Saturday, July 20, 2024

Parade Day by Liz Flaherty

Taking the day off. Wishing everyone luck and happy marching in the circus parade today. I hope it's been a good week for the performers and everyone else involved with the circus. Until next week, may all your days be circus days. Be nice to somebody.


P.S. I did blog at Smart Women Need Romance today. Well, actually I wrote it several days ago... Stop by!

https://smartgirlsreadromance.blogspot.com/2024/07/everyday-by-liz-flaherty.html

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Less than by Liz Flaherty

I usually only have Wednesday at the Window when I have a guest. Today, the guest is me. I wrote this for last night's Black Dog Writers' meeting. This morning, I added a little to it. Although it's written for writers and about writing, I think it matters in other areas, too. No one deserves "less than."

This week, I read a review on A Year of Firsts, a book I released last year. The title of the review was: This was a worthless and boring waste of time! One star was awarded, and the rest of the review went like this: “This was such a boring read. I seriously had a hard time getting into it. Was it me or was Syd always talking to herself? And I also wished the author made it easier to keep the characters straight. Too many names at once were just too confusing. And why did the chapters have to be so long? Oh, that made the read that much more daunting. Don’t authors know that it’s easier to read shorter chapters rather than longer ones? No, they have to go with 12 REALLY LONG and ENDLESS chapters!” (The book was 192 pages, just to give a hint of how LONG and ENDLESS they were.)

On Sunday, we went to watch a couple of musicians perform. They were retirement age, talented and funny and singing familiar songs. We liked them a lot.

After the show, I went to tell them how much I enjoyed it. My friend June was right behind me. I got there in time to hear one of them say they were both retired professors from a nearby private college.

As someone whose formal education ended with high school graduation, I am both impressed and intimidated by education and those who have a lot of it. (The exception to this is my kids, who have numerous degrees between them, but, as the saying goes, I did teach them to use a spoon.) I assume that people with letters accompanying their names other than M-R-S and Mom Emeritus not only know more than I do, but are smarter as well.

I asked one of the musicians what he taught. Art, he said, and talked about it a little bit, plus he said he painted as well. His partner taught history, but I didn’t catch whether it was art history or…you know…history history.

Behind me, June said I was interested in education and that I was a writer who’d written lots of books. Oh, my goodness, his face lit up. “That’s wonderful,” he said. “What do you write?”

Before I could mumble anything, June said, “She has 20-some books published. She writes romance.”

As impressed as he was by the fact that I had books published—which doesn’t carry nearly the cachet in its bag of tricks as it used to—was just how uninspired he was by the genre that I wrote. His face collapsed in on itself and he visibly recoiled.

He started to say something, and I admit to not knowing what it was. I just said, “Never mind. I saw your face. I enjoyed the show,” and went on to speak to his partner.

While my romance writing has segued pleasantly into women’s fiction over the years, I still have a loyalty to the genre that taught me a lot, entertained me a lot, and gained me publication and occasional paychecks. I still read it, although not as much. It grew one direction and I grew another. It became both uber-inclusive and uber-exclusive almost in the same breath. I just got old, which is where romance’s uber-exclusivity came in. The genre as a rule excludes people past their 40s wherever they can.

I guess that is the way genre fiction is. If you’re the protagonist in a cozy mystery, you can be old, but you’d better be quirky, too. If it’s horror, it needs to be…well, I don’t know; the only horror I’ve ever read was a couple of Steven King books that I thought I should like because he’s such a good writer.

And that line…that one right there before this…is the reason I wrote this.

Stephen King is more than a good writer; he’s a great one. His book On Writing was the most helpful instruction manual I ever read. But I don’t read horror or anything else that scares the bejesus out of me. The fact that I don’t read it doesn’t have a thing to do with its quality, does it? It just means I don’t read horror.

I read that Henry James said Louisa May Alcott was “not a genius” after he wrote a really awful review of Moods. While I’ve never read Henry James, I have read virtually every word Miss Alcott ever wrote and I will stack her genius up against his every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

But even then, if someone wrote in a genre not respected by the literati, a face was made. A writer’s work was denigrated. The words “less than” floated both silent and loud in the atmosphere just as they do now.

Romance novels often don’t hold their shelf space for long. They’re replaced quickly and easily. And yet the keeper shelf in my house is comprised almost completely of them. They, not the pretty hardbacks with their dust covers still intact, are the ones I re-read, that I’ve had to replace from eBay because I’ve literally read them until they fell apart. Less than? Hardly.

I have learned a lot in the process of getting old. I know about hair color, that refined sugar gives me heartburn, that either talking or looking down on someone else doesn’t make me any smarter or taller. I have learned that if the music’s too loud, you can leave. If you don’t like the book, you don’t have to read it. If artwork doesn’t touch your sweet spot, look elsewhere.

But don’t critique with the intent of harm. And don’t make a face.




Saturday, July 13, 2024

Yeah, I'm tired by Liz Flaherty


I had a column half-written. Well, maybe a third. I really liked it, but when I read it over, then read it aloud, I realized I sounded like a bitter old person. What's really bad about that is that the subject of that first long paragraph was...yeah, bitter old people who complain about everything. So, you've been spared that. For this week, anyway. You're welcome.

But I didn't really have any ideas about what to write, which happens a lot these days (which might have something to do with being old; I'm not copping to bitter. Most of the time.) So I stole borrowed a subject from Sean Dietrich, one of my favorite columnists. 

Let's talk about food. 

It's been a lifelong love. While many people my age have seen their appetites diminish over the years, that phenomenon hasn't reached me yet. I love to eat, to have meals with friends, dinners or breakfasts with family members when my son and/or son-in-law make the best gravy ever. I love popcorn with  movies, cheese and crackers with anything, and potato chips if there is a bag or can of them that hasn't gotten away from me yet. 

Are you saying So yet? As in, when's she going to get to the meat of the matter? (Sorry. I had to say that.)

The meat is one I've talked about often, but needs to be re-addressed in case anyone missed it. 

I'm tired of cooking. I'm tired of choosing what to cook. I'm tired of choosing where to go out to eat. I'm tired of choosing when to eat. At a time when so many people in government are intent on taking away choices, they don't even address this one. This gives me a sneaking suspicion that they haven't been choosing what, when, and where to eat for most of their lives, and as long as it doesn't affect them, they're not interested. 

I don't see a solution to any of this happening soon, but I am happy to have gotten it said anyway. 

Again. 

I'm not cooking tonight, by the way. We're going to the ice cream social at Ebenezer Church and I'm going to have one of Gracie's chicken sandwiches and a piece of someone else's great pie--probably sugar cream--and whatever kind of ice cream I want. Because as tired as I am of cooking and of choosing stuff, I'm not one bit tired of eating. 

Have a good week and some ice cream. Be nice to somebody. 




Saturday, July 6, 2024

The Woman's Journey by Liz Flaherty

If you've seen me on social media at all, you know I've been blogging a lot, saying Look at me! I wrote a book! a lot, and working on writing the next book--also a lot. I was going to put in a note saying I was going to take a few weeks off, but I'm really not. And then I thought I just did a Fourth of July post, so I could skip today, but that's not a habit I want to get started, so today I'm going to share a post that's just me, the writer. Not so much the Window Over the Sink girl, but the other one who's even more geeky that me at the Window. This is a combination of a couple of recent blog posts, so if you already saw them, I apologize. But here it is--the Liz Flaherty treatise on the Woman's Journey. Thanks for reading the Window. - Liz


I’m not sure when the term women’s fiction entered my consciousness. I don’t recall whose I read first or even if I liked it. The words Woman’s Journey had been bandied about most of the years I’d been writing romance, and I thought that’s what we should do with romance and women’s fiction—just make them into one huge glorious genre known as The Woman’s Journey.

The idea didn’t catch on.

But I read Curtiss Ann Matlock’s Lost Highways and Robyn Carr’s Deep in the Valley and Cheryl Reavis’s Blackberry Winter and Elisabeth Ogilvie’s Bennett’s Island series. I kept thinking yes, this! They’re all women’s fiction, but they’re all love stories, too. They’re all women’s journeys and I’ve read most of them more than once. While I love the relationship that grows between the heroine and hero, I also enjoy the ones between girlfriends, between sisters, between work friends who are there for each other. The romance is important, but it’s not always most important.

Because it's the story that’s important. The journey. How you feel when you finish reading. To a lesser degree, as a writer, how I feel when I finish writing is important, too.

To begin the story of Pieces of Blue, I had two words. Two! What was I supposed to do with that? But there they were: Trilby died.

Great. Who's Trilby? Why did he die? Did someone kill him? 

In a conversation at Home Ec club, my friend Tami Keaffaber said Town Lake was south of Akron and had been for…well, she had no idea how long. But it was less than 10 miles from my house, less than five from where I grew up. How could I not have known it was there? My sister said that of course it was there. Where had I been?

So my husband and I turned where she said to, off a country road onto a little bitty countrier road (yeah, I made that word up.) “It’s a T road. You can’t miss it.” 

Even with its small green sign identifying Town Lake Road, we could and did miss it. But there it was—the lake I’d never heard of and had possibly insisted wasn’t even there. Between the lake that wasn’t there--renamed Harper Loch by Maggie Edgington--and the town I’ve taken for granted for my entire life, one of my favorite settings was born. 

There are only 86 people on the lake, one store, one church, and one beauty salon, after all—but Placer, the town closest to it, strongly resembles Akron.

Akron is where my doctor’s office is, where I go to church, where two of my nieces live, where I used to sit at the drugstore counter and drink a small coke and talk to friends. My first bra and many pairs of stockings came from Eber’s Five & Ten. They have a great 4th of July parade and a pretty little park like the one you’ll read about in Maggie’s story.

Because after having that two-word start that wouldn’t get off my mind and a trip back a skinny, curvy road to a small lake I’d never known existed, heroine Maggie North invited me on her journey. It took her a while, and writing it took me a while, but…gosh, I loved Maggie. And Sam. And her adoptive parents. And Pastor Cari Newland. Oh, and Maggie’s friend Ellie and the dachshund named Chloe, too.

Pieces of Blue has some romance, a setting I never wanted to leave, and, most of all, it has friends and family and community. Their dialogue was so much fun to write. The house—the Burl—is a character unto itself.

How did I feel when I finished writing it? Oh, I felt good. Happy with how Maggie found herself. Sorry it was over and slapping back thoughts that maybe it wasn’t over…maybe there was another story at Harper Loch. Or two.

We’ll see. In the meantime, it’s a story from the “huge glorious genre” I mentioned above. I hope you like it.

Blurb:

For all of her adult life, loner Maggie North has worked for bestselling author Trilby Winterroad, first as his typist, then as his assistant, and finally as his ghost writer. Throughout her first marriage, widowhood, remarriage, and divorce from an abusive husband, Trilby was the constant in her life.

When he dies, she inherits not only his dachshund, Chloe, but a house she didn’t know existed on a lake she’d never heard of. On her first visit, she falls in love with both the house and the lake. Within a few weeks, she’s met most of the 85 inhabitants of Harper Loch and surprisingly, become a part of the tiny community. Her life expands as does a new kind of relationship with her friend Sam Eldridge. She finally feels not only at home, but safe.

Until her ex-husband is released from prison. The fragile threads of her new life begin to fray, and that feeling of safety is about to shatter into a thousand pieces.

Buy links:

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/FlahertyBlue

Amazon: https://a.co/d/eyEjPDA

Thanks for reading. Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.







Thursday, July 4, 2024

The Fourth of July and Pockets of Hope by Liz Flaherty

I wrote this four years ago. This is the third time to post it. I am more discouraged as an American than I've been since Vietnam days, And yet, I still have pockets of hope, too. That's what we're still about--filling those pockets  Have a safe and good Independence Day Weekend. - Liz

Today is the Fourth of July. It's always been a favorite day, full of family celebrations and parades and awe-inspiring fireworks. It's been a reminder of patriotism, of lives lost, and of sacrifices made. Of the amazing glory of our comparatively young country.

Do I still feel this way? Not so much. There is no place right now for those who tread the middle ground, which leaves many of us longing for the way things used to be. If I'm honest about it, I'll admit they weren't really that way even then. I guess we were just a lot politer about it.

There are things, though, that still feel the same. My husband, my brother, our 
son, and our grandson have all served--or still serve--in the military. I am proud of their service, proud of them, and proud of others who have answered that call. There is no limit to the love and gratitude I feel. When I watched my husband give our grandson (who now outranks him) his first salute as an officer, I re-understood the meaning of having one's heart swell with pride.

I remember, though, don't you? During Vietnam Era when people spat on soldiers? When they called them baby-killers. When the government tried to deny the damage that had been done to our own by Agent Orange and by the greed that led much of the war. So, no, not always better. I not only worry about my grandson having to fight in wars not of his generation's making, but of his own countrymen treating him badly when he is at home.

I love the flag and I'll always stand for the anthem if I'm able. But I'm happy the USA is still a place where it's your choice whether you stand or kneel or go on watching television when it plays. While I think burning the flag, emblazoning a political figure's face all over it, or making it into a shirt is disgusting, you are free to do so. 

And, oh, yes...protesters burned it "back then," too. There was a lot of noise about making it a constitutional amendment that outlawed burning it. But they didn't really do much about the reason for the protests. And the only amendments most people honor are the ones they deem the most important. The First one is big to me, but many people are perfectly willing to ditch it in a heartbeat as long as the Second one remains untouched.

So many people are angry. That includes me. We all feel betrayed by more people and more things than I can begin to name or understand. The Fourth of July holiday and all it's stood for for all these 244 years is just having the crap beat out of it, isn't it? 

I'm a sucker for patriotic songs. I remember most of the words to the ones we learned as kids and cop to having cold chills whenever I hear "God Bless the USA." Especially that one piece of a line in it: "...the flag still stands for freedom..."

It does, as it has for that 244 years, but if it's not standing for everybody's freedom, well, we have a really long way to go as a country, don't we?

Happy 4th of July, USA, and everybody in it. Have a good week. Stay safe. Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Just Thinking

"It’s said that there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I have never searched for it. The rainbow itself brings riches enough." - Linda Leasure

Photo by Linda Leasure

I am reminded...

Life is a gift, and we don't always get to choose how it's wrapped.

Before I missed the people I've lost, I knew them, loved them, and valued them.

If I decide not to do something because I'm 73...well, I'm still 73, so I may as well go ahead. My 21st book will be out Monday even though I'm 73. Thank you. 

It's okay to cry over spilled milk. It was your milk and you wanted it.

No one likes you less if you can't maintain a healthy weight, if your hair color's wonky, or if your body parts don't work like they should. They might like you less if you don't like yourself. If you don't--like yourself, that is--that's something you need to work on.

Laughter really is the best medicine. If you don't believe me, check out Proverbs. 

Marriage isn't being in love every day. 

Having enough is having everything. 

You are enough, and if someone tries to convince you otherwise, they're flunking the relationship test really fast.

That there are things I know. 

Days only have 24 hours in them no matter how the politicians rearrange them.

A lie is a lie no matter what else you want to call it.

Regardless of how right you think you are, sometimes you're not.

Driving faster won't get you there before you run out of gas.

If you don't respect the person in the mirror, you probably won't respect anyone else, either.

Cheating is cheating is cheating. 

While your opinion of me is none of my business, I still care about it. Hardly seems fair, does it?

Because life isn't fair, but there's good in every day. We just have to find it. 

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.  





Saturday, June 22, 2024

Malaise by Liz Flaherty

Huge sigh, here. I don't have anything worthwhile to say. It worries me when that happens because I'm afraid I'll never write a good essay again. And then I realize that good and worthwhile are subjective terms. My favorites haven't all been your favorites, and I've written a few that I was almost embarrassed to post, and you seemed to like them...or maybe you felt sorry for me. 

Part of my malaise has to do with things going on in politics and religion. In truth, most of it doesn't affect me anymore. My kids and most of my grandkids are grown and have chosen or are choosing their own paths. We do still have a 14-year-old grandson whose chosen path right now is soccer and hanging with his friends and I'm so good with that. 

It's because of him that I feel...malaisic (nope, not really a word, but I kind of like it.) I felt this way about my granddaughters when the politicians and SCOTUS judges decided they'd tell them exactly what they could do with their bodies even though they are educated adults fully capable of taking care of themselves. 

So now, because of a governor in Louisiana, I'm worried about the soccer player's religious training being on the walls of his classrooms. I like the 10 Commandments, I think they're an excellent set of rules. I probably didn't think a lot about them when I got my religious training--in Sunday School and at home and from copious reading and asking questions--but I grew to cherish them. 

I should add here that this is the same governor who turned down federal funds for summer food assistance for students; he feels there is a greater need for self-sufficiency than for feeding the hungry. 

He needs to post Matthew 25:35-40 on classroom walls. 

Living where we live, I don't expect this to be a favorite blog post. I think--gasp--most people's politics and religion differ from mine. This is great. Those are freedoms we have, even young women who can't choose what to do with their bodies and 14-year-old soccer players whose religion shouldn't be anyone's business but theirs. 

The fair is coming and so is the circus. Enjoy. Have a good week. Be nice to somebody. 




Saturday, June 15, 2024

Being Busy by Liz Flaherty

I've been busy, which is a wonderful thing in retirement. I admit that busy now differs greatly from what it used to be, but I liked it then and I like it now. While I'm not a Merriam or a Webster, I think it comes in as the opposite of being bored on the definition page. I've never been bored for longer than an afternoon, but I can't think it's preferable to having too much to do.

So, what does busy mean when you're 13 years into retirement? (I'm not sure how that happened, by the way; the last 13 years I was working sure didn't go this fast.) And how do you manage busy when you haven't seen your natural hair color or good blood pressure numbers in longer than you care to think about?

You know I'm just dying to tell you how to do it, don't you?

Right off the bat, you choose your times of day. Can't stay awake past nine? Go to bed. Can't stay asleep past five? Get up. Same answers if you can't go to sleep till one in the morning and can't wake up till ten.

Don't expect your energy to last as long as you're awake, and even if you take a nap, you might not have a second wind afterward, at which point you need to be busy in fits and starts. If it's June and you have to dust even though you just did it in November (the holidays, you know), dust one thing at a time. It might take you a week, but you'll get it done before it starts collecting too much at your starting point.

If you're eating supper at home, plan and partially prepare it during your energy hours, because if you wait until mealtime, you won't care the least little bit what anyone eats. Or if they do. There will also be many days you'll skip meal prep (and possibly the meal) altogether because you've been thinking of what to eat and then cooking it for at least 100 years and you really don't care about those things anymore, either. Just make a sandwich (always have bread on hand), eat the last of the chips, and then have cookies for dessert.
Speaking of eating the last of the chips, be sure to keep a grocery list going at all times. On your phone is best, because you're most likely to remember it that way, but taking a picture of the list on the kitchen counter will work just as well. Don't count on taking the list with you. You won't remember it.

You won't remember anything. At least nothing you need to remember.

Oh, back to being busy...I knew I was here for a reason.

It's important to realize that as you age, much of your busyness will be comprised of medical visits. Optometric or ophthalmology appointments. (Yeah, I had to look up ophthalmology.) You'll need to know what it is for when you get cataracts. Which you will do. It's like sore joints and wrinkly skin--all part of the process. You can stay really busy trying to counteract those things, but...well, good luck with that.

If you feel like you're not being busy enough, go to the store before your list is complete so you will have to go back in a couple of days. You will buy stuff you don't really need, but chances are you will before the "use by" date. Of course, it will be at the back of the cupboard by then, so you'll buy it again. Which requires another trip to the store.

Not everyone goes to the store as often as I do, but I see enough of the same people there that I know I'm not the only one.

There is always housework to do. The best response is to ignore it and say, "I need to get that done one of these days."

This also works with buying stuff. If you sew, it's necessary to have a fabric stash that has no bottom to it. You'll still need to replenish it, because you've forgotten where the piece is that you need--I told you you wouldn't remember anything--plus you'll need to buy nice time-saving notions and have enough thread spools to fill the racks on the wall.

If you read, it's necessary to have a stack of books on what's commonly known as a to-be-read pile, hereafter to be referred to as the TBR-pile-from-hell. Which might contain the same book twice. You'll probably never read that one, plus you have a spare--use it as gift. (Unless it's one of mine.)

Okay, I started this morning with nothing to say, and instead I've said far too much, so even though I'm not really finished with all the wisdom I have to share today, I'm way too busy to keep going. I hope you have a wonderful week. Be nice to somebody.



Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Cowboy’s Claim by Sinclair Jayne

Sinclair Jayne, one of my favorite writers and Window guests, joins us today. I love her take on things, and today's post is no exception to that rule. Be sure to comment for a chance at a free book from Sinclair! - Liz

Thank you so much to Liz for inviting me back to her blog. She and I discussed the theme of endings for a couple of reasons. First, I was thinking of endings because both my kids are graduating from college and heading out to new adventures, and I feel like they are really young adults now, and so that is an ending of sorts, and yet also a beginning, a new way of being for me, my kids and me and my husband as parents.

I’ve also been dwelling on endings because my new release, The Cowboy’s Claim, that drops Tuesday, June 18th is the last in a five-book series about former Special Forces Soldiers who arrive in Marietta, Montana in order to fulfill a task or make an amend for their fallen team leader.

In The Cowboy’s Claim, Calhoon Miller is tasked to solve a mystery that his friend, Jace McBride, was determined to solve when he got home after fifteen years in the army. But Jace perishes only weeks from going home. Calhoon has very little information, and yet he is determined to honor his vow. Accompanying him on his investigation is his retired military dog, Kai, and a locums doctor Jory Quinn, who just might have the key to the puzzle. His four other "brothers"—men from his team, have all kept their vow to Jace and have now settled in Marietta and will support him if needed.

Writing the last book in a series is always exciting, and yet for me it’s also poignant—sometimes almost painfully so. With each new book in a series, I build my world bigger—layering in new characters, developing a new romance and HEA for the couple—envisioning a life for them so that by the last book I have three or four committed couples, maybe a marriage, or a baby on the way. They feel so real to me. And they also appear in each other’s books so that by the end, I feel like I too live in the life I built for them. And I find it so challenging to say goodbye.

Writing can be isolating as it does take a long time, or a deep, sustained amount of focus. Doubt is always part of the journey. You need to walk alongside it but keep it from running ahead. I welcome doubt because it keeps me sharp, questioning but happiness and connection are also part of the journey. So, saying goodbye becomes harder the longer the series continues.

I have written three series set in Marietta, Montana, a Tule Publishing created town as well as several other books there in multi-author series so I do get to cheat my goodbyes on occasion. When I head back to Marietta to write a book or set a new series, I can pull in some of my favorite characters. Colt Ewing—now Colt Wilder since he discovered his origins and family appeared in the third book I ever wrote. The book, Seducing the Bachelor, was part of a Bachelor Auction series and then I wrote a series around it, and he is one of my favorite heroes, so I drag that hot, fabulous and busy man into almost every book set in Marietta.

So maybe I cheat goodbyes. I am sort of adding an honorary sixth book to the series—Christmas for the Texas Cowboy, releasing this October where the new team leader of the Montana Coyote Cowboys, Wolf Conte, heads home to Texas to fulfill a promise he grudgingly made to Jace. This will be book four of a series I wrote long ago, The Wolf Brothers of Last Stand, and I bet you can guess why he didn’t want to head home….

What are your feelings about endings? Do you embrace them and the new opportunities and challenges or dip your toe in the chilly water of “next,” and hover for a moment like me before diving in? What book or series was the hardest for you to let go of? I’ll gift a signed print book and some swag to a couple of responders.

Thanks for hanging with me,


Sinclair Jayne

A former journalist and middle school teacher, Sinclair Sawhney lucked into a job as a developmental editor with Tule Publishing nearly ten years ago and continues to enjoy working with authors. As Sinclair Jayne, she’s published over twenty-five romance novels and counting. She loves her cowboys, small towns and HEAs. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s often hosting wine tastings with her husband of over twenty-seven years in the tasting room of their small vineyard Roshni, which means light filled, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Cheers.

Find out more about Sinclair and order her books at https://tulepublishing.com/authors/sinclair-jayne/

Saturday, June 8, 2024

About the Rainbow... by Liz Flaherty

About the rainbow. From a Christian point of view. That is...from this Christian's point of view. Just like non-Christians, we don't all agree. 

It is, for Christians at least, a promise from God, His covenant between Him and every living thing (Genesis 9:12-17). As much as any other symbol of our belief, the rainbow is a harbinger of hope.  

For the LGBTQ community, it is a symbol of pride. They are also covered by the covenant from Genesis.  I think that means they get to hope, too.

A company online sells unicorn and rainbow cookies for $63 a dozen. The promise is also to them. I'm sure they hope to sell a lot of cookies. 

The rainbow has other meanings in Native American traditions. Navajos consider the rainbow the path of the holy spirits. I love this--I think they understand the promise thing just perfectly. 

The cross is a Christian symbol, too. We remember that our Savior died on a cross. That He was resurrected. We cherish the cross. We have it in our churches, on bookmarks, on jewelry, tattooed on our skin. 

People in the Ku Klux Klan burned crosses on black peoples' and Jewish peoples' lawns and in front of churches. 

They called themselves Christians. 

I really do have a point here, but I'm having trouble getting to it. Let's give this a try...

I've seen a lot of memes out there lately and read a lot of remarks laying claim to the rainbow. Ones that say Take back the rainbow or Reclaim the rainbow. 

The thing is, it's not just yours. It never was. The promise was made to "every living creature...a covenant for all generations to come..." If there was anywhere in the Bible that said we must not use the rainbow as a symbol of pride and love, I didn't find it. If there was anywhere that said it was okay--or wasn't--to sell rainbow cookies at inflated prices, I didn't find it.

I understated what the rainbow means to many of us. More than a promise, or hope, or pride, it means love. The ones who planted a pot of gold at its end believe it means prosperity and luck.

Having it represent a segment of people who've known hurts I can only guess at certainly takes nothing away from me or from anyone else; rather, it just extends the hope and the promise. God's love is not limited by our prejudices.

For those of you who think the rainbow is only a promise to some and not others, I have to admit I didn't find anything in the scriptures that indicates it's okay to use a burning cross as a symbol of hatred and racism--especially in Jesus's name--but it's still going on and I haven't seen any graphics or t-shirts that shout Take back the cross or Reclaim the cross.

That's just an oversight on my part. Isn't it? Surely turning our backs on the weaponization of the symbol of Christ dying for us is worse than sharing the rainbow with people whose lifestyles differ from our own.

At least, that's what I think. Have a good week. Be nice to somebody.





Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Ghost Mountain Ranch – now in audio! by Jan Scarbrough


Ghost Mountain Dude Ranch nestles in the white-capped mountains of Montana. It’s an idyllic setting, a place for romance to blossom. But old secrets are stirring in Blue Sky country. Three couples reach for their chance at romance, but murder, mystery, and long-concealed truths threaten their loves, and their lives.

Darby York fled Ghost Mountain thirty years ago, torn by shock and guilt over the death of her mother. Now widowed, with grown twins, she returns to help her ailing father. Hank Slade, wrangler at Ghost Mountain Ranch, has never stopped carrying the torch for Darby. But the past has a way of catching up with you. Grief and secrets had torn Darby and Hank apart once. Given a second chance at love, will the revelation of more shocking secrets from the past destroy their hopes for the future?

Slade and Laurie:


For Slade Heston, growing up as a “rich” boy in Kentucky Bluegrass country is nothing like spending the summer as a hired hand at a Montana dude ranch. Laurie Chastain has come to the ranch, supposedly to write stories to draw visitors to Ghost Mountain. But Laurie’s hiding secrets. She can’t afford the distraction of a broad-shouldered and entirely too-sexy man in a cowboy hat. Someone knows the truth about the part Ghost Mountain Ranch played in Laurie’s life, and the terrible consequences. But when the ghosts of the past threaten the lives of the living, will their growing attraction be enough to protect Slade and Laurie?

Kelsey and Max:


Had Kelsey Heston made a mistake coming to Ghost Mountain Ranch? She’s come from Kentucky to untangle her grandfather’s business books and improve the tourist trade, but what’s her old college sweetheart doing here? Max Lee has always done what was expected of him, including abandoning the woman he loved when his family demanded it. Sent to Ghost Mountain to search for a long-missing woman, he turns up another he never expected to see again: Kelsey. But something dark is happening at Ghost Mountain Ranch. Max is stirring up old feelings and old secrets. Secrets someone might be willing to kill to keep. Can they finally lay the old ghosts to rest, or will the echoes of a decades-old murder destroy their second chance at love?


Ghost Mountain Ranch. Three couples. Three chances to rediscover love. And the one mystery that binds them all and could end their stories forever.
About Jan...
The author of two popular Bluegrass romance series, Jan Scarbrough writes heartwarming contemporary stories about home and family, single moms, and children. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books and the excitement of a Bluegrass horse race or a competitive horse show.

The Ghost Mountain Ranch series is a contemporary western series with a good blend of mystery and happily-ever-after romance. The Dawsons of Montana is another four-book contemporary western series.

Jan leaves her contemporary voice behind with two paranormal gothic romances, Timeless and Tangled Memories, a Romance Writers of America (RWA) Golden Heart finalist. Her historical romance, My Lord Raven, is a medieval story of honor and betrayal.

A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan self-publishes her books with her husband’s help.

Jan lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with one rescued dog, two rescued cats, and a husband she rescued twenty-three years ago.

Websitewww.janscarbrough.com

Monday, June 3, 2024

The Dusty Baker and Book #5 by Joe DeRozier

So, book 5, "The Pond and Wet Clothes...I Can't Stop Smelling Them", will be coming out soon in its usual mediums, and I'm pretty excited.

Every time I get Mellanie Szereto (a REAL author) to go over my scribbles, set up my cover, and arrange the publishing of my next book, I get excited because I feel it's the best one I've done.

To be perfectly honest, I'm almost done with book #9 (that has to scare the bejeebers out of you) and I feel each one is better than the previous one.

Starting with book 5, there is going to be a surprise.

... well, it would have been a surprise, but I'm just going to blurt it out because I want to write about it.

I know this isn't going to change the world or anything...

...but, in addition to an ebook, a paperback, and hardcover, it's going to be offered in Audiobook.

The first thing I was asked by my kids when I told them, was "Are you reading it?"

Oh heck no.

I read one of my stories for a commercial a couple years ago, and they made me re-record it several times.

It was explained to me that I talk funny. Apparently, you can take the boy out of Wisconsin, but it's tough to get that Wisconsin accent out of the boy.

Another thing is that I tend to go rogue when I read one of my scribbles out loud.

I'll follow along for a line or two, and then disregard the script and just start telling my story off the cuff. Inevitably, I'll stumble onto a better way to tell it, and I'll want to rewrite my entire book.

If you've met me and had the displeasure of having to hear one of my stories firsthand, you know I can get pretty animated. I have different voices, I speed up for certain parts and slow down for dramatic pauses.

It's a show...

...a terrible, never ending, show...

So wisdom dictated that it was best to get a professional.

So, my people (ok, ok, "my people" is Mellanie) got hold of her people, (Jocqueline M Protho) and I signed with a company that introduced different voices.

There were decisions to make right off the bat.

Male or female?

One narrator doing the whole book or different readers for different stories?

I was given a sample size of eight different people.

All the voices were professional and articulate, and while they were good at reading a serious story, I didn't know if it would necessarily translate to a funny one.

And none of them sounded like the voices I hear in my head when I'm writing the stories...

...no kidding. I hear my stories as I write them.

Each auditioning talent gave me two samples, and then I had to decide who the very unlucky person would be that would have to read and repeat aloud (word by excruciating word) my entire book.

I tried sending the samples to my family to get their opinion, but most wouldn't even open their emails once they learned what it contained...

...and I can't be mad at them.

Phil Thron was finally selected, and I convinced (conned) a couple very good friends to listen to the final product in order to correct any mispronunciations of the many words I've created (blame the voices in my head for those).

Cindy Mullet, who wrote the intro, and Brenda Henderson, a good friend from Logansport, were the two poor souls I talked into helping.

Both Cindy and Brenda would listen to a few stories, then message me to say how great Phil's inflections were.

After listening to hours of my musings, these two martyrs are recovering nicely. Please continue to pray for them as they sit curled up in rocking chairs with blankets over their heads, weeping uncontrollably.

I don't even read my own stuff, so listening to it had been off the table for me, but Brenda insisted that I listen to a couple stories, and I have to say...

... I'm hilarious!

The finished product will be a great gift for a mother-in-law that you can't stand...

... a jerky boss,

...a co-worker who you dislike but have to get a birthday gift for,

...a crappy neighbor,

...or someone going on a long drive that you don't want to ever come back.

Prison systems could pipe it throughout their compound, making inmates repent, and reconsider their life choices...

Detention rooms in school can use it as a punishment...

Moms can play it in the rooms of their toddlers who were put in "time-out". (A guarantee of an instant attitude adjustment, but I can't be sure if there wouldn't be CPS repercussions)...

Ukraine can blare it over big speakers aimed at Russia to acquire an unconditional surrender...

Now that I think about it...

...maybe it will change the world...

You can get all of my books, and pre-order the latest one at:

Joederozierbooks.com

Or

(Tales From Behind the Bakery Door) https://a.co/d/g1xV1P4




Saturday, June 1, 2024

Nana's Song by Debby Myers

For anyone who is Grandma, Meemaw, Mamaw, Gigi, or Nana like me, you’ll never forget the first day you met your first grandchild. It was surreal to think that your baby now had a baby of her own. Even more so, you are now able to turn back the clock and love another like no other. And that first one seems to be special.

My oldest daughter gave me my first granddaughter, and today she will graduate from high school. These 18 years have been magical for me. I’ve been there for every milestone, every dance, every audition, every performance, every game, every competition. (well, maybe not "every," but as many as I possibly could). My memories of her won’t stop spinning in my mind. And the next one will be watching her in her cap and gown getting her diploma.

This little girl who has encompassed so much of my life is a woman now. A woman. She is kind, compassionate, and giving. She is strong, smart, and confident. She’s about to venture out into this big, sometimes, bad, world on her own. In the fall, she will head to college. She will meet new friends in a new place. The problem I’m having is whether I should be happy or sad about that.

I’m an optimist, so I envision her becoming successful in her career, finding the man of her dreams, living in a beautiful home, and having a family of her own. The reality is not that simple. We know we all have had our share of roadblocks, heartache, and had to pinch every penny to survive.

Many have had children move far away, and I have been fortunate that none of mine have chosen to do that. It doesn’t mean it will be the same for her. And do I really want her to stay here, or do I want her to get out there and explore all the world has to offer? Well, the answer is both. Too bad we can’t have both.

I envision her being near me for as long as I live. Then I think back to my own grandparents. Hindsight is 20/20. Once I went to college, got a job, and had a family, I didn’t visit or talk to them like I had when I was young and in school. It didn’t occur to me then that I didn’t have time to put it off like I did. But I regret it now that they’re gone. They didn’t push me because they knew I had a new life to live. Now will I be strong enough to do that with her?

I know I will think of her every day, and I will call and text her as much as she’ll let me. I will worry about her. Is she safe? Does she need my help? And all the other questions that we let creep into our heads. She is experiencing mixed emotions of her own. Like me, she’s told me that at times she feels overjoyed and at times she feels frightened. I encourage her to let the joy trump the fear. Can someone encourage me?

I will miss her – her laugh, her hugs, our talks, and her random visits. I will miss watching her on stage in a play and on the field directing the band. My pride for her stretches through all the years since I first held her, and I have no doubt I will continue to feel that as she moves on. I knew this time would come that I would have to let her go soar, but it feels like it came too soon. 

I don’t want this to sound like it’s all about me. It’s not. It’s about a Nana’s love for her grandchild. And all the others feeling the same way about their grandchildren who are becoming graduates. It’s about being thrilled and uncertain at the same time. Knowing the time has come for us to pivot and adapt to a different kind of relationship.

Congrats to all the graduates. Remember to be confident in who you are. It doesn’t matter if you fall down, it matters if you get back up. If you need help, ask, ask, ask. Your road to success is under construction, so get out there and build it!

And to my Makenna – remember when you get the chance to sit it out or dance – I hope you dance! Love you pretty girl!

~*~*~

Debby Myers has enjoyed writing since she was a little girl. She has just completed her third novel, the last installment of “The Vee Trilogy.”

In her spare time she directs plays for Ole Olsen Memorial Theater. She is a member of the Indiana Thespians judging high school theater competitions. Debby’s favorite pastime of all is spending time with her nine grandchildren.

Her books are all available now on Amazon or get a signed copy directly from her by contacting her on her Facebook page “The Vee Trilogy.”