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Friday, July 28, 2023

Kitchen Disasters by Bea Tifton

 Filling in for the lovely and talented Beth Trissel. 

Most cooks have had them, be they first timers, proficient amateurs, or professional chefs. Kitchen disasters. Things just do not go as planned.  And what a mess.

My mother has a friend; we’ll call her Marilyn, who is a consummate hostess. Back when people actually had teas or luncheons in their home, she was making her signature spinach dip. Marilyn was in a hurry because her guests were coming that afternoon, and somehow, she forgot to put the lid on the blender before she pushed GO. Dip flew everywhere, in every cranny of that part of her kitchen, all over the counter and Marilyn, even on the ceiling. The cat jumped up and ecstatically began licking the walls.  Marilyn confessed later that she still found drips of dip for weeks.

My parents and I combined our households and buying groceries is one of my jobs. Mom is a writer and she has found that Dr Pepper is her muse, so she drinks at least one a day. I stack the cases on top of the cabinet we use as a pantry. Cherry Dr Pepper is sometimes hard to find as it seems to sell out quickly, so I bought a case that had a loose flap on the end even though I normally wouldn’t have done that. The next morning, I came in and there was a puddle of brown liquid on the floor with a tinge of red. At first I freaked out because I wondered what on earth was wrong with my dog that she had an accident inside and that it was that color. Then, in slow motion just like the movies, my gaze traveled around the kitchen and my head slowly turned as I surveyed each corner. That’s when I noticed the empty Dr Pepper cans. The flap had loosened during the night, and somehow things shifted so that the Dr Pepper cans were able to escape, rolling off the end of the cabinet to the floor below like lemmings, and landing on the floor in an ecstasy of carbonated syrup, splashing and spurting all over the floor. And the cabinets. And the counter. Even the refrigerator and the oven had telltale brown drips. I don’t know if you’ve ever spilled soda, but after a night of pooling, it was sticky and difficult to clean up.  And I mourned the crime of wasting what is arguably the unofficial soda of Texas. Like Marilyn, I was still finding sticky gobs of soda hiding in strange places for weeks.

Kitchen disasters and messes are inevitable. But be sure you put the lid on the blender and don’t buy cases of soda with the flaps open.  Sound advice from one who knows.


Photo Credits:
Amina Filkins "Cute Black Girl in Chef Costume"
Dmitry Zub "Cat Sitting on Stove in Kitchen with Cupboards"
Jill Burrow "Red Colored Soda Drink on White Table"
Leo Vinicius "Woman in Black and White Floral Long Sleeve Blouse and Red Skirt Wearing  Sunglasses" 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Bookmarks or Chaos? by Laura Hunsaker

 I was helping my youngest clean her room the other day, and what I found I think has traumatized me! LOL
She uses whatever is closest to her as a bookmark. She has plenty of cute bookmarks from the Book Fair, and yet...

Here are some examples of what I found in books in her room:

A Sock

A Sea Shell

A Nerf Dart

A Birthday Card

A Ruler

A Rock

Another Book

So are you like me and use a bookmark? Or are you a chaos gremlin like my child and use whatever is nearest to you?

I need to know! 

You know who doesn't use bookmarks either? Lark, my heroine in Dangerous Past which is coming up soon. She is 100% a receipt, tissue, or napkin bookmarker. 

You can read all about her over on

"A thrilling romantic suspense!” —USA Today bestselling author, Katie Reus

She’s running from her past…

Lark Seawell is the daughter of a serial killer. His reputation has long been a shadow looming over her since his arrest when she was a child. Especially since she’s the one who called the police. She has spent her entire life trying to live as anonymously and quietly as possible. She is not her father’s legacy.

He wants to be her future...

FBI agent Jay Sutherland is visiting a friend in a small mountain town when free spirit Lark asks for help with her injured dog. He is instantly enamored with her, and their one night stand stays with him far into the next morning, though Lark is long gone. When his partner realizes that she is the daughter of The Highwayman, Jay refuses to believe Lark is anything like her father.

What happens when she stops running…

When a trail of dead bodies follows Lark on her cross-country drive, the FBI believes she’s the killer. How can the sweet woman who rescues injured animals and makes him feel things he hasn’t felt in years be a murderer? The bodies don’t lie. Jay knows there’s more at play. If he’s wrong, and Lark is as much a monster as her father, he may be the next target…

Sunday, July 23, 2023


 by Judy Ann Davis

The weather in Central Pennsylvania has been fickle this year. Rain falls unexpectedly every other day, followed by periods of extreme heat. It makes for a wonderful atmosphere for our garden plants and flowers which are flourishing this year.

In one of my flowerbeds, as you enter the house through the back door, I have a bed of grape hyacinth which bloom profusely each spring. This summer, some critter keeps digging holes and unearthing the bulbs every night. I was blaming it on a skunk, but the other night my husband discovered a porcupine in front of our unattached garage, located outside the back door. He (or she) was not a large one, and we’re guessing from his size, he’s probably a yearling.                    

After some research, I found that porcupines are nocturnal herbivore rodents, and they eat things such as fruit, roots, tree bark, leaves of plants, flowers, vegetables, and bulbs. They also have a preference for salty items.

They are the largest rodent found in North America and weight around twenty pounds. Basically loners, these rodents prefer to live and forage alone. They are good swimmers and excellent climbers, regularly scaling trees in search of food. Contact with others only occurs during the breeding season when the young, called porcupettes, are born. Bearing twins is unusual.

by jggrz, Pixabay

     Porcupines have about 30,000 quills they can use for 
     defense, but they cannot throw them as many legends 
     have earlier indicated. Porcupines have a range of about 
     14 acres and live an average of 18+ years in North 

     Now, the burning question is how does a homeowner get
     rid of this irksome rodent? Unfortunately, the only permanent way is trapping him or fencing your plants, garden, and flowerbeds. Sometimes a liquid repellent from your local hardware store will deter him.

So basically, I’ve concluded that we’re stuck with pesky Mr. Porcupine since none of the above is possible or has worked. I’m told, when he runs out of food, he’ll move on. I’m guessing we’re in a relationship with this critter for the remainder of our summer months. 

                                    SPECIAL SALE FOR CHIRSTMAS IN JULY!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

We Are Family by Liz Flaherty

My friend Nan Reinhardt and I were talking after another writer posted a question on Facebook that asked about families. Most of us have different ones, don't we? They're comprised of relatives, church families, work families, even neighborhood ones. 

And writer ones.

I remember when RWA felt like a family. Although it was huge, every meeting I ever attended--no matter which chapter and whether I was a member of it or not--felt both welcoming and accepting. We talked writing, we critiqued, we held each other up--all things families do. At conferences, we talked endlessly, learned from each other, schmoozed. We met editors and agents and--oh, joy!--sometimes we got asked for a complete. Oh, and we drank, too--that was incidental, but it sure gave me an appreciation of hotel bars!

Spring Fling 2014

But my writing family has shrunk. The in-person family, I mean. While I enjoy the Facebook groups I'm a part of, I haven't been to a conference in years. Until AARP sponsors one, I probably won't. Just as I can no longer write 20-something heroines, neither do I have much in common with younger writers at conferences. Some of that is envy on my part--I miss being in that demographic, no matter how much I enjoy being the age I am now--and part of it is that I haven't kept  up with how the industry has changed. 

It's nobody's fault, but do I wish there were 50-and-over writers' conferences? You bet.

Segue here... If you want to make jokes now about things like going to bed at 9:30, charging hearing aids, making sure we know where our canes and walkers are, and carrying an arsenal of both prescription and OTC drugs, go ahead. We joke about them, too, although some or all those things are facts of our lives and they're really no big deal. 

Okay, back to the post... So, at least as far as in-person connections go, my romance writing family is mostly just Nan and me. We have work days and biannual retreats and we both count on those things. We're also long-time besties, which counts for a lot all by itself. 

Nan and Me

We've done some researching, and we think we're going to try to go to one of the smaller conferences next year and/or possibly join a retreat like this one

Jana Richards

Talk to us about your writing families. Suggest conferences and retreats. While you're at it, stop in at Word Wranglers and read Jana Richards's post on retreats. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Doogie by Bea Tifton

 I have a friend who runs a rescue and she is always in dire need of fosters. She learned of a puppy mill seizure, and the overflowing city shelter did not have room for the babies so Susan and other rescues took as many as they could. I volunteered to foster one of them, a cute little 18 month old male Chihuahua. That’s when I learned that my mother and I are not able to foster. Our foster fail, or foster dog we ended up adopting instead of sending on, is absolutely adorable. Mom thinks Doogie looks like Dobby, the house elf from the Harry Potter stories. I can’t disagree. Gotta be the ears, I think.

Doogie had never been on grass, never seen outdoors, never seen rain, gotten a dog treat, played with other dogs, or received cuddles. So many firsts! He’s such a loving, affectionate, happy little guy in spite of his rough beginning. He loves to roll around from one end of the couch or the bed to the other, and I always hold my breath that he will roll off, but he never does. He gets the zoomies outside and runs around the yard with a look of pure joy on his face. Our other dogs play with him or patiently let Doogie sleep on them. He must always touch me and/or one of the other dogs. I guess he’s making up for his first 18 months. My oldest dog occasionally gets a bit tired of his rolling and enthusiastic affection, but she just moves away and he gloms onto someone else. At night, he stays right by me, burrowed under the blanket.

It’s like watching any baby, every day brings a new discovery, and his enthusiasm, curiosity, and intelligence are wonderful to see. We’ve laughed until we’ve almost cried at his antics. And there have been some instances of puppy chewing, lapsed potty training, and too much curiosity for his own good. That’s just part of having a young dog. I’ve never been sorry for my foster fail. Doogie is a joy to have and he’s just so darn cute.

After all, every house needs a house elf.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Embracing My Adult ADHD: The Pros and Cons~ Sherri Easley


With the increasing popularity of social media education articles, more and more of us are beginning to understand that those weird, quirky behaviors we have had since childhood are really symptoms of ADHD. I am guessing because most of you are writers; I am not alone.

When I first heard of ADHD, I was doing my student teaching classes toward a minor in education and encountered a child who could not sit still and fidgeted constantly. I honestly never related my constant foot movement or struggle to sit through a movie as the same, but now, I have to reconsider.

While adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often associated with challenges and difficulties, it can also be a source of unique strengths and abilities. I have always felt like most of my quirkiness was a superpower that has served me well in life, and especially in my career.

One of the remarkable aspects of adult ADHD is the innate creativity and ability to think outside the box. Individuals with ADHD often possess a divergent thinking style, which enables them to generate original ideas and make unconventional connections between concepts. This creative prowess can be a valuable asset, however, more often than not, it takes a while for the rest of the team to come to the same conclusion. The downside of this is I often grow bored while they are still brainstorming for answers.

While difficulties with attention and focus are common for adults with ADHD, they also experience episodes of hyperfocus—a state of intense concentration on a particular task or topic. When individuals with ADHD find something that truly captivates their interest, they can become laser-focused and exhibit exceptional productivity. This hyperfocus allows them to delve deep into their passions and achieve remarkable results.

The con on this aspect for me is that I have a sublimation printer over a year old, still in the box, and a very expensive embroidery machine in my garage that I bought at Christmas, that has yet to be turned on. I embrace every new hobby and over indulge in supplies, just to grow bored and move on.

Does it shock anyone that I also have more than 20 book covers, most with stories outlined for them?

ADHD fosters a fast-paced cognitive processing style, enabling individuals to think quickly on their feet and adapt to changing situations. They excel in dynamic environments that require quick decision-making and the ability to multitask. This ability allows me to remain calm while others are stressed about the job.

The frustrating part of this one is that I can’t do a singular task. This is part of the reason I listen to an average of 12 audible books a month. I listen when I clean, or drive, or do crafts. Focusing on a singular task is near impossible for me. I must have music, or something else happening simultaneously.  

ADHD often accompanies high levels of energy and enthusiasm. Individuals with ADHD possess a contagious zest for life, which can inspire and motivate those around them. Their infectious enthusiasm can be harnessed to drive creativity, boost team morale, and inject vitality into collaborative endeavors.

The downside to this is when I can’t see a solution to a problem or challenge, I can easily shutdown until I process how to move forward. I used to think this was depression, but it is different, at least for me. It is more like my brain is in hour-glass mode like on my computer, while it is processing.

So, in conclusion, for those of you who are round pegs constantly trying to fit in that square hole of normality, you are not alone. Embrace that incredible neurodivergent brain and celebrate your superpowers.

Meanwhile, anyone want to do a craft swap on excess supplies?

Sunday, July 2, 2023


By Caroline Clemmons

Happy holiday weekend! At least it is to those of us who live in the USA. For those of you who don't live in the USA, I hope you have a pleasant day wherever you are. If you have an extended weekend, I hope you spend it enjoying yourself. Traditionally, it’s a great time for family reunions, picnics, barbecues, and the start of vacations. Those of you who love the sun, rejoice. As for me, I’m a fan of spring and fall when the weather is more moderate than our triple digit degree days. We should erect a monument to whomever invented air conditioning!

One of the delights of the weekend is attending a community firework displays, usually held at a park or lake. These are controlled fireworks which do not threaten anyone’s roof, grass, or people. (In spite of them being against the law in the city limits, we hear them from July-6.)

Back when I was a girl and had to walk uphill to school both ways through snowdrifts, I remember the few times we had fireworks. The first was when I was six and we were at my grandmother’s on a visit. I loved these visits for two reasons: 1. My grandmother pampered me. 2. My dad got bored after a couple of days and would entertain me. So, that year he succumbed to my pestering pleading asking politely for fireworks.

You have to understand what a really big deal this was. My mom was way overprotective and didn’t want her little princess to do anything that might involve danger. Second, my folks could pinch a penny until Abe Lincoln begged for mercy. Daddy bought me sparklers and this thing called a black snake. You lit the little black pill in the container and the pill expanded up like a snake about to strike and then flowed over the container where it quickly dissolved to mush. I wasn’t too impressed with it. The sparklers, on the other hand, fascinated me.

The next time I had fireworks was about nine or ten years later when my dad got sparklers for my young brother. Said brother ran around barefoot all summer. With our traditional family grace, he stepped on a burned out sparkler that was still very hot. That was my last memory of fireworks with the family, but I’m sure my brother continued to get sparklers every year and I probably joined the fun.

If you have fond memories of past July 4th weekends, let me know in the comments.