Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog. Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas envy...

It’s that time of year where I get carried away with everyone else’s posts and pictures concerning Christmas. I’m so jealous of everyone… that makes it okay if I admit it, right?

One of these days I’m going to have a huge house to decorate (and probably complain about having to decorate it). What do you like? Crazy full on can-be-seen-from the moon or something simple. 

I want to have the type of tree where everything is color coordinated.

  
I want enough space to throw huge parties. Every year we do the traditional drive-thru the neighborhood and look at all the lights. There’s one house on Westmoreland (drive, circle, place,… one of those)… anyways.. They ALWAYS have a ton of cars in the driveway and street. I’m often tempted to pull over and just walk in just to see if they notice. These strangers are my idols. I’m not weird, I promise you.










The Galaxy put up the tree last night. .. and of course “forgot” to put up the boxes and other stuff… and with the A/C on the fritz, it was hard to get in the spirit.
Also.. it’s like 70 degrees and muggy right now.

We went out and took pictures…. 6 kids… 30+ photos. If 4 looked GREAT.. two had their eyes closed. I swear trying to get a family photo reminds me of stringing up Christmas lights… one goes out they all go out. But we eventually got a decent shot. What do ya think?


Well as far as writing goes, bah hum bug! I didn't complete NaNoWriMo. BUT.. I did make progress on the manuscript that is actually contracted and has a due date :P  And this book is scheduled to come out winter 2017... yes.. it's a Christmas book---I am a sucker for them. 
Speaking of Christmas books.. two years ago I received "the call"... and became a published author with Harlequin. 

Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2cRNkaO

I have a new website... nothing professional (as you can see from above.. I have 6 kids at home).... but check me out if you get a chance. 

Well until next year.... Happy Reading! Happy Writing! 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Season of Giving #cmwasvip #Christmas #charity


The Season of Giving
by Jacquie Rogers

Do you love to watch others open the gifts you bought for them?  I do!  It's so fun to know that you've given not just a present, but a bit of joy to that person.  Of course, I rarely begin shopping until along about December 20, and it looks as though that's the way it'll be this year.

Some years are tighter than others.  A few years, we were lucky to get dollar store gifts.  But it was something.  In those lean times, we had a lot of fun finding unique and fun things to give to our family members.  In some ways, it meant a lot more than a fancy gift from the Zon with two-day shipping.  

My brother remembers a propeller that our dad carved for him to use on his paper airplanes.  It worked great and he played with that thing for five years.  One year Santa brought me a set of sheets with a matching pillowcase.  That was awesome.  Another year I got a Shetland pony that turned out to be the spawn of the devil.  Mostly, though, Santa brought whatever S&H Green Stamps would buy.

Remembering the lean times does put me in the mood to help out families that Santa will miss if someone doesn't help out.  That's why I'm participating in the CMWAS VIP Holiday Extravaganza on Facebook.  It's great--all you do is buy a number off the board and you get whatever donated prize is under that number.  A fun five bucks.  And every nickel of the money goes to two families who are having a rough go of it right now.


I bought three numbers, and I'm excited to see what I get.  Of course, I donated three prizes so there is a possibility I could end up with my own stuff. Hahaha.

There are still lots of unpurchased numbers on the board, and not only that, there are enough prizes to create a second board if this one sells out.  So please, go the CMWAS VIP Holiday Extravaganza and buy a number or five.  These families truly need your help.

Another project of which I'm happy to be a part is Christmas Caring II: A Christmas Charity Anthology, along with two other Smart Girls Read Romance contributors: Carra Copelin, and Rain Trueax.  It's spearheaded by USA Today Bestselling Author Kirsten Osbourne, and all proceeds will be donated to Legacy Initiative of Utah.


All stories are new--never before published--and are sweet, so appropriate for any age.  Buy on Kindle or, if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, read it for free!

About Christmas Caring II
First I'll tell you a little about the anthology and list the story titles and authors, then I'll talk about my story, Holly Jolly Courtship, which is near and dear to my heart, and why.

This anthology, full of fun Christmas short stories by bestselling writers and new-comers alike, is bound to get you into the Christmas spirit. All proceeds will be donated to Legacy Initiative of Utah. This book includes:
1. A Christmas Masquerade by Kari Trumbo
2. All I Want for Christmas is a Zombie by Steve Pantazis
3. A Matter of Kin by Jenna Eatough
4. Today I Am Santa Claus by Martin L. Shoemaker
5. All the Swears by Alyson Peterson
6. Wings for Christmas by Kevin L Nielsen
7. Golden Moments by Linda Carroll-Bradd
8. A Bride for Christmas by Carra Copelin
9. Just in Time for Christmas by Annie Boone
10. Christmas Angels by C.S. Martin
11. Kaitlyn’s Christmas by CJ Samuels
12. Fireballs for Christmas by Lorena Dove
13. Merry Molasses Mayhem by Danni Roan
14. The Christmas Doll by Kay P. Dawson
15. Holly Jolly Courtship by Jacquie Rogers
16. His Christmas Rose by Peggy L. Henderson
17. Red Rock Christmas by Rain Trueax
18. A Cowboy's Christmas by Amanda McIntyre
19. Magical Memories by Kirsten Osbourne

And now about Holly Jolly Courtship.
Yep, it's based on the true story of how my parents met.  Only thing is, they met 70 years after this story is set, and instead of driving a new buggy, my dad was driving his first new car.  Another difference is that Mom lived with another sister who wasn't enthused about a 15 year-old girl dating a 20 year-old man, so Mom moved to her other sister's house.  The story takes place over a few weeks and ends at Christmas, but the real story took over a year to get to that point, and another year before they actually married.

I've wanted to write my parents' story for a long time but didn't because it seems so implausible.  Yet, it really did happen, along with a few more incidents that I didn't have room in the limited word count to include that were just as implausible.

I never tire of hearing family stories.  They're always so fun and so special.  I hope you enjoy this story and the 18 others in Christmas Caring II: A Christmas Charity Short Story Anthology.  And thank you for supporting the Legacy Initiative of Utah.


Keep up with Jacquie Rogers' latest news at the
Pickle Barrel Gazette!

Honey Beaulieu - Man Hunter series


Hearts of Owyhee series



Saturday, December 3, 2016

BOOK REVIEW OF SLEIGHT OF HEART

By Caroline Clemmons

SLEIGHT OF HEART by Jacquie Rogers is one of my favorite books. If you have read her Hearts of Owyhee series or her Honey Beaulieu series, you already know what a fun, fast-paced western historical romance Ms Rogers writes. In fact, Jacquie Rogers is one of my favorite authors, and the 1880’s are my favorite historical period in the Old West.

Lexie and Helen are in exile, so to speak, because Helen committed a social faux pas and embarrassed her parents and friends. Since she can’t be sent alone from Washington DC, Lexie has to put aside her dream to become a math professor to accompany Helen to a Colorado mine in which the family owns a share. The young women have to remain there until Helen’s blunder becomes old news. They’ve been in Silverton, Colorado a year and the mine barely makes enough money to pay the miners and expenses.


The story opens with Alexandra “Lexie” Campbell shooting at Burke O’Shaughnessy. But her anger is misdirected. She mistakes Burke for his younger brother Patrick, who has Lexie’s sister Helen in the family way and has taken the sisters’ five thousand dollars to buy mining equipment. Lexie believes Patrick is a con man and the money Helen gave him is lost.

Lexie and Burke take the train to look for Patrick. Actually, Lexie forces Burke onto the train. The tables soon turn, however. Lexie has an extraordinary mind for numbers—including cards. Burke is a gambler, the son of riverboat gamblers who trained him well. Ms Rogers’ excellent writing blends in historical details with a fast paced romance. In addition to a really good story, she throws in subtle humor and suspense filled with twists and subplots that all tie up in a happily ever after.

I highly recommend SLEIGHT OF HEART to anyone who enjoys western historical romance with a dash of suspense and humor. I give this book a ♥♥♥♥ rating.


Jacquie Rogers' latest is her Honey Beaulieu series, HOT WORK IN FRY PAN GULCH and SIDETRACKED IN SILVER CITY. 

Don’t miss her Hearts of Owyhee series: MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS, MUCH ADO ABOUT MADAMS, MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS, MUCH ADO ABOUT MINERS. She is also contributing to the Western Fictioneers anthologies, including HELL ON THE PRAIRIE, and Prairie Rose Publishing anthologies.

She also wrote a duet with me titled MAIL-ORDER TANGLE.

 Find out more about her and her books at www.jacquierogers.com and http://jacquierogers.blogspot.com She also contributes to the blogs Smart Girls Read Romance at http://smartgirlsreadromance.blogspot.com and Cowboy Kisses at http://cowboykisses.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November for Better or Worse by Suzanne Rossi

Hi everyone.

November is not one of my favorite months. As I sit here at my kitchen table, the view outside my windows is dark, dull, and gloomy. The forecast is for rain all day, and the Memphis area is under a wind advisory. Having lived in South Florida for twenty years, I know something about wind. However, down there the strong winds usually come with a name--like Andrew, Katrina, or Wilma. So, a wind advisory for this area doesn't worry me.

Because of an unusually warm October many of the leaves left on the trees are still green. However, my lawn and pool cover are a sea of gold and brown from those already on the ground. November is a harbinger of things to come. Winter in the Mid-South is often cloudy, wet, and cold. I'm not looking forward to the next few months.

November is also my birth month. This year I turned sixty-nine, which means next year is the dreaded big 7-0! I didn't mind turning forty or fifty, but sixty was not pleasant. It signaled that sixty-five and retirement wasn't far away. It forced me to pause and think about my life. Did I accomplish what I wanted? Was there still time to accomplish more? And do I have the energy and stamina to do that? Does turning seventy mean I am officially an old woman?

I did have some positive events this past month. I ordered 8' X 10' and 5' x 7' rugs for the living room. It's a large area and needed something to soften the hardwood floors. They arrived this past weekend and look spectacular. I also bought a new sofa and love seat. It's due to be delivered the middle of next month. And then, there's the dining room table. I knew what I wanted--a square table that would seat eight. I couldn't find it anywhere, so resorted to the Internet. I don't normally like to shop on the web. I'm a hands-on type of person, but if I wanted a table in my dining room, I had no choice. I found exactly what I was looking for at Wayfair--and for a cheaper price than the furniture stores. Unfortunately, my procrastination meant that it wouldn't arrive in time for Thanksgiving. But it did finally get here and looks great.

Thanksgiving was a total success. My youngest son and his wife hosted sixteen people. Both the table and the guests groaned with all the food, which was delicious. It should have been since my son is a certified chef. I have to say that last Thursday was one of the best days I've had in a long time. Family and friends made me thankful we decided to move. My oldest son and his family will be joining us for Christmas. It'll be the first time we've all been together for any holiday in close to ten years. I can hardly wait.

So, yesterday I dedicated some time to think about this past month. Other than the weather, which I can't control, November really wasn't so bad after all. Maybe it's just getting older that makes me so reflective.

As to those questions of earlier--Have I accomplished what I wanted? Do any of us? (I have a bucket list that includes a dinner at Hell's Kitchen during filming of the show. That probably won't happen, but it's good to set goals.) Looking back on it, the answer is yes. I raised two wonderful boys who have between them given me seven wonderful grandchildren. I bloomed late with a writing career that has given me tremendous satisfaction.

Do I have more to accomplish? Oh, yes. I plan on renovating my kitchen and adding on a sunroom. I also plan to continue writing. In fact, I just signed another contract with The Wild Rose Press. Will I have the energy and stamina to succeed? I don't know. I'll find out come spring. By then I really, really hope I have all those boxes unpacked. LOL.

And no, turning seventy in 2017 means I am only old in years, not in spirit. I expect to be around for a while longer.

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine and hope your Christmas/Hannuka/Kwanza holidays will be, too.

Suzanne

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vintage Christmas Cards Found In An Old Family Trunk



Vintage Santa Christmas CardSeveral years ago, my mother came across an antiquated box of family Christmas cards reaching back into the early 20th century. For those of you who enjoyed the British television series, Downton Abbey, this would encompass the Edwardian era before WWI (Season One). Other cards were sent during the Great War and soon after its conclusion. Some cards may extend even further back in time. This window into the past makes me very nostalgic. Reading the messages included in these holiday greetings transports me to an age forgotten by many, but shouldn’t be.
I’ve often heard about these ancestors, fine people, and even remember some of them from my childhood. Others lived far later into my life, but began theirs when America was quite a different place. Some cards from family friends are people not known to me, but glimpsed through their greetings. These gentle folk wouldn’t be trampling each other at Walmart on Black Friday. There is a graciousness in this era, despite the World Wars, that we are losing. Hearken back with me to earlier days.
Vintage American Christmas Card--excited boy peering through windowThese cards Mom scanned are among the most colorful. Because the cost of ink was high in that era, many only had small colored images or were in black and white. To receive a truly colorful greeting would have been a real treat. I’m grateful my family saved these images and messages from a simpler, more refined time. Many of these folks lived in Virginia. Our roots in the Old Dominion go back several hundred years.
Because of my fascination with these bygone days, I’ve written two Christmas romance novellas published by The Wild Rose Press: A Warrior for Christmas (set in Colonial America) and Somewhere the Bells Ring (set in the old Virginia family homeplace in the 1960’s with flashbacks to 1918). Both eBooks are available  at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and from all other online booksellers. A Warrior for Christmas is also out in audio at Amazon.
For more on me visit my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6/
“Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.”  ~W.J. Cameron
Old Christmas Card Family Scene
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
“This is the message of Christmas:  We are never alone.”  ~Taylor Caldwell
Vintage American Christmas Card with Carolers
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”  ~Charles Dickens
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”  ~Washington Irving
“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”  ~Alexander Smith
Early American Christmas Card--Romantic Couple
“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.” ~Eva Logue
***For those of you interested in old trunks. The one containing these cards and other family memorabilia is pictured below. We think it dates from about 1870, but are not certain. If you have a better guess let me know.
old family trunk

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I'm Getting More Exercise, but ...

~~ Vonnie Davis

Three weeks ago, I found my husband unconscious on the hallway floor just outside the laundry room. He was flat on his back and for an instant I thought I'd lost him. I couldn't get him to respond as I patted his cheek. You'd think I'd be smart enough to check for a heartbeat, but I was too frightened to think.

I called 911. Evidently I must have sounded like a lunatic because two ambulances arrived. One for Calvin and I have a sneaky suspicion the other was for the crazed woman who'd gone bonkers over the phone. By then, I'd gotten Calvin to open his eyes and he was throwing up.

Diagnosis? Mild heart attack. He was in the hospital for four days while a battery of tests were run. When he was discharged, he was wearing a monitor with instructions to keep it on for two weeks before mailing it back to the lab.

Meanwhile, Calvin and his male pride insists he do things as he always did. Ride the stationary bike for an hour. Run the sweeper so I can keep writing. Empty and load the dishwasher. Putz around in the garage.

All the while my ears are listening for any strange noises. Like things going bump. When they do, I run!

Once I found him on his back in the garage with the upright freezer on top of him. He had no clue what had happened. Thank goodness the door had opened in the fall preventing the freezer's complete weight from smashing hubs. He was covered with frozen vegetables and a turkey breast on a male portion of his anatomy not up for sudden, cold bird attacks. "Get that damn breast off my..." Well, you get the picture.

He was in the den looking a word up in the dictionary when he fell asleep and Webster's hard backed edition hit the floor. I bolted into his den on a dead run. He looked at me as if I'd lost my freaking mind.

The seat on his stationary bike is hard on his skinny behind--not mine, because I bring my own padding, if you know what I mean. So, he decided to put cushioning beneath the leather seat cover. He tipped the bike over, causing an awful racket, and I sprinted into the little bedroom where the bike resides. I damn near ripped the door off its hinges.

The heart monitor showed the bottom of his heart goes into spells where it beats 4 to 10 extra beats in a row. Not enough that Calvin would feel it, but if it goes higher, like to 15, he has loss of oxygen to his brain and passes out. He's been passing out from time to time all year and no one could figure out why. Now, we know.

He's on heart medicine.

I'm on nerve pills.


Visit my website at www.vonniedavis.com and sign up for my newsletter. You'll get a free holiday novella, "UP THE CHIMNEY."


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SEVEN THINGS I'M THANKFUL FOR AS A WRITER



 by Judy Ann Davis

This year I’ve decided to compile seven things that I’m thankful for as a writer. As you go through the list, see how many might relate to you as well.

  1. Good health and modern medicine. We all know that a healthy lifestyle allows us, as writers, to do the things we do. Modern medicine speaks for itself with the innovations in eye care, surgeries, and latest developments in life-saving drugs.
  1. Having the ability to read and learn. How cool is it to be able to read a book and enter another world from the comfort of your home? Or learn something new from an online internet site?
  1. Opportunity to get a good education. Without a solid education in both high school and university level, I doubt I would have the skills to write all types of nonfiction and to create fiction in various genres.
  1. Technology. With the use of cellphones, computers, software packages, and internet connectivity, we can now bring the news and happenings around the world to our front porch.
  1. The freedom of speech and expression. We are a nation like no other on earth which protects the written and spoken word—even when it isn’t what we want to hear or read.
  1. Family, friends and fellow writers. These awesome folks understand and encourage us to continue to create and write, even when we get stressed or discouraged.
  1. Time alone. Everyone knows writers need to sneak away and pound the keyboard or scratch on legal tablets, allowing the thoughts inside their heads to pour out onto paper or the computer screen. We’re not being anti-social in those moments, we’re being creative. We’re being writers.
In your job or occupation, what are you thankful this Thanksgiving? Stop a moment to comment and tell me one thing you’re grateful for.  And here’s wishing you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

EXCERPT FROM:  Sweet Kiss  

Tappe picked up the grimy jar of candy hearts. "No way! I can't believe Fay saved this." He twisted off the lid and shook one into his hand.
"Neither can I. Don't you dare put that into your mouth. Those candies are over a decade old!"
"So? Sugar doesn't spoil."
"Okay, go ahead. Eat it. Poison yourself. Why should I care?" Kate said dryly. "Just don't call me in the middle of the night."
She turned back to the stove, removed the pot, and started filling the jelly jars.
"You don't mean that." He dropped the candy back into the jar and started nuzzling her on the side of her neck.
"Do you realize I'm working with hot liquids?" She tried to be stern as she squirmed away still holding the scalding pot.
But he was on a roll. "Not as hot as you are. Want to make out?"
Kate looked at him askance. "Now? Are you sane?"
"Yes, I'm fairly lucid. But if your answer is a no to making out, then can I lick the pot instead?"
"If you promise to quit licking my neck."

Find Judy Ann Davis at: