Friday, October 16

Ducks and Dickens by Liz Flaherty #WordWranglers

My writing career has changed drastically lately, but I've talked about that already. You've survived the drama of my rejections, of my what-shall-I-do vacillations. I'm still dithering about my future in romantic fiction, but in the mean time...

Long ago I took a creative writing course offered by columnist Vicki Williams. That was when I realized I didn't have to get my life ducks all in a row to be a writer. Of course, I didn't. Writers never have their ducks in a row--what was I thinking! Regardless of the house, the kids, the husband, and the more-than-fulltime job, if I was going to write, I needed to just do it. Ducks be damned.

I sold a few stories and soon I was a stringer for the local newspaper. And then Jeff Ward, the editor I wrote for, let me write a column. The Window Over the Sink was born in 1988 and it has run sporadically ever since. Even now, when it's not in any newspapers, it's still on my personal blog. Every Saturday.

My husband Duane, who's not a reader, is nevertheless the head of my entire fan club. For years, he has asked me to compile a group of columns into a book. I've said, "I'll get to it. I promise." A few years back, I started saying, "This year, for sure."

But I dreaded it. I dreaded choosing what essays I would use. What order I'd put them in. What my theme would be. How long to make the book. Should I look for a publisher? Should I do it myself? I needed...didn't Duane understand that before I could create this book from the pieces of my writing life I needed to have my ducks in a...

Oh. Right.

So, when I finished my last project, I got started. I put the columns together as willy-nilly as I wrote them, starting with a New Year's one and finishing with two Christmas ones. (You know me and Christmas, right?) I didn't edit them for content, because they needed to reflect how I felt when I wrote them. Someone's making my covers, Nan caught typos and made the manuscript look a lot more professional than I had. It will be available soon. I'll let you know when. 

I'm excited. And I have learned a valuable lesson. One I've learned before and will undoubtedly learn again.

It doesn't matter about the ducks. 


Christmas Comes to Dickens, an anthology by 10 award-winning and/or bestselling authors, is available for pre-order now. It will be released on October 26. In case you haven't checked out yet, here are the stories.

Welcome to Dickens—a quaint New England town bustling with excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Christmas holiday. We have the annual tree lighting in the town square, a snowman building competition, ice skating on Grosvenor’s Pond, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. You’re welcome to cut down your own Christmas tree at Gridley Meadows, or join in the caroling on the Common.

Dickens offers an abundance of heartfelt wishes, a few much needed miracles, and—quite possibly—a touch of magic! Families reunite, new friends are made, and old flames take a second chance at happiness. All while celebrating this most joyful time of the year.

Join us as our best selling and award winning authors fill your holiday stocking with ten brand new novellas ranging from sweet to sassy, including:

Millie’s Awesome Holiday Miracle by Top 100 Author Nancy Fraser ~ She’s an overworked single mom struggling to make ends meet. He’s the handsome CEO who’s come to Dickens to save—or close—the toy factory. Can one precocious little girl bring a couple of much-needed miracles to the people she cares about most?

Miracle At Holly Hill Inn by Top 100 Author Maddie James ~ Ariana is looking for the perfect Christmas village. Instead, she finds the town Scrooge. Will two days snowbound together at Holly Hill Inn bring them closer together, or send them each on their merry way?

Holiday Hearts by Top 100 Author Caroline Clemmons ~ Laura Jordan’s beauty and sense of humor are more apparent than her sharp mind, soft heart, and strict code of right and wrong. Ward Callahan has avoided romantic complications to throw himself into building his ad agency. Once he meets Laura, he falls hard but must convince her that dating her boss is not inappropriate. Can he convince her he doesn’t want her heart only for the holidays, but forever?

The Tinsel Tango by Best Selling Author Bonnie Edwards ~ Brenna needs some R&R over Christmas in Dickens. Tango lessons from mysterious Jett…Smith? may bring her everything her heart desires, but his secrets may kill the love they find.

Wisdom of the Heart by USA Today Best Selling Author Liz Flaherty ~ They were best friends who fell in love, but that was high school. Life and families and other loves had happened since that dear and distant time. They're friends again, comfortable with each other and having so much fun at Christmas time in Dickens. They're not still in love, but...wait...could it be happening again?

Operation Snowball by Best Selling Author Kathryn Hills ~ Returning to small town life is hard for Army veteran John Gridley. The last thing he expects to find is love with the beautiful widow, Heather Murphy. Can the perfect Christmas tree and a missing cat named Snowball bring them together despite meddling townsfolk?

Angel Kisses and Holiday Wishes by Best Selling Author Peggy Jaeger ~ When Sage left town 18 years ago, she left Keith's heart in tatters. Now she's back, and he's wondering if they can put the past behind them and rekindle the love they lost.

Holly’s Wish by Top 100 Author Kathleen Lawless ~ What if the girl who got away is actually standing right in front of you? Years earlier, Nico and Holly shared one magical Christmas Eve. She never stopped wishing he’d find where she left her number.
When he does, is it too late?

Holiday Heart Wishes by Award Winning Author Lucinda Race ~ On her way into Dickens to visit family, Vera picks up Tony, a stranded motorist. Rather than part ways when they arrive, they discover their loved ones are intent on getting married. Can they slow down the older couple's rush to the altar? Or, will holiday heart wishes come true for everyone?

Santa’s Wish by Best Selling Author Jan Scarbrough ~ Will Christmas magic help them overcome Roz’s career ambitions and Cooper’s grief, and bring them together for a second chance at love?

Here's the link again. I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as we liked writing them!


  1. Can’t wait for the book of essays! So very glad you did this!!

  2. What a great idea to put all your columns together in a book. It's a little bit of history wrapped up in your beautiful writing. I wish you all the best with this project!