Saturday, February 25, 2023

Being A Friend by Liz Flaherty

I really, really think the secret to being loved is to love. And the secret to being interesting is to be interested. And the secret to having a friend is being a friend. - ~Unknown Author

This was in my Facebook memories this week. Jason See, a pastor who grew up "down the road," shared it several years back and I borrowed it from him. And didn't give it back. I'm pretty sure he didn't expect me to.

Because it's one of those things you keep, and yet you give it away, too. And when you give it away, it grows. It reminds me of when you have your second baby and you are scared to death that you'll never be able to love it as much as you did the first one. But you do, and the love just grows exponentially as you go along. Because you give it even when you think you don't have even a little bit left.

But you do.

There are times when it is hard to be cheerful, to be hopeful, to look on the sunny side. But it's probably harder not to. And, when we don't, when we just give over to the gloom and doom and the dark side, we share that just as certainly as we do the good parts.

Sounds awfully simple, and I know it isn't always, but it's just as easy to smile at someone as it is to scowl, almost as easy to say nothing as to say something hurtful--and it's always easier to tell the truth because then you don't have to remember the lie you told.

Our neighborhood lost a friend this week, and he was the kind of guy who knew all about having friends--and being one. Our road is a dimmer place now. Rest in heaven, Bart.

I hope you have a great week, and that you're loved, interesting, and have friends--and that you give back in kind. Like I say every week, be nice to somebody.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

The Uncommon Cold by Liz Flaherty

Everything has become something more, hasn't it? I got a cold in November, which stretched into an eye infection, an ear infection, and me rethinking the whole getting old thing. I've really enjoyed it up until this winter, but that cold, eye infection, and ear infection lasted close to six weeks. I thought for sure Covid had caught up with me, but I passed the test each time and never for one minute lost my appetite. I'm the only person I know who gets sick and gains weight. 

I survived January. It was probably made easier because I spent it complaining about being sick through the holidays. To anyone who had to hear it more than once--not counting this time, I mean, I'm really sorry. It gets more dramatic with each telling, though, which I think makes listening worthwhile, but not everyone agrees. Instead, they start telling me about their own illnesses. The nerve of some people!

So, anyway, I got up this Tuesday morning feeling like hammered sh...wait, can I say that here? I try to keep it clean, so, no, but I felt awful. I couldn't go to a meeting I hated to miss, I think I increased my word count on the book-in-progress by minus-17, and I finally just crumpled into my recliner with a box of tissues and whined occasionally. I took a Covid test because I was absolutely sure I had it, but I didn't. I thought it was probably flu because I don't have my shot yet--I was too sick to get it when I usually do. But, no, I was pretty determined it was a 24-hour bug that probably wouldn't last more than...

Well, now it's about 96 hours. Not bad for a 24-hour thing, right? But the truth is, the common cold never lasts for 24 hours. It lasts for a week or seven days, whichever comes first, unless it's a really bad one, which lasts two weeks or 14 days. During those times, I usually decide I have bronchitis at least, pneumonia at most. I start to sort out my jewelry to be divided among my girls. You know, just in case. 

And, at the end of the very long day, it is indeed just a cold. It is when I most mind that new variants of old viruses have made us paranoid. Not so much about ourselves--at least those of us who've already lived most of our lives--but about passing something on to others. 

They can be so ungrateful when you do that. 

Have a good week. Pass me that box of Kleenex, would you? No, don't come too close. This'll only last 24 hours. I'll be better by Tuesday, although I'm not sure which one. 

Stay safe and stay well. Be nice to somebody. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

Mortar & Pestle Stories by D. V. Stone

Sea Hunter

A Mortar & Pestle Story

Release Date 3/16/23

Purchase link Sea Hunter

Link to series

Link to Free Sample of series

A wisp of smoke, a swirl of promise, a breath of destiny…a message within the Mortar & Pestle for those who want to believe. Throughout time people have sought their heart’s desire. But true love is often elusive. Carved with ancient Norse runes, the Mortar & Pestle shows paths to happily-ever-afters. Once you capture the Mortar & Pestle’s scent of magic, you’ll want to read all seven individual romances.

Sea Hunter:

On the turbulent high seas, an archeologist must protect a historic shipwreck from treasure hunters—not fall for one.

Zahra Corbyn.

I’m a Sea Hunter. As an underwater archeologist and professor of antiquities, it is my duty to stop treasure hunters and looters from raiding Sea Wraith. But fate is a funny thing. Now I find myself working with Jack Alexander, a treasure hunter, to protect history from a known looter. Did my heart’s desire change?

Captain Jack Alexander.

I’ve been told women on a ship are unlucky, but this one has the two pieces of the map I need to finally claim Sea Wraith. Now I find myself in a deal that makes me one-third partner with her and a known scoundrel.

Can the two unlikely allies work together while safeguarding their hearts against the power of the Mortar and Pestle?

If you like Lara Croft and Indiana Jones, you’ll love Zahra Corbyn and Jack Alexander.


D. V. Stone is an award-winning, multi-genre, traditionally and independently published author. She writes books people want to read. Whether romance or fantasy, contemporary or mid-grade, her stories are about the importance of friends and family. About overcoming obstacles while often with humor.

Around the Fire is a popular weekly blog where she introduces both established and new authors giving an insider’s look into their lives and books as well as tidbits about her own life.

Now retired, she is a full-time author and incorporates her life experiences into her books.

A former Emergency Medical Technician, she volunteered in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At the same time, she worked as a professional EMT in a women’s state prison. She was the proprietor of a coffee shop, and a small restaurant/ice cream stand in the years that followed. The years following were as a manager in an animal emergency hospital, while her last position was in a human medical office.

When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots—a 41-foot long 13.2 feet high 5th Wheel camper, she rambles around town in Northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. She also loves travel and history.

D.V. is a wife to an amazing husband, mother to one son, and not your average grandma to three beautiful grands. A woman of faith, she believes and trusts in God.

“My greatest pleasures are spending time outside with friends and family, cooking over the open fire, sipping a glass of wine, and reading.”

Hali, her rescue dog, always reminds her to let readers know, “Woof, woof.” Which is loosely translated as support your local animal rescue.”

You can learn more about D. V. by following her on social media.


Books by D. V. Stone

Independent Releases:

Shield-Mates of Dar Series


Book one of the Shield-Mates fantasy romance with magic, mayhem, and family devotion.


Book two of the Shield-Mates A Fantasy Romance Series where a war between humans and shifters. Sparks and fur fly…Until scales appear.


Agent Sam Carter Series

The Mystery at Branch Lake

The Mystery at High Pointe Tower

By The Wild Rose Press:

Impact Series

Rock House Grill

One man’s choices. One woman’s Impact

Jazz House

One woman’s choices. One man’s Impact

Lake Unami Stories

Rainbow Sprinkles

After the storm come the rainbows.

Sophia’s Magic Beans

A single mom in a small town where sometimes fairytales do come true.

Contributing Author

Australia Burns



Saturday, February 11, 2023

On Being Famous by Liz Flaherty

Photo by Brenda's Au Courant Images
My friend Nan Reinhardt and I went to Clifty Falls State Park this week for a writing retreat. We take off a couple of times a year, staying gone for four or five days, writing like madwomen while being uninterrupted by things like making beds, cooking, doing laundry, or putting anything away. We come home both exhausted and enlivened by the time away. We've finished books, started books, and made our way out of the morass the middles of books (for me) often are.

On this trip, Nan had a library talk and a book-signing--her River's Edge series is based on Madison, the beautiful river town only a few miles from the park. The events were fun, as they always are. We left cards and bookmarks with people we talked to.

Before we left to come home this morning, we left a couple of signed books with someone who had been particularly kind to us both. She was so excited by the books, and thanked us over and over. She had, she said, never met famous authors.

"Only in our own minds," we said, laughing. But it made us both feel good. We hope she reads our books and likes them and tells everyone she knows, but mostly we're grateful for her kindness and flattered by the compliment. While we learn not to flinch at snide remarks about the romance genre or at the words "mommy porn" or "bodice-rippers," we don't learn to like them.

I told Duane about it tonight. He chuckled about the "famous" part and was glad for the kindness we received on our trip.

Other than enjoying going back over the memories of this week and the fact that I'm really tired, I didn't have a good reason for writing this. Since I've done it, let me encourage you to attend book-signings and author talks even if you don't want to buy books, to go out and listen to local musicians, and visit and purchase from local galleries. Most of us aren't famous and never will be, but when we are acknowledged and encouraged by those in our own communities, that's all the recognition we need.

Thank you.

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Just wondering... @LizFlaherty

We were driving to Kokomo the other day and I saw something I'd wondered about for a long, long time. It took me 15 minutes to forget what it was. 

I wonder why I don't write things down.

In the 1960s, when I was in school, the primary concern of many people (for girls) was their virtue. I mean, it was an enlightened age, so they were okay with us getting an education and all, but, you know...virtue. So I wonder why we had to wear dresses to school. Dresses were pretty, but I can't think they added to anyone's moral character. 

I wonder why lying's awful when you're the one being lied to, but not so bad if you're the one doing the lying or if the person you voted for is the one doing it. 

We live near a corner, close enough to see the stop sign at the crossroad. Some people stop, look, and go on, regardless of time of day. Many, many people roll the sign. Many others ignore it altogether--once again regardless of time of day. I always wonder if drivers who blow stop signs are the same ones who don't use turn signals.

Photo by Regine Brindle
I love cemeteries, especially the small old ones that rest fenced and quiet in fields or in churchyards. They are so quiet and so small that sometimes I won't notice one for years and years even though I might drive past it on a weekly basis. When I do notice, I pray sometimes, that the souls of those buried there have peace. Mostly, though, I wonder who they were. Who they loved. Who mourned their deaths and celebrated their lives. 

Why do people vandalize? Even as a kid, I didn't get it. (Beyond soaping windows or on one auspicious occasion helping to steal a watermelon from a patch. It was neither sweet nor ripe enough. Served us right.) Vandalizing, though, doing real damage, is done with the purpose of doing harm to someone else. I wonder why you'd want to do that. 

Bread is hardly ever on the last aisle in the grocery store, where you could put it on top of the cart and not get it smooshed. Shoppers don't get bonuses for checking themselves out. Meat never looks as good in the store as it does on the sale flyer. It always rains when I am parked in the back 40 at Kroger and don't have an umbrella. I wonder what causes those things. 

"Limited access" is only limiting to people who live near the point of contention. That seems backwards to me. I wonder why they do that.   

Do you have anything you wonder about? Not that I have any answers. know...wondering. 

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody. 

An old favorite re-released with a new cover. If you'd like a signed copy, PM me or email me at lizkflaherty @ gmail .com (no spaces). Otherwise, order links are below. Thank you for reading. 

Early McGrath doesn't want freedom from her thirty-year marriage to Nash, but when it's forced upon her, she does the only thing she knows to do - she goes home to the Ridge to reinvent herself.

Only what is someone who's spent her life taking care of other people supposed to do when no one needs her anymore? Even as the threads of her life unravel, she finds new ones - reconnecting with the church of her childhood, building the quilt shop that has been a long-time dream, and forging a new friendship with her former husband.

The definition of freedom changes when it's combined with faith, and through it all perhaps Early and Nash can find a Soft Place to Fall.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Beating in Time by M. J. Schiller

, Last Chance Beach Romance, #15

Music took him away from her. Music brought him back. But are their hearts still beating in time?

Once upon a time, their hearts beat as one…

Drummer Levi Cannon knows that all the platinum records in the world won’t fill the Remi-sized hole in his heart.

I left Last Chance Beach and Remington Lawson behind when I took my shot at fame and fortune, but I had no idea what I was sacrificing. Now that a fundraiser has brought me home, I want more than anything to win her back. But it’s been eight years. There may be a bridge that connects the island to the mainland, but am I a fool to think that I can build something that will span the chasm of all those years?

Remi Boyd knows that her love for her brother’s best friend has never died.

But what kind of fool would I be to trust him again after he broke my heart? I was a child when he left. Now I’m a woman who’s been a wife and I’m also a mother to the most precious girl in the world. I can’t drag her through some torrid affair, and that is clearly all Levi can offer me.

Music took him away. Music brought him back. But is it too late to recapture what they once had? Or can Last Chance Beach work its magic for them?



I parked in front of Wyatt’s—so he could pull in the driveway when he got back—and took the groceries for our weekly dinner inside to prepare. When I set the sack on the only counter with free space in his small galley kitchen, I didn’t see the saltshaker and knocked it onto the floor. I sighed.

What’s that they say about spilled salt?

Not remembering which shoulder the old adage advised using, I threw some over both to cover my bases. I was wound as tight as a tangled bobbin knowing that I’d be seeing Levi tomorrow. It was absolutely ridiculous to feel that way, but I just wanted to avoid any awkwardness. I hadn’t seen him since our one magical night together eight years ago. But I was probably worrying too much. Mr. Rock Star Super Star probably forgot that night a long time ago. I’m sure our moment was less than a blip on his radar after all the women he’d probably been with. Still, I couldn’t chase the anxiety away for some reason.

I spied the broom behind the small kitchen table and crossed to retrieve it to clean up my mess. But as I took hold of it, I heard a noise in the garage and froze. I knew Wyatt wasn’t home yet because he hadn’t even left when he called fifteen minutes earlier, having forgotten, somehow, that it was his day to pick up the kids. Last Chance Beach didn’t have a lot of crime, so I really wasn’t worried about an intruder, but it definitely could be an animal. Although I didn’t relish facing the thing, I knew if I waited for Wyatt, we could have two potential repercussions. One, my daughter, Misty, would want to keep it for a pet. Or two, she’d freak because she’d think we were hurting or scaring the pest by chasing it outside. Or, now that I thought of it, there was definitely the third possibility, which would be her doing both.

Okay. You can do this. Just reach in and open the garage, and he’ll run out. Easy peasy.

I tightened my grip on the broom, wielding it as a weapon, and slowly opened the door. I’m not sure why, as the thing was likely not poised to jump on me the minute he spotted me, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I went through a list of animals it could be, because it sounded large, and decided a possum was my worst-case scenario. Those prehistoric beasts were ugly and repulsed me. As the door opened and my view became wider, I saw him standing in front of his old drum set. He was looking in the opposite direction, but I knew that body and shoulder-length, dark, curly hair. I recognized the way the dusky blue of his T-shirt stretched across his broad back and hinted at his musculature. His jeans accentuated the man’s fabulous ass. He hadn’t changed one iota. My heart leaped. Hearing me, I suppose, he turned.

His smile chased the cobwebs from the corners of the room. “Remi.” Then the smile faded and his brow furrowed. “Are you going to bash my head in?”

“What?” Then, realizing I still held the broom aloft, I brought it down and hid it behind me. What for? He’d already seen me brandishing it. “Oh, sorry. I heard a noise and…” My throat was dry as I stared into his face, awash in a thousand memories of him. Most of them in this garage, but some elsewhere…at our kitchen table, at the beach, on one of the worst nights in my life, and on one of the best. I cleared my throat. “I thought you were an animal.”

He gave me that easy grin of his that could make me do anything. “Well, I can be, if you want.”

“What? No. I mean…I thought maybe a possum got in here or an armadillo…or something.”

He walked toward me, and I fought not to retreat from him. “I knew what you meant, Remi.” He stopped a few feet away. “It’s…really good to see you.”

Buy links:



Nook book:




M.J. Schiller is a retired 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.