#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Before we get into the day of hearts and flowers, I’ll announce this week’s winners. (What? It’s not Monday?) Congratulations to: Joann Quijada and Shelley Anderson. If you didn’t win, keep trying–comment and you’re entered. As always, the winners will be chosen at random, notified and announced here next Monday. Unless it happens on Tuesday. :)

I’m in love, my friends–with Bridger Winslow and Rogan McBride, the dual heroes of “North of Eden”! Okay, yes, they’re fictional, but is that bad??? Unlike their flesh-and-blood counterparts, they never leave the toilet seat up, say things like, “What’s for dinner?” or “Are you putting on weight?” or “My mother is on her way over. Is the guest room ready?” :) All that, and they’re smart, sexy and handsome, too.

Wonderful as Bridger and Rogan are, they don’t quite qualify as Valentines. My wonderful rescue pups, Tule and Mowgli, and their cat brother, Wiki, hold that title. They love me madly, no matter what and, you guessed it, they never leave the toilet seat up. :) They do make it pretty plain that they’d ask what’s for dinner if they could talk, but that’s it. My dear friend, Gayle Mackie, brought them to me last year, on the day before Valentine’s, and they’ve owned me ever since. Before they stepped out of their crates and checked the place out a little, they’d never met, but you wouldn’t know it, watching them now. They’re best buddies, close as brothers, constantly together, playing tag and a game I call, “Wild Wolves on the Steppes of Russia”, where they pretend to be ferocious. As for the kitty, Wiki, well, he’s so sweet and so loving–I adore him. He is the biggest cuddle-bug, and he’s finally joining Tule and Mowg and me on the bed most nights; Button was very territorial and, though he probably would have let Wiki have a spot–anywhere but my chest, which was Button’s alone–the Wik Man was pretty shy. Like the pupperinos, he’s a rescue, and such a pretty boy, a gray tabby with a skim of silver to his coat. There’s a crook at the very tip of his tail–someone apparently shut the door before the whole cat was through. He has a small head and a large tummy, and suffers from a kidney condition, which we treat with three or four IVs a week, and he tolerates this, because he is very much a gentleman.

I’ve been listening to music on and off all day, which probably doesn’t seem all that unusual to most of you, but here’s a little secret about me. Sometimes, I can’t listen to music for months at a time, or even years, not because I don’t absolutely love it, because I do. The problem is, some songs touch me so deeply that I can’t bear it. After my friends, Johnny Cash and his lovely wife, June Carter Cash passed away, I couldn’t listen to any of their albums, and it was a full year before I actually saw the movie, “Walk the Line.” Which, of course, was wonderful. Both actors were spot on, but Reese Witherspoon was June. I mean, that performance was AMAZING! The film wasn’t released until after both June and John had died, and that’s a pity, because they would have enjoyed it so much.

In any case, I’m back to listening to something besides audiobooks. Yesterday, I downloaded Reba McEntire’s new album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith”, and it’s great–I especially love a number called “God and My Girlfriends”, which really tells the story. If you have a good man in your life, you’re very fortunate, and if you don’t, well, that’s fine, too–you’re in good company. Where would I be without God and my girlfriends? I shudder to think. Man or no man, God and girlfriends stick around, through good times and bad. You know who you are: the Debbies, Mary Ann, Jean, Annie, Cindy, Peggy, Sandy. (If I left somebody out, I’m sorry. Next time, lunch is on me.) And God? Thank You.

Oh, yes, music has a very powerful affect on this ole cowgirl. If I need inspiration to write a western, all I have to do is put on Willie and Merle’s “Pancho and Lefty” or “The Cowboy in the Continental Suit”, by Marty Robbins, or anything by John, or Emmilou Harris, or (be still my heart) Neil Diamond. If I’m down, a rousing chorus of “Oh, Happy Day!” has me out of my funk in no time. (I love Gospel!) I’ve been known to break into “Rise and Shine”, first thing, when I’m on the road doing book things. (My niece/assistant, Super-Jen, usually travels with me, and she’s not a morning person, which means she claps her hands over her ears and groans, or throws pillows.) Funny thing. Debbie Macomber and I travel together, too, and if I launched into a lively spiritual at the crack of dawn, she’d sing along!

Once, I went to a show with my dear friends, Bill and Renae, to hear Bobby Valle (not Frankie, Bobby) sing. He sounds just like his brother, and I had a grand old time, because, in case I haven’t told you, I love, love, love, the Four Seasons. I couldn’t sit still, for tapping my feet and mouthing the words. Bobby spotted me (I would have been pretty hard to miss), and shared the microphone. For the next few minutes, he tried to stump me, singing part of a song, then stopping in the middle of a lyric and tilting the mic my way. And you know what? I not only sang (badly) every line, but I put the doo-wahs in the right places, too. (I don’t limit myself to the lead, I do all the backup, too.) I made up for my lack of musical talent with enthusiasm, I can tell you. I could probably do the same with a lot of other singers from that time period–Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Beatles and the early stuff by the Stones. Plus, Connie Francis, the Bobbys, Rydell and Vinton, and a bunch of others. Frank Sinatra, Carole King, the Supremes and about 40 other Motowners, the incomparable Streisand….

I’m dating myself, but I don’t care. Furthermore, I could go on and on with this, but I’ll spare you that. (Just be grateful you don’t have to hear me sing!)

I guess I’ve been pulling on your ear long enough for today, rambling on and digressing all over the place, as I tend to do, but I’ve got one more thing to say. Reading over this blog, it came to me that I have a LOT of Valentines in my life–including each and every one of you. And that makes me one very lucky woman.

59 comments to “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  1. Gloria Herring
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:00 pm · Link

    Congratulations, Joann Quijada and Shelley Anderson! Happy Valentine’s to you, Linda! Enjoy the day!

  2. pat Dennis
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:01 pm · Link

    Since my Marine grandson was killed in 2012, I have a lot of trouble listening to drive my truck, go fishing, drink a beer kind of songs. He was,a wonderful family loving country boy. I’m getting better, but it’s still hard.

    • midge watkins
        · February 15th, 2017 at 9:13 pm · Link

      God bless you and your grandson’s service.

  3. Evelyn Baldwin
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:02 pm · Link

    Besides God, family and my rescued pups, you have taken me so many places, i will never go! Such joy through your novels, I’ve had since my stoke 4 years ago! I don’t know you but it seems like i do! Happy Valentine’s! God Bless!

  4. DONNA
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:06 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s day!!! I love the same singers/groups you do.

  5. Lynn Hill
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:07 pm · Link

    Oh Linda you aren’t dating yourself just reliving great memories. I am with you, I love, love those singers. The music of today is nice but the music of that era was as they say the bees knees LOL! You could understand the words and it just made you feel happy!
    Happy Valentines Day my dear friend!

  6. Diane Sallans
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:07 pm · Link

    Music can certainly effect my mood – it can make me happy or bring a tear to my eye or bring a memory to mind.

  7. Virginia Horton
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:11 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day and I will have to say you look a lot like your mother in the pic you sent in the newsletter. I have always been fond of Willie, Meral, and Marty Robins along with Conway Twitty which you didn’t mention but love him. I really like the older music, todays music just don’t cut it for me. Have a great day. And Congrats to the winners this week. :-D

  8. Theresa
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:13 pm · Link

    I love music and so does my whole family! I’m a bit partial to the classics. Andrea Bocelli is one of my favorites. Although I did like Rod Stewart singing the standards. Thx Linda

  9. Melaine
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:19 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Linda. I’m a music lover, too. I have listened to rock, easy jazz, country, opera, classical, blues, and more, but I always go back to country. I can’t say I’m crazy about some of the new talent…their music is NOT country, but I do love to hear George, Toby, Gary, Reba, Jennifer, and on and on.

    Have a great day!

  10. Alison B.
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:19 pm · Link

    I can’t wait for “North of Eden” to come out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Evelyn Villanueva
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:20 pm · Link

    I loved your sharing about music. I feel the same way. I loved the music of John Denver, and when I listen to his music, I cry because go back to that time in my life and what I was going through then And the same thing w/ Jim Croce. “Time in a Bottle” absolutely brings me to tears. I am a child of the 60’s/70’s folk rock, and music just takes me where my memories and heart were. So, I don’t often listen to music, tho’ I have a trove of cd’s, sometimes it is just too painful.

  12. Jane
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:27 pm · Link

    It’s amazing how music will bring back memories. I was talking to my SIL last night and she said she had just listened to Tennessee Waltz, sung by Patty Page (they were listening to an oldies station in the car). She said she remembers her Dad picking her up and dancing around with her in his arms while this song played. Nice memories.

  13. Sue McCormick
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:44 pm · Link

    I know what you mean about not being able to listen to the Cash family recordings after they died. I have been unable to reread Jo Beverley’s books from the time she died last summer until this month. And rereading authors (even romance authors) is not nearly as close to the emotions as music is.

  14. Ann Bartholomew
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:49 pm · Link

    When you date yourself you are always on time and good company. There’s a difference between being alone and lonely. It takes a good person to be the first and be happy with herself and her girlfriends.

  15. Kathy Duffell
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:55 pm · Link

    Loved your blog today; we could have been twins by liking same musical people and singing the songs. Love your books. Waiting for North Of Eden, sounds like a great read.

  16. Vicki L Doman
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:57 pm · Link

    Yup love ALL the music. I love it that Debbie Macomber sings with you.

  17. Vicki L Doman
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:57 pm · Link

    Yup love ALL the music. I love it that Debbie Macomber sings with you.

  18. debbie
      · February 14th, 2017 at 4:58 pm · Link

    happy valentines day. saw the pic of you, your brother and your mom. you are truly blessed to have a happy mom around. when they get to be their age, they are “entitled to do and say what they want.” i lost my mom at age 88 (and those were her words) seven years ago; her birthday was feb. 5 so i can appreciate the love, understanding (and patience), and pride in showing us your mom’s picture-beautiful, free-spirited lady. happy birthday. and enjoy every chance you have to be with her. i miss my mom every day but she had cancer so i can’t be selfish for myself. she is at peace.
    as for those “older” musicians-they are oldies but goodies!!

  19. Sharon Rackham
      · February 14th, 2017 at 5:11 pm · Link

    My Dear Friend,

    HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to you all the kiddos on the ranch!

    You brighten my day with your wanderings very much and I too love all your music and that era! Oh well we do age ourselves but what the Heck!

    I hope that you have a wonderful day and I can’t wait for your new books on the Civil War Era and the wonderful characters that you have enjoyed so much.

    Take care from your Northern Friend and Fan,

    Sharon xx

  20. Susan Craig
      · February 14th, 2017 at 5:20 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day to the woman who has written some of my favorite book boyfriends.

  21. Linda
      · February 14th, 2017 at 5:24 pm · Link

    Nice picture of you, your mom and brother.

    I get what you mean about music. Okay I sometimes cry when I watch White Christmas more when Bing is singing it. But I still sing along. I don’t think I do that with any others.

    I grew up listing to the Beatles and watching their movies because of my cousins who are older than me. I was four when they started.


  22. Lisa
      · February 14th, 2017 at 5:38 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day ! Really miss Glendale az’s chocolate affaire met you many years ago and had books signed there. Left z two years ago

  23. judy (jep)
      · February 14th, 2017 at 6:03 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you Linda! What a good picture of you, your mom and your brother, thanks for sharing it with us. I have read that music is one thing we remember even if that bad disease dementia snares us. Like you, I go for days, months or longer not listening to music, but if I hear a phrase that reminds me of a song, I have to belt it out. Smile! Hope you and your fur buddies have a great rest of the day.

  24. Teresa G
      · February 14th, 2017 at 6:06 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  25. Teresa G
      · February 14th, 2017 at 6:07 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Linda.

  26. JoAnn Baker
      · February 14th, 2017 at 7:14 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  27. Ruby Norwood
      · February 14th, 2017 at 8:02 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day Linda!! enjoyed the blog today and also the newsletter I got with the picture of you and your brother,and Mom, thanks for sharing that with us. Congrats to Joanne and Shelley on your win.

      · February 14th, 2017 at 8:19 pm · Link

    I love, love, love to read your blogs. You seem to relate to all of us – a blessing for sure. Like you, I prefer the oldies (all genres) but Neil Diamond still has it. Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day.

  29. Teresa F
      · February 14th, 2017 at 8:44 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day –

  30. Lois Rotella
      · February 14th, 2017 at 8:58 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Congrats to the winners. I know what you mean about music. There are songs that really move me. I remember growing up and listening to American bandstand. My older brother use to watch every week. I remember song from the 50’s, 60’s and such

  31. Margaret
      · February 14th, 2017 at 9:57 pm · Link

    I love the music from our era. Connie Francis was my favorite and also Ricky Nelson. I remember listening to music on my little transistor radio for half the night. I don’t know how we ever got reception up there in the mtns. Valentines day was so exciting when we were in grade school. We made fancy decorated shoe boxes and lined them up around the room to receive valentines. Those were the days. Your house is full of animal valentines–mine too.

  32. Gloria Jenkins
      · February 14th, 2017 at 10:14 pm · Link

    Love all of your blogs, this one touched my heart. I read your blog to my husband and he wanted to know if like listening to George Jones? He loves his music. We love all genres of music oldies, 50’s, 60’s ,country, gospel and Bluegrass, Rock and Roll. We all have the love of music and your story’s in common. Linda I hope you and Super-Jen have a wounderful Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentines day ladies.

  33. Sherry Wallace
      · February 14th, 2017 at 10:24 pm · Link

    I love Marty Robbins Gunfighter Ballads – can sing every one by heart like I did as a kid listening to them!!

  34. Jo Ann Holcomb
      · February 14th, 2017 at 10:54 pm · Link

    Happy Valentine’s to you Backatcha with the Country & Neil Diamond. Jo Ann

  35. Helen Gaines
      · February 15th, 2017 at 12:01 am · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day. Linda!! Love your books and blogs!!

  36. Linn Carlile
      · February 15th, 2017 at 12:13 am · Link

    Sure hope you have had a Blessed and Happy Valentine’s Day. I love all the pass music and some of the new. I turn on the radio every morning and sometimes leave it on when I am reading. Sounds like your 4-legged kids are good company for you. I know mine is for us. May you have blessed days ahead.

  37. Marilou Frary
      · February 15th, 2017 at 1:53 am · Link

    Reading your enthusiasm about North of Eden, I can hardly wait to read it.

  38. Caryn Horn
      · February 15th, 2017 at 2:03 am · Link

    And we’re so lucky to have YOU, Lael! I too loved The Four Seasons and still have several of their 33’s. My oldest GRAND took a college class last semester on the history of rock and roll and fell in love with the Beatles. This semester he’s taking piano and sent me a video of himself playing the opening bars of Let It Be! I texted back that I not only named that tune but kept right on singing when the video stopped! He’s loving those lessons! Oh, and he’s going to WSU, out your direction!! Keep on doing what you do cause you do it so well!!

  39. Elaine Key
      · February 15th, 2017 at 2:53 am · Link

    Hope you had a good Valentine’s Day. My husband came home with yellow roses for me. He is such a sweetheart.

    I remember all the singers and groups you mentioned. I was never a Beatle fan though. I did think Paul was the cutest.

    I saw Reba on The Today show and she sang one of her songs from her new album. I would like to get her album.

    Debbie Macomber is another author I love. I actually had the pleasure to meet her. Maybe one day I will get to meet you also.

  40. Clara Watt
      · February 15th, 2017 at 7:52 am · Link

    WOW!! All I can say is I love old music. My 13 years going on 40, grandson loves everything Elvis Presley. I had received an autographed picture of Elvis in his army uniform years ago. It is now in Justin’s, Elvis collection.

  41. Charlotte Litton
      · February 15th, 2017 at 10:53 am · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day I had a quiet day, I got myself the chocolate I wanted.
    I enjoy hearing about your fur babies, I have two cats, one I call Waddle Waddle, he’s pleasantly plump (calling him fat or overweight would hurt his feelings ) I love them anyway they are. The other one just recently turned into a lap cat.
    I can hardly wait for your new book.

  42. Carol Luciano
      · February 15th, 2017 at 12:22 pm · Link

    I hope your Valentine’s Day was a happy and Blessed one. I really enjoyed this post. I’m ftro!m the same music era. I love music and listen to an oldie station everyday. God Bless your mom. She looks wonderful. :-D
    Carol L

  43. Trudy Wilson
      · February 15th, 2017 at 4:29 pm · Link

    Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day with your 4-legged Valentines. I love my fur baby and his unconditional love! He is the best!

  44. Rita Crofoot
      · February 15th, 2017 at 5:06 pm · Link

    Thank you Linda, I love being counted with the other friends here, as valentines, and you and Debbie are counted as mine too.

  45. Des
      · February 15th, 2017 at 7:38 pm · Link

    Thanks Linda, your stories always make my heart sing!

  46. midge watkins
      · February 15th, 2017 at 9:19 pm · Link

    The next time you decide to have a sing-a-long, let me know.
    I’m a little older than you, but basically the same era. I’ll even
    bring along my collection of 45s, lps, cassettes and some very
    dusty 8 tracks that have been residing in my old barn for 25
    years! I love gospel, too. I wish they had a cowboy church
    close. Hope you had a good Valentine’s Day. I enjoyed it with
    my 2 horses and Mater, the cat. Did you ever watch the
    Cashes on “Dr. Quinn”? Good episodes. Be careful on the ice!

  47. Ida C.
      · February 15th, 2017 at 9:35 pm · Link

    Love all the entertainers and songs you mentioned Linda, but I’m likely way older than you so that’s okay. Glad you had a good Valentine’s Day. Here’s to your next book or sing along, whichever comes first!!

  48. Donna McCord
      · February 15th, 2017 at 9:53 pm · Link

    Just waiting until your next book comes out!!!

  49. Doris Brooks
      · February 15th, 2017 at 11:15 pm · Link

    Linda, you should come to see me. I have 300+ CD’s of any kind of music you can think of, starting with before World War II on through today. We could have a gay old time just listening and singing. I’m in the process of cataloging my CD’s and what a job. It was to the point I could not find the one I wanted to hear, and it became necessary. I know most of the words and doo whops and sing along. If you like hymns, try Joey & Rory and their new album of hymns. Beautiful! Have a great day. Looking forward to the Civil War books.

  50. Roberta Giordano
      · February 16th, 2017 at 7:46 am · Link

    Can’t wait for North of Eden ! Your books are the best.

  51. Rhonda Dickinson
      · February 16th, 2017 at 9:49 am · Link

    Happy Valentine’s Day a couple days late Linda! I love your blogs! I think you and I would have a great time if we would ever meet. :lol:

  52. Fran F.
      · February 16th, 2017 at 10:30 am · Link

    I love to sing also and mouth the words to the “old” tunes. My favorite is also Neil Diamond. I have been lucky enough to have seen him 5 times in person beginning back in the mid-70’s when he was just starting out. Also saw Johnny, June, and Mama Mabel many years ago live in NYC which was also a thrill.

    Keep on listening to music. It truly soothes your soul.

  53. Janet Hurt
      · February 16th, 2017 at 2:07 pm · Link

    Loved your Valentine story! As I sat alone Valentine’s Day…feeling sorry for myself…I got a call (last minute) to come play pinochle. My friend saved the day! Made a sad day into a GREAT evening! Thanks for friends!!!

  54. Lorelei Sawtelle
      · February 16th, 2017 at 9:30 pm · Link

    You left out Andy Kim and Rock Me Gently!

    I’m so glad you count me as one of your Valentine Blessings. I know you’re one of mine!


  55. Pat Parker
      · February 19th, 2017 at 4:46 pm · Link

    Count me in the chorus singing with all those people. We are of the era.

    So glad we are returning to Mustang Creek, soon. I will reread the other two in the next couple of weeks so I am ready.

  56. Valdi McCoy
      · February 23rd, 2017 at 9:37 pm · Link

    I have a habit of singing a song that corresponds to whatever my kids are talking about. They never believe that it is a real song so I have to google it to prove I am once again right.( I hate it when that happpens.) LOL I especially love to stump them on the really old songs my mom loves to sing. I am so glad God never said to sing a beautiful song unto the Lord, that I couldn’t do, but He says to make a joyful noise and I can do that pretty well.

  57. Eugenia Riddick
      · March 1st, 2017 at 3:25 pm · Link

    I just got the opportunity to read this blog entry on March 1st. When Gary Allan’s “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” came out I purchased the CD. On my day off, I would play my CD’s while working around the house. This one particular Tuesday I was feeling very sad and despondent. My youngest daughter was in a teen rebellion. All I could do was sitting and sing. I played that song 9 hours. My family kept their distance the entire day. They admitted much later to taking the CD. They didn’t return it. It’s been 11 years. The story behind the song is very sad. Gary knows heartbreak.

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