#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
Here I Go Again

Well, my friends, I’m back to the blog.  I haven’t been ill, just very busy with the book and my attempts to keep a bad cold at bay.  There were days when I seemed to be winning, and days when the cold was topping the scoreboard.  Today, I’d have to say it’s a draw.  :)

Winners who should have been announced but weren’t are: Carol Luciano and Marilou Frary.  Congratulations, and I apologize for the late post.  A new contest is underway now, and the rules are the same: two winners will be chosen at random, notified, and then posted–at some point–on this blog.  All you have to do to enter is comment.  I read your comments and I appreciate them very much–so, if you have questions, ask away, and I will answer as many as I can either directly or here on the site.  One of you asked if there would be more Mojo books; I get this question a lot, (also about my vampire books and two medieval romances) and the answer is going to seem pretty convoluted because, basically, I don’t know.  I would love to write more about Mojo, but the fact is, the sales of those books were considerably lower than those of my westerns and, from the publisher’s standpoint, that’s a problem, one I well understand.  Publishing is, after all, a business and, well, it makes sense to bet on the horse with the best chance of winning.  Lots of these decisions are not made by the author, but by the people who oversee the company’s bottomline, and I don’t say that as a criticism, because my team at Harlequin/Mira/Harper Collins has been wonderful to me.  They have a much better grasp on the market place than I do, and that’s fine with me–my job is to write the books, although it must be said that succeeding in today’s version of publishing requires a lot of participation on the part of the authors.  I love that part, because it allows me to interact with my readers, as I do on this blog, on Facebook, etc.  

On this winter day, we are enjoying the most glorious sunshine.  This is the Spokane of my youth–snow on the ground, and the sun on the ‘high’ setting.  Mowgli and Tule, my beloved little former street-dogs, are at the groomer today, getting handsome.  Even such a short parting is difficult for me–I miss my bad boys!  I will try to get photos posted here, but there will be some on Facebook for sure.

I had a nice time yesterday, FaceTiming with Wendy and Jeremy and, of course, my grand-dogs, Margie and Lily.  I also have a grand-cat, Cooper, but she was not receiving.  :)  It was so much fun being able to show the dogs to each other–my boys were so curious.  Here was Sissy’s face, and Sissy’s voice, but where, Tule and Mowg wanted to know, was Sissy herself?  Naturally, I miss them all, but FaceTime is a marvelous invention, in my opinion, because it’s so nice to be able to see faces.  I can show off my bullet journals, etc., but the best part is feeling closer to my loved ones.  It’s almost as good as having them right here at the house.

I have very nearly completed “North of Eden”, and I am so amazed and happy.  The word count is over 130,000 words, so it ought to make for a nice long visit with the characters.  I have always loved thick, meaty novels–in the old days, I devoured stacks of Taylor Caldwell, Dorothy Dunnett, and Mary Stewart books, to name just a few.  These days, everything seems to move at such a fast clip that one never has enough time to settle in for a lengthy read, and I miss that.  If it weren’t for audiobooks, I would miss so much, simply because my eyes are tired by the end of a writing day.  Now, I can listen to fat biographies, a favorite genre.  I’ve covered Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant in recent months, and they are only the latest in a long line.  I loved all of David McCullough’s books, especially “Truman” and “1776”, and I just finished one about Wallis Simpson, aptly titled “That Woman”, by Anne Sebba.  Some of you will remember the story, though even I wasn’t born when it happened.  :)  The Duke of Windsor had an American mistress, you see, and he was next in line for the English throne when his father, the current king, passed away.  He insisted upon marrying her, which was all very romantic, except that Mrs. Simpson had already had two husbands, and in the 1930s, the idea of a king marrying a twice divorced commoner was not going to fly.  The Duke fought fiercely–pardon me, but the man seemed badly in need of medications other than alcohol–but the British would not give in.  Therefore, the Duke abdicated his throne before he could be crowned, and his brother, Bertie, father of the present Queen, Elisabeth II, became king.  It was a sad, fascinating story.  Ah, the Royals.  They are an intriguing bunch, especially to Americans, I think, because we have no royalty of our own.  (Thank God.)  

Which reminds me.  While I’m rambling all over the place, I must tell you of the time I saw Princess Diana, live and in the flesh, when I was living in London.  I had a flat directly behind Harrod’s, at 19 Hans Place, and one fine day I was walking to the post office.  I was passing Harrod’s and I spotted a line of official looking people in front of a swanky custom-made lingerie shop, very British, darling, and one of them was holding a huge bouquet of flowers.  There was a uniformed guard at the door, no less.  I had no idea what was going on, but it was clear that something was, so I stopped on the other side of the street and watched.  I was soon rewarded; a little navy blue BMW whipped up to the curb, the greeters were all smiles, and the Princess herself popped out from behind the wheel.  No escorts, no guards, no chauffeurs.  She was on her own, wearing a London Fog raincoat the same color as her car.  She was presented with the flowers and warmly welcomed–I remember the shop’s name now, it was Rigby & Peller.  She went into the store, evidently to be fitted for new skivvies, and let me tell you, she was every inch a princess!  Forget all that wild-eyed neurotic stuff you might have read–she was tall and impossibly beautiful and I swear the woman glowed, even when she was standing at the very back of the small shop.  I forgot all about the post office, hurried to the nearest Boots, the ubiquitous English drug store, and bought a disposable camera.  (This was long before iPhone cameras).  She was still inside when I returned–phew!–and I got a nice photo of Diana as she was getting back into her Beamer.  :)  Later, I learned that she lived at Kensington Palace, which was quite close to Knightsbridge, where I was staying.  Several taxi drivers told me they were always extra careful in the area of Kensington, because the Princess was liable to come zipping out of one of the gates at any given moment, at top speed.  To this day, I miss her.

So that’s today’s Linda-ramble.  :)  Now that the book is nearly finished, I will be blogging more often.  Thanks for hanging in there.

On the Home Stretch

In approximately one week, I will have finished the initial draft of “North of Eden”.  It was been a long pull–the word count is 120,000 words–difficult at times, thrilling at other times.  As you know from recent blogs, I fell in love with the characters–they are all real to me, and of course I hope they will be real to you, and memorable.  According to my recent conversation with my amazing editor, Kathy Sagan, at Mira Books, the novel will go on sale in May of 2018, which means it will be released on the last Tuesday in April.  Finishing a book is always a wonderful feeling, but, as you may imagine, it is also bittersweet.  It means saying good-bye to characters I  have come to cherish as friends–Caroline, Bridger, Rogan, Enoch, Jubie, a little dog called Sweet Girl–and that is hard, even though several will appear in the next book in the trilogy, “South of Glory”.  Of course, I always feel this way when I finish any book–for me, it’s rather like raising children and then seeing them go off to college.  I will suffer from Empty Nest Syndrome for a while, but, fortunately, a new book awaits–“The Wager”, a contemporary Western romance.  That one will be released in paperback; “North of Eden” is a hardcover.  My lovely publishers, Harlequin/HQN and Mira, agree with me that alternating between the two kinds of books will be a way to (hopefully) please my readers, and it’s excellent from a creative standpoint.  I know, as a card-carrying Gemini, that I will enjoy switching back and forth between modern and historical stories.  

Because I love to learn, and to be reminded of what I’ve already learned, but maybe forgotten, I just re-listened to Stephen King’s marvelous book, “On Writing”.  I have never actually met Mr. King, though I had the good fortune to catch a glimpse of him from a distance once, at a Book Expo America, in New York.  He is well known in the industry for his generous attitudes toward less successful writers (and, let’s face it, that adds up to just about everybody), and while most of his books are too gritty for me, I have tremendous respect for him.   His novel, “Cujo”, was hard (okay, impossible) to put down, and even though the end made me cry, I have never forgotten that book, even though I read it years ago.  My brother ranks King’s “The Stand” as the best book he’s ever read, which is saying something, since he’s a big reader, like I am.  After “On Writing”, however, I might try more of his stories–though I will still avoid “Misery”, because, frankly, that book is every writer’s worst nightmare.  :)

To continue my rambles, I had my hair cut yesterday, but–brace yourself–not colored.  I’m going to go gray, partly because I hate messing with bleaches and dyes and partly (mainly) because I think it’s more authentic.  I’m finally brave enough to be myself, I guess.  Since Jeremy used to do my hair, right here on the Triple L, I was a little spoiled, but now that he and Wendy have moved to San Diego, where they are very happy, by the way, and I’ve been doing little else besides writing “North of Eden”, my roots got away from me.  From now on, my cousin Danny’s wife, Misty, will be doing the doing the honors.  And guess what?  Turns out I got the silver-hair gene, like my Aunt Donna.  So, I’m going to be kind of streaky for a while, but soon enough, since my hair grows so fast you can practically hear it, like corn in August, I will be through the two-tone phase.  Stay tuned.

And now, back to work.  You see, I have a book to finish.

 

A “ten gallon hat” can’t hold ten gallons of anything.

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