Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Adventures in Art Land

As many of you know, mixed media art is a favorite hobby of mine, along with container gardening, and I mostly make ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) to trade on Swapbot and Art42. I always do my best on my cards, and use the best materials I can, not because I'm noble, but because I'm obsessive. :) There is a rating system on both sites and, recently, I received a low one that I thought was very unfair. It brought my average down, which means I can't even participate in some swaps, but the most frustrating thing was that I made several courteous efforts to address the problem. I emailed the other swapper. I sent her a new card. No response.

Why am I telling you all this, you ask, as you well might? :)

Here's the lesson I learned. As upset as I was when it happened, I'm now GRATEFUL for that low rating. Why? Because when I voiced my frustration, many kind people came forward to reassure and encourage me. I was invited to join groups and I made new friends. In the end, it was a blessing, because I was reminded that while there are always a few grumps around, MOST people are doing their best to behave themselves.

"Austin" came out yesterday. YEE-HAW!!

I'm feeling much recovered from that deadly flu bug, and the new book is rolling. YEE-HAW again!

And that's the news from my house to yours.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's "Austin" Day!!

He's out there, right now, my sexy cowboy, Austin McKettrick. Go, Austin!

I'm making this particular blog a short one, as I've got plenty of work to do and time seems to be racing by.

So it's off to Stone Creek for me. :)

More later.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Tomorrow, the third story in the Texas McKettricks trilogy, "Austin", will be in the stores. I'm so excited to see this youngest brother come on stage at last, ready to ride the meanest bulls, carve out a place for himself on the family ranch, and brave all the dangers facing him and the rest of the McKettrick clan. But does he have the courage to allow himself to love fiesty Paige Remington, youngest sister of Libby ("Tate") and Julie ("Garrett")? For Austin, that might just be the scariest challenge he's ever had to face.

I'm exercising again. Getting off to a slow start, but I'm determined. It's all part of the new Get Healthy program. Once I make up my mind to do something, it's as good as done. I'll keep you posted on my progress, but as promised I'm not going to bore you to death with a lot of diet talk. (Unless it's Sadie's diet, that is. She's a svelte 30 pounds now, after a year of hard work and special training. I figure if the beagle-dog can do it, I can, too. :) )

I wrote a chapter of "A Creed in Stone Creek" on Sunday, right here at my kitchen table, on my laptop. I have a couple of new art pieces underway, and although I'm still on antibiotics, I'm definitely on the mend and gaining strength.

Last night, after calling it a day and settling down with my iPod, I watched a few episodes from season one of "Lark Rise to Candleford". I accidently came across this lovely BBC series while looking through TV programs on iTunes, and now I'm hooked. Fortunately, there's a season two, but I'm not sure if the show is still running or not. Lark Rise and Candleford are small villages, about 8 miles apart, during Victoria's reign. The stories are pretty tame--no blood, no swearing, no nudity. I find that mighty restful. :)

Mary Ann is here, ready to whip the house into shape, so I guess I'd better get busy, too.

That's the news from my kitchen table.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Can Do This

That's what I keep telling myself. I can be non-smoker AND a slender person, at the same time. Since I promised not to talk about the diet, that's all I'm going to say for now.

Traveler is feeling a lot more chipper today, so if you've been worrying about that cayuse of mine, stop. :) I'm doing better, too--on my second round of antibiotics.

As I write this, I am admiring a bouquet of peonies, light and dark pink, in a black enamel vase from MacKenzie-Childs--it is a sight to see.

Because I've been sick so much, I'll be playing catch up on the book this weekend, but that's okay. It's a lot of fun, hanging out with this new bunch of yahoos--the Creed cousins, out of Lonesome Bend, Colorado. I'm hoping to get some container gardening in, too--I want to plant more flowers, now that the tomatoes and zuchs and the herbs are in and growing.

On Tuesday, the 29th, "Austin", the third story of the trilogy, will be out of the chute and kicking up some dust. :)

Have a good weekend, pardners. I'll see you down the trail a ways.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 1, The Diet

Today started off with a routine blood test, unrelated to the diet, and Traveler, my little pinto gelding, feeling less than fabulous. He seems to be better now, but we do have a call in to the vet. When one of my critters is under the weather, it really worries me.

As for the diet, well, I've got to tell you, it's almost a relief. I don't have to think a lot about food because my choices are fairly limited. I had fresh raspberries for my late breakfast, and they were delicious.

The sunshine is glorious today, and all my plants are thriving.

That said, it's time to get back to Stone Creek, where all my characters are waiting.

I promise not to talk about the diet every day. :)

That's the late news from my kitchen table.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Year Today!

I'm proud to report that I haven't smoked in one full year, as of today! Tomorrow I start a special diet, recommended by the inimitable Dr. Sam Walters of Scottsdale, Arizona, to take off all the weight I've put on. This ole cowgirl is determined, ladies and gentlemen, and I've known Dr. Sam for a long, long time, so I trust his advice.

Good thing the diet doesn't start until tomorrow, because today is Jenni's birthday, and we're celebrating with ice cream cake tonight, over at Mary Ann and Larry's place. :) I'll miss my nightly glass of wine, that's for sure, but if I have to make a choice, I'll take my skinny jeans.

I'm writing away on the new book, now that I've mostly recovered from the plague, and I have an appointment for an eye exam this afternoon. I definitely need new glasses--hope I can find some jazzy ones, like my mom is sporting these days. :) I want a pair with attitude!

The wild turkeys came gobbling by this morning, pecking around in the tall weeds out there in the draw. I'm always glad to see them, though Bernice is not so enthusiastic.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Houston, we have sunshine!

YES!!! For a while there, I was considering building an ark and loading up all my critters, two by two. It didn't help that I had the worst case of flu I've had in years. I'm definitely on the mend now, though, and the proof is in the pudding, as they say, because I actually WROTE yesterday. I have been so frustrated with being sick and I'm super-grateful to be getting well again.

As I write this, I hear birds singing, and everything is so intensely GREEN. The few things I'd managed to plant before the advent of my bubonic plague are flourishing--I do have a little crop of lettuce that I've been raiding for salads for a couple of weeks now. Teeny green tomatoes are forming and my strawberry plants are going wild in their special pot, recommended last year by my Aunt Billie, the one who still rides at 91. :) Most of the peonies are already gone, but one bush, planted by the previous owners, is just about to bust out with some blooms.

The iPad, my latest gadget, has already won my heart. Last night I watched a new episode (I think) of "American Pickers", and the second "Persons Unknown", on the amazing device--also the pilot of a show called "The Gates". Loved the first, liked the second, think I'll pass on the third. I love the portability of my new toy, and I've just scratched the surface of what the thing will actually do. I hope to be able to blog on it when I'm away from home, but I'll still be lugging a laptop around. :) Probably.

As far as I know, I'll be home until December, when I plan on attending the big rodeo in Las Vegas again. There's a good chance I'll be doing another shindig with Bally's; what a time I had last year! Yee-haw, that's all I've got to say.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back in Action

I think!

Wow, I had a nasty bout with the flu (for lack of a better term) this time around. My doctor put me on antibiotics last week, and that helped me turn the corner.

While I was sick, I mostly slept, but I indulged in some guilty-pleasure TV at intervals--"American Pickers" and "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" proved to be a real kick. I laughed out loud at the latter--two city boys on a farm. Watching them chase and bathe (yes, bathe) pigs was, well, priceless. I also watched three movies--"Brideshead Revisited" and "It's Complicated" and "Leap Year"--on my iPod. It's funny how fast the 2 inch square screen becomes a nonissue.

Before the advent of the plague I had acquired an iPad. I think I told you--it was just too much for me to resist. I'm still getting to know this device, but I'm already amazed, I'll say that.

And the rain continues to fall. I know we need it. I could also do with a break. Even the horses have been staying in the barn.

I'm ready for summer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sisters on the Fly

While you're following fun links, try this one.

I want a trailer.

Check it out!

The McKettrick boys are featured on CMT's blog and there is a great contest underway, so I wanted you to know all about it. Here's your chance to win.

We have rain today. (Big surprise.) I am on the mend; visited my doctor yesterday. My voice is still hoarse, but I feel much better. I'm happy to report that I'm doing real well for an ole cowgirl. :)

As for the weather, I think summer is expected to fall on a Tuesday this year. :)

I'm approaching a full year of being a nonsmoker; June 23 is the day. It was a tough habit to break and the truth is, I still miss it sometimes. Oh, well. It just isn't an option.

The dogs are snoozing.

And that's the news from you know where.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kitchen Table News

The weather report: sunshine. (Note to self: enjoy now. Rain on the way. Again.)

The dog report: Sadie is snoozing on her bed nearby. She has consumed her breakfast and given up all hope (she would have me believe) of scoring an extra one. Bernice, the Yorkie, is patrolling the house. She is always alert for an invasion by wild turkeys, various bugs, or whatever. :) Cha-Cha and Jitterbug, the cats, are following Bernice around, just because they adore her and find her endlessly fascinating. She sighs a lot and tries (without much success) to evade them; as far as she's concerned, the kits are the feline equivalent of the paparazzi.

The horse report: Buck is aging pretty fast, but he's still eating and still getting around. He can (mostly) keep up with the rest of the herd, and they all defer to him.

The Linda report: Still have a sore throat, but I'm seeing my doctor today. I am definitely ready to feel better.

Maybe by tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Congratulations, Norm and Amanda!

Amanda Peterson, my niece Angie's best friend in the world and my honorary niece, married her sweetheart, Norm Grock, this past Saturday. I wasn't able to make it to the wedding, but I can't wait to see the pictures. Amanda, you must have been a very beautiful bride. Norm, you are, as you probably know, a lucky man--and you're pretty cute yourself. :) My warmest and most sincere congrats to both of you.

We're enjoying beautiful weather today, here in Spokane. Bright sunshine, warm temperatures. My tomatoes are finally taking off, and most of the peonies have already come and gone, though one bush is just getting ready to bloom. The lilacs are in full swing.

What I did this weekend: not much.

I knew I had a cold on Saturday. By Sunday, it had developed into a sore throat, causing me to miss a family barbecue that I had been looking forward to attending. Today, it has settled in my chest. Fortunately, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I'm gung-ho about the book, though, and although I will be keeping a low profile, I think I can write on my handy-dandy laptop.

I have acquired an iPad, but I don't have it up and running yet.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another Cowgirl

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What I'm "Reading" and Reading

"A Prayer for Owen Meany", by John Irving, is my current fascination on my iPod. I could do without the political soapboxing, but the story is wonderful and the writing goes well beyond wonderful. If you've never read, or listened to, this novel, I highly recommend it. The Volkswagen scene alone makes it worth every effort. :) I can't wait to "read" more books by this author. (Yes, I know John Irving is not a new kid on the block. But he's new to me.)

The ongoing in-print read is Juliet Nicolson's "The Perfect Summer, England 1911, Just Before the Storm." It is so vivid and, having spent much time in London, it's easy for me to picture many of the locations. Special thanks to my pal Leslee Borger for recommending another winner of a book.

Yesterday was my birthday. It was also my dad's birthday. It goes without saying that I miss him very much, and I knew he wouldn't want me "crying in my beer", as he'd probably have put it, so I went off to play a few slot machines. I was lucky, too. But, then, I'm almost always lucky. With slot machines, it's sort of spooky--guess where Mojo Sheepshanks got her penchant for them. :)

Today, I'll definitely be writing.

And that's the news from the upstairs alcove on this fine morning.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Another Soup Day?

Remember the 15-Bean soup? It was delicious, the perfect thing for a rainy day.

Today, we have more rain. The trees, flowers and grass love, love, LOVE it--so I will love it, too. Having made that decision, I feel much better than I did before. No 'rainy-day blues' for this cowgirl.

I probably won't make soup, though. :)

I will write--the new book is going SO well.

And I will celebrate, because "Garrett" is doing so well out there in the marketplace, thanks to all of you.

Lastly, today is my nephew Jerome's birthday. Happy birthday, dude. I'm so proud of you and of your lovely sisters, and I love you very much.

And that's the news from Aunt Lindy's kitchen table.

Monday, June 07, 2010

15 Bean Soup

The sun is shining as I write this, but since we've had a wide variety of weather this spring, I am observing a rainy-day tradition in my family--I'm making homemade soup. I soaked the beans overnight, because that's how my mom does it, and rinsed them off this morning, before adding new water, salt, onions, some garlic, pearl barley and brown rice to the mix. Now, for the crockpot alchemy--gradually, as I write my pages and go about the normal business of a Monday, whatever that might turn out to be, the delicious aroma will fill the house.

Soup is almost medicinal, in my opinion. (Has to be homemade to qualify, though.) It nourishes, it comforts, and it smells good. Not only that, but it's better the second day than it was the first. Soup is great when you're sick, or just feeling a mite on the fragile side, but it can be hardy, too, of course. Maybe its real magic is that it is usually made and served with that most amazing of all secret ingredients: love.

Lest some of you begin to think you've stumbled onto a cooking blog, when you were looking for mine, let me assure you--you're in the right place. :) Sometimes, I'll be talking about soup.


The crockpot is plugged in.

I'll be writing today, I'm happy to say.

And that's the news from Linda's kitchen table.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday Slog Blog

Guess what--it's raining. (Sigh.) Hence the title of today's post.

I definitely don't have the bad-weather blues, though. I did a 2 hour chat on Facebook last night, and it was so great--the next best thing to all of us rubbing elbows at a party. All together, there were well over 500 messages, and I was blown away! There were a few familiar names in the bunch, too--like Heather Alling. Hey, Heather. When it was over, I was so happy and so exhausted that I was in bed and sound asleep within minutes.

Someone asked what ATCs are, and that tells me it's time to explain that again, for the sake of the newcomers. :) ATC means Artist Trading Card--it's a work of art, the standard size of any trading card, made specifically to swap. My cards are mostly collaged. I trade actively on and's lots of fun. I make tons of them--it always unscrambles my brain.

There's a new baby in our circle today--Danica Marie Korrell. Welcome, sweetie.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, I got some VERY good news--"Garrett" is #2 on the New York Times list, with an asterix beside it. That means, ladies and gentlemen, that it is actually tied for the #1 slot!

I was more tired than I thought, after attending BEA last week, and even though I've intended to write every single day since, I must admit that I haven't. As much fun as I had in the Big Apple, it takes me a while to get back in the groove when I've been traveling.

From 5 to 7 pm today, Pacific Time, I'll be on the Linda Lael Miller fan page on Facebook, answering as many questions as I can. I'm still floored that such a group even exists. My sincerest thanks to Nicki Boyle for heading it up--incredible.

And that's the news from my kitchen table, at least for now.

Tune in tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rainy Day Blues

I've got them, for sure. (And I didn't even watch the news this morning.)

Time to think about all the things I'm grateful for...

Time to remember that rain makes the earth thrive.

Time to smile and throw myself back into the story I'm writing.

And P.S.: In case you're interested, I'll be chatting on Facebook tomorrow, June 3, from 5 to 7 Pacific time. Just search for the Linda Lael Miller page and join us!

More later.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ready to Roll!

I'm all rested up, after a quiet weekend, and ready to hit the ground running in Stone Creek, Arizona.

Things I did:

I made ATCs for current trades.

I listened to "The McKettricks of Texas: Tate" on my iPod. (Yes, I really did. And I enjoyed it, a lot.)

I made a brief visit to the casino on Saturday. Suffice it to say, I've had better days playing slot machines. I hear they're retiring my favorite, Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, and I may need special therapy to get over that. (Just kidding.)

I ordered a stack of books from Amazon, including some on "Trigger Point Therapy", touted by the author of a favorite podcast, "Cast On". Brenda Dayne, the hostess, has serious shoulder problems, and she recommended the books. No, I don't have shoulder pain, but I'm no spring chicken and it never hurts to know how to make some part of the anatomy stop hurting, does it? (Okay, I admit it. I'm terminally curious--about everything. It's a Gemini thing.)

And so, off to meet up with Steven and Melissa and the rest of the Stone Creek outfit.

More tomorrow.