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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

A Year of Firsts by Liz Flaherty


I'm sort of sneaking in's not really my day. Instead, it's Release Day for A Year of Firsts, Book 1 in the Second Chances Series from Magnolia Blossom Publishing. 

I love Release Days, in part because I don't even try to be productive--I spend the entire day and evening annoying virtually everyone I know by promoting the book. I've had a lot of firsts myself lately, but never even drew a parallel between my life and the book's until today. My firsts are different from theirs, but still firsts.

Speaking of firsts, though, let me tell you about Syd and Clay's story. 

Widow Syd Cavanaugh is beginning a “year of firsts” with the road trip she’d promised her husband she’d take after his death. An unplanned detour lands her in Fallen Soldier, Pennsylvania, where she meets the interesting and intelligent editor of the local newspaper.

Television journalist Clay McAlister’s life took an unexpected turn when a heart attack forced him to give up his hectic lifestyle. He’s still learning how to live in a small town when meeting a pretty traveler in the local coffee shop suddenly makes it all much more interesting.

While neither of them is interested in a romantic relationship, their serious case of being “in like” seems to push them that way. However, Clay’s heart condition doesn’t portend a very secure future, and Syd’s already lost one man she loved to a devastating illness—she isn’t about to lose another. Where can this relationship possibly go?

It's a romance--we know where it's going. It's the trip that's so much fun. 

Although I was probably as glad as anyone else to see 2021 end, the release of A Year of Firsts has made me think about experiences of my own. 

There were new travels--a wonderful writing retreat in North Carolina with near and dear friends. A first-time-ever trip to the coast of Maine with my grown sons. (I swear, they were never that much fun when they were kids, and I liked them then, too!) A new publisher. 

New things, too--the Roomba our kids got us for our anniversary. The smart TVs they got us for the living room and my office that opened up whole new things, like watching the first nine seasons of Call the Midwife with only minor breaks to watch the news and go to the bathroom. (That may be a stretch, but only a minor one!)

Syd's year of firsts included some Big Things, like a Road Trip on her own--where she met Clay; how cool is that?--and a Red Car and Live by the Water, but it also included some others. She wanted to learn to knit well, an entry she crossed out and asterisked so many times it might have become illegible. She wanted to cut her hair and wear leggings.

When I wrote the book, I was just telling Syd and Clay's story, but it became more than that. The year of firsts doesn't actually have a calendar attached to it for most of us. It has different names, too: our bucket list, dream jar, and so forth. It is wishes, hopes, and dreams coming true. 

Maybe there's nothing new here, but it was for me. Those firsts that I had in 2021, of course, and the re-learning that our jobs as writers are so exciting because we get to tell stories of people who've made themselves at home in our hearts. And every time is like the first one. 


  1. Congratulations on your new release--I was one of the lucky ones who got an early peek and wow, what a great story! I really love Syd and Clay!

  2. Congrats, Liz on your new release!
    Good luck and God's blessings with your books

  3. Yes, I think the last couple of years have held some firsts for all of us. First time we've worn masks and been in places where everyone was wearing a mask, for one. I remember how strange that first outing felt. Like something out of a post apocalyptic novel! Clay and Syd's story sounds very enticing! I can't wait until I get a chance to read more! Best wishes for A YEAR OF FIRSTS and all your writing endeavors!

  4. What a delightful post. You have definitely had a record year... Wishing you all the best with your new release, A Year of Firsts!


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