Monday, October 31, 2022

All Hallow’s Eve: All Treat, No Trick by Anna Taylor Sweringen

One of my favorite lines from the movie Chariots of Fire has soon-to-be Olympic champion and missionary Eric Liddell explain to his sister how he didn’t want a youngster playing soccer on the Sabbath to think God’s a spoil sport. When I was on staff as the minister for Christian Education, I had to find ways for our kids to have fun walk so they didn’t get the impression that being a Christian meant they couldn’t have fun. How to celebrate Halloween in ways that were kid-friendly and enjoyable, but also didn’t ruffle the feathers of the older generation is a case in point. I always began by helping the elders understand how we got here from there.

All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween is a combo of two different religious traditions. The first is the festival of Samhain celebrated by the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. On that day – by our calendar November 1 – the new year was believed to begin because of the onset of winter. Herds were brought in from pasture and leases on land were renewed. The souls of those who died were believed to return and visit their homes. People set bonfires to scare any evil spirits away and even wore masks so as not to be recognized by the ghosts

The second is All Saints’ Day, when the saints of the church could be remembered, established by Pope Boniface to be celebrated on May 13. But as had been done with the appropriation of December 25th to supplant Yule festivals with the observance of Christ’s birth, so too All Saint’s Day was moved to coincide with the November 1 date and supplant Samhain. The night before, October 31, became All Hallow’s Eve.

Many churches hold All Hallow’s Eve and All Saint’s parties rather than Halloween/Trick or Treat parties to bring a faith element into the celebration. In my story Haunted Serenade the heroine’s daughter attends a local church’s All Hallow’s Eve party not unlike the ones our children and youth program hosted. We’d sing hymns like "I Sing A Song of the Saints of God" as part of the festivities, hold costume parades, bob for apples, eat Halloween fare and engage in activities like Trick or Treat that combined facets of Christian living with the holiday fun. Knowing they were helping children all over the world make trick or treating fun and educational for our kids.

We’d return to the church and continue our partying for All Hallow’s Eve in the fellowship hall all decked out much the way these stoops of Strivers’ Row houses in Harlem are. I continue to create Halloween wreaths for my door to put out a welcome mat for trick-or-treaters of all ages. One day I hope to return to that church and see what activities now provide the All Hallow’s Eve fun.


All the women in Anora Madison's family have lived haunted by the curse of Poor Butterfly: women still longing for but deserted by the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, Anora fled Harlem for Brooklyn, not only severing her ties with her mother Angela, but also ending her relationship with Winston Emerson, her lover and the father of her child.

Six years later, Anora comes home to make peace, but an unseen evil manifests itself during the homecoming and targets not only Anora, but her little girl Cammie.

With nowhere to run, Anora must confront the evil now trying to destroy her life. She vows to protect her daughter at all costs, but if that protection can only be found with Winston back in her life, how will Anora protect her heart?


: Anna Taylor Sweringen is a minister with the United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA. Anna M. Taylor is her gothic romance and women’s fiction penname. She has been writing seriously since joining Romance Writers of America in 2003. She also writes inspirational romance as Anna Taylor and steamy historical romance as Michal Scott.

Anna M. Taylor website:

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Twitter: @revannable

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Saturday, October 29, 2022

And then this happened... by Liz Flaherty

It's been a busy week, and an exciting one, which means I won't be doing a regular post today. I'll be back, I promise!

The third and final book in the Second Chances Series from Magnolia Blossom Publishing is out! Not in paperback yet, although that will happen soon. 

In the midst of a summer of change, they’re both searching for an anchor.

Dinah is a mom, a giver, and a doer, so she’s used to change, but this summer is kind of overdoing that. The diner where she’s worked for half her life is closing, her college-age kids aren’t coming home for the summer, and a property on nearby Cooper Lake is calling her name, bringing long-held dreams of owning a B & B to the fore. Newcomer Zach Applegate is entering into her dreams, too.

Divorced dad, contractor, and recovering alcoholic Zach is in Fallen Soldier, Pennsylvania, to visit his brother and to decide what’s coming next in his life. He doesn’t like change much, yet it seems to be everywhere. But he finds an affinity for remodeling and restoration, is overjoyed when his teenage sons join him for the summer, and he likes Dinah Tyler, too. A lot.

Dinah and Zach each experience sorrow and tumult, but go on to dance in the kitchen. Together, they have something, but is it enough?

You can order it here

Then, for today, Debby Myers, Joe DeRozier, and I will be selling signing books at Revived at 53 E. 5th Street in Peru from 12:30 to 3:30 PM. I think Trunk or Treat is going on at the same time, so it looks like a fun afternoon for everyone concerned. 

Update: Debby Myers won't be able to join us today. 
I'll be back at the Window next Saturday. I hope to see you at Revived this afternoon. If not, have a great week and be nice to somebody!

Monday, October 24, 2022

Christmas House by LoRee Peery

Welcome, LoRee Peery, to the Window Over the Sink!

I'm adding LoRee's interview questions later, as we got a little lost in our translating! Thanks for your great answers, LoRee!

Thanks for coming today! If there’s anything you don’t care to answer, give it a skip.

1. What is your favorite thing about yourself? And your least favorite?

I smile easily, and often talk to strangers. I’ve been told others find that encouraging.
What I don’t like is too many times those old insecurities come forth. I need to
remind myself that I am unique, fearfully and wonderfully made, according to God’s blueprint.

2. Is there a particular line you won’t cross in writing, even to satisfy a trend
or—possibly—to make a story more compelling?

Cursing or sex on the page immediately come to mind. Mistakes happen in life
because authors humanize characters. Sometimes a baby is the result, but God
makes no mistakes, so unexpected pregnancy is not a mistake.

3. Is there someone you’d like to make proud of you with your writing, and do
you think you’ve done it?

Oh, my mom. I often wonder if from heaven, she knows what’s going on in my life. This Christmas novella will be my 25th release. I’d love to hear her comments on my writing.

4. What do you do on those days when you’re pretty sure the muse has died
and you’ll never again write a publishable word?

Thanks for the chuckle. Oh, we insecure writers. I take a walk or do something
tactile. Read, color, read, play solitaire, read, work a puzzle in the winter, read. Or if I’m working on a first draft, I’ll begin typing, “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know want to write. What is –character name—doing? What does she/he feel?" And then, I’m back into the story.

5. What would you want to be if you weren’t a writer?

I have an eye for photography. My digital camera gave way to my phone. But
knowing how to use a telephoto lens with settings and lightings, etc. to capture
nature, especially. I would love that.

6. Do you have any particular fan-girl moments you’d like to share? We’d love
to hear about them, especially if they were embarrassing and good for a

Silly me. A few months after my first two releases, I received a letter from a stranger. My first thought when I saw the return address and only PO Box with my little town on the envelope, that it was fan mail. Good grief. It turned out to be a blessing I’ve written about more than once. The letter came from an unknown cousin exactly nine months older than me. He’d read something I wrote for a magazine. We were great friends for ten years, until he passed. But we will meet again.

7. Looking back, what do know now that you wish you’d known the first time
you opened a file and typed “Chapter One”?

How important it is to view the world through the character’s senses. What he or she sees, hears, smells, feels. I’ve been known to act out positions, go outdoors on a full-moon night to check shadows, investigate natural fragrances, touch things, stand in the trees with my eyes closed and listen. Kind of weird, I know.

8. What was a best day of your life? A worst? (Feel free to skip this one—I know
it crosses the line into nosiness, but I’ve been fascinated by it ever since the first
time I saw City Slickers.)

Hmm, I watched that movie once, and don’t remember anything except how the guy couldn’t ride a horse. 
Also, I honestly don’t remember much about my wedding day. I do remember how I felt on the day of salvation. And thirty years ago, I sat in a little room outside a
birthing suite in Valdosta, Georgia, while my oldest daughter gave birth to my first
grandchild. I heard everything while I laughed silently, cried, thrust a fist into the air, and praised the Lord.
The worst day—receiving my brother’s call when he said our father had been

9. Who are your heroes / heroines? Have they made a difference in your

My heroes and heroines are overcomers, be they fictional or real.

Thank you for the opportunity to visit your cyber home today, Liz. I hope your
readers enjoy the interview as much as me.

Pepper Rainwater has just bought the first real home she' s ever had, and she' s decorating and celebrating Christmas with everything she has. The neighbor' s miniature donkeys and meeting Foxx interrupt her life. Can she turn from all she' d been taught and trust strangers?
A startling discovery after his father' s death forces Foxx Haven to face an unknown past. His life has been a lie. He' s distracted from work for the first time— by his heritage and his new neighbor. Can he fight his attraction to an unbeliever and discover his new life chapter at the same time?
Miniature donkeys and learning about Christ have a profound impact on Pepper. But God has a mighty work to bring her hurting soul and Foxx' s new perspective into alignment. Can hope override hurting souls and enable a happily-ever-after?



Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. 
She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. Her Frivolities Series launched her releases, and the book based on her father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time, was a personal relief. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author.

Connect with LoRee:

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Just Talking... by Liz Flaherty

It was a dark and stormy night...

Well, no, it wasn't. But my mind refuses to settle in today. Even if I can think of something to write about, I don't get much further than the first sentence. Usually it's a little more original than the one above, but not always. So, let's just talk. Want to?

We went to Fort Wayne on Thursday. We did the errands we had to and then had dinner at Hall's Tavern at Coventry. I'm not a fan of cities with lots of roads and traffic in them, but I do like that restaurant a lot. 

On Tuesday, we needed milk, so I went up to Raber's at Gilead. I had so much fun walking around looking that I almost forgot the milk. It's one of my favorite places to buy cheese, so I got some of Duane's favorite kind but neglected to get myself any. So now I have to eat his. 

I'm writing a new book and having so much fun with it. It's different, and I'm using first person, which I haven't done in years. If I had a dollar for every time I've written she instead of I, there'd be no reason to finish the book--I'd already have lots of money.

I have a cover for my latest book (not the one I just mentioned), but no release date yet. It'll be soon, though, so keep an eye out for Book 3 of Second Chances, The Summer of  Sorrow and Dance. I had a lot of trouble writing this book, although I'm pleased with it now that it's done. Its title, although it fits the story, has fit me, too, in this long season since my sister passed in April. The dancing part of it, for me, is metaphorical--having to do with my two left feet--but it's real, too. I will miss her always, but there's joy in the sorrow now. That's the dance. 

Election's coming up soon. Don't forget to vote. Do I necessarily think everyone's vote counts the same? No. But if you don't vote, it can't count at all. 

Regine Brindle
Hasn't the fall foliage been spectacular this year? Regine Bridle's photographs have made sure the colors will remain in memory long after the leaves are gone. Checking Gallery 15's Facebook page to see what Sarah Luginbill's painting with pumpkins and Ron Luginbill is building with gourds is always an interesting way to spend some time. Stopping in to visit is even better. 

I hope you'll stop by Revived at 53 E. 5th St. on October 29. The store will be open all day, but Debby Myers, Joe DeRozier, and I will be signing books from 12:30 to 3:30 PM. We hope to see you there!

Have a great week! Be nice to somebody!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Big Life, Small Moments by Nan Reinhardt

I was thinking this morning about how other people’s lives seem so much larger than my own. My life is very ordinary, filled with ordinary stuff like laundry and weeding gardens and walks around the neighborhood. Cooking breakfasts, scaring up lunches, and dreaming up something wondrous for supper each night. I don’t go very many places—not to restaurants or concerts or movies or shopping. I’m mostly at home or at the lake, writing or editing. Sometimes, I go out to lunch with friends and a couple times a year, Liz and I go on retreat where I…yes, write.

Is my life small? I wonder sometimes if I’m missing big moments because so much of my life is made up of so many small ones.

There have been big moments, though, as there are in everyone’s life—marriage, the birth of Son, Son’s marriage, Grandboy’s birth, Son’s PhD, my first novel being published, and going to Paris and Ireland. Lots of big moments set in among the small ones.

And even small moments can feel big. Every time I type THE END on a first draft, that feels like a huge moment, as does receiving an email from my editor telling me I nailed the revisions on a manuscript. Book release day is always an extraordinary day where I find myself all over the interwebs on blogs and Facebook posts and Tweets and it makes me wonder, who is this person? Small moments in time, but big ones in my life.

Lots of the folks who seem to have larger lives than mine travel a lot. I don’t travel much—Husband is a homebody and I find myself less willing to leave him for long periods, but oh, how I travel when I edit other author’s work! I love reading about faraway places. Funny that because I do often long to travel to faraway places, yet my books all happen in the same little Indiana river town… I don’t use my own work to see the world. I’m not sure why; I’m sure Freud would have some fun with that.

My family used to tease me about living in “Nan’s world,” and perhaps I do. I love River’s Edge and all my imaginary friends there. But I also relish the small moments in my real life that make it feel big. Dinner with Son, just the two of us, boat rides with Husband watching the sun set over the lake, playing a game with Grandboy, basking on the deck with a book and a glass of wine, rereading a particular scene I really had fun writing, processing a story with Liz, going to the winery with my lake friends—small moments all, but altogether, I believe they make my life bigger.

Tell me about your small moments or your big ones. Let’s talk…

 A big moment happened yesterday—The Fireman’s Christmas Wish, book 3 in the Lange Brothers trilogy released from Tule Publishing. What’s more fun the Christmas romance?

The Fireman’s Christmas Wish, Book 3 in the Lange Brothers Trilogy

Her heart is wide open, but he’s nailed his shut.

Preschool teacher Harley Cole has always viewed life through rose-colored glasses. With a career she loves, friends she enjoys, and a home that is her haven, there’s only one thing missing—finding her soul mate. As the holidays approach, Harley is inspired to help her former high school crush rediscover his holiday joy. It’s just a good deed...until the feelings she thought were gone come rushing back.

Fire Chief Becker Lange returns home to River’s Edge with a heavy heart. His divorce has emotionally ravaged him, leaving him more confused than ever about what women want. So to protect himself from another failure, he closes his heart. And then Harley Cole makes him a flirty dare that she can help him overcome the holiday blues. Beck’s not sure he wants to, but Harley’s a hard woman to tell no.

Can the magic of Christmas and a sweet stray kitten bring these two lonely souls together?

Buy Links:


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Apple Books:

Tule Bookstore:

Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 48 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake. 

Talk to Nan at:

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Soup Supper... by Liz Flaherty

Sorry. I'll be here today. Guaranteed to be wearing chili and be very tired. But we'd love to see you all there! 

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody!

Monday, October 10, 2022

The MacKenzie Chronicles by Brenda Whiteside

Years ago, standing with other parents in the lobby of a hotel waiting to be assigned a young Austrian boy who we would house for a week during a hockey tournament, I glanced over the group. A blue-eyed cutie stared at me, and our gazes locked. I had the wildest sensation I knew this child for eons. When they drew names, he was assigned to our home. Coincidence? I think not. We’ve been close friends from afar for decades. We always have been and always will be. The universe tells me so.

I’ve always been captivated by what the sixties subculture tagged mind expansion. The concepts of déjà vu, aura reading, intuition, empathic visions or sensations, dream meanings, clairsentience, and other forms of communication—gaining knowledge outside common experience—fascinate me.

There are people who apparently possess a sixth sense. Ordinary people who don’t consider themselves particularly gifted have moments of empathic enlightenment. Decades ago, when I lived in Germany, I had to go to the hospital for minor surgery. My mother, in Arizona, knew without being told. She called my husband to find out what was wrong with me. 

The setting of my latest series is Joshua, Arizona, and is modeled after a real-life town called Jerome. This town hangs on the side of a mountain, roads stacked like stadium seating, with a view of the green valleys and red rock mesas miles away. I’ve been intrigued by this old mining town for decades. I combined that interest with my love of the mind-expanding concepts of the sixties to create The MacKenzie Chronicles.

Living in present-day Joshua, Arizona—an 1800s mining community-turned-ghost-town, reborn hippie haven, and now tourist town clinging to the side of Spirit Mountain, the MacKenzie family saga unfolds in each book. Although not the main theme of the series, their mystical tendencies and their openness to accept what can’t be explained helps to solve mysteries and adds to the suspense.

Have you had any other-worldly experiences? Have you experienced déjà vu? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Curse of Wolf Falls (The MacKenzie Chronicles Book 3)

Secrets can protect what the truth will destroy.

Elidor MacKenzie has a gift she can't return—the ability to absorb the joy, pain, and suffering of others. She's spent her life running from what she considers her curse. Now, her best friend is dead, and she alone holds the key to an archaeological discovery that could destroy a culture. With newfound inner peace, Elidor has returned home to make amends and guard the secret revelation. But greed-driven scavengers have followed her. Once again, the energies of Joshua will stir the hurricane, with her at the deadly center.

Jules never got over Elidor. Twenty years and a famous journalism career later, he's back in Joshua—and so is his first love. If his heart can stand the torture, he'll risk reviving their relationship. But saving Elidor from herself and the secret she won't give up may be the death of them both.

With Jules by her side, Elidor is determined to outrun the scavengers, guard the secret, and renew their love. But fate is coming after her, and there's nowhere the couple can hide.



Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery books. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart so won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

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Saturday, October 8, 2022

"Before We Read, We Look and See."


I'm starting this on Tuesday of all days because I'm in Michigan on a writing retreat with Nan Reinhardt. I got 1000 happy words in today, plus had a great lunch and a walk around South Haven. But then this afternoon on Facebook, I saw the meme above. I thought, Oh, yes. 

Does anyone else remember the first Dick and Jane reader? Its first word was Look, and I was so mesmerized by it. Looking things up now, I found that the premise for that book was the title up there: "Before We Read, We Look and See." 

There was no "before" to it for me. When I read that first word, there was no going back. I sat in the barn on a milking stool and Mom and my brother Dan helped me read that first book. (I needed a lot of help.) When I told my first grade teacher I'd read the whole book but that I couldn't seem to remember come, she said I was lying. But I wasn't. (Not that I never did. Sigh.)

I have a slew of days that changed my life. Children's births, grandkids' births, marriage, job change, retirement, the Emmaus Walk, the day my first book sold. I'm glad to have those, lucky to have those, and still happy to have met Dick and Jane and to have been so immediately enthralled by the written word.

Magic hour, indeed.


When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Saturday morning.

Thanks to Michigan for a wonderful four days. If you're ever in South Haven, pay Clementine's a visit. The food and service were wonderful. After dinner, take a walk or a ride to the lighthouse and watch the sun slip silently into the water. 

There are two huge blessings about going away for a few days. The first one is getting to go. The second one is getting to come home.

Have a blessed week. Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

You're Not Fired, but... by Liz Flaherty

I "do" the church bulletin. Being slapdash in nature, I usually make mistakes in it. Not typos, just out-and-out errors. Wrong page numbers for hymns. Wrong numbers for scriptural verses. (Yeah, I have a problem with numbers--goes back to third grade when I met the multiplication tables.) Most Sunday morning services are accompanied with assurances that "you're still not fired."

In the real, not voluntary world, I should be, because I'm not very good at doing the bulletin. My mind wanders and I hurry too much, forget too much, and I transpose the aforementioned numbers. However, when you have a job to do in church, it's usually yours for life. The truth is, too, that I like doing it. I like praying for the names on the list when I put the praises and concerns on the back page. I like trying to make the liturgist laugh when he reads the announcements. I like including birthdays and anniversaries and Good News from everywhere. But I should be fired, or my resignation should be accepted simply because the quality of my work...isn't. Isn't quality, I mean.

I'm like many other people I know--I think there should be time and age limits on congressional years-in-service, on members of the SCOTUS, even on the President. Because we reach the age of being not as sharp. Because we get tired. Because we're bewildered by changes that have taken place despite our efforts. Because, like it or not, our minds narrow. 

When I listen, though, to some younger people, whose minds and opinions haven't had time to grow and grasp and experience, and hear evidence of more narrow minds--Okay, boomer ring a bell?--I wonder where the happy medium is. Because we certainly need one, don't we?

Maybe none of us should be fired. Maybe we should just continue to learn and do the best we can--all the while realizing not everyone learns in the same way and sometimes our best isn't that quality I mentioned up there. Maybe we should listen more than we talk. 

Yeah. Me, too. 

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.