Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unscheduled Sunshine

Rain was predicted.  Instead, the sun is shining--brilliantly.  Oh, darn. 


Gearing up to head out for Colorado Springs tomorrow--if you're coming to the Pike's Peak Writers Con (Kimberlee, this means you), be sure to come up and say howdy.  As stated yesterday, I will have some ATCs (artist trading cards) on hand to trade.  I'm taking my iPad along and I think I know how to blog on it, so I hope to keep you up to date on my doings.  This conference promises to be GREAT--lots of fun and lots to learn.  And I won't have to lug my laptop along.  Yeehaw!  It just gets better and better.

I'm learning to meditate.  I say 'learning'  because sitting still is a challenge for me, if I'm not doing something with my hands.  So I set the timer on my phone--nifty, zen-like brass gong--for 10 minutes, with the goal of just sitting quietly.  Thoughts roll by, as do cars on the high road on the other side of the valley.  At present, I allow myself coffee and my electronic cigarette (the miraculous little device that keeps me a non-smoker), but nothing else.  I just sit there.  Once this has become a solid habit, I will eliminate my coffee and e-cig from the process.  After sticking with that for at least a week, I'll work up to closing my eyes.  :)  At around four in the afternoon, I repeat the whole process.  Sounds like a slow and persnickety path, doesn't it?  Especially when my ultimate goal is 20 minutes of true meditation, morning and afternoon.  But it's a lot better than just knowing I SHOULD meditate, as before. 

Did you know that meditation, among other things, actually restructures the brain, and we're talking physically here, not metaphorically???  It's a phenom called 'neuroplasticity'--the brain can actually be altered by various methods, including nutrition, exercise, etc.  If you're curious, check out any one of Daniel Amen's books on the subject, and that's just for a start.  This is a fascinating field--depression, for instance, literally damages the 3 pounds of gray matter inside your head.  The good news is, there are many, many things we can do to reverse that damage, and to keep sharp as we get older.  I'm all for that, and I suspect a few million other baby-boomers are, too.  :)

I'm beginning what I call a Creativity Experiment with the new book, "Big Sky Country", the first of the Parable series.  (By the way, a few of you noticed that the town in "The Vow" was called Parable, but it was in Nevada.  My explanation: I like the name so much, I want to use it again).  It's no big secret, this C.E., and it won't sell for trajillions of dollars and turn me into a self-help guru, but I hesitate to pass it on before I'm sure it works.  So about a month into writing the book, I'll know whether it works for me or not and, either way, I'll pass it on.

And that, amid dog snores and rapidly fading sunshine, is the news from my kitchen table.

Be well, be safe, and be kind. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Houses - Mixed Media & Resin Painting by WYANNE

Freaky Tuesday

OK, I swore I wouldn't complain about the weather, but I'm just saying.  This is so weird.  Snow and rain this morning--on April 26????

Is it just me?  I'll be so glad when the Royal wedding is over, including the inevitable rehash of every nuance of the dress, the guest list, the honeymoon destination, etc.  Lest this sound too harsh, let me just say that I've spent a great deal of time in Great Britain, mainly London, and I love the place.  I love the people.  I especially love the cab drivers, who, unlike their counterparts in just about every other city in the world (especially New York), are highly qualified for the job.  I think William and Kate are beautiful, I pray they will be kept safe and well, and that their marriage will truly be a case of Happily Ever-after.  You can't help but admire their spirit and, let's face it, Princess Diana is a hard act to follow, no doubt about it, so Kate is a brave woman.  I had the delight of seeing Diana in person once, in London, while going about my ordinary business on an otherwise ordinary day, and she was every inch the princess, tall and stately.  She actually glowed. 

Yesterday I did a lot of catching up, as you might have guessed from the brief blog.  I made a run to the grocery store, polished an outline, did some art, checked a manuscript that will be going into production soon, and printed out airline tickets and a few other things.  I'm off to Colorado Springs this Thursday--I'm keynoting the Pike's Peak Writer's Conference, and I'll be bringing along some ATCs to trade if anybody's interested. 

Today, I'm launching into Chapter One of the new book.  I meant to do it yesterday, but there you go.  The best laid plans of mice, men and romance writers.

Speaking of writing, I'll be reading Peter Elbow's classic, "Writing With Power", on the plane and in my hotel room.  I was clued in about this book by another book, previously mentioned here, Mark Levy's, "Accidental Genius."  (That is an accident I'd like to have, but, so far, nada.) 

The roses are sprouting more and more shoots every day, and the peonies, too.  My fabulous dinner-plate dahlias have broken ground, but most of the daffodil bulbs must have been duds, because except for those rogues on the other side of the fence, making a break for it, there's no flower action.

Can you tell that I'm starved for flower action?  Believe it.

A belated or, with luck, on-target happy birthday to my sister-in-law, Anna, whom I happen to adore.  For some reason, I can't keep the exact date straight in my mind.

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

See you tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mental Health Day

Today, I'm brainingstorming for Chapter 1 of the new book, "Big Sky Country", the one set in Parable, Montana, and going to grocery store.  Thrilled by the former, accepting of the latter.

I feel great, so nobody worry, and I promise a longer and better blog tomorrow.

Or even later today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Wishes

May your Easter season be joyous indeed, and may your heart be lifted by the long-awaited arrival of spring.

He is risen!

See you Monday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Snowing!!!!

21 April, and it's snowing.  Hard.  Doesn't look like it's sticking to the ground, but it's still eliciting a groan or two around here, for sure.  Reminds me a little of the rare snowstorms in Arizona, when there would be a drapery of white on the cacti.

Me?  I'm snug as the proverbial bug in a rug.  Nowhere I have to go, and some exciting new projects in the hopper, on both the art and the writing fronts.

RE: art, I've been experimenting with gel transfers--essentially, one prints out an image (I have a sizable collection, mostly purchased on Etsy) on matte photo paper, and brushes on at least two layers of gel medium.  I used Liquitex super-heavy, and got the best results I've had so far.  The layers need to dry thoroughly, and even though I am the queen of impatience, I left them alone overnight.  This morning, I soaked them in water for ten minutes, then rubbed away the paper on the back.  The image clings to the gel medium, and you get this lovely transparent picture, design, whatever.  I have several in the works.

RE: writing.  Are any of you aspiring writers?  I think so.  Check out the book, "Accidental Genius", by Mark Levy.  Even this old dog is learning new tricks, thanks to his simple techniques.

Lastly, on a whole other subject, I was in a favorite retail store yesterday, and I admired this little dust-catcher that made up the word 'America', in appropriate reds, whites and blues.  It was a sort of figurine, I guess, in the shape of letters.  I was charmed.  Then I looked at the bottom.  "Made in China."

Huh?  Well, there was just WAY too much symbolism there for me.  A bit shaken, I put it back on the shelf.  Not that I have anything against the Chinese, because of course I don't--they are an ingenious and admirable people.  But in a time when so many Americans are out of work, or underemployed, I'm looking for these words on the things I buy:

"Made in the USA".

And that's the news from my cozy kitchen in Spokane, Washington.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Roses On My Table ATC Swap....Love

More Silence and Considerable Digression

As I write this, it is early morning, the sun is shining, and I am steeped in the most wonderful kind of quiet, broken only by the occasional 'meow', chirping bird, or dog snore.  It's heaven!

Beyond the back fence, a couple of renegade daffodils have sprung up out of the weeds, and the big dinner-plate dalhias have broken ground, too.  There are sprouts on the rosebushes and my beloved peonies will be coming on soon.  Glory be.  Considering that we got a skiff of snow yesterday and a pretty good flurry the day before, this is big news in Lindaland.

I worked on my outline yesterday, fleshing it out, going chapter by chapter, and I've got to say, it was an amazing experience.  It flowed.  I've learned (am learning) this trick called free-writing, from a book by Mark Levy, called, "Accidental Genius."  That led to another book, as books often do, called "Writing With Power".  This is an old standard, but I don't think I've ever read it.  And just because I've been doing this for many years, and have grabbed a few brass rings along the way, well, that doesn't mean I don't have a LOT to learn. 

Some early Mercury retrograde stuff going on around here--the last few books I ordered from Amazon went to my stepmother's address in Grand Coulee.  (Sorry about that, Edith.  I sent you a newsy letter and postage money.)  Zounds.  I've tried to ignore it when Mercury goes into retrograde, but the snafus, usually minor, still happen.  I am, as far as I know, still a card-carrying Gemini, though with the discovery of all those "new" planets out there, the whole thing might have to be revamped.  I might be some sign I've never even heard of.  :)  In any case, Mercury is Gemini's ruling planet and, like it or not, like the full moon, I feel it.  Even when I'd rather pretend it wasn't happening.

On the art front, I bought myself a lightbox to celebrate finishing "A Lawman's Christmas"--it's very cool.  Much flatter and more streamlined than the usual lightbox.  If you're curious, they make it very easy to trace an image.  Combine that with all the socko photo-to-sketch apps available these days and the sky's the limit.

I'm enjoying the News diet these days.  It's easy to follow.  You just don't tune in to hear the talking heads going on and on about how, to quote the Charlie Brown characters in a cartoon I once saw, where the Peanuts kids are about to go over a waterfall in a rubber boat, "We're all gonna die!"  (Mom, if you have that cartoon in your archives, I'd love a copy.)

Of course we're all gonna die, but probably not in the next five minutes.

And that's my humble version of the news, from right here at my kitchen table.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If You Don't Like the Weather...

Wait five minutes! 

At least, that's how it's been here in Spokane--yesterday, on the 18th of April, mind you, it snowed here.  Hard.  Later in the day, the sun came out and shone brilliantly for an hour or two, as it is shining today.  Hallelujah!  I'll take all the sunshine I can get, thank you very much.

Sadie-beagle gets her stitches out today--she had some warts removed two weeks ago and I've been calling her the American Bald Beagle for the last little while.  She is such a sweet spirit--just smiles up at me, wags, and tries to con me out of extra food.  :)

Yesterday was also son-in-law-to-be Jeremy's birthday--he's a great guy.  Happy birthday a day late, dude.  And thanks for tending my baby-girl while she recovers from strep throat.

I'm about to get another experiment underway--the Dukan Diet.  I'll review the experience here, but I won't bore you too much, I promise.  As a lover of protein, I'm intrigued.  Stay tuned.

I'm re-working an outline today, and also brainstorming for next year's Christmas book, "A Gunslinger's Christmas".  I'll be doing some art later on, and listening to my favorite podcast (currently), The Splendid Table.  I'll take a walk and maybe a nap.

Exciting, huh?

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

And that's the news.


Monday, April 18, 2011

My Vision Board Story

Here it is, as promised--the tale of Linda's vision board experience.  (For more information on vision boards, check out Youtube.  There's a whole slew of stuff on there, some of it good, some of it wacky, per usual with Youtube.  Use your good judgement.)

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to have a book reach #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.  Let me tell you, this is a BIG thing--lots of people have wonderful careers in writing without ever getting near that magical number.  I can't point to any real reason for setting this goal, because, although it's a good marketing tool for publishers, it really doesn't make that much difference in everyday life.  :)  It's more of a personal best sort of thing.

I had watched "The Secret" at the time, and "What the Bleep?" etc., and I've always, since an early age, had an interest in creative visualization, affirmations, and the like.  I was really young when I read Claude Bristol's classic, "The Magic of Believing", and I've read it many times since, along with books by Norman Vincent Peale, the master of positive thinking and many others.  Some were great, some were wacky.  Just like Youtube.

Just like life.

Did I always apply what I learned?  No.  I'm all too human, folks.  But when I DID apply the principles, it worked, big-time.  (Maybe that even scared me a little.  Think Luke Skywalker, the first time he picked up the light-sword.)  I've enjoyed a considerable amount of success in my life, along with copious amounts of failure that, for obvious reasons, do not get so much press.  :)  My problem, as I see it, is consistency.

But I digress.  I decided to make a vision board--they used to be called 'treasure maps' and, essentially, they are collages of images that suggest the reaching of some personal goal--a figure in skinny jeans, a fancy car, a vacation home, whatever.  Sky's the limit. 

So I made an 8x10 vision board, with a picture of myself, some flowers, my favorite photo of Dad and I, and a big #1 that I bought at Michael's and painted gold.  I added the words New York Times Bestseller List, of course and hung it up on my bedroom wall, where I'd see it often.

And it worked.  "A Creed in Stone Creek" was the breakthrough book, occupying that coveted position for not just one week, but two.

Why then, as I suggested on Friday, would I do it differently this time?  Well, the subconscious mind is a very literal mechanism, primitive in many ways.  It does not reason, do irony, or get the joke--it just steers us toward whatever target we've set for it, the ultimate GPS.  I used a black background, simply because I love the way black contrasts with just about any color, but I think my deeper mind read that as, roughly, "Okay, we're going for #1.  But it's going to be hard (the black background) and there will be a lot of depression."

The goal took about 2 1/2 years to achieve, which is not so bad in and of itself, but there was a lot of emotional turmoil, transformation, etc., during that time.  Tons of internal struggle.  By the time I actually made #1, I was nearly too exhausted to celebrate.  :)

Now I'm making a new vision board.  It's large--18x24 wooden substrate--and I'm using cheerful pastels in the background.  The goals are quite personal and have a lot more to do with my private life than my professional one.  They mostly involve taking better care of myself, things like that.  In other words, treating myself at least as well as I treat my beloved critters.

Those who know me will tell you that once I lock onto a mind-set, there's no stopping me.  :) And this mind-set kicked in, unmistakably, the day before yesterday, while I was writing my Morning Pages.  There were probably a variety of factors--spring is here at last, prayer and journaling, lots of things, but the clarity came all at once.  I knew what I wanted and how to go for it.

Hence, the new vision board and a whole new journey.  If any interesting stories come out of this experiment--and that seems like a certainty--I'll be sure to tell you, right here on the blog.

And that's the news, friends.  As of this morning, anyhow.

Decide to love your life, just as it is, problems and all.  You'll be surprised at what a difference that makes.  And besides, it's the only one you've got.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Case of the Missing Thursday Blog

I completely spaced it!  Why?  Because I was rambling around in Parable, Montana, which exists only in my imagination, and I got lost there.  :)  By the time I resurfaced, it was so late in the day that I couldn't have written anything sensible, anyway.

Most weeks, I gripe because it's Friday.  Call me crazy.  I love the hustle and bustle of weekdays.  This week, I'm glad it's Friday.  We're having special visitors this weekend, here on the Triple L, albeit very briefly.  I probably won't cook anything ambitious, like last weekend's Boeuf B, but you never know.  I could start channeling Julia Child at any moment.  :) Of course I'd have to make a foray to my favorite meat and fish markets....

Okay, maybe I WILL cook.

I did keep that commitment to go out for a walk on Wednesday, by the way.  Bernicie (the Yorkie) and I explored the whole front yard and most of the driveway. 

Next week, I'll tell you the story of my visionboard, which worked, by the way, and how I will do it differently in the future.

Make it a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunrise of the Spirit

This morning, as I sat writing my morning pages, the first entry in a spiffy new notebook, I watched the sun peek over the eastern hills and I marveled at the simple knowledge that we live near a genuine star, that it gives us life and light, and is just the right distance away to do so.  How amazing is that??  How can it be an accident?

Well, of course I know sunrise is not a new concept, but sometimes it helps to "re-notice" things we take for granted. 

As many of you know, winter can be a real struggle for me--everything seems more difficult and takes longer.  Today, looking at the sunrise, I felt like a mama bear waking up from long months of hibernation.  :)  I am so thankful to be feeling better.

Yesterday I had my hair colored and cut, sent off a batch of ATCs for a swap I'm in, and did some mental brainstorming for the first Parable book.  I know the hero, Slade Barlow, quite well, but his lady, Joslyn, remains something of a mystery.  :)

I didn't take that walk.  What good is a commitment if you aren't accountable for it?  I'll try again today.  Try, try again.  Exercise is an excellent remedy for the blues, and then there's the fresh air, and a passing chat with my horses, out there enjoying their big pasture--and their breakfast.  (Horses definitely eat like--horses.)

I'll be off to Colorado Springs soon, to speak at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and hobnob with other scribblers.  I love that part of the country--good friends Debbie Korrell and Steve Miller live there--and it's always a treat to visit.  Deb has promised we can go to my all-time favorite restaurant, Souper Salad.  :)

For today, that's the news.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pushing Up My Sleeves

I'm all rested up and ready to start the new project.  That really feels good.  New characters, new setting--the fictional Parable, Montana.  How exciting!

Of course it helps that we have lovely sunshine today, oodles of it, a wealth of it, glistening on leaves of grass and on the needles of pine and fir trees.  The sky is the color of the sugar bowl my mother gave me long ago--a soft, robin's egg blue, with a hint of periwinkle.  I believe it was originally a premium that came in a bag of sugar or flour or a box of tea.  It is a reminder of my good childhood every time I catch a glimpse of it.

Still dining on the Boeuf B--it just gets better with every passing day.  Yum.

Also on the schedule, besides brainstorming the new story, is a badly needed haircut.  I tend to put them off as long as possible, until my hair just goes absolutely wild, because I hate, hate, hate sitting still for so long.  At this point, my hair, like Donald Trump's eyebrows, practically needs a weed-eater.  :)

I've been making and receiving some really nice ATCs (all together now, everybody, artist trading cards!!!), trying new techniques.  Succeeding and failing.  Will it surprise you to hear that I have always learned a great deal more from the latter than from the former?  :) 

I'm still stuck when it comes to the sunflower painting, and I'm not ready to paint it over with gesso and start again, but I have certainly learned a lot from the exercise.

Which brings me to today's personal commitment.  Today, I will move.  I will take that short walk I know I need.

And that's the news.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Late Blog

I finished "A Lawman's Christmas" yesterday morning--what a feeling of satisfaction that gave me.  I slept like a rock and, frankly, I'm still tired today, which is the main reason for posting my blog so late in the day.

I celebrated by making a batch of my infamous Boeuf B, as I call Lady Julia's recipe, and it is delicious, if I do say so myself.  When I make BB, I'm serious about it.  I went to the butcher's for the stew meat, instead of buying it at the supermarket; as in the movie, one must dry the meat before browning, and do only a few pieces at a time.  To say this dish is work-intensive is an understatement.  It's like a dance, or even a meditation.  No wonder cooking is regarded as an art--it can be.  And I always have to adapt--even when the author of the recipe is a world famous chef like Mrs. Child.  For instance, I use twice as much meat as Julie and Julia suggest, and a whole bottle of chianti instead of a mere 3 cups.  I also use more carrots, more onion, more garlic, and more beef stock.  :)  The only thing I don't change, really, is the tomato paste--more than the suggested 1 tablespoon is definitely too much.  Go figure.

It seems to me that so many things in life are like this--a matter of learning the basics, experimenting, and adapting accordingly.  Writing is like that, and so is art.  Some experiments succeed, in my experience, and others fail.  Others are simply mediocre.  The catch is, there's no other way to winnow out what works and what doesn't except jumping in and giving it a try.  And then another try.  And then another.

Good Boeuf Bourguignon is  like a good book, a good painting, a good garden.  It is generally the result of many previous BB's.  :)

That's the news, my friends.  I'll see you tomorrow. 

Friday, April 08, 2011

Today's the Day!

Today, I will draft the final chapter of "A Lawman's Christmas"!  I am SO excited, though, as always, I will miss these characters.

As you can see, the blog is still in flux, where the template is concerned.  I'll keep working on it.

We have lovely, lovely sunshine beaming down on us this spring morning.  I'm soaking it in, living in the moment.  And it's a darn good moment, too.

I plan to celebrate completing my newest book by watching the half dozen movies I've saved up on my iPad, making runs to Hobby Lobby and the grocery store, and getting in some extra sleep.  Naturally, I'll do a little art work, mostly ATCs, probably.  The sunflower is still in transition; I hope to finish it this weekend.

And speaking of weekends, here it is, Friday again.  Make it a good one.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Sadie's Blog

Mom asked me to fill in for her on the blog today and, trust me, without opposable thumbs, it's no small feat. (Pun intended.) Anyway, she's burning the midnight oil to finish "A Lawman's Christmas", so I'm elected.

By the way, Mom has had me on a diet for two years. Send food. Beggin' Strips are my favorite, but I love pizza, T-bone steak, whatever you have handy. Just pop it in the mail to Chubby Beagle Relief, P.O. Box ARF, Spokane, WA. And, please, don't mention this to my mom.

As she would probably say, that's the news from our kitchen table.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Bald Beagle

Sadie had a wart removed from the top of her head yesterday, so now she's got a little shaved spot and stitches. She's fine, though a little funny looking. :) Still working on the book. I expected to be finished today, but there you go. Tomorrow? I sure hope so, but I'm not making any predictions. Our crazy weather has changed again--it's overcast as I write this at my kitchen table, and more rain in the forecast. I guess we're going to have a lot of gorgeous flowers and foliage this year, with all this rain. I'm listening to a great book, "Rapt", by Winifred Gallagher. It's excellent, all about how we create much of our experience by choosing what we'll focus our attention on. It seems pretty basic, but I'm really glad I found it. Wait a second! Is that the sun peeking through the clouds----???!!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


After extolling the virtues of Monday, I thought it was only fair to say a few good words about Tuesday. :) Tuesday is the day the new books and DVDs come out. Tuesday is a nice, serviceable day, like a comfortable pair of shoes. By Tuesday, I'm always (okay, usually) back in the swing of things. On this particular Tuesday, we of the Spokane persuasion are enjoying a brilliantly sunny morning. I mean, it's GORGEOUS out there. Yes, we'll be getting rain later on, but for now, I'm soaking it up. Off to write my chapter. And enjoy my Tuesday. Hope you're doing the same.

Monday, April 04, 2011


I caved this morning and turned on the a.m. news. I guess the addiction runs deep. :) For some reason I don't quite understand, the spaces between paragraphs are not ending up in the blog. My computer guy will be here later in the week and I'll see what he can do about the problem, but in the meantime, we're stuck with it. Niece Kelly returns to the other coast this morning. Her brother, Mike, and mom, Patty, visited, too. We had a nice dinner and a good visit over at the casino on Friday night. No luck on the slots, though--I gave up early. (though not quite early enough) Alas. I am so ready for spring. I'm ready for pink and white peonies, for bright yellow daffodils, for blue skies and sunshine. I do so love Mondays, though. (No, I really do.) I love the mini-New Years' feel of a new start. I love that sense of another shot at things. Familiar routines kick in, and there will be mail in the mailbox. It's all good.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Yep, It's Friday

Yikes. Where does the time go? Very nice visit with my beautiful niece, Kelly, yesterday. She in town just briefly, to take some classes toward her Master's. Smart, self-possessed and independent-minded, that's our Kelly. I hadn't seen her in several years, and chatting at this very kitchen table was a pure delight. I'm so proud of that girl. I'll be writing today, like I do every week day, and over the weekend, too. I'm in something of a tizzy--the hurrier I go, the behinder I get. :) Still, the book is great fun, and I'm eager to get back to it. I've had little time for art, but one can always paint a background for a journal page or an ATC (artist trading card--someone always asks)--that's one of many great things about mixed media. I'm still deciding whether or not the sunflower is done--I tried to post a picture the other day and it didn't work, but I'll make another attempt. Just this morning, I ordered a gallon soft gel matte medium and a hundred packages (yes, a hundred) of ATC blanks. Yeehaw! Riches! Most recent listen was Lisa Gardner's audio book, "Love You More". Wow. What a ride that was. All kinds of twists and turns and surprises--I love that in a book--but one warning: this one is not for the faint of heart. :) Have a great weekend. I hope to record on Monday's blog that I'm writing the last chapter of "A Lawman's Christmas." And that's the news.