Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Here's what I'm wondering. :) Is the whole winter going to be like this? :) If the present snowstorm produces four inches, we will have broken a record for November. In fact, according to Sam Champion on GMA, we'll have had more snow in this one month than all of last winter put together.

I wrote a chapter yesterday--finally got everybody in the new story right where I want them--and it sure feels good to be working.

Caught a minor cold--unfortunately, it's not the kind that rates hot toddies and sympathy. :) Joking aside, I am VERY glad it won't keep me from writing.

I finished listening to Patty LuPone's memoir and moved on to another book. I'm not going to name that one, because I don't like it. And if you can't say something good about a book (or a person), I firmly believe it's better to say nothing at all.

I've moved all my art stuff downstairs, and I go down there on breaks, etc., to fool around with the current crop of ATCs (artist trading cards). As I've said before, I experiment a lot, so about half of my creations end up in the circular file. :) I like to think of the discards as "prototypes". That way, it doesn't seem like such a waste of paper, paint and glue. Since I'm a perfectionist by nature, this process is good for me.

Did I mention that it's snowing here in Spokane? :)

I love snow.

No, really....

Monday, November 29, 2010

5 Cows A-milking

Well, the hype is here--officially.

Black Friday. Pre-Black Friday. And now, Cyber Monday.

For Pete's sake.

I guess I'm old-fashioned (okay, I KNOW I'm old-fashioned), but I miss the days when Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's were separate and distinct. We had time to enjoy each festivity as it came, and really savor it. What a concept. :)

This year, I'm giving milk cows as gifts for Irene, Joan, Leslee, Nancy and the Toronto Harlequin crew. (Irene expressed concern about keeping livestock in a New York apartment :) )Of course the actual animals will be given to needy families in parts of the world where food isn't so readily available that whole television networks are devoted to it.

I've been listening to Patty LuPone's new memoir, and it's fascinating. Wendy and I once saw Ms. LuPone starring in "Sunset Blvd." over in London. LuPone was brilliant--and who knew she was going through H-E-Double toothpick at the time??? She was bumped from the New York production and replaced by Glenn Close (saw her, too. Amazing.)

Next up for a listen is Keith Richards' new book. I want to know why he doesn't like Mick. :)

And, oh, yeah. We've got plenty of snow.

That's the news. Stay warm and stay safe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude: An Everyday Thing

For me, Thanksgiving rolls around 365 days a year. (OK, sometimes I have to adjust my attitude, but, hey, I'm all too human.)

I'm grateful for the obvious: God's love, being born and raised in a free and still wonderful country, my family, friends, and beloved pets. My dear editor, Joanie, and Irene, who has had my back for so many years. My publishers--every single person at Harlequin. You rock, people! My many loyal readers--God bless you.

Then there are the LESS obvious things.

Sunlight glittering on snow.
Music spilling from my iPod into my waiting ears.
Mashed potatoes and gravy. :)
Spokane Civic Theatre
Hobby Lobby
Snuggling down in a warm bed, with a beagle snoring nearby and a Yorkie cuddled against my side. (And two kitties doing their own thing at all times.)
My craft room and everything in it--including the mess.
Robin Roberts on "Good Morning, America"
"That's Clever" on HGTV
Horses on the run just because it feels good
A new story to write.
Everybody reading this blog right now!

May you and all your loved ones be blessed.

I'll be back on Monday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More To Love

Snow! It's beautiful, it's several inches deep, and it's still coming down. Good thing I already bought the turkey. :)

We saw a cow and bull moose passing the fence yesterday, a lovely sight in the snow. These animals are truly magnificent, though I certainly wouldn't want to encounter one of them up close and personal. :) They range over a pretty wide territory, as I understand it, so it's a real treat when they come through our neck of the woods.

I worked on the book yesterday, and did some art work on breaks--I'm having a ball pouring resin on things. :) Plus, I'm still making progress with organization. It makes a huge difference now that I paint and and snip and glue downstairs. The dogs get lots of exercise, too, going up and down--Bernice especially likes to keep me within radar range. She's baffled by the snow, as it's as high as she is, but Sadie barrels through the stuff like a puppy. There are Sadie furrows out back, but they're rapidly filling in. :)

We're planning an extremely quiet Thanksgiving here on the Triple L. We have so much to be grateful for, all of us. High on the list is the fact that I don't have to get on an airplane today or tomorrow. :) As I write this, the bird is thawing out in a sink full of ice water. Slow process, that, but of course it's important to be safe. Picked up a few tips last night, listening to one of my favorite podcasts, "The Splendid Table". Now, to hook up a dog sled and mush my way to the grocery store.

:) Not. Sadie and Bernice, beagle and Yorkie respectively, aren't up to the task.

That's the news from Spokane.

And, oh, yeah. More snow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let It Snow

The stuff is coming down in earnest now, and it's beautiful. Easy for me to say, I know, because I don't have to go anywhere. Sadie may be having a snow-day today--depends on how her "driver", Jen, feels about the state of the roads.

The weekend was a restful one for me--I puttered with my art supplies, watched a lot of "Pawn Stars", and thought about my book. :) Daughter Wendy and I were on the phone for an hour and a half yesterday--we had lots of catching up to do.

As I've said before, for me, art is about experimentation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's fun either way. The ATCs (artist trading cards) I'm making now are mostly dimensional collage--I'm using Angelina fibers, bottle caps, both new and rusted, and lots of ribbons and buttons and, of course, glitter, foil glue and "jewels". If it's shiny, I like it. If I can find a way to glaze an image with liquid resin, I do it. I love the old-fashioned look I get by adding a drop or two of amber dye. I'm also recycling old book pages, especially dictionaries.

Today, of course, is a writing day. YES!

And that's the snowy news from my kitchen table.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Rolls Around Again

It's always Friday, it seems to me. Time just flies by these days.

We have a thin layer of snow on the ground here, the crunchy kind. The dogs and cats are still rather puzzled by it--I guess they don't remember the winter of 08. :)

I'll be continuing with Chapter One today. That one always takes longer than the others, since all the players need to be on their proper mark, and this involves some switching around. I'm loving the whole process. When people ask me which one of my books is my favorite, I always say, in all truth, that it's the one I'm working on right now. I fall madly in love with the hero, become the heroine's new best friend, and hand my heart over to the horses, dogs and cats in the cast. Writing a story like this essentially means living a story like this, and that's not always easy. When my people go through tough times, so do I. At the risk of sounding like a politician, I really do feel their pain. But I also feel their joy, so it all balances out.

I'm planning to read, make artist trading cards and plug away at the organization campaign over the weekend. A little sunshine wouldn't go amiss, but whatever happens, I'm gonna love it.

Or die trying.

:) That's the news from my UNCLUTTERED kitchen table!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Overnight Snowfall

Spokane got the long-promised snow during the night. As I write this, sunrise is still forty minutes away--yes, I got enough sleep, Mom--but it's pretty. Of course I might not admire it so much if I had to commute. :) I'm determined--whatever the weather brings, I'm gonna love it.

The black mold seems to be under control. The process is painstaking, long and fairly noisy, given that fans will be running for a while. Bernice yapped at the workmen continuously as they came and went, despite my assurances that they were supposed to be in our house. :) But, then, Bernice yaps at everybody, including me. She's a yapper, through and through.

I started the new book yesterday. What with all the disruption, I wound up with a paragraph. :) I always have to remind myself that the first chapter takes longer than the others do. I just LOVE this story, though, and I can't wait to get back to it.

I won't be attending the big rodeo in Las Vegas this year. I'll miss seeing my Vegas buddies, like Steve Miller and the Montana Silversmiths' crew, and I hate to skip Cowboy Christmas over at the convention center, too. It's okay--I have work to do, and I'll be heading to Wendy and Jeremy's place for Christmas. THAT will be great fun. We're going to Disneyland again, at my request. I'm just a kid at heart.

It's great to be feeling better.

Look for one of my mixed-media art pieces to be up on the website as a prize soon. There will be more coming along later. Ultimately, I hope to contribute art work to various charity auctions. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life is what happens...

When you've made other plans. :)

I certainly hadn't planned on finding black mold in the basement store room, but there it is. Fortunately, it hasn't spread, and there are people coming in to deal with it. One of those jobs I'm glad somebody wants to do, because I sure wouldn't. It might explain some of the low-energy problems we're had around here, animal and human, too.

I'm getting used to the machine. What a difference oxygen makes.

Sadie and Bernice spent all day yesterday at the vet's office--had their teeth cleaned, etc. The house is just too quiet when they're not here.

Yesterday, I wrote the outline for "Creed's Legacy" and today I'll be drafting chapter one. Yeehaw!!!

My organization campaign is coming along well--tackling the over-filled book shelf in my kitchen today, after I finish writing.

The weather man has been predicting snow for a while now, but so far, we've only had one little p+*%-ant storm. It wasn't even pretty, for Pete's sake. Whatever the weather might do this winter, however, I've already made up my mind to like it. :)

Hold me to that, will you? :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


What a concept. Thanks to my new machine, I'm actually getting oxygen through the night, and I have more energy every day! Hallelujah, brothers and sisters.

Working today, another reason to shout "Yeehaw!"

In fact, I think I'll make this short and get to work.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Foggy Days and Mondays

Never get me down. :) (As long as I decide in advance not to let them.)

I'm so excited, because I'll be gearing up to start writing "Creed's Legacy" today, and I can't wait to get started. Brody Creed is the original bad-a*& cowboy, and he's about to be roped in, for good.

I'm making progress in the decluttering efforts, and that feels really good. This year, I asked the friends who generally give me holiday gifts to donate to the Humane Society, their local shelter, or a children's charity instead. Everybody seems to like the idea, which isn't surprising, really. Most of us, by the time we reach a certain age, have too much stuff. I know I do, and I'm beginning the long and somewhat daunting process of simpifying. It won't be easy--at least not all the time--but worth it? You bet.

Sadie is at my feet, hoping for a supplemental breakfast. No dice, beagle.

Miles to go before I sleep, so I'll close now.

Be well, be kind, be grateful. Yes, we have many pressing problems as a nation and as a planet. We also have each other, and that's why we're gonna make it. As my old dad used to say, "We're partners."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

I get my "sleep machine" today. Am I thrilled?

No, but I'm grateful. And I'm hopeful, too--friends tell me I'll see a night/day difference in my energy levels, etc. Like the d.i.e.t., I will not be saying a whole lot about this, for fear of boring you out of your minds.

This morning when Jenn came to fetch Sadie for a day with her adored trainer, she spotted a huge bull moose standing in the little clearing partway down the draw. What an amazing sight that was!

Plans for today also include: drafting the outline for "Creed's Legacy", Brody's story, working on my decluttering program, and playing with my digital image programs. :)

It's all good.

Have a great weekend. I certainly intend to. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

A moment that shines in my memory happened at the National Finals Rodeo, on December 7, 2008, during which the opening ceremony is traditionally bang-up magnificent, honoring those who served at and after Pearl Harbor. Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the USA", and all us western types were on our feet, rocking that arena with our cheers. A color guard with representatives of all the Armed Forces presented the flag. All of this was deeply moving, but the best part was yet to come: proud veterans of Pearl Harbor, all in their eighties, stood at proud attention, saluting. I mean, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

These are people who quite literally saved the world, ladies and gentlemen. They and others like them, all the way back to the Continental Army, have won, preserved and protected our freedom, and that's all too easy to take for granted.

Today, their modern and equally brave counterparts are fighting the same battles, for the same reason. May God bless them, and their families, one and all.

For all the problems we face today, as a nation, we are blessed beyond the wildest dreams of the Founding Fathers.

If you're out and about to today, you might see someone in uniform, or someone selling red poppies. Buy one. (Hallmark has a great promo going on--you can buy one of those recordable story books for a soldier who won't be home for Christmas. The soldiers can read the story, of course, and then the book goes back home, so the little ones can hear Mom's or Dad's voice. It doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it?)

You can read what you want to read, say what you want to say and, as long as no-one else gets hurt, you can do what you want as well. A staggering number of good people have given life and limb to make that possible.

I know I'm grateful.

Thank a soldier. I do it all the time.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Finishing Touches

Today I'll be putting the finishing touches on "Creed's Honor", my latest book. "Creed's Legacy", of course, is waiting in the wings, ready to go. It's always exciting to complete a book, and it's equally exciting to start a new one. :)

I took yesterday off and did nothing really constructive, including writing this blog. I spent the night before at the Sleep Institute, hooked up to all sorts of wires and electrodes and monitors, being tested for sleep apnea. Guess what? I have it. Yep. There are much worse things to have, of course, and I'm not complaining. It is what it is.

As usual, I'm making ATCs when I have the chance. I've discovered matte photo paper, thanks to an article in one of my art magazines, and I print images for my cards on that. It gives a much clearer and more vivid image. I've upgraded my iPhone to handle some of the new photo apps--favorites are Pic Grunger and Vintage Scene. (My thanks to my friend Val Millette for tipping me off to them.)

What an age we live in.

And that's the news.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

More Sunshine! YES!

I'm soaking it up!

I'm always working hard and fast to finish "Creed's Honor", and that's where my focus is these days, for sure.

I'll be back to the blog by Monday morning, at the latest--earlier if I have something to report. :)

Be blessed.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another Sunny Morning!

I'm loving this sunshine. It's positively medicinal!

And I am so close to finishing "Creed's Honor". Two more days, max! And then it's straight on to "Creed's Legacy", also an exciting prospect.

Part of my good mood stems from this: election day is past! Yes. No more muckraking commercials. Of course I'm glad to live in America, where voting is a right, and I definitely cast my ballot, as always, after giving every issue and every candidate considerable thought. I can't help wondering, though, what we might accomplish as a nation if we could work together for more than five minutes at a time.

I can dream, can't I? :)

My art supplies are Out of Control. Yikes. I don't want to end up on one of those TV shows about hoarders. :)

And that's the news.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

Thank heaven. We've had gloomy weather for days now, but today the sun is making an appearance. Hooray!!!

I am still working on "Creed's Honor"--VERY close to being finished. I had planned on writing over the weekend, but I think I'm going to have to accept that 7-day workweeks are no longer part of my style. :) The story is emotionally powerful and I'm so eager to share it with you.

Speaking of books, have you seen "The Christmas Brides"? This beautiful reissue of my two most recent holiday hardcovers, "A McKettrick Christmas" and "A Creed Country Christmas", is in the stores now. If you haven't read these stories, I hope you'll pick them up. They might just get you in the spirit!

Every year, I like to choose a word to live by. I've decided that 2011 will be the year of ORDER. I will cut down on clutter, sort my art supplies (yikes!), etc., but I also plan to unclutter my thoughts and beliefs.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Cemetery Club

I returned to Spokane Civic Theatre on Saturday evening to see a play called "The Cemetery Club" in the studio area downstairs from the main stage. It was a remarkable experience; so intimate that being in the audience felt almost like being in the play. I loved the show and continue to be wildly impressed by the talent pool in our community.

Next up is "White Christmas". I'm very excited about that--although this year I'm not dreaming of a white Christmas--I'm dreaming of a California Christmas. :)

I bought some candy for last night but, alas, no trick or treaters. :( I miss the old days, when it was safe for little children to ring doorbells.

And now, having blogged, to work.