the grocery store, just because they're beautiful. That color! Anyway, ChaCha kitty likes them, too--to eat.

Fall. It is SO gorgeous. No wonder it's my favorite season. Today is sunny, but so far cool, with that special crispness in the air that always makes me feel festive.

Today: more writing, possibly some art work, and Sister Sally arriving this afternoon or tonight. Sister Pam is already in town, at our mom's house, and it sounds like they're having fun ahead of time. Jerry can't make it this year, but 3 out of 4 isn't bad, I guess. :)

That's the news.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blogging On

The weather is lovely today--even as I write this, the Canadian Wrangler is out mowing my lawn. :) Don't you just love the smell of fresh-cut grass?

The new office is working out very, very well. There are no distractions, even though the former dining room is in the flow. Bernice loves to hang out with me in there--she's always happy when I light somewhere and she can keep an eye on me.

I'm writing Chapter 5 today, of "Creed's Honor", that is. I'm having so much fun with this book--and I can't believe how fast it's going.

I'm looking forward to seeing my big unruly family this weekend at the reunion, as you know. They're crazy, but they're mine.

And that's the news.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There's a Lot to Love About Tuesday

Here are some things I love about the second day of the work week:

1. "That's Clever" records on my Tivo. :) There are SO not enough arts and craft shows on TV. Now that Carol Duvall is gone, it's a pretty barren landscape. What's that about, DIY and HGTV? There are one or two viewers out here who are not renovating an old house to "flip", you know.

2. New books and DVDs are released on Tuesdays. "Willow", for instance. :)

3. Having started a new writing week on Monday, I'm usually rolling by Tuesday. I love the new office--and the New Book.

4. Sadie doesn't have to go to her exercise program. I miss her when she's away from home.

5. Tuesday, like the other six days of the week, is a DAY. A precious gift from God, to be lived to the fullest and deeply appreciated. Not everybody gets one, after all.

And that's the news.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Willow Etc.

Tomorrow, one of my early books, "Willow", comes out with a new cover and some updating and revision. It's essentially the same story, but longer and more in depth.

On the home front, I'm learning to take my blood pressure every morning. And I'm a wimp--it hurts. Sometimes, though, a cowgirl's got to just tough-up, as my dad would have said. :)

I had a very relaxing weekend. Mostly, I played with my art supplies, but I confess I did play a few slots over at Northern Quest, too.

Today will be a writing day.

Looking forward to the annual Lael Family Reunion next weekend. I hear cowboy-cousin JayDee will be there, with his guitar and some CDs. Yeehaw! I'm a big JayDee fan. :)

And that's the news from my kitchen table on this promising Monday morning.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beautiful Friday

More sunshine! Yes!

Today the new office I told you about yesterday will be outfitted with a desk and chair. Starting Monday, I'll be writing in the former dining room. It has a window looking out toward the pasture, but the main reason I like it is because it is both in the flow of things going on out here on the Triple L and yet a little out of the way, too. The reality? I write wherever I feel like writing--sometimes downstairs, sometimes upstairs, sometimes right here at the kitchen table.

I haven't mentioned the d.i.e.t. recently, so here's a report. I'm following the Common Sense Plan. :) And it's working.

Here's wishing you a wonderful, happy weekend.

May you be blessed--and be a blessing.

And that's the news.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday? Already????

Time flies when you're having fun. And I am definitely having fun writing "Creed's Honor", which is book 2 in the 2011 trilogy. I haven't had much extra time for art, because by the time I finish, I'm pretty much worn out--but happy.

Sadie is snoozing away beside me, on one of the many dogbeds scattered throughout this big house. :) Bernice is probably upstairs, on my bed, and the cats are somewhere plotting mayhem. :)

I'm changing offices--again. Trail Boss Mary Ann repainted the dining room, which hasn't been used more than once since I moved here, and we're bringing in a desk and some other furniture from the lake house. The long, heavy dining table is in the living room now, and it looks great! The new computer will be moved in, too, of course--the one that is for writing ONLY and has no internet connection. (I confess that I sometimes waste time checking out eBay and etsy.) The original computer remains downstairs, near the craft room, and definitely online. I have an enormous collection of digial collage images and an Epson printer that I love, love, love. And now that I've found those cool new apps I told you about, on my iPhone, I'll be having some fun turning photos to sketches, etc.

For now, though, I'll be journaling and heading for the computer to meet up with Conner Creed and Tricia McCall in lovely Lonesome Bend, Colorado.

The sun is shining. YES!

And that's the news.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm Really Rolling!

This new book is SO much fun to write. I can hardly wait to get to my computer, and it's hard to tear myself away when I'm finished. That's the way I like it. :)

The weather has been all over the map lately--this morning we have another lovely blast of sunshine. By afternoon, there may be rain, and a cozy fire blazing on the hearth. Who knows?

Bernice and the kitties and I are holding down the fort today. Sadie went off to her exercise class with Mary Ann, Jen is on holiday in Canada, and Larry the Wrangler is out in the barn. Banjo isn't making so much noise now that he has a special boot on his sore hoof and doesn't have to stay inside the stall. He really did NOT like that. :) The other members of the band were out there having fun and eating hay. He felt abused.

As if.

I spent a couple of hours last night playing with photo apps on my iPhone. Amazing. My favorite so far is Sketchme, which turns photographs to drawings. HOW much fun is that????
Soon I'll be posting some of them for you to see, and they'll be great on ATCs. (Artist trading cards. Someone always asks what an ATC is. :))

So that's the news from my kitchen table for Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Be happy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This Tuesday is off to a beautiful, sun-splashed start. This is the kind of weather that makes me LOVE the autumn season. I won't rhapsodize, having already done so in a previous blog, but suffice it to say, I feel almost festive today. I'm eager to get back to Lonesome Bend, Colorado, where Conner Creed and Tricia McCall are already striking sparks. :)

Banjo came home from his second stay at the veterinary hospital yesterday, this time with an abcess in one hoof, and he's been raising a fuss in his stall ever since because he wants to run around the pasture with the rest of the herd. Vet says no, however. Banjo Man needs to do a little more healing first. The way he whinnies and complains, you'd think he was being poked with a stick. Larry, the Canadian Wrangler, is happy to have his little band all together again, for sure. Horses have such powerful energy that when one of them is away, I can actually feel it. I think I'd know, even without looking, if one of my hayburners went missing.

I've been decorating--sort of a combination of Halloween and Thanksgiving. :) It's a lot of fun, and Hobby Lobby is more than happy to supply me with cute accent pieces. So far, the big theme is pumpkins, but there are also some pilgrims and natives hanging around.

My buddy Chris has been straightening out the craft room downstairs. Yeehaw! I can actually FIND stuff. Right now, I'm working on ATCs, as always, and a journal made from an ordinary composition book. As I've said before, the fun for me is in the discoveries, the experiments, whether they fail or succeed. It's a win-win.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hello, Monday Morning

We're having another overcast day here in Spokane, but I don't mind. It's the kind of day when one might put a pot of split pea soup on the stove, light the fireplace, and give thanks for warmth and shelter and plenty (often too much) to eat. The dogs are snoozing, having had their breakfast, and the cats have retired to some remote part of the house to plot kitty mischief. They love to bring me presents in the night--I often awaken to find a packet of stickers or buttons or some other small item from the craft room (two full flights of stairs must be traversed to accomplish this), a bit of packing tape, or an empty ziplock bag. It touches my heart and invariably makes me smile.

Over the weekend, I bought groceries, visited Hobby Lobby, and played some slots over at the casino. I also did some work on the current crop of ATCs. (Artist trading cards.)

Today I'll be working on "Creed's Honor" and having my photo taken for an article in Spokane's own "Prime" magazine.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Again?

I started the new book yesterday! YES. "Creed's Honor" is underway, and I will be forging on.

There was a blog clog yesterday--between the excitement of starting another story and a fairly routine doctor's appointment, I just plain spaced it out.

I'm having a ball making Halloween themed ATCs (artist trading cards)--it's lots of fun. I'm in a big trade, the 20 card mega-trade on Swapbot, and I've been working on those cards in my spare time for days. I started by cutting 20 pieces of that faux-tin-tile wallpaper I found on eBay, and gluing it down to the cards, then weighting them. I've applied three different layers of slow drying glaze--if they turn out, I'll post a picture here. If they DON'T turn out, I may take up drinking. Just kidding, folks.

Finally solved the dog-pill problem--Sadie and Bernice can't resist pill pouches.

The Banjo Man, my gelding bad-boy, was back at the vet's again, as he developed a hoof abcess. Little (big) stinker. He loves to worry his mama and cost her as much money as possible. I'm glad to say he'll be back home later today.

Folks and critters are always coming and going around here--Jen is off to Canada for holidays with family and friends. After the summer she's put in, schlepping me to the ER and back and forth to clinics when I broke my wrist, among other duties, she's definitely ready to get off the ranch for a while.

We have cloudy skies today. I love it.

Make it a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hair Emergency Handled

As I've mentioned, this is a catch-up week for me. I'm doing a lot of things I put off while I was finishing the book. Yesterday, I wrote up a quite extensive outline for Book 2, "Creed's Honor", and sent it off to my beloved editor, and then headed for the hair salon.

Now, I've gotta tell you, I HATE anything that involves sitting in one chair for a couple of hours--and dental work and hair poofing are at the top of my list--(odd, considering that I earn my living on a computer, but that's different, because I can get up and walk around, do something else for a few minutes, etc.) It's a case of "This too shall pass". When it's (finally) over, I have healthy teeth or decent-looking hair to show for it. One doctor appointment to go--the other is being rescheduled because the surgeon has a conflict--and I can check off those items.

I guess this is my day to ramble. Did I ever mention that I LOVE lists as much as I HATE sitting still for long periods of time? :) When I can check something off a to-do list, it gives me that gold-star feeling from grade school. Go figure.

I made a log book to keep track of my ATC trades--I belong to several different groups--and it's very handy. Now, I'm thinking I need one for the new book...

I may end up organized after all.

Or not.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Beautiful Day

Fall has always been my favorite season, at least here in my home state of Washington. There aren't many leafy trees on the "ranch"--in my mind, 30 acres isn't a ranch--but the drive to Northport, around endless curves in the mighty Columbia River, is breathtaking when the leaves are changing. And that road, wherever I live, will always be the road home.

I love fall because:

School starts. As a student, I was always happy when it was time to wear new shoes and crack open a new notebook. I loved everything about it. As a mom, it was exciting for different reasons. :)

The weather is perfect. Sunny, but not hot.

Crops are harvested. We live in such an abundant country.

Halloween is approaching. I love the whimsical decorations, and I'm participating in at least one ATC swap with a Halloween theme. I have so many happy memories of trick or treating in Northport--it was safe to visit every single house in town, and some of us did just that. When the treats ran low, people gave out things like slices of apple pie, advertising premiums, whatever they happened to have around the house.

When I was young, there was a rummage sale/chili feed every year, near the end of October, and folks looked forward to it for the other eleven months, lining up outside for the door to open so they could snatch up the stuff their friends and neighbors had donated. I forget the cause they were raising money to support. I bought a pair of cowboy boots for 5 cents once, broken down and a size or two too big, but my mother made me throw them away. ("You'll ruin your feet!"--the shoe equivalent, evidentally, of "It's all fun and games until somebody puts out an eye!")

I'm including some of these elements in the new book. Can't wait to welcome you to Lonesome Bend, Colorado.

And that's the news from the ranchita.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Good Morning Everybody!

Welcome to Monday. I'm happy to be here, aren't you? :)

It was a quiet weekend here--just what I needed. I didn't get much reading done, but I did some art work and some grocery shopping and a LOT of thinking about the new book.

I'm off to California next month to speak at Orange County Romance Writers of America--they always put on a good shindig. Looking forward to that, big-time, and daughter Wendy will be joining me. Have I mentioned (bragged?) that Wendy is a talented writer in her own right--her first movie, "Truth Below", will appear on MTV next spring. I'm so proud of her.

My wrist still gets sore sometimes, especially if I overdo it, but I'm grateful to have it in working order again. Not so long ago, I would have had to wear a plaster cast for 8 weeks. Yikes.

Lots of appointments this week--if I don't get my hair done I will be eligible for Federal Disaster Funds--and I'm also seeing two doctors and one dentist. Not to worry, pardners. It's all routine stuff--the kind of thing that piles up when I'm 100 percent focused on a book. :)

The dogs are snoozing and it looks like we're in for one of those beautiful autumn days, bright sunshine, but not too hot.


That's the news from this end of the ranch.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Late Start

I admit it. I was out on the town last night--so to speak--Sylvia Brown appeared at the casino out in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Since the place is in the middle of nowhere, 'out on the town' would be stretching things.

It was a fun evening, and very entertaining. Whatever your opinion of Ms. Brown may be, she is funny, and I enjoy her.

I'm gearing up to start the new book, "Creed's Honor", which stars one of my identical twin cowboy-hunk heroes--Brody will be next, with "Creed's Legacy." I just love to write about twins, especially the identical kind. They fascinate me.

Also, I'm catching up on some ATC trades--got behind on those, as I probably mentioned.

If I have any spare time left over, I plan to spend it reading Tony Blair's book.

Tomorrow is September 11, and I will be observing that day with reverence and with an ever-growing appreciation for the spirit and courage of the American people.

Still ourselves, after 9 years. Go figure.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pedal Blog

Believe it or not, I can now exercise while I blog! I bought a nifty little elliptical machine from QVC (you KNOW I love gadgets) and I placed it under the desk where I'm writing this entry--and I'm pedalling away even as we "speak".

Still celebrating around here--"A Creed in Stone Creek" is finished, and I'll soon be moving on to the second book, "Creed's Honor." I went to the casino yesterday and I've got to admit, my right wrist is paying the price for pushing all those buttons.

Working on ATCs--I got behind on that just as I did on virtually everything else--and looking forward to attending a special event tonight.

I hope those of you who are so inclined will join me in offering a prayer that September 11 will pass peacefully. Seems to me, this year it's particularly dangerous, with tempers running high. May God's peace prevail.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


"A Creed in Stone Creek" is finished, as of today, and I must say, as many obstacles as I had to surmount this time around, I wouldn't change a thing. (Okay, maybe I could have lightened up on the creative angst a little!) But I'm a firm believer that, most of the time, things turned out exactly as they're supposed to. As I've said before, saying good-bye to the characters in a book I've poured my heart and soul into (and that's ALL of them) is a lot like sending a child away to college. There is joy and a sense of accomplishment, but there is also a bittersweet feeling of, "Now what?"

A new book, of course. :)

But for today, I'm resting on my laurels. (If having a dental appointment can be counted as a form of celebration.)

The weather is cool and overcast--perfect, after long weeks of unrelenting heat.

There's a new episode of my favorite TV show, "That's Clever", waiting on my Tivo, to watch tonight. There used to be all kinds of arts and craft shows on HGTV and DIY, but for some reason, they've mostly gone away, replaced by bathroom crashers, yard crashers, flippers, etc. But good ole "That's Clever" still runs every Tuesday morning, and a surprising number of the artists turn out to be living right here in Spokane.

Maybe I'll be on that show someday. Or not. I'd have to clean up my studio, and that is a daunting prospect. :)

My wrist still aches, and won't turn in some of the ways it did before (I WAS double-jointed), but it works, and that's all I ask.

It's all good.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you'll come back again tomorrow.

I certainly plan on it.

Friday, September 03, 2010

My Face is Red!

I promised to blog yesterday, and then I didn't. YIKES. What was I doing???

Well, I had a doctor's visit to make, and I guess that just filled up my whole head. Nothing serious, so nobody worry. :) (Sally Jean and Mom, this means YOU.)

Of course, since I was already out and about for the doctor appointment, it only made sense to visit my new favorite store, Hobby Lobby. :) Mary Ann and I made a quick pass, and then it was on to another favorite store, Barnes and Noble, out in Spokane Valley. I wanted Tony Blair's new book, "A Journey". So far, I haven't had time to read anything but the introduction--I got right in at the doctor's office, so no time for waiting-room reading--but I must tell you, I LOVE what the former Prime Minister of England says about America and Americans--it's so eloquent, so honest and so insightful that I plan to go back and highlight the paragraphs so I can find them again. Between bouts of writing, I will be reading this book over the holiday weekend, for sure.

I do love history, and I'm fascinated by key players such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, FDR, and Churchill. All these people were truly great, and all of them had many human flaws.

I find that comforting.

Have a great time this weekend, and stay safe.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Watch This Space

No blog today--my wrist is acting up and I have tons of work to do.

Be back tomorrow, I promise.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

D.I.E.T. news-An Update

I've just passed the 35 pound mark! Yeehaw!

I'm still using the prescribed supplements and the special drops, but I've tweaked the eating plan a little. The Weight Watchers way always works for me--so I'm transitioning over to that. I need more variety, bottom-line, (accidental pun, but I'll leave it in), so I'm making the switch by using Lean Cousine and WW's Smart Ones for lunch. In a few weeks, though, I'll have eliminated most of the frozen meals for Real Food. There are about a million good recipes out there, and I miss cooking. (Remember my Julia Child phase? :))

I'm also making computer transitions--from tomorrow on, I'll have one computer that is completely dedicated to writing--it won't even be connected to the net--this one for blogging, email, etc., and an old standby for my art projects. Why I didn't do this years ago is beyond me, but there you go. For a smart woman, I can be a slow study sometimes.

I'll be writing today, of course. This book has been a real challenge, with the broken wrist and all, but I'm nearly finished. I'm excited to plan the second book in this trilogy and start a whole new project.

That's the news from my kitchen table.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Weekend

Was very quiet. Thank God.

My wrist is still sore, and I tire easily, but I'm happy to say that I'm better every day.

On Saturday, I was zonked. I made a quick dash to the grocery store--what beautiful, colorful, bountiful places supermarkets are!--and wrote for a few hours before giving up and vegging. :) Yesterday, I put in a long stint at the computer.

The weather is overcast today, and that's fine with me. I'm ready for a break from the heat, and so are my horses--not to mention their wrangler, Larry. Tomorrow, we're getting rain--and I'm happy to hear it.

A song has been running through my head for a few days now--Tom T. Hall's "Old Dogs and Children, and Watermelon Wine". I've never had watermelon wine, but I'm super fond of old dogs and children.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Alive and Well In Spokane

Mostly well, anyway. I still have some pain in my wrist, and the incisions are driving me crazy, which probably means they're healing, but I can work in short stints, resting in between. I'm so close to finishing my revisions--good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I'll be done today.

Things are pretty normal around the old homestead--Bernice, the Yorkie, got a haircut yesterday, courtesy of Mary Ann, the trail boss. There was enough hair in that pile to make a whole separate dog, I swear.

Sadie-beagle has figured out that that hunk of Swiss cheese she's been getting has her pills hidden inside it, and now she's turning up her nose at it. The horses and cats are in good shape, and the Canadian wrangler is back from vacation, so things are running a lot more smoothly out there in the barn and the pasture. :)

That's the news from my kitchen table for this fine, sunny morning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Keeping it Short

Gotta write! I'm whizzing along on the revisions now, and I don't want to break my momentum, so I'll make this blog entry short.

It's sunny here in Spokane, but cooler.

My wrist is healing nicely, and I can use the keyboard as long as I take about a 15 minute rest after every hour of working.

Mom is making an amazing recovery from her hip replacement. What a spirit she has!

And all the critters are thriving.

So much to be grateful for!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Let's Try This Again

For the past two weeks, I've been overestimating my abilities. :) Here it is again--Monday. A new week, another chance, a fresh start.

My wrist is much better. Not as flexible as I'd like, but there you go.

I have an interview today, which means I have to wear make up and clothes that haven't been splotched with paint or glue. :) And I plan to work.

I rested over the weekend and visited my mom, who is recovering nicely from her recent hip replacement. Again, thanks so much for your prayers and good wishes on both our acccounts.

I'm listening to a book I read years ago--"The Diary of a Young Girl", by Anne Frank. If ever there was a testament to the power of the human spirit, this is it. A long time ago, I visited Amsterdam, and a highlight of the trip was a visit to the annex, where the Franks hid, with others, until they were finally discovered and arrested. I will never forget the movie-star pictures tacked to the wall of the tiny room Anne had to share--with a man in his fifties, no less--and I would like to go back and see the place again.

The tomatoes are a complete loss, but the zukes are still coming. Next year, I will put my tomato plants in the ground by the back fence instead of in containers. I'm not giving up on raising them, though. They are delicious!

The d.i.e.t continues to go well. I'm down 32 pounds.

And that's the news from my upstairs alcove.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Angela!

My beautiful niece, Angela, is celebrating her birthday today. I'm so proud of this girl--she's a crackerjack teacher, and as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside, which is saying something! I love you, sweetheart.

It probably won't come as a surprise to anyone but me that getting over this broken wrist of mine is taking longer than I expected. I'm plugging away, but things are going pretty slowly.

My tomatoes are a bust. They've come down with some kind of rot, and the powdered-milk treatment has been a failure, even though it worked last year. Go figure. I'm not giving up, though. I am too fond of homegrown tomatoes to do that. :) The zukes just keep on coming--it's a good thing I love them.

I was afraid my injury would set me back with the d.i.e.t.--that I'd go wild with comfort food or something--but I'm pleased to report that that didn't happen. I had to make a few slight alterations, all temporary, but my weight is still going down.

Well, I'd best get back to work.

Monday, August 16, 2010


My right hand is back in action! The wrap is off and I'm healing nicely--have to be careful not to over do, but that isn't a problem--that's what pain is for. :)

I'll be revising today, and probably for the rest of the week. THEN I will start a new novel, #2 in the Creed series. Always fun to start a new book, but a little scary, too.

For a long time, when asked how many books I've published, I've replied, "Oh, somewhere over eighty. I've stopped counting."

Well, maybe I had stopped counting, but apparently RWA (Romance Writers of America) was keeping track. On Saturday, I received a lovely plaque and congratulations on the publication of my 100th book! What a neat surprise--I didn't attend the conference this year, and I had no idea I'd won an award. It certainly brightened a rather achy weekend morning. :) Thanks, RWA!

More tomorrow.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I get the wrap off my wrist tomorrow. I can't wait!

Will blog again on Monday, at the latest.

Thanks for being so patient.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

hanging in there

i get this wrap off on friday, and i'll be good to go.

feeling a little woozy so i,ll make it short

Monday, August 09, 2010

monday's wrist report

I'm really in fairly good shape, except for this bulky wrap running from my knuckles almost to my elbow. once I have it removed, i'm told, i'll be able to function normally. (THAT will be a first.)

I'm pretty sure my martial arts career is over, for instance. Professional volleyball is no longer an option, either :)

Mom is home from rehab, looked after by her dear friend, Carol.

the weather is gorgeous. I managed to water the plants on my deck, but one tomato plant seems to have a problem--tomatoes with black bottoms--treating them with dried milk crystals, which worked for the canadian wrangler last year.

I will spare you more of my ee cummings style. I can feel your love and your prayers. thank you.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

why e.e. cummings?

because my typing is severely limited by the temporary wrapping on my right wrist.

I broke the wrist in a fall on tuesday and had outpatient surgery on thursday. by thursday night I was in the ER with some kind of reaction to the anesthetic and the most horrific pain in my knees. still unexplained, the knee pain I mean. I spent a night and a day in Sacred Heart hospital, where I was well cared for. God save us all from ER however. that took FOREVER.

I will have this wrapping off in about a week and a half, and then I should be able to type normally. In the meantime, I'm doing the best I can.

child proof caps on my meds are proving adult proof as well.

that's the news.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Miscellaneous Ramblings

:) This morning's weather is, once again, stunningly beautiful. When I finish here, I'll be doing some watering in the container garden--strawberries are finally coming on, and there are lots of green tomatoes. Now for some red ones. :) The zuchini just keeps on arriving, of course, and that's fine with me. I love the stuff.

After watering, journaling. (You'd think I'd get enough of writing with my books, wouldn't you? But I THRIVE on journaling. ) I do morning pages, ala Julia Cameron, meaning three pages of handwritten, stream of consciousness stuff, but lately my pages have turned into written prayers. This nurtures something deep in my soul--hard to explain, but there it is.

Last night I watched a great new DVD--twice! It's called "Textures for Collage: Build 'Em Up", hosted by Sue Pelletier. FABULOUS. Check it out at: www/

I've also discovered a new artist, whose stuff I truly love. Her name is Andrea Her style is fantastic.

And then there's Tascha, who sells prints on Etsy and originals on eBay. I'm bidding on one of her pieces right now. :) (Maybe I shouldn't have told you that. Now, I might have more competition.)

My first trade, as a co-ordinator, just ended on Art42. I forgot one tiny detail--to join the trade myself. :) I'm keeping a log book of my various ATC trades now, so I won't lose track and goof up somewhere. I'm in a new kind of swap, too--Jointed Paper Dolls. I'm getting adventurous, it seems, because I've never made an art doll before. I find the concept pretty interesting, though.

I guess I've yammered on enough for today.

That's the news.

I'm not sure why my computer isn't making actual links the way it usually does.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Home on the Range

That's where I've been all weekend, except for a brief run to the grocery store on Saturday, and you sure won't hear this ole cowgirl complaining. As the little girl from Kansas, the one in the sparkly red shoes, once said, "There's no place like home."

What did I do with all this lovely at-home time? I worked on my manuscript. I did some artist trading cards (ATCs) and watched some bad TV. Don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired of "reality" TV--although I do enjoy "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" and "The Next Great Artist". (Except for the episode on shocking art. It shocked me, all right. YUCK.)

Banjo man, my gelding, arrived home on Thursday, after more than a week in the veterinary hospital. He's on the mend, after cutting the flesh above his eye on a broken feeder (we think), and I'm super grateful. For a while there, we weren't sure he'd be able to blink again, which might have resulted in the loss of his eye. He's running around the pasture with the rest of the herd these days, as mischievous as ever. Banjo secretly believes he's Seabiscuit, reincarnated.

Podcast to recommend: Journaling for Life, by Kay Adams. Run a search on iTunes. Excellent interviews and insights into the process--I am, as many of you know, a great believer in journaling. It really helps me to get things into perspective or, as I often say, out of my head and onto the paper, where I can see the patterns.

And that's the news from my kitchen table, which is, for once, clear of art supplies.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday at Linda's Kitchen Table

A beautiful bouquet arrived today, along with a bottle of champagne, from my lovely publishers, Harlequin. The occasion was the success of "Austin". Needless to say, these people spoil me. As my mother would say, "I like that quality in a company." :)

The d.i.e.t. news is good. 4.2 pounds this week. Yeehaw! (I try not to think about how far I still have to go.) I am going to be back in my skinny jeans by rodeo time. Period.

I'm working on revisions today and through the weekend--with intermittent art breaks thrown in for good measure. I've got a lot of ATCs going, and I finally had to start a log book to keep track.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Today's News from My Kitchen Table

Sorry about missing yesterday's blog, but I have a good excuse. :) I went to a meeting about my mother's care once she's released from rehab. A real homebody, she's working hard to go home, and she's doing SO well. My mom is a real trouper, and that's for sure.

Plans for today--gearing up to make a few changes in "A Creed in Stone Creek", per my brilliant (and diplomatic) editor's suggestions. :)

Making a bigger mess with my art supplies.

Welcoming the Banjo-man (horse) home from the veterinary hospital.

Watering my container garden, which is loving our 90 degree weather.

Sticking to the d.i.e.t. :)

Being grateful.

And who knows. I might even play slot machines later on. Look out, Cleopatra.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Book is Done!


I just hit the 'send' button. "A Creed in Stone Creek" is blazing its way through cyberspace at this very moment to land squarely on my editor's desk.

What an age we live in.

Now, to visit my mom and goof off a lot.

(Maybe I should get dressed first, though.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crossing the Finishing Line

YES! Today, I will wrap up my oft-polished draft of "A Creed in Stone Creek". There will be some revisiting the manuscript, as always--my beloved editor, Joan Marlow Golan, always has strong, at times remarkable, insights, thus making a good book better still.

I feel like a member of a championship team, celebrating a victory by jumping up and down and yelling for joy under a shower of champagne. :) Only difference is, I won't be going to Disneyland--not in the immediate future, anyway.

Weatherwise, we're in for another hot one here in Spokane, and that's good. The tomatoes are finally doing something, and the strawberries are actually starting to ripen. The d.i.e.t goes well--I'm definitely shrinking!

Lots of people have asked me about the program, so I will break my rule of not discussing it just this once. The basic program includes 3 1/2 ounces of lean meat or chicken, or fish, and an equal amount of non-starchy vegetables, twice a day. Also included are 3 1/2 ounces of fruit, twice a day. I usually have an egg fried with cooking spray for breakfast, but that's a special tweak my doctor made because I'm a protein girl. I also eat raw celery and dill pickles when I get hungry between meals.

Doesn't sound like much food, does it? The special hormone drops, called HCG, make the difference. It was tough in the beginning--I got pretty hungry--but after the first week, my stomach had adjusted and so had I. Although I occasionally wish I could have chicken enchiladas or some other personal favorite, for the most part the plan is easy because there aren't all that many food decisions that need to be made. :)

Now, if you're thinking about trying this plan, LISTEN UP. Do NOT simply go on the internet and order HCG drops, no matter what the claims the website may be making--they could contain anything. At best, they are useless, at worst, a threat to your health. The plan I'm on is strictly monitored by Dr. Sam Walters, of Wellspring Clinic, in Scottsdale, Arizona, a man I have known and trusted for YEARS. Weight loss franchises offering HCG as part of their program are springing up all over the place, but I think they use powdered shakes, and that concept doesn't work for me. On Dr. Sam's program, I eat real food, prepared in a healthy way. PLEASE, if you're undertaking this or any other weight loss plan, consult your doctor first.

Plan for today: write the last chapter of the new book, visit my mom, and (hopefully) welcome Banjo home from the horse hospital. (And make some ATCs, too.)

And that's the latest from my kitchen table.

Friday, July 23, 2010

D.I.E.T. news

In one month, I've lost just over 22 pounds.

And that's it on that subject, as promised.

I plan to spend the weekend finishing "A Creed in Stone Creek", trying a few more messy art experiments and watering my deck-garden. My tomatoes are a little on the leggy side, it seems to me--lots of plant but few actual tomatoes coming on. We'll see when August rolls around, of course.

Yesterday I signed up for a class I've long wanted to take--the five-day "Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain" course taught by Dr. Betty Edwards' son. (Dr. Edwards wrote the book on the subject, literally.) The final day is June 10, 2011, my birthday, and the workshop will be held in one of my very favorite places--New York.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I knew I was forgetting something when I headed out for Stone Creek this morning--my blog!

Mom remains in rehab, recovering from her hip replacement surgery, and Banjo is still at the vet's, getting over a really bad eye infection. Fortunately, both of them are mending rapidly. :)

I've been spelling niece-in-law Sara's name incorrectly all week--no H. She and Mike and the kids are enjoying the lake house to the max, and that delights old Aunt Lindy, of course. Today, they're all at Silverwood, an amusement park over in Idaho. I guess it's a sign of advancing age that I felt compelled to text Mike with a reminder about sunscreen. I mean, the man is thirty-seven and a very responsible father. Still, partially cloudy days are the worst.

It's time to get back to Stone Creek, where the action is, but I wanted to make sure I said howdy to all my blog buddies.

You're the best.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing, writing, writing!

I'm having a ball winding up "A Creed in Stone Creek", the first of my new Creed trilogy. It's quite the emotional ride, though, since I have to go through pretty much the same stresses and strains as my characters do. :) I don't do much right now except work on the book, dabble at artist trading cards (ATCs), and stick to the d.i.e.t. Mom is settled and doing well in rehab, and she gave me strict orders to finish that book. :) Of course we're keeping close tabs--Mary Ann visited yesterday, and Mike and Sarah and the kids have been by, too.

The lovely days of summer roll on. The veggies and flowers in my container garden are showing signs of delayed development--except for one heirloom tomato plant, which is HUGE--due to the rainy spring. Yesterday, as I was watering the strawberries, a tiny gray frog leaped out from among the leaves--he must have thought the spray from my hose was a typhoon.

At night when I fall into bed, I usually listen to a book on my iPod. I just finished Anthony Bourdain's new one, "Medium Raw". Bourdain suffers from a bad case of potty-mouth, but I still enjoy hearing about his culinary adventures. Maybe it's because I can't actually eat any of the great grub he talks about? :) This may be a case of vicarious eating.

My good friends, Nancy Berland and Carol Smith, recently lost their brother, Hal. It's been a tough year for the Oklahoma girls, that's for sure. Love and blessings to you and yours, ladies, now and always. And don't forget the red lipstick.

That's the news from you-know-where.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Walking on Sunshine

Feeling better every day--and I am so very grateful.

The book is nearing completion--yesterday I wrote an intense new chapter, lots of emotion in that one, and it nearly wore me out. :) After a good night's sleep, I'm ready to roll again, though.

Nice email from my good friend Debbie Macomber this morning--her second "Mrs. Miracle" movie will be airing on Hallmark this December. I can hardly wait to see it! She was kind enough to recommend my books to someone who mentioned doing a western movie--she is a generous soul.

Mom continues to recover. She'll be back to her usual busy life in no time, at this rate. At 81, she's amazing.

The tomatoes growing in my container garden are starting to show up, small and green and hard, but with a promise of a delicious August. :) Good thing I like zuchinis--there are at least two ready to harvest every day. Because of the d-i-e-t, I saute them in a little cooking spray and some water. Yum.

Banjo, my spirited gelding, remains in the hospital. I'll be almost as glad as his mama, Coco, when he comes home.

Today, Chapter 16. Some art work, mostly artist trading cards.

And that's the news from my sun-splashed kitchen table.

Be well, be blessed, be kind.

Monday, July 19, 2010


We're getting a Hobby Lobby, right here in Spokane, Washington! I am beyond thrilled, obviously. :)

I signed books and met readers at Barnes and Noble, Spokane Valley, on Saturday. It was a wonderful experience--my thanks to the crew and the folks who stopped by to say howdy.

Mom is still recovering at warp speed, thank heaven--she has moved to a rehab center, and is eager to go home. :) She's such a good sport.

My nephew, Mike, niece-in-law, Sara, along with great niece Courtney and great nephew Chandler are visiting, and enjoying the lake house. They came to the signing on Saturday. I just love them.

Today, it's work, although I've got to say, that doesn't seem like the right word for writing, because I love it so much.

That's the news from my kitchen table on this fine and sunny Monday morning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Blog

Well, as eventful as it was, this week just flew by. Mom's hip replacement surgery went well, and she'd recovering nicely--due in no small part, methinks, to all your prayers and good thoughts. Thank you so much for your expressions of concern and support.

When it rains, it pours, I guess. My horse, Banjo, is in the "hospital" now, too. He has some kind of stubborn infection near his eye. Although I hated to see him leave here in that trailer, he's in very good hands and I feel fortunate that he can have the care he needs. Around here, if it isn't one thing, it's another!

"Austin" continues to kick up dust out there in the marketplace. I'm so pleased and so grateful.

Tomorrow, at 2 pm, I'll be signing books at the Barnes and Noble out in Spokane Valley. If you live in our neck of the woods, I hope you'll come by and say howdy.

In any case, have a good weekend.

And be kind, to yourself and to others. We're all in this together.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So Far, So Good!

Mom is coming along nicely after her hip replacement. Her spirit amazes me.

Good news on the "Austin" front, too. It's holding at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list! That's darned good for the second week--or ANY week, in my book. :)

No matter what else happens, I'm getting a haircut today. I will probably lose 2 pounds just by doing that. I have a lot of hair, and I skipped last month's appointment because I had that nasty flu bug. So this qualifies as a Federal Emergency.

I treated myself to something special to celebrate the many things there are to celebrate in my life: I bought season tickets to the Spokane Civic Theatre. I LOVE live theatre and, years ago, I actually appeared in two productions on this very same stage, "Funny Girl" and "Oliver". I was in the chorus both times, and I had an absolute ball. I'm looking forward to enjoying play after play, right here in the city of my birth.

Will visit Mom today, of course, and I very much hope to write.

John Lennon was right. Life IS what happens when you've made other plans.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Mom's operation went well and she's recovering nicely.


I woke up at five this morning, which is not all that abnormal for me, though I could have used a few more winks this time, because my mom is scheduled for hip surgery at 7:30 and this will probably be a long day. Anyway, I woke up because Bernice, my Yorkie, was shivering and trying her fluffy-footed best to stand on my head--a smoke alarm in the hallway needed a new battery and it was beeping steadily to alert all and sundry to the fact. Maybe the shrill noise hurts little doggy ears, though Sadie-beagle never seems to care, but poor little Bernice freaks out whenever this happens. Usually, Mary Ann, the Trail Boss, or Larry, the Canadian Wrangler, do everything involving ladders but, as I said, it was only five o'clock and naturally they were still over at the bunkhouse.

I rustled up a new battery and tried standing on a chair first, but it turned out I was still too short on one end. :) So I hunted up a step-ladder. All this time, Bernice was trembling visibly, not at all pleased that I'd put her down. Reassurances did no good. So it was bite-the-bullet-and-get-done. And I did it! Bernice took a while to recover but she's snoozing away now. :)

I'll be heading to the hospital around 8:30, since I want to be there when Mom gets out of surgery.

After all, she has always been there for me.

Thanks so much for all your good thoughts and prayers. They do make a difference.