Monday, February 28, 2011

Stormy Weather

Ain't no sun up in the sky....

:) We're getting snow and big winds--will March (hey, universe, it starts tomorrow) come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? Or vice versa?

This has been an amazing winter. :) Now, for an amazing spring.


OK, that's my quota of whining for the year. I'm actually in a good place, because I'm writing a new story, and the latest release, "A Creed in Stone Creek", is doing very well out there in the big world. Sadie-beagle feels much better and Bernice had a haircut and a bath on Friday--before that, we were calling her Double-dog, since she had enough hair for two. :) She looks so cute--like a little sheep recently shorn.

Back to listening to books this weekend, as opposed to reading them. I AM unpredictable. :) I'm into Alice Hoffman's "The Red Garden". It's fascinating, but it touches me in some very raw places, too, particularly in scenes dealing with children and animals. Hoffman's prose is poetic, a quality I love in books, and it's an emotional experience--she bruises the heart by telling the unflinching truth, which is not always easy to take. (Reminds me of Harry Truman's response to a question about his nickname, Give Em Hell Harry. Paraphrased, he said, "I don't give them hell. I just tell the truth, and they think it's hell.").

Downloaded Netflix onto my iPad and, look out, I'm in the 21st century! Watched "The Young Victoria" in whatever part of the house I happened to be in at the time--loved it, too. Very romantic, lots of granduer, etc. But is my eyesight failing, or was that movie dark? Maybe the studio didn't pay the light bill?

Also took in PBS's "The Story of India", which was fascinating.

Lastly, there was the art therapy, self-administered. :) I used a two-part solution from the craft store to make my ATCs look like rusted metal, then sketched on some sunflowers, partially eclipsed, and shaded them. They're pretty cool. Soon as I figure out Flickr, I'll be posting art there for those of you who want to see it--all three of you. :) (Just kidding.)

Rambling is a sure and certain sign that it's time for me to be quiet.

That's the news, friends. Welcome to a brand new week.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Life in the Great Northwest

Today we have several inches of glittering snow, sunshine and a sky so blue it makes your heart catch to look at it. We get a little break from the snow, I guess, but the weather man is throwing the term 'arctic blast' around a lot, so we're not out of the proverbial woods yet.

I'm writing today, and making a run to the grocery store while I can get out. :) This is shaping up to be one of those burrow-in, hot-soup weekends, and that's fine with me. I just want to be ready.

I'm reading an actual book--usually I listen to books on my iPod--it's Annie Dillard's "An American Childhood". The writing is so good that I keep wanting to highlight passages, so I can come back and savor them, again and again. Problem is, the entire book would have to be highlighted. :) This woman writes so well--poetry disguised as prose--that she takes my breath away. I am, quite frankly, in awe.

I'll be watching for a new book by Joy Fielding, too. She's one of my favorites.

And there will be some snipping, gluing and painting going on around here this weekend, too.

That's the news from my kitchen table.

Be careful, bundle up, and be kind.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Buck and Traveler

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Snowed In

I imagine the Canadian wrangler will have to spend much of today plowing us out from under the deluge, but there is plenty to be thankful for--lights are still on, (knock on wood), so there's warmth and comfort aplenty. The snow on the back deck is over Bernice's head, and she's confounded, wanting to go out, as are the kitties. Sadie-beagle is snoozing away on her bed in the corner of the kitchen. Of all of us, I think she has the best attitude. :)

Have you checked out the new video on (Kudos to Margie Miller, of Harlequin fame, who directed the operation, and her super-crew. Girl, you've done it again!) Yum. I do love my sexy, at-ease-in-their-skin cowboys. :)

I spent most of last evening catching up on some ATC (artist trading cards) swaps I recklessly joined, and everything is all packed up and ready to send out. If anybody could get out to the post office, that is.

Think I'll make a pot of split pea soup today. The weather is perfect for it.

And that's the kitchen table news for this fine, snowy morning.

Stay warm, be safe, and be kind.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It Can't Be Wednesday Already!

Can it? Yeesh. Time sure flies when you're having fun, and I am definitely having fun with the new story, "A Lawman's Christmas", starring Clay McKettrick and Dara Rose Nolan, a spirited widow with two children to provide for and some very big problems to face.

My niece and nephew took pix of the display of my books at Walmart, including "A Creed in Stone Creek", which I haven't seen myself yet, and it blew me away. An entire endcap!


This morning's weather report: sunshine, with predicted snow and very, very low temperatures. Go figure. Live in the moment, that's what I say. And the moment is pretty darn good. :) It does seem sometimes that the planet is going crazy, though, doesn't it?

I'll be writing today, and working on a few art projects for ATC trades I'm in. Fun!

But how can it possibly be Wednesday again???

Make it a good day, my friends. And thank you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Yikes. I just found out "A Creed in Stone Creek" is out TODAY. (Not much gets by me.)

I'm so excited, and I hope you will be, too. :)

Three Day Weekends, Etc.

Frankly, I think I need some time to get over all that relaxation. :) I made ATCs, I read, I messed up the kitchen, cleaned it, and then messed it up all over again. I listened to Neil Gaimon's "American Gods" on my iPod--pretty dark, but fascinating. The guy can definitely write, but he also puts me in the mood to read "Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm" or "Anne of Green Gables" to cheer myself up. Fortunately, there was a new podcast from, one of my favorite online hangouts, to shake off the gloom.

Except for a trip to the supermarket on Saturday morning and a run to Michael's yesterday, I was home the whole time. Sadie-beagle is having leg issues--she's better, but still worries me--and Bernicie needed a bath first thing this morning. (Don't ask.)

There is a skiff of snow on the ground this morning, and the weatherman predicts an arctic blast for the end of the week. Have I ever mentioned that I get to missing Arizona profoundly around this time of year? :)

Today, it's back to spinning yarns at my computer--thank heaven.

Stay warm and stay strong.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fun Stuff!

Check this out, word lovers:

My friend Wendall Thomas told me about this site, where one can literally play with words, and make art with them! But be careful--it's addictive. :) You type or paste in text, and the program will scramble it, apply background colors, etc. There are a number of different fonts to choose from as well, and the home page features examples of other people's designs. Very, VERY cool--thanks, Wendall.

I made chili and cornbread yesterday, and stuck both in the fridge overnight, once they'd cooled. The cornbread was divine--the secret? I used the Marie Callendar mix and followed package instructions to add a can of creamed corn. I may use different mixes, or work from scratch, but I will always add the corn. These two foods, like many others, are always better when they're reheated. YUM. Happy lunch, happy supper.

What d.i.e.t.? :)

That's the news, friends. Make it a good weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sadie is Fine

Sorry it took so long to get to this blog. I've trying to catch up with myself all day. :)

Sadie-beagle's vet checked her out, said she was in great shape for an old lady, and gave her some new meds. This was a very big relief--surgery would be dangerous for her, given some of her other problems. She's been zonked out on her dog-bed, snoring away, since we got home--must be the pain killer. She was downstairs in the studio with me earlier, and I was puttering around, waiting, in case she needed help getting up off the bed in front of the fireplace. When I looked for her, she was gone--turned out she'd gotten bored with waiting for me and climbed the stairs on her own. I'm always the last to know. :)

Wonky weather today--snow, then hail, then rain, and now, snow again. At least we're getting some variety. :)

Have been working on the outline for the new book, fleshing it out a little and generally gearing up for a whole new set of characters in a whole new place. I've also been playing with my new art journal, too.

There's a pot of chili in the slow cooker, and plenty to be grateful for.

That's the news.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Testing, Testing, one, two, three....

That's what I did yesterday, between naps :)--I experimented with my art supplies. I need to heed the advice of one of my favorite artists, Pam Carricker, however, and learn to resist the temptation to try every single new product or technique that comes out. (Pam's beautiful new book, "Art at the Speed of Life", is available now, and I highly recommend it to anyone who shares my maniacal interest in all things paper, glue and paint... )

Yes, I do have a book to write. And I'm eager to start. But I found, after working long and hard on "The Creed Legacy", that I needed a little time to refill the well.

This morning, I did some transfers with gel medium--printing the image in reverse on cheap matte finish photo paper, smearing the substrate with a generous amount of soft gel medium (I use Golden) and then smoothing the picture face down in the medium. Letting it dry (the hard part for me) is the next step, and then you spritz the back of the photo paper with water and start rubbing away the paper with your best tools--your fingers. The result is a wonderful, beat-up, distressed look. Fascinating. Like similar transfers onto unbaked polymer clay--another thing I love to do--it doesn't always work. That's part of the magic, at least for me.

Today, I have some tiny tweaks to do on the just-finished book, another blog to write, for eHQN, and I need to flesh out the outline for "A Lawman's Christmas", the story I mentioned yesterday, so I can begin working on it in earnest.

Sadie is still having trouble with that hind leg. She sees a veterinary surgeon tomorrow morning--he's the best, but we're all hoping he won't want to operate. Prayers, good thoughts, and white light appreciated.

The weather is overcast (how could you possibly start your day without knowing what the weather is doing in Spokane, Washington????), but the snow melted away as promised.

That, such as it is, is this morning's news from my kitchen table.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The S-Word Strikes Again

Just when we were getting used to spring-like weather, here comes the snow. It's coming down fast and furious, but is not expected to stick and it's actually quite pretty. :)

I finished the book yesterday, and it was like crossing a finishline. I am still a little winded!

I'm gearing up to write a new Christmas story now, starring Clay McKettrick, son of Jeb and Chloe ("Secondhand Bride") and his lovely lady, a young widow with small children. Clay, an ancestor of Tate, Garrett and Austin McKettrick, settled in the town of Blue River, Texas. I really enjoy writing Christmas stories, and I'm eager to spend some time in the Old West, too. While I adore my modern cowboys, I'm always happy get back to horse-and-buggy days.

This would be a good day for cooking, but I probably won't make anything special, because I got such a late start this morning. I didn't even get out of bed until almost nine o'clock, which is the middle of the day for me, and for Sadie, too. She's having a bit of trouble with one of her knees, my Sadie-girl, and we're having it seen to for sure. She'll be 12 this October--hard to believe--so she's no spring chicken. But, then, neither is her mama.


Make it a good day. Hopefully, tomorrow's blog will be posted before lunchtime.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I wrote on Saturday.

I wrote on Sunday.

And I woke up at 1 am this morning, with my head full of story, and wrote again.

"The Creed Legacy" is done, done, DONE!

And now I'm going back to bed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Notes from an Insomniac

I woke up around 1 am and I could not go back to sleep. I wasn't worried or sick--just awake, for whatever reason.

So Sadie and I made a backyard run, and I read three chapters of a book, and then I did some rubberstamping on tissue paper, because the images look really cool when decoupaged to an ATC, and then I went back to bed, and got up again, and whipped up some eggs and potatoes. After that, and listening to a couple of reruns of "The Splendid Table" on my iPod, I finally went back to sleep.

Go figure. I feel fine, ready to write (two chapters, counting today's!) and enjoy my day.

I might take a nap, though. :)

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On the Home Stretch

I am so, so close to finishing this book! Yee-haw!!!

But I will also miss my characters, for sure.

What happens next? I take a deep breath and plunge right into populating the fictional town of Parable, Montana, with hunky heroes and spirited heroines who are more than a match for them. There will be critters galore, and I'm making maps and charts just to keep track of everybody. :) There are (at present) six books in this series, and all new families to join the McKettricks, the Creeds, and the O'Ballivans.

Art? There's not much time for it now--I'm working especially hard--but I do manage to squeeze in a little gluing and painting and rubber-stamping now and then. What's my favorite thing to work with? PAPER, of course. Every writer loves paper, in just about any form, and I'm no exception. Honestly, the new scrapbooking papers are so gorgeous, I practically drool over them (well, not OVER them, that would be gross). I feel pretty wild and crazy ripping them to shreds and gluing them into an art journal or onto a collage or an ATC.

Today will be (please God) a quiet day. Chapter 17 will unroll before my wondering eyes.

It's all good.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Return of the Blogger

Yesterday, I was concentrating so hard on the book that I completely FORGOT this blog until it was basically too late. I'm SO CLOSE to finishing, it's unbelievable.

Picture me sitting at a computer, taking an occasional dazed sip from a coffee mug, and you've got the idea. That's about all I've been doing lately, and it doesn't make for very interesting blogging, now, does it? :) What IS interesting (I didn't feel like italicizing today, so I'm using caps for emphasis) is getting lost in the story of Brody Creed and his Carolyn. These characters have a special hold on my heart, and I hope they'll live on in yours, too, once you've shared their adventures.

Art? I do a tiny bit every day--for me it is a form of prayer and it feeds my soul--and I'll be glad when I have more time to make ATCs, watch technique videos on Youtube, and dive into the newest magazines from Stampington & Company. There are new rubber stamps I'm dying to try out, new methods and new products galore.

Focus, Linda. FOCUS.

As many of you know, I like to cook, but everything is coming out of the freezer for the next few days, and that's just fine, because it's all good.

And that's the news, what there is of it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Remembering Gladys Lael

This Saturday, I received word that my cousin Jimmy's lovely wife, Gladys, had passed over.

Gladys was one of my all-time favorite people, a true class act and a genuine Southern Belle, in the finest sense of the term. Gladys always had a warm and ready smile to offer. She was beyond generous, beyond kind, and her hospitality was truly amazing. She and Jim showed me museums and plantation houses during two different visits--I was there with my brother, Jerry, and then with cousin Doris. Gladys and Jim took us to Colonial Williamsburg, to museums and plantation houses and battlefields. They knew my penchant for the Civil War and shared it.

I loved Gladys very much. My heart goes out to Jimmy, Alisa, Melody and Stevie, and all the extended family. Knowing Gladys Lael was a privilege I will always be grateful for.

Godspeed, good and faithful servant.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Lasagna Report

My slow cooker lasagna turned out beautifully--I tasted it last night, but this dish, like many others, is always better the second day. I followed the recipe in my 'Fix It and Forget It Big Cookbook', but I did give it a few little tweaks---I added a carton of ricotta cheese and an extra pound of hamburger, browned with onions, even though they weren't on the ingredient list. I never cook anything savory without onions. :) Anyway, you know how I love to experiment and, to be honest, it doesn't always work. It's gratifying when it does.

After today, I will have four more chapters to write to complete "The Creed Legacy". The project has been a tremendous challenge--and, at the same time, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I'll be working through the weekend, but pacing myself. I'm definitely on the mend, but that last bout of flu took a toll for sure. Unless we get another blizzard, I'll take a few walks around the pasture.

If you're a football fan, unlike me, enjoy the big game. :)

I hope you're warm and safe as you read this. This has been a tough winter, I know, and seems it will never end. (Trust me, I've been there.) Remember that Spring is well on its way--the days have been getting longer since December 21.

This too shall pass.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Lasagna Day

After I write this blog, and before I sit down to my computer to get my characters out of the fine mess I've already gotten them into, I'll get a batch of slow-cooker lasagna going. This is a fun and easy process--except that the beagle begs, big-time, whenever I brown hamburger. :) (Or any other kind of meat). And a begging beagle is a hard critter to refuse.

What about all those new planets they've just discovered? How have we managed to miss them for all this time? :) And while I'm asking all these questions, does this mean I'm not a Gemini anymore? :) So much for checking my horoscope on a regular basis. For all I know, I have a whole new astrological sign.

We don't have as much sunshine today as yesterday, but there's no snow and I think it's a bit warmer. Seeing what other folks are enduring all across this great country, I certainly have no complaints. We're blessed with clear roads and visible grass, at least for now.

Finally, on a comical note, I have become a fan of a podcast called the Onion. One recent headline: Titanic Re-enactment Group Loses 1,300 Members.

Keep smiling.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Is It Spring????

Nope. It's February 2, Groundhog Day, but it sure looks like spring here in Spokane. It's cold, but bright as can be. Makes me want to jump up in the air and click my heels together!

The animals love nice weather, too, of course. I'll bet the horses practically trampled the Canadian Wrangler this morning when he went to turn them out of their stalls. Sadie is off getting her exercise today, and Bernice and the kitties have been outside dozens of times already. (We need a revolving door around here--whichever side Bernice happens to be on, she'd rather be on the other one.)

I'll be writing today, and if I finish in time, I'll make a few ATCs, too. I've got a new background started for a collage, but it needs twenty-four hours to dry before another layer can go on.

I'm fixing to make my crockpot lasagna again soon--delicious stuff. My crockpot has really been getting a workout lately--now, for ME to workout...

That's the news from my kitchen table.

Be strong, be brave, and be kind.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Not Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

Confession time: much as I love gallivanting around the country--okay, the world--I'm really a homebody at heart.

We all had a great time celebrating the joint Mom/Jerry birthday yesterday, at Mom's retirement place. Music, cake, presents and, best of all, each other--what more could anyone ask?

Today is my stepmother's birthday--have a happy one, Edith. If it's as sunny and bright in Grand Coulee as it is here in Spokane today, that's just about guaranteed.

My plans for the day? Guess. :) WRITING, of course. I can hardly wait to get back to that book. I don't even have to cook today, because I whipped up a crockpot stew yesterday, when I got home from the party. Turned out pretty tasty, as it happens, and of course things like that always taste better the second day.

That's the news.

Be safe, be warm, and be kind. Let's all hang together, so we don't hang separately. :)