Rex and Lucky Dog

What are the little things in life that bring you the most joy?

Can I tell you a little, tiny story, oh please?

Animals often make me laugh, especially this one. I am the aunt to this adorable dog, Rex. Full blown German Shepherd and damn proud of it. Here’s the funny thing: He has a favorite TV show. Every Saturday he watches a show called Lucky Dog. He LOVES it. He can barely contain himself and his excitement. It is a glorious day when Lucky Dog is on!

Sometimes he tries to scratch the TV screen so he, too, can play with the dogs on the show. He also runs around the back of the TV to FIND them, as if they’re hiding.

He reminds me, once again, that it’s the little things we love to do in life that bring the most joy. For me, it’s books, gardening, the beach. For Rex, it’s Lucky Dog.

What is it for you?


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Welcome, Writer, To 10 Days Of Editing Hell

I love writing.


But what you are looking at now is the first page of a stack of pages that makes my brain short circuit.  It makes me think about holding a paper bag over my face and having an elephant sized anxiety attack.

It makes me wonder why I did not train to be a trapeze artist instead of being a writer. (True reasons I can’t do that job:  I am way too heavy, not flexible, scared of heights, and don’t like flying through the air while spinning.)

These are page proofs.

That is their official name. “Page Proofs.”

The unofficial name is “Welcome, Writer, To 10 Days Of Editing Hell.”

This is the last chance  for a writer to find and edit errors before the book goes to print.

This is chapter one, page one, of my next book The Language of Sisters, out in September.

Here are the things I’d rather do than edit page proofs.

  1. Chase a jaguar.
  2. Run from a jaguar
  3. Learn how to get a rattlesnake to dance out of a basket
  4. Dress like a ghost and parade around town while cackling.
  5. Eat dandelions.
  6. Dance around a pole in a bikini though I have given birth to three children.

By the time I get this intimidating stack of pages I have edited my book eleven times. Yes, eleven. It is obsessive, I know.

I don’t want to read it a twelfth time, bash me in the head, jangle my bones, slap me on the butt with a banana, I so don’t.

I edit about 50 of these pages a day.  This should not be compared to reading, for fun and games and delight, a book. Especially a book that is so scary you go hide in a closet or a book so gripping you are out of your own head and in a different world.

No, this is 50 pages I have to read as if I am pulling a fine toothed comb through every word on the page while reciting, by memorization, every word in the dictionary and all American grammar rules.

I cannot miss a missing ‘to,’ in this manuscript.

I cannot miss a needed comma.

I cannot miss a comma that SHOULDN’T be there.

I cannot semi – sleep through a passage, especially when I realize to my UTTER HORROR that I have made a HUGE mistake in my story. (Hear me scream, beat my chest, say bad words!)

When I realize that I truly, utterly SCREWED UP, I have to write a pleading note to, in my case, Paula, my copy editor, who is a saint, and BEG her to make the change. I beg and beg and beg. I am pathetic.

And when I find ANOTHER ERROR and I realize I have SCREWED UP AGAIN, despite already editing the book eleven freakin’ times, the begging begins once more.

(Please, Paula, please. Whimper. Sob. Whine.)

It’s quite humbling.

One time I brought a dead girl back to life at the end of the book when I accidentally gave her something to say.

Another time I changed the race of a character from the beginning of the book to the end.

I have messed up names and locations.

Still another time I…well, let’s not talk about THAT error.

Everything must be perfect. Perfect is extremely difficult. Unattainable. But I try.

When the proofs are mailed back, there is a sense of relief.

The book is done.

I am done.

My eyes are fuzzy, my hair unwashed, and I have odd nervous ticks coming up here and there. I am sleepless, my insomnia a living devil in my bed, but the book is off and I can do no more.

On to the next story until the hellish page proofs arrive at my front door, giggling evilly at me in that really mean way only page proofs can do.

But I do hope you enjoy The Language of Sisters, I truly, really, totally do.







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When Author Adria Cimino And I Sat Down For A Chat…

Thanks, Adria Cimino, wonderful author and publisher, who has the grand pleasure of living in PARIS, yes THAT Paris, for inviting me to chat with you today on your blog.

This is the link to the “real” interview. http://adriainparis.blogspot.fr/2016/05/interview-cathy-lamb-author-of-my-very.html

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interview: Cathy Lamb, author of MY VERY BEST FRIEND

Adria Cimino: As part of the launch of my latest novel, A Perfumer’s Secret, I’m interviewing the wonderful authors who took the time to read and endorse my book. Today, I’m chatting with Cathy Lamb, author of 10 (yes, you read that right — 10!) amazing novels. And her 11th is set for release later this year! 

So let’s talk about her latest release, My Very Best Friend, a story of friendship, but also love in general, loyalty, forgiveness…

Cathy, there are so many themes from life in this novel! What inspired you to write this story, and to set it in Scotland?

I was inspired to write My Very Best Friend in Scotland because I wanted to fly across an ocean and see men in kilts.

Ha! No, the REAL reason I set the book in Scotland is because Rebel Dancing Daughter, our oldest, goes to college there and it gave me a splendid excuse to visit her. Plus, I love Scotland, the Highlands, the perfect, gentle peace of that country, the music and the food. Did I mention the food? I love the food.

Plus, readers love to travel in books and I thought my readers might like to travel with me.

Throughout the book, Charlotte remembers legends told by her father. They create such rich imagery and remain in the reader’s mind long after closing the book; Were these a product of your imagination, or are they legends/stories you had heard or found in your research?

All of the legends I told in the book came right out of my  imagination. I did read Scottish stories, lore, etc. but those stories were mine. I love legends, magic, miracles.

How did you research the book? Did you travel to Scotland? Do you have a Scottish heritage?

We do have Scottish heritage! I even have a letter from an ancestor talking about how our people were from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England.  All desperate, destitute, needing a new life in America. The Great Britain ancestral part was recently confirmed with DNA from Ancestry.com.

I have been to Scotland twice, once when I was much younger and totally broke, and then last year when I visited my Rebel Dancing Daughter. I love it. I could live there.

You are such a prolific author, with 10 published books and another on the way. How do you develop your ideas? Do you already have ideas for the next few books in your mind, or do you sit down to think about the next one once you’ve completed your most recent manuscript?

My ideas come from all over.

I started Julia’s Chocolates with a vision of a crying woman on a deserted, dusty street who was throwing her wedding dress into a dead tree.

With The Last Time I Was Me I was in Welches, Oregon, walking along the river, and wondered what it would be like to run naked at night down that pathway. The whole vision made me laugh, for numerous reasons, but I made Jeanne Stewart do it.

I am so intrigued by artists who make creative, wild art and I gave that skill to Stevie in Such A Pretty Face. She made fantastical, huge chairs, then hid them in her shed. I built part of the story around those chairs.

For Grenadine in What I Remember Most, I knew I had my story when I thought of her name: Grenadine Scotch Wild. It took off from there.

The trick is to be open to new ideas flowing through. The beach helps. So does chocolate and coffee. My garden is a total distraction because I would often rather be digging in the dirt than working.

When ideas for the next book come to mind but I am still writing the current book, I write them down in a document called – wait for it – Ideas For Books. And then I put them aside. My brain is small and tired. I cannot have multiple ideas floating around in my head or I’ll get confused and flip the characters and plot lines around and a story that is set in Oregon will suddenly move to Montana and the characters from different novels will become friends or enemies.

Total literary and mental chaos.

When I finish one book, I take a break, then start journaling ideas for the next book. I have a small addiction to journals.

What can you tell us about your next book? And do you have a release date set?

My next book is titled The Language of Sisters, and it’s out September 1. A few clues about the story…

1.      Toni Kozlovsky lives on a yellow tugboat in the Willamette River. She needed space to breathe.

2.      Toni has two sisters. They can sometimes hear each other in their heads, a message coming through. It’s odd, it’s inexplicable. It’s a gift handed down the Sabonis family line through their widow’s peaks. Their mother had it, too.

3.      The Kozlovsky family immigrated from Russia when Toni was a little girl. They left a lot of secrets there… and the secrets have been running after them ever since.

4.      The family has many crazy members and the dynamics can be mind blowing. You might relate to some of them.

5.      Toni has something hidden in a little shed next to her tugboat. She doesn’t want to look at it. She doesn’t want to think about it. But she does.

6.       Love. Laughter. Funny stuff. A blue heron, a woman named Daisy, a DEA agent who lives down the dock, a restaurant, a scary man. Pillow making, skinny dipping, too much wine. More laughter.

7.      I hope you like it, I truly do.

This is a snippet from Charlotte Mackintosh in “My Very Best Friend.” Charlotte is a time travel romance writer who has no romance. She lives like a hermit on an island and goes skinny dipping. She puts her four cats in a specially made cat stroller. She’s different. She’s a lot of fun.

“I detest flying. You could correctly call it ‘pathologically afraid.’ I cannot breathe on planes. I know that I am going to die a fiery death as we plunge into the ocean.

I have studied planes, their engines, and why they stay in the air in depth. My studies took two years. I understand mathematical aerodynamics description, thrust, lift, Newton, and Bernoulli’s principle.

I even had three tours at Boeing.

I have talked to pilots and engineers and examined blueprints for planes. Yet the sensible part of me knows that the plane will crash at any moment because nothing this large, heavy, and rigid was ever meant to be in the sky.

This knowledge is in direct contrast to my physics studies. I acknowledge this dichotomy.

I sat down in my first-class seat. I need room if I fly. I don’t want to be sandwiched next to strangers who will be intruding upon my space by body part or by air. I prefer to die within my own confines.

Inside my carry-on bag I had these things: Travel-sized bottles of Scotch. My list folder. A handkerchief. Travel-sized bottles of whiskey. My own tea bags—chamomile, peppermint, and for my adventurous side, Bengal Tiger. Three journals to write in if my writer’s block dissolves. Pictures of my cats. Travel-sized bottles of tequila.

Two books on gravitational physics and evolutionary biology.

I adjusted my glasses. If we’re going to crash, I want them to be sturdily placed on my nose so I can see our doomed descent. My glasses have brown rims. I affixed clear tape on the left arm, as it’s cracked. I’ve been meaning to go to the eye doctor to get it fixed, but the tape seems to be functioning well. It does make my glasses tilt to the left, though. Not much of a problem, except if one is worried about appearance, which I am not.
I rechecked the top button on my beige blouse to make sure it was still fastened. I had been able to get most of the blueberry and ketchup stains out of it. If I end up in the ocean, I want to be covered. No need to show my ragged, but sturdy, bra.

My underwear is beige or white, and cotton. When there are more than two holes, I throw them out. High risers, you could call them. I like to be properly covered, no tiny, lacy, itchy tidbits for me, even though I put McKenzie Rae, the heroine in all of my time travel romance novels, in tiny lacy tidbits that do not itch her.

If we crash, I can assure you that my underwear will stand up far better to the fire and flying debris than a tidbit would.

I situated my brown corduroy skirt and took off my brown, five-year-old sturdy shoes and put on my blue slippers with pink rabbit ears that Bridget sent me. I took out a tiny bottle of Scotch, as my hands were already shaking.

My seatmate, a man who appeared to be about my age, was white faced. “I hate flying,” he muttered. I heard the Texan drawl.

“Me too. Here. Have a drink.” I pulled out another bottle.

“Thank you, ma’am, I am much obliged.”

We clinked our tiny bottles together. His hands were shaking, too.

We both breathed shallowly. “Close your eyes, inhale,” I said. “Find your damn serenity. Think of your sunflowers…bells of Ireland…catnip…sweet Annies…wild tea roses…”

“Think of your ranch…” he said, barely above a whisper. “Think of your cows. Your tractors. The bulls. Castration day.”

The vision of castration day was unpleasant. I closed my eyes again.

We inhaled.

We drank.

We shook.

We took off. I started to sweat. So did he.

“My turn,” he said when we were done with the first bottle. He handed me a tiny bottle of Scotch out of his briefcase.

“Cheers to aerodynamics, thrust, lift, and Bernoulli’s principle.”

“Cheers to your green eyes, darlin’. Those are bright twinklers. Brighter than the stars in Texas, may she reign forever.”

“Thank you. May Newton’s laws reign forever.”

Third round on me.

Fourth on him, ordered from the flight attendant, who said cheerily, annoyingly, “Nervous flyers?”

The fourth round did the trick. We decided to sing the National Anthem together, then “Frosty the Snowman” and two songs by Neil Diamond. One was “Cracklin’ Rosie,” which made him cry, so I cried, too, in solidarity. The annoying flight attendant asked us to be quiet.

We sang “The Ants Go Marching Down” in whispery voices, then I taught him a Scottish drinking song about a milkmaid. We woke up in Amsterdam, his head on my shoulder.

I wriggled him awake. “It was a pleasure getting drunk with you.”

“The pleasure was all mine, green eyes,” he drawled in his Texan drawl. “It seems we have arrived alive.”

“We did our part. Praise to Newton.”

We stumbled off the plane, shook hands, and I caught the next flight to Edinburgh. I forgot to change out of my blue slippers with pink rabbit ears before I walked through the airport. No matter. The top button on my beige blouse was still buttoned and I was in one piece.

I put my hand to my head. Lord. I hate flying and I hate airplane hangovers.”

Thanks, very much, Cathy, for stopping by!

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Happy 23rd Anniversary, Innocent Husband. Pass The Kleenex.

In March, Innocent Husband and I celebrated 23 years of marriage.

Twenty three years.

Three kids, one cat, two birds.

We’ve loved and laughed and had some thunder and lightning type arguments, although in our latter years we’ve really mellowed out.

We’ve gone through beautiful years, tough years, and a few that were brutal.

We buried our mothers in 2002, after both wonderful women fought cancer with strength and courage.

We buried our beloved fathers in 2007. One died from cancer, one from kidney and heart failure.

We’ve gone through the teenage years with our kids.

We’ve addressed all the problems that come with life, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not. We have never pretended our marriage has been perfect, because it has not been.

But we’ve fished, hiked, and skied, although I am a bad skier. We’ve had great Italian food and Thai drunken noodles. We’ve seen glowing sunsets along the beach and up in the snowy mountains.

We have loved and adored our dear children, the number one focus of our whole lives.

So one would think that we would celebrate our 23rd anniversary. Do something fun and exciting. We are still married, despite it all. We still laugh. We are a family, we are the Lambs.

But we were sick on our anniversary.

I brought soup to my brother, who was sick, along with his wife and son, and brought their wretched cold home with me.

So on our anniversary, we sniffled and coughed and exchanged cards.  We felt like hell. We looked like hell. We got coffee and went on a drive through the country. We saw the big red barn, a golden field, a hawk. Then we came home and collapsed on the couch.

We both agreed it was a relief to celebrate simply, to celebrate easily, to have no stress or expectations for a party or romantic dinner, that we could sneeze and hold hands and wish each other, “Happy Anniversary, baby.”

You’re still sexy, Innocent Husband, yes you are. Looking forward to a few more decades with you.






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Your Hollywood Boyfriend, Driving Horses, and The Force

I am teaching Adventurous Singing Daughter how to drive.
This is the third offspring I have allowed behind the wheel of a car. I am not embarrassed to say that this has often been a frightening, intestinal shriveling experience and I think we would all be better off if teenagers drove slow horses named Sam.
Here are a few bits of wisdom I have learned while teaching my (beloved) teenagers how to navigate the roads in a multi ton, four – wheeled weapon:
1) Woe is me, high pitched screaming does not help.
2) No matter how hard you push and pump your right foot down on the passenger side, there is no brake and you will not be able to stop the car, you poor thing.
3) Do hold onto that handle thingie above the passenger door. It comes in handy when your teenage driver is negotiating a turn and does not have the, “Slow down when making a turn,” lesson down yet and you begin to levitate out of your seat, your horrified face plastered against the window, while you try not to puke.
4) It is never appropriate to use the F word with children around even if you damn near side swipe another F %$%& car.
April 20 2016 MT 022
5) If you become so frightened driving with your teenager that you feel faint, slap yourself. Do it one more time for good measure and tell yourself to buck up and be brave.
6) During the driving lesson if you start to feel like you can’t breathe, it’s probably not a heart attack. It’s a panic attack. Keep a paper bag in the car, breathe deeply, and think about a love scene with your favorite Hollywood boyfriend with you in it. Do not ever tell your teenager you’re thinking about a love scene with Hollywood Boyfriend as this will totally, completely freak her out and she will smash that light post right in front of you and T – bone the car and you will have deserved it, Mom! Duh.
7) Absolutely do not let your kid drive on the freeway until they have driven and driven and driven some more on all other types of roads and highways unless you enjoy the feeling of your heart grinding to a stop, and believing that you are now going to die, die, OH LORD ALMIGHTY, you are going to die.
8) Teaching a kid to drive will make your hair whiter sooner. It just will. Accept it. You’re middle aged now anyhow, oh yes you are, yes you are, yes you so are.
9) When your child decides to hit the brakes in the middle of the highway, for no reason, and you shriek, “Go! Go! For God’s sakes, GO!” Be prepared for said teenager to later be in a huff because you, “Yelled at her for nothing!”
10) It is permissible to carry a rosary. Just remember that it is “Hail Mary,” and not “Hellllll, Mary! Hell!”
11) Do not slug down straight shots from your “coffee mug,” while teaching your child how to drive no matter how tempting. Not legal. Poor example.
12) This one is not about learning to drive, but I’ll add it: You are a fool if you buy your teenager a sports car. Truly. You are.
13) You will think of your parents teaching you to drive when you are teaching your kid how to drive. You will be sorry you were such a sulky and ridiculous teenager and you will know that your parents are now getting their revenge and cackling like weird, half crazed hyenas at your expense.
14) When the driving lesson is over for the day, compliment your teenager to build her confidence, then allow her to skip through the front door first. If you have wet your pants, you can then hobble in through the garage and make a dash for the bathroom.
Good luck. May the force be with you, fellow parent. There are many sacrifices in raising children, and this is one of them. I’m going to lay down now with a cool cloth over my head and envision my children driving very nice, slow horses named Sam.
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Fighting With A Story Line, Wanting To Garden

I have 897 more words to write on this blasted book before I can go outside and garden and I swear I’m going to throw this blasted laptop if I cannot think of something quick to write and get this word count done for the week. Blast me, just do it. Ugh – wait for me, Petunias! Wait for me Wisteria vine! I’m coming!!


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Where Is Your Favorite Place To Go To Get Your Head On Straight Again?

I recently asked, on Facebook, “Where is your favorite place to escape to for a few days?

One of my favorites is Montana. Sometimes ya got to go out into nature to get your head on straight again.

If you have a photo of your favorite place, PLEASE POST IT. Let’s travel together.”

These are the responses I received. Let me know your answers, too.

Cathy Lamb I tried to get one of my sister’s sweet horses to give me some advice for life, but all he wanted to do was talk about the joys of hay.

Cathy Lamb's photo.
Regina Mae

Regina Mae I run to the beach. Amelia Island, Saint Augustine, Hilton head. Almost any beach will do in a pinch. smile emoticon

Regina Mae's photo.
Amy Nathan

Amy Nathan Tucson. Any place with mountains.

Amy Nathan's photo.
Amy Nathan

Amy Nathan Hudson River valley

Amy Nathan's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Gorgeous, Amy Nathan and let’s hope we’re both in Tucson together next year, too.

Cathy Lamb
Write a reply…
Liz Grabber

Liz Grabber I go to the mountains. The past few years it has been to a cabin in New Hampshire.

Liz Grabber's photo.
Amy Nathan

Amy Nathan Montana is one of the places I’d really like to go one day.

Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Amy Nathan Wild and open and free and wonderful. Montana would love to see you.

Cathy Lamb
Write a reply…
Deborah Murrill Blanchard

Deborah Murrill Blanchard I love the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Fresh, clean air. It is so calming there.

Deborah Murrill Blanchard's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Oh my gosh, Deborah Murrill Blanchard It looks like a snow blanket. Gorgeous.

Cathy Lamb
Write a reply…
Robert Andweave
Robert Andweave I tried to pick a favorite: Tahoe, Hawaii, San Diego, Palm Springs, the river, the backyard, etc.
But… I decided that my favorite place to be is anywhere we can go together.

Robert Andweave's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Robert Andweave Susan, look at that son of yours! And that photo! Wow!!! But, you’re right. Going wherever with the people you love is hte best.

Cathy Lamb
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Wendy Webber Deloge

Wendy Webber Deloge The Great Smoke Mountians, one of our favorite getaways. We get a beautiful cabin in Gatlinburg TN!

Wendy Webber Deloge's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Wendy Webber Deloge I have always wanted to go the Smoky Mountains. I absolutely have to get there.

Wendy Webber Deloge

Wendy Webber Deloge It’s the absolute best Cathy Lamb. My husband and I have gone twice and we definitely want to go back, but not until my children are married off. We have 2 wedding within 7 months of each other. One in October and the the other gets married in June of 2017. So needless to so we are quite busy with weddings. It’s very exciting though!

Cathy Lamb
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Gretchen Ross

Gretchen Ross Any five star resort with maid service and my husband any place in the eorld. This is in Santa Barbara.

Gretchen Ross's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Gretchen Ross You crack me up. But, you’re right. An excellent hotel ANYWHERE, to relax, soak up some sun, no housework, no work, no distractions, perfect.

Robert Andweave

Robert Andweave I want to see the AFTER picture. Did they treat the place like drunken rock stars or were they one of those neat freaks that cleaned before they checked out? (Please, Gretchen…tell me you live like a rock star).

Gretchen Ross

Gretchen Ross More like a porn star.

Cathy Lamb
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Gretchen Ross

Gretchen Ross Look at that picture more closely. You will notice no piles of crap around. I love hotels. I always wanted to be Eloise and live at the Plaza. I did get to stay there once. Let the kids jump on the bed and stole a bath mat.

Prudence Henderson Grubb

Prudence Henderson Grubb Boothbay Harbor, Maine for this mermaid! Enjoy and may you relax and get grounded.

Prudence Henderson Grubb's photo.
Stacy Walker

Stacy Walker Sedona AZ is my favorite. Hiking and unplugging is my favorite thing to do.

Stacy Walker's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Stacy Walker Love to hike. Totally get ya.

Stacy Walker

Stacy Walker Me too and take pictures

Cathy Lamb
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Alissa Schad

Alissa Schad Love my time share week in Oceanside. This is from my bed before i even put my feet on the ground

Alissa Schad's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Love the ocean. One of my favorite places ever. Was just there today, in fact! You can THINK at the ocean.

Alissa Schad

Alissa Schad Exactly. I always feel like my tank is almost empty and then i go to the beach to “fill up” and I’m ready for the life drive again. Of course, I’m usually reading one of your books when I’m there smile emoticon

Cathy Lamb
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Laurice McClung

Laurice McClung I want to go to Montana some day. Would love to own some land there.

Cathy Lamb
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Camille Di Maio

Camille Di Maio Maui is my happy place!

Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Oh, for sure. I love it there. Lahaina, the sunsets, that iced treat….

Cathy Lamb
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Donna Reed Montibello

Donna Reed Montibello Cape Cod , riding my bike along the canal

Donna Reed Montibello's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Donna Reed Montibello Oh, I love Cape Cod, too. My sister used to live there so I could visit! Love all the water there, the lakes, the ocean, etc.

Cathy Lamb
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Joleen Wheeler

Joleen Wheeler Arizona back country ATV and camping

Joleen Wheeler's photo.
Barb Dowdell MacKenzie

Barb Dowdell MacKenzie Martinique Beach in Nova Scotia

Barb Dowdell MacKenzie's photo.
Elaine Donoughe Allen

Elaine Donoughe Allen Big Sky, Montana is our favorite place . That and Jackson Hole! We go every year! I will find a photo and post!

Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Elaine Donoughe Allen You are a montana sister, then.

Cathy Lamb
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Mich Lueken

Mich Lueken My favorite place in the world was our little cabin up in the mountains of Canada in Notre Same Due Laus. We would go there for 5 weeks in the summer and fish. That place was heaven.

Jennifer Tropea O'Regan

Jennifer Tropea O’Regan St. Lucia! ☀️👙👓👒

Jennifer Tropea O'Regan's photo.
Jenny Collins Belk

Jenny Collins Belk well yeah Jennifer, I guess so ! LOL

Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Jennifer Tropea O’Regan Oh please. I must go with you next time. I beg of you….that is just gorgeous

Cathy Lamb
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Amy Yeager

Amy Yeager My grandparents house and property in the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania. It is now my uncle’s house and our family homestead. This is the homemade wooden bridge that my grandpa built and taught us how to maintain. You have to go down the lane, cross the bridge, and go up the lane to get to the house. Being there on the property or in the woods behind it just settles my soul.

Amy Yeager's photo.
Barb Dowdell MacKenzie

Barb Dowdell MacKenzie This looks like a slice of heaven!

Amy Yeager

Amy Yeager Thanks! And that’s just one pic! It truly is the most peaceful, relaxing place on the planet….for me.

Cathy Lamb
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Amy Yeager

Amy Yeager My 2nd favorite place to escape is the beach….but my favorite beach is Tybee Island, Georgia. The rhythm and air of that beach breathes life, freedom, and an sense of centeredness in the universe….moreso than any other beach I have ever visited.

Amy Yeager's photo.
Cathy Wisilosky

Cathy Wisilosky My favorite place, Davistown, PA.

Cathy Wisilosky's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb I could write there, Cathy Wisilosky!

Cathy Lamb
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Cathy Doces Foster

Cathy Doces Foster Orcas Island, WA. ( Or better known as Charlotte’s Island off Washington’s States coast in My Very Best Friend by Cathy Lamb)

Cathy Doces Foster's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Cathy Doces Foster Ha. You know my secret now. You’re right. Charlotte in My Very Best Friend was on Orcas Island.

Cathy Lamb
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Barbara Khan

Barbara Khan The Old State House, Boston. I lived there for 12 years. Went back for a visit most recently in Dec, I still remembered my way around on public transportation.

Barbara Khan's photo.
Amy Yeager

Amy Yeager That’s a fantastic spot! Very captivating! I’ve visited that spot twice smile emoticon

Barbara Khan

Barbara Khan Amy Yeager I loved living there surrounded by history. This building houses a subway station down below.

Cathy Lamb
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Robin Mooney

Robin Mooney Right now it’s our cozy cabin in the mountains.

Robin Mooney's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Robin Mooney You are totally snowed in, aren’t you?

Robin Mooney

Robin Mooney We weren’t…lol Looks like we were, now that you mention it.

Cathy Lamb
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Joyce Ferrell

Joyce Ferrell ocracoke island nc

Joyce Ferrell's photo.
Joyce Ferrell

Joyce Ferrell great pristine beaches no big box stores or traffic

Joyce Ferrell's photo.
Jill O'Connor Anderson

Jill O’Connor Anderson Really, the end of our dock or on our lake, when the cabin people are gone during the week… you can hear a fish jump out of the lake, a Loon call, the eagles swooping into the water to catch fish. It takes me “away”, yets lets me be at home!

Jill O'Connor Anderson's photo.
Jill O'Connor Anderson

Jill O’Connor Anderson Cathy Lamb central Minnesota. We live on a lake, and have another lake across the street from us. Pretty darn nice!☺️ I can see that now, but come winter time… Not as nice!

Cathy Lamb
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Karen Katchur

Karen Katchur Avalon, Jersey shore.

Karen Katchur's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Wow. That sunset, Karen Katchur. that is just a sky gift.

Karen Katchur

Karen Katchur Sky gift-I love that! Can’t wait to go back. smile emoticon

Cathy Lamb
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Carla Dilger Stark

Carla Dilger Stark St Thomas, USVI

Carla Dilger Stark's photo.
Carla Dilger Stark

Carla Dilger Stark My son stole my hammock

Carla Dilger Stark's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Carla Dilger Stark Sons do that sometimes.

Cathy Lamb
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Aimie Trumbly Runyan

Aimie Trumbly Runyan Baie Orient, St. Martin!!!!See Translation

Aimie Trumbly Runyan's photo.
Cynthia Dix

Cynthia Dix The Oregon Coast–whether it’s Cape Kiwanda/Pacific City (pictured), Cannon Beach, or Lincoln City, this is where I unwind.

Cynthia Dix's photo.
Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Yep. Cynthia Dix Just got back from Lincoln City today. Loved it. You can really relax here.

Cynthia Dix

Cynthia Dix Lincoln City just after Memorial Day (for Wedding Anniversary #6), hoping for Cannon Beach on Sunday!

Cathy Lamb
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Keily Davis Derrick

Keily Davis Derrick My favorite place for a few days is at OSU for moms weekend!

Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Now that was the best, Keily Davis Derrick The best. So much fun. You dance good, friend. You can really shake it.

Cathy Lamb
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Laura Drake

Laura Drake Mammoth, CA, fly fishing. Ahhhh….

Laura Drake's photo.
Kathryn Craft

Kathryn Craft I’ve always wanted to go to Montana!

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Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor Fun little hike

Lori Taylor's photo.
Marta Jackson

Marta Jackson I love Santa Fe, NM!

Susan Becraft I love mountains of all sizes. On my first trip to Yosemite, I felt like a pipsqueak, especially when standing next to El Capitan. I also love the Great Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains. Though much older and not as high, they have an unique beauty. The view from Sonja Yoerg‘s window thrills me. And there are the Alps. The list never ends. “Majestic”, for once, is the perfect description of all mountains.

Dusti Douglass It would be the French Quarter for me. It’s just a few minutes away travel time but it feels as far away as a vacation. There’s nowhere else I know that has the music, food, art, and culture that the French Quarter offers in such a small space. It has and always will capture my heart.

Dusti Douglass's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Oh my gosh, Dusti Douglass I was just thinking that I MUST get New Orleans on my bucket list. Now I know it.

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Michelle Murphy

Michelle Murphy I just “escaped” with my besties for a weekend at the oregon coast–its our favorite getaway destination:)

Michelle Murphy's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Michelle Murphy Was just at Lincoln City today. You are so right. It’s a beautiful getaway.

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Cindy Lawson

Cindy Lawson Seabrook Island, S.C. sunrise or sunset gets me everytime. Nothing like a renewal with Mother Nature to get one’s priorities straight.

Cindy Lawson's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Don’t you just love sunsets that are reflected in the ocean? It’s like a double gift from nature, Cindy Lawson

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Amy Yeager

Amy Yeager My 3rd and final place that I love to escape to is Dear Old State. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of attending Penn State. When my Mom moved me to Illinois in junior high school, I was devastated for many reasons. I was an excellent studeSee More

Amy Yeager's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Love that story, Amy Yeager

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Bianca Mace Jorgensen

Bianca Mace Jorgensen This is Green River Wyoming. It’s actually my home town. But this river valley on the west end of town is beautiful. The river soothes me.

Bianca Mace Jorgensen's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb I have never seen a sky like that, Bianca Mace Jorgensen Wow. I mean WOW.

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Julie Seehusen

Julie Seehusen The beach, I don’t care where. Just by the ocean. So calming


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Julie Seehusen Relate to you, yes I do.

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Amy Rogers

Amy Rogers Home. I might be stuck in the lower 48, but Alaska will always be the home of my heart.

Amy Rogers's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Cold and beautiful, Amy Rogers

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Lillian Aman Nedeau

Lillian Aman Nedeau Upper Peninsula of MI. Our family camp, my happy place.

Lillian Aman Nedeau's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Picture perfect Lillian Aman Nedeau It looks like a postcard.

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Mary Gaby Matheson

Mary Gaby Matheson The Oregon coast is beautiful !!!

Mary Gaby Matheson's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Mary Gaby Matheson So, so beautiful. And surprising. Looks different all the way up and down the coast

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Katy Johnson-Shandil

Katy Johnson-Shandil Depoe Bay, watching the waves crash on the rocks . Beautiful, nature at her finest


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Katy Johnson-Shandil Yep. So true. Took R to Lincoln City today for a breather and beach peace.

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Erin Mast

Erin Mast In are woods by the stream, alone with the trees

Erin Mast's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Trees. Coffee. Books. Erin Mast that is perfect

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Tracey Blackburn

Tracey Blackburn Or Old Man’s Cave in Ohio

Tracey Blackburn's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Well look at taht, Tracey Blackburn That is so cool

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Katie Malik

Katie Malik The california coastal Redwoods

Katie Malik's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Katie Malik My parents took me there as a kid. When I returned a few years ago, after they’d died, it was such an emotional trip for me! Thanks for that photo. Those redwoods are forever.

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Robin Davis

Robin Davis Oregon Coast, Coos Bay on this particular trip.

Robin Davis's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Robin Davis My husband and I were just talking about how the Oregon coast changes so dramatically, north to south.Michele Greer Goertzen I see your photo of Depoe Bay. We are lucky to have these places close by for peace and beauty.

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Allyson MacMillan

Allyson MacMillan Reid State Park in Maine – one of my favorite places

Allyson MacMillan's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb That is gorgeous. I was in Maine last year, Allyson MacMillan and I loved it. What beautiful colors.

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Lorna Krszwda

Lorna Krszwda Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Lorna Krszwda's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb I am tired of this. I MUST go to Nova Scotia. I must!!!

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Tina Hengen

Tina Hengen The sea!

Tina Hengen's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Tina Hengen What a picture. That is so pretty it almost looks fake – but I know it’s not. The ocean always presents such gorgeous sunsets. Where are you?

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Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Juliyanne McLemore As my addiction to flowers grows, that is one of my favorite places, too. I see a flower and I think, I MUST have that. It’s strange.

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Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Ha. Molly Duncan Campbell Never been. Been to Cape Cod, but definitely need to put it on my list.

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Joanie Mack

Joanie Mack Assateague Island, MD.

Joanie Mack's photo.


Cathy Lamb

Cathy Lamb Are those horses having a bonfire? Joanie Mack

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Alice Gutshall

Alice Gutshall Going to Montana next month. I like the ocean, mountains or deserts of Oregon. Such a beautiful state to live in.


Michele Greer Goertzen

Michele Greer Goertzen Whale watching in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Heaven on earth.

Michele Greer Goertzen's photo.


Tracey Blackburn

Tracey Blackburn The Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Tracey Blackburn's photo.


Carissa Winter

Carissa Winter Top of the Big Horn Mountains looking down on Big Horn, Wyoming. Best place on earth.

Carissa Winter's photo.


Tracey Blackburn

Tracey Blackburn Or the Chesapeake Bay

Tracey Blackburn's photo.


Fran Wagner

Fran Wagner Cedarburg, Wisconsin

Fran Wagner's photo.


Victoria Powell

Victoria Powell Hiking in Arizona…

Victoria Powell's photo.


Keira Zapien

Keira Zapien Ouray, Colorado!


Kathleen Bylsma

Kathleen Bylsma Cannon Beach OR


Kathy Kirkendall

Kathy Kirkendall Estes Park Co.


Cindy Walker

Cindy Walker The upper peninsula of Michigan – a place called the Les Cheneaux Islands. It is peaceful and beautiful and not developed…..

Cindy Walker's photo.


Driver Jackman

Driver Jackman Ocean Shores Washington for a little kite flying

Driver Jackman's photo.


Judy McWhite Pitts

Judy McWhite Pitts Anywhere on a sailboat. Nothing quite like being out there with the wind filling the sails. Absolutely the best!

Judy McWhite Pitts's photo.


April Smith Ciolek

April Smith Ciolek Michigan. Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.

April Smith Ciolek's photo.


Kathy Richardson

Kathy Richardson Looooooove Rhode Island ocean

Kathy Richardson's photo.


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This Is A Blog About Health, Wealth, Happiness, and Sex

My nana, Mary Kathleen, was orphaned at the age of four in Texas.

Her mother died a few weeks after my nana’s brother was born, of what they then called “blood poisoning.”

My nana’s father decided it would be best if he took off into the wild blue yonder after his wife’s death, rarely to be seen again by his abandoned children.

Mary Kathleen and her brother were shuttled from relative to relative and never felt, according to my mother, wanted. Her brother, tragically, ended up an alcoholic.

My nana met my grandpa, Thomas Cecil, one of eleven kids, a poor farm boy from Arkansas, fell in love, and got married. They had a lot in common, not all of it happy. My grandpa also lost his mother when he was about four years old. His father, a farmer and sheriff, married three times and outlived all of his wives. The eleven kids were his, hers, and theirs. There was love in that house but not much money.

In his early twenties, my grandpa, who had an eighth grade farm education, left Arkansas and headed to Los Angeles with a few brothers to build homes. They needed work, they did not want to eke out a living on a farm like their father, yanking up crops from an unforgiving earth, and they heard there was money to be made in LA. My nana left with him and the trek began.

My grandpa loved his wife and his daughter, my mother, Bette Jean, and he loved his grandkids. But, as I understand it from my mother, Grandpa had mellowed out considerably by the time his grandkids came along.

When he was a home builder in California, he was a tough, rough man who was not afraid of a full blown fight and letting his temper run around and amok when someone pushed the wrong button, or when the lumber he needed or the electrical wiring that had to be installed had not arrived on his building site.

My mother remembers my grandpa sitting down for dinner with her and her mother, white lace tablecloth ironed, silverware shiny, a properly laid table, and then getting up to take, or make, phone calls for work. “Excuse me please, Mary Kathleen,” he would say to my nana, quite calmly, as he refolded and placed his white napkin on the table.

My grandpa would then yell into the phone, swear, threaten to knock heads together, then slam the phone back into its cradle when he was done. He would sit back down at the table, place his white napkin over his lap, look at my nana across her fine, white, lace tablecloth, and say, “Mary Kathleen, this dinner is delicious,” as polite as could be.

My nana would then continue the conversation as if her husband had not just gotten up and set the phone lines on fire with his temper.

Nana might have grown up poor, but she had gentle southern manners that never failed, no matter what the situation, even when her husband got up and cursed like the devil during dinner after they had said grace and thanked God for their bounty, through Christ our Lord, amen.

Nana was a polite steel magnolia.

But the steel magnolia had a favorite saying when it was someone’s birthday that might have been outside of that polite realm. She would happily add candles to the birthday cake, counting them off as they were squished into the icing: One candle for health, one for wealth, one for happiness, and one for sex.

As most of you know, the original birthday candle saying is “one for health, wealth, happiness, and success.”

Somehow my sweet nana had missed that part and thought the wish was not for success but for sex.

When I was a teenager I remember her counting off my birthday candles as she dropped them into my cake, “Here, dear. One for health, wealth, happiness, and sex.”

This wish for sex, especially coming from my gracious nana, was pretty darn funny. As a gawky teenager with looks only a mother could love, I could only hope that one day I would have sex with a handsome man but it seemed like a remote impossibility at the time.

That my Nana wished for it for me seemed like a good omen. Maybe it would happen one day!

When I light candles on birthday cakes, I often laugh and think of my nana. It was a difficult life she led in so many ways, but she always kept her elegance, her manners, her integrity, and truly wished everyone only the best – health, wealth, happiness, and sex.

Wishing you the same.

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Journaling My Very Best Friend

I use at least four or five journals per novel.

Within the white pages I write and scribble, daydream and draw, make lists and plans and tell myself to quit whining and start writing.

I’ll write down random, jumpy thoughts and things that make me laugh.

I’ll sketch out characters and plots and subplots and the most ridiculous things.

The more problems I’m having with a book, the more journals there are.

When I’m stuck in my writing and don’t know where to go, I journal.

When I’m grinding through a twisty scene that makes my cranium crazy or I don’t know how to make it funnier, sharper, more poignant or tearful, I journal.

When I don’t know who an elusive character is or if I should kill him off because he baffles me, I journal.

I’ll let my brain go and hope that something creative falls out of it that I can use in my book.

One thing I love doing is cutting out magazine/newspaper pictures that inspire me or relate to the plot I’m working on or are just flat out interesting.

These are a few photos from my first, of many, journals for my novel, My Very Best Friend. All the photos and pictures were inspiring in some way. Some ended up, in some form, in the book, others never did.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy day to you. And if you don’t journal, try it. You might like it.


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Come Join Us On Saturday, April 16th

Writing a book? Do you like listening to authors talk and laugh about writing?

Come and join Karen Karbo, Ellen Urbani, Rene Denfeld and me as we talk about strong, flawed, wild, adorable, rebellious, opinionated, quiet, angry, smart, imperfect female characters at the book store, “Another Read Through,” in Portland, Oregon, this Saturday from 1:30 to 3:00. (Free, of course!)

Strong Female Characters

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Cathy Lamb
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