Morning Coffee: New Release!

It’s an exciting day. Book three of The Pine Lake Girls, “Lizzie: The Home Coming”, is now available in both ebook and paperback on Amazon! Order your copy now and learn the answers to all your questions from Book one, “Alice: The Betrayal”, and Book two, “Betty: The Rebel”.

It’s 1919, and one friend’s betrayal has put all three Pine Lake Girls in danger.

Lizzie Finley is overjoyed with the arrival of her newly adopted daughter, but she’s terrified of a secret she’s learned from her mother’s past. A secret she fears will ruin her future if discovered by her friends and neighbors.

Alice Barnes has started a new life with Harry’s brother, Jack. Married and carrying his child, Alice’s future is bright, but the shadow of Betty’s betrayal still haunts her past.

When Betty Barnes returns to Pine Lake, forced to flee Minneapolis and her husband Harry’s murderous rage, she turns to the only two people she feels she can trust to protect her and her unborn child.

Is this the opportunity Lizzie’s been searching for to heal the rift between her two best friends? Can Alice ever forgive Betty? Or is it truly the end of the Pine Lake Girls, friends forever?

Morning Coffee: Daylight Savings Time

How do you feel about Daylight Savings Time (DST)? Would you rather we have a permanent DST and none of this changing back and forth? Being retired from my day job, I find I personally don’t care one way or the other because I’m neither going to work/school in the dark or coming home from work/school in the dark. But I know it is a hot topic with most people feeling strongly one way or the other.

I was curious as to the history of DST and found the following on

The concept of DST began in Germany in 1916, as a WWI energy saving measure. Many of the European countries quickly followed suit. The US inaugurated what they called “Fast Time” in 1918. Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist, was enamored by the idea after a visit to the UK and pushed for its institution here. It was repealed seven months later, although some cities chose to continue: including Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York City.

In 1942, President Franklin D Roosevelt enacted year-round DST, which he called “War Time”. It lasted from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945, and went by: Eastern War Time, Central War Time, Mountain War Time, and Pacific War Time. After the Japanese surrendered in Mid-August 1945, “War” Time was changed to “Peace” Time.

From 1945 to 1966, there were no uniform rules and this caused a lot of confusion. Particularly with scheduling trains, buses, and broadcasting. So, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was enacted. DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday in October.

The oil embargo of 1973 led to year-round DST beginning in January 1974 and ending in April 1975. The intent was to study seasonal change on oil consumption. There were a lot of complaints from people, and the discovery of only a moderate change in oil consumption. (I was in high school at the time and walked to school. While it wasn’t unusual for me to walk home in the dark if there was a late play practice, I didn’t particularly like walking to school in the dark.)

After 1976, there were several revisions enacted. From 1987 to 2006, DST lasted seven months. Our current schedule came to be under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and has been followed since 2007. It begins on the second Sunday in March, and ends on the first Sunday in November.

The US is one of seventy countries that currently operate under a DST schedule, with only two US states opting to not participate: Hawaii and Arizona. Hawaii uses Hawaii Standard Time. Most of Arizona uses Mountain Standard Time, with the exception of the Navajo Nation, which extends into Utah and New Mexico, both of which do participate. Indiana abstained in 1970, but voted to rejoin in 2006.

There is an ongoing debate on whether or not to do away with DST. On March 15, 2022, the US Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act which would allow a state to opt to a permanent DST schedule. (Under the current law, they can only opt out.) The act would need to be approved by both Congress and the President, neither of which has happened at this time. In anticipation, nineteen states have enacted or passed legislation that would allow them to opt for a permanent DST schedule: Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, Montana, Alabama, Minnesota, Utah, South Carolina, Georgia, Idaho, Wyoming, Louisiana, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, Florida, and California.

As I said in the beginning, I don’t have a strong personal preference. But I can see both sides of the debate. It all depends on when you prefer to have that extra sunlight, morning or evening. If I had to choose, I guess I’d go with DST. I’m not a morning person, so when I do have to get up and it’s still dark, it’s a definite struggle. Yet, I’m getting to the point where I’m not a fan of driving at night. And I’m more likely to be driving at night than getting out of bed early. So . . .

What do you think? If it was on the ballot tomorrow, how would you vote?

Morning Coffee: Another New Year

We’re almost a month into another new year and most of us have probably already broken all our resolutions. Mine might not be broken, but they have taken a bit of a beating. Why do we even make these promises to ourselves? Promises like losing weight, working out more, being an overall better person?

I’m as guilty as anyone. This year it was all the usual promises, plus the vow that I would write a minimum of 1000 words a day on my next novel. That’s roughly 4-5 pages. Doesn’t sound so hard, right? Well, that depends on the day and the scene/chapter. I recognized from the beginning there would be days this wouldn’t be feasible. Days like Christmas, or when I have the chance to spend an afternoon playing with my grandson. (He’s only little for a short time.) There was the weekend I had a stomach bug I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But there were also the days I decided to check out a new Netflix series over my morning coffee with the promise to only watch one episode, yet spent the entire day binging the first season. Then, I loved the show so much, I started right in binging season two the next morning.

Rather than looking at this as a failure, throwing up my hands and saying maybe next year. It just means I start over as if today was the first day of a new year. Every day is the first day of a new year. So, I’m back on the horse with a few stricter rules for myself (all those streaming services are for evening watching). If I fall off the wagon, or it’s a day where there are other more important things to do (i.e., playing with my grandson), I forgive myself and keep going the next day.

Every morning you wake up is a gift. Use it wisely and start all over. If it doesn’t work out, remember, tomorrow is another new day, and you can try again.

Morning Coffee: Winter is Here

For you folks in the frozen north, all you have to do is look out your window to know winter is here. I’ve been told there’s quite a bit of snow on the ground in NW Wisconsin. For me, I’m here in sunny SW Florida where the view from my window is anything but snowy. But my routine remains the same . . . minus the boots and heavy coat.

There are Christmas cards to make and mail. Gifts to purchase and wrap. Cookies and holiday meals to plan. Decorations. Books to read and write . . . sitting by the pool, of course.

Unless I’m playing with my grandson. He just turned two and is very verbal about his day. Although, I have to admit I only understand about half of what he’s saying.

Winter is also the time of year I break out the jigsaw puzzles. Back home it’s because I don’t spend a lot of time out in the cold and puzzles make for a great toasty indoor activity. Nonetheless, I find my thoughts turning to those colorful boxes stacked expectantly on my shelf.

Top of this year’s list is a puzzle called “Writer’s Desk”. Last year’s birthday gift from my sister-in-law. I planned this one specifically for Florida as I will glue and frame it to hang by my desk once it’s finished. Next in line is a puzzle called “Vintage Bookstore”. It was this year’s birthday gift from the same sister-in-law. I will also glue and frame it for hanging.

Here’s a couple of questions for you:

When you open a new puzzle box and find some of the pieces already together, do you leave them that way and consider them a bonus, or do you break them apart? Personally, I break them apart and mix the pieces around. It feels like cheating if I don’t get to find and put them together myself.

Do you presort them by color and subject, or do you leave them in a great pile in the box to sift through? In my younger days, I laid them all out on a large table around the puzzle. I might semi-sort them, but mostly I just laid them where there was room. Now, I mostly sort into cookie sheets by color groups. Something I learned from the same sister-in-law. But so far with this puzzle, I’ve done some sorting for the framing pieces and certain interior pictures, but mostly I’m sifting through the pile in the box. It’s been working well, but soon I’m going to sort into the above-mentioned cookie sheets.

I’ve been doing all this while binging my Netflix list. What do you do while working on a puzzle? Watch television, listen to music, or just work in silence? Do you prefer to make your puzzle by yourself, or with someone else? I’ve done both.

No matter how you do your puzzle making, may you have no missing pieces, and may they all fit snugly together.

Morning Coffee: The Writing Life

Despite popular belief, we can’t write a book in the same time it takes to read one . . . at least, not a good book. It can take months, sometimes even years, to get it right. It’s a painful process of trial and error, elation followed by spiraling self-doubt. We subject our friends and family—anyone who will listen or are too slow to get away—to every idea, good or bad, running in circles through our brain like rabbits in heat.

I was thinking my heroine should ____ instead of _________. Don’t you agree?

I finally figured out how to fill that plot hole. What do you think of ________? Genius, right?

And even after we finish our cherished, perfect-in-our-mind, draft and send it on to our editor expecting rave reviews, we face several rounds of edits to fix all the problems we thought we fixed in the first place. It’s a pain-staking and humbling experience fueled by late nights and gallons of coffee.

There’s formatting and cover art to decide on. The back cover blurb can be more difficult to get right than the book itself. Advertising is never ending. Even writers with a world-wide adoring fan base have to promote each book as if it’s their first because our readers are fickle. Every book has to be better than the last or we risk them moving on to someone else. There are many good books, many amazing authors, out there to choose from.

We have promotions. We submit our work to competitions in order to be read by the “right” people. Those people who know other people. We travel to book signings to meet with you in person and maybe have our picture taken. See, we’re real. If you cut us, we do bleed. We practically beg for reviews.

And at the end of the day, we fall into bed exhausted, only to get up the next morning and start all over again with the next book.

Morning Coffee: Reviews Worth More Than Gold

I can’t emphasize this enough. Reviews are worth more than gold to authors. Positive reviews equal sales. Especially for the self-published.

When you’re looking for a book to read on Amazon and it sounds good, but you don’t recognize the author, what do you do? You scroll down and check out the reviews. Keeping in mind that not everyone likes the same books, you’re more likely to buy if the majority are favorable.

So, if you’ve enjoyed that book you just finished, leave a review. It doesn’t have to be long. We might not here us say so, but we appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Thank you.

Morning Coffee: A New Release

It’s always exciting when a new release is announced. “Betty: The Rebel (The Pine Lake Girls Book Two)” is available in paperback from Amazon, and ebook from various online stores, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple. See the full list at:

It’s 1919, and Betty Young has always loved Harry Barnes, but he was engaged to marry Alice Armstrong, her best friend. Bound and determined to have him for herself, Betty tricked him into marrying her instead. Now that she has the husband and big city society life she always wanted, is she living her dream, or a nightmare?

Prohibition is the law and women are fighting for the right to vote. Betty’s eyes are opened by the disparity between the lives of those around her and the immigrants living in the Minneapolis neighborhood known as Bohemian Flats. Exciting doors are opening for her out in the world away from her small hometown of Pine Lake, Wisconsin.

But at what cost?

Can Alice, Betty, and Lizzie’s friendship survive betrayal and a changing world? Watch for the third and final book, “Lizzie: The Secret”, in 2023.

Morning Coffee: Coming Soon

It’s a rush every time I finish a book. This will be my third, and the feeling is no less exciting than when I finished my first or my second. And I suspect it will be just as exciting when I finish my fourth, the third installment in my Pine Lake Girls trilogy. Tentatively titled “Lizzie: The Reckoning”, watch for it in 2023.

“Betty: The Rebel” is the second in the trilogy and will be released later this month. It’s currently going through a final proof read by a fresh pair of eyes. Set in 1919 Minneapolis/St Paul, Betty finds herself in the middle of suffragettes and prohibition.

If you haven’t yet read the first book, “Alice: The Betrayal”, it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook. You don’t have to read the first to enjoy the second, but it is double the fun.

Also available on Amazon, “Mary Bishop” takes the reader from pre-Civil War Virginia to1880 Wisconsin. It’s about a war that divided a nation, a woman fighting for her life, and the two men who promised to love her forever.

Morning Coffee: Suffragist vs Suffragette

I’m currently working on the edits for the second book in my Pine Lake Girls trilogy and it brought up an interesting research question. Suffragist or suffragette? What’s the difference?

The fact that the question crossed my mind doesn’t mean much because I’m always asking myself such things. I love any reason to do some historical research. In fact, it’s one of the number one reasons I give for why I’m not actually writing. I’m doing very important research. But when my editor calls to ask me that very same question, I know my readers are going to question it as well.

So, research I must . . . and happily.

This is what I found: A suffragist is peaceful and can be either male or female. The suffragist believes in the cause of women’s suffrage, the right to vote, but they voice their opinion by writing letters to politicians, by writing opinion pieces and newspaper/journal articles, speaking to groups. A suffragette, on the other hand, is a woman who believes her voice must be heard to make a difference. She marches, protests, and in some cases, is violent in the form of vandalism or arson. A suffragist may be mocked or looked down upon for their beliefs. A suffragette is willing to risk arrest.

Watch for “Betty: The Rebel” to be released later this summer.

Morning Coffee: Getting Back to Normal

It’s been a stressful two years, but things are finally getting back to normal. Mask mandates are lifting almost everywhere. Travel destinations are requiring fewer and fewer prerequisites for visiting. Events that have been closed to the public are reopening.

This month is a busy one for me, partially thanks to the lifting of additional pandemic rules. It’s always been the month of Mother’s Day, my brother’s birthday, and my birthday, but that’s been it for the past two years. This year we get to return to Canada for a week of fishing with family and friends. That’s one country that’s still heavy on the border crossing rules, but they are letting up enough that we will actually be able to go. This is a trip that takes a lot of planning ahead as we have to bring all our food and equipment. As well as getting all our required information to the proper authorities before the advance crossing deadline.

This year I also have my first reader/author book signing event in June . . . not long after we return from Canada. Being my first, I have to plan for my very important table set-up. So many of these events were canceled, or I didn’t hear about them until it was too late and all tables were booked. If you’re in the Deadwood, SD area the Saturday of June 18th, be sure and come by the Wild Deadwood Reads event at the Lodge. A part of the larger Wild Bill Days celebrating the life and times of Wild Bill Hickock. There will be lots of authors selling a wide variety of books, live music, and other great events. I’m so excited! I’ve been to Deadwood only once, and it’s a really fun place to visit. I can’t wait to go back.

And, I get to meet some new readers. Create new fans?

For those of you who are current fans of mine, Book 2 of the Pine Lake Girls trilogy should be out by the end of summer. It’s currently in the editing phase of creation. Watch for more news about “Betty: The Rebel” in the near future. And if you enjoyed the “Hope Harbor” anthology I was a part of last year, there’s a second volume coming out in November in time for Christmas. Proceeds for this one will go toward fighting hunger. I’m currently drafting my contribution, “A Christmas Kind of Love”.

It’s never too early to begin planning for your winter reading list. And who says you have to wait for winter? Books make a great poolside or beach companion.