Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

I have largely recovered from Christmas and its before-and-aftermaths.  :)  As my old daddy used to say, I've had about as much fun as I can stand.

Every guest room was full, and the kitchen was Grand Central Station, in micro.  I ate and I drank--there was a lot to celebrate--but now I'm back, with some relief, on the D.I.E.T.  and walking Bernice at least once a day.  She lives for those walks.  :)

For me, by contrast, New Year's is a very quiet and introspective time.  I set goals and intentions, light candles, and reflect on my long, long gratitude list.  I think about things I'd like to do differently in the future, like most people, but I can't say I make actual resolutions.  That just doesn't work for me, perhaps because the resolutions are so often framed (nobody's fault but my own) in a negative way. 

I like my friend Debbie Macomber's "word" method--see the current issue of "Guideposts", she's on the cover!--i.e., choosing a powerful, concise word to live up to in the coming year.  This year, I'm choosing "Thrive".  I'm determined to relax a little and enjoy the things I've already achieved, instead of looking for the ever elusive "more".  At my stage of life, it's about collecting experiences, not things.

I've set up the beginnings of an art journal, done calendar style, with a small square for each day of January, just to make a note.  I'm not all that happy with it, frankly, but since I have a shelf-full of art journals with one or two pages filled, I'm determined to follow through.  In other words, I'm willing to do this badly until I can do it better.  :)  After all, it's a personal journal--how fancy does it have to be?  Of course it doesn't look like the journals of artists I admire, like Teesha Moore and Pam Carriker, to name just two of dozens, but there is a good reason for that.  It's MY journal and it should reflect where I'm at in my journey, in the all-important Right Now.

On another topic, if you were in Spokane right this moment, you'd swear it was spring.  The sun is shining and the sky is the most delicate blue.  Only the cold would give you a clue that it's really the last day of December, and I've got that covered.  My sister Sally knitted me a wonderful, warm scarf to wear when Bernice and I head out on our short treks around the property and my trusty old nylon jacket keeps out the chill.

You, my friends and readers, are at the top of my gratitude list this year and every year.  Thank you for being exactly who you are, and for doing what you do. 

Here's to a wonderful 2012, for all of us.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Chyanne Lael

Today is my niece's birthday.  Have a happy one, sweetie.

Jeremy and Wendy are gearing up to head back to L.A. today--I will miss them very much but, may I say, our Christmas was truly a Norman Rockwell event.  Jeremy's folks, Pat and Sheri Crouch, were visiting from Port Orchard, WA, as were Wendy's dad and stepmother, Rick and Kathy Miller, who hail from Montana.  My mom, Hazel Bleecker Lael, of Choteau, Montana fame, rounded out the mottley crew.  There was a lot of laughter, a lot of food, a lot of memories flying back and forth.

This blog was briefly interrupted so Bernice and I could go out for a short walk.  With all the company and the excitement, we haven't been able to meet our usual quota for exploring the Great Outdoors.  :)

Tomorrow, I get back to work.  Just between you and me, I can hardly wait.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Merry Christmas to All

We're having a wonderful Christmas here on the Triple L.

In fact, certain aspects would make an excellent holiday story.

I'll fill you in soon.  :)

In the meantime, a very Merry Christmas to all of you. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sunny with patches of blog...

Busy times at my house, and I'm sure it's the same at yours.  Wendy and Jeremy arrived last night--it's so wonderful to have them right here at this table as I write this blog. 

I'll bet you're as busy as I am, or maybe even busier.  My shopping is mostly finished, thank heaven--more and more, I buy gifts online--it's so convenient.  The stores are just plain crazy at this time of year, of course.

I'm reading a good book--the premise is that at least 40 percent of the time, happiness is a chooseable option.  Sad times come to all of us, of course, but with a little work, we can train ourselves to focus on the blessings instead of the things we'd like to change.  It's even possible to be sad and grateful at the same time--I learned that losing my Sadie-beagle.  I miss her goofy good-hearted self every day, and I still cry sometimes, but at the same time I feel incredibly grateful for all the joy, laughter and company she brought into my life.  So many wonderful stories begin with, "Remember when Sadie----?"

We're shopping for groceries today--strangely enough, my guests aren't interested in eating the fabulous food on the D.I.E.T.  I'm perfectly fine with it, though I will be indulging in turkey dinner on Christmas Day, right along with the rest of the family.  :)

The sun is shining and the weather is very cold.  My Santa Monica-based visitors are in the market for heavier coats.  :)

So, anyway, grab your 40 percent chance (personally, I think it's higher than 40 percent), and choose to be happy today.

Blessings to you--and I'll blog tomorrow, I promise.  (At some point in the day.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's About Time

I know, I know--I usually write my blog earlier in the day.  The truth is, I slept in this morning, and I'm running behind on just about everything.

Wendy and Jeremy arrive tomorrow for their Christmas visit, and right now that's about all I can think about.  I'm so excited to have a family gathering, right here on the Triple L--my mother will be joining us, along with Jeremy's parents, Sheri and Pat.  A good time will be had by all.

There's lots of last minute wrapping and mailing going on around here--can Christmas really be this Sunday? 

I spent a very quiet weekend, still in recovery mode from Las Vegas, to a certain extent.  The art I bought at the Art of the American Cowboy show, held at South Point during the rodeo, has arrived and I will be posting the remaining pictures.  I absolutely LOVE the Lynn Bean piece I  posted recently--please pardon the shadow of my head in the photo.  :)  (I'm a writer, not a photographer.)

Bernice has been a little gimpy, with the onset of cold weather, but she's on medicine now and is much improved.  Buck is wearing his winter coat, out there in the pasture--he's easy to spot, being the green one.  :)

May all the blessings of the Season and the New Year be yours.

Back tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Art by Lynn Bean

Posted by Picasa

What happens in Vegas...

stays on Facebook, according to a t-shirt I saw on my recent trip.  :) 

Vegas does seem to cast some kind of spell over a person--I ended up getting my ears re-pierced, and I actually considered a tattoo.  (A small one.)  Whatever my beliefs about courage may be, however--I mainly agree with John Wayne that being brave means being scared to death and saddling up anyway--I am a coward in the face of so many needles.  :)  A friend got a tattoo once, after a divorce--a small phoenix rising from the ashes, and one of my favorite podcasters, Alison Lee of "Craftcast", admitted to a sudden yen to acquire false eyelashes during her stay in Glitter Gulch.  Something just comes over a person.  :)  One starts to believe it's perfectly reasonable to wear gold lamee to the supermarket or carry a purse (around Spokane?) so laden with glitz that it could have been used to signal an iceberg warning to the Titanic--from Newfoundland.

Not that I regret having my ears re-pierced--it was quick and painless and the holes are evenly spaced.  The first round, in the 1960s, involved these wicked little hoops with points, called "self-piercers", which required a week to ten days of low-grade torment, the point slowly working its way through the earlobe.  Plus, I put them in crooked.  :)

My Lynn Bean print arrived yesterday and as soon as it's up a wall, I'll snap a photo and post it here and on Twitter.  

Back to work --and there's lots of wrapping and shopping to do, too.  My company probably won't want to eat my D.I.E.T. foods.  :)

Find something good, large or small, and celebrate.

Or wear gold lamee to the supermarket. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Home on the Range

Yorkie Bernice has been a little gimpy since the weather turned cold, so we hauled her to the vet yesterday.  (Fortunately, at 12 pounds, she's an easy-loader.)  She's on medicine and lo and behold, she's already better, which is a weight off my mind, I can tell you.   

I'm writing again, no small feat after a trip away from home, and Christmas is springing up all over the place.  The tree is lit and decorated--I have always loved Christmas trees.  (Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to shiny things the rest of the time.  :) )

There's a little skiff of snow on the ground this morning--I woke up late (again) and am still on my first cup of coffee.  Bought myself a thing called a "dawn-simulator", not nearly as fancy or high tech as it sounds.  It's basically a rather large alarm clock with a set of LED lights in it, and it gradually brightens when it reaches the time you've set--I'm sure it's known around here, on the QT, of course, as "Linda's latest wacky gadget"--but I think it might help take the edge off those winter blues that tend to sneak up on me.  This year, I'm determined to do everything I can to stay happy and well--vitamins, exercise, the D.I.E.T., etc.

Speaking of the D.I.E.T., even though I certainly enjoyed the food and wine in Vegas, I'm awfully glad to be back on my regular plan.  My jeans still fit, right out of the dryer, so I figure I did okay.  :)

I'm headed back to Parable, to hang out with Hutch and Kendra and the rest of the outfit.  It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.


Have a good day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home Alone

Except, of course, for the three fur faces.  Bernice the Yorkie threw a one-dog party when I came home, but the cats were only mildly interested.  Return of the human can-opener, etc.  :)

As you've probably noticed, blogging proved very difficult in Las Vegas--I managed a few short entries from my iPhone, but due to operator error, using the iPad was a no go.  Left to my own devices, I tend to do this kind of thing--I neglected, it seems, to sign up for something called 3G, since it never occurred to me that it needed to be done.  At home, of course, the iPad works from my regular wireless set up.  Alas.

I am exhausted--I did not even stir until 11:30 this morning, as Jen and I did not arrive back at the ranch until well after midnight.  Bernice and I celebrated, and I took a bath and fell straight into bed, where I instantly sank into a coma-like slumber and remained there for many hours.

The highlights of the trip are numerous, and I'll probably be remembering them all week.  :)  From a people standpoint, my brother Jerry was there with a Western art group and we got together a couple of times, first for my "VIP" event at Caesar's, a book signing held right on the casino (Paris) floor.  Fun!  I joined Jerry at South Point and sure enough, I loaded up on some of that Western art--beautiful stuff.  When it arrives, I will tweet pictures of each piece and also put them up here and on Facebook.  I am especially excited about the work of an artist named Lynn Bean ( , who uses copper to accent her paintings.  Anyway, following the auction/art show, Jerry treated me to a seafood buffet and we caught up on all the latest.  My cousin, Lee Bleecker, and his wife Margie were in town, as were daughter Wendy and fiance, Jeremy.  Wendy, Jeremy and niece/assistant Jen went on a Ghost Tour, among other things.

I did the Flint Rasmussen show--"Out of the Barrel"--and, as always, it was tremendous fun.  Met the members of a band called the Dirty Drifters--nice guys, actually, with a great sound.  I managed to cut a swath at my favorite trade show, Cowboy Christmas, like always, and didn't over-buy. (For once.)

My fabulous publisher, Harlequin, set up a Livestream interview over the internet--that was fun!--and did numerous other things to make my trip magical.  Thanks to all of you, Michelle and Melanie in particular.  As for the folks from Caesar's Entertainment, well, they just treated me like a queen is all.

Lots of unpacking to do, so I'd better get on with it.  Back to writing the new book tomorrow, and that rates a huge, YEE-HAW!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fabulous day! Flint's show was a hoot, as always. The event in the afternoon blew me away. My readers are the best! Family dinner here at the hotel with Lee and Marg, the British Columbia cousins, treated us Jerry had to rush off to the rodeo. I am definitely sleeping in tomorrow. :)

Hello from Vegas!

Would you believe I'm writing this entry on my cell phone????
Having loads of fun here. Did you catch my Livestream
video yesterday? Check out Harleqin's Facebook page. It will
soon be available on my site.

If you're in Vegas, stop by the Caberet area here at the Paris Hotel at
3:00. All you need is a free card from the player's club to join the fun.

These Caesar's Entertainment folks are spoiling a certain barn goddess for sure!

Will write more ASAP.

Wish you were here!

Monday, December 05, 2011

I'm Off!

Off to Las Vegas--or, as my dad would have said, "Lost Wages", Nevada.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be doing a live video cast from Glitter Gulch--check the Harlequin website for a link.  Even if you miss the actual presentation, you'll still be able to access it later on, so no worries.

I'll be blogging right along, and tweeting, too.  Not to mention shopping, cowboy-watching, and playing a few slot machines.  :)

More later.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Well, Gooooooleee!

Publisher's Weeky reprinted my Veteran's Day blog on their bestseller page for November 21, 2011.  Color me might darn proud.

And mighty darn busy.

Book to write, rodeo to attend.

Busy, busy!

And that's just the way I like it.  :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Good Time Was Had by All

I'm back, as the old saying goes, like a bad penny.  :)

I flew over to Seattle on Monday and soon connected with my good friend Debbie Macomber at the beautiful Four Seasons hotel, where we dropped our bags, had a quick lunch, and lit out for Nordstrom.  :)  We both came out with lovely black raincoats, very nearly a match--our tastes have always been very similar. 

We did a little more power shopping, then decided to take in a movie.  We finally chose "Like Crazy", supposedly a romance, and settled in in the nearly empty theatre for a good time.  Lucky we didn't hold our breaths--this movie didn't have a plot, as far as we could tell, and the height of the excitement was the hero building a wooden chair.  I don't normally pan other people's creative efforts--I know, after all, how much work and heart goes into a project--but this one is an utter waste of an hour and a half of your life, which you will never get back.  If it comes to a theatre near you, move.  That said, we had a fabulous time, because we have fun wherever we go.  :)

Next morning, we headed to a nail salon down the street from the Four Seasons--Macomber is hell for fancy fingernails--and while I was waiting for her, I had a pedicure.  I took a picture, intending to tweet my feet (I'm a poet), but instead wound up leaving my phone behind in Debbie's car.  Fortunately, she's overnighting it back to me--thank heaven I didn't leave it at the nail salon, because nobody there speaks enough English to work out a solution.  :)

After the manicure/pedicure adventure, it was on to a smash of a Christmas party, with many of our long-time author friends, all smart, successful women.  It was a pleasure to talk shop and catch up on what everybody's been doing, and don't even get me started on the delicious food.  (Barb, I need the recipe for that chocolate/peanutbutter candy.  Or maybe it's better to just have one piece per year.  :))

I flew back home last night, and imagine my surprise and delight to find Bernicie right outside the gate, with Jen, waiting to greet me.  (We were prepared to swear up and down that she's a seeing-eye Yorkie if challenged.)  The Christmas tree is up, and there are lights strung around the railing of the back deck--very cheery.

I'm recovering from all that fun today, and throwing myself straight back into the book first thing tomorrow.

That's the news from my kitchen table, my friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Better Today

Except for what is probably a touch of stomach flu, I'm much better today.  Yesterday, I wrote a scene in the new book and finally caved in and called it a day.

Thanks for lending a cyber-ear--it's nice to know you're out there, though I do feel bad for whining.  I guess the song is right--even cowgirls get the blues.  :)

Then they get back on their horses and ride.

Weather is rainy, but the temperatures are mild, so plenty to be grateful for, now and every day.  I truly love my life, my kinfolks and many friends, my critters and my career, and certainly my country.  For all her troubles--and when have there not been troubles?--America is so blessed, like her sister, Canada. 

Thanksgiving will be quiet around here, but nonetheless sacred for that.  No big dinner, no fuss--after all, we're planning a MAJOR fuss at Christmas and besides, two turkeys in three weeks is too much for me.  If you're gathering with friends and family, savor the together-time.  It's ever so precious.  If you happen to be parted from loved ones this year, make somebody else smile.  I promise you'll feel better.

I won't be going out on Black Friday--I do the majority of my shopping online these days.  The tree goes up that day, though, and I'm looking forward to that.  It's so cheery to sit and admire the lights and the shining ornaments, each one with a memory attached.  It will be a busy season--I'm making a quick trip to Seattle on Monday to attend a party with Debbie Macomber and a flock of good friends--and of course there's the big rodeo coming up soon.  That's always fun.

May you and yours be blessed, during the sacred season and all year around.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Still Miss Someone

Maybe it's the approach of the holidays--which promise to be joyous this year--but I'm sort of teary today.  I miss my beagle-dog, Sadie.

I miss my friend Dale, and I miss my dad.

Yes, it hurts, but even as I cry, I'm smiling at all the precious memories.

Love the ones you're with, my friends. 

Love the ones you're with.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Letting It Snow

As if I could make it stop.  :)  It's quite beautiful, actually, but I'm not sure people who don't work at home, as I do, would agree. 

Bernice and I did take our walks, wading through the white stuff, on both Saturday and Sunday.  It was a slog for me--no plowing has been done yet--but Neecie-bear found a tire track and hit her stride right away.  It was so cute, the way she trotted along--pranced might be a better word--and when she encountered deeper snow, she did that hop-plunge thing dogs are so good at.  This morning, she stood on the deck with her head back, lapping up the flakes as they fell.

The food in Toronto was truly excellent, but, as expected, I am very glad to be back on the plan.  Looks like my weight stayed the same, which is good.  :)  My goal was simply to have a good time on the trip and to enjoy everything about it, and I did, without going overboard.  (Well, there was that extra glass of wine---) :)

I spent the weekend relaxing and keeping warm.  I'm reading Sue Grafton's new book, "V is for Vengeance" and enjoying it tremendously.  I've been with Kinsey Millhone since "A"--I love her dry sense of humor and her resourcefulness.  What's not to love about a gal who kept a pair of pantyhose under the seat of her Volkswagon and wriggled into them when she needed to dress up on the spur of the moment?  I think her dress was wadded up in her handbag.  :)

Note the jacket I was wearing in the picture I posted yesterday.  Would you believe I bought it on QVC?  :)  Love the Bob Mackie jackets.  Since it had horse spit on one shoulder when I got home from Toronto, I popped the thing into the washer and dryer and now it looks as good as ever.  The price was right, too.  Gotta love it.

Today, I'll be writing away.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In Toronto

Posted by PicasaStill a ways to go with the D.I.E.T., but feelin' good!!!

Saturday Snowstorm

Arrived home from the Toronto trip exhausted but happy yesterday in the early afternoon.  I fed and fussed over Bernicie and the kits, ate one of my D.I.E.T. meals, took a hot bath and vegged in my beloved microfleece pajamas.  I also opened the several boxes that arrived while I was away--lots of beautiful new encaustic (wax) paints.  Yum.  After admiring the new supplies, I went to sleep early.  (It was only about 6 pm here, but 9 in Toronto, and I was still on EST.)  Excellent rest, then arising this morning to fluffy snow.

I took my time getting going--plenty of coffee, another BistroMD meal (even though the food in Toronto was fabulous, I'm so glad to be back in my regular routine)--a short chat with Chris, here to look after the horses on the weekends so the Canadian Wrangler can have some time off, and a brisk walk with Bernicie.  She's short, but we followed the tracks in the snow, and she trotted along like a pro.  She loves to be outside in all but the very worst kind of weather--a hurricane, say.  Or a tsunami.  Nothing else seems to deter her.  :)

Jen and I flew to Toronto, via Minneapolis, on Tuesday, arriving late.  We checked into our magnificent hotel, the Westin Prince, and ordered light room service.  Beautiful flowers awaited--roses, accent flowers of various kinds, and PEONIES.  My favorite.  In November, no less.  Obviously, my fabulous publishers, Harlequin, take very good care of me.  :)

We had plenty of time to ease into the day on Wednesday, had a nice lunch at the hotel with two of my favorite Harlequin people, Katherine (KO) and Michelle.  From there, we headed for a place called Sunnybrooke (spelled?) stables, which is right in the middle of Toronto, though you'd never know it to be there.  Seems like miles out in the country.  There, we took a whole bunch of new photos and even some video, which you'll be seeing soon.  It was very hard work, and a bit on the cold side, but I beamed the whole time.  I was in the company of horses, after all, which is heaven to me.  Margie Miller and her colleagues, Michael "Big Daddy", the photographer and Goh, the very charming video guy, make a fabulous team.  When the light was gone, we all headed for the Miller Tavern, where we did some convivial celebrating.  I had the game hen--delicious--and probably one too many glasses of wine.

Thursday was Social Media Day.  Jen and I arrived at Harlequin's impressive offices in the morning and spent much of the day learning about Facebook and Twitter, and also viewing some of the publicity photos taken the day before AND checking out the cover designs for "Big Sky Country" and the two books to follow.  Trust me when I say, "YEEHAW"!

That evening, my agent Irene Goodman and I went to dinner with Donna and Loriana, and it was luxury all the way.  I had sea bass--never had better.  It was unbelievably good.  The four of us shared a couple of desserts afterward--Creme Brulee and a truly exquisite coconut cream pie, the restaurant's signature dish.  

It was up early the next morning, in order to leave for the airport at six.  The flights home were pleasant and uneventful, which is the way I like them.  :)

It's good to get away--I feel refreshed and inspired--but it's even better to come home.

Bernice, the kitties and I agree--there's no place quite like it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last Minute Preparations

Today, the last day before my big trip to Toronto, will be about the 2 million small things that need to be done first.  It isn't that I haven't been making preparations--I have--but in my experience, I'm never actually ready until the moment I walk out the door and leave for the airport.  :)

I'm down just under 30 pounds, thanks to the D.I.E.T., and a lot of my clothes don't fit.  I'm having new professional photos taken on this trip, and also doing a video interview, so while I do want to represent myself accurately, I also want to look good.  :)  It didn't make sense to spend a lot, because sizes are pretty transitory at this stage.  (Trust me, Oprah and I know all about the wardrobe ramifications of yo-yoing.)  So I bought nice turtlenecks to wear under Western jackets, a few sweaters, and some jeans.  (I went a little overboard with the jeans, to tell the truth, because I was so excited about getting into a smaller size.)  I'm still about five months from my goal, however, so some restraint is called for.  :)

I'm not very good at restraint, but we shall see.

That's the news.  I'll blog from Toronto if humanly possible--we're really going to be busy--and I'll Tweet some photos, too.  If for some reason I can't blog while away, I'll catch you up on everything as soon as I get back.

Listened to some good books recently--a novel called "White Truffles in Winter", by N.M. Kelby--a feast for frustrated foodies--how's that for alliterative?--and "Moonlight on Linoleum", a fascinating memoir by Terry Helwig.  Both were wonderful and I recommend them highly.

That's the news from my sunny kitchen table, my friends.  Be well, be safe, and be kind.  We need each other, particularly in times like these....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

To veterans and active-duty personnel serving everywhere in this troubled world, Thank You.

Thank you for protecting our freedom, and for being willing to pay the ultimate price.  Too often we take our liberty for granted, but you are a reminder that freedom most definitely isn't free--real people, with homes and families, friends and pets, heartbeats and breath, have sacrificed blood, sweat and tears to maintain it.

From the fields of Concord and Lexington to this present day, you've always done us proud.  After Pearl Harbor and September 11, we knew we could count on you, and you came through.  Other challenges will certainly come and you will meet those challenges, because that's who you are.

You are the bravest of the brave, the best of the best, and I am honored to honor you in this small way.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Writing Day

Today is a writing day--the most precious kind.

It's also my "free meal" day, which means I get my single glass of wine and whatever else I decide to cook for supper.  This is strange new territory for me, not to be hankering after one particular food, or wanting to hit a favorite restaurant--I could just as easily eat another pre-prepared meal as not.  There are so many things to think about in this modern age; it's great that food isn't one of them.  It will be interesting to see how the D.I.E.T. holds up during the Toronto visit and later in the month, when Debbie Macomber and I are getting together in Seattle to attend a holiday party.  So many of you have asked what program I'm on.  It's called BistroMD--daughter Wendy told me about it.  I've lost 27 pounds and I'm down a size in my jeans, too.  The plan is delicious, well-balanced, and fairly expensive--those are the bare facts.  It works for me, and that's all I can say on the subject with any authority.  :)

On the art front, I've fallen in love with encaustics--painting with wax.  I can get lost in it.  :)  Hence my strict rule: until the writing is done, no experiments in the craft room.  However, I get some of my best ideas when I'm brushing beeswax onto a surface--and the smell of the stuff is heavenly.

Bernice is just back from her morning walk with Jenni.  She gets so excited over these little sojourns, and is seriously cute following a recent grooming by the very versatile Mary Ann.  The Canadian Wrangler is down with a very sore throat, but Chris, our weekend man, is on duty, so the horses are well taken care of.  Now that it's getting cold, they like to go in at night, each one tucked up in a cozy stall.  When it's warm, forget it.  Those cayuses want no part of the barn--give them the wide open spaces.  (As in, their pasture.)

It's time to head for Parable.

Be kind.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

At Home in Parable, Montana

I'm hanging out with the Parable gang today--my favorite thing to do.  Yesterday's dental visit is out of the way--YES!!--and it's all systems go.  I want to get several chapters finished before I leave for Toronto next week, to visit my fabulous Harlequin family and learn to navigate social media (Facebook and Twitter) in a more efficient manner.  (Anything would be more efficient than the way I do it now.  :))  I'll also be having some new photos taken so the person on the back of the book will be a polished-up but nonetheless recognizable representation of yours truly.

Trips to Toronto are always whirlwind affairs, and this one is no exception--Jenni, my niece-assistant, and I will be hitting the ground running, as my dad used to say.  (If you keep in mind that he was once a bullrider, the concept of hitting the ground running makes a whole lot of sense.)

The big rodeo, the NFR, is coming up fast, and I'm sure looking forward to that.  I'll be on the Flint Rasmussen Show, and I hope you'll tune in.  It's a radio show, but there's an audience, and I usually get to share the stage with some handsome country and western singer (Luke Bryant and Tracy Byrd, so far) which is a kick, but it's the back-and-forth banter with Flint that I enjoy most.  (I knew Johnny Cash and his lovely wife, June, so I'm hard to impress when it comes to country music fame.)  Flint's a Choteau boy, and that makes him special because Choteau, Montana is my mom's hometown, Bleecker-central.  (Any resemblance Parable bears to Choteau is strictly not a coincidence.)  There are a couple of big to-dos going on with the Caesar's Entertainment people, who are teaming up with Harlequin to celebrate all things Western and, of course, I'll be hitting my all-time favorite trade show, Cowboy Christmas, several times over the course of my visit.  Other highlights include various visiting cousins, time with Wendy and Jeremy and my brother, Jerry, and seeing friends like Steve Miller.

Talk about hitting the ground running.  When I get home from Vegas, I'll be getting ready for a family Christmas, right here on the Triple L.  Unless, of course, there's a blizzard----

Too bad Bernice is so small.  She'd never manage pulling a dog sled.  :)

That's the news on this fine if overcast Tuesday morning.

Be kind. 

Monday, November 07, 2011

Snow? What Snow?

We had a lot of glorious, if chilly, sunshine over the weekend.  Bernice and I took 5 and a half walks around the pasture--on the 6th, we accepted a ride home from Jenni, who just happened to be driving in when we got to the top of the driveway.  On our sojourns, we encountered no moose, no pack of ravenous coyotes, no fire-breathing dragons.  :)  (As you can see, having a very well developed imagination has it's downside.)

I bought books--real books, with pages, no less--a biography of Charles Dickens, a memoir or two, a very short book on critical thinking.  There's humor in that, but I guess I haven't had enough coffee, because I can't seem to get the joke.  I just know there is one.  :)

Does anybody remember that comical scene in "Mr. Mom", when Michael Keaton is at the supermarket buying the groceries and other stuff for the household, while his wife works, and is mortified to be seen purchasing tampons?  The sales clerk holds the box high in the air and yells something like, "Price check!  Tampons!" at the top of her lungs.  I had my own version of that at Fred Meyer yesterday--I had chosen, among other things, a fake-fur vest to wear on walks with Bernice.  It didn't have a tag.  So the clerk--I swear, it's true--waved the thing in the air and practically screeched to a free-ranging colleague, "Price check on this vest!  EXTRA LARGE!"  I had to chuckle--and silently remind myself that my size, like the numbers on the scale, is headed downward, not up.

At the beginning of the weekend, I had this wild plan to spend two full days in my newly organized craft room, playing with various toys.  Didn't happen. 

Today, I'm working on the new book--and going to the dentist.  :(

Into each life, some snow must fall.

Friday, November 04, 2011

No Show Snow

The promised snow has not arrived, but I'm sure that's a minor detail.  The sky looks grayish, but it could easily clear.

Last night was my free night on the D.I.E.T.--I'm always ready to get back on the plan the next morning.  This is a totally new experience for me.  I don't yearn for any particular food or drink when I can't have it--not even that one glass of wine, which is rapidly losing it's charm.  Did it always taste like vinegar, or is it just me?

Although you might not think so from reading this blog--the references to art and to goofing off at the casino, for example--the wheels are always turning in my head, generating the new story.  When asked how many hours per day I actually write, I could honestly say "twenty-four"--and if I don't decompress once in a while, the process becomes much more difficult.  Writing does not get easier with experience--instead, my standards go up.  I always want the next book to be better than the last one.

I see a woman had a baby in an art museum--performance art?  You be the judge.

Have a good weekend, and I'll be right here on Monday morning, probably talking about snow.  :)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

On the Way to Skinny

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What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday, the weather was glorious here in Spokane--sunny and bright, with a crisp nip in the air--and today we're in line for snow.  :)  I'm kind of looking forward to it--very pretty stuff, snow.  In moderation.

The D.I.E.T. continues to be fabulously easy and successful, if slow.  I'm confident enough to wear jeans again, and I think I'm actually developing a waist.  :)  Tonight is my weekly free night, so I'm having one glass of wine (how I savor that one weekly glass) and buffalo mignon.  In other words, a small bison steak.

I have a very casual picture, taken on my phone, that shows what I really look like.  And I'm feeling just wild and crazy enough to post it.  Those of you who are expecting a skinny blond in western clothes are in for a suprise--those photos were taken many moons ago.  On an upcoming trip to Toronto, new and up to date author photos will be taken, and I am so happy about that.  I want to look like who I am, not who I was.  :)  After all, fat or skinny, I've worked very hard to get to the place I'm in now, as a person and as a writer, and I'm proud to have earned this face and this body.

A pleasant surprise awaited me yesterday, when I got home from decompressing (read, playing slot machines)--"Christmas in Stone Creek" is #6 on the New York Times list--and tied with #5!  WOW.  I did not expect this--wasn't even waiting to hear the news about the list, which usually comes in on Wednesday afternoons.

Over the weekend, my mom gave me a notebook containing some of my first published work--in the confessions magazines.  (True Romance, True Confessions, etc.).  I thumbed through and looked at the first story--and laughed out loud.  The hero of that story, published more than 30 years ago, is named--Hutch.  As is my current hero, the hunky cowboy heading up "Big Sky Mountain".  I guess if we like a name, it sticks with us.

That's the news for today.  Be safe, be grateful and be kind.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Decompression Day

I'm decompressing from all the excitement of arrivals and departures, so no blog today.  I promise I'll be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

It's November? You're kidding, right?

And here's me, still thinking of 2011 as a new year.  :)

Debbie goes home to Colorado Springs today--I will miss her a lot!--and I'll be driving her to the airport a little while from now.  Bernice and I have already been out for our morning walk--the weather is fabulous, though there's a chance we'll get snow by the end of the week.

Oh, WELL.  :)

I have a hair appointment this afternoon--badly needed. 

Not one single trick-or-treater last night.  I miss the old days, when all sorts of scary creatures rang my doorbell and held out a bag for a treat.  I guess it isn't safe anymore, and that's truly sad.  When I was young, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we could trick-or-treat at every single house in town, and we did.  Some of the kids took pillowcases for bags and one memorable year, my cousin Steve got a piece of apple pie at one house--they'd run out of the regular stuff by the time he arrived, I guess.  Homemade popcorn balls and carmel apples were not unusual, and although it certainly must have raised the cavity count, it was fun.

In our hometown of Northport, WA, my dad was the marshal and also the 'road commissioner'--which meant he plowed and graded the mostly unpaved streets--he was also the water commissioner, but that's beside the point--and he took care of the stop signs around town, not that there were that many of them.  :)  Since a favorite trick of the older kids was to pull the stop signs out of the ground, my clever Dad spent a sunny October afternoon painting all the sign posts, while the culprits were still in school.  Since they were still wet with paint when the fun started, later in the evening, the miscreants were easy to spot--they had streaks of white paint on their clothes and hands.  Imagine the parental consternation when my brother came home in paint-stained clothes.

Those were the days.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Monday, One and All

Bernice and I have already been out for our morning walk--her usual walker, Jenni, is visiting her Grandmother--and made sure there were no unwelcome critters hiding out in the culverts.  This is Bernice's main job in life, and she takes it serously.  :)  If she doesn't protect us from the wild turkeys, incessantly plotting their dastardly uprising, who will???

I mostly read my manuscript on the weekend, but also did a little work on artist trading cards, etc.  I'm making some new collage papers, too, a technique I learned in an art book.  Fun but messy.  :) 

Deb is still here--she leaves tomorrow--and what a job she's done on the craft room!  Amazing.  There are surfaces.  The floors are visible.  It's incredible.  :)

We paid a too brief visit to my mom yesterday--don't see her often enough.  It was rainy out, but today you'd think we were on a different planet--bright blue sky, sunshine, the works.  It's almost springy, even with the chill, but there is a polished-copper glow to things that says autumn.  Glorious.

My spirits are high and I'm ready to finish reading my manuscript (the changes need to be in tomorrow) and get back to "Big Sky Mountain".  :)  I will admit, though, that watching Debbie and Nicole and now Chris do all that work makes me tired.

That's the news from Spokaloo.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Today I'm reading through the edited version of "Big Sky Country", so I'm taking today off from the blog.

Have a wonderful weekend.  I'll see you on Monday

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Peacocks and Deer

A neighbor keeps peacocks, and the big birds wander all over the place, with apparent impunity from coyotes, etc.  This morning, we had one serenading us from down in the draw for upwards of half an hour--the thing sounded like it was being killed, so I called over to Mary Ann and Larry's, concerned.  Mary Ann, who lives just a little closer to the peacock place than I do, chuckled and assured me the sound was normal.  Even the deer were a little thrown, I think--there were five of them, standing in the clearing, still as stones, listening.  One was a fawn, partly grown.  When the peacock wasn't crowing, Bernice was barking, so we had a little dog and bird show going for a while there.  The deer did not seem at all concerned that they would be attacked and brought down by a Yorkie.  :)

It's another lovely day, both here in Spokane and in Parable.  Guess we're getting rain tomorrow, but, hey, that's tomorrow.  I'm concentrating on Right Now, which is pretty darn good.

And that's the news.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Still Walkin' On Sunshine!

I'm loving this wonderful weather--what's not to love about sunshine, fresh air, blue skies, and greenery on all sides?

I finished "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" (Kathleen Flinn) and enjoyed it very much.  Now I'm onto "The End of Normal", a memoir by Mark Madoff's widow.  Of course you already know that the infamous Bernie Madoff, Mark's father, ripped off billions and almost crashed the stock market--pretty scary to think one person could do that, practically single-handed.  I can't help sympathizing with the plight of this young mother and her children, though, because they too were victims.  Still, I think I'll listen to something a little happier on the next go round--one I'm particularly looking forward to is Kevin Sorbo's new book.  I've met Kevin, since he played Chance in my one and only TV Movie, "Last Chance Cafe", and he's not only seriously cute, he's nice. 

I was hoping to catch Debbie Macomber on QVC yesterday, but somehow I missed her.  Drat! 

I have work to do, so I'd better get at it.

And that's the news.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Beautiful Autumn Day

This lovely, lovely weather is so heartening for me.  I just love it.  (I'm working on learning to love snow, too, as the TV people say this is a la Nina year.)  :)  Today, though, I'm in the moment--recent losses have reminded me how precious NOW really is. 

I'll be making a trip up to Toronto soon, to meet with my fabulous publishers, the Harlequin people.  Lots of exciting stuff going on, career wise, and I always enjoy the visits.

The D.I.E.T. is becoming a L.I.F.E.S.T.Y.L.E instead.  :)  Honestly, it's so easy, and the food is very good.  I get variety without having to page through cookbooks, buy ingredients, and throw something together.  (I will be making my Beef Bourg. for Christmas dinner, though.)  I have a ways to go yet, in terms of pounds, but I'm confident enough to wear jeans again, and that's a nice feeling.  I'm a foodie at heart--never miss "The Splendid Table" via podcast and I'm listening to a book called "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School", and enjoying the process vicariously.  (Much lower calorie intake that way.) Besides writing and my pets, my passion these days is art, of the mixed media type. 

Today is a writing day--I'll be spending most of it in Parable, Montana, with Hutch and Kendra, the new story people.

And that's the news from my kitchen table for today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunshine on My Shoulder

Today is a spectacularly beautiful fall day--every pine needle for miles shimmers with golden light, and the sky is sugar-bowl blue.  There are a few leafy trees on the property and they are ablaze with the fire of autumn colors like crimson and gold.  No WONDER fall is my favorite season.

Deb and her daughter Nic have nearly transformed the craft room, and the dreaded appearance on "Hoarders" has been averted, for now at least.  :) 

The weekend was quiet--my guests were on a mini-vacation at the lake with family from Seattle.  Bernice and I took our walks with no sign of Harold the Moose, thank heaven, and epic battles were fought at the mouths of various culverts--she wanted to go in.  A thirteen pound dog can put up a lot of resistance, but I eventually prevailed.  As I write this, Neecie is out cold on her pink bed, near my computer.  It's been a big morning already.  :)

I did more art work, finishing up a swap I hosted on's quite a challenge, really, to make sure the artist trading cards are distributed properly among all those entrants.  I mostly don't sign up for other people's swaps anymore--I like to host them instead.  Guess I'm a control freak.  :)  I enjoy seeing the submissions so much--people are SO creative.  My cards are all gel transfers on copper these days--when I get on a kick, it lasts a while.  :) 

A new issue of Somerset Studios, one of my two absolute favs, arrived in Saturday's mail.  Yum.  I haven't cracked it yet, but it will be a real treat when I do.  Plus, if SS is here, Cloth, Paper, Scissors can't be far behind.  :)

I listened to John Lithgow's autobiography, "Drama", and enjoyed it a lot.  I have some new podcasts to listen to, as well. 

And that's the news here on the Triple L.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Mary Ann's little dog, Fergie, died unexpectedly yesterday afternoon, and we are all feeling pretty sad.  She was a sweet little buff-colored mutt, and adored Mary Ann, who adored her right back.  They were always together, sidekicks.  Every morning when my cousin arrived for work, Fergie was with her, happy to greet all of us.  It was as if she were saying, "Fergie's here!  We can start the fun now!"  When she wagged, it wasn't just her tail, it was the whole critter--I called her the Pajama Bag dog.

She was a member of the family, just as Sadie was, and will be sorely missed.

That's the sad news from my kitchen table---but already the happy memories of her long and love-filled life are there to be cherished.

Monday's blog will be a cheerful one, even if I have to lie.  :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Wednesday Morning...

Is starting out with overcast skies, and that delicious autumn snap is in the air.  Downstairs, my craft room/studio is undergoing an amazing transformation, due to the Dynamic Duo, Debbie and Nicole.  :)  Incredible!

Nicole grew up with my daughter, Wendy, on the same block in Port Orchard, and what a pair they made.  They used to doll Nicole's little brother Jason up in curls, dresses and make-up--especially mascara, since he's blessed with long lashes.  :)  They got into a lot of other mischief, as well, like trying to roller skate on the frozen surface of an above-ground swimming pool--Nicole--and playing a game that involved tasting some concoction from the kitchen, bread dipped in pickle juice, etc., blindfolded.  Those were the days.  Deb and I figure we probably only know the stuff they thought it would be safe to tell us, and we're content to live out the rest of our lives in ignorance and denial--at least where their childhood antics are concerned.  :)

Tomorrow marks another seven days on the D.I.E.T., which I'm beginning to think isn't a diet at all, because it's way too easy and I never feel deprived.  As Barbra Streisand wailed in "Funny Girl", when her character, Fanny Brice, got her big break in show biz right off the mark, "Where's all the suffering???!!!"

Just kidding, Universe.  No need to send any of that my way.  :)

I'm writing today, and composing a list of favorite romantic books/authors for a promotion I'm taking part in.  Most of my faves are classics, since I don't have time to read anywhere near as much romance as I'd like to these days.  

And that's the news for today.

Be well, be safe and be kind. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hurricane Deb is on the job!

Debbie arrived yesterday morning, and already she's going through my craft room like a whirling dervish.  :) Her daughter, Nicole, arrives tonight, and then there will be two hurricanes downstairs.

Me?  I'm working on the new book.  The first chapter is always the most challenging, but I have the opening scene down and that counts for a lot. 

Beautiful autumn weather today.  I'm loving it.

A question I've gotten about "The Lawman's Christmas" is, How does Sawyer McKettrick fit into the clan?  Well, he's Kade and Mandy's son, and the hero of next year's book, "The Gunslinger's Christmas."

My stepmother, Edith, offered me a start from my dad's early red peony plant.  The answer is YES, I'd love to have one, and thank you.  There simply can't be two many peonies to suit me.  :)

That's the news for today.  Stay well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blue Jeans Weekend!

This past weekend, for the first time in longer than I care to remember, I wore blue jeans!  YES.  A cowgirl is always most comfortable in demin.  :)

Debbie K--also known as Hurricane Deb--has struck land.  She's been my friend for many, many years, and as I said on Friday, she's come to dig out my craft room/studio so I can avoid being featured on "Hoarders". 

I'm off to Parable again today, to reunite with Hutch and Kendra, the hero and heroine of "Big Sky Mountain".

That's the news from my kitchen table.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Debbie K to the Rescue!

My long time friend and the most organized person I have ever known will be arriving soon, along with her equally industrious daughter, Nicole, to--wait for it--put my craft room/art studio in something remotely resembling order!  YES.  It's going to happen.  Not only will I be able to work on my many projects with a peaceful mind, but all possibility of my appearing on "Hoarders: Buried Alive" will be eliminated.

Last night was 'My Night' on the D.I.E.T., so I had my one glass of wine and a Live-Smart dinner from Schwan's--enchilada and rice.  So much for my cooking hobby.  It seems I can either be slender and watch what I eat, or go all out in the kitchen and look like an Italian opera singer, girthwise.  I choose the former. 

I sent some artist trading cards off to Ronna at ATC Quarterly in Ontario yesterday, because the scans were too small for her to use in the magazine.  I am so excited about this, my fifteen minutes of artist fame.  :)

Bernice is anxiously awaiting her morning walk.  This begins about the time she opens her eyes.  :)

Rain on the way--I'm sure we need it.  And the horses will be back in their stalls at night, starting this weekend, snug inside their sturdy barn.

And so the seasons turn....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Turtle Plods Along

I feel a little like that turtle in the famous race with the rabbit--just plodding along steadily, while the rabbit runs circles around me.  :)  7 weeks on BistroMD and I am down a shade under 20 pounds (insert a resounding yeehaw here) which is good when you consider that I haven't felt deprived even once.  And I'm up to 15 minutes at a time on my treadclimber, too. 

Bernice is waiting somewhat impatiently for her walk--trust me, she doesn't plod.  She's one busy little Yorkie, and she'd fly if she could.  When she was a pup, she could run so fast that her legs were quite literally a blur.  She liked to catch Sadie by the tail and hold on, and their running games were a hoot.  They'd go streaking by with Sadie in the lead and Bernice in hot pursuit, then they'd shoot by again like a pair of furry bullets, this time with their positions reversed.  How I treasure those happy memories.  And how precious, my friends, is the Right Now.

Beautiful autumn sunshine today--favorite kind of day in my favorite season.

Color me in shades of Grateful. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Being Published!

OK, I have published over 100 books--I only know this because Romance Writers of America sent me their Centennial Award, a beautiful plaque--so publishing shouldn't be anything really new to me, should it?  YES.  Because this time it's my art--my artist trading cards will be featured in the (regretably) last issue of ATC Quarterly!  I'm excited, obviously, partly because my work was chosen for this honor before the editors knew I write books, so one thing had nothing to do with the other.  I'll keep you updated.

I drafted the outline for "Big Sky Mountain" yesterday, after days of brainstorming, and I'm polishing and revising today.  I will start Chapter 1 as well, and I can hardly wait for that.

The D.I.E.T. continues to be ridiculously easy--I love the food and the convenience and the not having to think, think, think about food all the time.  How many points?  How many ounces make a serving?  How many calories, carbohydrates and/or fat grams?  Yikes.  What a relief to simply take the next day's three prescribed meals out of the freezer every evening and transfer them to the fridge in the kitchen.  Read, heat, eat.  It's just right for a woman who would rather be thinking about characters and their stories than food.

The house is pretty quiet this morning.  Bernice is off with Jen, Mary Ann went to buy horse feed, and Larry is out at the barn, wrangling.  It's just the kitties and me and that's kind of perfect for starting a new book.

We had a spate of sunshine, but now the sky is overcast and the wind is up.  Life in the wild West.  :)

And that's the news from my kitchen table, folks.  See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sunshine Aplenty

The sun is shining brilliantly today--and I'm soaking it in.  Yes, there are fringes of clouds, and the weatherman warns that the glow won't last, but I'm making the most of it while it's here.  :)

I'm doing the outline for "Big Sky Mountain", Hutch and Kendra's story, today.  And I'm starting the book itself tomorrow.  I have the opening in mind and I'm ready to roll.

We've had a lot of rain lately, but rather than producing a case of the blues, I've found it soothing, somehow.  I've been walking Bernice, which gives me some exercise, though nothing that would count with a trainer.  :)  And I've started using my treadclimber, too--10 minutes, with the tracks level.  I didn't realize before just how out of shape I really am--but I'm out to correct that.  This time, it's not so much about numbers on the scale as about the mental effects--even just a little exercise helps to keep depression at bay and it's a great way to get rid of that anxious, restless feeling that comes over me sometimes.  As previously reported, this is a slow journey, but at least I'm headed in the right direction and I am beginning to feel that skinnier version of myself stirring around.  :)

I do miss Sadie-beagle, every single day, but any tears are about gratitude for every moment we shared, my goofy little dog and I.  What lively joy and constant laughter she brought into my life, at a time when I didn't even realize I was lonely.  Bernice, the Yorkie, is thriving--I'm sure she misses Sadie, too, but she had a chance to get used to her absence because Sadie went to her trainer three times a week, and toward the end, she was away from home a lot, being treated at the clinic.

Speak of the dickens.  The mighty Turkey and Moose Hunter, Bernicie, is back from her walk with Jen, and eager to tell me all about her adventures.

And that's the news from the Triple L.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Note from Moi

I did not paint the birds in either of these encaustic collages.  They're transfers.

Effort 2

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Encaustic Effort 1

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Zounds, Batman! (And other random exclamations)

I started this fine new Monday by forgetting something important, right off the bat.  Hope that doesn't mean the rest of the day will go the same way.  :) 

On another subject, today is Thanksgiving in Canada.  I think that is so smart--holding this particular holiday earlier.  Ours is much too close to Christmas--one has barely assimilated one turkey dinner with all the trimmings, when it is suddenly time to have another.  The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is hectic, even frenzied, for so many.   

Columbus Day, on the other hand.  I don't really see the point in that at all, but that's just one woman's humble opinion.  I'm working today--and I can't wait to get started.

Bernice the Yorkie and I went for our usual morning and afternoon walks over the weekend, and encountered nary a moose.  Thank heaven.  You can bet I keep a more watchful eye on our surroundings, though.  Our friend, since dubbed Harold, paid little attention to us, but had he been in the fiesty mood he evidenced later, Bernicie and I might have been pulp.

On Saturday I attended Daris Judd's encaustics class at Spokane Art Supply--and it was tremendous.  Daris was already one of my favorite artists--I own one of her pieces--but now I'm an even bigger fan than before.  She does the most beautiful work, and shows the patience of an experienced teacher as well.  I came home exhausted, walked Bernice (she stares pitifully at you until you do), nuked my diet dinner (which was delicious, lest you think for one moment that I'm suffering), and pretty much fell into bed.  Later today I'll scan the pieces I did in class and post them here and on Facebook.  I see more wax painting in my future.  :)

That's the news from my kitchen table, folks.

Be well, be kind, be safe. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

And Here It Is Again--Friday!

No, really.  Isn't every day a Friday?  It seems that way to me sometimes.  :)

The salmon, spinach and single glass of wine I had for dinner last night were delicious.  Okay--the wine, not so much--that tasted a little on the vinegary side.  Maybe I'm losing my taste for the stuff--but I'll always love coffee.  :)  And tea.

Plans for today include a telephone interview promoting "A Lawman's Christmas" and assembling a week's worth of notes into a working outline of "Big Sky Mountain."  We are being blessed with more rain--I'm sure we need it--so I may be called upon to light the fireplace.  Talk about cozy.  :)

I'm attending an art class tomorrow, and I'm very excited because the process (encaustics, painting with wax) is all new to me, and you know how I am about processes.  I will surely arrive home at the end of the day tired, covered in wax splotches, and grinning from ear to ear.

We haven't seen the moose--we named him Harold, as suggested by Wendy and Jeremy--though I guess an elder brother of his was spotted down by Mary Ann and Larry's place.  Once, they had one staring at them through their living room window!  You can bet I'll be paying closer attention to our surroundings when Bernice and I take our weekend walks.  :)

Have a good weekend, and I'll be back on Monday.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

D.I.E.T. Report

17.2 pounds off so far and loving it!  Tonight is "My Night", which means I get to choose my own food, and I'm having salmon, veggies and the one glass of red wine I allow myself per week.  :)

We have more rain today, but the house is warm and brightly lit and the critters are all around, so I feel blessed.  I'll be doing more  brainstorming today and kicking up my heels a little because "The Lawman's Christmas" is #19 on the NYT bestseller list--great spot for a Christmas hardcover.  Thanks to all of you who helped make that happen. 

I'm having a blast making gel transfers, too.  After this coming Saturday's art class, you'll probably be hearing about encaustics--painting in hot wax.  I do tend to get carried away by my enthusiasms.  :)

Other news: my good friend Debbie Macomber will be on QVC on October 26!  I don't know the time yet, but when I do, I'll post it here.  Is that exciting, or what???

That's the news for today, pardners.  Time to saddle up and ride.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Enough "Coziness" Already!

It's raining.


Not that I'm complaining.


I'm still brainstorming, and I watched the second DVD (the two parter I mentioned yesterday) last night.  I'm reading "The Night Circus" on my Nook--truly an original story, well told.

I have a radio interview today, with Maggie Linton, of Sirus XM--she's one of my all-time favorites.  Got to meet her at BEA last spring, and she's as warm and wonderful as her voice.  :)

I'm still making gel transfers on metal and getting results I really love.  I use copper, mostly, for the background, because I love the rich glow. 

Looking forward to Saturday, when I'll be taking an art class in encaustic painting.  Me, using hot materials?  Don't worry; I will be well-supervised!

That's the Wednesday news.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

It's WHAT time?

I slept in this morning--WAY in.  It's a cozy, rainy day, so not a bad thing.  :)

D.I.E.T. update: I'm losing between 1 and 2 pounds per week--not very fast--but the truth is, this food program (BistroMD) is so ridiculously easy, and the food is so good, that I think I could do it for the rest of my life--provided I could have a glass of wine with dinner.  I do miss that.

Workwise: I'm brainstorming for Hutch and Kendra's book, "Big Sky Mountain", so I'll have lots of material to work with.  Hutch says, no way he's waiting as long as Slade did for his story to get told.  :)  (It's a waste of time to argue with these guys--but it's fun, too.  Just ask the heroines.)

Part of the reason I slept late: I was watching Susan Pickering Rothamel's new 2 DVD set, called "Art!  Craft!  Create!"  I've loved her collages since I first saw them, and she runs a company called USartquest that sells the materials she uses.  So after I watched the first DVD--I'm saving the second for tonight--I went right online and bought some of the stuff she used, because I just HAVE to try it.  :)   What an age we live in.  I'd just watched the DVD on my laptop, in bed no less, and with a few clicks of the keyboard, I was at her website.  Pretty clever commercial, don't you think?  Maybe I should make a 'how to write' video and sell paper.  It would be boring as heck to watch me, though.  :)

I continue my experiments with gel transfers on metal--mostly copper, which is my absolute favorite.

I have a radio interview this afternoon, and more brainstorming to do, so I'd better run.

More tomorrow.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Linda and Bernice's Great Adventure!

It was a quiet weekend, all told.  The most ambitious things I did were to make a run to the grocery store for diet soda and pet stuff and drop in at the big Art Extravaganza at Spokane Art Supply.

Yesterday, Bernice and I were out for an afternoon walk--she insists--and pretty much minding our own business.  She was patrolling all the culverts and I was thinking about--you guessed it--the new book, "Big Sky Mountain". 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a flash of bay on the driveway, maybe a couple of dozen feet out, and think to myself, "Oh, ---, one of the horses is out!"

Not so.  A young bull moose had approached, while Bernice and I were preoccupied with our separate interests, and he was Too Close.  Thank heaven, Bernice the Fierce had not seen him--he was, thankfully, in a placid mood--at the moment.  I grabbed the dog and headed for the front door, via a flowerbed, grateful that I'd remembered to unlock it, and in we went.  (Okay, I admit it, I did take a few pictures with my iPhone during the escape process.  Not easy while holding a Yorkie who still hasn't noticed that we are in mortal peril.)

We see moose on the Triple L from time to time, and we're always fascinated, but this was different.  He stayed.  Just laid himself down in the front yard, head up, and rested.  For, like, an hour and a half!  That's when I took the video--through my office window.

I texted Jen, who lives above the barn, and alerted her to the presence of wild life, and the adventure continued.  She took oodles of pictures--some quite close up--until her phone battery died.  Finally, after much vegging (maybe he just finished a book, too), Mr. Moose got to his feet.  Now, he was feeling fiesty.  He tore my outdoor lamp-post thingy to pieces, at one point sporting some of the bullbs and wires in his antlers, and proceeded to tear up a few shrubs in the bargain.  How thankful am I that he wasn't in this mood when Bernice and I were out there in the open, and a worrisome distance from the house?  REALLY thankful.

For all I know, he's still around here somewhere.

That's the news from the Wild West.

Moose on the Triple L

Friday, September 30, 2011


What a week this has been.

I am exhausted.

I am exhilarated.

I am officially finished with "Big Sky Country" and now I can start a new book.

But first, a little art.  A little reading.  A lot of sleep.

See you Monday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Image Transfer Technique Using Gel Medium


I must have been tired, because I rarely oversleep, but I did this morning.  :) It was almost nine a.m., which, as my dad would have said, is "the middle of the damn day!"

I spent yesterday goofing off and it sure felt good.  That new story is already bubbling up in my busy noggin, though, so I'm making notes, etc.

As for right this moment, I've got one of my gel transfers soaking in a bowl of water downstairs.  It's like Christmas when I roll that paper off and see the image.  For those of you who are curious, I'll post a link to a demonstration of the process.

Bernice has had not one walk this morning, but TWO--evidently, there is an illegal gathering of field mice in one of the culverts she patrols.  Yesterday, there was a whole flock of turkeys out by the back fence, and she didn't even know they were there.  That's my vicious guard dog for you.  :)

I'm off to putter and perhaps even do something constructive.

Be kind, be brave, be YOU.  (Everybody  else is taken.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

“The Best of the West” Original Holiday Cookie Contest »

“The Best of the West” Original Holiday Cookie Contest »

Check out this great new contest! You (yes, YOU) could win a trip to Las Vegas to attend the National Finals Rodeo this December, plus other perks.

Goof Off Day

Today, I'm doing art--okay, more properly, I'm experimenting with the supplies I bought yesterday, at Hobby Lobby, where I got into a wonderful conversation with a gentleman visiting from England.  He and his wife have friends in Spokane, also artists, and the two couples trade visits.  Anyway, I told him about my latest passion, doing gel transfers on little metal sheets, and he showed me a set of vinyl letters for his project--said he'd come 7000 miles to find them.  :) 

Conversations like this one often happen to me, because I always have such a wide variety of stuff in my shopping cart.  Everybody wants to know what kind of project I'm working on.  Hard to explain, because the end result doesn't matter nearly so much to me as the process.  I love to try something I've seen on TV ("That's Clever" is back!  Reruns, alas, but still my favorite.) or on Youtube.  Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine has a website with free tutorials on all sorts of things, and that's where I got hooked on the transfers and of course there are all sorts of online art courses, too. 

Yes, it's a goof off kind of day, but I'm also doing some brainstorming for the next "Big Sky" book, which I intend to start next Monday morning.

Special note to Judy, sister of Bill Scott.  Did you email me?  I didn't receive it.  Please try again, with your name in caps on the subject line.

That's the news for this gloriously beautiful September morning.  Oh, that sunshine, gilding every needle of every pine tree.  Throat-catching beauty.

Be kind, be glad, be grateful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The News from the Triple L

"Big Sky Country" is finished!  Whew!

And, to make the day even more exciting, "A Lawman's Christmas" hits the stores today.

Now, I'm off to celebrate.  :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finished! (Almost)

I spent the weekend revising "Big Sky Country"--not a lot of changes, as I rewrite continually as I go along, but a word here, a phrase there, a story fact my editor and I had agreed to change--the usual.  That brought me to this morning--and the last chapter, and possible epilogue, of the book.  I'll be winding the story up today, and I'm both excited about that and sorry to let go.  :)  As always, I've come to love these story people of mine. 

Yorkie-Bernice insists on two walks a day now that she's grasped the concept, so she and I toured the property twice on Saturday and twice more on Sunday.  I did a little bit of art work, too, but not much.  I need some gluing and painting every day, though, the same as Neecie needs her walk.

I'm behind on everything, it seems.  But I'm happy, and I'm grateful.

More tomorrow. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Book Club and Other Things

A fine time was had by all at Shirley Allings' book club meeting last night.  Few things are more fun than enjoying food (it was my free night) and congenial conversation about one of my favorite subjects: books! 

Thank you, Shirley and Matt and all the attendees.

This morning I woke to find that I had--picture me uttering gasps of dread here--No Internet Service.  I checked every router and even called my bookkeeper to make sure the bill had been paid.  :)  Whatever the problem was, it's been fixed.  It scares me a little to think how dependent I really am on being able to go online--and makes me grateful for the easy convenience that is the norm.  :)

Today I will draft the last chapter of "Big Sky Country", and do my polishing and revisions over the weekend.  On Monday, I zap the works to my saintly editor, Joanie, via--yep--the internet.

My new book, "A Lawman's Christmas", will be in stores on Tuesday, the 27th.  This is the story of Clay McKettrick, who founded the Texas McKettricks dynasty.  If you loved Tate, Garrett and Austin, here's your chance to see how it all began.

We're enjoying lovely fall sunshine here in Spokane.  We're all hail and hardy, people and critters, and the internet is working.

Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Today, writing is just about all I can think about.  I am SO CLOSE to finishing this book.  I will probably complete the draft tomorrow and spend the weekend doing the revisions and polish.  

Yesterday, they laid the new hardwood floor in the guest room, and there was lots of hammering, sawing, and vacuuming.  :)  Today the workmen will be back to add a layer of varnish, but that's pretty quiet work as I understand it.  :)

Under 2 pounds lost on the D.I.E.T. this week, but that's fine with me.  I love the convenience of this program, and have no problem staying on it.

Tonight I'm going to a meeting of a good friend's book club--they read "The Man from Stone Creek", a personal favorite of mine, and we're going to discuss it.  How much fun is that?  It's a good thing this is my free-night, because there will be food.

Jean, it was great to run into you at the hair salon the other day.  :)  See you soon--I can only resist Barnes and Noble for so long.

The sun is shining and Bernice thinks she's a big star on Youtube, Twitter, this blog and Facebook. 

It's all good.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Determined Yorkie

That Sound You Don't Hear---(You Lucky Thing)

Is the thump of hammers and other tools as workmen replace the ugly carpet in the guest room with hardwood to match the rest of the house.  Mary Ann and Jen have been busy removing wallpaper these past few days.  Now that the new floor is going in, the cats are hiding under my bed and Bernice has finally stopped yapping but is sticking pretty near my feet.  :)

What a day to be working on the final stages of a book.  :)  (Why did you schedule the project, then, you ask, as you well might.)  It's simple:  I thought I'd be finished by now.  Instead, it's going to take all of today and all of tomorrow and probably Friday for the polish, but then "Big Sky Country" will be ready!

There are some great contests coming your way--one of the prizes is a trip to Vegas for the big rodeo in December!  I'll post links right here on the website.  (Hint: start thinking about your favorite holiday cookie recipe.  :))

For today, that's the news.

Make it fabulous.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spaced Out the Blog

I was so busy writing on "Big Sky Country" yesterday that I didn't even remember the blog until I was too tired to write it.  :)  Something was off with the number of pages I'd written, too, so I went back and sure enough, I'd skipped Chapter 14 completely.  Yikes.  I had to renumber everything which, of course, meant I had one less chapter written than I thought I did.  Mayhem!  Confusion!  I am essentially right-brained, and things like that tend to throw me more than they should.  Alas, I'm writing Chapter 18 today--though I thought I was writing it yesterday.

Oh, never mind.  :)

Hair cut today--I look like a walking haystack.  Of course when I'm this close to finishing a book, I hate to interrupt the process in any way, but my hair is about to be declared a federal disaster area, so off to th shop I go. 

I'm downloading a ton of new audiobooks from the iTunes store.  Tuesday is new book day. 


Time to go and eat my breakfast.

More tomorrow.

Friday, September 16, 2011

So Close

I am so close to finishing this book!  And I'm already chomping at the bit to get on with the second story in the series.  :)

I continue with the D.I.E.T. and, this is amazing, but I don't miss being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  The BistroMD plan is so varied and so easy--I just microwave and eat.  No thinking about calories, or fat grams, or carbs, or anything like that.  I lost another 2 pounds this week and I'm pleased with my progress, but it's the convenience of it all that makes me love it so much.  The food itself is usually great, and if you don't like something (Tofu Curry Stew for example), you can just go to the website and say, "Please don't send me that, Ever Again."  :)

I finished listening to "Becoming Marie Antoinette", by Julia Grey, last night.  Zounds!  There's a whole second book, continuing the story (okay, we all know how it ends, but the getting-there part is fascinating.)  I can't wait to get my hot little hands on the sequel!  Nook-wise, I'm in the middle of "Mrs. Tom Thumb"--quite an interesting story. 

Our weather is cooling down as we approach the autumn (my favorite season, by the way) but we're still getting lots of glorious sunshine.  Bernice went out with Jen this morning and hiked all over the property, lookin for turkeys.  Alas, they continue to evade her.  :)

That's the news for today, my friends.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's All Good

I got Chapter 16 drafted yesterday, and today I plan to polish it and draft 17.  Since there are 19 or 20 chapters in my books, I'm nearly finished!  It doesn't seem possible, what with all that's been going on.

Jen is under the weather this morning, so I took Yorkie Bernice out for her walk.  There is no way I could disappoint that little dog--from the time she sees me put on my shoes, she's ready to go out the door.  So off we went.  We checked the culverts, of course, and the bushes along the driveway.  We went around by the barn and had a look at the horses, who were enjoying their breakfast.  Finally, we patrolled the perimeters to make sure no wild turkey invasion was imminent.  Bernice doesn't trust those birds any further than she can throw them.  :)  Which, of course, she can't do at all.

The weather is cooling down, headed in the general direction of fall, but we're still getting lots of sunshine, which is fine by me.

Work awaits, so I'm out of here.

See you tomorrow.