This morning, I was carrying a load of folded laundry downstairs when a pair of my underwear dropped off the top. As I juggled the huge stack and reached down to pick them up, I was reminded of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.
A few years back, I dropped another pair of panties while taking the clean clothes downstairs. But I didn’t realize it until I came back upstairs to vacuum. Wanting to save some steps, I picked them up and stuffed them in the back pocket of my jeans, thinking that I would put them away after I finished vacuuming. There was one little problem with this plan…I have about a two-second memory. And after I finished vacuuming, instead of going downstairs, I ran a few errands. I went to the post office. I stopped by the dry cleaners. And I went to my local library. The entire time, I kept wondering why people were so happy that day. In fact, they were almost giggling with joy. And not just that, but I must’ve looked gooood because guys couldn’t keep their eyes off my butt. I had just decided to buy another pair of the jeans I was wearing when I noticed a little old man checking me out. And not just checking me out, but CHECKING ME OUT. When he saw me watching him, I expected him to look away. Instead, he smiled widely and winked.
Having been taught to respect my elders, I didn’t clock him with my book bag. Instead, I glared at him and stomped from the library. I was still fuming when I got home and called every friend I knew to repeat the story. It wasn’t until later that afternoon when I walked by the bathroom mirror that I realized what had happened.
Hanging out of my back pocket were my leopard-print Victoria Secrets.
And I had just shared them with the entire world!!!
As some of you might know, Hubba just got a knee replaced. And while I can’t tell you what it’s like to be the patient, I can give you some tips on being the caregiver to a person who just had knee replacement surgery.
First tip, RUN, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. They’re gimped up so they won’t be able to catch you. Okay, so I’m kidding. It’s not that bad, but it will take a lot of time and patience…and patience…and patience. People in pain can be very grumpy. And this surgery is painful. Which leads to my first tip:
Tip 1: Stay ahead of the pain Hubba had great nurses in the hospital, but nurses get busy and can forget. And the one time a nurse was late giving Hubba his pain meds, it wasn’t pretty. So from then on, just as a reminder, I called the nurses on my cell phone ten minutes before it was time for pain meds. And so the nurses wouldn’t hate me too much, I brought them a bunch of signed copies of my books and basically helped them out as much as I could by changing sheets, taking care of Hubba’s hygiene (As if he would’ve let anyone else do this. If he was a dwarf, he’d be Bashful.), etc. Once you get home, it becomes your job to remember those pills. So I got a wipe-off board and put it where both Hubba and I could see it. On the board, I wrote down every med Hubba took and what time. This way we could both keep track of all his medications. Oh, and when they discharge the patient from the hospital, make sure they give pain pills right before you leave so you have time to get the prescription filled.
Tip 2: Set up a comfortable place for recovery This could be a bedroom. But since our bedroom is small and I knew therapists were coming and would need space to work, I decided to set up a recovery room in our family room. I decided this at 9pm the night before I brought Hubba home. Duh. Thankfully, I have a daughter who didn’t mind coming over and helping me move furniture. Love you, California Girl! We put Hubba’s recliner out on the back porch so he could have an alternate place to sit during the day and put a queen bed down in the family room. Yes, we have stairs, but the therapists at the hospital taught him how to handle stairs and Hubba didn’t have any problems going up and down them.
Tip 3: Keep up with the physical therapy The more dedicated the patient is to his physical therapy, the faster he’ll recover. It’s painful, but they have to do it. Which will probably turn you into a major nag who has to figure out ways to motivate them. (See Tip 3) Every day, even when the therapist doesn’t come, they need to walk and do their exercises. Hubba started out with walking two houses, then graduated to the entire block. He started out with a few exercises, then moved to the full routine.
Tip 4: Have family and friends visit Since the first two weeks home are the toughest, talk to friends and family and see if you can schedule time for them to visit that’s best for you and the patient. You might ask them to plan on taking the patient for a walk or doing therapy exercises. (they give you pictured instructions) Hubba was motivated by the grandkids. Miss Priss and Little Bit could get him to do things that I couldn’t get him to do.
Tip 5: Take time for yourself This is important for your sanity. While the therapists or friends are there, you need to get away. I went up to my writing cave, but getting out of the house probably would’ve been smarter. I got a little testy toward the end of the second week.
Tip 6: CPM machine and Cryo Cuff: These were lifesavers. The CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine helped Hubba get back his flexibility without a lot of pain. And the Cryo Cuff is a type of ice pack that helped with the pain. A friend loaned me the Cryo Cuff. And the CPM we had to rent. (Around $13 a day, I think. And we used it for two weeks.)
After six weeks, Hubba is getting around pretty good.(He went and hit some golf balls today.) He’s off heavy-duty pain meds, and now just takes ibuprofen for the pain. But he still has six weeks of therapy left. As for Nurse Katie, all I can say is “Hallelujah, now I can get back to writing!”
Recently, someone asked me if I had any tips for writing contemporary westerns. Never a fast thinker, I stumbled around in my hollow brain and came up with some mumbo-jumbo that probably left the nice lady thinking that she’d made a serious mistake by asking me that question. But now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I can answer it much more intelligently.
1. Buy yourself a pair of sexy cowboy boots. While I usually write in a pair of fuzzy slippers that my puppy Roo has nibbled a hole in, there’s just something about owning a pair of sexy cowboy boots that’s inspiring.
2. Go where the cowboys are and soak up the culture. This place could be just outside your door or you might have to travel a little ways to get there. I went just a hop, skip, and a jump from Albuquerque to west Texas to do my soaking. I took copious notes and pictures, and talked to anyone who was willing. And, in small west Texas towns, everyone is willing.
3. Find yourself a smoking hot cowboy and play a little “Horse Trainer and Naughty Pony.” Age is important. Too young and you’ll get your butt tossed in jail. Too old and they don’t take orders well.
4. This is the easiest one of all–Write a book that people want to read.
Okay, so maybe I got a little carried away with my tips. Obviously, there are a few here that aren’t exactly essential in the writing of a contemporary western. In fact, the only one that is crucial to writing any good novel is number four: Write a book that people want to read.
At this point, most of you are thinking, “No duh, you ditzy blonde. So how do I do that?” It’s very simple. You write a book that you want to read. As writers, we sometimes forget that we are readers. Instead of writing something we enjoy reading, we think the fastest way to sell a book is to hop on the latest bestselling bandwagon–vampires, zombies, erotica, or cowboys. But if you don’t enjoy reading these books, chances are, you won’t enjoying writing them. And if you don’t enjoy writing them, no one is going to enjoy reading them.
So after all the blabbing, I guess I only have one writing tip: Write what you love. I do.
Disclaimer: As much as I joke around, at no time in my life have I played “Horse Trainer and Naughty Pony”. . . with any hot cowboy but my own:o)
This Saturday, I’ll be signing with some writing buds of mine at a local bookstore. (Love local bookstores!) I always enjoy signing with other authors because, unless you’re Danielle Steel, book signings can be a lonely way to spend the afternoon. Being a Chatty Katie, I don’t have a problem striking up a conversation when people approach my table. But I have found that a lot of customers view the table where an author sits, not as an opportunity to discover some new reading material, but as an annoyance they need to get past so they can get to the books they do want to read. I can’t blame them. I used to feel the same way. I was worried that if I stopped to talk to the author, I’d feel obligated to buy the book. And if I didn’t buy their book, their feelings would be hurt.
The truth is that all authors are readers. We understand that everyone has different tastes. A werewolf falling in love with a zombie, or a mystery-thriller set in Antarctica, or even a small Texas town of crazy matchmakers might not be your cup of tea. And that’s OKAY. Writers do NOT expect everyone who comes through the door to buy their books. This doesn’t mean that our feelings aren’t hurt when people completely ignore us. If you’re in a hurry, just a smile will do. But if you’re not in a hurry, come on over! Believe me, there is no greater thrill for an author than to have someone pick up their books.
When I’m talking at a book signing, I make it a point to tell folks to come on up and do some “tummy strumming.” (I can do this because my covers usual have a hot cowboy with a great set of abs.) Just the sight of a reader cradling my book in their hot little hands makes my heart go pitty-pat. If they buy it, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too. At least, they’ve given me a chance to entice them.
So the next time you walk into a store and see an author sitting there with copies of books that they have put their heart and soul into, walk on up and say “howdy.” I promise you’ll make their day. And who knows…you just might find that a small west Texas town filled with a bunch of crazy matchmakers is your cup of tea:o)
Spring Fling into Romance Book Signing
Page One Bookstore 11018 Montgomery NE Albuquerque, New Mexico
Saturday, March 9 at 3:30pm
I’ll be signing with Darynda Jones, Gabi Stevens, and Celeste Bradley. Hope to see you there!
Meet Roo, the newest addition to the Lane Family. She’s a ten-week old cairn terrier and the cutest thing ever. She arrived from Portland, Oregon on Thursday. I was stressing about her flying, but she seemed to be fine when we opened up her crate. I got to the cargo pickup early with two excited grandbabes in tow. We waited for what seemed like forever before the freight guy opened up the big garage door and pointed to a dog crate–a very large dog crate with a very large dog peeking out. For a second, I wondered if I was misinformed about how big a cairn terrier gets.
“That’s my puppy?” I asked as I stared at the toothy beast in horror.
The guy looked down at his clipboard and shrugged. ”Either that one or that little guinea pig over there.” He pointed over to a teeny tiny crate with two shiny brown eyes looking out through the gate. I walked over, and there was my little Roo.
We are adjusting well. I’ve only had to clean up Roo Poo a couple times from my carpet and am now trying to “bell” train her. I carry her to the back door, ring a bell, and say “Pee Pee Time” before I take her out to go potty. Every time I do it, she looks at me like I’m nuts–and so does Hubba. Although he’s used to me being a little off my rocker. And I’m sure Roo will get used to Crazy Katie Lane too:o)
On Valentine’s Day, I was writing (deadline is looming for the 6th book in Deep in the Heart, Match Made in Texas) so Hubba and I postponed our celebration until last night. He took me to a romantic dinner and then we met some friends at the historic KiMo theatre for The 7th Annual Southwest Burlesque Showcase.
I had never been to a burlesque show before so I didn’t know what to expect . . . I LOVED IT!!! The performers were talented, entertaining, and unique. And they had all these great names: Midnite Martini, Honey Touche, Scarlet Letter, Ruby Champagne, Cha Cha Velour. I felt like I was back at Miss Hattie’s Henhouse with Daring Delilah, Sweet Starlet, Sassy Kate. And guess what? They even had a feather fan dance!!! And not just any fan dance, but the same fan dance that inspired Miss Hattie’s in Trouble in Texas–the one that was performed in the movie, The Right Stuff. I tell ya, it brought tears to this writer’s eyes. Michelle L’Amour looked like this beautiful swan floating around on stage–a half-naked swan with skin that had never been touched by the sun or cellulite. And what made it even cooler was that the woman who made this dance popular, Sally Rand, had performed the exact dance on that very KiMo stage in 1936!
I guess you have already figured out that it was one of my best Valentine’s celebrations ever. Thanks for taking me, Hubba! (And Craig and Jessica for suggesting it:o)
After five degree weather in ABQ, Hubba and I took a weekend trip to the sun in Scottsdale, Arizona.
This saguaro cactus was right next to our resort. It looks like a standing alligator to me.(with a backpack) What does it look like to you?