Glory of Autumn


I love to cross stitch. It’s my hobby and a way to relax. My favorite pieces to stitch are usually Christmas related, since it’s my favorite time of the year. But I found this piece, and it reminded me so much of fall in my native Ohio, I just had to do it. So, after a couple of years of off and on stitching, it’s finally done.


Christmas Catalogs


About a week ago, or maybe the week before that, I received a flyer from Target. I didn’t pay  much attention to it at first, but then the cover caught Target Christmas flyermy eye. You see what I mean from the image.

Toys! Christmas toys!

For those of you as old as me, you probably remember the joy of childhood when the Christmas toy catalogs arrived in the mail. My sisters and I would spend hours, just turning pages of this cherished item slowly, reveling in the treasures each page contained.

Dreaming. Wishing. Hoping.

Pens in hand, circling the hints to our parents.

Sears. J.C. Penny. Montgomery Ward. For a child, these were the equivalent of a Bible.

Alas, those are bygone days. But the arrival of this item from Target sure brought back some pleasant memories. Feel free to share your own thoughts.

What the country needs now….


Recent events have shown how fractured, how divided we are as a country. Today, I remembered this old tune. The message is simple, but maybe, just maybe, if we heed the lyrics, there’s hope for us. Take a listen.

Gingerbread Dreams Teaser


Jan loved this time of the year. The winter doldrums were over, the weather was warming up, and people were getting their income tax refunds, and in a home-buying mood. Particularly with interest rates at record-low levels. Her calendar was booked with appointments from sellers looking to list their homes, and potential buyers looking for that dream or retirement home.

But not on this particular Saturday.
She’d kept her calendar clear, and she and Anne had left Venice around mid-morning, heading for Sarasota. They stopped at Michaels on East for an early lunch, then arrived at Chez Maison, an upscale bridal shop on St. Armand’s Circle, where they had fittings scheduled for their wedding gowns. Inside, they met Anne’s two other bridesmaids, friends of hers from the church she attended with Jim and her parents, and the group headed back to the fitting area.
Jan struggled to remain jovial, both for her friend and the gaiety of the occasion, but she couldn’t help the dark thoughts hovering at the edge of her consciousness.
I’m happy for Anne, I really am. She looks happy, compared to a few months ago, when she was all sad, and gloomy, and depressed all the time. Talk about karma coming back to bite you in the ass. I could have been a better friend. But no, I had to go and lord it all over her about my engagement—
She swiped a hand quickly over her eyes, wiping away the tears that threatened to fall at the memory of how joyful she’d been.
“Come on, Jan,” Anne urged. “Get in your dress and let’s see how it fits.”
Jan picked up the garment and disappeared into the dressing room.
Just a bridesmaid like everyone else. I should have been a matron of honor by now, or at least planning my own wedding. If only Alex…
Jan gave herself a mental kick as she slipped out of her clothing.
Don’t go there. Stay happy for Anne. She’s your best friend. She doesn’t need a gloomy Gus ruining her day.

Jan frowned as she pulled the gown on.
What the —
She distinctly remembered coming here a month ago. She’d been by herself, met the dressmaker, who took her measurements. Surely the woman couldn’t have screwed things up that badly. She eyed herself in the mirror. Where the gown should have hugged her hips, it sagged. She looked like a frump instead of an elegant bridesmaid.
“Anne, I think we have a problem,” she called out as she left the dressing room. The stunned looks that greeted her confirmed her fears. It was worse than she thought.
“How much weight have you lost?” Anne asked.
Jan shrugged. “I don’t know. I haven’t paid much attention,” she said. “I’ve been eating,” she added.
“It’s okay, that’s what fittings are for. To make corrections we need to make,” the dressmaker cooed. “Step on up here, and I’ll put a few pins in and we’ll make this all better.”
Mortified, Jan did as she was instructed.

Well, no crash diet for me.

A Not-So-Valentine Story


gidgetThis is not your typical Valentine’s Day story, where boy meets girl, they fall in love, and live happily ever after. In fact, this story begins in sadness.

As many of you know, Tymber and I lost our beloved Gidget this past Tuesday. Filled with cancer, we had no clue that she was this ill, and consequently made the decision to relieve her of the misery she must have been feeling. However, knowing we did the right thing by her, did nothing to fill the gaping holes in our hearts. After ten years, Gidget was very much a part of our lives. Tymber put it much better than I can, and here’s the link to what she wrote, if you’re interested:

Fast-forward to Friday after three tear-filled days. Gidget must have been observing from the Rainbow Bridge as we struggled with our grief because she led Tymber in a casual search to a rescue puppy in need of a forever home. And proving her awesomeness, Gidget’s choice, whom we’ve named Kiwi, bears a striking similarity to Gidget when she was young.

Now you want to know how this links to Valentine’s Day?

The humane society was offering pet adoptions for $14 as a Valentine special. And to come full circle, the first dog I owned as an adult was named Valentine.


candy-cane-kisses-coverIn honor of the blog hop, I have two giveaways, both e-books:compressed-happyvalenkinksday3-1 a copy of my own Candy Cane Kisses, and a copy of Tymber Dalton’s Happy Valenkink’s Day. Just leave a comment, and I’ll select two winners at random at the end the blog hop.

And don’t forget, you can enter to win an Amazon Echo.

And don’t forget to check out the other fabulous authors participating in this blog hop.

Blog Hopping


Well, if I were female, which I’m not, Haley is just my other pen name, you could say this was a year my cherry was being popped. A couple of weeks ago, I did my first author takeover, and although I was nervous, I had a blast.

Now, I’m going to engage in another new experience — a blog hop.

Yep. I’ve no idea what it is, but I’ll figure it out and like the author takeover, I’m sure I’ll have fun. Here’s the link:

So check back during the week of Feb. 12-18 (my birthday) and see what I’m up to.