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.”