Tag Archive for: best friends

Do You Wordle?

By Lois Winston

A few years ago, I got hooked on crossword puzzles. I attribute this addiction to my dear friend Janice. She passed away in 2019 after an eight-month battle with Stage 4 cancer. I spent much of that time taking her to doctor appointments and chemo treatments and visiting with her during several hospitalizations. Janice always carried around crossword puzzles. As a retired R.N., she knew the importance of keeping her mind sharp, and she did so by exercising her brain in two ways: She was a voracious reader of mysteries and romances and a diehard crossword puzzle fan.

Having sat with her during hours of chemo, I know how difficult it is to concentrate on a book during these sessions, given the constant chatter from fifteen other chemo patients, their accompanying friends or family members, the nursing staff, and a TV always blaring in the background. So Janice passed the time working crossword puzzles when she tired of conversation.

I worked my first crossword puzzle after returning from her memorial service. It had been an extremely emotional day, especially since, as her oldest friend, I was one of the speakers. Perhaps she was somehow sending me a subliminal message from Heaven that day. She had always believed in angels, ghosts, and premonitions. I’ve always pooh-poohed the supernatural. Was this her way of telling me she was right, and I was wrong? Maybe. Because ever since that day, I’ve worked the online crossword puzzle in my daily newspaper as a way of honoring her memory and our lifelong friendship.

A few months ago, that newspaper purchased Wordle. I’d heard about Wordle, but I’m not someone who spends time playing games on my phone or computer. I have books to write, and contrary to my reluctant amateur sleuth’s hopes, I have no intention of refraining from dumping dead bodies at her feet.

I also have a staggering number of unread books piling up on my bookshelves and in my Kindle. I’ll need to live well past the century mark before I get to them all. And yet, I keep buying more books! Then there’s life in general, including family responsibilities, and of course, the need to sleep at least several hours a night.

Yet, there it was—Wordle, the word game taking the world by storm. Wordle beckoned like a Siren. Of course, I got hooked. I even learned a secret for helping solve the puzzle in the allotted six attempts: always begin with “adieu.” The word contains all but one of the five vowels. My next word will always include a word using the green letters from “adieu,” plus an “o.”

My mornings now begin with a cup of coffee, the daily crossword puzzle, and the daily Wordle. How about you? Do you start your day with a word puzzle, work one while taking a break, or reward yourself with one at the end of the day?


USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Her latest book in the series is Guilty as Framed, currently available for pre-order. Learn more about Lois and her books at her website www.loiswinston.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter and follow her on various social media sites.

Highway to Friendship

By Sparkle Abbey
We love to travel. Whether it’s just the two of us, with our critique group, or with our husbands, we love the adventure that lies ahead.  We’ve traveled together by plane and car. We’ve been to Illinois, New York, California, Washington DC, Michigan (on accident), Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, and Texas to name just a few states. We’ve hopped in the car for book signings, writing conferences, for personal vacations, and even a couple spur-of-the-moment road trips to work out plot problems.
Not only does our traveling together strengthen our relationship, it strengthens our writing. We’ve explored cozy small towns and bustling metropolitan areas, soaking in the cultures, smells, sounds, and rhythm of the people to color our stories with relatable details and memorable characters inspired by real life.
We’ve brainstormed our best titles on an airplane—Fifty Shades of Greyhound and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo. We’ve stuffed 300 individual dog treats into tiny cellophane bags for conference giveaways, created detailed marketing plans, all while jotting down notes on the conversations we’ve “accidentally” overheard during a lunch stop at the Cracker Barrel, (they have the best restrooms). For us, travel inspires creativity and helps us focus. We especially love it when we have those famous “ah-ha moments.”

When traveling with someone for twenty years (yes, that means we started traveling together since we were twelve), you not only can you finish each other’s sentences, but you can communicate an entire conversation with a single look. You know each other’s entire routine before bed, how they like their coffee in the morning, and when they’re ready for morning conversation—no real talking before the first cup of coffee. You each know when the other needs their downtime or just a trip to Starbucks.
Traveling with a best friend, you know you’ll find adventure. Swimming at midnight. Dinner with an Elvis impersonator. A Rod Stewart sighting. Nonstop talking to the point you’ve lost your voices. And best of all, permission to act silly. Never judgment, just someone you trust to join in on the fun!
Now we’re planning to take a cruise together with our husbands. Who knows what mischief we’ll cook up on a ship?  We can’t wait to find out!

What about you? Do you have someone you enjoy traveling with? What do you like about traveling together?

We also have some exciting news to share! Book 10, The Dogfather, will make its debut September 21st!

It’s available now for presale. 
About The Dogfather –
Who knew the world of designer purses could be such a dog-eat-dog business?

When a local, designer handbags store owner is found dead, the police first believe it’s an unfortunate accident. But the evidence doesn’t lie. Before you can say “wiseguy,” Bow Wow Boutique owner, Melinda Langston’s, former fiancé and undercover FBI agent, Grey Donovan, is the prime suspect.

Now the two are working side-by-side to prove Grey’s innocence— nothing personal, just business. Or is it? Suspects are piling up, family secrets are exposed, and no one is who they appear to be, including Mel’s newest employee. Time’s running out. Mel better sniff out the killer before she and Grey end up sleeping with the fishes.