Saturday, April 29, 2023

Bring Back the Special Part... by Liz Flaherty

"...two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun..."

McDonald's has lost its way.

I never thought I'd say this. Always, since my first 15-cent burger, I have counted on McDonald's. Not for health reasons, not for a good date meal, not a place to feed the family--at least, not very often--and not because that burger was the best one anywhere. It never was. Never claimed to be.

But I used a lot of McDonald's free internet over the years. I drank a lot of their coffee, ate more McDoubles and Filet of Fish sandwiches than were good for me, and used to go through the drive-through and get an ice cream cone just because I wanted ice cream. Like the burgers, the cones weren't the best around, but they were cheap and easy and a treat that warmed a broken heart and cooled the heat of anger when you needed it. 

One time I left a purse in a McDonald's and an associate found it when she cleaned the table. When we drove back to get it, it and its contents were intact and everyone was nearly as pleased by my gratitude as I was by their honesty. 

The restaurants themselves used to have personality. Remember when Peru's had a circus theme?

The drive-throughs were time-savers, especially during Covid. I am grateful to everyone who had drive-through windows or people who would bring meals to your car for pickup. It was a way we took care of each other, wasn't it? Restaurants needed the revenue and many of us needed food we didn't have to cook.

But I'm not grateful for what's happened to McDonald's, arguably the biggest and most successful of the available-at-every-exit food chains. 

We were on vacation for a week, which meant several drive-through coffees and the occasional fast-food fix. 

At one McDonald's, we waited in the drive-through line for 20 minutes. No one else was open and we were hungry. We gave up and had gas station food instead, where the cashier said sadly that she knew McDonald's had some issues, but she'd never heard of that happening. When we went past, there were still cars in the drive-through lanes and the line had lengthened. 

We went to another MickyD's and went inside. I hadn't been inside for a few years and was surprised to find that the interior had all the charm of a storage room in a basement. I was greeted by a kiosk I didn't know how to work and didn't want to. "Can we order from you?" we asked the young woman at the counter.

"Yes!" she said. "Always." She nodded toward the kiosk. "We don't like them, either. They're taking our jobs."

The service was great there. The coffee and my Filet of Fish were good. The dining room looked like...yeah, a storage room, but it was clean. It was nice, Other than its bland looks, it was the McDonald's of old. No 15-cent burgers, no families eating lunch together, but all else was good. 

At the next one, we had to order at the kiosk. It didn't give us the receipt it was supposed to, so that someone had to come from the back and look up the order with enough irritation that I felt embarrassed by something I'm pretty sure wasn't my fault. When he gave us the order, we said Thank You and left without further communication. Including You're Welcome. Certainly no hope that we'd have a nice day. No napkins, either. 

It had become a "let's see what happens" kind of thing by now, so on Friday morning, we stopped at one final McDonald's for coffee and burritos. The burritos were pretty good. When we found a good place, we stopped and poured the coffee out. It was beyond awful. I thought maybe it had been sent by the store in another state where we'd waited 20+ minutes--it was certainly stale enough. 

I'm not--at least I hope I'm not--one of the people who longs for the "good old days." I don't think they were so great (except for 1960s music, of course) or that we were smarter or harder working. I think we did a great job as parents, because the generations that have followed ours have done and will do great things. 

But someone's screwed up McDonald's, and I really wish they'd go back and fix it. 

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Power of Love and Murder by Brenda Whiteside

Hi Liz and readers! So happy to be here and introduce you to my latest release. Christmas and Politics. Joy and Jeopardy. Love and Murder. That’s how it all comes together in my latest release, The Power of Love and Murder, A Wild Horse Peaks Novel book 3.

The third book in the Wild Horse Peaks Novels released yesterday. Penny Sparks, nicknamed the Black Fairy because of her penchant for Goth dress and small stature, played a minor character in the first book of the series, The Art of Love and Murder. One of my critique partners suggested she needed her own book. When I opened to the idea, wow, did Penny lay a story on me. The Power of Love and Murder was off and running.

This book had double the villain fun with an FBI agent turned bad and a crooked politician willing to murder to get to the White House. I had a fair share of research to bring these two nasty characters onto the page.

More fun ensued when the hero of the book turned out to be a hot, but washed up, rock and roll star. Jake will steal your heart. And I finally got to use a scene from real-life, thanks to my brother who spent one awful night in a cheap motel years ago. I’d laughed so hard when he told the story, I knew I’d use it someday in one of my books.

Penny’s secrets can ruin the presidential contender who ordered her family’s murder
…and mark her as the next hit.

Penny Spark’s desire to reconnect with family this Christmas exposes her true identity—a secret she’s hidden for thirteen years from the political powers that murdered her family.

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets Penny, he believes this holiday season could be the start of life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world.

With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender who targeted her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hopes for a new life…and love.

You can read the first chapter of The Power of Love and Murder here:

You can purchase your copy here:

Wild Horse Peaks is the new and improved second edition originally titled The Love and Murder Series. The audio books, first editions, are still available. You can order it here:

FYI, the fourth book in the series, The Deep Well of Love and Murder is on preorder and will release May 23rd. The sequel to book one, A Legacy of Love and Murder will release May 9th, but you can have it for free if you’re a member of BNG (Brenda’s Newsletter Group).

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, cozy mystery, and romance. 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.

Visit Brenda:

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Join her Newsletter Group here:

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Remember Whens... by Liz Flaherty

Seein' things that I may never see again... - Willie Nelson

We're on the road this week, visiting family. It's a trip we've made a bunch of times, changing routes as family members change places. However, the trip to Florida has been the same route all along, with a few changes like the Kokomo bypass around its bypass--yay!--and the never-ending road construction that makes things less convenient for residents of areas but faster for those coming from Somewhere Else on their way to Somewhere even farther Else, where they can groan because the path they've taken offers "nothing to do" and "nowhere to go."

Oops, got lost in my own agenda for a minute there. Anyway, it's an easy, nice drive to where we go in Florida. We know where crosses sit in fields along the way--serving as a promise to some and a threat to others. We have eaten, we swear, in every Cracker Barrel along the way. Duane points at different places as we go through Louisville, and sometimes we take an exit to renew memories. "Wyandotte's right there. It cost 50 cents and we'd walk all the way there."

Wyandotte Park is still there, but the pool he remembers is not. Like Miller Pool in Peru, it's from another time and it's too bad it's gone. Too bad.

We talk about going to Kingfish to eat and him telling our youngest that his frog legs looked like little people legs. Jock couldn't eat them then, so Duane did. I don't think he did it on purpose, but 40 years later, we're still accusing him of it.

There are points of dread on this trip. Two of them used to be Kokomo's myriad stoplights and the nightmare of merging onto 465 that comes with spending one's life on country roads where my biggest complaint is that people don't stop at stop signs and occasionally drive 22 mph in the middle of the road. Then there's Nashville; it always rains when we drive through--although it was only a sprinkle this time--and it has so much traffic that there aren't enough roads to stuff the cars onto.

But back we go to the things we recognize that we look forward to. The Welcome to... signs are always a pleasure--one more state down! Shortly after the sign comes the welcome center to the new state. We missed Tennessee's this time--which meant we were talking and/or no one had to go to the bathroom--but looked forward to Alabama's rest stop rocket. It had been saying hello to us all the years we've been making the drive.

It's still there, but the welcome center itself had been torn down. The site is a mass of red dirt and myriad excavating equipment. The rocket stands alone. Its welcome seems feeble.

Horrified and feeling betrayed once again by change, I looked it up, finding a notice from radio station WKSR that said, "The NASA rest stop rocket in Alabama that has greeted people arriving from Tennessee on Interstate 65 for more than four decades is rusting and needs to be replaced, and that welcome center has been shut down."

Well. Dang it.

It's always this way in life, isn't it? It must be why we have memories, and it must be why when those memories fail in pieces and parts--as they most certainly do. So that we can remember the rush of pride and recognition that came with seeing the rocket, how we sat in Kingfish that day, those crosses that mean different things to different people. Duane and his friend we visited yesterday remember the walk to the pool at Wyandotte, the fifty cents. Duane saved his lunch money, his friend mowed a yard. They remember who lived where on the streets in their old neighborhood, and what they don't remember a phone call to a sister will clear up for them.

It makes me think of other changes. Of Gilead School with its fire escape from the second floor that was so much fun to go down. Its creaky wood floors and its pictures of graduating classes that hung in the assembly room. Of the days when all country kids rode school buses, singing and shouting and sometimes getting into trouble with the driver. That was a lot of energy to pack onto one bus, wasn't it?

We listened to music at Gallery 15 before we left on Thursday. The Three Old Guys played and I thought how cool it was that I've listened to two of them off-and-on since they and I were all in high school. The music was so great, with the musicians and the audience seeming to be in the same place. Terri and John Bond sang "Sounds of Silence" and gave me long moments of tenderness. A pretty young girl sketched portraits. She did mine, something I can add to my remember whens along with frog legs and welcome rockets and fire escapes.

I've waxed enough nostalgia this morning, haven't I, sitting here in this hotel dining room in a state whose time is an hour behind ours. I've been up since five--or four--depending on how you look at it. Seeing others leaving early with their luggage, going home to Michigan. A man with a beard sits across the room in the semi-darkness of the not-yet-open area, watching the news that is louder than I like.

People-watching, at least, doesn't change. They fill their cups before they leave for their own Somewhere Else and I wonder what their stories are. They look back, thoughtfully, wondering if they remembered everything. That doesn't change, either.

I wonder if they will miss the welcome rocket like I will. Or will they just be glad they remember it?

Have a great week. Remember. Be nice to somebody.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

New Release from the Writer and the Editor @NanReinhardt

I'm so happy to have dear friend, travel partner, copy editor extraordinaire, and Tule Publishing author on the Window today. She has a new book out--as of yesterday!--which she wants us to know about, and she's also talking about her two jobs. 

Writer as Editor… Or Is It Editor as Writer?

I am a writer—an author. I’m also an editor. If you think those two things seem like a perfectly reasonable pairing, you’d be right on some levels and wrong on others.

Writer Nan and Editor Nan generally get along okay. We mostly stay out of each other’s way when we are supposed to. For example, Writer Nan doesn’t try to rewrite clients’ books as she copy edits, she merely copy edits, even if the urge to rewrite is sometimes strong. Rewriting is not Editor Nan’s job—ever. If the urge gets too strong, Writer Nan might disguise herself as Editor Nan and leave a comment in the manuscript, Something to the effect of “Maybe try…” with a suggestion for a better way to say whatever is clanging for her. Then it’s the author’s call if they want to rewrite.

Editor Nan (from now on, let’s refer to her as EN), on the other hand, is not nearly so polite or circumspect. She charges into Writer Nan’s territory at the drop of the proverbial hat, stopping Writer Nan (whom we’ll call WN from here out) in the middle of sentence if she feels the need and rushes in to fix whatever she thinks isn’t working. Most of the time, WN can keep EN at bay, but she does sometimes get in the way and makes writing much harder than it needs to be.

Here’s the thing that EN just doesn’t get—WN is on a deadline and the time for editing one’s own work is not while one is in the actual process of writing. Editing comes after the first draft is done, and unless a plot point changes backstory dramatically, most anything can be fixed later. WN can even stick a little comment into the manuscript—just a quick CHANGE MADDIE’S HAIR COLOR or RETHINK JACK’S DECISION HERE. Easy peasy, right? EN doesn’t need to be involved at all. But she insists on taking WN all the way back to wherever a switch-up needs to be made and together, they make it and then EN allows WN to move on with the story.

In writing her last few books, WN has been pretty much trying to ignore EN, even when she’s shouting at the top of her editorial lungs. WN has been picking up from where she left off the day before and continuing her writing. Not going back to reread what she’s already written, but rather simply taking up the story and moving it along. It hasn’t been easy, but it has worked pretty well for the storytelling, and WN is hoping she can continue to tell the first draft of her stories without any interference from EN. We shall see…

Thanks for spending time with me today, and thanks to Liz for having me here at the Window. I’ve got a little giveaway package—a backlist book, a handmade bracelet, a River’s Edge map notebook, and some other swag—for one lucky commenter. I had a little hard time coming up with a question for you because not too many of you will suffer my EN vs WN dilemma, so let’s just have some fun. For a chance at this fabulous (cough, cough) giveaway: What was your favorite book when you were kid?

 Home to River’s Edge, book 1 in the Weaver Sisters trilogy
by Nan Reinhardt

 She’s determined to start a new chapter, so why is she still drawn to a man from her past?

When Jasmine Weaver, the chief of staff to a powerful D.C. congresswoman, chose integrity, she didn’t anticipate ringing in the New Year disgraced, unemployed, and sleeping in her childhood bedroom. Now back in River’s Edge, Indiana, identical triplet Jazz has her sisters’ support while she plans her next steps. She agrees to lead the committee for their high school's fifteenth reunion, never dreaming that her co-chair is the man who broke her teenage heart.

As the new CEO of Walker Construction, Elias Walker has taken the family business to new levels of success. He’s buried himself in work to ease the grief of losing his fiancé several years earlier and wants nothing more than to be a carpenter again. He grudgingly agrees to co-chair the high school’s reunion committee, but when Jazz Weaver blows into town, suddenly anything seems possible.

These high school sweethearts have lived half their lives apart. Can they reinvent themselves back in the town where it all began?

Buy Links:

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

Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet, small-town 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. She’s a mom to beloved Son and DIL, and a grandmother to darling Grandboy. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of nearly 50 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake.

Talk to Nan at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tule Publishing | BookBub | Goodreads

Monday, April 17, 2023

A Promise Fulfilled by Peggy Jaeger #WriterMonday

Ghosts of New England: Last Light Point

Book #4

A Promise Fulfilled

by Peggy Jaeger 

Late October, Present Day

After winning millions in a national lottery, local librarian Daisy Morgan sets out to revitalize the infamous Crow’s Nest Tavern. After saving the historic inn from the auction block, Daisy begins a major renovation only to discover some hidden secrets – and a few unearthly spirits – tied to the tavern’s history.

Writer Keegan Warren arrives to do a story on the revitalization of the tavern weeks before the grand re-opening. Keegan’s got a few secrets of his own about why he wanted the assignment – secrets that unfold no matter how diligently he tries to keep them hidden.

With Daisy’s help, he unearths a centuries old murder tied to his family’s past. As they investigate, their mutual attraction grows. But will their budding relationship suffer when the truth is discovered?

Universal Purchase Link: 

The Crowe’s Nest Tavern stood at the sharpest jut of land on Last Light Point and had weathered several hundred years of New England storms and tempests, dozens of owners, and a history that dated from before the birth of the nation. Daisy wasn’t about to let that history go the way of the dinosaur on her watch.

Her critical eye for detail roamed around the room taking in all the updates done, while keeping the original feel of the old tavern alive.

The establishment had been up for auction for a year, the previous owner dying without ever making provisions for its sale. Daisy, as head of the historical society, had tried valiantly to get it listed as a protected historical site. The fact the structure had stood for over three hundred years should have qualified it outright, but her attempts fell on deaf legislative ears. The bank, who owned the mortgage, had put it up for sale. When no buyer came forth, they placed it on the auction block. Daisy was terrified it was going to be sold and subsequently knocked down. When an outside developer expressed interest in the property and the rest of the boardwalk to build upscale condos, Daisy had gone into fight mode to block his every attempt.

Just when it looked like her struggle would prove futile, several prayers and one stroke of heaven-sent luck had come her way and she’d been able to purchase the building and, with it, the leases for the remaining shops on the boardwalk.

Unexpectedly flush with disposable cash, Daisy spared no expense to bring the tavern back to its long ago beauty.

If you could call its twisted history beautiful, she thought. She supposed the sight where pirates and thieves hung out and where they were, subsequently, hung or placed into the dreaded gibbet and left to rot for all the citizenry to gawk over, could be classified as historically significant, if not pretty.

Oh, she wished she could have seen it in its heyday. Filled to the rafters with brigands and soldiers and sailors all stopping for a pint and some grub to fill their bellies. Buxom serving girls bustling about, filling tankards, listening to tall tales of sea monsters and hidden treasure; of mermaids and sirens and Davy Jones’ Locker.

Daisy sighed, her imagination running rampant as it always did when she thought of the tavern’s history. Her gaze traveled to the mirror Cooper’s crew had discovered in the basement when they’d begun shoring up the ancient walls. Covered with a black tarp and decades of dust, they’d uncovered it and immediately called her.

“It’s wicked old,” Cooper said as he accompanied her to the tavern’s underground level. “And worth a fortune, I’m thinking. That frame’s real gold. I’d bet the house on it.”

Daisy stooped to inspect the mirror. Cooper’s eye was good, because the frame was genuine gold and decorated with a filigree pattern on all four sides. About five feet wide and three quarters of that in width, the glass was murky with age and dust. She could barely make out her reflection.

“I bet it hung on the wall behind the bar,” she mused. “Take it upstairs and put it in my office. I’ll call Mrs. Cashman over at the antiques store to come over and take a look at it. She should know how to clean it, too, to bring it back to life.”

“What are you planning to do with it?” Cooper asked.

“Put it where I’m sure it used to hang: back up behind the bar.”

Cooper cupped his neck and shook his head. “It weighs a ton, kid. Mounting and securing it’s gonna be a nightmare.”

“I’m sure you’ll do your best.” She swiped at the dust collecting on her jeans and stood. A momentary wave of vertigo over took her, making her sway. Cooper’s hand shot out in an instant to clasp her upper arms right before she dropped to the floor.

“Easy,” he said. “You okay?”

“Yeah, thanks.” She swiped at the sweat suddenly covering her brow. “I missed breakfast,” she lied, shaking her head of the subtle hum ringing through it. She hadn’t felt this sensation in too many years to remember. Not since…she clucked her tongue and shoved the memory down. “I’ll go call the antique shop.”

Now, as she stood in front of the cleaned and polished mirror, the glass just slightly milky from age, she smiled. And, now that she knew what it really was, she could admit a small amount of anxiety about hanging it behind the bar. So far, none of the workmen or staff had commented on anything…strange, about the piece. And thank goodness for that. That it looked perfect hanging there was a minor consolation.

About the Anthology – 4 Complete Books, 4 Authors


A Multi-Century Romance Anthology

from Best Selling & Award Winning Authors

Can true love conquer a deadly curse?

Don’t look at the gibbet… Legend has it that disaster will strike all those who do. The townspeople of Last Light Point have come to respect the centuries-old advice. Those that didn’t, paid the price.

4 stories – 4 time periods – 1 very haunted tavern in New England!

A new romance anthology unlike any other from 4 best-selling and award-winning authors.

· The Pirate’s Promise by Lisa A. Olech (Autumn 1728)

· Smoke and Mirrors by Kathryn Hills (Autumn 1867)

· For the Love of Grace by Nancy Fraser (Fall 1941)

· A Promise Fulfilled by Peggy Jaeger (Late October, Present Day)

PEGGY JAEGER writes contemporary romances and rom coms about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"

Amazon Author page:

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Jumper Cables and Blue Butterflies by Liz Flaherty


I haven't had a very good week. Nothing wrong, exactly, just some upheaval, a decision I didn't want to make, and a sad anniversary. We all have weeks like this, don't we? They're when we cry in the shower, forget anything's cooking until the smoke alarm goes off, and stub our toes on...nothing. The floor can be as flat as a griddle and it will still trip you up! You've read about my broken nose, but...yeah, that's how it happened. 

So, today I got my nails done. My neighbor, Bev, was in there at the same time. It was just a regular day at the Nail Studio, with Bev getting a pedicure and me getting pretty pink gel on my fingernails with a blue butterfly on my ring finger. Of course, things went awry when Bev put her sock on before Gina was ready for her to--so Gina threw the sock at her. 

It must be said here that the only reason I told this story was because Bev said to watch out because it might show up in the next column. I may have said I wouldn't do that, but I don't remember. I need to add, too, that Julie, who does my nails, has never thrown anything at me. 

Maybe saying never isn't the right thing to do here...

The point of this is that it was a good laugh on a day when I needed one in the worst way. Thank you, Gina, Julie, and Bev.


So last night, after a delicious dinner at Club 14--try the grouper; it's great--we went to Kroger's. I needed ice cream and Duane needed yellow cheese. We discussed as we went across town whether it was Kroger or Kroger's and even though I think he's right in calling it Kroger, I still say Kroger's. Or on days when I feel slightly ridiculous, I'll sing, 🎝Let's go Krogering...🎝even though I shouldn't. Or I mumble "cut your costs at Kroger" as I push the cart into the store. I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this. Well, maybe...

Anyway, Duane waited while I went into the store. When I came out, he said, "It won't start."

My first thought was, "Don't tell me it won't start. I have ice cream here." My second was that I wished I'd bought a spoon. We've had Duane's car for ten years. We've never bought a battery for it, but I think if it was going to give up the ghost, it could have done it when I didn't have a carton of butter pecan in the cart. 

We didn't have jumper cables. We had a discussion about where they were. We still don't know--they might still be riding around in the 1995 pickup he traded on his car. Several people offered us a jump, but they didn't have jumper cables, either. Duane called our daughter, who also didn't have any, but she brought a battery charger thingy from a friend--he didn't have cables, either. 

It couldn't give the car enough juice to do more than play the radio and open the windows. (Which would have been enough when we were sitting at the Kar Hop back in the 60s, but I'm regressing today, aren't I?) We really, really needed jumper cables. And a battery.

One daughter and a couple of hundred dollars later, we had them. There was much laughing involved, and Duane and I talked on the way home about what we'd have done in our young married days if we'd had to spend a couple of hundred dollars we didn't expect. 

We'd still be sitting in Kroger's parking lot with melting ice cream bought on sale. 

We got home--much later than expected. My ice cream was pretty soft but still really good. I was reminded by the day's adventures of how grateful we are for friends, family, ice cream, and Kroger's. Of laughing at the Nail Studio, of neighbors, and of church family who will always be family despite changes. 

It was still a crummy week. But there have been pretty days. Good food. More laughing than crying. Conversations with daughters and other friends. I used the quote from a favorite song yesterday, no turning back, and reaching that place in situations hurts. Loss almost always does. But, always, before the loss came the love. I'm grateful.

I hope you have a good week. Carry jumper cables. Be nice to somebody. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

For the Love of Grace by Nancy Fraser #WriterMonday

Ghosts of New England: Last Light Point

Book #3

For the Love of Grace

by Nancy Fraser

Fall, 1941

Grace O’Hearn and her father have lived in Last Light Point since before the ’29 stock market crash that took so much from so many. Still, somehow, they managed to keep afloat, often lending a hand to those in dire need.

Now—many years later—things are finally picking up again. So much so, the tavern is a much-coveted piece of property. When Grace’s father is brutally murdered, the main suspect is a property developer who’s been harassing all the waterfront proprietors. With her father’s death, Grace now becomes the sole owner of The Crowe's Nest Tavern, an establishment that dates back centuries, and comes with its own set of resident ghosts.

When FBI agent, Max Stewart, is assigned to investigate suspected racketeering and police corruption in Last Light Point, the last thing he expects is to be caught up in a murder investigation. When he first meets Grace, he’s convinced she’s hiding something. Yet, her keen insight about the town, and everyone in it, may be the best lead he has.

Can they work together to solve both investigations? Or, will an attraction neither of them can deny keep getting in the way?

Universal Purchase Link:

Grace put four place settings on each of the six tables in the main dining area. Not that she was expecting a crowd, but it never hurt to be prepared. She and Aggie, her cook, would eat in the kitchen in between customers.

It had rained lightly during the afternoon and the early evening remained overcast. The foul weather would, most likely, curtail tourists. With any luck, a few of the locals would wander in. Especially, given it was Thursday, and that meant Aggie’s famous pork stew and dumplings.

Grace was on her way back to the service area to grab water glasses when her newest guest appeared in the doorway.

“Mr. Stew... um... Max. I hope you found your room satisfactory.”

“Yes, thank you. The view out over the water is striking when the sun begins to set.”

“The sunrise is just as beautiful,” she told him. “Can I offer you a drink before dinner? We have special pricing in the dining room.”

“I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a scotch on the rocks,” he responded.

“One scotch coming up. Take a seat anywhere. As you can see, we’re not crowded.”

“I take it business has been slow since... well...”

“Business was ‘slow’ before my father was killed. Now, it’s almost non-existent.”

“I’m sure the hubbub will die down, and your customers will return.”

“We have one busy tourist season left these next couple of weeks,” she explained. “With the change of season, we’ll get those who find it interesting to watch the leaves turn color. For whatever reason, they come in droves.”

“They do the same in other countries,” Max said. “In Japan, it’s called momijigari, or red leaf hunting. In Finland, it’s ruskaretki.”

“You’ve traveled a lot,” she surmised.

“I did a four-year stint with the military police before joining the bureau in 1935. During my time overseas, we covered a lot of countries shepherding diplomats and politicians.”

“I’ve never been anywhere but here.”

“You grew up in Last Light Point?” he asked.

“Technically, I grew up north of here in Mystic Point, just off Skullery Bay. We moved here when my uncle retired and sold the tavern to my father for next to nothing.”

“Why so cheap?”

“It was 1928. Prohibition was still in effect, and there wasn’t much ‘business’ to the business. Had it not been for the boarders, and the dining, we’d have not even tried to make a go of it.”

“It must have been rough.”

“Not at first. When my mother passed away a few years earlier, she left my father some family money. Pops was always good with finances, but he didn’t trust banks. When the stock market crashed, a lot of our friends back home went belly up. A few took their own lives. It was horrible. We were able to hold on because of his frugal ways. We never once tossed out a boarder, even if they couldn’t pay.” 


A Multi-Century Romance Anthology

from Best Selling & Award Winning Authors

Can true love conquer a deadly curse?

Don’t look at the gibbet… Legend has it that disaster will strike all those who do. The townspeople of Last Light Point have come to respect the centuries-old advice. Those that didn’t, paid the price.

4 stories – 4 time periods – 1 very haunted tavern in New England!

A new romance anthology unlike any other from 4 best-selling and award-winning authors.

· The Pirate’s Promise by Lisa A. Olech (Autumn 1728)

· Smoke and Mirrors by Kathryn Hills (Autumn 1867)

· For the Love of Grace by Nancy Fraser (Fall 1941)

· A Promise Fulfilled by Peggy Jaeger (Late October, Present Day)


NANCY FRASER is a bestselling and award-winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.

Her spicy romances have won top awards year after year and received cover quotes from some of the most recognized names in the romance industry. Named 2021 Canadian Author of the Year by N.N. Light’s Book Heaven, she refuses to rest on her laurels and keeps at it daily.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren, and looks for ways to avoid housework. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.




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Saturday, April 8, 2023

Like the Blue Jay by Liz Flaherty

I found this the other day. While I know when I wrote it, I don't actually recall doing it. It was a rough time--the pain in my neck and shoulder was intense and I wasn't in all that good of a personal place, either. It's the only thing I've ever written that was ever influenced by...what, substance use? Although the Percocet was legal, and I took it comparatively sparingly, it made me as well as my writing voice different. Something I find odd is that I'm using this today to avoid writing about politics, and even in my fog, I wrote about them then. 

Finding the essay and not being able to remember its origins or why I wrote it is an uncomfortable feeling. Let me know what you think. Have a good week. Be nice to somebody.

I thought I should try something different. Maybe a short story. Or a poem. Then I thought that would be foolish—I write good essays, but my short stories are suspect and my poems are nonexistent. So I just kept looking out the office window this morning. Thinking

There he is--a bright space in a field of gray

Oh, there, a good first line for a poem. I may do that.

The clothespins hang discouraged and upside down on the line
Unused and unneeded on these days that slip inexorably into cool and damp and wind.
And gray.

I think, and talk, about memories a lot. It’s one of the joys of elderliness, that if you can’t bear what a day has to offer, you have only to remember another day, a good day, to get you through the hard ones.

Across the leaf-strewn grass, the cottonwood stands weary
Dead up the middle, but still growing and hopeful in the branches that surround the center.
It looks pretty with the morning sun on it
Dispelling the gray and lighting up the blue jay that dances among the limbs
Scolding in rhythm to a one-two count only he can hear.

I am on a Percocet high today, the pain in my shoulder and arm alleviated to an extent that I feel like dancing, too. I’m scared of drugs…all drugs…I worry that taking three Extra-Strength Tylenol as opposed to two, every five hours instead of six, will send me across my goody-two-shoes line into addiction. My fingers remain numb to remind me that the Percocet will only work for a few hours and that it’s a cover, not a cure.

I could dance for a little while,
Like the blue jay, chattering out against the gray.

I’ve watched the news almost nonstop this past week, wondering if the person I consider the personification of evil has finally gone a step too far for his actions to be accepted even by his loyal followers. I think of our country, of her allies, of her history, and am embarrassed by what she has become. I’ve always hated when people spoke of things in the past as if everything was all wonderful then. They are the ones who don’t remember that racism, sexism, and a raft of other isms were alive and well in the “good old days,” too. They are the ones who elected Richard Nixon. Twice.

I am discouraged. What I called a high from Percocet isn’t really—I understand that. It’s a fog that diminishes the pain for a while, but it’s still a fog.

Still gray.

Time moves on between the first dose of the day and the second. My arm hurts and a new ache starts at my wrist. Does hurt chase itself? I wonder, twisting my arm in all different directions in a vain attempt to find the right one.

Of course, it does. When you’re hurt, no matter how hard you beat it back and pretend all is well and smile great big, it crops up in a new place. A new face. Someone you trusted and shouldn’t have. Someone you loved and still do.

So you move around in search of a comfortable place
To dance on the branches
Like the blue jay in his glory
Finding joy.

It is nearly time for the second dose. My fingers are numb and there’s fear there. Other than three times in labor, when the rewards so outweighed the gasping entreaties for it to be over, I’ve never experienced unrelenting pain. It’s not the worst, but it doesn’t go away.

The branches crack and crumble in the wind, making music
For the bird to dance to
When it looks as if he will give up and retreat to the ground
He instead finds another limb that suits him better.

With a sigh of relief, I take the round white pill, hoping it will do its thing and worrying about taking them. Not because I sit in judgment of people who have addictions but because I don’t want to be one. While I’ve been curious about the effects, I’ve never felt a need to try them. Now, with pain chasing itself through my arm and shoulder, that need pushes at me. And I push back. I have three more days’ worth. That will be enough. It has to be enough.

Like the Blue Jay

There he is--a bright space in a field of gray
The clothespins hang discouraged and upside down on the line
Unused and unneeded on these days that slip inexorably into cool and damp and wind.
And gray.

Across the leaf-strewn grass, the cottonwood stands weary
Dead up the middle, but still growing and hopeful in the branches that surround the center.
It looks pretty with the morning sun on it
Dispelling the gray and lighting up the blue jay that dances among the limbs
Scolding in rhythm to a one-two count only he can hear.

I could dance for a little while,
Like the blue jay, chattering out against the gray.
Still gray.

You move around in search of a comfortable place
To dance on the branches
Like the blue jay in his glory
Finding joy.

The branches crack and crumble in the wind, making music
For the bird to dance to
When it looks as if he will give up and retreat to the ground
He instead finds another limb that suits him better.

It will be enough, dancing on the branches of the singing cottonwood
Even when the wounds move on to other places
Especially when they move on to other places
I’ll dance like the blue jay.

And find joy.


Monday, April 3, 2023

Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder by Brenda Whiteside and Joyce Proell


It’s a birthday weekend with the gift of murder.

Recently widowed, Emma Banefield looks forward to a getaway birthday weekend with her free-wheeling sister, Nicole Earp, sipping chocolate martinis at the peaceful, historic Dulce Inn. When a rude stranger, a nasty food critic, and a madhouse of temperamental artists greet them, all hope for a tranquil weekend evaporates faster than dew on a hot desert morning.

Overlooking the riotous atmosphere is doubly hard after Em discovers the body of a hotel guest, and a second murder affects Nic personally. Now, entrenched in a caper that pits them against a surly detective, they cozy up to a hotel staff hiding dangerous secrets to uncover clues to the killer.

Using their smarts and love of all-things mystery, will the Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime ahead of the obstinate Chief Detective or find themselves trapped in the middle of a third murder?

Sounds like a case for the Chocolate Martini Sisters. The silly moniker lifted the heavy weight on her chest, and she smiled. In spite of it all, life was good. With closed eyes, she breathed deeply what she’d expected to be fresh air. Instead, the stink of cigarette smoke made her noise twitch. What dummy had the gall to clog up paradise? One eye popped open in search of the culprit. 

The offender, a woman sporting bleached blonde hair with sprigs of azure and pink, propped against the hotel, one scuffed sneaker planted on the brick façade. A white apron, the sort preferred by cooking staff, wrapped about her slender waist. She sucked another puff. A cross tattoo on her wrist stained the pale skin blue. Acting as though she didn’t see her sitting there, she blew the offending smoke across her shoulder, away from her.   

Thanks loads. Lips pursed and her privacy interrupted, she sat upright and faced the hard-edged employee. The aroma of sautéed garlic and onions mingled with the smoke of her cigarette. “You must work in the kitchen,” Emma said by way of making conversation. A series of gold hoops pierced the rounded helix of the woman’s left ear. 

“Yup.” She crossed her arm over her waist, propping her elbow on her opposite hand and looked away, blowing more pollution into the air.  

“So, you work with the famous Chef Grayson.” 

The woman snorted. “Yeah. I guess you could say that.” 

Evidently, Miss Rainbow-Colored Hair didn’t think much of him. 

“Are you his assistant?”


So this was Charlotte Wilson. The very woman Joe had mentioned to Nic and who coveted Payne’s job. 

“Chef Payne has built up quite a prestigious reputation.”

“Oh, yeah,” she snarled. “He’s the best.” Her acid tone dripped with sarcasm. 

Emma chose to avoid further comment about their contentious work relationship 

“Are you familiar with the man who died?”

She grunted and picked tobacco from her tongue. “You mean who was murdered?”

“Shocking, isn’t it?” As suspected, word of the death had spread throughout the hotel. 

The sous-chef didn’t answer. Instead, she ground the last bit of her cigarette into the paver with her shoe, then flashed the most chilling smile. “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.” Without a parting word, she disappeared through the hotel door.

She reclined against the supportive lounge chair, not certain what to make of the woman. Hostile was a certainty, and the cold smile was downright creepy. Could Nic’s proposed theory at breakfast suggesting the sous-chef committed murder to frame Payne for personal advancement be viable? Could a person successfully lead a kitchen crew with so much anger licking at her heels? Was she driven enough to kill? 

Joyce Proell is the award-winning author of Amaryllis, Eliza and the Cady Delafield mysteries: A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and A Wicked Truth. Along with her husband and little dog, Nellie, she lives in Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie. She loves to hear from readers. 

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. 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 and won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Waxing Gibbous by Liz Flaherty

It was a dark and stormy, really, it was. I thought I saw the moon hanging clear and pale orange this morning, but when I went to take a picture of it, I can't find it. I don't know how you lose the moon, but I appear to have done so. Thinking I had imagined it, I looked up the moon's phase today and found this: 

"Today, the moon phase is Waxing Gibbous, with an illumination of 79.37%. It is currently 10.33 days old on Saturday, April 1, 2023. The moon is currently located in the constellation of ♌ Leo."

I still can't find it, but I did learn the term waxing gibbous. Since I am a Leo, and the moon is currently located in my constellation, it was, of all things, a comforting thing to find on this dark morning after the stormy night. Finding new words is one of the most satisfying parts of being a writer, especially when you like how it looks in print--as is the case with waxing gibbous.

Another favorite word and one I don't often use, is ephemeral. So many things match its definition, which is "lasting for a very short time." Like my sighting of the moon in its waxing gibbous stage. Like the astonishingly beautiful rainbow earlier this week. Like the years between your child's birth and his or her eighteenth birthday. Like the feeling at the end of a very good day of can it always be like this?

No. of course it can't.

I wrote earlier this week about what five minutes can mean. The article came on the heels of heartbreak after the shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where people died. Where children died.

What I am reminded of, thinking of five minuteses and the words ephemeral and waxing gibbous is that there are things that don't fit into those quick parameters. Things like loss and the lives and homes that will never be the same again. Things like heartbreak. Those things scar over, leaving emotional knots and lesions in their wake, but they don't ever go away.

I don't have an end to this, nor have I found the moon I saw for just a few seconds in the early morning. The sun is coming up now, pushing color into the slate-colored clouds that hang above the horizon. I hope it will be a good day. I hope you have a good week.

Be nice to somebody.