Saturday, June 15, 2024

Being Busy by Liz Flaherty

I've been busy, which is a wonderful thing in retirement. I admit that busy now differs greatly from what it used to be, but I liked it then and I like it now. While I'm not a Merriam or a Webster, I think it comes in as the opposite of being bored on the definition page. I've never been bored for longer than an afternoon, but I can't think it's preferable to having too much to do.

So, what does busy mean when you're 13 years into retirement? (I'm not sure how that happened, by the way; the last 13 years I was working sure didn't go this fast.) And how do you manage busy when you haven't seen your natural hair color or good blood pressure numbers in longer than you care to think about?

You know I'm just dying to tell you how to do it, don't you?

Right off the bat, you choose your times of day. Can't stay awake past nine? Go to bed. Can't stay asleep past five? Get up. Same answers if you can't go to sleep till one in the morning and can't wake up till ten.

Don't expect your energy to last as long as you're awake, and even if you take a nap, you might not have a second wind afterward, at which point you need to be busy in fits and starts. If it's June and you have to dust even though you just did it in November (the holidays, you know), dust one thing at a time. It might take you a week, but you'll get it done before it starts collecting too much at your starting point.

If you're eating supper at home, plan and partially prepare it during your energy hours, because if you wait until mealtime, you won't care the least little bit what anyone eats. Or if they do. There will also be many days you'll skip meal prep (and possibly the meal) altogether because you've been thinking of what to eat and then cooking it for at least 100 years and you really don't care about those things anymore, either. Just make a sandwich (always have bread on hand), eat the last of the chips, and then have cookies for dessert.
Speaking of eating the last of the chips, be sure to keep a grocery list going at all times. On your phone is best, because you're most likely to remember it that way, but taking a picture of the list on the kitchen counter will work just as well. Don't count on taking the list with you. You won't remember it.

You won't remember anything. At least nothing you need to remember.

Oh, back to being busy...I knew I was here for a reason.

It's important to realize that as you age, much of your busyness will be comprised of medical visits. Optometric or ophthalmology appointments. (Yeah, I had to look up ophthalmology.) You'll need to know what it is for when you get cataracts. Which you will do. It's like sore joints and wrinkly skin--all part of the process. You can stay really busy trying to counteract those things, but...well, good luck with that.

If you feel like you're not being busy enough, go to the store before your list is complete so you will have to go back in a couple of days. You will buy stuff you don't really need, but chances are you will before the "use by" date. Of course, it will be at the back of the cupboard by then, so you'll buy it again. Which requires another trip to the store.

Not everyone goes to the store as often as I do, but I see enough of the same people there that I know I'm not the only one.

There is always housework to do. The best response is to ignore it and say, "I need to get that done one of these days."

This also works with buying stuff. If you sew, it's necessary to have a fabric stash that has no bottom to it. You'll still need to replenish it, because you've forgotten where the piece is that you need--I told you you wouldn't remember anything--plus you'll need to buy nice time-saving notions and have enough thread spools to fill the racks on the wall.

If you read, it's necessary to have a stack of books on what's commonly known as a to-be-read pile, hereafter to be referred to as the TBR-pile-from-hell. Which might contain the same book twice. You'll probably never read that one, plus you have a spare--use it as gift. (Unless it's one of mine.)

Okay, I started this morning with nothing to say, and instead I've said far too much, so even though I'm not really finished with all the wisdom I have to share today, I'm way too busy to keep going. I hope you have a wonderful week. Be nice to somebody.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Cowboy’s Claim by Sinclair Jayne

Sinclair Jayne, one of my favorite writers and Window guests, joins us today. I love her take on things, and today's post is no exception to that rule. Be sure to comment for a chance at a free book from Sinclair! - Liz

Thank you so much to Liz for inviting me back to her blog. She and I discussed the theme of endings for a couple of reasons. First, I was thinking of endings because both my kids are graduating from college and heading out to new adventures, and I feel like they are really young adults now, and so that is an ending of sorts, and yet also a beginning, a new way of being for me, my kids and me and my husband as parents.

I’ve also been dwelling on endings because my new release, The Cowboy’s Claim, that drops Tuesday, June 18th is the last in a five-book series about former Special Forces Soldiers who arrive in Marietta, Montana in order to fulfill a task or make an amend for their fallen team leader.

In The Cowboy’s Claim, Calhoon Miller is tasked to solve a mystery that his friend, Jace McBride, was determined to solve when he got home after fifteen years in the army. But Jace perishes only weeks from going home. Calhoon has very little information, and yet he is determined to honor his vow. Accompanying him on his investigation is his retired military dog, Kai, and a locums doctor Jory Quinn, who just might have the key to the puzzle. His four other "brothers"—men from his team, have all kept their vow to Jace and have now settled in Marietta and will support him if needed.

Writing the last book in a series is always exciting, and yet for me it’s also poignant—sometimes almost painfully so. With each new book in a series, I build my world bigger—layering in new characters, developing a new romance and HEA for the couple—envisioning a life for them so that by the last book I have three or four committed couples, maybe a marriage, or a baby on the way. They feel so real to me. And they also appear in each other’s books so that by the end, I feel like I too live in the life I built for them. And I find it so challenging to say goodbye.

Writing can be isolating as it does take a long time, or a deep, sustained amount of focus. Doubt is always part of the journey. You need to walk alongside it but keep it from running ahead. I welcome doubt because it keeps me sharp, questioning but happiness and connection are also part of the journey. So, saying goodbye becomes harder the longer the series continues.

I have written three series set in Marietta, Montana, a Tule Publishing created town as well as several other books there in multi-author series so I do get to cheat my goodbyes on occasion. When I head back to Marietta to write a book or set a new series, I can pull in some of my favorite characters. Colt Ewing—now Colt Wilder since he discovered his origins and family appeared in the third book I ever wrote. The book, Seducing the Bachelor, was part of a Bachelor Auction series and then I wrote a series around it, and he is one of my favorite heroes, so I drag that hot, fabulous and busy man into almost every book set in Marietta.

So maybe I cheat goodbyes. I am sort of adding an honorary sixth book to the series—Christmas for the Texas Cowboy, releasing this October where the new team leader of the Montana Coyote Cowboys, Wolf Conte, heads home to Texas to fulfill a promise he grudgingly made to Jace. This will be book four of a series I wrote long ago, The Wolf Brothers of Last Stand, and I bet you can guess why he didn’t want to head home….

What are your feelings about endings? Do you embrace them and the new opportunities and challenges or dip your toe in the chilly water of “next,” and hover for a moment like me before diving in? What book or series was the hardest for you to let go of? I’ll gift a signed print book and some swag to a couple of responders.

Thanks for hanging with me,

Sinclair Jayne

A former journalist and middle school teacher, Sinclair Sawhney lucked into a job as a developmental editor with Tule Publishing nearly ten years ago and continues to enjoy working with authors. As Sinclair Jayne, she’s published over twenty-five romance novels and counting. She loves her cowboys, small towns and HEAs. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s often hosting wine tastings with her husband of over twenty-seven years in the tasting room of their small vineyard Roshni, which means light filled, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Cheers.

Find out more about Sinclair and order her books at