#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
My Magical Time Machine

Writing “The Rustler” is a real experience, deeply emotional. I had a tough time getting going on it, what with the normal rush of summer and Dad deciding to saddle up and ride for Heaven’s brand. Now that the story is rolling, though, it’s a pleasure to write. I just show up in Stone Creek, Arizona Territory, 1907, using my magical time-travel machine, and Sarah and Wyatt are always waiting for me. Sometimes impatiently. If Wyatt carried a watch, he’d take it out of his vest pocket, frown at it, and say, “We’re burnin’ daylight, here!” Sarah is only slightly more patient, and might fuss, “What took you so long?”

Upon my arrival, they show me what’s happening that day. I get right into it. In fact, when it’s time to take the dogs out or enjoy a coffee break, I’m usually surprised to find myself at my keyboard, in my 21st century Spokane home!

It must be hard work, because I’m really tired when quittin’ time comes, but while I’m actually writing, it’s like being in the story with all the characters. Walking the streets of Stone Creek. Counting the horses in front of saloons…

I’d better go. The time machine, my own version of Platform 9 and 3/4, leaves in approximately one hour.

Life at the Main House

It’s pretty quiet around here. Cousin Mary Ann’s grandchild is visiting, along with his parents, so the whole crew is out at the lake, splashing and sunning and catching up on all the visiting.

A day in the life of Linda: I get up early, most days, and immediately Sadie and I ride down to the lower floor in the elevator. (Bernice won’t get into the elevator unless coerced. As in, bodily dragged.) Yorkies are speedy little critters, though, and by the time Sadie and I arrive, Bernice is usually there to greet us. We all go outside. The green grass is moist with dew and splashed with fresh sunshine. When the deeds have been done, we all go back upstairs, to the main floor, and I make coffee. While it’s brewing, I putter around. Being an impatient sort, I usually pour a cup before the pot is actually ready. (This could be a metaphor for other things in my life.) Then begins one of my favorite times of the day. I journal, and the Lord and I have a little chat. Then it’s breakfast, then the blog, then writing.

Lots of people are curious about how long I write each day–the answer is, between four and six hours, at the computer. (24/7 in my head.) On a good day, I can get twenty pages. I always start by revising the chapter I wrote the day before. That helps me pick up loose ends and polish as I go along. Because I am definitely a morning person, I’m not much good after about two in the afternoon, at least in terms of writing.

When the work is done, I relax. Pet the dogs. Admire the horses. Shop or make a run to the casino. Since I rise early, I also retire early. I’m usually tucked up in bed with two dogs and two cats by eight pm. I watch very little TV, at least here at the main house, and invariably listen to my iPod until I fall asleep. Right now, I’m focusing mostly on the Civil War, which is my passion, though I study the Revolution, too. You have to understand one to understand the other. I find it all fascinating, and it gives me great hope. This very young nation has survived a LOT.

Well, as a Confederate heroine might say, How I do run on.

More tomorrow. Make it a good day. The choice rests with you.

The term “keep your ear to the ground” comes from literally putting an ear to the ground to listen for hoof beats.

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