At the End…

Friday! The end of the workweek (for many).

Do you currently work a Monday thru Friday job? Have you ever?

Aside from student days, the first responders, health-care workers, hospitality employees, and retail clerks will answer “no”.

This does not mean these workers don’t get time away from the job – sometimes it even falls on a weekend or holiday.

Does your week feel long? Take courage — the end is in sight.

This walk ended at a lovely little overlook of the Des Moines River. This was taken a during-the-week research trip. (Old, retired people like this author have little luxuries.) Exact location: Missouri’s Battle of Athens State Historic Site.

Morning Tryst, a sweet romance features a photographer visiting all of Missouri’s State Parkes and Historic Sites.

Kindle Link:


Classic Puzzle

I was a few months ahead of the curve when the topic was puzzles. I had assembled the one I owned and discovered the shelf at the library before Covid-19 kept us home and revived interest in the pastime.

Lucky me received a gift of boxes of gently used puzzles early in lockdown.

Puzzles and television. Puzzles while primarily listening to television. Puzzles to occupy hands so they are not putting food in my mouth.

Puzzles to bring a little fine art to visit in my home.

A pleasant surprise when this was featured in a travel show broadcast recently.

I usually travel in books when time, money, and energy prevent the in-person kind. Maybe it’s time to add puzzles as a travel method. How do you travel?


Contents: One New Life

We’re Moving! Time to Pack!

I’ve faced this situation several times in my life. I usually being by collecting some nice, sturdy boxes. Then I find my luggage. Are we moving furniture? Do we need to rent a truck? Hire a moving company? What do we leave behind?

What if your limits for this move was one trunk and one satchel per adult?

What do you think this travel chest, with a slightly rounded top carried on the immigration voyage?

In New Dreams, it would have contained bakery tools in addition to kitchen dishes and implements, garden tools (without wooden handles), linens, books, and family mementos. The adventures were many: carts, sailing ship, steamboat, wagons, perhaps a warehouse, a home (or two or three), perhaps even a steam train in the care of the next generation.

Did your family have a trunk from past generations in the attic?

New Dreams, a romance featuring mid-19th century immigrants is now available.



Horse Powered Delivery

Step back to 1851 with me.

The Perch, the daily packet has arrived at the Elm Ridge, Illinois levee. Among the passengers, are Hans Hoffmann and Louisa Mueller.

Hans brings few material goods. However, Louisa brings two trunks of household items and bakery tools.

I can picture Louisa climbing up to sit beside the freight wagon driver in the journey from the levee to her cousin’s farm three miles out of town.

You will find Louisa & Hans’s journey and adventures in New Dreams. Details & purchase links —



Also available in print!


Listen…Can you hear it?

Creak. Groan. Snap.

Close your eyes and listen. Do you hear the sails, lines, and fittings singing in the wind? Can you imagine this as the background to your two month (or more) journey across the Atlantic Ocean?

While this mast and sail is safe and quiet in a museum — the fictional Flying Gull was battered and tossed by storms — and then left to drift in the calm.

I can imagine the immigrants huddled in their quarters below, or enjoying some fresh air on deck, praying for a fair wind and relief from illness.

Eight days – one week and a day – to the official release of NEW DREAMS, a clean & wholesome romance highlighting immigrants in 1851. Pre-order from your favorite retailer now:



Can a woman on her own trust the man with interesting stories?


1850’s Immigration Steps

First you board the sailing ship and survive sixty or more days in crowded, unpleasant conditions.

Then you board a steamboat and hope the captain does not engage in a reckless race with another boat — or you hit snags, or collide with another boat, or…

Then you set out on a smaller steamboat to arrive at any of the dozens of small towns on the Upper Mississippi River or its tributaries.

And then…the immigrant of the 1850’s arrives at their destination. Perhaps it is a town mentioned in letters back to their home in Europe. Or to join relatives already carving out a new life. Or maybe this particular town is appealing because your money has run out.

Sailing ship, steamboat, and author representing the multiple steps of mid-19th century immigration.

NEW DREAMS, a story of two of these immigrants, will be released March 22. Pre-order now:




Ready for Dessert?

Do you end your meals with a sweet? Or are you more inclined to take an additional serving of rice or potatoes?

If you like a hint of sweetness without overwhelming your taste buds — I have just the treat for you.

The baker heroine in the upcoming NEW DREAMS enjoys making Kuchen. The bakery customers look forward to apple, cherry, plum, and the pictured apricot.

While I’m sure her creations looked a little different — please allow for changes in oven and dishes 170 years later — I expect they tasted wonderful. A portion of Kuchen would be a great finish for a hearty meal of stew and rye bread.

Save the date — March 22 — Louisa and Hans are on a journey to fictional Elm Ridge, Illinois to make dreams come true.

America beckons with opportunity during the 1850’s.

Louisa Mueller, a baker’s daughter, arrives in Elm Ridge, Illinois with determination to learn English and work as a baker. Since the death of her sweetheart a year ago, she pushes aside thoughts of marriage. However, she’s intrigued by a fellow passenger who tells the most interesting stories.

Desperate for a fresh start, a young thief takes the name Hans Hoffmann when a look-alike passenger dies during the trans-Atlantic passage. Vowing to be an honest man in America, Hans discovers temptation wears many disguises. Will the pair be rewarded as they attempt their new dreams in a strange land?

Kindle edition:


The Boat’s Coming

Do you hear the steam whistle? Can you feel the energy?

Four weeks from tomorrow — March 22 — the steamboat The Perch will land at fictional Elm Ridge, Illinois.

Well, that’s the first day you can buy the story which includes the landing. However, the story begins months before and thousands of miles away. Oh — and in the past — 1851 to be precise.

So mark your calendars — or pre-order for your Kindle here:

Hans and Louisa will meet you on the page!


Final Call

The Twelfth Day of Christmas is here! This is your final chance to wish family and friends MERRY CHRISTMAS — or Blessed Epiphany — until the calendar spins all the way to December again.

Okay, so some of you are not calendar people. However, I cling to the old ways. Two rooms of my home host a paper calendar on a hook (or pin in corkboard). A datebook resides in my purse. A planner is within reach at my desk. And yes — for those of you of a younger generation — many important meetings and appointments are tapped into an electronic version.

Unmarred, these calendars five years ago were ready to be placed into prominent locations.

Calendars do not go to waste in this writer’s household. Each new story — even the ones suspended due to lack of real substance — gets events plotted out. How long between the meet-cute and the next encounter? When does the villain set foot on stage? Can I center an event around a holiday? (The year has more holidays than those in December.) Oh — we’ve had a season change — how does that figure into the weather or time of sunset.

In the clean and wholesome romance, MORNING TRYST, our heroine photographer tours Missouri State Parks capturing images used in tourist brochures and other publicity materials. I like to imagine one of these items is a calendar — with several spectacular sunrises and sunsets featuring forested hills or rolling grassland.

For more information on the book, click here:


Desert in Bloom

December’s a little early. You’ll find more color in the desert in another month or two.

This pair, however, look right at home in this puzzle.

Unlike many puzzle artists, this series appears to blend photographs. I wonder how many they used. One for each bird? How many for the yellow blossoms? How many to get the cacti this straight and close together?

Have you visited the desert? Remember the sunscreen! And a hat! Check for critters before you sit on the ground. If you’re lucky, you may see a road runner darting between the clumps of vegetation.

The “Gusto Gang,” a group of women who became best friends in US Navy boot camp years ago, meet for a hiking adventure in National Parks. Sign up for my newsletter and get a free copy of the short DESERT ENCOUNTER.