#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller


“Old” Dog Learns “New” Trick

First, this just in: “The Montana Creeds: Logan” is holding steady! #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. Yee-haw!!!

With that passed on to the people who made it possible–THANK YOU–I’ll explain the title of this blog, quotation marks and all.

Of course, the Old Dog is me. I put “old” in quotations because I don’t really regard myself as old. On the inside, I feel like the proverbial spring chicken. The new trick is not really new, hence the punctuation marks. :) Clear as mud?

As many of you know, I like to listen to books on my iPod, because after looking at words all day at the computer, I sometimes need a rest from it. Right now, I’m listening to a wide variety–Civil War histories, the plasticity of the brain (very encouraging to old dogs), etc. Recently, I found an old favorite on iTunes–“The Magic of Thinking Big”, by David Schwartz. And that’s where I found the “new” trick. Here it is:

I give myself mental pep talks before I undertake anything I regard as challenging.

During the December meltdown, I was using this process for sure–in reverse. I told myself I didn’t want to go on the Creed tour, that I’d rather stay home and write. (Man, am I glad I went!) Oh, there were so many things I didn’t want to do. And all of them had to be done!

This technique is deceptively simple. One man in the book even made up a mental commercial, extolling all the reasons he could do what he wanted to. He played it in his own head, and nowhere else, and it revolutionized his life. I can see why that would happen. What kind of commercials are rolling in your head? Mine, I’ve discovered, could use some improvement.

Yesterday, Sadie went to swimming lessons, and I went on to an appointment. After that, I rewarded myself with a visit to a place called Second Look Books–not your ordinary used book store. The place is FULL of out-of-print memoires, histories, you name it. I loaded up! Fascinating stuff, no longer available from the usual sources. Three different books on the lives of slaves during the Civil War, for instance. One on the Underground Railroad. (Until I was in high school, I thought Harriet Tubman and her brave crew ran a real railroad, with tracks and depots. :))

Riches! And I mean that literally. At least one of these books will, I am positive, spark a truly unforgetable Western. (No, I’m not going to tell you the name of it. You’ll have to wait and be surprised.)

Books. What treasures they contain! (Thanks, Mom, for boosting me out of the slow readers group with that stack of Nancy Drew books you brought home from the Northport library when I had the Michael Landon flu!) Translation: I adored Michael Landon. If he was going to be on day-time TV, I automatically came down with something so I could stay home and watch him on the tube. :)

And that’s another thing about my mom. Being no dummy, she knew I was sick all right–love sick. And she wisely knew that a dose of Little Joe Cartwright wouldn’t hurt.

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Though the term “stick ’em up” is widely used in Western films, it wasn’t actually coined until the 1930’s.

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