Saturday, February 26, 2022

Real Life by Liz Flaherty

I will admit to being the poster child for too much Facebook. While I don't watch much TV and hardly any movies or play video games and I'm not--I don't think--addicted to my phone, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen. In my defense, much of the time is spent working. (As much as I love writing books and essays, yes, it is work.) However, when I need to break away from rewriting a scene for the third time because it didn't work the first two and the third isn't looking hopeful, either, Green Mountain Nantucket Blend and Facebook are my "drugs" of choice. 

So far, not a problem, right? No, the problem happens when Facebook or other social media become your reality. When unconscionable rudeness becomes the people who are doing it instead just ugly things on a screen. When people unfriend you because of your political stance or you do the same to them. When they repeat things because they're funny without thought to them not being true. When cruelty is the rule of the day and so many people, only some of them bots or trolls, claim some kind of invincibility because...well, I don't know why. 

Because when you meet them somewhere in person, they're almost always polite. They ask how you are, how the family is. They hold the door for you. They don't hoard toilet paper, harangue you about your faith or lack of it, or call you by anything but your name. (Yeah, I know, I know...I beat that horse to death and it still won't go down.)

I've written this to remind myself. Am I going to give up Facebook? Nope. It's how I keep up with people I never see, how I know everyone in the world but me is good at Wordle, how I promote books. It's where I read wonderful quotes I might have missed otherwise, look at adorable cat pictures, and talk to other writers. It's where I share pictures of my grandkids--who are all so amazing! Have I told you...

There's such fun to be had on social media, so many things to learn. But, at the end of the day, it's not real life--it's just a screenshot taken out of context. 

Real life for me lately has been reading to Head Start kids at Elmwood. It's unbelievable how much cuteness can be contained in a classroom, isn't it? 

Real life has been neighbors and friends doing snow removal from our driveway.

Real life has been patching blue jeans for a grandson and a nephew and thinking about them while I do it. These kids today are fabulous and funny people, you know it? You parents and teachers have done such a great job. That's the reality, not what you see on Facebook. 

Real life has been arguing with my husband one minute and laughing the next. When you see a 50-year anniversary meme of a beaming couple, know it hasn't all been beaming--it's been scowling and shouting sometimes, too, and that's how it's lasted. That's why they're strong. 

Photo by J. Koons Craft

Real life is people like Steve Hagan, who's retiring from Denver's grocery store today after working there, I swear, since infancy. The store doesn't belong to his family anymore, but it will always be Hagan's to me. Steve's been putting out fires--both literally and figuratively--for as long as I've known him. He is the embodiment of a generous spirit. 

Real life is people like Mary and Katie Day, Anita Lynn, Sarah and Ron Luginbill, Conny at the breadshop, Joe DeRozier and a slew of others who lend richness to their downtown. Where instead of saying, "there's nothing here," you can open your eyes and ears and find out there really is. 

Real life is doing the best you can with every single day, no matter what Facebook says. It's laughing at jokes that don't hurt anyone, singing even if you can't carry a tune, and crying not just over your own losses but over your neighbor's too. 

Scattered as usual, with apologies, I'll end this now. Have a great week, don't spend too much time on Facebook, and be nice to somebody. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

What's Better than Fun? by Randy Overbeck


Dr. Randy Overbeck

I enjoy reading fun and frivolous writing as much as most. More than once, a hilarious passage has enabled me to cope with a challenge or personal struggle in my life. And I have to admit to the guilty pleasure of grabbing a silly beach read for no reason other than pure escapism. And more often than naught, I’ve found myself caught up in the thrill of some car chase or the deep suspense of some twisted plot from a bestselling author…or a newly discovered writer.

But most times, when I invest my time and energy in a good book, I look for more than escapism, high suspense and a good chortle. Besides everything else—solving a whodunit, laughing out loud, capturing the bad guy, even saving the world—I’m also hoping to learn something, to come away from the last page of a book with knowledge and wisdom I didn’t have when I began. I find the books I enjoy the most and remember long after closing the back cover are the ones that enrich my life, tell me more about the world and maybe myself. I’m happy to report I’ve found a good number that meet this high bar.

So when I decided to “put pen to paper,” I wanted to strive for more than compelling characters and a solid mystery, good suspense and high drama. I wanted to provide my readers with knowledge and insights they probably didn’t have before opening the first page of my novels. I was hoping to share perspectives and views of the world they may not possess. When I wrote my Haunted Shores Mysteries, I was reaching for this bar.

First of all, each entry in my series is, as one reviewer put it, “a cold-case murder mystery wrapped in ghost story, served with a side of romance, all set a beautiful resort location.” Plenty of escape, suspense and even a bit of humor packed into the pages.

But the Haunted Shores Mysteries series also features a very unconventional hero, a high school history teacher with innate curiosity and great researching skills as well as the “gift” of being in touch with the spirit world.

I’m hoping to show a perspective on educators few outside school would be privy to and allow the reader to look at teachers in a slightly different—and more accurate—light.

In addition, the narrative in each novel in the series is also intricately entangled with a broader social issue, the cold case murder leading Darrell and the readers to a far greater crime.


In the first installment, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, Darrell Henshaw, teacher, coach and paranormal sensitive, finds himself stalked by the ghost of a teen who has died decades earlier. When Darrell—reluctantly at first—investigates the mystery of the young man’s death, he comes face-to-face with the ugly reality of discrimination and racial injustice in the resort town, which simmers still just below the surface.

In the second entry, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY, Darrell is haunted by the ghost of a bride who died on her wedding night a few years earlier. When he digs into the story, he find himself face-to-face with perhaps the most heinous crime of all, human trafficking. He is compelled to solve the mystery of the bride’s death and rescue young girls caught in the web of this ugly network.

In the third and recent release, SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER, Darrell and his new bride Erin travel to the Gulf coast of Florida for a relaxing honeymoon. There he encounters the ghost of two young children who urge him to help them find justice. When he finally concedes and follows the clues, they lead to an unspeakable murder and an even more hideous crime. The two were children of migrant families working the produce fields in Florida. In pursuing answers to questions about the children, Darrell and Erin learn firsthand about the exploitation and abuse of these immigrants.

Each novel in the series delivers an intriguing mystery with compelling characters in breathtakingly beautiful resort settings. I’m hoping each entry in the series delivers more than enough fun, suspense and drama and—spoiler alert—the good guys win! But, when readers close the last page of each installment, I hope they will be a little more alerted to, a little more informed of, and a little more educated about some of the very real social challenges we are facing. And maybe empowered to do something about it.

            You can check out all three novels at my website

Or reach me at or @OverbeckRandy. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 Social Media Handles 

Tik Tok @authorrandyo 


Dr. Randy Overbeck:

Award-winning educator, best-selling author, in-demand speaker

Dr. Overbeck has served children as a teacher, college prof and school leader for more than three decades and this experience has infused his writing with a rare authenticity. Using the canvas of the normal, sedate public school, he has crafted tales of suspense, mystery and breath-taking action, where his characters—teachers, principals, janitors—face daunting, out-sized challenges such as a terrorist attack or a murderer.

His work has captivated readers and has earned national awards including “Thriller of the Year” (ReadersFavorite) “Gold Award” (Literary Titan) “Mystery of the Year” (ReaderViews) and “Crowned Heart of Excellence” (InD’tale magazine). His first novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND and his Haunted Shores Mystery trilogy have all earned numerous five star reviews from national and international reviewers. The first two entries in series, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE (2019) and CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY (2020), have even become Amazon and B & N Bestsellers.

Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentations, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night” and “A Few Favorite Haunts,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Snow Moon by Liz Flaherty

This morning, when I started outside to go to my office, the door was frozen shut. I couldn't budge it. Still wearing my coat with a banana and my phone in the pockets and my snow boots without socks, I wandered around the kitchen for a minute, trying to decide what to do. I didn't want to break the door, obviously. 

I thought of going out the front door. I'm sure it's not frozen, but I wouldn't be able to lock it behind me, either, and what if Duane gets up, sees the deadbolt is unengaged, and locks me out? Not that he would lock me out on least, I don't think he would...but habit and sleepiness are a lethal combination.

I thought of my kids waking us by knocking on our bedroom window when we locked them out. Kari says she mastered crawling in one of the old windows, but I slept through that part. I'm sorry, again, for locking them out; it truly wasn't intentional. We didn't move while they were gone, though--that's something.

So I'm on my laptop in the house this morning. It's the way I wrote for years, so I have no reason for making a big deal of it other than now it feels odd. Instead of the sunrise out the French doors, I see the TV across the room. The coffee in the house is different from what I drink in the office. The noises of a 100-year-old house are different from those of a 20-year-old garage. 

But mornings are still magic times for me. There are obvious detractions about being a morning person. Running out of energy by noon and requiring afternoon naps comes to mind. Cooking after four o'clock, being out after dark, or still dressed at nine PM are things that should never be expected from a morning person. 

But we get to see the sun come up. We get silent time if we want it. Whatever busyness we surround ourselves with is of our own choosing. Did I mention we get to see the sun come up?


Last night, driving home (after dark) we saw the huge, orangey moon climbing up over the eastern horizon. Although I had yawned all the way home and was having delicious robe-and-slippers thoughts, that moon gave me serious pause. I stared out the window for several miles, watching it. I didn't even try to take its picture, but I hope someone did. The one above is from Canva. I think last night's was better. 

There's no plot to the story from the Window today. No moral. No indignation or sorrow on my part. Maybe it's a reminder, though, to me if not to you, that even though our lives come with lots of frozen doors and the occasional lockout, we still have sunrises, sunsets, and that spectacular moon.

Have a great week. Be safe and well. Be nice to somebody. 


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Learning and Legacies by Charley Sutton

I'm pleased to welcome Charley Sutton to the Wednesday at the Window. I always enjoy his Facebook posts and am so glad he decided to visit us here today.

I turned fifty-four years old in January. I never dreamed that I would make it to fifty let alone fifty-four. Twenty-one took forever. I was twenty-eight when my daughter was born, and thirty-six when my son was born. The first year of sleepless nights with my children seemed endless, but time flew by after our kids slept through night. Sometimes I think it flew right past me and out the window taking my ambition with it.

But, something has changed recently. I came to realize that I miss small children in my life. I see pictures of my cousin’s grandchildren posted on Facebook. I come from a big family, and it seems like someone is always posting new baby pictures. I’m ready to be a grandpa.

I had an idea about how fatherhood would be before I became a dad, because I borrowed some kids now and then when we first got married. Nephews and nieces made caring for children look simple, but my kids shattered that glass ceiling and took me way beyond my comfort zone. My kids taught me how to be an adult whether I wanted to or not.

I don’t have a lot of experience with grandpas. My paternal grandfather passed away fifteen years before I was born. I only had my maternal grandfather as my example of a seasoned grandpa and my father as a new, inexperienced grandpa. Grandpa had always been grandpa, but I got to watch my dad change from dad to grandpa.

As a child, there was always a seat available on my grandpa’s lap. He always had a story to tell and a few minutes of love to give. I’d never heard him say “I Love you,” but I felt it. All of his grandchildren felt it. When a memory of him pops to the surface, it’s the first thing that washes over his grandchildren.

There are dozens of memories of my grandpa floating around in my head. I started writing them down before I forgot them. So much has faded since he passed away. What once was as accessible as water from a tap is now much like an old hand pump. It has to be primed and pumped to produce anything of value.

Over the past fifty-four years, my grandpa and my dad taught me things that I never realized I was learning. My thoughts, actions, and values are a mixture of their theirs. A lot of who I am comes from my dad and grandpa. I just hope I inherited their grandpa genes.

My grandpa taught me patience. I watched him draw a watch on one of my younger cousin’s wrist with a ballpoint pen. He drew an entire watch including the face, the band, the buckle, and the stem. When he was finished, the result was a watch very similar to the one he wore. The child sat quietly for the whole twenty minutes it took to draw the watch.

Years earlier, I wore that same ballpoint pen drawn watch for several days. I had grandpa redraw pieces that came off with a four-year-old's bath. I wish someone had thought to take a picture of one of grandpa’s ballpoint watches on my wrist. I’d give anything to see it again. When the time comes, I’ll do my best to draw a watch on my grandchild’s wrist. Hopefully I’ll be as patient as he was.

Grandpa also taught me persistence. My grandpa would sit for hours staring at a fishing pole and touching it only when it moved or to check his bait every half hour or so. When he did check his hook, he would cast his line right back in the same spot it was before. I had to reel in my line and check my bait thirty times an hour, and I never cast my line to the same spot. I chose a different spot each time.

For grandpa it usually paid off in the form of a large catfish. For me, it was half a dozen snags that broke my line, ten or eleven worms thrown off of the hook, and another half dozen hooks stuck in the limbs of the trees that lined the river. Sometimes I’d catch a fish or two, but not very often.

My grandpa was the patriarch of a large family. He spent a lot of time around his grandkids and some of his great grandkids. Most had worn that priceless watch or sat on the front porch with him killing flies. His stories taught all his descendants dozens of lessons about life and love.

From my dad, I learned forgiveness. Years ago I took the pen from his hat that he needed for work each day. I needed to write down a phone number, and I didn’t put the pen back in his hat when I finished. I laid it on the table beside his hat. He left for work without it.

When he got home from work that night, Dad took the time to tell me what I did wrong and then he didn’t talk to me again until the next morning. By sunrise, I was forgiven.

Years later, my daughter took my dad’s work pen from his hat to draw. She lost the pen. I panicked and began frantically searching for the pen. I was looking in the cushions of the chair when he spoke.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“She lost your pen for work,” I replied sheepishly.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ll pick one up at the gas station tomorrow”

“Who are you and what have you done with my father?” I asked. He just smiled at his granddaughter and went back to watching TV. For his granddaughter, forgiveness took seconds instead of hours.

One day my wife had to work, my mom was working, and I had the day off. I decided to visit dad. On this day I learned indifference.

When my daughter and I got to dad’s house and walked through the door, my dad handed her his solid gold necklace worth about $700.00. She slipped it around her neck and ran into the kitchen. She opened the cabinet where mom keeps the pans and grabbed a handful of canning rings. After three trips, she had about a dozen of them on the floor.

She lost interest in the canning rings after a few minutes and sat on the end of the couch opposite of my dad. She started watching TV which had somehow landed on cartoons. Dad got up to get a drink of water. On his way back to the couch, he stepped on one of the canning rings.

“Son of a…” he said.

I got down on my hands and knees to pick up the canning rings.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“I’m picking up the canning rings,” I said as my mind dug deep into the chest of childhood fears to find the fear that had popped when dad had stepped on one of my abandoned toys. I couldn’t find it, but it’s ghost was there. I listened to its whispers for a few seconds before dad’s voice pulled me back to the present.

“Put them down. She wasn’t through with them, yet,” he replied.

“Who are you and what have you done with my father?” I asked. He smiled at me and watched Courage the Cowardly Dog with his granddaughter. He was indifferent to the moment of pain that had lasted for hours when I committed the same offense.

These two men have forged their legacies as grandfathers. Both have taught me valuable lessons on how to be a father as well. I’m sure I’ve messed that up dozens of times in the past twenty-six years. The best that I can hope for is the good memories overshadow my mistakes.

Now, I think being a grandpa someday will be my shot at redemption. It might just be a chance for me to show my kids that I’m a lovable old coot who adores them and their children.

There is another thing that my being a grandfather could be. It could be my chance to buy noisy toys, feed them sweets, and send them home to give their mom and dad a taste of the sleepless nights I had when I raised them.

My name is Charles Sutton, and I am a maintenance technician from Peru, Indiana. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. I’ve always aspired to write and have put pen to paper for almost as long. As I grow older, finding the time to write gets easier. Join me on my blog at  or find me on Facebook.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Woman in the Mirror by Liz Flaherty

From 2018...

Do you ever feel as if you lost yourself somewhere along the way? If you've had a bad time or an extraordinarily good one, do you ever look in the mirror and wonder exactly who's looking back at you? Because you've changed, and you're not sure what to do with the person who's there.

I'm feeling thoughty here--can you tell? I'm always, always whining about how much I hate change, yet when I look back--over bad times and extraordinarily good ones, it's an ongoing cycle, isn't it? It's what keeps life new and interesting. And, yeah, sometimes awful.

But if it weren't for change, and my kicking-and-screaming caving to it, I would:

  • Never have changed jobs and I'd have been stuck with working one I hated.
  • Never have married the man I did because he wasn't the first person I loved.
  • I'd never have had a third child.
  • I'd have given up the first time a publisher said Nope.
  • Or maybe the second.
  • For sure by the twenty-third.
  • I'd have kept my hair short.
  • And let it go gray.
  • I'd still be writing longhand on lined paper and thinking I wasn't good enough.
  • For anything,

So, no, I don't always know the woman in the mirror, or, for that matter, the man I'm married to. I don't always like either of us. There are days when I do feel like I've lost the person I was. Because I have. Because every re-invention in every time of life is change, it's often hard, and it's always necessary. I think maybe I like it.

Have a good week and a happy Valentine's Day 💟. Smile at the person in the mirror. Be nice to somebody.

Photograph by Chris McGuire

I had a new book come out this week, which is happy-time for me, always. A Year of Firsts isn't available in print yet, but the ebook is on Amazon. I hope you like it.

Widow Syd Cavanaugh is beginning a “year of firsts” with the road trip she’d promised her husband she’d take after his death. An unplanned detour lands her in Fallen Soldier, Pennsylvania, where she meets the interesting and intelligent editor of the local paper.

Television journalist Clay McAlister’s life took an unexpected turn when a heart attack forced him to give up his hectic lifestyle. He’s still learning how to live in a small town when meeting a pretty traveler in the local coffee shop suddenly makes it all much more interesting.

While neither of them is interested in a romantic relationship, their serious case of being “in like” seems to push them that way. However, Clay’s heart condition doesn’t harbinger a very secure future, and Syd’s already lost one man she loved to a devastating illness—she isn’t about to lose another. Where can this relationship possibly go?

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

A Rose by Any Other Name by Alana Lorens

123rf photos

One of the things I like to do in my novels is add something personal, some small detail that comes from my own life. In A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME, this detail is the name of the fictitious high school where the 20-year high school reunion takes place in the also-fictitious town of Exeter, in northwestern Pennsylvania.

I’ve named it George F. Wright, Jr. High, after my father. He wasn’t an educator, at least not at that level. He did teach math when he was in the Air Force, back in the 1950s. But after he retired from his work as a personnel manager at a large Erie hospital, he began a long run of volunteer service to various governmental agencies, including the local school board. Now, this is not a job I would ever want, mind you. I saw the piles of documents he brought home every week, and he ACTUALLY read them. I can’t imagine everyone who takes on that position can say that.

George Wright and granddaughter Bethany at her graduation

He was an odd mix of a fiscal super-conservative and an ideological liberal. He’d never have banned a book, but definitely would have frowned at a second swimming pool.

And a job that’s more thankless? I think we can see by what today’s school boards are dealing with, that it’s not a place for the weak of heart. I’m sure he put in 20-30 hours a week between meetings, committees and reading. Did I mention it’s volunteer?

So, thank you, George Wright, for your service, even if you’ll never see this tribute. I’m proud of you.

Book Trailer

Blurb: Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion in 2005, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.

Russell's marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons' lives. In his Internet wanderings, he's found feminist blogger named Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what's happened to him. His group of single dad advocates have vowed to take this woman down.

What Russell doesn't know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When his group discovers the truth, will their drive for revenge derail any chance the couple have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?

Author Bio

Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years, after working as a pizza maker, a floral designer, a journalist and a family law attorney. Currently a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, the aging hippie loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. She writes romance and suspense as Alana Lorens, and sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal mystery as Lyndi Alexander. One of her novellas, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter on the autism spectrum, who is the youngest of her seven children, and she is ruled by three crotchety old cats, and six kittens of various ages.

Author Links




Amazon Author Page

Book trailer:


Twitter:  @AlexanderLyndi


Buy Links

Ebooks - 



Saturday, February 5, 2022

Life's Illusions by Liz Flaherty

From Canva - mine was fuzzy...

I'm angry this week.

Usually I try to be at least semi-diplomatic on this blog. I do object (over and over, I know) to name-calling, misinformation, and downright lying, but quite honestly I don't think those are things that should be protected by diplomacy. 

I'm starting this column pre-dawn Wednesday as I wait for 2022's snowmageddon to sweep in. This morning I read about two school shootings. One at a college in Virginia where two officers died and one in Minnesota where one student died and another (as of this writing) is in critical condition. 

This week on the piece of mail we received from our state representative, he assured us he supported the second amendment. Also this week, he threw public education and its teachers under the bus. I don't believe he mentioned shootings.

This morning on Facebook, a writer was immensely cheered that people in her state are spending tons of time and money making sure kids aren't threatened by being made to wear masks. She didn't complain about the shootings, but masks--apparently those are the real danger. 

People chuckled when Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music from Spotify. They termed the singers "irrelevant." And yet those same people speak adoringly about Joe Rogan, who blithely spreads misinformation on his highly-rated podcast.

I don't understand how people whose music has entertained and enriched for decades are inconsequential and yet blatant falsification is relevant. Why are purposeful misstatements revered and spread like toxic waste all over the messy tapestry the country has become?

On Thursday morning, we have a driveway full of snow. As country driveways go, it's not all that long, but when it's full of snow, it is--and its length has increased exponentially with the 40-some years we've lived here. Even with the snow, a piece of mail from yet another politician is delivered. She doesn't mention shootings, either, or, for that matter, public education. Different things, I should realize by now, matter to different people, and we do recycle unwanted mail, so all is not lost.

"I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all" - Joni Mitchell

And now it's Friday. Do you feel like you're reading a diary here? 

Yesterday, Duane beat me soundly at Farkle for the second time this week. I suggested he cheated, totally ignoring the fact that I'm the scorekeeper and that my math skills...aren't. We laughed and ate supper from whatever was in bowls in the refrigerator and watched episodes of Call the Midwife. Our house was warm. We were in the same place. When we walked past each other, our hands touched. During the day, when I walked to the office or back to the house, he stood at the door and watched. Clumsiness is one of my finer features, and snow makes me even better at it. 

Yesterday, I got a text that promised I'm headed your way w snowplow. Within minutes, John's red truck was clearing the lane. Had he not done so, Lee would have done it later in the day. 

Yesterday, I had an email from someone who didn't especially agree with my stance in last week's column. She was polite, erudite, and curious--an irresistible triad. 

Saturday morning. John made another pass through the lane. The path to my office is clear enough I can walk out there without my boots filling up with snow. I fell in the yard last night, but the snow was soft and deep and the only problem with getting up was that I couldn't stop laughing. Gratitude does that to you; I could easily have fallen on ice-covered cement instead. 

Mail carriers are still out there every day, a friend has declared herself a snow-widow because her highway department husband is working long days. If there have been power outages, they haven't lasted long because personnel have worked to repair problems. Every fire department in the area showed up for a structure fire last night. None of the police departments or ambulance crews have called in cold. 

Did I mention gratitude?

So, at the end of this long week, Joni Mitchell's lyrics still reign. I have to remember, when I'm angry or disappointed--which happens a lot in these painful days--to look at both sides. It doesn't mean giving up the moral or ethical ground I've chosen to stand on--it means remembering that we are all neighbors. 

I may not "know life at all," but looking at "both sides now" is still important. Have a good week. Stay safe and warm. Be nice to somebody.


Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Nan’s World—River’s Edge by Nan Reinhardt

I’ve always been a dreamer. From the time I could hold a pencil, I invented people and places that I could escape to. Sometimes, parents worry about a kid who lives in a make-believe world. Fortunately, my mom didn’t—she allowed me that world because she believed with all her heart that I would be a writer one day. When we were kids, my sisters used to tease me unmercifully about not being in reality, claiming that I lived in “Nan’s world—a nice place to visit, but we certainly wouldn’t want to live there.” Oh, how I wish I could take them River’s Edge! I think they’d sing a different tune.

To begin with, you need to know that River’s Edge is a fictional place. It’s my fictional place. It’s where my stories happen, but it’s inspired by a very real place. Madison, Indiana, is a smallish town on the banks of the Ohio River. Its greatest claims to fame may be that singer Jenny Lind visited in 1851, and every Fourth of July weekend, the Madison Regatta—a hydroplane boat race—happens on the river there. Chautauqua in the fall brings tourists from all over the Midwest as does the Candlelight Tour of Homes at Christmas. The Roostertail Music Festival is a relatively new happening in Madison, but the town is building its reputation as a great place for music. Madison is a laidback town with nice shops and restaurants, a state park just north, several great wineries, and the River Walk along the Ohio. It was the perfect inspiration for River’s Edge.

If there’s anything more fun than creating a make-believe town full of fictional characters, I haven’t found it yet. Every time I sit down to write, I get lost in Nan’s world—River’s Edge. I’m longing to stop by the Riverside Diner and join Harry, Noah, Clyde, and Butch for breakfast—an omelet, three ingredients only, please. I always crave pie if I’ve written about Paula Meadows’s Bread & Butter Bakery or Paris tea if I’ve done a scene in Holly Flaherty’s Tea Leaf Café. Four Irish Brothers Winery, both the vineyard and the in-town tasting room make me want to go wine-tasting with Husband or my bestie, and maybe we could meet up with Sam or Megan or Kitt for a stroll along the River Walk, which looms large as the place to gather in River’s Edge.

In October, I asked a local artist to create a map of River’s Edge based on the stories I’ve told there so far. I sent her the books, and we exchanged several emails where I described the town and the places I wanted to highlight. A few weeks later, she presented me with this watercolor caricature map of River’s Edge. I couldn’t have been more delighted to see my town rendered so perfectly. There was Mac’s and St. Mark’s Hospital, the River Walk and Aidan Flaherty’s River Queen showboat! Even the new Cotton Mill Inn showed up, right there on Warner Drive overlooking the river. What a treat!

I hope you’ll join me in River’s Edge in the Four Irish Brothers Winery series of books and my new Lange Brothers series, beginning with The Valentine Wager. There’s no better place to enjoy sweet small-town romance than in River’s Edge, Indiana.

Talk to Nan at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tule Publishing


The Valentine Wager, book 1 in the Langes of River’s Edge series

by Nan Reinhardt

He’s a notorious flirt, so she lays down a challenge she’s sure she’ll win.

When playboy police lieutenant Ryker Lange stops Kitt Boynton for driving on the wrong side of the road, his attraction to the feisty Irish lass is immediate. Yet, despite the sizzling chemistry between them, Kitt quickly turns him down.

Kitt has moved to River’s Edge for a fresh start and is ready to focus on her new marketing job at her cousins’ winery. She’s done with players, and vows she won’t let the local sexy cop distract her, but Kitt, a flirt herself, is definitely tempted. To keep her sanity as she prepares for several Valentine-themed winery events, she and Ryker make a bet: for the next three weeks, neither of them can flirt with the other.

The game starts out lighthearted, but when the town takes sides, Ryker and Kitt must choose between winning a wager or finding lasting love.


Amazon | B&N Nook | Tule Publishing | Apple Books | Kobo