Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday? Really???

Is it just me, or is it always Friday?

This week has been an exciting one, with the release of "Tate", the first story in the new McKettricks of Texas trilogy, and a challenging one, as well. So many terrific things are happening--my self-conferred new name, Lindarella, really fits. (Well, except for the Prince, and I'd rather have a cowboy.) Do glass slippers (boots?) come in size 8 and 1/2?


I'm just silly today. Bear with me, please.

My computer ate 5 pages of "Austin" the day before yesterday, and I'm still trying to find it. I went on from there, and the book is coming along, but I've got to tell you, I wish those people at Microsoft wouldn't change Word every time they get a new operating system. I liked the OLD version of Word--with this new one, I still don't know how to make headers and cutting and pasting this new part of the book into the manuscript...well. They could at least give us old dogs an option instead of just imposing new tricks.

My friend Chris will stop by tonight to see if he can rescue the lost pages. I hope so--they were good, darn it.

Tons of things to be grateful for, though. :) Good and---less obviously good.

I'm grateful for it all.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mixed Bag

We're on a good-weather roll here in Spokane. The sun is summer-bright this morning--hard to believe this is January.

I was feeling rocky yesterday, but I'm better today.

At least, I was, until I tuned in to the news. It's usually my policy to stay silent on most issues, because convincing you of anything is not the reason I write this blog and surely not the reason you read it. But this one really broke my heart.

Another death related to cyber-bullying? Cruelty of this magnitude astounds me--what possesses people (mostly teenagers, but remember the mother posing as a boy on MySpace?) to be so unspeakably mean?

Like Sam O'Ballivan, in "The Man from Stone Creek", I cannot abide a bully. The 'mean girl' mind-set makes me furious.

I know a lot of young women and not a few young men read my books. Here's my message to you: If you're being bullied online, via text, whatever, block the sender. Take a few minutes to cool down. Then tell someone--a parent, a teacher, your minister. Someone. And realize this: There is nothing wrong with you, but there is a LOT wrong with the other person.

You are wonderful, you are unique, and you have a part to play in the world, things to contribute.

The bullies, on the other hand? Let's just say, I wouldn't want their karma.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good Intentions

I had such good intentions yesterday. I did a radio interview, journaled, planned to work on my new book. Instead, I ran smack into a wall labeled 'flu' and ended up going back to bed for several hours. (Actually, my friend/agent, Irene Goodman, sent me there, since I was hacking and snorking during our phone conversation.)

This was not how I had envisioned spending my day. I have a deadline. I'm supposed to be writing. I WANT to write.

Today, I feel better. (No, really.)

I guess it's okay to write in my pajamas.


If anybody wants to know, I'll be in Blue River...wearing p.j.'s.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tate McKettrick

I posted this picture of one of my ATCs just for fun.
Today is the day! "Tate", the first book in my new Texas McKettricks series, is out now, even as we speak. I am thrilled.

There's lots of great fuss around this book, too. Check out my Q&A and the video on MSN's Lifestyle page. Amazing. Is this really happening to me, Linda Lee Lael, aka Lindy, the little girl from Northport??? Do I really have a national radio interview coming up in 25 minutes???
Apparently so.

Fortunately, I have the current book to ground me. My cousin and trail boss, Mary Ann, who threatens to poke me with a knitting needle if I get big-headed, is home sick, so it's a good thing I'll be busy. Otherwise, I might fall prey to an ego attack. NOT. As wonderful as this business is, there is a lot to keep one humble. Besides, there are too many knitting needles around here. :)
And so it goes in Spokane, Washington on this lovely January morning.
I'm drinking coffee, journaling, and writing this blog. (Yes, pretty much all at once. Maybe I should cut out the coffee.)
As if.
It's a joy to know you're out there. Have a great day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Perfect Snowfall

Fat, fluffy flakes, drifting down from a gray-weighted sky....
gracing the ground...

And melting away later in the day. :)


This is the perfect day.

Perfect for writing a chapter of "Austin".

Perfect for brewing up a pot of soup.

Perfect for knitting another panel of wool, to be turned into felt and used later, in some project I have yet to decide upon. I have lovely ribbon yarn, to go onto the beautiful wooden loom I bought from Jennifer at

It's a day. I'm here to live it.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here in My Ivory Tower

I apologize for the lateness of this blog--these days I seem to be moving at a snail's pace in just about every area of my life. And even though I would like things to be otherwise, I am determined to be grateful.

I'm really into "Austin", the new book, and have therefore moved back to my old writing place in front of the bay windows in my bedroom. I'm looking out over the draw, full of sun-spangled pines, and feeling wonderfully centered. For whatever reason, this is where I need to be to write this book, so here I am.

The dogs are thrilled, because they can keep tabs on me. And I think the cats are pleased, too, though of course they'd never lower themselves to let on. :)

We've had the most glorious weather in and around Spokane this week, and I have loved every minute of it. There is apparently more snow on the way but, hey, it's still January, after all.

And there is so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If this is Spokane, it must be Wednesday...

We've sure been having crazy weather out here--clouds and rain in the mornings, and enough sunshine to satsify anybody for the rest of the day. It has been GLORIOUS.

At the moment, we're in the grouchy-sky phase, but I'm holding out hope that it will change back to fabulous, the way it did yesterday and the day before. I was actually starting to consider buying seed packs and planting things, but it's still a little too early for that. We still have February ahead, after all, and March can be pretty snarky. All the more reason to focus on Right Now and be grateful.

And there is so much to be grateful for, isn't there? I'm still on the track of celebrating ordinary things--for instance, I went to a local supermarket for a few odds and ends the other day. I have my choice of numerous places, as you probably do as well, and here's what they have in common: they are clean, they are warm, they are brightly lit and the 99.9 percent of the people inside are friendly. Even better, they are jam-packed with every kind of food, in many brands and varieties. (You can already see where I'm going with this.)

There were some challenges up at the checkout stands, and I was shuffled to the 10 items or less line, even though my cart was full. I asked at least two people to go ahead of me, since they were within the prescribed limit and I wasn't, and when I got to the register, the clerk thanked me for "bearing with them." As in, not complaining.

Complaining??? Because I had to stand in line for a little while?

Perish the thought.

The people of Haiti, to name just one place, wouldn't mind waiting a while, would they?

See you tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'll be in Blue River with the McKettricks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dad, Peanuts and Me

Posted by Picasa

Hurray, Hurray...

It's a writing day!

I LOVE unobstructed writing days, and they seem to be harder and harder to come by lately.

Mary Ann, the Trail Boss, is still under the weather with a very bad cold. Yesterday, I asked Chris, aka the Nazi Dog Nanny, who is filling in, to throw together the ingredients of a homemade chicken soup for her, while I was busy in Blue River, with Austin McKettrick and his lady (soon to be) Paige Remington. He did a fine job--and made chilli for MY supper, too--and we took the soup and a few other goodies (pistacios, chocolate covered cherries, and some Hostess cupcakes, her perennial favorites) next door to the invalid. You're probably thinking if she eats those things in combination, no wonder she's sick, but it's a cold. Really.

I wasn't feeling all that great myself this weekend, and most of the writing I did was in my head. I made one foray to JoAnn's and to the grocery store, but that was my excitement. The big whoopee was felting a length of yarn I'd knitted--it came out great. (And since, unlike my good friend Debbie Macomber, I am a lousy knitter, felting is just my cup of tea. It doesn't matter, in the end, if you drop a stitch or two.) It quite literally all comes out in the wash.

For those of you who don't know from felting, it's what happens when you wash wool in hot water. The fibers blend into--voila!--FELT. I love it. It can then be cut or sewn or whatever, and attached to other things, like purses or jackets. I am, apparently, a woman of simple pleasures.

Speaking of pleasures--I'm due in Blue River pretty soon, so I'll wrap this up for now.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Appointments

I love a day with no appointments in it! I can write today, really roll, without stopping to do this or do that.

It's all good!

I'm slow-cooking a roast, and Sadie is off exercising this morning, so Bernicie and the cats and I have the house to ourselves for the moment. Trail Boss Mary Ann has been coming in for several hours every day (she's dedicated), but her son Derek and grandson Lucas are visiting from Canada, so of course she wants a bit of Grandma Time. Lucas is seriously cute, and so smart. He helps his dad and grampa with the horses and various other ranch chores--not bad for a three-year-old. He enjoys the elevator, which he and his dad call "the magic closet". And yes, he's a major fan of Thomas the Train.

On a more somber note, I encourage you to pray for the people of Haiti. You can contribute $10 to the American Red Cross's rescue effort by texting "Haiti" to 90999, if you're so inclined. I ended up making a larger contribution to CARE, when I couldn't get through to the ARC website yesterday.

The tragedy in Haiti breaks my heart. It also underscores how very much most of us have to be grateful for--I don't know about you, but I don't want to take one blessing for granted.

For many of you, this will be a holiday weekend. Enjoy--and count your blessings.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Funny Girls

Sometimes, a blog theme just goes ahead and presents itself, without any urging from me. That happened this morning, with my dogs and cats.

Sadie-beagle and I took the elevator downstairs (re: my elevator: picture a rattle-trap cubicle, NOT one of those sleek conveyances you would see in a grand hotel), and she headed out into the backyard. Bernicie and the cats, none of whom are fond of the elevator, scrambled down two flights of stairs to catch up. Bernice, the Yorkie, is so fast, she's often there to greet Sadie and me when we step out. So anyway, they're all outside now, and since the various processes take a while, I usually shoot back up to the middle floor in search of coffee. When ready, they all troop up the back steps onto the high deck and come in through the kitchen door.

I came to the kitchen, poured myself a much-needed cup of coffee, and got out the feeding bowls, etc. No dogs at the back door. No cats, either.

I headed downstairs to investigate, and there they were, Sadie and Bernice peering hopefully through the glass in the basement door, Jitterbug the cat wedged in between, and fluffy, aloof ChaCha looking on from just behind them. For some secret four-legged reason, they'd decided to alter the routine--without letting me in on it.

What a picture. I'd better start carrying a camera in my bathrobe pocket!

Make it a good day. I have a hair appointment, and then I'll be cruising by a neighborhood yarn shop...
But that's another blog.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The First Seed Catalog!

I can't believe it! The first garden catalog arrived in today's mail, bursting with flowers and fruit and vegetables and growing-gadgets of all sorts. A much-needed reminder that spring will be back soon.

Round zucchini squashes?

Container blueberries?

Strawberries that grow in bags?

I am SO jazzed!

Fog Blog 3

Folks are dealing the the results of major disasters and not commenting on such tragedy seems wrong. On the other hand, the media news will cover the situation thoroughly, along with any new developments. So all I'm going to say about the earthquake in Haiti follows here: please pray for the people involved. If you can afford to help with a donation, however small, please do that. I've been trying to get through to the Red Cross to make a contribution, but the site seems to be on overload. I suppose that's good news--lots of people must be logging on to offer financial help. I'll try again later.

And now back to my regular blog.

The draw is billowing with fog, and we've been getting a little rain. That's always good.

I'm swamped with art projects and having the best time with my new book. Slow, but steady. That's how I seem to be running this particular race.

Yesterday I mentioned some of my favorite websites, and I forgot one. I also love finally found a place to trade my ATCs in an organized fashion. This is loads of fun. I'll post a few photos in a little while.

Things are pretty quiet here on the old homestead. I like it that way.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I continue to make discoveries, mostly related to arts and crafts at this point in my illustrious career (insert smiley face here)--but definitely spilling over into my writing. Color, texture, form and shape--these things enrich my entire life. The so-called failures are the most instructive, and exciting, of all.

Go figure. It IS possible to fail one's way to success!

Yesterday, I wrote about aprons. Sister Sally sews like a dream, and she immediately suggested that we make some. I, on the other hand, sew more like a nightmare. But, hey, I'm game. I bought fabric for two aprons this past weekend, as I've probably already told you, and I'm gearing up to make them. Would that I could remember how to thread the machine properly. :)

I will definitely post pictures of the finished project--when I finish it.

Some of my favorite discoveries:

Podcasts: Craftcast, Craftypod, Craftsanity and Cast On are my favorites. They're all available on iTunes or the websites. If you don't own an MP3 player, you can still listen on your computer.
At this site, you can "rent" art videos and watch them on your computer. Favorites of mine are: Claudine Hellmuth and Mary Todd Beam.

Anglican prayer beads. Who knew? There is a Protestant rosary--I'd never heard of these lovely things until I listened to an interview on Craftsanity. (Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood does wonderful, long interviews with artists and craftspeople from all disciplines. Fascinating stuff.)
Anyway, I ordered some prayer beads on Etsy, and I love them. source for mixed media. Also online classes. Blu's fantastic painting site. I have learned SO much through her wacky but wonderful online videos.

So many crafts, so little time.

I'm headed for Blue River, Texas, to meet up with a sexy cowboy named Austin McKettrick.

Talk about discoveries.

Monday, January 11, 2010


That's my new crafty fascination. Yes, aprons. What wonderful memories I have of home-sewn aprons--my mother had a drawer full of them. She would shop for cheery fabric and whip up new ones for approaching holidays or special occasions--Halloween apron? You bet. Also Valentine's Day and, of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was fun to see what new creation came from that whirring sewing machine (Singer, and I can still smell the oil used to lubricate the mechanism) and it certainly added to the festive feeling.

When I learned to iron (in the late fifties and early sixties this was considered a crucial skill for all females), aprons were among the first tasks I was allowed to tackle, along with dishtowels and cotton handkerchiefs--big bandanna ones for my dad, dainty emboidered ones for Mom. Mom's hankies had a lot of uses--handy if you cried in church, or one of us kids needed a face-wiping. I must have had a few hankies of my own, because I used to carry a quarter all wrapped up in one for the collection plate at Sunday school. (My brother often spent his quarter and cut Sunday School entirely, but you didn't hear this from me.)

Alas, with the mid-sixties came the Rebellion. Burn your bra, down with aprons and hankies and anything else that needed ironing. (I miss the steamy, starchy smell of cotton smoothed under a hot iron, not to mention the pure satisfaction of banishing wrinkles.) Of course, wrinkles have a whole new meaning now. Too bad they can't be ironed away.

Graduating from high school in 1967 and marrying in 1968, I didn't go quite so far as to burn my bras, but I did decide that aprons and ironing weren't especially cool.

Too bad. In so many ways, we threw the baby out with the bathwater in those heady days of I-am-woman, hear-me-roar.

All these years later, I'm back, and so are a lot of other people. Knitting and quilting, for example, have never been bigger. Folks love handcrafted things--Etsy and ebay, to name just two, are crammed with them.

Me? I LOVE aprons. I plan to get back into sewing by making some.

When it comes to ironing, though, the jury is still out. :)

No sense getting too carried away.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday, Friday

Another splash of breathtakingly beautiful weather, and ever so much to be thankful for, here on the Triple L.

I've begun the new book, and can't get wait to get back to it today. Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours noodling with the first couple of paragraphs...have to get it right in the beginning, or the trail will take me in the wrong direction. :)

I had a dental appointment yesterday afternoon; a crown had to be replaced. I not only hate sitting in a dental chair for a long time, I hate the sound of a drill--and there was a LOT of drilling. I decided to practice what I'd preached, on this blog and in the newsletters, and be grateful for the experience instead of resisting it, complaining about it, etc., etc., etc.

Obviously, just being able to get good dental care is a blessing. My dentist and his staff are kind and professional. Pain control has come a long way. My new crown is in place and we're good to go.

The thing I'm most grateful for?

It's over. :)

See you on Monday. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Judging by the weather, you'd think it was spring. The sky is a soft blue, the trees in my beloved draw are spangled with sunlight. It lifts my spirits just to look out through the windows.

I just spent a few minutes on the phone with my good friend, Vicki Webster. Vicki and I have known each other for years (and years) and I cherish our relationship--and we're trying to plan a visit. The problem is, when Vicki's around, all I want to do is talk and laugh and play--and I need to be diligent this month. Next month, we hope, we can get together to splash paint on things in my craft room/studio.

In addition to her other talents, Vicki is a nurse. She helped me with some medical details for the new book. Steve Miller did the same with questions about modern rodeo. when I was writing "Tate".

Like I said, I get by with a little help from my friends.


Thanks, Vick.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Let's Try This Again

Yesterday, I was slammed by one of those flu bugs that creep up on you when you're not looking, and all my plans for an ordinary day went right down the tube. Along with a crowd of pets, I got back into bed and slept all day, although I did read a little (Mary Karr's new memoir, "Lit") and listened to a few of my fave podcasts (CraftSanity and Craftcast, both available on iTunes and at their websites.)

I'm eager to start writing the new book, darn it.

So I'm going to try again today. I feel much better but, then, I felt okay yesterday, too, early on.

I guess it's all about staying open to whatever happens next.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

An Ordinary Day

This is my favorite kind of day--an ordinary one. The draw behind the house is cloud-filled--the weather-person is predicting snow for later--Sadie is snoring away nearby, sleeping off her breakfast. :) (Since it hasn't been that long since she was sleeping off supper, I can only conclude that it's a dog's life. For her, anyway.)

The fire will be flickering on the hearth, and I'll heat up yesterday's split pea soup on the stove.

Today I'm celebrating the ordinary, because that's my plan for 2010 and beyond. I'm even planning on celebrating the frustrations and the disappointments we all get--because I want to see what will happen. (I'm big on experiments, which is probably why I love working in mixed-media art--it's all about happy accidents and discoveries that make my heart smile.)

Oh, there is a lot to be grateful for in an ordinary day.

I'm keeping count.

Monday, January 04, 2010


New week, new year, new decade!

The holidays were fantastic this year--as many of you know, I spent Christmas in Santa Monica with Wendy and Jeremy--and celebrated New Year's right here at home. I like to assess things quietly then, looking back and looking ahead, but not getting stuck in either place. I try to remember that the Present Moment is where I'm supposed to live. :) That is usually quite difficult for me, given the qualities of an active imagination--I honestly believe we are each a micro-universe, in effect, though I couldn't explain the theory scientifically. (I can't explain much of anything scientifically, when you get right down to it.) Being a writer gives me a great excuse to spend at least part of every day exploring imaginary ranches, getting to know new characters and revisiting old ones.

I'm sure some decry the end of the long holiday hiatus, but this cowgirl is pushing up her sleeves and all but shouting, "Yeehaw!"

I'm glad to get back to "work", spinning new stories. I've got some new paintings in progress, too, and a pile of ATCs (artist trading cards) in various stages of development. Doing art feeds and renews my imagination in a way I can't really describe--scientifically or otherwise. :)

I'd love to hang around and chat, but the truth is, I've got a hot date in Blue River, Texas, with a real cute cowboy named Austin McKettrick.

Make it a good day.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


That's the word of the year for LLM.

No, I'm not talking about whooping it up over at the casino or dancing on tabletops in some smoky honky-tonk--I mean the kind of celebration that follows a deep, heartfelt gratitude.

In previous years, I've set a lot of goals, especially professional ones. While this served me pretty well--go figure, I actually met most of them--I've undergone some kind of shift, deep down in that place where I am most truly myself. The process is certainly a natural part of maturing as a human being, but it seems rare and magical to me--in my sixth decade, I've finally Grown Up.

I have basically arrived where I've always wanted to be, which is Right Here (and has been all along.) I'm not saying I'm complacent--I'm still committed to learning and growing as a person and as a writer, but the sense of struggle is gone, praise God and hallelujah. I want to learn because I love the excitement I feel when I make some new discovery, however small. I want to write because I love creating characters and sharing their world with them for a while.

I'm signed up for all sorts of online classes--most of them related to art, though one is called Civil War 101--and I'm trying new things right and left. As stated in an earlier blog, I've even hauled out the sewing machine, and that's been gathering dust since the 1960s! Sister Sal and I plan to explore the world of quilting--she's at a distinct advantage, since she sews beautifully already--and we're already mapping out a strategy to scout for fabric on our trip to Barcelona in March.

I'm healthy and so are my loved ones and my friends. I have my work and my pets and my many, many interests.

What's not to celebrate?