Let me ask you a question. Do you often lose things and know exactly where they have been and where they have never been? Since we’ve now been in isolation for forty-two days where I live, it seems that losing things that have never been outside the house is getting more prevalent.


For example, I usually charge my iPhone every evening while we are watching TV . Other times I wait until bedtime and charge it in our bedroom.  After I charged it several days ago, I clearly recall rolling the cord up and putting the twisty around it. But when I went to use it again, the wall plug portion was gone. I checked all the outlets where I charge  it and could not find it. Did a sweep of the entire house with no luck, too. Ordered a new one from Apple and it arrived yesterday. Today I found it and you won’t believe how.

May 2nd is the 16th birthday of our Siamese cat, Kichai, so I took his picture. We laughed because he looks so sad in it. As you can see, he hates cameras because before we used our cell phone cameras almost exclusively, the flash would go off and it apparently hurt his eyes. Take a look at his picture. Do you see anything besides him in that picture? If not, look again. The wall plug to my cell phone charger is in that picture and that’s how I found it. I saw it while looking at Kichai’s picture on Facebook.

Now, if only I can find the lost paperback book titled ACROSS THE LAKE written by my good buddy, Nancy LiPetri. I bought two copies to give to friends and I actually gave one copy to one of the recipients. The other day I was going to pass the house of the person to receive the second book and discovered it is nowhere to be found. I have looked all over this house again and it has simply vanished. I have my autographed copy, but nobody is getting their hands on that. Funny how these things work, isn’t it? I’m sure it will turn up in some obvious place.

By the way, you can purchase ACROSS THE LAKE at No, I did not write this simply to publicize Nancy’s book, but why not help another author when the opportunity presents itself? I’ve read both her books and they are excellent. I wouldn’t be buying extra gift copies, otherwise. The prequel to ACROSS THE LAKE is titled THE WOODED PATH.

(Your comments are always welcome. I love reading them.)

Posted in aging health, Author Nancy LiPetri, blogs, books, cats, Friendship, isolation, losing things, Pets | 4 Comments


Today I am proud to host  my friend and guest author, Keith Bettinger. You will enjoy his article about life in our world with the Coronavirus keeping us at home and how we feel about the first responders who are fighting for us with their very lives.


By Keith Bettinger

            The other day I received an email from a friend on Long Island.  She wrote and told me about a nightly symphony she hears when she takes her evening walk at 7:00 pm. Every time it’s performed, it brings tears to her eyes.

The music does not continue for as long as a Beethoven, Mozart or Schubert symphony.  This orchestra strongly features its percussion section, but not with the rhythmic grace of the snare drummer playing Ravel’s Bolero. However, these percussion musicians are a very valuable part of the orchestra.

Living in Las Vegas, I had not heard of this orchestra until one night in the closing minutes of a nightly news broadcast I too heard this orchestra perform.  It consisted of both adults and children, playing their hearts out as they banged on their instruments; kitchen pots and pans with large metal and wooden spoons. And don’t let us forget those percussionists with two pot lids being played like real cymbals.  They were joined by sirens from the local volunteer fire department and church bells from local houses of worship, sounding like parts of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.  The musicians played their hearts out honoring all the first responders and medical personnel as well as others who once again left their homes and families in an effort to protect the public from the frightful pandemic.

The newscast only showed a couple minutes of these musicians performing their nightly serenade.  Like my friend, I stopped what I was doing and listened to them perform.  I did so through misting eyes, and yes, I heard a symphony.

About Keith Bettinger:


Keith Bettinger is a retired Suffolk County (N.Y.) Police Officer. He’s been writing for law enforcement publications for more than 45 years and has received 22 awards for his articles, stories, poems, and books. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Relations with a major in Clinical Counseling. During his career he received the department’s Bravery Medal, Silver Shield Award, Meritorious Police Service Award, Special Service Award, Professionalization Award, Department Recognition Award, five Headquarters commendations and six Precinct commendations. He also was a field training officer and an instructor on Post Shooting Trauma and Critical Incidents. Keith has written three books, FIGHTING CRIME WITH “SOME “DAY AND LENNY, END OF WATCH AND MURDER IN McHENRY. He has also contributed stories to the following anthologies: I Pledge Allegiance, Cop Tales 2000, Charity, True Blue, To Protect and Serve, and Dad’s Bow Tie. He also shares with Jack Miller, the screenplay Master Cheat. Keith lives in Las Vegas with his wife Lynn.

(Your comments are always welcome here.)

Posted in Author Keith Bettinger, blogs, COVID-19, First Responders, Gratitude, Medical Personnel, Writing | 3 Comments


You know, the first couple of weeks of this stay-at-home thing didn’t strike me as too bad. We live up in the mountains and don’t go many places in winter anyway. It snowed earlier today. But I have to tell you that here on Day 17, it’s starting to appear like we’re getting a little stir crazy.

Yesterday, Colorado’s governor decided we all have to wear masks anytime we leave the house. Suddenly, ways to make them without sewing cropped up on social media and I jumped in and made two – one for me, one for the hubs. That kicked off fun for an hour or two.

To make things more fun, my husband lost one of his hearing aids two days ago and the very last place I had not looked for it was inside an old butter churn that my stepfather gave me years and years ago. I keep pine cones in it, filled to the top.

When I began checking it for that lost hearing aid by taking cones out, it was amazing how much dust was on each cone and inside that crock. Naturally, I carried them all to the kitchen sink, dumped them in and sprayed them with water from the sink’s hand sprayer. Then I got a bath towel and carefully put them on the counter to dry. Meantime, I scrubbed the churn clean and dried it out carefully.  We busied ourselves by my husband running the sweeper and me brandishing the dust rag.

When that was done, it was time to fill the churn with the clean and dried pine cones and put the whole thing back where it sits by the door to the front deck. Imagine my amazement to discover that pine cones shrink! Did you know that? I couldn’t believe my eyes when the very same cones now only fill that churn about half to three quarters of the way full.

Apparently, we are never too old to learn. Today I learned how to fold a dew rag into a face mask and secure it with two rubber bands for the ears. Then I learned that pine cones shrink. Who knew?

On a serious note, my little rural county in Colorado now has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 and we are sure lots more will soon be revealed. Surrounding counties also are getting more and more cases. It’s getting very scary.

I hope all of you are safe at home and doing the things they keep telling us to do. Stay at home. Keep a safe distance from other people. Wash your hands until putting Purell on them makes them burn. I learned that the hard way. It sure tells you where you have tiny cuts. We will get through this pandemic together, so please take good care of yourselves. We need each other. Stay safe. Meantime, I’ll be outside picking up pine cones.


Posted in Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, blogs, COVID-19, humor, no-sew face masks, pine cones | 8 Comments


Here in the little Colorado mountain town where I live, we nearly finished two weeks of mayoral commanded social isolation when our governor put the entire state on lock-down until April 11th.  Everything is closed, so there’s nowhere to go anyway. Is your state on lock-down yet? I have been wondering how many states are going through this.

We who call ourselves writers can find plenty to do during such times, if we can conjure up the inspiration to do it. I’m a little more than half way through my current WIP and some days I can sit down and write another chapter. Other days, I have no clue what to write. Therefore, I choose to take it as it comes. Since I love to read, I alternate between writing my book with having my face in a good novel.  The days do seem to slip by and suddenly it’s time to cook dinner. We can get carry out and some places here will even deliver. We have no fast food restaurants in our tourist town. However, we do have excellent restaurants and outstanding foods to order in. We haven’t resorted to that yet, but I know it will soon happen.

Something good that has come out of all of this is that people are calling that we haven’t seen or talked to in a long time and we are calling others in that category.  Personally, the reconnections have been a total mood lifter. I also love the funny things being posted on social media as well as the beautiful pictures and music. This has made all of us realize how important we are to each other, especially when we are suddenly in the same boat together. The tides are uncertain as we float and some of us may not finish the journey, but meantime we need the others there beside us on this unknown and dangerous voyage.

My prayers are for each and every one of you to be spared this virus, but if you should contract it, may you have a mild case and recover quickly.  We need each other now more than ever. Perhaps God is trying to point this out to us and ease all of the hatred that seems to have become rampant recently. Whether we admit it or not, this pandemic is scary and I wish you many blessings as we cope through this and come out the other side.

The cat is my little writing buddy, Kichai. He’s always nearby when I write.





Posted in Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, blogs, Cat, Colorado, COVID-19, Lock-down, Pets, Reconnection | 4 Comments


To date I have written six books. Three of them are novellas and are contained in one volume titled JAKE-Echoes of Silence which leaves me with four actual book covers. Purely by accident, I noticed that all of my books have covers in various shades of the color blue.

Oddly enough, I chose each cover carefully with no consideration for their color. I was focused upon how the cover related to what was beneath it as well as what was appealing to my eye personally.

The cover for SNOW ANGEL beautifully illustrates something that takes place in the book and is the absolute perfect setting for where it happens.

When I chose the cover for WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW, I picked it because my late grandson loved wolves. Furthermore, I thought the howling wolf in the full moon depicted the way we who are mourning him actually feel since his loss.

My cover for FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST is self explanatory for both the title and the story behind it.

I publish independently and have had a lot of fun, as well as enough hours involved to give me a sore neck, choosing the various covers. So far, they’ve all been quite successful with my readers.

Amazon allows us the choice of having a matte finish on our covers or glossy and I use both. A couple of my books seem to pop out more colorfully with a glossy cover while the matte finish presents  much like an artistic painting.  For example, JAKE-Echoes of Silence shows the rather muted colors much better in glossy than it does in matte.

In addition, since the first two novellas are published as ebooks with covers,  one of them is also blue. There must be a message hidden somewhere in that fact. Maybe blue is my brand? It’s a mystery to me and my novels all hold an element of mystery or suspense, along with a measure of romance. My Detective Max Richards books are police procedurals with various cases involved. However, all my JAKE books are about a handsome hotshot firefighter who rides a Harley. But it’s his shocking secret that holds the key to Jake. Perhaps it also holds the answer to why I am choosing blue covers.


Posted in Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, blogs, books, Crime, Detective Max Richards Books, fiction, Firefighter, mysteries, romantic suspense | 6 Comments

The Cabin Fever Days of February

For whatever reason, where I live in the southwestern Colorado mountains, the shortest month of the year seems to be the longest. The other months have flown by, but this one has seemed endless.  It may be because we’ve been having winter since October and it’s getting pretty old by the time February rolls around. This year we’ve been blessed with something we do not always get to enjoy and that’s a week of sunny, warm days known as our February thaw. We are most grateful for this little respite from the snow, even though most everything is still covered in deep mounds of white.

These warmish days hold the promise of a coming spring, even though it likely won’t be here until May. I find myself buying new  throw rugs, and scrubbing the entry hall floor that takes a real beating when there is snow or mud on the ground. We won’t even discuss the steep, icy luge run we laughingly call our driveway or the ice rink that is our back yard parking area. I never leave in the car without a pair of snow boots in case I have to walk up the hill from the road.

In the fall it is exciting when  those first snows begin to fall. It stays that way all through the holidays and we love the fact we always have a post-card perfect white Christmas. Then we snuggle in for January knowing it is going to be full-bore winter. Then comes February.

The grass on Fellin Park is green and beautiful and by early evening you will find a huge herd of deer enjoying their evening meal there. There is geothermal water under that grass, so it will turn green whenever the snow melts off it.

Tomorrow we shall see if March comes roaring in like a lion or appears gently like the proverbial lamb. My money is on that lion. Therefore, we will deal with our cabin fever for another two months, but take comfort in the fact that those heavy wet April snows normally do not last long on the ground and spring is fast behind it. But in spite of it all, to us who live here there’s no better spot in the world to be than in our beautiful Colorado.

Posted in Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, Colorado, February, snow, winter | Leave a comment

SNOW ANGEL featured book on Linda Pirtle’s DAILY REVIEW

Today I am honored to have the Revised Second Edition of my novel SNOW ANGEL (Max Richards Book 2) featured as Linda Pirtle’s selection on her Daily Review at


I hope you will check out their wonderful site and do feel free to leave a comment there. Otherwise, you can email me or find me on Facebook or Twitter and leave one either place.

Revised Second Edition of my book SNOW ANGEL

Posted in BLOG: Here Comes A Mystery-Caleb & Linda Pirtle, blogs, book reviews, books, Caleb Pirtle III, Colorado's SW Mountains, Crime, fiction, Law enforcement, mysteries, SNOW ANGEL - Novel, winter | Leave a comment



One thing I have to make clear is that I live in Colorado and, therefore, am a dyed-in-the-wool Broncos fan. Rain or shine, win or lose, awful or awesome, they’re my guys. But it is Super Bowl Sunday and they aren’t in it, therefore today I am a Kansas City Chief’s fan.


I realize that the stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs is on the Missouri side, but my husband is a born and raised Kansas native and spent the first forty-two years of his life there, working for and retiring from the Wichita Police Department for twenty years. In addition, we have relatives, such as our grandkids, Sarah and her husband Jorden, who live in Wichita along with a myriad of other good friends and family throughout the state. Even the husband’s siblings, nieces and nephews at the Zortman family farm in western Kansas have converted to Chiefs fans, perhaps just for today, but don’t hold me to that. I’m sure there’s another sibling in Dallas (a devout Cowboys fan) doing the same.


Our hair stylist and friend who lives just down the same street we live on was an NFL Chiefs cheerleader a few years back, as was her mother before her. So, as you can see, we have many reasons to become Chiefs fans today.

My late and dearest friend, Marilyn Regan Frankland, has three sons in California and two of them have remained close to me following her demise several years ago. One of them, Merv, is an avid 49ers fan and I hope he’ll forgive me for cheering for the other team, just this once. I love you, Merv, and it’s not personal or permanent. Michael, I don’t know if you are also a 49ers fan, but the same thing is true for you. Love you both.

With all of that said, the game comes on here in MST at 4:30 PM and the chili is cooked, Corona and Cokes are cold and we’ll be ready for some football. GO CHIEFS!!!

Posted in Football, Grandkids, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas Heritage, NFL Chiefs Cheerleaders, Super Bowl 2020 | Leave a comment


Best I can tell from doing a little research, my one and only orchid plant, which I’ve had for six years now, is a Phalaenopsis. This morning I noticed it has a wonderful surprise for me. Those of you who know more about the technical aspects of orchids likely already know this little fact, but it was a complete surprise for this ole gal.

This particular plant blooms once a year in the spring, even though the literature says it will bloom in the fall. It lives in the great room, which all my plants absolutely love. With a wall that is 24 feet tall and 26 feet wide and filled with light from south-facing windows, most any plant will thrive there.

A couple of months ago, I was carrying my orchid plant to the kitchen to water it and add a little soil when I accidentally bumped the flower spike on a chair as I passed it and the bloom spike broke. I was terribly disappointed that I was not going to see the gorgeous yellow blooms on this faithful plant this year. In desperation, I stuck the broken spike down into the dirt. At first, it grew roots and I grew hopeful. But then it suddenly died. I resigned myself to waiting yet another year to see it bloom and carried on.

To my delight, today I see it has grown another bloom spike below the second leaf down, which I read is where it should be, and on the very same spike where I broke the first one off. The way it is growing strikes me as odd because it looks as though it has wrapped a green band entirely around the original spike. It looks like a sling. Literature says if you break it above a nodule, it will regenerate itself. But I wasn’t even aware that what appears to be a smooth spike even had nodules. However, I am beyond delighted to discover this is the way it works with only a Phalaenopsis orchid out of the 24,000 species of orchids in the world.

Lucky me! I had no idea what kind of orchid my plant was. It was in bloom when I bought it because of the pretty blooms. But look at how much that simple purchase has taught me now.

Your comments are most welcome. Tell me what you already know about the secrets of your orchids, then I’ll know it, too.


Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Just Released: FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST – Second Edition

Due to circumstances completely out of my control, my First Place Award winning novel FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST has not been available for two and a half years. I am ecstatic to say  it is now again on the market  on as a paperback. An ebook follows shortly. The books combines a romance/mystery/crime/and love story.

This book introduces handsome homicide Detective Max Richards who has been hand-picked to work a high-profile case involving five beautiful and affluent female victims. Max is forced to spend much of his time with them, which causes problems in his personal life with the woman he loves, Sami Murphy.

They escape to his remote Colorado cabin to try and salvage their relationship and for Max to clear away the cobwebs in his mind. When they return to the city, Sami goes back to her bookstore near City Hall and Max returns to his case.

Max finds himself sitting in the courtroom beside a capable, but very undependable Assistant District Attorney who happened to once work for the prominent and flamboyant defense attorney. This causes Mike, the ADA, to doubt his ability to win the case, so he is often  late to court and Max fears he won’t bother show up at all following his all-night binges with alochol.

Will the victims see justice when it’s all said and done? Will Max and Sami work the kinks from their retlationship or will they decide it best to part ways and head in other directions? Find the answers at

Your comments are always welcome on my blog, so feel free to leave one and thanks for stopping by.




Posted in Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, books, Colorado, Crime, fiction, love, mysteries, trial | Leave a comment