Friday, July 29, 2011


I've been a little under the weather since Wednesday.

I'll be back on Monday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The book that started it all, the very first McKettrick book ever, is in stores today!  The new cover is beautiful--you can't miss it--and if you missed the early years of my now-sprawling clan of cowboys, here's your chance to get in at the beginning.  :)  It's the classic western romance and still occupies a warm place in my heart.

I had the BEST writing day yesterday.  First, I did my 10 minutes of freewriting--just going lickety split and not bothering with punctuation or spelling or anything like that.  When the timer on my iPhone bings, I stop, mid-sentence, mid-word--that's it.  The process is magical for me, getting me out of my picky-picky head (that's for editing) and into my heart, where the story actually lives.  Since I'm already in fast mode, I just start writing my chapter, promising my inner editor that I'll polish during the revision process.

Montana cousins Lane and Pam are visiting sometime today.  Not sure when they'll get here, but it's always nice to see them.  Doesn't happen too often, though--Montana's only a few hours from here, and I write about it all the time, but I rarely get over there.  My mom grew up in Choteau, so it's home-country to all of us.

Like the rest of the country, we're having hot, sunny weather.  I'm enjoying it big time!

Gotta get to work. 

See you tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

That was fast!

700 more words and I can call it a day, pour a glass of wine, and play with my art supplies. 

It's all good.

See you tomorrow.  :)

Coffee Break #2

Here I am, with another thousand words in the bag.  :)  Lunch was a piece of soy sauce chicken left over from supper, and now I'm enjoying a cup of Newman's Own and a quiet chat with Mary Ann.

The plants are doing well, and I think there may be a bud about to open on the gardenia.  The weather is strange, alternating between sunny and overcast, but it's still hot.  There was a short and very welcome rainfall this morning, when I got up.  Free horse baths, all around.  :)

I'm loving this new book.

The In-Between Blog

I'm working on the new book, and hit upon the idea of writing a brief update blog each time I take a coffee break.  :)  So here I am. 

Sadie is off at her training session and Bernice is yapping at every sound and shadow.  It's a normal day around here.

My good friend Kat Martin sent me cookies as a thank you gift.  We're enjoying those, for sure--we turned the Canadian wrangler loose on them first thing this morning.  (The more other people eat, the fewer I will eat.)

More later.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Going Deep

Along with the 10 minute freewriting exercises, which work like a charm, I'm going deeper into the emotions of my characters.  That makes for a much richer story, of course, but it's also difficult at times.  It takes longer, too.  Throughout my career, I've written rapidly, so turning out those pages more slowly trips my guilt-o-meter sometimes--I start "shoulding" on myself.   As in, "I should be on chapter such and such by now" or even, "I should be done by now."

I'm trying to break that habit.  :)

I've been listening to "The Tiger's Wedding: My Childhood in Exile", a fascinating memoir by Isla Blair.  She and her older sister were born in India, of English parents, back in the days when the sun never set on the British Empire.  Papa ran a tea plantation.  It was a perfect, if dangerous, world--until they had to go "Home" to England to attend boarding school.  Isla was only five years old at the time.  Can you imagine?  

My recently transplanted plants are thriving.  I've rescued another one as well.  :)

Gotta go.  Miles to go before I sleep.

Have a wonderful weekend.  (Can it possibly be a full week since Jean and I attended the Teesha Moore workshop???)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

If Bernice-Yorkie Could Blog...

It would sound like this:  yap, yap, yap, yap-yap!
Second verse, same as the first.  :)

I might be in a slightly silly (maybe even giddy) mood today.  I have a clear slate to write--no appointments or errands and lots of peace and quiet. 

When I started out as a young writer, many moons ago, I had no idea I would (eventually) meet with this kind of success.  I just wanted to earn a living, so I wouldn't have to work in an office.  :) 

I'm not saying it was easy--it certainly wasn't.  There were many setbacks along the way, but as many or more wonderful experiences, like meeting and getting to know John and June Cash, thanks to my good friend Peggy Knight, living and traveling all over the world, and seeing one of my books, "The Last Chance Cafe", made into a movie. 

I'm also not saying I think I've 'arrived'--we never do that, really.  I want to write better and better books, to learn and grow and challenge myself.  There will, if I'm so blessed, be more triumphs and more disappointments, too.  To be full, a life needs both light and shadow, strange as that may seem.

And I have been gifted with both.

Guess my mood wasn't so giddy after all.  :)

Thank you, one and all, for being part of my life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Battle of the Pills

Sadie wins the occasional battle in our take-your-pills confrontations, but I will win the war.  What a dog.  Currently, she's having baby food with her breakfast--macaroni and cheese is her favorite :)--because that way I can mix in the powders for her kidneys and liver and she'll still eat.  Provided that I add in little bits of freshly-fried bacon, of course.  The meat can't be cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge, either, because she'll turn up her muzzle at that.

Spoiled rotten dog.  As I often tell her, it's a good thing I love spoiled rotten dogs.  :)

The African violet seems hail and hearty in its new pot--the leaves look glossy and there are new blooms forming in the center, so I think the delicate transplant process was a success.  The gardenia is expanding before our very eyes, now that it has room to grow.  Both plants need a lot of light and watering from the bottom, as they don't like to be wet.

I had a wonderful writing day yesterday, and plan on another today--in fact, it will be even better because I don't have to go to the dentist.

I've committed to doing 10 minutes of "free-writing" every day before I start the chapter--free-writing being exactly what it sounds like.  Stream of consciousness stuff.  I set a timer and I just write, as fast as I can navigate the keyboard, without worrying about punctuation or typos or anything like that.  Not judging.  It quiets the evil critic in my mind and by the time I start in with the actual book, I'm rolling.  It works like a charm and, since the author of the book (Peter Elbow, "Writing with Power") where I discovered the technique promises it gets better with regular use, I'm onboard for that.  Starting, for me, is the hardest part--and this is a way of having already started, so to speak.

We are enjoying lovely summer weather again--yesterday was gloriously rainy.  :)  I love a good downpour and a slate-gray sky--just not days and days of them in a row.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.  Be happy and be well.  Easier said than done?  Trying making a list of the things you're grateful for--and you'll be surprised how fast your mood improves.

Ciao for now, friends.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Intentions

They say the road to you-know-where is paved with them.  :) 

Yesterday, I had the BEST of intentions. I was going to write.  But as it turned out, I was still reeling (in a good way) from the weekend art workshop with Teesha Moore.  I needed to come down, so I puttered, and Mary Ann and I made a trip to Walmart--my shopping list had gotten pretty long.

I repotted my African violet, which I've had for several years--Jerry and Anna (my brother and his lovely wife) sent me a birthday basket once, filled with tiny plants.  I am proud to say I still have every one of them--one is nearly four feet tall!  As many of you already know, violets do not appreciate being messed with overmuch, so I'm sort of holding my breath with this one.  It was really starting to need a new home, so I bit the bullet and did it.  I also transplanted a gardenia I had recently acquired--it seems happy to have more root-room and, before the thunderclouds rolled in, it was lifting its leaves like little arms to welcome the sunshine.  It has several buds and I'm hoping it will, in the words of Mr. Spock, live long and prosper.

Today I'm writing.  Period. 

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Page from Art Journal

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What a Weekend!

Friend Jean and I attended a two-day workshop at Spokane Art Supply on Saturday and Sunday.  The teacher was the famous Teesha Moore, creator of Artfest and artist extraordinaire.  (Check out her profile in the current issue of Somerset Studio).  We learned so much!

Saturday morning, bright and early, we headed for Denny's for a fortifying breakfast, coffee,and lots of visiting.  Then it was on to SAS for Teesha's visual journaling class.  We learned to make a book, and bind it, from watercolor paper.  We splashed color around and collaged and there was a lot of happy concentration, broken by intermittment bursts of laughter.  We were introduced to products we'd never tried before, like Sharpie poster paint markers.  There was a great deal of snipping, arranging, rearranging of images--and the wonderful thing about this method is that if you don't like something, you can just cover it with something else.

After class, Jean and I went to Red Lobster where we had a delicious dinner--unfortunately, by the time the food came, we were so full of appetizers (deep fried broccoli--yum--and calimari) and Caesar salad that we didn't have much room left.  No problemo!  We brought the stuff home, tucked it into the fridge, and made supper of it last night.

By Sunday morning, when we returned for the second day of the workshop, our various projects were well under way.  The air was charged with energy and creative ideas, and there was color everywhere.  One of the best things was looking at the other students' work--I learned so much that it will take me days, if not years, to assimilate it all.

Now, I'm all refreshed and ready to write.

I'll post some pictures today--watch this space.

Jean has gone now, off to a quilting workshop at the Grunwalde Guild, over near Leavenworth.  We're already looking forward to the next artistic discovery.

And that's the news.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Goofing Off

My friend Jean is visiting for the weekend, and we intend to GOOF OFF, big time.  For us, that means catching up on each other's busy lives, drinking wine, eating Mexican food, making art, and attending a special art workshop at a local art supply store--and doing lots and lots of laughing.  Sometimes a little crying, too, and definitely some praying, since Jean is a Lutheran pastor.

Our lovely summer weather has returned--I love these bright and sun-spangled days.  Then again, ALL days are precious, aren't they?  These, my friends, are the good ole days we will someday look back on and remember with nostalgia.  Let's make them count, by enjoying them, and by understanding that any beautiful piece of art must have shadows as well as splashes of bright color.  I believe that, to God, our lives literally are works of art.

ENJOY your Friday, and the weekend to follow.  I'll be tweeting pictures from the art class and posting them here and on Facebook--how nice to think that, in a way, you'll all be there, too, joining in the fun.

God loves you.  He thinks you're beautiful.

And so do I.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Exciting Weekend Ahead!

My long-time friend, Jean, is coming to spend the weekend with me and we're attending a wonderful art workshop together--I've been looking forward to this for weeks and weeks.  I'll be sure to post some pictures on Monday--even video if I can manage it.  I'm getting better at this photography stuff.

Last night, I loaded my new language course from Rosetta Stone onto this laptop--French, levels 1-5.  I'm starting the first lesson today, after I finish my writing for the day.  Why French?  I've always found the language beautiful, but I have practical reasons, too.  I'm planning to spend all of July, 2012, in Paris.  In September of the same year, I'll be returning to attend a week-long mixed-media class.  I don't expect to be fluent by then, of course, but I should be able to chat with locals and shopkeepers and the like, and that's good enough for me.  I've decided that learning languages is a good way to keep my brain in shape, whether I ever visit the country in question or not.   For now, though, I'm concentrating on mastering basic French.  :)  Who knows, though?  One day, I may tackle Mandarin, just for the heck of it.  :)

The sky is overcast today, and we've had more rain, but I'm not blue.  It's still nice and warm out and, as you know, I find rainy days rather cozy--except when they go on for a week or more.

Did you watch my video interview?  Check it out, and don't miss K-Mart's contest--you have a chance to win your very own Creed Cowboys belt buckle, made by Montana Silversmiths.

Sadie is actually taking her medicine--I mix the powders in Apples and Chicken baby food, from Gerber, and stuff the pills into pieces of hot dog.  :)  For now, it's working, but as I've said before, Sadie is one crafty beagle.  Sooner or later, she's bound to balk, and we'll have to try yet another new tactic.  Bernicie, bless her little Yorkie heart, still loves liverwurst and, since she only takes two pills, as opposed to Sadie's seven or eight, she's easy.

I just finished listening to "A Stolen Life", by Jaycee Dugard.  I remember when she went missing--there was a lot of media coverage, for a while.  Like all missing-child cases, it was heartbreaking.  Listening to her story was difficult in many ways, but I'm glad I stuck it out.  This woman's courage is beyond belief and, like Elizabeth Smart, she's a true inspiration.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rhapsody Book Club Favorites: Linda Lael Miller

Rainy Days and Wednesdays

Late start this morning, obviously.

We're enjoying (yes, enjoying) a spate of rainy weather--it's a nice break from the heat.  Also, no need to water the outdoor plants--or bathe the horses.  :)

I'm writing today, late start or none. 

And that's why I'm making this short.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

At Least I'm on the Right Blog This Time

Which is saying something.  Yesterday I wrote the entire entry before I realized I was posting it to someone else's blog.  (It's the kind where members can participate so, those of you with blogs of your own, have no fear of my crashing you.  :) )

Yesterday was, as I'd hoped, a good writing day, and in the evening, my nephew, Mike, his lovely wife Sara, son Chandler and daughter Courtney--along with Courtney's friend, Mattie (tell me if I have this wrong, Sara)--dropped in for dinner.  Mike's friend, Dan, a Northport boy, was here, too.  They not only brought the food--oysters baked in the shell, Paula Deene's macaroni and cheese, teriaki tuna and smoked tuna--prepared what wasn't already prepared, and served everything, they cleaned up afterward!  Now that's my kind of dinner party!  We caught up on our visiting, at least partially, and the kids had a great time riding up and down in the elevator.  Mike and Sara are lovely, generous people--and sensational cooks.

Thanks, guys. 

Weather-wise, we've got sunshine alternating with heavy clouds promising thunder--the noisy stuff should arrive sometime this evening.  Bernice will be wanting some TLC when the sky rips open and the lightning flashes, but Sadie and the kits are pretty unflappable.  The horses will just stand stalwartly under the trees and watch the action--unless the Canadian Wrangler puts them in their stalls for the night.  Generally, with the possible exception of the old Buckaroo, they like to spend as much time outside as they can.

I'm off to Parable, Montana for the day.

See you tomorrow. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Check Out This Contest!!!

All Rested Up

Would you believe I wrote this blog entry once already and accidentally posted it to one for an art group I'm in.  Since I couldn't figure out how to move it, here I am, starting over.

I am the queen of starting over, but that's another blog for another day.  :)

On Saturday I drove out to the lake house to wait for the plumber to come and unclog the kitchen sink.  Company arriving today and no clogs allowed.

Sitting there, looking out at the water, which always soothes my soul, I asked myself for the millionth time why I don't spend more time there.  It's so peaceful and, much as I love the Triple L, which is a very busy place, a change of scene is always good for me.  There's only one problem with going to the lake--five minutes after I walk through the front door and get my first look at that water, all the tension drains out of me and I need a three-hour nap. 

On the way home, I stopped at Staples and Hobby Lobby, two of my favorite places to shop.  I bought cardstock at Staples--I use a lot of it making artist trading cards--and picked up this amazingly beautiful notebook, which I have decided will be my new gratitude journal.  It's a hologram, with butterflies, and I swear it looks an inch deep.  At Hobby Lobby, I picked up a few art supplies (like I need any more of those) and a blue and white vase that looks like a tote bag or a purse.  I LOVE blue and white anything, and this will look fabulous with white, pink or yellow roses.  I have a blue and white vase at the lake, and when I go there to stay, I always fill it with flowers, first thing.

Buck gave me quite a turn when I drove in, after the jaunt to the other end of the valley.  He was lying down in the pasture, and his best buddy, Skye, the Appaloosa mare, was standing over him, seemingly concerned.  I parked the truck and rushed out there, and the minute I said his name, that poor, startled old horse jumped right to his feet.  Buck is the grand old man of the barn, and, like all of us, he's on borrowed time.  Thank heaven he's still okay.

Sadie is adjusting to her new meds for Cushings'.  She's such a sweet soul, always eager to please--except when it comes to taking medicine.  :)

I'm writing today, and enjoying the sunshine.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Friday, July 08, 2011

OK, Back in the Saddle

I celebrated making #1 with a couple of goof-off days, but now I'm anxious to saddle up and hit the trail to Parable again.  I am enthralled with the new book!

Alas, the air-conditioner died, and after all that kvetching about the long winter and late spring, I'm roasting.  The main floor is like an oven.  My dad would have said, "You'd complain if you were hanged with a new rope."


I think I have a haunted doorbell.  No kidding.  It rang last night, as I was rustling up supper for the dogs and cats, and I figured it was UPS, making a late delivery.  (We see a lot of them around here.) 

Well, guess what.  Nobody there.  So I went back to the kitchen and the hungry crew of canines and felines.  The bell rang again.  And again.  And again.  Still nobody there.

It was totally strange.  I finally stopped it--it was driving me and the Yorkie, who sees herself as official gatekeeper--by simply pushing the button again.

Coincidence?  :)  I don't think so.

Have a terrific weekend.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

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Believe It Or Not...

"The Creed Legacy" debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list!


Wings have yet to spring from my feet, though, :) and it's back to Earth for me.  I have a book to write, a dog to bathe, and art to make.  The air-conditioning isn't working on the main floor, and that means activities have to be shuffled until the repairman can rescue us sometime tomorrow.  A big fan makes life in the kitchen, where I like to blog as many of you know, semi-bearable.

Lest you think I'm complaining--no possible way.  We've got the grand summer weather that is a celebration in and of itself.  The flowers are happy, and so are the horsees.  The grass is Irish green and the sky sugar-bowl blue.

If you're looking for me, I'm the grateful one, with the big smile.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


I had the most excellent day writing yesterday--I was really in the zone.  (With lots of help from my editor and dear friend, Joan Golan.)  I'm looking forward to another productive session today, too, although I have an important teleconference regarding the new website--coming soon to a computer near you!  Stay tuned for full details.

Sadie-beagle spent yesterday at the vet's, having blood tests.  We're having a time with her Cushings meds--the first one just made her too sick.  So we're in transition, med-wise, and just playing it cool, calm and collected.  It's all about energy--when I gave her the pill for her heart, after she'd spit it out twice, I just spoke very quietly and petted her with my free hand.  The pill went right down.  It finally dawned on me that my agitation was causing hers, at least in part.

We're having the most glorious weather.  The peonies are still with us--late for them--but then, they arrived late.  Nice of them to stay a while.  :)

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

My Long Weekend

I spent it: Vegging.  :)  Reading.  (Finished "The Memory Palace"--excellent if sad, and started, "The Dirty Life", a memoir about farming--too graphic for me.)  Doing art.

It was wonderful. 

Now back to Parable, where my lively crew of story-people await, somewhat impatiently, I fear.

Our weather is gorgeous, and that's a gift to my soul.  I do love sunshine.  I also love rain, goosefeather snowfalls, and crisp autumns when the leaves of the trees growing along the banks of the Columbia River are splashes of gold and crimson and russet, a million shades of each.  

Life is good.

Friday, July 01, 2011


I need to be extra-gentle with myself, bring the stress level down a few notches.  :)  I've been worried about too many things lately--most of which, to paraphrase Mark Twain, will never happen.  And, of course, compared to the problems people in other parts of the country and the world are facing, mine are mere inconveniences.  Still, I'm feeling a bit delicate.

Does that mean I won't write?  No.  Writing is my favorite thing to do, my refuge and my sanctuary. 

I admit I played hooky yesterday--just felt overwhelmed.  So I went to Hobby Lobby, Barnes and Noble, and Winger's, a restaurant I've never tried before.  They served the best Caesar salad I've ever had.  As with most American restaurants, the servings were WAY too big.  Four people could have filled up on my one order of terriaki chicken.

An early happy birthday to our little firecracker baby, Sydney, who was born on the 4th of July.  :)  Have a great one, Sydney-Fred.  Aunt Lindy loves you.

I have two DVDs to watch this weekend: "The Gathering Storm" and "Into the Storm", both of which are about the Churchills during the war years.  Churchill, like Lincoln, always inspires me.  Talk about tough.  If they'd had the hats for it, they could have been cowboys.  :)

The weather is glorious--to me, sunshine is medicine.

Nobody worry about me, okay?  (This means you, Mom.)  I'm fine.  We're all allowed to have our flimsy days, and this is one of mine.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, stay safe, and remember to keep pets inside and give them some TLC while your neighbors celebrate.  Firecrackers terrify little critters, and that's just wrong.

See you Tuesday.