Saturday, April 27, 2024

Just for Now... by Liz Flaherty

 This was first on the Window in April of 2022. Like April of this year, it was a time of changing, of sorrow and dance, of ...well, April being April. Today would be my mother's birthday--I'm pretty sure she'd like this one. I hope you won't mind reading it again. 

I've always known what the word ephemeral meant, but I've never used it--possibly because I didn't know how to spell it and I'm not completely sure of its pronunciation. It means, in case you aren't sure, "lasting a very short time."

Coming from my position on life's calendar, I think that includes everything except possibly hot flashes, bad movies, and sleepless nights. However, the ephemerality is often in retrospect, isn't it? When my kids were young, I thought the terrible twos went on for about twelve years. When it was my grandkids, it only lasted minutes--days at the most. 

The bluebird's on the clothesline this morning. He's so quick. I wish he'd stay, but he has too much going on to pose outside my office window for long. 

The forsythia bush is like its own little sunbeam in the corner of the yard where it's been the whole time we've lived here. Sunrise this morning was brightly, achingly beautiful. One of my favorite pictures ever is of the rainbow that lit the sky over the neighbors' barn. They last such a short time, don't they, and yet they last forever, too. 

If you don't like who's in the White House, his tenure lasts an agonizingly long time. If you do like him, you relax a little because you feel safer, but no sooner have you put up the footrest of the recliner than it's election year yet again. 

Loss makes you more aware of how fleeting everything is. That's when you realize that the term a good, long life is subjective. Because to the ones left behind, long wasn't nearly long enough. Loss also reminds you to be grateful. Again and again and again. For family, friends, and memories--and for that life that wasn't long enough.

Nothing is more transitory than weather, although I believe the wind and rain are 
Photo by Regine Brindle
here to stay. What we need to do, other than wait it out, is find the beauty in it. Regine Brindle does that better than most. She's one of my gratitudes today, for sharing her pictures. More than just visual, they gift the other senses as well. For the writer in me, she always makes me find words. Lacy, anyone? Fragile? Tenderness? 

My grandson took this picture, which I stole without conscience, at Kilgore Falls in Maryland. I don't know its story, but I do know looking at the photograph builds a story in the mind. 
Photo by Skyler Wilson

The objects of the photographs move instantly from how they look there. The ice blows off the trees. The waterfall continues to roar and move the wood in the picture. Ephemerality at its best. 

And maybe that's what I'll end this with. Because of photographs and memories, we get to keep those moments. Even if we are at a point that we don't actually recall them, I'm not so sure we don't always remember on some plane how they made us feel. I'm not so sure we can't still experience the joy. I hope so. 

Have a good week. Be grateful. Be nice to somebody. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Make You Mine by Nan Reinhardt

My writing bestie Nan Reinhardt is here today and I'm always so glad to see her. We work together, talk an unconscionable amount, travel together...and there's wine and food involved ALL the time! She's here to talk about Make You Mine, the newest River's Edge book (think Madison, IN) and about where she gets ideas. Make her welcome!

So often I’m asked, where do you get the ideas for your books. I’ve tried to come up with answers that don’t make me sound as if I need to put away someplace or at the very least like I need to spend a few years in intensive therapy. But there isn’t really any better answer than the truth. So I take a deep breath and blurt it out, “I have these people in my head. They appear to me and want me to tell their stories, so I try to.” Problem is that, sometimes, the people talking to me aren’t the characters in my current work in progress.

That is a dilemma. As I’m writing book 4 in the Walkers of River’s Edge series and doing revisions on book 3 of said series, characters from book 1 of the next series are shoving to the front of the line demanding attention. It’s hard to tell them to slow their roll, so I just pull out the notebook for the next series and jot down thoughts and ideas. I’m not at all sure I won’t get characters, events, timelines, etc., mixed up if I try to write more than story at a time. I’m fairly adept at running two or three editing gigs concurrently, but I don’t think it work for writer Nan. So, I’ll continue with writing one book at a time, and let the people in my head clamor in the background. They’ll get their turn…eventually.

Speaking of the people in my head, two of them had their story released last week. Jack Walker and Maddie Ross’s book, Make You Mine is out now and available at all book retailers. Here’s the blurb—hope it intrigues you!

When his family’s company is on the line, business and pleasure definitely don’t mix, but maybe they should…

Madeline Ross left the city and a career glass ceiling behind, hoping to build a new life as the crew supervisor for Walker Construction in River’s Edge. She’s qualified and experienced, but new CEO Jackson Walker hires someone else. Even as she searches for a different job and builds a life in River’s Edge, the sexy memory of Jack teases.

After a rough year, Jackson Walker’s family business is still struggling. He needs a new construction crew supervisor, and Maddie Ross is perfect, except for the first time in his life, player Jack is suddenly smitten with the curvaceous redhead. He wants her in his bed more than on his payroll.

When his second-rate new hire is a disastrous mistake, Jack humbles himself on Maddie’s doorstep with an offer she can’t refuse. Maddie could be the key to saving his company as long as he hides his heart. But does he have to?

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


Setup: Jack has hired someone else and it didn’t work out so now he’s groveling on Maddie’s doorstep…well… groveling as only Jack Walker can do it.

As she struggled up the stairs with a stack of boxes, Maddie scolded herself. Idiot. You should’ve made another trip. She should’ve, but this was the last of the boxes, and she was tired and damp from the rain that was making the wooden steps up to the apartment above Mac Mackenzie’s garage rather slick. She should’ve known it would start raining while she was toting the last load upstairs.

The box on top leaned precariously and just as she moved her hand to catch it, her foot slipped on the wet step. I’m going down, was her first thought, but then footsteps thumped up the stairs behind her. A hand righted the box at the same time a strong arm wrapped around her waist and caught her.

“Careful now.” That deep voice was familiar, but Maddie was in no position to even turn her head at that point.

“T-thanks,” she managed and got her balance back.

The firm hold remained as a blond head peered over the boxes. “Let me take some of those for you.”

Jackson Walker?

One step below her, Jack lifted the top two boxes, leaving her only one, and when she moved her face toward his voice, his lips were mere inches from hers. His blue eyes smoldered dark navy and, for a moment, time stood still.

Maddie closed her eyes. Time does not stand still. Open your eyes, stupid, and get moving. She opened her eyes, but he was there so close, she felt his minty breath mingling with hers. When she opened them, he was gazing at her as if he wanted to . . . but he held back for a second, waiting, giving her time, it seemed, to say no. When she didn’t . . and then he did.

Clutching the boxes in one arm as if they held nothing more than feathers and moving his hand from her waist to grasp the banister behind her, Jack leaned in and very lightly touched his warm, full lips to hers. Her eyes closed again, automatically, and when he tipped his head and deepened the kiss, every nerve ending in her body went on point. The kiss was a crazy contradiction of gentle and passionate, sweet and sensual.

Bless whoever taught this man to kiss because she could’ve stood there in the rain forever in a lip-lock with Jackson Walker.

But finally, he lifted his lips and a wry smile curved his mouth upward. “So . . . that’s not why I’m here.”

She blinked and her voice came out croaky. “Why are you here?”

“Because I need you.” He shook his head as if to clear it. He hadn’t moved his arm yet, and it pressed against her back, sending tingles up her spine. “We . . . we need you.”

“We who?” Maddie knew the answer, but she asked anyway because she wanted to hear him say the words.

“Walker Construction.”

“Why? I thought you already hired someone.” She wanted him to beg. Maybe that was shallow of her, but he’d turned her away before and now here he was, telling her he needed her. He should grovel, just a little bit. Besides, he’d kissed her, something she felt had nothing whatsoever to do with Walker Construction. The man was an enigma.

Jack tossed his head and rain dripped off his wet hair onto her boxes. “Can we continue this conversation in a drier place, please?”

She stared at him, debating the wisdom of letting him into her apartment. Into her life, for that matter. However, she needed a job, and it seemed he was about to offer her one. But there was that kiss, that incredible, unexpected kiss . . . Her belly flipped at the thought. What was she supposed to do about that?

With a short jerk of her chin toward the door above them, she started up the stairs. “Come on, then.”

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. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 50 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake. Talk to Nan at:, stop by her website, or follow her on social media: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Friendship and 33 Dozen by Joe DeRozier

I'm always happy when Joe steps out from behind the table to come through the Window Over the Sink to visit. His stories are always special, and this one is even more so. Thanks for coming, Joe. Take it away. 

There are days I travel to neighboring cities and meet friends in designated areas to deliver donuts. It isn't a highly lucrative adventure for me... Well, not monetarily. I sell them for just $10 a dozen, am out of the bakery for a couple hours, so I have to pay someone to hold down the fort, and try to stay under 25 orders so I don't disrupt the normal routine of my co-workers ("co-workers" is a rather generous title as far as my inclusion in the "co" part). The real compensation comes in the form of interactions with the wonderful people with whom I'm blessed to communicate. Many share with me where they are taking their donuts while wearing smiles from ear to ear.

I met a Mr. Smith, who was stationed in the same area of Panama that I was. I met a man from Chicago who moved here decades ago for a job. His accent is now only slightly prevalent, but completely resurfaces when the topic touches on one of his paczkis. I've met business owners, young parents, teachers, radio hosts, and even someone I knew in Peru when I first arrived in Indiana. It is not only fun—I like to feel that I am spreading good will.

My last delivery location was Pizza Quik in Rochester (one of my favorites because, ironically, I love Dunkin and never leave their city without gifting them a dozen donuts), and since this venue traditionally fills up quickly, I was keeping my eyes on the number of orders coming in.

 "Ding." My phone alerted me of an incoming message. The communique was from a wonderful lady I had met through Facebook a few months ago. Though certainly not one of my fortes, I happened to remember her name because of its unique spelling and the kind words she had shared with me. She wanted to place an order of 33 dozen donuts for the Rochester delivery. She was pressed for time, and promised to tell me more about the program she wanted to bless at a later time. The whole time were typing, something nagged at me. Something I should remember... But I'm old and have accepted the fact that I forget a lot of things, so paid no further mind to it. Because this order put us well over the number of donuts I usually deliver, I posted that Rochester had filled up, and would be taking no more requests for donuts.

The evening before the delivery, I was doing something close to nothing (name that tune), when... "Ding." My friend messaged me again. I assumed she simply wanted to confirm, or maybe to share with me more about the establishment for which she was buying donuts. Her message read, "I think I've made a terrible mistake. Please call me." She followed that plea with her phone number. Her phone number had an area code I didn't recognize. When I called and heard the intonation in her voice, I immediately remembered that thing that had been nagging me... My friend does indeed live in Rochester... ...Rochester, New York. Our previous communication a few months back, was about getting my books. That's how I knew she was on the east coast…and that was that tidbit of information my old brain wasn't willing to release to me when she requested the 33 dozen.

She felt horrible, as I tried not to laugh...I failed. After all, I thought, what an honor to have someone from so far away follow my bakery and all of my shenanigans! It was too late for me to get hold of the bakery to cancel the order, as my team would already have started production. What made this situation even easier to swallow was that my friend from Rochester, New York, offered to pay for the entire order and told me to donate them.

"That is awfully sweet," I replied, "but what are you going to do for donuts?"

She said they were scouring the city for donuts, and the prices ran $20-$30 a dozen. So, she was not only willing to spend between $660-$990 to get the donuts she needed, but she was going to pay me $330 for donuts she would donate to people several states from her, that she didn't even know! The donuts she was donating in New York were for a group of kids, ages 12-18, that give up their spring breaks to fix up homes in rundown areas of their town. It's called the Flower City Work Camp, and my friend's husband has been leading this group for 35 years. The number of volunteers has multiplied significantly over the years. Each volunteer works eight hours, Monday through Thursday. They eat and sleep at a parish near the neighborhood they're working. Materials are purchased by the churches and the volunteers themselves. On Friday, the last day of their break, the volunteers will share what they have seen and learned. It can get very emotional.

I was so touched by the kindness of the program and everyone involved that I was left at a loss for words...not a common occurrence for me as you all well know. As she was asking for my address to send a check for the donuts she had mistakenly ordered from me, I was making a request on Facebook to anyone in the administration of Rochester (Indiana) schools. Before my New York friend could finish her twelfth consecutive apology, I arranged to have all 33 dozen taken to the school, where they would be distributed to all school employees. When I told my friend, she was so happy, but still wanted to pay for them...

"Absolutely not, Danise," I replied. As I stated earlier, my compensation comes in the form of interactions with the wonderful people with whom I'm blessed to communicate. I had the pleasure of communicating with my friend from New York, I was able to feel the love from the Rochester (Indiana) school district, and I learned about a wonderful program in Rochester, New York, where the younger generation is giving to those in need... I believe I've been more than compensated.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Wonderfully Made by Liz Flaherty

"My emotions aren’t in the dictionary." - Heather Lende

The other day, on Facebook, I read this from Deuteronomy: "Foreigners who live in your land will gain more and more power, while you gradually lose yours. They will have money to lend you, but you will have none to lend them. In the end they will be your rulers. All these disasters will come on you, and they will be with you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and keep all the laws that he gave you."

I admit it...I'm not a Biblical scholar. But something about this didn't fit with what I've spent a lifetime as a Christian learning. Which was this, from Leviticus: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God."

Leviticus had some other rules, too--a bunch of them. I've always liked most of them. But there in Chapter 1, talking about burnt offerings...I kind of skip over that, because it's not reasonable, because we've gotten past things like that (or should have), because when we are made (wonderfully, by the way--Psalms) we are given brains to learn with, minds to think with, strength to do good, hands to give generously from, and hearts to love one another. We have these powerful senses to see rightness (and its opposite) and beauty, to hear justice and mercy (and their opposites), to taste, to smell, to feel the things that build and add to the original wonderfully made. 

Heather Lende 
Heather Lende says her emotions aren't in the dictionary, and mine aren't, either. Neither are yours. We get them from how we're made and what our environments have added on. We get them from those senses we all have and how we choose to use them. We get different ones because we are different--which is something to be celebrated. 

I admit celebrating unlikenesses--like the differences between the Deuteronomy passage and the Leviticus one--can be hard. Even accepting them can be hard, but we are indeed too wonderfully made for it to have been done with cookie cutters. No, it's more like we were made from scoops of dough. We're not the same shape, the same color, some of us have more salt or chips or--heaven knows--more nuts. But we're all part of the whole. We all have flavor and the ability to give pleasure and sustenance. 

Unless we choose to be otherwise. To do otherwise. To confine our emotions to a dictionary.

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody. 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Amazing Days by Debby Myers

Have you noticed how everyone is talking about April 8th? Many of us will be elated to experience the most astounding astronomical event of our lifetime. The solar eclipse. Yet I’m going to have a really hard time being excited about anything, including a total eclipse, on April 8th. It’s also my daddy’s birthday.

It's been 35 years since my dad died in the dead of winter in January 1989. He suffered a massive heart attack. I shouldn’t say he suffered. He died before he hit the floor, as the doctors told his sister that his heart exploded. It’s been 35 years since I’ve seen his face or heard his voice call me his "little ground squirrel." On April 8th, he would have been 83 years old.

His name was Ernie. He was born in Elizabethton, KY, and his family moved here when he was 12. He was 23 years old when I was born, and he went to work at Chrysler. To hear him tell the story, he instantly fell for my mom the first time he saw her. As soon as she graduated high school, they were married in December. I came the following July.

In high school, he played basketball for the Peru Tigers. Their team won the sectional two years in a row. He held the record for best free throw percentage and highest scorer up until the time Kyle Macy came into the picture. When Kyle broke both of his records, he became his biggest fan.

He loved the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. But basketball was his first love. He rooted for the Kentucky Wildcats and Los Angelos Lakers. I’d have to say my love of the game came directly from him. We would sit and watch Kareem and Magic together whenever he was home, which wasn’t very often.

My first memories of him were all playful. Taking me by the hands and swinging me around in a circle, sitting in our little pool with me in the backyard with his feet dangling over the edge, giving me a big plastic bat and pitching a whiffle ball to me over and over, and helping me climb the tree in our backyard.

As I grew older, I remember spending a lot of afternoons at the softball field at Maconaquah Park watching him play. I also remember spending evenings at Hillcrest Lanes watching him bowl. Most girls my age were at home playing Barbies or outside on their swing set. I was hanging out with my dad.

I wished I had his southern accent. His was just slight, not as evident as my grandma "Gigi." Dad took me and my brother, Jeff, to her house often. She always made four-course meals for us. And you had to clean your plate to get dessert. Dad was used to it. He would eat and eat, and if we couldn’t finish, he would wait until Gigi left the room and finish our plates, so we could have her homemade from scratch cake or pie.

I will always love and miss my dad. April 8th I will be remembering him on his birthday. His sudden death was the most staggering day of my lifetime. And I’ll be thinking of him when I’m watching the most astounding astronomical event of my lifetime.

The Vee Trilogy tells the story of two families from different sides of the track. It starts set in 1969 in Brookton, Pennsylvania when the families are fused together through marriage and their saga begins. The Crawford’s and Hayes’ families are followed over four decades until 2009. Their struggles and celebrations remind us of how one marriage changes the lives of dozens of people for years to come as they are all entangled in three family businesses, sibling rivalry, and the parent/child dynamic. This cozy mystery shows that crime and addiction happen in all types of families and even small communities. ‘Vex and Valor” introduces us to the heroine of the series, Vanessa Hayes Andrews at the age of ten. “Verdicts and Vows” will bring the reader closer to the characters as we say goodbye to some and meet new family members. The final book "Verve and Virtue" has just been released!