Thursday, February 25, 2010

Go Figure

Woke up to rain and a heavy, gloomy sky, but now the sun is peeking through in brilliant flashes of light. Good writing weather, either way.

Last week, "Tate" was #18 on the New York Times list, this week, it bounced back up to #12. This has been one wild, wonderful ride, and I so appreciate all of you taking to my cowboys the way you have.

I will be finishing "Austin" today and tomorrow. I'm thrilled, and I'm sad.

Go figure.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yep, it's February all right!

Snow! Yesterday, the weather was glorious, summer-bright. This morning, when Sadie-beagle and I made our normal trek to the backyard, the flakes were coming down fast and furious. She was feeling a little off, so I picked some grass for her and she nibbled a few bites and drank some water. She's snoozing now, and since her nose is cold and her eyes are bright, I think she's okay.

According to the weatherman, the snow won't stick. However it turns out, the stuff is beautiful, and I'm enjoying it. Of course, I don't have to commute, and that makes a huge difference.

I am SO close to finishing my book. I will be writing the last chapter tomorrow, and I can hardly believe it. I will be both happy and sad, as I've mentioned before.

I sent my mom a rubber stamp the other day. It says, "What if the hokey-pokey really IS what it's all about?" She and I share a corny sense of humor, as you can see.

And there's always the chance that the answer to this philosophical question is "yes".

Wouldn't that be a kick?

Choose to have a good day, and be kind.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Can't Be February!

It is beyond beautiful outside, bright as June. What a (welcome) change from last year!

I admit to a case of cabin fever--that's why I bought the seed packets I mentioned yesterday--but I'm on the homestretch with the new book, and sunshine makes it easier to write.

I thrive on sunshine. I know this about myself. Next month, as I've mentioned, I'll be spending three and a half weeks in Barcelona, with my sister, Sally. I fully expect to be restored and strengthened by this lovely holiday, but of course I'll miss my dogs, cats and horses a lot, and I'll be happy to return home when the time comes.

I've been listening to some interesting books on my iPod lately--"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" was one that really fascinated me, and now I'm into "Nella Last's Peace", which is comprised of diary entries written by an English housewife after WW2. I understand there was an earlier book, "Nella Last's War", and I certainly intend to look for that. I have always admired the British, but Nella's account of day to day life following the end of the war makes me even more aware of their courage and fortitude, in the face of privation and staggering loss. Nella was very good at making the best of what she had to work with--not much, by today's standards--and she constantly found reasons to be grateful.

I have a new painting surface set out to work on later, when I've written my pages. It is cradled birch, 24x24 inches in size, and I have a basic plan, but I know I need to be adaptable--lots of times I start a piece and it evolves into something else entirely. That's just one of the things I love about art--that sense of discovery. Bob Ross called the phenomena "happy accidents", and I couldn't have said it better.

I continue to make ATCs, too, and trade them on Swapbot and It is so much fun to receive other people's art work in the mail, and I love it when someone leaves a nice comment about one of my cards on the websites.

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

Monday, February 22, 2010


The view from my kitchen table is so bright on this lovely February morning that I had to adjust the blinds in order to see the screen of this laptop. Yesterday, at the grocery store, I happened upon a HUGE rack of seeds--various herbs, my beloved zinnias, a mix of flowers that will produce an absolute comedy of color.

It's only February, I said to myself.

I'm leaving for Spain in a few weeks.

I can't be planting things now.

As so often happens, Self paid no attetnion to my wise counsel. I loaded up with seed packets. I simply could not resist the flambouyant possibities of pink zinnias, and fresh Sweet Basil, and tomatoes...well, I could go on (and on) but you get the idea.

It's all about the possibilities.

Friday, February 19, 2010

And That's the News...

Sunshine! Honestly, it is so beautiful here in Spokane that I want to dig holes in the dirt and plant things. I won't, of course, because it's still only February, after all, though you wouldn't know it by looking out my windows. In fact, the sun is SO bright that I had to adjust the blinds in order to see the computer screen.

"Austin" is very near completion--just a few more days to go. What a challenge, and what a joy, writing this trilogy has been for me! I have been so utterly and completely absorbed in the stories that I am behind on just about everything else in my life.

It's been a while since I updated you--still not smoking, and don't intend to--but I've gained some weight for sure. That will be a main area of concentration once the book is finished. I seem to be a one trick pony these days, and right now, that trick is writing. :) (Fortunately, it's a pretty useful trick.) On February 23, I will have 8 smoke-free months. I'm told it gets easier.

I have some other goals, too, for when I've finished, besides the trip to Barcelona. I want to catch up on all five seasons of "Lost". (No, I'm not kidding.) I want to knit socks and the sampler from a book called "The Sweater Workshop", (author Jacqueline Fee) because I heard on one of my favorite podcasts (Knitpicks) that if I do that I'll be able to knit sweaters without a pattern forever and ever amen.

Works for me. I love sweaters, and the brighter and more outrageous the colors, the better!

Sadie is doing her best to avoid going to her workout session. She gets lazy around the end of the week--don't we all?

But it's sunny out. It's all good.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Fog

It's like 19th century London in this city, but cleaner. :) My mother reports catching a glimpse of the hem of a black cloak vanishing around the corner. (We are a fanciful bunch in my family.)

My sister Sally commented on the Lincoln blog--she said she could picture old Abe and Dad shooting the breeze and maybe swapping hats. (I told you we were fanciful.) Dad always wore a straw cowboy hat, and of course Abe had his stovepipe. The resulting image says it all. :)

I'm working very hard these days, being on the homestretch with "Austin". As always, it is bittersweet--finishing a book is definitely cause for celebration. I've become very attached to all these characters, though, and once the hands on stuff is done, things are never the same. It's like when your children go out into the world, and have families of their own, and do all the things you raised them to do.

But still.

"Tate" is still selling like crazy out there. I couldn't be more thrilled. Once again, thank you.

On the art front, I received the new issue of "Somerset Studio" in the mail yesterday. What a treasure. If you've never seen SS, flip through it next time you're at the news stand. It's wonderful.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What a Coincidence....

My sister Sally's exact words, after reading yesterday's blog. Turns out that she too is a winner in the Irish Lottery. What are the chances? ??? :) Especially when we didn't even buy a ticket. At least the Nigerians have given up trying to get me to let them transfer a fortune into my bank account, but the enlargement people are hanging in there and I see by today's offerings that I'm entitled to Stimulus Money.

Who knew?

Enough of that silliness. Time for the riveting Spokane weather report, the probable reason why most of you tune in:

Fog. We are surrounded by fog. Living inside a cloud.

Funny. A lot of people have told me I have my head in a cloud. :) (And other places.)

Anyway, I feel right at home.
In the cloud, I mean.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What a World

As I emptied my junk mail folder a few minutes after logging on this morning and checking my email--watching various once-in-a-lifetime offers jiggle slightly and then fall away into cyberspace--I noticed in passing that I had won the Irish Lottery! Along with this happy news (please be assured I say this tongue-in-cheek) were promises to enlarge parts of my anatomy that do not exist, clear up acne, make me skinny before morning, and put me in touch with the spirits.

Science tells us that the store of human information now doubles at an astounding rate; every six months, if I remember correctly. (And I probably don't.) What they do not tell us is that the vast majority of this information is 1) useless and 2) B.S. But, hey, we have the technology to spread it faster!

What a world we live in.

Some situations make me weep.

Some make me laugh.

And a great many more just have me shaking my head, bemused.

I guess that's life.

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 12

This is the birthday of one of the people I admire most in all of time and eternity--Abraham Lincoln. If I could meet anyone, from any time in history, after Jesus, I would choose Old Abe.

Abe was a man of humor, commitment, and incredible intelligence.

A man of honor, well-acquainted with sorrow, self-educated, and brilliantly talented as a writer. He had a tremendous love for poetry. Most historians would say that Mr. Lincoln's most outstanding quality, however, was his tenacity.

He did what he believed was right, and he simply would not quit.

Wherever you are, Mr. President, I'm positive it's a good place. Happy birthday.

(And if you happen to see my dad, please tell him howdy. The two of you have a lot in common.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hair Yesterday, Hair Today, Hair Tomorrow

I'm postponing my appointment for a color and a cut to work on the new chapter. My hair, while definitely not fabulous, is...passable. (And let's face it, it's never really fabulous.)

With "Tate", the good news just keeps on coming. Last week it was #5 on the New York Times bestseller list, reason aplenty to celebrate, but I learned yesterday that it has jumped to #3!!! YES! (Thank you, thank you, thank you.)

Alas, there is no time for any laurel-resting--and I'm not cracking the bottle of bubbly Harlequin sent until "Austin" is finished.

What's next? After the bubbly, anyway? I'll be taking that trip to Barcelona with my sister, Sally. Soaking up some Spanish culture, not to mention food and wine. Laughing with my sister, taking the train to Portugal and to the South of, of course...snapping a million photos...and doing some kind of art work. I've been knitting (badly) and now I'm crocheting (not quite SO badly) and I have yarn and a hook for a lovely afgan. I crocheted several rows, but it came out lumpy, so I pulled out the stitches and rewound the yarn and I will tackle it again when the book is finished.

There's a philosophical insight in there, but frankly I don't have time to pursue it.

I have a book to write.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Don't be alarmed. :) I'm only referring to tomorrow's appointment for a haircut and a touch-up. (Plus, it's early and I'm only on my first cup of coffee.)

It's been crazy around here--nothing new in that. I'm writing like a mad woman and loving every minute of it, and things just keep happening. For instance, Sadie-beagle sprained her tail. I didn't even know that was possible. The vet gave her a shot for pain and inflammation, and she's on the mend--still can't wag at full-mast but progress is progress.

Lovely flowers grace the house--bouquets from my agent, Irene Goodman, and her husband, Alex, and from those fabulous Harlequin folks who waved a wand and made me Lindarella. :) No sign of the Prince yet, but you never know. I seem to be on a roll, so he may ride up at any time. I know this much: he'll be riding western.

Gardening catalogs continue to come in. Just looking at the covers--all those glorious colors!--gives me a little rush of Spring.

I'm definitely ready for Spring.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Good-Bye, Pernell Roberts

Mom sent me the obit last week--Pernell Roberts, of "Bonanza" has passed on. The last of the Cartwright clan, laid to rest. Whenever somebody dies--an old boyfriend or an actor I loved--Mom puts the clipping in the mail.

I've been so busy with "Austin" that I've barely had time to register this loss. And trust me, it is a loss.

Many of you know that I was the original "Bonanza" fan. I mean, I walked out into the living room one night, with a towel wrapped around my head because I'd just washed my hair, and there he was, in Living Black and White...Little Joe! (Yes, I know Pernell Roberts played Adam, not Little Joe. Frankly, it took me a while to notice the other brothers and Pa. I did spot the pinto pony right away, though.) I swear puberty kicked in at that very moment, and I never, ever got over Michael Landon and that impish grin of his. Not to mention the curly hair and the way he laughed. Even now, I feel a burst of joy when I think of him.

Roberts' character, of course, was Adam Cartwright. Adam was the eldest brother, the one with the college education, dark-haired and seriously handsome. Also handsomely serious :)--if I remember correctly, he did not have the sense of humor shared by Hoss and Little Joe, who were often up to mischief of some kind and liked to play tricks on him. (Must have come from their mothers' sides. Ingeniously, the Cartwrights were half-brothers, each with a different mother. I even remember the women's names: Elisabeth, Inga and Marie.)

I recall being devastated when, about six years into the run of the show, Roberts decided the part wasn't challenging enough for him. He left. His absence definitely changed the dynamics profoundly, but people (myself included) continued to watch. I think "Bonanza" was on for something like 20 years. Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon carried on admirably, but the trickle of characters meant to fill Adam's boots didn't really work. It just didn't seem right when only three people rode up on horseback at the beginning, when there had been four.

The influence of "Bonanza" (also, to a lesser degree, "The Big Valley", "The Virginian", and "High Chapparal") on my writing career was, and remains, huge. I love to write about brothers, on big ranches, with problems to solve, challenges to meet. This show was almost a personal mythology to me, and it was certainly an education. I learned the concept of scenes watching "Bonanza", and that you needed a cliff-hanger to get folks to come back after the Chevrolet commercial.

I miss "Bonanza" and the other family westerns, big-time. Now, it's all "reality". (If that's reality, folks, we are in worse trouble than we ever imagined.)

I sure do miss that stirring theme song, the ranch house, and the lovely shots of Lake Tahoe.

So farewell, Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon, Lorne Greene and Dan Blocker. Thanks for the memories.

Oh, yes. Thanks for the career, too.

Monday, February 08, 2010


It's hard to believe, but this is my eleven hundredth blog post. Amazing.

The draw and the pasture are white with fog, the East Coast is in the grip of a blizzard, and the Saints won the SuperBowl. That's the news from Linda's kitchen table. :)

I am SO into writing "Austin". I mean, I am inside this story, almost one of the characters. It's fun, it's difficult, it's exhilerating, it's exhausting. It's a challenge, it's a joy. I'll be glad when I finish, and sad, too.

I've joined a couple of ATC swapping groups, and on breaks I work on cards. This is so much fun. I haven't really had time for any larger art projects lately, though I've begun either knitting or crocheting in the evenings while I listen to my favorite podcasts: Cast On, Craftcast, Craft Sanity, and the BBC's wonderful "History of the World in 100 Objects." I'm like, the world's worst knitter, and I'm not much better at crochet. :) But there is a peace that is almost like meditation in doing needlework; it calms me and helps me forget any worries I may be entertaining.

And we do "entertain" worries, don't we? By going over and over them in our minds? "Come on in," we seem to say. "Sit right down and tell me all the reasons I ought to be worried."

I'm not going there, and I hope you won't, either.

There is simply too much to be grateful for.

Make a list. You'll feel better.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Cozy Day

We're enjoying (yes, enjoying) a rainy Friday morning here in Spokane. It's a light the fire, put on a kettle of soup kind of day. Even better, it's a writing day--the very best kind of day there is. I am so into "Austin", I can hardly wait to have my breakfast, get dressed, and head for Blue River, Texas.

Yesterday I did a radio interview, had a phone meeting with my team at HQN, and made dinner for my cousin Sheri and friend Kat. They are delightful--brought flowers and wine and their senses of humor and we had a great time. In between all that, I wrote about 10 pages, and I loved every minute of it.

It's no secret to any of you that writing this trilogy has been particularly challenging--I've loved the stories and the characters from the moment I conceived the original germ of the idea, but for some reason, there were a lot of obstacles along the way. For all that, these books are some of my very best work. The reception "Tate" is receiving is nothing short of phenomenal. I can only reiterate one of my most basic beliefs---there is a reason for everything.

And I'm grateful, even--or especially--for the hassles.

Who knows what gifts they bring?

Have a good day and a good weekend.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yee-Haw AGAIN!

"Tate" is #5 on the New York Times bestseller list and #2 on the USA Today list!


Writing this book was such a challenge; there were times, as many of you will recall, when I thought I'd never be done with it. It's so gratifying to see "my boy" Tate out there kicking up dust.

I want to extend special congrats to my long-time buddy, Robyn Carr. Her new Virgin River book is right up there, too, and we're plotting to meet somewhere and party like rock stars.

In the meantime, though, I'm still expected in Blue River later today, and there's a phone meeting scheduled, too. Real life, as John Lennon said, is what happens while you're making other plans.

It's all good. Tonight, my cousin Sheri and her partner, Kat, are coming to dinner. They are two of my favorite people and I can't wait to see them--they always make me laugh. Sadie-beagle, who adores Sheri, will be over the moon.

See you tomorrow, pardners.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Catching My Breath

Three radio interviews this morning, and the first one was at 5:30. I enjoyed them all, since I'm a real ham, but I figure the folks in Blue River are starting to wonder where I am.

When I last saw Paige Remington and Austin McKettrick, they were standing toe to toe in a swimming pool, with a sky full of Texas stars spread out overhead, reminding themselves of all the reasons they shouldn't give in to temptation.

Will they, or won't they?

Well, I'm certainly not going to spill the beans.


OK, time to get to work.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ground Hog Day

Six more weeks of winter? Well, there you go. The rodent has spoken--and there's no way I'm going to attempt to spell his name. :) I hesitate to tempt fate, but so far we've enjoyed a mild winter here in Spokane--in January, there were a number of sunny days, pretty enough to make your throat catch. The draw is foggy this morning--I haven't spotted any wildlife down there so far, but you never know. Deer, wild turkeys, whole packs of coyotes and even the occasional moose are not an uncommon sight here on the Triple L.

I had an early radio interview today--my thanks to Tron Simpson of KCMN-AM's "Tron Talk Live", on the USA Radio Network. As always, talking to Tron was easy and fun--he's a real pro. A $25 Petco gift card is being given away with each of the interviews I have scheduled to promote "Tate". I have 3 more tomorrow, and the first one is at 5:35 am, my time. :) It's great fun.

I'm writing "Austin" and doing well, though my cold is holding on. More Vicks, more Tylenol, and more of the goings on in Blue River, Texas. :)

Next month--next month--Sally and I head out for our yearly vacation. This year, we're bound for Barcelona, with side trips to Portugal and the south of France. There will be pictures and if humanly possible, blogs. It was a kick last time, blogging from Prague, because I had to use the hotel computer and navigate instructions in Czech. We shall see how it goes in Espanol. :)

Time to whip up some breakfast and get to work.

Once my writing day is done, I'll be snipping and gluing new ATCs. Loving the whole swap aspect of that.

More tomorrow.

Be blessed.

Monday, February 01, 2010


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Monday Rambles

I wrote all weekend, and it bears saying that while I did not write rapidly, I did write well.

Each of the Texas McKettrick stories has touched me in a deep and particular way. I become totally engaged with every book I write, of course; it's almost impossible not to, because writing books requires so much time and energy and love. The process is often difficult, always challenging, and so incredibly rewarding. I truly wouldn't have it any other way, but it takes a lot of stamina and stick-to-it sometimes.

Over the weekend, I worked on my laptop, upstairs in my room, looking out over the rainy, foggy draw behind my house. The dogs and cats love it when I work there, because then they can snooze and still keep track of my whereabouts. :) As soon as I sat down and set my fingertips on the keyboard, I was immediately sucked into the story-world, where the characters live. It was magical, even though I was in my pajamas, smeared with Vicks and taking Tylenol every four hours.

My mother and brother share a birthday, just as my dad and I did, and yesterday, January 31, was their big day. The cards and presents went out late, but the love is there. Happy birthday, Mom and Jerry, and thanks for understanding that sometimes it's hard to make it back from Blue River, Texas in time to head for the post office.

I love you both.

Because my brain would probably explode if I didn't do some art work regularly, I had some fun making on ATCs for some trades I'm involved in on and

Sadie is off to her exercise day, and I'm off to Blue River.