I’m writing this ahead of time because at this moment, I am–squee!–in Chicago being a tourist. That’s the exciting part, because while I’m actually doing the writing, it’s raining like there’s no tomorrow and I’m fighting the rainy day blues. So. Let’s talk about my new book from Harlequin Heartwarming before IÂ give up the battle and indulge in chocolate and carbs and something stronger than spearmint tea.
I have lived in Miami County, Indiana my entire life (which is a really long time, but I’m not going there today). We have our claims to fame here. We’re the home of the largest amateur circus in the world. Wabash, just 20 minutes away, was the first electrically lighted city in the world. (It cost the city a whopping $712 a year!) Ruth Riley, WNBA player estraordinaire, is from my home school. Last but certainly not least on my list, songwriter Cole Porter was born here in 1891. He wrote a gazillion songs. Ones that make me remember my mom–“Begin the Beguine”–and ones that I remember from movies when I was a kid–“Too Darn Hot” and “Wunderbar.”
So I had this thought for a new book. And lots of help. Peru, Indiana’s former mayor named my fictitious community, Facebook friends named the cat and dog, and Cole Porter named the businesses within Lake Miniagua. Not that he meant to, but I hope he would be happy withÂ Every Time We Say Goodbye. And the Silver Moon Cafe and the It’s De-Lovely spa and the Anything Goes Grill, to mention a few.
He had her at “hello againâ€¦”Â
After the prom night accident that had stolen the innocence of his small lakeside hometown, Jack Llewellyn had run. The guiltâ€”especially facing his high school sweetheart, Arlie Gallagherâ€”had been too much. Now he had no choice. He was back in town, and on Arlie’s radar.
Arlie couldn’t believe that after all these years, she still had him under her skin. He was such a changed manâ€¦a responsible business owner, a single parent. Would he understand the changes she’d gone through, the secrets she lived with? She was ready to forgive him but was he ready to forgive himself? And did they have to say goodbye this time?
And here’s an excerpt, too. It doesn’t have Jack in it, which is a shame, but it’s one of my favorite getting-to-know-Arlie parts.
â€œI want to see you, Arliss. Iâ€™d rather not come to the lake, but I will if you insist. Iâ€™d appreciate it if youâ€™d call back, but if you donâ€™t, Iâ€™ll call again.â€
That pretty well summed up her relationship with her mother.
Arlie had been five years and two months old the day Glennis Gallagher set her on the couch in the living room with her Cabbage Patch doll, a plastic bag of Goldfish crackers and a glass of chocolate milk and told her to not move until Daddy got home. She had kissed Arlieâ€™s forehead, leaving a fresh lipstick mark, and left without looking back. Glennis carried a suitcase and a big purse. The leather coat sheâ€™d gotten for her birthday squeaked when she walked. The scent of musk perfume drifted through the air. The locks clicked when the door closed behind her.
Arlie had been a very obedient little girl. By the time Dave got home from a twelve-hour shift at his job at the automotive plant in Kokomo, his daughter had wet herself and was sobbing quietly into a sofa pillow. The crackers and milk were long gone and she was hungry and scared, but mostly she was embarrassed because big girls never had accidents on their mothersâ€™ good furniture.
Even now, as she sat on her own couch in the same room, which was unrecognizable compared to that day long ago, tears slipped silent and hot down Arlieâ€™s cheeks for the little girl sheâ€™d been. She remembered the sounds of leather and clicking locks, the feel of Glennisâ€™s cool lips against her forehead. She could still conjure the scent of musk in her consciousness.
It made her gag.
Her father had hugged her close, bathed her and put her into pink flannel pajamas. Heâ€™d set her at the kitchen table and made her an egg sandwich, bragging that no one made egg sandwiches like superdads did. He gave her more chocolate milk and a Twinkie, then tucked her into bed without making her brush her teeth again. He read to her even though she was a big girl of five and sheâ€™d heard it so often she knew the words by heart.
â€œPlease donâ€™t tell Mommy,â€ she begged when he kissed her good-night. â€œSheâ€™ll be mad about the couch.â€
â€œI wonâ€™t tell,â€ he promised, â€œbut you need to remember something, Arletta Marquetta Brigetta.â€
â€œWhatâ€™s that?â€ she whispered.
He smiled at her, then kissed her again, tucking her blanket in close. â€œCouches donâ€™t matter. You matter.â€
Writing that part broke my heart, but hearts (both Arlie’s and mine) get put back together in this story. Buy links are below. I hope you like it. Thanks for coming by.
Â â€‹Liz Flaherty thinks one of the things that keeps you young when you quite obviously arenâ€™t anymore is the constant chances you have to reinvent yourself. Her latest professional incarnation is as a Harlequin Heartwarming author and she is enjoying every minute!Â Sheâ€™d love to hear from you atÂ firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ or please come and see her at http://www.facebook.com/lizkflaherty
- About the Author
- Posts in the Past
Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in North Central Indiana they moved to in 1977. Theyâ€™ve talked about moving, but reallyâ€¦30-some yearsâ€™ worth of stuff? Itâ€™s not happening!