Saturday, September 24, 2022

Looking for Bobby by Liz Flaherty

Our prompt at Black Dog Writers' Group in September was to write about something between our ages of 18-22. We could tell the whole story, pieces of it, or just recount a moment. The stories people told were amazing--it was one of the best meetings we've ever had. This one was mine. 

I wasn’t eighteen yet, although less than two months lay between June 6, 1968, and my August birthday. I was freshly graduated from high school, working a job I disliked intensely, and seething with the words to Peggy Lee’s song, “Is That All There Is?”, even though it hadn’t been recorded yet.

But I was having a good time, having shaken off the shackles of having to seek permission for virtually every move I made. I’d stopped—for the most part—sneaking out to smoke and taken to staying out well past the midnight curfew that had accompanied me through my previous dating years, swearing without fear, and developing ideas of my own that seldom coincided with those of my family.

Something that happened well before that time, though, was my interest in politics, one that had its foundation in the presidential election in 1960. Our fifth-grade class discussed it on a daily basis, debating the pros and cons of Kennedy and Nixon with raised voices and very little actual knowledge. The election board lent us a desk top prototype of a voting booth, and we held our own election. The results were predictable, although not nearly as much then as they are now.

We saw things through those years. Even where I went to school, the student body was silenced and horrified by JFK’s assassination. Not so much when it was Dr. King. We were not diverse there in the cornfields, people around us still used the n-word frequently, and being different in any way wasn’t something to be encouraged; while I had met black people, I didn’t actually know any. None. While I was sorry for Dr. King’s death, I couldn’t begin to understand the grief, anger, and hopelessness everyone in his race must have felt. I bought into “different” because I didn’t know any better, but I should have. I should have.

Because Bobby Kennedy was my hero, I should have.

It didn’t occur to me until June of that year that I should have dug deeper to understand. When Bobby Kennedy died, it was my first up-close acquaintance with social hopelessness, my first bout with sharp, sustained grief that didn’t have to do with someone I personally knew and loved, my first anger at people who think hate is okay. More than okay, it’s to be revered, shared, and cultivated.

I should have dug deeper.

But I didn’t mean for this to be a soliloquy on politics or how I feel about hate. Except maybe I did. I remember that day in June when Bobby was shot. My mom woke me to tell me, and even though he was still alive, we knew it wouldn’t be for long. The madman with the gun was very thorough in his destruction of the person many of us thought would be our country’s savior.

History Nebraska

I’d seen him that April on his whistle-stop tour. I skipped school to go to the depot in Peru and listen to him talk from the rear platform of a train car. Oddly enough, I can’t remember if it was a caboose or not, which sounds like a non sequitur but has been fidgeting around in the back of my mind all the while I’ve been writing this.

I was short and the area was packed. Although I could hear, I couldn’t see until the man behind me, easily a foot taller, put his hands under my elbows and steered me straight through the crowd to where I stood right at the end of the train. Right there! I could see Ethel Kennedy’s makeup that drew commentary from my Republican friends and their children looking bored and Mr. Kennedy speaking earnestly.

I thanked the man behind me, bursting into laughter when I saw that the front of his shirt was plastered with badges supporting Eugene McCarthy for the presidential nomination.

“Things will be better,” I said. “When Bobby’s elected, things will be better.” I was buoyant with hope, with faith in someone who was up for rattling the cages of tradition and conformity that had kept me so unaware.

While I had been interested in politics since I was ten, I’d taken little time to widen the scope of that interest. Even that month, that same month that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, the scope remained narrow. But Bobby would widen it, not just for me but for everyone. Our generation, all those others like me who skipped school to stand at the end of that train and cheer until we were hoarse, were going to make things better.

We’d get us out of Vietnam.

We’d end the hate.

We’d see to it that there was No More War. As a matter of fact, violence would disappear altogether.

No one would ever be hungry.

Everyone would have not only freedom of religion but freedom from it, too, if that was what they wanted.

We’d save the planet.

Racism would disappear. (That was an afterthought with me—I still didn’t get it.)

But then Bobby died.

My life changed irrevocably that year I turned 18. Because Bobby Kennedy lived and because he died. Our generation didn’t do any of the things we thought we would, but I learned to widen the scope as much as a white girl from the cornfields could manage. I learned to keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying. And never, ever give up.

And at the end of the political day, I’m still looking for Bobby.

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.   

Monday, September 19, 2022

Forging Forgiveness by C. B. Clark

The Window welcomes author C. B. Clark today. She's here to tell us about her newest novel and to join us at the kitchen table, too. I love interviews! - Liz

Forging Forgiveness by C. B. Clark

Genre: Romantic Suspense


When small-town college instructor Candace Cooper discovers bloody, bare footprints in the snow while running in a state park deep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, it brings back the horrific nightmare of her past.

Detective Aiden Farrell is determined to redeem himself in his new position in Colorado, even if that means ignoring his growing feelings for the beautiful professor he meets during an investigation. His fear that the footprints she saw are connected to a recent spate of missing teens intensifies when Candace is assaulted on campus.

Aiden and Candace join forces, but as they start unraveling the truth, they get closer to each other—and to a killer who'll stop at nothing to achieve his nefarious goal.

Caught between duty and love, Aiden fights in a race against time to save the woman he loves.


Candace Cooper’s breath fogged out in plumes in the frosty, late afternoon air as she pumped her arms and loped along the narrow trail. Yesterday’s rain had turned to sleet, and overnight, two inches of fresh snow blanketed the trail.

Something caught her eye, and she slowed to a stop, turned around, and walked back three yards. What the heck? Indentations—a heel, the pad of a big toe, and the four, smaller indents of the other toes—were clearly formed in the smooth dusting of snow. The set of small, narrow footprints tracked along the snowy trail, veering into the deeper shadows of the forest. Someone had walked in his or her bare feet down the cold, snow-covered path.

The wind gusted against her damp face, and she shivered. Late November was too cold for anyone in their right mind to be out in the mountainous backcountry of northeast Colorado walking around without proper footgear. She squatted for a closer look. A smear of dark red, stark against the white snow, marked the heel depression of each left footprint. She touched the red splotch with the tip of her gloved finger. A rust-colored smudge stained the light blue cotton. Her heart rate kicked up.


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Forging Forgiveness is award-winning author, C.B. Clark’s eighth novel published by The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not busy traveling around the globe or hiking and camping in the wilderness near her home in northern British Columbia, she can be found in front of her laptop plotting her next story.

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Talking at the kitchen table...

1. What made you become an author?

A botched operation on my throat several years ago resulted in me losing my ability to speak above a whisper for a year. I was on medical leave from work, and I needed something to challenge my mind. Since I’ve always loved reading romance, I decided to try my hand at writing one. Now my voice is back, and I have eight published romantic suspense novels and three audio books.

2. What’s your favorite book on the craft of writing?

There are so many helpful books out there, but the one I’ve found the most helpful is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This book has every human emotion you can think of listed in alphabetical order. The authors provide examples of behaviors, internal feelings, and other useful information. A definite must-buy!

3. What’s your favorite place to write?

I’m not one of those writers who can write in a noisy coffee shop or with any distractions. I like to get lost in the world I’m creating on the page. I sit at a desk in my son’s old bedroom with a view out the window of the forest behind our house. There’s a cork board on the wall with pictures of family and friends, awards I’ve won, and inspirational quotes. Old time country music (Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Crystal Gayle…) is usually playing in the background. There’s something about the haunting tales of lost love that brings out my creative streak.

4. If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be?

An archaeologist. Searching for lost relics from the past has always been a passion of mine. I worked in the field for a few years and taught at the college level, but I’ve always wanted a creative outlet and writing provided that missing piece.

5. Who are some of your favorite writers?

I read extensively in a variety of genres, and there are so many skilled authors out there. Some of my favorites are Diana Gabaldon, Sandra Brown, Suzanne Collins, Allison Brennan and so many more.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Friday Nights in Fall

From 1991, a reprint for the I have no idea how manyeth time. I skip a year now and then, but then I see the lights at the football field, hear the band, hear that Coach Tim Dubois was installed in the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, know that Coach Joe Grant was the Colts/NFL Coach of the Week, rest happy knowing that football players learn things from coaching staff and from each other that will stand them in good stead when they walk off the field for the last time, and I think one more time won't hurt. 

And then there are the parents...

They're the parents of a player. You'll recognize them because they're the ones carrying umbrellas, rain ponchos, winter coats, a big Thirty-One bag full of blankets, and enough money for the entire family to stuff themselves on popcorn and Spanish hot dogs and nachos because there wasn't enough time for supper before the game.

They bring the weather gear even on a clear night, you'll notice, because although clouds may burst with bucketfuls of rain or snow or both, the parents won't have the option of going home or even to the car. It doesn't matter if everyone else leaves the stands--as long as the players are on the field, their parents are in the bleachers.

She's the mother of a player. You'll recognize her because she's the one whose chin wobbles and whose eyes get big when someone screams at the player she belongs to. She's the one who only claps politely when her son's name is called in the team lineup because she doesn't want anyone teasing her about being unduly biased.

She's the one who, when her son does something wonderful on the field, comes completely unglued and spills popcorn and extra blankets all over the people below her on the bleachers as she jumps up and down and screams, "Way to go, honey!"

She's the mother of a player. You'll recognize her because when a player is down, regardless of who it is, she grows silent and covers her mouth with her hand and swallows hard. She's the one who says, "Is he all right? Is he getting up?" in a whisper heard all around. She's the one who, when he gets up and is fine, is first to clap her hands and laugh breathlessly and shake the fearful moisture from her eyes.

She's the mother of a player. You'll recognize her at the grocery store at five in the morning in her sweats buying food so her son can eat in that twilight time between school and game that is is own. She's the one who has washed uniforms 10,000 times and would cheerfully wash them 10,000 more if it will only keep the player safe.

He's the father of a player. You'll recognize him by his hat. It will have his son's team name on the front above the bill and a number stitched somewhere over his ear. It's a silent advertisement that says, "I'm his dad."

He's the father of a player. You'll recognize him because he's the guy working in the concession stand and craning his neck to see over the customers' heads. He will interrupt his "Can I help you?" spiel with a banshee yell of, "THAT'S IT! THAT'S IT!" and then go on as if nothing had happened. But he'll be smiling real hard.

He's the father of a player. You'll recognize him as the man in the bleachers who doesn't yell very much and never criticizes a player who is not his own. Mistakes make him angry, but someone else drawing attention to those mistakes makes him angrier.

He's the father of a player. You'll recognize him by the blaze of fierce pride that crosses his face and by the look of pain when the kid blows it. Every parent knows that expression of agony--it's the one you wear when you'd like to draw all your child's pain into yourself so he wouldn't have to feel it. Ever.

They're the parents of a player. On Senior Night, she'll be the one with a rose and he'll be the one with his chest puffed out. And their good cheer and enthusiasm on Senior Night will seem a little quiet, a little forced, because they know it's nearly over.

They know they'll soon be able to eat regular meals on Friday nights. That they'll no longer have to spend money on things like football packages and special shoes and funny gloves. That they won't have to sit on wobbly bleachers at away games and listen to announcers who can't pronounce their son's name.

They know the extra blankets and weather gear can go way to the back of the closet and they've probably bought the last bottle of rubber cement necessary for the scrapbook.

Pretty soon, they won't be reading Saturday morning's newspaper before the ink has completely dried and sitting at the kitchen table to listen to "Coach's Corner" on the radio. And they'll be envying the parents of underclassmen who play the game because they get to do it all again next year and maybe the year after.

They're the parents of a player. You'll recognize them because they're always there. Always.

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Spirit in Tow by Terry Segan

Spirit in TowThe Marni Legend Series – Book 1

By Terry Segan

Can she help a lost soul, jumpstart her love life, and dispatch her nagging mother’s spirit?

Marni Legend is about to publish her thirteenth novel. Gus Zuckerman has been hanging around since his death in nineteen-ninety-five. With her deadline looming and her recently deceased mother refusing to move on, can Marni dispatch both spirits and still have time for romance?

Armed with sarcasm and a warped sense of humor, her innate ability to stumble into awkward situations lands Marni in the midst of a car theft ring. As her circle of friends becomes populated with felons and possible murderers, the lines blur around whom she can trust.

Juggling a hot new beau with one hand and rekindling an old flame with the other, she may need to put on the brakes with one. Should she pick the probable criminal who may know Gus’s fate or play it safe with the sweetheart from her past? She’ll need more than her special abilities and quick wit to navigate the twists and turns of this paranormal mystery.


The usual cadre of fishermen dotted the docks. If I boldly stepped onto the ship, would they know I didn’t belong? Could one be a sentry in disguise? I sauntered past, trying to catch a glimpse of any crew hanging about. The boat was in complete darkness.

Gus waited on my favorite perch. “It’s about time you showed up. Why aren’t you in all black so nobody can see you? God, you look like an amateur.”

“Perhaps because I am an amateur. I’m not the one with a criminal record.” I sat beside him.

“Who says I got a record? I ain’t never been locked up.”

It never occurred to me he’d never been caught. Maybe I should have consulted him—had he bothered to show up earlier. “This way I blend in with the tourists. If anybody comes, they’ll think nothing of a woman enjoying the fresh air.”

“You got a lot to learn.”

Breaking and Entering 101 wasn’t a class I wanted to take. “Enough about my lack of burglary skills. Go check the boat, and tell me if anybody is aboard.”

“Okay, okay. Stop barking orders.” He disappeared.

I tapped my foot on the wooden dock, concentrating on the staccato noise. It soothed my racing mind as it conjured all the things that could go wrong. My plan had two parts—break in and don’t get caught. Simple, right?


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Terry Segan resides in Nevada. The beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul. The stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Act of Caring by Debby Myers

Dorothy and Alan Myers
Added Sunday, September 11 - Dorothy Pearl Owens Myers passed peacefully in her sleep at 9:01 PM on September 10. Alan was holding her hand. May she rest in peace and  joy.

Before I begin, I want to assure you that what I’d like to share is with the encouragement of my husband. Also know that I am, in no way, making light of what is happening right before his eyes. His mama is suffering from dementia, and she is dying.

For the last three years, Alan has been taking care of Dorothy at her home. 
It takes a special person to do this. Helping a parent isn’t easy, but being able to give back has many rewards. It stems from a promise he made her years ago during a conversation about dying. She said she wanted no artificial means to keep her alive, she appointed him her power of attorney, and said she would plan her own funeral. And last, she wanted to die at home if at all possible, without being a burden.

That is what Alan is giving her. Dorothy became homebound when she returned from their winter home in Florida with a virus that had nearly taken her life in March 2019. She’s on oxygen for COPD, making her high risk. Dorothy is a self-described tough farm girl. And she is right! In three years, she’s survived a heart virus that weakened her heart, a broken shoulder, Covid 19, and a broken hip, as well as a number of episodes of anxiety. Yes, Dorothy is one tough cookie!

I wanted to give you some background before getting into the meat of this message. A son, youngest child of four, on disability for his back, and my husband – has become his mama’s full-time caregiver. Yes, full-time, for 2 ½ years now. He has a few women, including his niece, who help him out, but make no mistake, even then he is watching on the camera in her room.

We want to share things Dorothy says to Alan that he says keep him sane, make him smile and giggle. But Dorothy says other things making him sympathetic to her declining health and dementia. Here are a few of those exchanges.
D: “Hey, where’s the man that feeds me?”

A: “Mom, that’s me.”

D: “No, not you. I want to see that man who feeds me.”

D: “I’m hungry.”

A: “Mom, you finished your lunch fifteen minutes ago.”

D: “No, I didn’t. I’m hungry.”

A: “OK, let’s eat!”

D: “Where’s my mom? I want to talk to my mom.”

A: “Mama, remember your mom went to heaven a long time ago.”

D: “Please, can I talk to my mom?” (then she cries)

D: “Am I old?”

A: “No, Mama, you’re only as old as you feel.”

D: “I must be, because you said I was.”
D: “Where is this?”

A: “What do you mean?”

D: “Why won’t you take me home? I want to go home.”

A: “You are home. This is your home. You’re here with me, and you’re safe.”

D: “You don’t understand.”

D: “Go tell your dad.”

A: “Tell him what, Mama? Remember Dad is gone. He died a few years ago.”

D: (Long pause) “Oh, but I just saw him.”

D: “Why won’t you give me my purse? No one will give me my purse!” (angry)

A: “I’ll get your purse. Why do you want your purse?”

D: “I have to get stuff out. My stuff.”

D: “Where’s my car?”

A: “Remember, we sold your car a while back.”

D: “I want it back! I’m going to go get it. I have somewhere to go.”
I am there visiting. Alan asks both of us if we want ice cream. Dorothy says yes, but I decline. He brings the ice cream.
D: “Why didn’t you get her ice cream?”

Me: “It’s OK. I didn’t want any.”
A few minutes later after Alan leaves the room. Dorothy motions me closer and whispers.
D: “I don’t know why he didn’t get you any. Would you like for me to go get it?”
Alan brings in her food tray for dinner.
A: “Sit up, mama. (joking with her) Get a little exercise.”
Dorothy sits up and starts waving her arms in the air like a conductor.

        A: “Mom, see the hummingbird outside at your feeder?”

Without even looking toward the window, she points up toward the ceiling.
A: “No, Mama, over here, outside. Can you see them?”

D: “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask them?”

A: “Ask who?”

D: “Them. They will know.”
She’s pointing at the TV. Andy Griffith is on.
A: “What’s wrong, mama? Why are you crying?”

D: “I am ready. Why doesn’t he take me?” Pointing upward.

A: “I don’t know. He must have more for you to do first.”

D: “I don’t want to do anything else. I’m tired. I want to go be with Jesus now.”
Recently, I took my 6-year-old grandson, Jameson, to visit. Jameson was gentle and sweet with her. He told her things about himself, asked her questions, showed her pictures on his tablet, and took a picture of her to keep. After he left, he told me he was going to take care of his mom when she was old, like Papaw does.
D: “Where did that boy go?”

A: “His daddy picked him up.”

D: “I wanted him to stay. (smiling) He is a good boy.”

D: “I want to get away from here! I want to go home, but not this home. I want to get a sandwich from that old restaurant.”

A: “Mama, you can’t drive. And you need to stay here where you are safe and loved.”

D: “What if I have Dad take me? We can visit Etta May.” (she has been her best friend for many, many years)
D: “I’m getting up. I’m walking right out of here.”

A: “Where do you want to go?”

D: “I’m going to get my car. I want to drive to my mom’s.”
While there is both humor and sadness in each of these, Alan says it’s how he makes it through the day. Dorothy does have occasional moments she is lucid.
Dorothy Myers and friend

Alan is amazed when he turns on hymns for her or the church service. She sings along loudly and knows all the words, even though when she speaks, she can’t finish a sentence. Dorothy is 87 and a woman of faith. I wonder myself why God hasn’t taken her. Why does she have to live through mental anguish, breathing treatments and now dementia? But we don’t get to know, only he does.

Please keep Dorothy in your prayers. And don’t forget Alan. And he’d tell you not to forget me. Although I have sacrificed time with him, I am filled with overwhelming pride for what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. It fills my heart with love watching him with her. Like I said at the beginning, i
t takes a special person to do this. If you are someone caring for a parent at home, praise to you too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Memories and Miss Toula by Joe DeRozier

Kathy and Miss Toula

Another month has passed where we were able to enjoy the company of my mom-in-law, Toula. When this started several years ago, we'd get a little opposition from our soon-to-be 30-day guest. She'd want to go home to her house in Elkhart where she has lived for over 50 years.

It would usually take a few days of visitors at the bakery to get her more agreeable with her temporary residence. So many in Peru either stop in to visit her or make her feel so welcome when they see us running errands around town.
Though she remembers very little now, she seems to know that Peru offers her more love and personal experiences than her other stays. Every morning as Kat gets ready for school, Toula finishes her breakfast and immediately asks if she can be driven to the bakery.

She must know this more in her beautiful heart than in her mind...a mind that has been ravished by Alzheimer's. What was once a morning visit filled with repeated, but interesting stories from her past, has been replaced by silence and naps in her chair. She can no longer contribute to a conversation or share a personal experience. There is no more reasoning and her life is now moment to moment. Just a two-minute disappearance to my office will instill fear, though the bakery manager Brittany, is right there with her.

Each day, going to the car after work is a new experience for her because she doesn't recognize the car. She's no longer certain which door to enter and struggles to figure out her seat belt. There is no recollection of her teaching career, her husband's bakery, or the adventures of her children growing up. 

As we drive through the streets of our town we hear beeps from cars as hands trust out their windows to wave. I tell her those greetings are intended for her as our very short conversations will turn to how friendly the people are here.
On our drive home she'll remark several times in Greek how beautiful the sun is, how the trees are swaying in the wind, and how clean the streets are. I, of course, don't speak Greek. Heck, I've barely mastered English. But having heard the same phrases so many times, I just nod and agree with her.

You know, sometimes the simplicity of the way her mind now functions can be enlightening. The sun is beautiful. It is neat to see the trees swaying. Our streets are very clean...and when those things are repeatedly said out loud, my awareness is heightened and I find myself appreciating these things just a bit more.

The time will soon come when she won't say these things. She will no longer know the bakery, she won't know the sun is beautiful, she won't notice the swaying trees, and she won't comment about the amazing job our street department does. She won't remember her home, our puppy, Max, or her flour-covered son-in-law.
She'll merely go through the motions of being alive...but will no longer be Miss Toula.

I cry inside each time her son, Mike, comes to pick her up. Yes, I will miss the smiles she shares every day and all of the positivity she displays during such a bleak time...but that isn't what makes me sad. What makes me sad is not knowing how much more Alzheimer's will take from her the next time I see her.

I miss her more each time she is here...

I love when Joe DeRozier visits the Window, don't you? If you haven't read his books yet, stop by the back door of the bakery or across the street at Anita's Boutique and pick them up. He'll sign them, too, plus share some good conversation and possibly a donut. You can also order them from Amazon

Monday, September 5, 2022


Scott McCord always got what he wanted. The trouble is, he doesn’t know what that is this time.

Scottie McCord is an NHL forward who doesn’t do a lot of looking back. But when Elise Scofield moves to the same West Coast city he plays for, he can’t help but reminisce.

I’m psyched Elise will be close by. She’s a lot of fun, and I need to get the 411 on her breakup with Hunter. I warned him when they first started dating that I would be none too happy with him if he hurt Elise. Not that I have a thing for her. Sure, that kiss when we were kids was the hottest moment of my life, but that’s just because it was a first. She’s like a sister to me now.


Elise Scofield is making a fresh start. A move to sunny California may be just what she needs, especially with Scott there.

Scottie and I have always been close, “two straws in a soda” is my mom’s weird way of putting it. We’ve gotten over that awkwardness of having kissed a long time ago, and fallen into an easy brother-and-sister-type of relationship. He’s the best. And who knows? He might even introduce me to an eligible hockey player or two.

But when Scott’s teammate says he’d like to spend TEN MINUTES IN THE SIN BIN with Elise, Scott becomes hot enough to melt the ice that he plays on. Then when Scott finds out his opposite winger is only trying to win a bet by bedding Elise, he wants to check his teammate into oblivion. But why are his feelings always so amped up around Elise?

One thing’s for certain; he’s determined to keep Sergei from hurting Elise. And when he’s determined, he gets what he wants. 

The only problem is...this time around he’s not sure what it is he wants.  


I put the puck on the ice between us and hoped to catch her gaze, but she was focused. Her lips were in motion; she was strategizing. I chortled. “You’re so cute when you think you have a chance of winning.”

“Shut up and play.”

I raised my brows. Ooh, touchy.

We tapped ice, then stick, ice, then stick, ice, then stick, and then with lightning speed she got the puck. In her excitement, though, she let the puck get away from her. Rookie mistake. She had to go deep into the corner to regain control, which gave me the opportunity to get in position in front of the net. Our eyes met. She knew it was over. If she took a shot, I wouldn’t let it go in, and I’d take it to the other end before she’d finished her follow-through. She skated warily to the blue line, giving herself time to think, then poured it on, weaving across the ice, going backhand to forehand and back, honed in on me, hoping I’d commit one way or another. I opened my legs to give her a glimpse of the five-hole and she bought it, taking her shot. I didn’t have goalie’s pillows to seal it off, but I still managed to block it. Elise lost an edge and went sliding into the boards with a loud thud. She moaned, lying face down on the ice.

“Elise!” Forgetting everything else I sprinted to her side. “Are you okay?”

“Oh.” She lifted her head, grimacing. “What happened?” she said shakily. She got on all fours.

I tried to assess the level of damage. “Where does it hurt?”

“Umm…” She lunged to her right, hooking the puck with the blade of her stick and swung it into the net. “Yes!”

It took me a second to realize I’d been had. “Wait. That didn’t count.”

“I didn’t hear any whistle, so the play was not dead. I won.” She rolled onto her butt and extended her arm for me to help her up.

I jerked her to her feet and again her closeness made my throat tighten. “I should have dumped you on your butt.”

She removed her bucket, shaking free all of that gorgeous hair and grinning at me. “Yes. You should have.” She tapped my lips with her finger. “But you didn’t.”

I really, really wanted to kiss her. Like, knock her onto the ice and rip off her pads. And rip off my pads. And touch her smooth skin. And feel her lips under mine. And—

“Are you coming?”

She had glided about halfway across the ice and had pivoted, looking at me with a little cocky lift of her chin. I let out a scream that was partially a deep-throated yowl, partially an unidentifiable shout and rushed her. She shrieked and jumped then tried to race away from me, but I caught her at the boards where she had been hindered by opening the gate, trapping her in my arms, my mouth at her ear.

“You, my dear, are a cheat.”



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M.J. Schiller is a lunch lady/romance-romantic suspense writer. She enjoys writing novels whose characters include rock stars, desert princes, teachers, futuristic Knights, construction workers, cops, and a wide variety of others. In her mind everybody has a romance. She is the mother of a twenty-seven-year-old and three twenty-five-year-olds. That's right, triplets! So having recently taught four children to drive, she likes to escape from life on occasion by pretending to be a rock star at karaoke. However…you won’t be seeing her name on any record labels soon. 










Saturday, September 3, 2022

"You'll Still Have Me" by Liz Flaherty

I wrote this a few years back, but I've been thinking of my mother-in-law a lot. Missing her. Thinking of perfect things and being glad I've heard them. Felt them. Thanks for reading.

"You'll still have me."

It was 1982, the week of my mother's funeral. I was 32 and my life was everything I wanted. I had a husband and three kids who were my world, a job I liked, a house I loved, and enough money to pay the bills if we were careful. 

And I was overwhelmed. It was a bad year in the marriage--you have those in 50 years; it just happens. A kid was heading into puberty, my husband and I worked different shifts, and I couldn't keep up. I couldn't be the kind of housekeeper all my in-laws were. I couldn't stay slim. I had bad hair. And then my mother died.

I would survive, and thrive. I knew that. That was just what we did, right? But I sat at my mother-in-law's kitchen table and told her what I knew to be the truth. "I realized this week that when Mom died, there is no one left who will love me regardless of anything that might happen."

That was when Mom--my mother-in-law was always Mom to me--looked into my eyes and said, "You'll still have me."

I did, for 34 more years, and although our relationship wasn't seamless, the love within it was. I was blessed by having her. I'm so grateful, but what I'm writing about...what I'm that sometimes the perfect thing is said. 

I wrote about it once for Valentine's Day, when, on our way home from receiving a "benign" verdict on my breast biopsy, Duane said, "It's the best day off I've ever had."

The first time my son-in-law met my daughter's grandmother, he got a bowl out of the cabinet that she couldn't reach. Later, at dinner, when someone complimented the contents of the bowl, Jim said, "Grandma and I made it," and won her heart forever. 

I needed more than anything the words my second mom said to me that day. Being overwhelmed was a life state for quite some time, and occasionally still is. When I am, when I feel emotionally needy, I think of her again. And of those words.

Writers get to say them, the difference being we get to create the circumstances that produce the perfect words. The "my dear, I don't give a damns" and the "I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

I'm not sure I had a good reason for writing this post, except that as romance authors, love is our literary bottom line. Happily Ever Afters are not only the reader's reward, but the writer's as well. And if we manage to write something--just once in a while--that is perfect and stays on someone's heart for a long time giving comfort and joy, well, that's even better, isn't it?

This is an interactive post! What are some of the perfect things you've said, heard, read, or written? We're all listening.

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.