Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Wishing you the merriest... by Liz Flaherty #WindowOvertheSink


If I were musical, I'd be singing, "...wish you the merriest, the merriest..." As it is, I'm wishing it for you anyway. Also the happiest of Hanukkahs, Kwanzaas, and other celebratory days. I wish you health and joy and compassion in the coming year.

Thank you--again--for visiting the Window. Thanks to Debby and Joe and Brad and everyone else who's blogged for being guest writers. 

Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Both sides of the counter by Liz Flaherty #WindowOvertheSink

I wrote this a long time ago, while I was still working at the post office. While this was my favorite time of year to be a window clerk, it was also the hardest. I doubt that's changed since I retired. Merry Christmas!

It is December, the time of retail dreams. Or nightmares. It can go either way. Although my job is not precisely retail, I do spend many hours each day working with the public. December’s our busiest time, and I come home at night with both my feet and my smiler worn out. On the way home today, when I was congratulating myself for not screaming, “HURRY UP!” to a customer who wouldn’t move, I thought a behavior list would be a good idea. You know, from the point of view of the person behind the counter who has sore feet and a smile that’s fraying around the edges.

Then I thought—it’s a long drive home; lots of time for thinking—I should also make a list for folks on the other side of the counter. I was a consumer before I was a public servant. Sitting here hungry and half asleep, I’ve tried to decide which list to start with. In the interest of being fair, I flipped a coin.

The person behind the counter won the toss—winning depending on how you look at it. Therefore, if you are the clerk/cashier/whoever-else-is-serving the public, here are a few basic rules.

• Say please and thank you and smile. While you’re meeting the customer’s eyes. If you look over his right shoulder, all bets are off.
• Stay off the phone unless being on it is your job.
• If the bill ends is $5.23 and the customer gives you $20.25, know how to count the change back. Don’t wad it up and put it in her hand.
• If someone jumps the line and you catch him, tell him kindly he’ll have to take his turn. You can grind your teeth, but smile while you’re doing it.
• If your friends stop by to visit, tell them to go home.
• If you’re bored, don’t look it. Stay busy.
• If you don’t know the answer to a question, find someone who does.
• Use lots of hand sanitizer.
• If you haven’t had a complete 10-minute break since the second week of August, well, sorry. That’s just the way it goes. It’s not the fault of the customer in front of you.
• If a customer gives you a hard time, call him names in your head and hope he walks out in the rain to a flat tire, but don’t take it out on the next customer. He’s innocent.
• If you’re required by management so far up the corporate ladder they have nosebleed to ask stupid questions of the clientele, just ask them. You can’t get out of it and everybody knows you didn’t make them up.
• Don’t make fun of anybody in front of a customer. Even if you’re funny, chances are good someone will hear you who’s either hurt or offended by your attempt at humor.

And now, if you are a customer, here’s a list for you.

• Leave your cell phone in the car.
• If you’re writing a check, have it made out as far as the amount. Don’t fill out your check register while people behind you are waiting.
• Leave your cell phone in the car.
• If you have a complaint, be civil about it. Ask to speak to a manager. Chances are good the person waiting on you can’t help you, but they can help the people behind you.
• If you think you know their job, forget it. Unless you’re doing it on that particular day in that particular place, you don’t.
• Leave your cell phone in the car.
• Don’t hand over a fifty to pay for a candy bar. The cashier’s change is limited.
• If you can’t speak English, bring along someone who can. The person behind the counter can’t help you if she can’t understand you, and being multilingual isn’t on most people’s job descriptions.
• Don’t complain about the prices. The person taking your money doesn’t set them.
• The service person is not your babysitter. Don’t expect them to do everything for you.
• If you need to blow your nose, do so. Bum a tissue if you need to.
• Leave your cell phone in the car.

I’m sure I’ve left things off these lists, but they’re a good place for all of us to start. I hope you have a good week, whether you’re shopping or selling or both. Till next time.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Introducing Christmas With You by Nan Reinhardt


I'm so happy to welcome my friend Nan Reinhardt here today. Don't forget to enter to win a fun prize!


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nan Reinhardt will be awarding a set of six handmade wine charms and a $10 Starbucks gift card (US ONLY) to 5 randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

***

She’s loved him all her life… but will he be there when she needs him the most?

Disheartened and adrift after being written out of a hit TV show, actor Aidan Flaherty returns to his family’s historic winery, where he’s invested some of the fortune he’s made. As the holidays approach, Aidan becomes intrigued with the old showboat that’s dry-docked just east of town… and even more intrigued with the daughter of his former mentor, who now owns it. He decides to buy the boat and restore it to its former glory.

Single mom Holly Santos is back in River’s Edge after her divorce and she is over men in general and actors in particular. If she could only get rid of her father’s old showboat, a source of fascination for her son, Mateo. She never expects her old crush to walk into her tea shop or the fireworks that happen every time they’re in the same room. Can Aidan convince her that he is determined to restore their shared heritage on the showboat and that he’s home to stay?

Read an Excerpt

“Are you done?” He choked out, also not moving back.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, decide, because I’m going to kiss you.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I’m pretty sure I am.” Aidan took a step closer, pressing her against the railing with his body and set his hands on the rail on either side of her.

Her eyes closed and he felt her trembling. Or he was. He couldn’t tell anymore. He was confused and aching. He lifted his hands and took one step back. “Leave, Holly, because I really, really want to kiss you, but I can’t if you’re not all in.”

Holly eyed him with suspicion. “I’m not sure I’ll ever be all in with you, Aidan Flaherty.” With that she reached up and put one small hand behind his head, tugging his face down to hers. Her lips touched his, gently at first, just a whisper of a kiss. When she increased the pressure, the kiss building in urgency, Aidan wasn’t confused anymore. He knew exactly what he wanted.

He pulled her into his arms, thrusting his fingers into the soft hair on the back of her head, holding her still for his mouth while she wrapped her arms around his neck. The flicker of desire that had started when she’d walked onto the deck began to burn inside him, and he slid one hand down her spine to her hip. She was so incredibly tiny, he was almost afraid to hold her.

Almost. But when she touched her seeking tongue to the seam of his lips, he opened for her, tasting coffee and butterscotch and some unique flavor that was intoxicatingly Holly.

My review: I can't say enough about this book! I love all of Ms. Reinhardt's books, especially the Flaherty Brothers series, and I'm not about to pick a favorite, but the setting of this one--a riverboat in a small Southern Indiana river town--captured both my heart and my imagination. The cast of characters is wonderful, especially the hero with the fedora and the heroine's delightful son Mateo. Seeing Holly, the heroine, grow as a human being, a mother, a daughter, and a woman in love is pure delight. I was lucky enough to get an early read of this book, and have been thinking about it ever since.

About the Author:
Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today-bestselling author of romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after 45! Imagine! She is a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. Nan has been a copyeditor and proofreader for over 25 years, and currently works on romantic fiction titles for a variety of clients, including Avon Books, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington Books, and Entangled Publishing, as well as for many indie authors.

Although she loves her life as an editor, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. Her latest series, Four Irish Brothers Winery, includes A Small Town Christmas, Meant to Be, and the newly released, Christmas with You, all from Tule Publishing. Nan is busy at work on Book 4 of the series, as well as brewing a cozy mystery idea.

Visit Nan’s website at www.nanreinhardt.com, where you’ll find links to all her books as well as blogs about writing, being a Baby Boomer, and aging gracefully…mostly. Nan also blogs every sixth Wednesday at Word Wranglers, sharing the spotlight with five other romance authors and is a frequent contributor the RWA Contemporary Romance blog, and she contributes to the Romance University blog where she writes as Editor Nan.

Word Wranglers: http://www.wordwranglers.blogspot.com/
RWA Contemporary Romance blog: http://contemporaryromance.org/2018/03/awesome/
Romance University blog: http://romanceuniversity.org/ru-contributors/
Website: http://www.nanreinhardt.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5758438.Nan_Reinhardt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authornanreinhardt
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NanReinhardt
Instagam: https://www.instagram.com/nanreinhardt/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nan-Reinhardt/e/B007OYDC6O?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5&qid=1570744315&sr=8-5

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YNZQCWX/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
A Small Town Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Christmas-Irish-Brothers-Winery-ebook/dp/B07HBZPKDH/
Meant to Be: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S7FW8BR/
Christmas With You: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YNZQCWX/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i7

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Kickin' the Habit by Debby Myers #WindowOvertheSink


They call it “Kickin’ the Habit.” It’s something I really haven’t tried too hard to do. My habit began the night my new boyfriend picked me up in his 1978 Mustang Cobra. Remember those? His had bright blue lettering. When I got in that car, I had that feeling. You know the one…damn, I feel cool! As we drove toward his house, he lit up a cigarette. My habit began.

In a few weeks it will be 40 years since my habit started. Forty years. It started with just a few cigarettes a few times a week. By the time I graduated, it was a few a day.

We had a big party the first weekend we moved into our place at college. Two roommates were sharing this great three- bedroom, two-bath, second floor apartment with me, complete with a balcony. It was at that party that I discovered they both had the habit, too. Great news! After all, living with a non-smoker would have made it more uncomfortable. They’d probably have made me go out to the balcony, even in the winter. People do that to you when you have the habit.

It was during that year that my habit grew into several smokes a day. I had been dating my boyfriend during that time. He had the habit, but only when he drank, which was often. We moved in together, soon learning we were expecting. We got married. I went to the doctor. She asked if I had the habit, but I lied so I wouldn’t get a lecture. I considered giving up the habit. I even slowed down. Yet I remembered the story about my grandma. She smoked non-filter cigarettes all the time. She had several children who all turned out fine. An excuse.

Soon after my daughter was born, my whole family was telling me it would be bad for her if I didn’t kick the habit. I used my grandma’s excuse. Plus, my own dad smoked, then my stepdad. They were all hypocrites. As my choices were really my own now for the first time, I made the first of many bad ones when I decided to continue to smoke. The habit had grown to a pack of cigarettes a day. I was 20, and it  has remained there since.

 I’ve had many friends with the habit over the years. I’ve also had many without it who have tried to talk me into quitting, telling me all the different types of cancer it causes, diseases, deaths. They must know I know all of that. I’d say, “The habit is very hard to break. Any habit, really. I have others. I bite my fingernails making, them look hideous, yet I love my toenails painted. For many years I’ve been addicted to sweet tea and Altoids.” They couldn’t argue with that.

Any habit is hard to leave behind because it’s the biggest form of change there is. I still don’t like change to this day. What would be the point of quitting now anyway? Isn’t the damage already done? So many excuses, 40 years’ worth.

One of the toughest challenges in defending my habit used to be defending it to my children. When my oldest daughter started to smoke, I didn’t know how to handle it. I, who handle all kinds of things with them, couldn’t handle this. They had all three seen me smoke since they were born. It was something else I’d been warned about. My grandma Betty would say, “Do you want them to have the habit because of you?” Ah, I could handle that when the time came. Not so much. Although I think the other two tried it, she is still the only one with the habit.

It’s funny how in recent years smoking has lost its cool. That was my original attraction, remember? The Mustang Cobra, the feeling…I do. Now you can’t smoke in so many places. Now I am frowned upon. Even by those who had the habit but were strong enough to break it. I’m a strong person, right? The problem has always been that I didn’t really want to. I like smoking. This time the excuse is that it relaxes me when I’m tense. Well, it does!

Heck, when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I found out one of the
causes was smoking. My neurologist saw on my record that I had been a pack-a-day smoker for 35 years. Like every doctor I ever admitted to about it, she told me I needed to quit. There are drugs now, patches, gum, support groups. She also told me she wouldn’t tell me again—it was my choice. My habit has become so expensive. I’m on disability now, living on half the income I had when I worked. Surely that $180 a month I spend on my habit would be better spent on paying my bills or buying food.

It was. It was my choice. Breaking my habit was now something I should really consider. My excuses just weren’t cutting it anymore. Smoking was doing all the things I’d been warned about and read about. It was affecting my health, my empty pocketbook, and one of my three children didn’t want me to smoke around his kids. My house, that I’ve lived in for 25 years, has smoke-covered walls and no matter how much air freshener I spray, it smells like smoke.

My mother-in-law had the habit, too. She is on oxygen 24/7 and suffers from emphysema. I might turn out that way, toosooner than I realize if I don’t quit. Now they have those commercials. You know the ones. I might turn out like them, too. So, I made that listthe one with the pros of the habit matching the cons. I knew before I did it what the results would be. I’d never considered quitting before. Maybe the time had come.

I’ve had the habit myself for 40 years, but I’ve been exposed to it since I was born. I still might turn out to have a disease. The damage might already be done. I still might die from it. Quitting would be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I still might not succeed. Despite all of that, for the first time, leaving my habit behind is on the table. I finally want to “kick the habit.” January 1, 2020 is the date. Pray for my sanity! Pray for my weight (not to grow)! Pray for my husband!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

His arm was WHERE... by Joe DeRozier #WindowOvertheSink

From Joe DeRozier. Thanks again, Joe. We all love the stories we share. And Happy Thanksgiving to all from the Window!

Joe
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to share a story about my youth, during this... my favorite holiday...

  My brother and I were always early risers, but on this day, Thanksgiving  day, mom and dad were already in full production mode.

  I would jump off my top bunk bed, inevitably knocking something off the shelves.

  Dave and I would race down the narrow hallway.  Our feet would feel the cold seeping up through that old floor.

  We often got caught in the doorway leading to the kitchen.  Kind of like a cartoon, or old 3 Stooges movie.... my brother is a year older and bigger than I am,  so the result was predictable.

  We explode into the kitchen, where mom and dad are already hard at work...

  Mom makes the most wonderful, delectable stuffing....EVER!  I'm sure this magical recipe could only be the result of Devine intervention!

  It's the kind of food you eat until you're full......then eat more until you're stuffed....then eat more until you've reached some sort of drunken euphoria....

  It is SO good, that when your Uncle Danny takes the last spoonful, red flashes before your eyes and a physical altercation is almost certain to ensue!   The fact he could (still can) tear me apart, limb from limb, is NOT what stops me..... what stops me is my inability to move since I had already eaten my body weight of this heavenly, God inspired, concoction!

Joe's mom and dad
  To achieve this virtual masterpiece.... an epic masterpiece....a dish that  brings tears to your eyes... mom and dad had a plethora of things to do!

  Dad would throw slices of bread in the oven to toast them.  Mom was cooking.....stuff.  I had no clue what she was cooking, because as she was doing that, I was intrigued by the fact that dad's arm was completely up a dead turkey's butt....a vision that haunts me to this day....
Joe's dad--and his arm...
  ....what was he doing?! 

  Was he looking for something?

  Was Jimmy Hoffa in there?!

  After mom's cooking, dad's homemade croutons, (and severe  violation of the bird), they got out the hand grinder!!!!

  We loved the hand grinder!  It was the centerpiece of this holiest of holy days!

  Dad attached the grinder to the kitchen table, and all three of us kids took turns turning that hand grinder.

  We ground the croutons, the mysterious stuff mom had been cooking, celery, onions, kitchen chairs, old coffee cups.... and nearly our fingertips..

  It is funny how we WANTED to do this.  Mom and dad pulled the ol' Tom Sawyer trick on us!  Until the day I moved out, we still jockeyed for position at the "grinder station".

  I remember the anticipation as I waited in line....mom and dad actually used a timer!  That timer felt like a calendar while I impatiently waited..

  After filling every pan in the house (and pans from all neighbors within a 3 mile radius) with this magical substance, mom refrigerated all of them, in turn.

  Now, this was all an exact process that required things to be done in a certain way, in a certain order, for a certain time.  We may have needed a full moon and some chanting.... I was never trusted with the entire spell....I mean, recipe.

  Later, mom would pull the foil covered pans from refrigeration, and dad would start the baking process.

  I have a tear in my eye as I write this, thinking of that....that most wonderful,  happy, loving, smell, that wafted through our home....

  I can still smell it...

  Once done cooking, you waited a specific amount of time.

  What did mom call that?....

  A resting time?

  I didn't care, I just counted the seconds until I could inhale it!

  Mom made enough to last approximately 7 months.... and we never tired of it.

  Breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, and frozen stuffing on a stick for dessert....and we loved it!

  It really was a family event, though the kids really only did the grinder and ate it......and marveled about how far dad's arm got up the turkey's butt.....but it was tradition.  A wonderful tradition that I'm so sorry I never passed to my kids....

  The only tradition I passed down was pulling those Swanson frozen dinners from the freezer and throwing them in the microwave.

  If only I had jammed my arm in one...

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Go, Big Red! #RedForEd

Here it is Tuesday and I haven't even started a post for today. I'm not used to the blog "working" every week again. But today it's easy. My message is one being shared all over the state today, by thousands of educators who have made the trek to the State house to speak for our kids. Red for Ed!

Our school, the one I went to, my kids went to, some of my grandkids went to, and where my daughter and son-in-law still teach, is a place that is dear to my heart. It is a "safe place," a hall of memories, and, like any other institution, as full of flaws as it can be. But I am, like my neighbor says, always a Warrior.

The football team's defense, when my son and son-in-law played (and likely still...) was known within the community as the Big Red Machine. Shouting in the bleachers was always punctuated with "Go, Big Red!"

So today, when Indiana's teachers are in Indianapolis wearing red shirts and lobbying for better treatment for both themselves and the kids they tirelessly support, I'm saying it loud and proud. I hope you do, too.

Go, Big Red!

The monument has gone #RedForEd tonight! — at Monument Circle Indianapolis.
Borrowed from Keith Clock with thanks.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

OF SPLENDID SUNFLOWERS by Sherry West #WindowOvertheSink



I'm happy to have poet and children's writer Sherry West at the Window today. Please make her welcome.





OF SPLENDID SUNFLOWERS
by Sherry West

Splendid Saffron Sunflowers birthed in fields of verdant green, among tall plain prairie grasses, grow beneath the watchful gaze of the Autumn sun.

Lying separated and scattered along the edges of an old highway, these mysterious fields beckon wonder and whimsy.

Each day’s travel passing these singular fields brings delightful discoveries as slender green shoots arise from gently bent prairie grasses and hay. 

Longer, taller, ever higher they reach - until one day, little round shoots appear at the tops. 

And the day after, bright yellow bits peep from within the tightly sealed enclosures - 
pieces of light reflecting their brilliant guardian. 

Warm autumn rays entice fledgling shoots to venture forth and greet the new day, 
and the Splendid Saffron Sunflowers shout Hurray!

And in the misty morning of the next dawn, their deep dark faces, encircled by shining halos, tilt up to steadfastly gaze upon the sun - warmth, light, and hope.

And as the shining Guardian travels the daily path across the blue, they faithfully remain true, watching and waiting for each day’s renew. 



Of Splendid Sunflowers & Sorrow

Sherry West

What do Splendid Saffron Sunflowers know
Of Suffering & Shaded Sorrow
Whose Shining, Gilded faces turning -
Greet the Sun King in the ‘Morrow?

One Thousand Ten Thousands abide in Green -
Hidden in Grasses tho’ still Seen -
Gently sway by Autumn’s Breeze
While Sailing ‘pon the Em’rald Seas.

Petals Gold, slightly curled
Spread their palms out - Unfurled -
Encircled Spheres, faces - Dark -
Gazing steadily, Embark

& closely Follow 
The Royal path & the Swallow
Flutters, darts ‘twixt Stem & Leaf - 
Lightly lingers, stays cooled Beneath.

Gossamer wings, of Pale & white
Silhouette ‘gainst blue & Bright
Pirouette in frantic Swirling rings
Whilst nearby Cricket chirping, Sings

Th’ Shining Orb arcs Azured expanse
Briefly rests, then Casts a Glance
At the Beloved Retinue
In their Crowns of Golden Hue.

***

Sherry West is the author-Illustrator of the newly released children’s picture book It’s Raining Cats! It’s Raining Dogs! It’s Raining Bats! And Pollywogs! Morgan James Publishing. Www.SherryWestArts.com Sherrywestart@gmail.com



Sherry drew a free coloring page for Word Wranglers, but to tell the truth I can't get it here, although this is what it looks like. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The end of a love affair... by Liz Flaherty @WindowOvertheSink

My ongoing love affair with fall took three big hits this week. The other day, it rained and blew a lot, which made my hair look like the very worst of the "before" pictures beauty salons post on Facebook. Since I've never had great hair, I don't take that very personally, although I do notice everyone's eyes kind of glaze over when they look at me.

On Sunday morning, I got up in the dark. This is fine, but it was also four-thirty. I hate time changing. So I'm thinking of seeing other seasons--I don't think it's going to work out with fall. Although my body says, "Okay, you can go to bed now," as soon as the Jeopardy music stops, I just can't make myself do it.

Monday morning--or maybe it was afternoon; it was daylight--I stood at the basement door and opened it with dread. There was a noise. The kind that's never good. That usually means a repairman. And writing a check.

However, that big hit wasn't what I feared. The sound was the drone of the
combine, taking down the corn in the surrounding fields. What a relief that was. I thought I'd be able to stay awake until at least nine o'clock!

And I did, but I don't remember anything after the music.

As you can tell from that idiotic thing above, I'm having a slow start getting back into getting the Window open. That's because, other than inherent laziness, I'm busy with the release of a new book. If you haven't seen me and everyone I've begged for support splashing it all over the internet, it's because you've been either asleep or in the fields. I have annoyed everyone.

That being said, The Healing Summer is on sale now. It's not in bookstores, but they can order it for you, or it's available everywhere on line. I hope you read it and like it. And I hope you have a good week.





Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Let's just be glad... by Joe DeRozier #WindowOvertheSink

Welcome to one of my favorite times of year, and welcome back to the Window--it's my intent to post once a week again. I hope you still visit and enjoy. If you have a good post for us, please get with me so I can use it here and we can all enjoy it. Joe DeRozier did just that this week. I love this, and I'm sure you will, too. - Liz

Joe and Kathy DeRozier
My wife and I had a date on Saturday afternoon. Saturday is the only day I really have time to enjoy her company. I have time to de-frazzle from the morning in the bakery and I'm not overwhelmed by what awaits me at the donut shop Sunday. I get paroled from work early on Saturdays and go in just a couple hours later (4 a.m) than usual on Sundays. To some, that schedule would seem terrible, but when you have so little personal time, every hour is precious.. But I digress. We enjoy a lot of places to go out to eat, but we have a special tug for the Twenty's restaurant in Charlie Creek. We were married there and the atmosphere at this place is nothing short of spectacular... the memorabilia from times gone by, really relax me... I swear I was born in the wrong era... As my bride and I are talking and enjoying some delicious cuisine, I couldn't help but to notice two older couples dining together. It was hard to tell their decade in life, because while their hair and some wrinkles told the tale of a certain era, their smiles, laughter, and teasing of each other, made them forever youthful. I couldn't help watching them ... their familiarity with each other... Were they related, perhaps? Coworkers from a lifetime ago before retirement? Did they share vacations? Did they raise families at the same time...maybe grandchildren...comfort each other during passing of loved ones? Did they visit each other on holidays? There was a bond. It was a closeness that could be felt. They were comfortable in their roles in this relationship. One man was the storyteller. I caught very little of the stories, but he spellbound the rest. He made everyone laugh often, but it was the laughter of his wife that I noticed. It was genuine. It was prideful. She was proud to love and be loved by this man that could regale a story with such elegance. The other man listened intently, but was very comfortable to humorously interject. The whole table participated in the dialogue... There were so many smiles. A lot of eye contact... ...a lot of love. When they arose to leave, there was a spring to their steps. They inadvertently touched while jostling chairs, and reaching for their wallets, but there was no awkwardness. They epitomize what I so want...what everyone wants. Those friends and family in life, that you feel so comfortable with... the love, the laughter and the closeness... that you're genuinely excited to be around. I wonder if they knew I was watching... I wonder if they know how blessed they are... I wonder if they have any idea of the example they set... ... I hope so

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Joan Reeves: Thursday3Some: 3 Delightful Romance Novels

Joan Reeves: Thursday3Some: 3 Delightful Romance Novels: Thrusday3Some is back, and it's about time! Life has just been too darn busy this year. The history of Thursday3Some dates back...

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cover reveal and giveaway

Title: The Healing Summer
Author: Liz Flaherty
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 30, 2019
When Steven Elliott accidentally rides his bike into Carol Whitney's car at the cemetery, their out-of-control lives take on new and exciting possibilities. Long friendship wends its way into something deeper and feelings neither of them expected to experience again enrich their days and nights. But what will happen when the long summer ends and Steven leaves their hometown to once again take up his prestigious career as a cardio-thoracic surgeon and Carol loses the dream of the family, commitment, and future that she's allowed herself to want?
Life gets in the way before either Steven or Carol are ready, and they wonder if their romance will fade and fall with the leaves when hot days turn to the briskness of autumn.
“Were you hunting me?” She should have waited to get her breath back—she sounded like a vamp from one of 1940s movies that were on really late at night when you couldn’t sleep. “When we met on the road, I mean.”
“Huh?” He sounded nonplused, and she felt like cheering. She wasn’t the only one who’d been kissed stupid—he wasn’t doing so well, either. “Oh, yeah.”
“Yeah?” She turned away, starting to put away the abandoned groceries. If she couldn’t see him, she would neither hyperventilate nor jump his bones. Maybe.
“Want to?”
Want to what? That? Did she want to? Hell, yes, she wanted to. But they were just barely aware of each other, and he was going back to his big city life and big city friends in a matter of weeks. Although he’d probably spend some weekends at Miss Abigail’s and possibly even open an office in Peacock the way he’d mentioned, he wasn’t good relationship material.
Even more, in Carol’s mind and she thought probably in his, he was still Promise’s. The thought sobered her and stilled her hands. Oh, Promise.
“What did you…why did you want me?” she asked, trying to insert some sense into the conversation, some mental cold water on her still-shrieking girl parts.
“Dinner.” He pulled his hair back into a band he took from his pocket—he never seemed to run out of ponytail holders. “Would you like to go to dinner? And shop for cars? I know you’re not going to the beach this summer, but I’ll buy you a girly drink with an umbrella in it and you can pretend.” He ran a finger lightly down the strap of her dress. “You can wear one of these dresses, although probably not this one, since I seem to have decorated it with sawdust and sweat. Oh, wait.” He held up both hands to stave off an answer. “Grace told me it was rude to suggest someone wear something in particular, so I take that back. Wear whatever you like.”
“When and why did Grace tell you that?” She refilled their tea glasses and handed him his. She took a long drink, hoping the cold brew would serve to cool down her insides.
Well, that wasn’t working—she was pretty sure she felt them sizzle.
“Thursday. She was going to afternoon tea over at the Old Farts Home, something they’ve apparently decided to have every Thursday. You stay for it, too, don’t you, after you get their hair and nails all prettied up? Anyway, she had on her overalls, complete with grass-stained knees, and I said, very politely, ‘Holy shit, Grace, are you wearing those?’ She didn’t respond well.”
“I’m amazed.” She shook her head.
“I was, too,” he said righteously. “I was only trying to help.”
Even if she could have resisted the hormonal storm that had overtaken her kitchen, Carol had no defense against his laughing dark eyes. “Okay, thanks. I’d like to go to dinner. And you’re sure it’s all right if I wear whatever I please?”
His gusting sigh should have made the kitchen curtains stir. “Yes. Fine. Can I use your phone to call Dillon and ask him to bring my truck up the hill?”
“Sure, or we can walk down if you’d rather.” Carol was surprised at how much she was enjoying the walking these days, especially when it was downhill.
“You wouldn’t mind?”
“No.” She grinned at him. “But you have to take a shower. I do have some standards on dates.” She gasped as soon as the words left her mouth. “I’m sorry. I know this isn’t a date. We’re friends who kissed…accidentally. This is dinner, not a date. Right?”
He smiled, a slow and lazy expression that turned her stomach over. And over again. “Wrong.” He came over and kissed her once more. Thoroughly. “It’s a date.”
Retired from the post office and married to Duane for…a really long time, USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty has had a heart-shaped adult life, populated with kids and grands and wonderful friends. She admits she can be boring, but hopes her curiosity about everyone and everything around her keeps her from it. She likes traveling and quilting and reading. And she loves writing.
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Saturday, September 28, 2019

At the end of the day...

In 2012. I had a book out called A Soft Place to Fall, about a marriage gone wrong and how two people found ways to make it right. I still have a soft spot for that book and for long marriages. I regret that I sometimes get a little too glib when I talk about it--I make it all sound easy when it's not at all. At the end of the day, though, marriage is private and what goes on within it is not to be shared. No one really understands anyone else's. Looking back on this, my feelings toward my parents' marriage haven't changed, but I have come to realize that--at the end of that day I just mentioned--it wasn't really any of my business.


“A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” ― Dave Meurer

On September 28, 1935, my parents went to a minister’s house and got married. My dad wore a double-breasted suit and my mom had on a hat. They stayed married through the rest of the Great Depression and three wars, through the births of six children and the death of one at the age of three, through failing health and the loss of all their parents and some of my father’s siblings. Dad died in 1981, Mom in 1982. They were still married.

From the viewpoint of their youngest child, who was born in their early 40s when they thought they were finished with all that, it was the marriage from hell. I never saw them as a loving couple, never saw them laugh together or show affection or even hold hands. They didn’t buy each other gifts, sit on the couch together, or bring each other cups of coffee. The only thing I was sure they shared was that—unlike my husband and me—they didn’t cancel out each other’s vote on Election Day.

“Why on earth,” I asked my sister once, “did they stay together all those years? Mom could have gone home to her family, even if she did have to take a whole litter of kids. Heaven knows Dad could have.” (He was the adored youngest son and brother—he could do no wrong.)

Nancy gave me the look all youngest siblings know, the one that says, “Are you stupid?” When you’re grown up, it replaces the look that says, “You’re a nasty little brat.” But I regress.

“Don’t you get it?” my sister asked. Her blue eyes softened. So did her voice. “They loved each other. Always. They just didn’t do it the way you wanted them to.”

Oh.

I remembered then. When they stopped for ice cream because Mom loved ice cream. How they sat at the kitchen table across from each other drinking coffee. How thin my dad got during Mom’s long illness because “I can’t eat if she can’t.” When they watched Lawrence Welk reruns together and loud because—although neither would admit it—their hearing was seriously compromised.
And the letters. The account of their courtship. We found them after Mom’s death, kept in neat stacks. They wrote each other, in those days of multiple daily mail deliveries, at least once a day and sometimes twice. When I read those letters, I cried because I’d never known the people who wrote them.

I have to admit, my parents’ lives had nothing to do with why I chose to write romantic fiction. I got my staunch belief in Happily Ever After from my own marriage, not theirs. But how you feel about things and what you know—those change over the years.

As much as I hated my parents’ marriage—and I truly did hate it—I admire how they stuck with it. I’ve never appreciated the love they had for each other, but I’ve come to understand that it never ended. I still feel sorry sometimes for the little girl I was, whose childhood was so far from storybook that she wrote her own, but I’m so grateful to have become the adult I am. The one who still writes her own stories.

But—and this is the good part—these are the things I know.

Saying “I love you” doesn’t always require words. Sometimes it’s being unable to eat because someone else isn’t. Sometimes it’s stopping for ice cream. Sometimes—and I realized this the other day when my husband and I were bellowing “Footloose” in the car—it’s hearing music the same way, regardless of how it sounds to anyone else.

Marriage is different for different people. So is love. So is Happily Ever After.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Frame @DonKegarise #WindowOvertheSink

A year ago today, I posted this blog written by Don Kegarise. He and Kathy attended a presentation my friend Nan Reinhardt and I did Sunday, and I was reminded of it. I'm  so grateful they came, and so grateful he's willing to share his talent. He has a show going on at the Rochester Library right now. If you live nearby, stop in and see it. His work is wonderful.


by Don Kegarise

The 24” x 36” picture hangs at the back of the studio out of light and traffic of hundreds of paintings that come and go. Some are admired and sold, others changed around and hung in other rooms. Many of them travel miles to art shows in different cities. While the poorly done sixty-year-old painting collects dust that dulls the warm snow scene featuring an old abandoned house, the story is not about the painting, or the artist, but about The Frame.

  The big snow scene was finished. It really fell short of what I had in mind, but it was finished. It was only the third painting since I had started painting again after several years of not painting anything. Unable to find a frame that suited the picture, the only thing left was to make it myself. I sort of knew what I wanted and had found the right piece of wood, but I didn’t have the tools to make it.

  My father had been a carpenter and cabinetmaker before he retired, and he still used his shop daily, fixing and repairing things for his kids and grandchildren. I had found a rough-sawn board a full one and a half inches thick that I thought would make a nice frame.

One evening after supper I went down to my parents’ home, visited for a while, then asked Dad if he would help me make a frame. As usual he responded with a “Sure, be glad to.” 

  Once in the shop I gave him the dimensions and tried to explain what I thought it should look like. We ripped the board down and cut the pieces to length. To cut the miter was going to be tricky because of the angle I wanted for the sides. We had cut extra pieces, so we could practice the miter cuts on the corners. The first two sample cuts did not work, I could see what was wrong, but Dad couldn’t.

  After another try I could see he was getting upset. For the first time I noticed his hands shaking and the inability to see in his mind--to visualize--how to cut the miter.

  The man who was known for his patience was losing his control. The same man I had watched just a few years before who took a framing square and laid out a 2 x 8 jack rafter, take a hand saw and cut a compound angle on one end and a seat cut on the other end then hand it up to the two men on the roof where it fit without issue. This was the first time I realized he was old and in his eighties. The thousands of hours of work, raising a large family, struggling through the Great Depression and World War II, had taken its toll.

  We took a short break and afterwards, managed to complete the frame. Today, sixty-one years later, the painting in The Frame still hangs in my studio. I look at it daily, only now I am the eighty-seven-year-old, with hands that shake a little and must give the simplest task a second thought. I need to be aware of my patience. Sometimes I reach up and rub my hand over the rough wood. The energy is still there and seems to shrink the gap in time.

***

Don Kegarise, Kewanna, IN

indianaartists@outlook.com

With a background in psychology from Youngstown University, motivational speaker and artist, Kegarise has been proactive in area art leagues and the IAC, promoting art and artists.  He excels in management, sales and creative ideas and has developed numerous organizations with success. Kegarise has lived in the Kewanna area for the past forty years where he co- owned Kegarise Art Studio,   Kegarise enjoys painting landscapes, creating objects from found items , and is the author of several published short stories.