The Porch

One of my greatest pleasures, on a summer evening, is to sit on my front porch. Whether I’m reading a book, sharing a cup of coffee with a friend, or just watching the world go by, it doesn’t matter. Life is better with a porch!

When I started looking for a house to buy, almost four years ago, a front porch was at the top of my “must have’s” list. My 1920’s cottage was the second house I looked at, and you could say it was love at first sight. After seeing it, I didn’t feel the need to look any farther. One of the things that sold me on it was its wide, welcoming porch. That and the big, shady apple tree in the front yard — and I didn’t even know then how hot Southern Ohio summers would be!

So when thinking of home repairs for the protagonist in my current work-in-progress, like me, Frankie Bonetti started with her front porch. Like me, she had rotting posts to deal with.




And like me, she was willing to pay whatever it cost to save it. Because in fiction, as in life, good things happen on the porch!

Frankie ended up replacing the rotting wooden posts with aluminum columns. She added window boxes and big leafy ferns, a couple of comfy chairs and some colorful cushions. In the end, she was quite pleased with how the space came together. And I must admit, I was too!





Echoes is a collection of short stories that celebrates love in all its forms and complexities. With a blend of warmth, humor and brutal honesty M. Jean Pike illustrates the love between a mother and daughter (Echoes) between a teenaged girl and her mentally retarded brother (Muddy Sneakers) and between a husband and a wife (The Box.) From the first stirrings of romance (Funnyman) to its last dying embers (All of August) and every challenge in between (Crossoads) this collection of love stories warms the heart and touches the soul.



whispers in autumn

Looking for a spooky, fall romance? Why not give Whispers in Autumn a try!

To hear love whispering, they had to listen with their hearts.
Paranormal Studies expert Dove Denning came to Shadow Lake to attend her friend Emma’s wedding. After helping the police with a brutal murder investigation, the solitude and tranquility of the lake are just what Dove needs to ease her spirit—but the spirits that whisper to her aren’t so at ease.

Struggling over the death of his daughter, Dusty is a man who has come from dark places in search of peace. As his heart turns toward Dove, the ghosts from his past turn out to be more than just figures of speech. Together, Dusty and Dove find the power of redemption, of safety from a growing danger … of love on the lake.

Available in paperback and as a Kindle Romance at!


Sunrise, Sunset

Lately, the song Sunrise, Sunset from The Fiddler on the Roof has been playing in my mind.

 Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older. When did they?

 When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. Swiftly fly the years. One season following another. Laden with happiness and tears…

I guess I’m feeling nostalgic because another milestone is approaching. Eighteen years ago this week I set out on the greatest journey of my life. A baby boy came into the world, and he became my world.


Sunrise, sunset, and my beautiful baby became a rambunctious little boy. So many memories fill my mind, this week. Sunny Sunday afternoons when we’d take his little red wagon along the bicycle trail, hunting for crickets and grasshoppers and acorns. Rainy days spent inside making puppets and endless hours of playing Batman until I thought I’d lose my mind. Oh, but I’d take those days back in a minute…

Sunrise, sunset. There were Easter egg hunts, Halloween costumes, Christmas trees and birthday parties. I watched his Little League and La Crosse games.I sat in the auditorium and listened with pride as he read his prize-winning essay. And before I knew it, my little boy was a teenager.

I remember the day he took his driver’s test. I watched as he and the instructor drove off in my car. I waited what seemed an eternity for them to return, not certain whether I wanted the news to be pass or fail. Because in my mind, driving meant driving away…

The journey has not always been easy. The road has not always been smooth. I have not always done the right thing, but I always did the very best I could. I hope he knows that. This week my little boy turns eighteen, and I hope he knows how proud I am of the young man he has become. And that no matter how many years come and go, he will always be my little boy.

Happy Birthday, Noah James. Your mother loves you more than you could know.


Garbage Plates, Lilacs and Books, Oh My!

My friend, Loretta, is visiting from England. With just two and a half short days to spend together before she heads off to NY City, I wanted to try and give her a sampling of what our little corner of the world has to offer. The Lilac Festival seemed a logical place to start, so on Friday morning we set off for Rochester, where we enjoyed a stroll through Highland Park. Though many of the lilacs had come and gone, the ones that remained gave it their all. The scent was heavenly.

A mind-boggling amount of food choices made it difficult to decide on lunch; Italian sausage? Gyros? Roasted turkey legs? I decided Loretta couldn’t leave Rochester, New York without sampling a Zweigle’s hot dog, so in the end, we went for a couple of garbage plates. I joked with her that she could go back to the UK and tell her pals that she came to America and paid $8 for a plate of garbage. And enjoyed every bite!

On Saturday I wanted to show off our gorgeous countryside, so we ventured to Ontario County to the Hamlet of Honeoye. Our destination; Mackerel Sky Books and More.

What a treasure Mackerel Sky turned out to be! Sunshine streamed through the oversized windows, casting its cheerful rays across paintings by local artists and shelves and shelves of books. Carol, the store’s owner, stocks many of the latest fiction and non- fiction titles, as well as a nice selection of “twice touched” treasures.

I think Loretta is going to need a bigger suitcase!

Carol has even been kind enough to reserve shelf space for the works of yours truly.

This is a book lover’s paradise, so when you visit, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to browse. As an added bonus, Mackerel Sky’s next door neighbor is a delightful place called the Red Coyote Coffee Shop.

With its warm autumn colors and the luscious aroma of specialty coffees hanging in the air, the Red Coyote beckons its guests to linger at its charming tables painted with checkerboards. And linger we did. I indulged in a cup of Hazelnut coffee while Loretta enjoyed a cappuccino and a pastry. All in all it was a fabulous day.

As I watch Loretta board the train this morning, bound for the hustle and bustle of New York City, I hope she has enjoyed her visit to our little corner of the world. I hope she has collected some lovely memories to take back home, along with her books and her cakes of lilac soap.


The Finish Line!

J.J. finds a moment to relax
J.J. finds a moment to relax

I love having a few days off from work, don’t you?

Time… There never seems to be enough for the things we enjoy the most.

The past few days have given me the opportunity to stop and catch my breath. I’ve cleaned out closets, organized my file cabinets and called a few old friends. What’s got me most excited is that I was able to add the final polish to my newest writing project, Shadow Lake. Early yesterday morning I crossed the finish line to those beautiful words… The End. If you’re a writer, you know that it doesn’t get any better than that!

I also got an early start on my new year’s resolution to read more great books. I was going to save my review for the first of the year, but this story was just too wonderful not to share, so here goes:

A Thousand Tomorrows

By Karen Kingsbury


Abandoned by his father at age eight, Cody Gunner becomes a young man filled with rage. His anger and pain consume him, define him. When he discovers the rodeo, Cody finds the one place in the world where he can come to terms with his fury — on the back of a bull as angry and hate-filled as he is. The one place, that is, until he finds himself in Ali Daniels’ arms.


Afflicted with a deadly lung disease, the beautiful Ali Daniels is determined to realizer her dream of winning a national championship on the rodeo circuit as a barrel racer, knowing that each ride will do more damage to her battered lungs, shortening her life. When Ali and Cody meet, a friendship begins and soon grows into a love that surpasses all understanding. A love that requires everything they’ve got. And then some.     




A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. I was drawn into the story from the first pages, enchanted by a cast of characters that grew and evolved and became more lifelike with every scene. I wept for them in their sorrows, cheered for them in their struggles, and hoped right along with them until the very end. A story of hope and redemption, of love and sacrifice, this gorgeous book has earned a permanent place on my book shelf as well as in my heart. 


The best part is, I still have a few days off, a headful of ideas, and a shelf filled with books just waiting to be read!

Next on my list:

8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber

See you next time!



Looking Forward – Looking Back

Don’t you just love the start of a brand new year?


For me it’s always seemed like a blank journal with three hundred-sixty-five crisp, pristine pages, just waiting to be written. While I am not a “resolutions” kind of girl, I do hope to accomplish some things in 2009. I want to worry less, hurry less, and write more. I want to read more books and listen to more music. I want to stretch myself as a writer and see what I can accomplish.


Take my latest work in progress. I’m really going out on a limb this time. I’m actually going to write a story with a bona fide happy ending. I might even go so far as to say a “happily ever after” ending. As you may or may not know, when it comes to HEA, I struggle. If you’ve read any of my books I’m sure you’d agree that their endings are best described as happy… sort of. A pessimist by nature, I tend to see the dark side of things and sometimes that darkness carries over into my writing. But this time I just might surprise you. Heck, I might even surprise myself.


A new year is a time for looking forward, but who can resist a peek at the past? I heard a song on Classic Rewind today that had me glancing in the rearview. Ever have that happen? Strange, isn’t it, how a song can send you catapulting back in time. I heard the opening rift  of Heart’s Baracuda and suddenly it was 1979 again, and I was this person:



Jean at sixteen
Jean at sixteen




(I remember this girl. She loved Pat Benatar, Bruce Springsteen, and Fleetwood Mac. She devoured Danielle Steele novels in one setting and read True Story Magazine faithfully every month, cover to cover. She wanted to be a writer, and I’m sure happily ever after figured somewhere into her plan!)


Whoever you were, and whoever you are, my wish for you is a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. May you laugh more and worry less in 2009. May you read great books and think lovely thoughts. Mostly, may you find pockets of sunshine in each and every day.


Thanks for stopping by!