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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Check out this great digital art magazine. It's FREE:


This Must Be Tuesday

Mom is doing well and will have her hip replacement surgery tomorrow. She's being very brave and positive--just wants to get it done and start recovering so she can get around again. At 81, she likes to go, go, go--get the newspaper, get the mail, hop on the bus to various stores around her retirement center.

I managed to write a whole chapter yesterday--yeehaw--and I'm going for another one today. Tomorrow, of course, I will be at the hospital with Mom. Maybe I'll take this laptop along--if you see a woman badly in need of a haircut keyboarding away in the waiting room, that might just be me. Fortunately, I have a salon appointment Thursday afternoon--my hair has absolutely reached the Federal Disaster stage. No funds forthcoming, however. :)

A whole box of brand new rubber stamps arrived yesterday from Stampdiva, one of my favorite sites, and I'm eager to try them out, either on ATCs or in my new art journal. (More on that later.) The writing always seems to go better if I can mess with paint and glue and scissors on breaks.

Still listening to "Must You Go?" Very good. I so enjoy memoirs, good ones, anyway.

Well, the critters are fed and the coffee is brewed and now it's time to water the container garden out on the deck.

That's today's news from my kitchen table.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Last Friday

I was about to sit down and write my blog, as usual, when the phone rang. It was my mother calling, and she had just discovered that she couldn't walk without extreme pain. Needless to say, Mom went to the hospital by ambulance and I met her there. The bottomline is that she will need a hip replacement--her second--pronto. Actual surgery hasn't been scheduled, but could be as soon as today. Tomorrow, possibly. We would appreciate your prayers, good wishes, white light, and/or smoke signals. :) I'll keep you posted.

Of course a health challenge in the family wreaks havoc on writing schedules, but I am determined to work steadily on "A Creed in Stone Creek" this week. I love this book so much, love the characters and the situation and my fictional Arizona town. Did I ever tell you that I intended "The Man from Stone Creek" to be a stand-alone novel? The best-laid plans of mice, men and novelists.

The weather is simply glorious today, sunny and blue-skied. In a little while, I'll water my container garden on the back deck. A few days ago, I enjoyed the first small zuchinis cooked with a little Pam spray and some water--delicious. Maybe more so, I admit, because I grew them. I can't help thinking what a miracle it is, a plant producing something so distinctive as a tomato (soon) or a strawberry (also soon) or squash, in such a short period of time. I fail to understand how people can witness such astounding things--never mind the formation of complete human beings in a mere 9 months--and not believe in God. How, I ask, could there NOT be a God?

I took time for art this weekend--it soothes my soul and allows my storyteller brain to do its idea-weaving thing without conscious interference--making some ATCs (artist trading cards) for various swaps.

What I'm listening to: "Must You Go?" by Antonia Fraser, a memoir of her life with playwright Harold Pinter. It's a very romantic story, with plenty of scandal. Also purchased "The Time Weaver", by Shana Abe, in actual book form. (Plus the latest magazines from Stampington and Co., producers of my favorite art publications) I do love time travel stories if they're well executed--we shall see. It's a very interesting concept, anyway.

I continue to eat in the prescribed way, and I have lost 14 pounds in 2 weeks. Not bad. And although I do wear nicotine patches, I haven't smoked since June 23, 2009, and I don't intend to, ever again. I'm feeling steadily better and stronger, with every passing day.

So much to be grateful for.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Love you, sweetie.
The card's in the mail.


Aunt Lindy loves you, honey.
Your card is on the way.

Good News About "Austin"!

#2 on the New York Times bestseller list!!!


Also, I'm down 3 more pounds. :) Sadie is much better, I'm glad to say.

The book is coming along nicely, too. It's all good.

Now, to write more, so I'll have more to celebrate.

Do something nice for yourself, and one other person.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Situation: Normal

The sun is shining! We are actually having a summer this year after all. Yee-HAW!

Sadie-beagle has been under the weather--tummy trouble and the like. She's been to the vet and has medicine. It worries her mama (me) when she's sick. She's such a sweet soul--love and food. Those are Sadie's priorities. She's 10 years old now, and graying around the muzzle and the face, and we're cutting back on her exercise now that she's holding at a good weight.

One of these days, I hope to be able to say that I'M holding at a good weight. I am really tired of the whole up-and-down thing, but the new diet (thing that must not be mentioned) is going very well. I've adjusted to it, and I find it much easier than always fretting over whether I should or should not eat something. Rather than feeling deprived, I feel relieved, because I'm finally doing something about the problem. I WILL be both a reasonably slender person (no illusions about looking the way I did in high school) AND a nonsmoker.

I might have mentioned that I've been off cigarettes for more than a year now, but I recently had another bout of cravings, for whatever reasons. NO WAY I'm going through all of THAT again. I bought myself some patches, and I'm going the full route.

Today, more writing! I love the new book. Closing in on the ending now, and that's always exciting.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

To Paraphrase Garrison Keillor...

It's been a quiet weekend in my "hometown" (actually, I was born here, but my hometown is Northport) of Spokane, Washington. :) Oh, well, it sounded good, until I had to edit it.

It was indeed a quiet weekend, however. Not so much as a single pop of a firecracker was heard, not even echoing from across the valley, and that was fine by me, since I've got all these critters and they all get skittish at unusual noises. The Yorkie, Bernice, will try to climb up and cling to my head if anything, anywhere, is beeping. This is problematic when the smoke alarms need new batteries.

I was home, writing and fighting off a resurgence of the flu bug, which was evidently waiting in ambush. When the antibiotics ended, it was back, like the umpteenth rerun of "Celebrity Ghost Stories". (They must have filmed 3 of those things then decided to run them over and over again.) The good news is, bug-be-darned, I feel pretty terrific.

I'm this close to finishing "A Creed in Stone Creek", the first of my new trilogy and looking forward to moving on to Book 2, Conner Creed's story. My diet is working. (YES!) And "Austin" is out there, kickin' up some dust!

More tomorrow.

Be kind. Especially to yourself.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Have a Safe and Happy 4th

Please don't forget that firecrackers and other Independence Day noises can frighten pets, and they may need special care and reassurance over the next few days. Most types of fireworks are illegal in Spokane County, but that never stops a few fools from setting off explosives. (These people can usually be identified by their missing digits.)

I'm planning to stick around home and work on my new book, with a little art and gardening thrown in for comic relief. Since I have no intention of going to the trouble of barbequing a 3 1/2 oz chunk of beef or chicken, which is what I can have on the wonder diet, I won't be celebrating with food. That's okay. I'd rather have good news when I get on the scale next week. :) It's really true that nothing tastes as good as seeing those numbers go down feels.

To paraphrase the Allstate commercial, we can be remembered as the generation who lived through the Great Recession, or we can be the generation made great by it. For all our problems, we are still darned lucky to live in this country.

So be safe, be kind, be happy.

And while you're at it, be grateful.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Adventures in Art Land 2, the sequel, etc.

Bless her heart, the swapper of yesterday's blog changed her mind when she received the replacement ATC I sent her, and raised my rating. YES!

What I'm writing: A CREED IN STONE CREEK, first of the new Creed series, which will come out in 2011. I'm rolling now, and having great fun in the process. Mostly, this is because I feel so much better physically--I hit a rocky patch there for a while, with the flu. Just finishing up the antibiotics and getting stronger every day.

What I'm (not) eating: I promised I wouldn't bore you with the diet--not with mine, anyway. :) Sadie-beagle has worked hard to attain her svelte 29 pounds, and I have to brag on her now and then. HOWEVER, I'm too excited not to tell you that I lost a whopping 8.1 pounds in the first week. Needless to say, I'm one happy cowgirl, and motivated to keep on keeping on. Gotta be back in those little jeans by December, when the big rodeo in Vegas rolls around.

What I'm not smoking: Cigarettes. (Or anything else.) It's been over a year now. I recently went back on the patch, because I suddenly got that just-quit feeling, and I was afraid I would take up the habit again. The patch works wonders. (I include this detail just in case some of you are wrestling with a similar problem. DON'T light up. That's like being let out of prison and then going back in your cell and shutting the door.)

A note from my stepmother prompted me to say that Traveler, my little pinto, is fine now. He was under the weather last week, but he's back to normal. The only thing we can figure out is that one of the other horses must have kicked him a good one, in the head no less, because that's the only mark we found. But don't worry that he's being bullied by the herd, because he isn't. He's the mischiefmaker in the outfit, and sometimes the others get tired of being pestered.

What I'm reading/listening to: "The Shadow Effect", by Depak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and Debby Ford. This audio presentation is extremely interesting, and I think I'll listen to it again.

And that's the news from the Triple L on this fine but not so sunny morning.