Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm Back!

As many of you must have guessed, there were some connection issues at the hotel this year, and I couldn't get online to blog. My schedule was so packed that I was never in the room long enough to bring in the IT people and solve the problem.

I was wined and dined, and I hung out with a lot of good friends. You never know who you'll run into at BEA--I was at the always-elegant roof-top party Harlequin threw this year, and I noticed a blonde woman with a perky face. It was one of those instances where you just know you've seen someone before, but you can't think where. Not being the shy type, I went over to her and said, "I know I know you!" Her answer? "Well, I was on "The Drew Carey Show" for nine years."

It was Kathy Kinney, who played Mimi! No wonder I recognized her. It just goes to show how characters on TV, in movies and in books become so real to us that we begin to think they're actually part of our circle.

I did a satellite media tour one day, recorded a podcast, and signed books on two separate occasions.

I breakfasted with Robyn Carr, one of my all time favorite people--we never get to spend enough time together. I saw Debbie Macomber briefly; she looks FABULOUS. Fergie was in attendance, bless her heart, but she was so surrounded by cameras and reporters that most of us didn't get so much as a glimpse of her.

There were many highpoints on this trip, but I think the most fun was dining at the Russian Tea Room with my beloved editor, Joan Marlow Golan, and Dianne Moggy, of Harlequin fame. We got a special tour of the second floor--as I understand it anyone can do this if they ask--and that was magical. There is an enormous glass bear in the center of this large room, with goldfish swimming inside. The ceiling is made of the most exquisite stained glass panels, and there is a beautiful golden tree, hung with beautiful bulbs. So quiet. You could just feel all the good-time ghosts from the 30s and 40s, partying up a storm.

As always, I visited two of my favorite stores, MacKenzie-Childs and Kate's Paperie. Due to time constraints, I didn't make it to Lee's Art Supply. Would you believe all three of these shops are within a few blocks of each other?

So, there was all that catching up to do, and no mention at all of Memorial Day.

I'm remembering those who have gone on ahead, though, missing them--Dad in particular--but feeling grateful that they were in my life.

It's all good.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Sally's Birthday!

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Bozo
Happy birthday to you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peonies Pop!

I have two lush peony blossoms in the kitchen as of this very moment. They smell heavenly. I am still having camera problems, but hang in there. I'm bound to figure it out pretty soon. :)

Are you getting tired of hearing me rave about the joy of writing "A Creed in Stone Creek"? I was just flying yesterday. I was right inside that story, practically living it right alongside the characters.

I love this job. :)

Free time was spent working on a new batch of ATCs for some online swaps. I had to drop out of a couple, because there was a time crunch. I leave on Monday for BEA in New York and, of course, when I get home I want to start right in writing again.

It's a lovely, sunshiny morning. The weatherman says it will get cooler as the day wears on, and warns that tender garden sprouts should be covered tonight in case of a freeze. Most of my plants are pretty hardy, but I will cover the strawberry pot--remember the cardboard pajamas?

Better get busy. I want to have breakfast before I head back to modern-day Stone Creek. I'll say howdy for you--there are O'Ballivans, Creeds AND McKettricks in this bunch, as well as some new people you haven't met before. (And just wait until you meet Brody and Conner Creed, Steven's identical twin cousins. :))

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Think I'm in Love

With Steven Creed and the whole modern-day Stone Creek bunch, that is. :) I'm just having the best time writing this book. I know I keep saying that, but it's true. I can't seem to contain my delight in this whole magical process.

Still listening to the Churchill letters at night, on the iPod. Winston and Clementine--what a romance. They were so clearly in love, beginning to end, and Clementine is proof of the old saying that behind every great man is a woman. Winston, like many brilliant people, could be rash. He would outline some wild and sweeping political plan in a letter to "Clemmie"--in that way of the English upper classes, they seemed to be apart a lot--and she would respond with calming words and an eloquent opposing argument or a better idea. And Winston, being brilliant, would usually change his mind.

I haven't forgotten my promise to post some pictures; just have a tussel with my phone camera for some reason. The weather is gorgeous and the biggest of my peony bushes is about to pop out with glorious pink blossoms. I've planted the other favorites--zinnias--and a container-bed of lettuce for summer salads. YUM.

Make it a good day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blogger on the Loose


I started right in working on "A Creed in Stone Creek" and I got so involved I forgot all about my blog. It was just now, when I went downstairs for a fresh cup of coffee, that I remembered. So here I am.

We're having a rainy day, and it's lovely, actually. Very cozy. If I weren't busy with the new book, I'd be curled up in front of a fire, reading a book.

At night, I like to listen rather than read, generally, and I'm into "Speaking for Themselves, Volume 1" right now. This is the fascinating correspondence between Winston Churchill (one of my heroes) and his wife, Clementine, collected and edited by their daughter, Lady Mary Churchill Soames. It's too bad that people don't write letters like these anymore--so vivid. I am really glad there are two volumes.

And now I must get back to Stone Creek. I'll be missed if I don't hurry.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How I Spent My Weekend

I wrote a chapter of the new book, "A Creed in Stone Creek". YES! This is going so well that I'm beginning to wonder if little elves weave the story while I sleep or something. (Shades of the aliens who used to mess up our hair in Barcelona while we were slumbering, Sally Jean.) Anyway, the words are there, in my head, when I wake up. It's almost like taking dictation sometimes. :)

I did quite a bit of planting, though I did not get my roses put in. As soon as my phone charges, I'll take a few pictures and post them here.

I had to make room for art, so I did a 6-part ATC, where each of the six cards, once joined, compose a whole picture. I'm pretty proud of it, and I will definitely be posting a shot for you to see.

I totally messed up the kitchen. I am a one-woman hurricane. :)

I listened to a chunk of "Children of War" on my new iPod. (The old one finally bit the dust, after years of faithful service.) I have been fascinated with the Second World War lately, especially the experiences of ordinary people, how they coped, survived, etc.

I went to Walmart. And JoAnn's. And Barnes and Noble.

I even played slots over at the casino. No big wins, but I broke even. Trust me, when it comes to casinos, breaking even IS winning.

Oh, yes, and I tried to stay positive. It's hard sometimes, with all the stuff on the news. Earthquakes. Oil spills. Volcanos. Stockmarket dives.


One foot in front of the other. That's the only solution this ole cowgirl has to offer. We keep on keeping on. We show up.

It's a new week. Let's enjoy every minute of it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Creed in Stone Creek

Two chapters in, and I'm LOVING this book. I can't wait for you to read it; I'm sure hoping you're going to love it, too.

In the meantime, watch out for the next installment in the Texas McKettricks trilogy, "Garrett", coming May 25. I'll be in New York City then--one of my favorite places--for this year's Book Expo America, and that's always fun. I'll be wining (but not whining) and dining with my beloved editor, Joan, my super-agent, Irene, and Leslee, Alana and Bridget from Truth Be Told. I'll be doing a satellite media tour to promote "Garrett"--check your local listings, in case I'm on TV in your area. Parties, shopping (look out McKenzie-Childs and Kate's Paperie!) and signing books will round out the week. And don't think I'm prejudiced or anything, but the Harlequin booth is always the best one at BEA--I feel so fortunate and so proud to be published by these dynamic, inventive and forward-thinking people.

Spring has truly sprung around here, and I'm so thankful. The Canadian Wrangler set up my big "tomato tree" planter, and the starts are in. I actually have two, but I'm putting green peppers and zuchini in the other. All the plant pots have been brought in from storage on a high shelf in the garage, and I'll be filling them with all manner of color this weekend, the splashier the better.

My peonies are set to pop open at any minute. I'll post a photo here and on Twitter when they do.

Gotta go wake Sadie-beagle up now. She's snoring away on my bed, but this is an exercise day and Jenni will be arriving soon to take her to the trainer's.

Me? I'll be writing, messing with art supplies, and standing over the peonies chanting, "Bloom! "Bloom!"

See you Monday.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coming Soon!

Just received my author copies of "Garrett", book 2 in the McKettricks of Texas series this morning. In stores May 25. Posted by Picasa

More Sunshine

I am so enjoying this wonderful weather--and I see planting in my (near) future. :)

Also writing--there are few joys like starting out on a new book--indeed, a new trilogy--with all new characters. Okay, mostly new. The first book takes place in Stone Creek, Arizona, so there are some O'Ballivans and McKettricks around and, of course, the hero is a Creed--Steven. You haven't met him yet, but you do know his lady, Melissa (sister of Ashley and Olivia). The second and third books are about identical twin brothers--Conner and Brody Creed--who happen to be Steven's cousins. Their stories take place mostly in Lonesome Bend, Colorado, where there is another Creed ranch.

Stay tuned.

I'm off to Stone Creek. Hope the weather there is as good as it is here in Spokane.


Be blessed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Peonies and Books

I've been nursing along several peony plants since I moved into this house four years ago. There were a few blossoms last year, but one can't have too many peonies, I've found. The good news is, they're budding out--I can hardly wait!

The strawberries are in, as you know, and I moved half the zinnia starts into a large wooden planter, and I have sage and lettuce and, of course, tomatoes. I hope to get everything planted this weekend--loads of flowers, a few herbs and vegetables.

The weather is SO beautiful, sunshine aplenty, deer passing through the little clearing at the top of the draw behind my house.

I've been reading AND listening to books--I really enjoyed Linwood Barclay's new book, "Never Look Away", and Joy Fielding's "The Wild Zone." Now I'm reading Harlen Coben's "Caught." That was actual reading--I've listened to "The Journal Keeper", by Phyllis Theroux (this is a memoir--I love the things) and several of Sarah Addison Allen's novels, including "Garden Spells" and "The Sugar Queen". Allen's stories have a lovely, magical element that makes them sparkle--I discovered her when I listened to "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" and now I'm hooked.

It's certainly a good thing I WRITE so many books--one of the many rewards is being able to READ a lot of them as well. :)

Better get to work.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Sister Gets Worried....

If I don't blog. :)

So here I am.

Not that I have much to say. I'm into the new book and the sun is shining. All the critters are fine--Banjo (horse) got out yesterday, but Larry, the Canadian Wrangler, rounded him up pretty quickly. Banjo is the kind of horse my dad used to call a "knothead"; he's never been saddled and he's got some Thoroughbred in him somewhere, because he's big and he's long-legged and he sure can run. In fact, watching him go, I'm pretty sure he thinks he's Seabiscuit.

It's all good on this end of the woods.

Hope it's the same for you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Rose and the Onion

:) Yesterday, Mom, my brother Jerry and I got together for a Mother's Day celebration lunch, at one our favorite local restaurants: the Onion. The service was cheerful and efficient, and the food was good, like always. Every mom received a beautiful long-stemmed red rose on the way out. So now you know why I gave this blog entry the above title.

Daughter Wendy was far away, but she did send me the most wonderful gift--a horseshoe necklace and a note that brought tears to this mama's eyes: "Because I'm so lucky to be your daughter." Have I bragged yet? Wendy is a screenwriter, and she recently sold her first movie. I'm so proud of her!

Today, it's back to the new book, "A Creed in Stone Creek" and I've got to say, I'm delighted by the prospect.

And so it goes.

Make it a good Monday.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Mother's Day

Wishing all the moms out there a wonderful Mother's Day--especially my own. :)

Hazel Bleecker Lael, I love you.

We'll see you on Sunday.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Leaning Toward the Light

That's what my little zinnia sprouts are doing, in their plastic "greenhouses" on my windowsills. The strawberries will soon be out from under their cardboard pajamas--it's still pretty cold out there. :)

When will it be time to plant?????

Not that I'm impatient or anything.


Guess I'll just lean into the light.

Keep an eye on the website for info on the new Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sunshine--for the moment!

Spring weather is notoriously changeable, but I'm living in the moment. And right now, at this moment, the sun is out and the sky is blue. The strawberries seem to be thriving, and I'm hoping we can dispense with the cardboard pajamas on Mother's Day.

Speaking of Mother's Day--hi, Mom. :) I'll be contacting you today to make plans. In the meantime, your card is in the mail.

To my friends in Tennessee and surrounding states, coping with the floods, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May the Good Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.

To all my friends who celebrate Cinco de Mayo--party on, and have an enchilada for me.

Here on the 'ranch', it will be a blessedly ordinary Wednesday. Sadie has her training session today. Bernice and the kitties and I will be staying home, while I work away, spinning stories.

Than God for ordinary days.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Remembering Spain

Taken during a visit to the market near La Rambla.
Posted by Picasa

The Case of the Disappearing Blogger

I admit it. I was a blog dropout yesterday. I guess I used up all the allotted words for Monday in my writing, and then there was nothing sensible left to say.

My zinnia seeds are coming up--I'll probably plant them this weekend. I have some iris starts to set out--one of them is already blooming.

We had wind gusts of up to 60 mph yesterday; lots of trees came down and plenty of people were without power, but we were lucky out here on the Triple L. Mary Ann covered my strawberry pot with a box for overnight, to protect it from freezing. There's more wind expected today, though it shouldn't be quite so severe, and overnight temperatures in the freezing range, so the strawberries will be wearing their box to bed every night, like pajamas.

I'm happy.

I'm well.

I'm grateful.

See you tomorrow.