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Saturday, October 28, 2023

Wait! What was That? by Bea Tifton

 I'm filling in for the lovely and talented Beth Trissel. Please check out her many great books. 

It’s the time of year when television networks and streaming services are loaded with scary movies. Today at lunch some friends and I were talking about some scary movies we liked and some we would never see.

I don’t see slasher movies. In college I finally saw “Nightmare on Elm Street” because, well, I was in college. But I hated it. And I’ve never seen any others. That’s simply not enjoyable to me. 

As I type this blog post I’m watching “Arsenic and Old Lace”, a comedy spoof of scary movies, although Raymond Massey was scary in his own right. I watch it every Halloween.

But the psychological scares? The masters like Hitchcock?  He relied on tapping into things that would sear right into people’s psyches. The edge of your seat scares like “Psycho” or “The Birds”. One can see Hitchcock’s influence on M. Night Shyamalan in the “Gotcha!”  moments of his movies. And it’s fun to see either director make his trademark cameo. (When we’re watching Hitchcock movies, my father and I each try to be the first one to see Hitchcock and whoever spies him first yells out excitedly, “I see him!”)

I had a roommate in college who loved Stephen King so I've seen many of his. He's very gifted, but some of his movies are a bit too dark for me. My parents had never seen "The Shining" although they had toured the Stanley Hotel once on vacation, so we watched it a few months ago and it scared the fool out of us. I've seen it a couple of times and I was still on the edge of my seat.  It's a classic

Why do we like to be scared? Maybe it’s the unknown, the delicious anticipation of what’s going to happen next, even as the hair on our arms stands up and we peer through our fingers. And, ultimately, we know it’s not real, that at the end of the day (or night), we are going to emerge unscathed. Well, apart from a few unsettling dreams, I suppose.

However, if I hear something go bump in the night, I’m definitely not venturing out into a dark yard or down a dank basement clad in nothing but a nightie and high heels. Now that’s just stupid.

Do you like to watch scary movies? Leave a comment below.

Pexels.Com Photo Credits Unless Otherwise Noted

Mikhail Nilov "A Scary Girl in Black Maleficent Costume"
Joonas Kaarlainen "Clouds Under Full Moon"
Wikimedia Commons " Alfred Hitchcock Psycho Trailer"
Zachary DeBottis "Silhouette of a Person"
Pedro Figueras "Car Passing on Road Between Trees"
Nitin Chauhan "Steps and the Door to the Basement" 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

My Favorite Way to Spend a Fall Day by Laura Hunsaker

 I love Fall. I'm a Summer girl at heart, but there's just something about the crisp air, the heat cooling down, and the chance to relax outside (It's just hit the 80s where I am, so this is gorgeous weather!) One thing about Fall is that it makes me want blankets. Like, all the blankets. I want to sip hot coffee surrounded by a nest of blankets and read a book. This image says it better than I can:

And every night this week I've done exactly what I want: I've read a book in my cozy blanket nest and loved every minute of it. With Summer, and the sun being up so late, my kids being on Summer time, school being out, I feel like it's harder to find time to read.

With Fall, and the weather, and the pumpkin spice everything, I just want to read. And for you, and your next book to add to your TBR, I'm so excited to share Dangerous Past with you!

As of now the book is up on Netgalley, and up for pre-order on Smashwords, but the release date is set for November 21, 2023 and this is the one guys. This is the book you'll want in your own blanket nest on a crisp Fall night. 

Share your favorite thing about Fall with me in the comments! Is it apple picking? Or is it cozy nights with a good book? Let me know!

Dangerous Past

A one night stand with an FBI agent puts Lark in the cross hairs of an investigation into a serial killer. Is she the victim? Or is she the killer...

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… 

*Author's Note: This book contains a sunshiney heroine, a gruff hero, a couple of goofy dogs, some intense action, and begins when a one night stand leads to more…

Monday, October 23, 2023


by Judy Ann Davis

John Sloane: Taste of Autumn

Central Pennsylvania has had its first frost. Our rainbow colored leaves have turned brown and floated downward into heaps on the ground. If you wander outside, the scent of smoke wood floats on the air from wood-burning stoves in the neighborhood. Birds of summer have vanished. Apples, pears, and grapes fill the market bins. These are all signs it’s time to hunker down and get ready for old man winter.

With outside temperature dropping, I like to turn on our gas fireplace in the family room to grab some extra warmth and also to enjoy the vibrant flickering flames. I dig out my glass pumpkins for the living room and fall decorations for the front door. And finally, I search my cupboards for my favorite candles.

Candles have a history of dating back into the B.C. periods. Everything from tallow, beeswax, whale oils, and animal fats was used to fashion them, even if rather crudely. While Romans used oil lamps for light, they began dipping candles from tallow (beef or
mutton fat) around 1000 B.C.


There is something mesmerizing about a lit candle during the colder months. Maybe it’s the flicking flame, maybe it’s the warmth of fire, maybe it’s the scent, or maybe it’s the candle’s ability to help illuminate a darker time of the year. Whatever the enticement, I find myself lighting one during our evening meal and later when I’m writing or watching television.

Of course, there are also the usual activities to enjoy during autumn: Drinking cider, tasting apple sauce, accruing more books than I could possibly read, and searching the closets for jeans, scarves, vests, and warm clothing.

So here’s wishing you a great autumn season ahead with colorful harvest skies and tasty pumpkin pies. Oh, and some candles for light to make your world bright!

NEW - NEW - NEW     
COURTING BETSY -Book 3 of the Ashomore Brothers Series



Friday, October 20, 2023

Colors by Liz Flaherty

It's a rainy day as I write this. Yellow cottonwood leaves are tossing in the wind before giving up the ghost and drifting down to carpet the still-green grass. I love the colors of autumn.

I think it was that love that seeded the idea for the Colors series. It's my first attempt at writing a women's fiction series, and the first manuscript--completed and being shopped--is called Pieces of Blue. Not exactly a fall color, but brightness. Change. Heart-healing. 

I chose the setting for the series first, which was different in itself because normally I meet the people. They sit with me until I know what they look like, the shape of their hands, how their laughs sound. I understand what's hurt them in their pasts and that they'd like for me to tell the stories of their healing and beginning again.

But Colors started with a drive through the country to Town Lake, which is 10 miles from my house and I never knew it was there. I don't know its population, and Harper Loch--the home of the Colors series--doesn't look much like Town Lake, but the approach is the same. You get there slowly on a serpentine road with one and a half lanes.

The population of Harper Loch is 86--sometimes 87--and 200-some in the summer. Maggie North inherits a big house there, and Pieces of Blue is born. 

I don't know how Blue or, next in line, A Splash of Red, will be published--or even if they will. I am reminded, though, to remember the pleasure of the writing itself. While that pleasure can't replace a contract, a perfect cover, or a great review, it's still a reminder of yes, I can. I'm good with that. Like the colors of autumn--and blue--it's bright, it's change, and--for a writer--it's heart-healing.

He’s afraid a second time at love wouldn’t live up to his first. She’s afraid a second round would be exactly like her first.

Pastor Jake McAlister and businesswoman Riley Winters are in their forties and widowed.
Neither is interested in a relationship. They both love Fallen Soldier, the small Pennsylvania
town where they met, even though Rye plans to move to Chicago, and Jake sees a change in
pastorates not too far down the road. Enjoying a few-weeks friendship is something they both
look forward to.
However, there is an indisputable attraction between the green-eyed pastor and the woman with a
shining sweep of chestnut hair. Then there’s the Culp, an old downtown building that calls
unrelentingly to Rye’s entrepreneurial soul. And when a young man named Griff visits Jake, life
changes in the blink of a dark green eye.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Anticipation by Bea Tifton

 My mother and I went to a department store last week. I needed some jeans and we were already out, so she came along. The store was already decorated for Christmas. I don't mean just that they were selling Christmas inspired clothing; the store had garlands hanging and ornaments strewn about. In a clothing store. Really.  

Now, I can understand having some Christmas items in craft stores because crafts take time. But stores get Christmas inventory so early now that this summer birthday baby could go shopping for Christmas decorations if I wanted to do so. But I don’t.

I don’t want to sound like a 100 year old curmudgeon raising my cane and yelling, “You kids get off my lawn.”  But I have an issue with our instant gratification, modern times.

When I was a kid, (here we go), stores were closed on Thanksgiving. But on Black Friday, the department stores had been magically transformed into a wonderland. (I’m sure the poor employees had to show up at 5:00 in the morning to accomplish this, but I was a child and didn’t realize.) We walked around the stores, reverently oohing and ahhing at the decorations and the holiday merchandise. And only then did the stores pipe Christmas carols into the air.

My mother would take us to downtown Dallas, where each shop window had elaborate displays. It was so much fun peering into store windows, each more elaborate than the last.

I have fallen into the instant gratification trap as much as anyone.  I mean, I love having things delivered right to my front porch. And I live in a booming city where anything I want to buy or eat is readily available. But Christmas in July? I don’t think so.

What made Christmas so special was the anticipation. The waiting. Imagining what we would see and where we would find it. Knowing that the decorations and the music were truly seasonal and the magic would only be available for a limited time. And I think that’s what we’ve gotten away from in our instant gratification society, what younger people never get to experience, and what I miss.

Just so I’m clear. I won’t be putting my tree up, having my house strung with multicolored lights, or drinking eggnog until after Thanksgiving. I realize the rest of the country will already be celebrating. But I think I’ll wait. I’m so looking forward to it. 

 Photo Credits:
Pavel Danilyuk (Pexels) "Woman in Orange Crew Neck Long Sleeve Shirt Feeling Surprised"
John Boyd (Wikimedia Commons) "Children Looking at Toys in Window" 
Vikky Trifonova (Pexels) "A Girl Posing at the Camera"
Anna Shvets (Pexels) "A Woman Holding a cup of Coffee While Sitting Near the Christmas Tree"

Thursday, October 5, 2023

A Guide to Many-Paws

Well, it was bound to happen. I have officially entered into Many-Paws.

No, I haven’t spelled it wrong. I am talking that phase where women transform from the graceful swans of their youth into... well, let’s just say there’s a reason why they call it “Many-Paws.”

And what’s a girl to do during this perplexing period? Why, naturally, collect cats! It’s a phenomenon as old as time, or at least as old as the internet. So, if you’re a lady of a certain age who’s been accused of being a “crazy cat lady,” or maybe “animal hoarder” fear not! It is highly likely you are only feeling the effects of Many-Paws.

How do you know if you have transitioned? There are telling signs:  

First things first, you may not even realize you’re in Many-Paws. One day you’re sipping your morning latte, and the next, you’re ordering cat-themed apparel.  It’s like a sneaky ninja that creeps up on you while you’re busy contemplating life’s mysteries, like why your thermostat is stuck at “July in Texas.”

Many-Paws can be a lonely journey, so naturally, you turn to the internet. You subscribe to cat-related newsletters, join cat Facebook and rescue groups, and watch cat videos on YouTube for hours on end. Your Amazon cart is filled with cat nip mice, meaty treats, lint rollers and even a four-foot cat tree. Your Pinterest page is full of blueprints for catios and cat entertainment.  Your kids think you’ve lost it and grandkids think you are cool. 

As Many-Paws progresses, your home slowly transforms into a feline paradise. Your linen covered bench at the end of you bed becomes a scratching post and behind the sofa becomes a den of sin where all the treasures are collected. And what’s that on the kitchen counter? Oh, it’s just a cat-themed cookie jar to keep the treats in and besides, it’s cute, and it complements the cat-shaped salt and pepper shakers, right? 

Let us not forget your furr jackets? Perfect for those “wear your cat to work” days.

You start posting cat-spirational quotes on your social media accounts, like “Who needs men when you have cats,” and “If your friends say 7 cats is too many, remove that person from your life, no one should have to deal with that kind of negativity.” Your friends and family are concerned, but deep down, they secretly envy your newfound Zen.

Your weekend outings to get pet food turn into shopping adventures looking for more feline companionship. You visit local animal shelters, pet stores, and even circle the dumpster at Dairy Queen to look for strays. is your friend. Your heart swells with joy as you imagine adopting all of the floofs. You start calculating how many cats you could fit into your home comfortably and how many days between litter box changes you would need.

Then, one day, as you gaze lovingly at your ever-growing cat collection, you realize that you’ve fully transitioned into Many-Paws. You’ve become the cat-loving, cat-obsessed, cat-everything lady you were destined to be. And honestly, life couldn’t be more purr-fect.

(Actual Photos from -Button and Bobbin- except for the kittens I have applied to adopt just tonight.)  

Monday, October 2, 2023

What Do You Want to Wear for Dinner Tonight? By Bea Tifton

 I am filling in for the lovely and talented Caroline Clemmons, writer extraordinaire. Check out her numerous great books for an engrossing read. 

I have a confession, Dear Reader. I am, er, a bit of a slob.

I come by it honestly. My mother and I have a running joke. When we go for Tex-Mex, which is as often as we can as we have a wealth of great Tex Mex in North Texas, she wears a red shirt. Red, as in salsa, for protection against the salsa the Tex-Mex restaurants serve with tortilla chips before the meal. Red is also good for Italian food. Highly patterned shirts are good for other types of cuisine. You see, spilling something is a given, so one must have a camouflage plan. Especially if other errands are to follow.

My Mamaw was a Depression baby. And she was living in poverty to boot. She learned to be careful with the few clothes she had. I also thinks some people are just naturally tidy. She could eat anything, no matter how drippy or gooey, and remain perfectly neat. No tomato stains on her clothing. And she was alternately amazed and frustrated at my mother’s ability to drip anything.

I don’t know why I am so messy when I eat. My mother was a stickler for proper table manners; I’m not like a pig in a trough. But I have become, um, fluffier in my middle age so perhaps I’m just a bigger target?

I was eating with a friend a few weeks ago. He’s just a friend, but he’s what the novels describe as “witty and urbane.” Very well dressed without being pretentious, very proper, very neat. And in the middle of our conversation, he said, “Um. You have, er, something…” and I looked down to see that yes, I had dropped a blotch of sauce on my shirt. So. Embarrassing. He was very gracious and we laughed about it, but I was mortified.

As a vegetarian, I eat a lot of broccoli and spinach. I’ve learned to check my teeth without seeming to check them to avoid that feeling one gets when she gets home and discovers telltale pieces of green stuck in her teeth hours after eating. Sigh. I know I’m with a true friend when they tell me before I leave the table. I mean, I do want to know.

I'll be meeting a friend for Tex-Mex later this week. Better make sure my red shirt is washed and ready to go.

Photo Credits for
Kaus Nielson "Person Giving Plate with Fried Eggs in Form of Face"
cottonbro studios "Photo of Boy Enjoying Melted Chocolate"
cottonbro studios "Kid Eating Broccoli"
Kampus Production "Portrait of Smiling Woman in Eyeglasses and Red Shirt"