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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Price to be Paid

by Rain Trueax

A Price to be Paid is my fifth paranormal. I'd written the first two in the Hemstreet Witches series in spring and early summer of 2016, but something about this one had me writing other books and delaying its start until mid-January 2017. I didn't write the end until early June, which for me, is a long writing time to get a rough draft.

In writing it, I kept alternately referring to it as fantasy or paranormal. Turns out not so. Fantasy genre is for books set in a world created by the author. Paranormal uses our physical world but with supernatural elements. Mine are paranormals. In this one, there are spiritual entities of many sorts, along with heroines who are natural born witches-- not supernatural beings but with superhuman powers. They don't live forever and can be killed. Karma, reincarnation, and redemption are key themes, along with life questions such as--

In a new lifetime, can a soul, who lived a bad to the bone life, change into someone good? 
Does it matter what someone actually did or more what they thought they did?
Can guilt be such a weighty burden that it makes real change impossible? 

The themes might seem weighty, but they're woven into the plot, personal interactions, a spicy romance, and strong adventure.

In 1901, in the Arizona historical, Echoes from the Past, Asa Taggert lived by the gun and died by it. A true villain, he had no compassion for others and committed a heinous act. After that lifetime, it took a while, but his soul was reborn to be killed in WWII and again in the Vietnam War. In 1984, he was born into the Taggert family and given his name from that earlier lifetime. His challenge was to get past earlier mistakes and live a meaningful life. Expecting his time to be short, he is raising a son and has amassed a fortune. Love for a woman is not in the cards—nor is any belief in the supernatural realm, making it difficult for his spirit guide to reach him.

Devi doesn’t want to be a witch, despite being born into a family of witches and shamans. The youngest of four sisters, she reluctantly lives at home, conflicts with her mother, writes a garden blog under a pseudonym, and avoids using her powers as much as possible. When her attempt to purchase a fixer-upper Barrio Viejo adobe is blocked, her solace is with her grandmother and her witch’s garden. She is aware of her spirit guide but doesn’t listen to him. She is determined to live as a normal woman and having seen the pain her mother went through with her father’s death, she plans to never fall in love or marry.

When these two come together, a business/marriage contract is only an excuse for what is to follow as each comes to understand there is indeed a price to be paid to live life fully. The book has spice, violence, and a shamanistic view of life.

All of my contemporary paranormals are now in Kindle Unlimited for borrowing. The Hemstreet Witches Series involve descendants of my Arizona historicals. A Price to be Paid shares a spirit guide with Diablo Canyon (Montana). Sky Daughter (Idaho) has no connecting characters-- yet. I like writing series and connecting characters when possible-- so there might will be future connections.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Hero

by Sandra Nachlinger

He taught me to

- bait a hook and clean my catch,
- hit a baseball and field a fly,
- pitch a tent and build a fire,
- memorize the multiplication tables,
- say please and thank you,
- saw a board, hammer a nail, and shingle a roof,
- drive a stick shift and change a tire,
- dance the Texas Two-Step

and demonstrated the qualities that make a fine man.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Bluebonnets for Elly - A Sweet Contemporary Romance
I.O.U. Sex (Co-authored with Sandra Allen) - A Spicy Baby-Boomer Romance


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Handbags Through History

Handbag fetish or addiction, no matter what you call it, I have it. Yes, I admit it and it's worse than my shoe addiction. Yikes! Geez, this may be worse than I originally thought. But hey, I can't be the only one, right???

Anyway, that's what sprung this idea for our talk today. Purses have shown up throughout time in many shapes and forms. From the earliest of time, both men and women carried pouches to carry sundry bits of importance, like seeds, items of religious significance and medicines. They were made of bits of animal skins, later cloth, and knitted string to look like net. Each might be decorated to personal tastes with shells, feathers and the like.

Traditional wallets began as early as the 16th century, as small leather pouches with a drawstring with which to tie to a belt loop. Women carried sweet bags that held lavender or other scents to freshen their clothing and handkerchiefs. It was around this time pockets were introduced into clothing to carry small personal belongings.

Bettina Feldt's 18th Century Clothes and Accessories

Women also carried bags tied around their waists and worn under their skirts, as seen above.

The mid-1800s showed a variety of handbags from the beaded and embroidered drawstring to a flat style that could be either square or circular in design.

Patterns for these were offered in popular ladies magazines of the day.

Early 20th century saw another change in the style of handbag carried by the modern woman. Two purses I'll share with you belonged to my grandmother, Faith, and her sister, Stella. They are circa 1910-1915 and I framed them to showcase and preserve them.

 During World War II, shoulder bags became popular and have evolved to include over the arm, clutch, crossbody and tote. Some men briefly carried a messenger or casual bag in the 70's and even today they might be seen carrying one, but purses or handbags are largely used by women. I know I usually carry the kitchen sink. I want to have anything for any situation, a hold over from my mom days, I suppose.

Well that's what I have to say on today's topic. Chime in and let me know what you think. Do you get as ga-ga as I do over a handbag or is there something else that trips your trigger?

 Hugs to all,

Friday, June 16, 2017

8 Summer Delights by @JoanReeves

Happy Summer, everyone! Unlike many, I love summer. Sure, it gets hot here in Texas, but I can easily cool off by stepping inside where it's air conditioned or jumping into a pool.

Giveaway Alert: Details at end of post.

Many of my books are set in summer. Maybe it's because the heat goes hand in hand with heated desire and passion.

Here's my list of favorite summer delights that might explain why I love this heated season.

1. Homemade ice cream.

OMG. There is nothing better than the homemade vanilla ice cream I've been making since I was given the recipe by my ex's mother-in-law many years ago. She got the recipe from her cousin Maybelle who got it from her mother.

The icy cold vanilla sweetness melts on your tongue. It's light, not heavy like commercial ice creams. I've never had better ice cream anywhere. It's so good that when I announce, "I'm making ice cream today," everyone grabs bowls and spoons and volunteers to help.

2. Roses, crape myrtles, zinnias, marigolds, and lantana.

I love gardening. I love all the bright colors. Growing flowers creates a feast for the eyes--for me and any passersby. Here in Houston, the color parade starts in the spring when Mother Nature outdoes herself with wildflowers in the country and azaleas bursting into bloom in town. As the days heat up, the flowers begin blooming. How can anyone feel down when you see such beauty every day?

3. The fragrances floating in the air.

Oh, honeysuckle, star jasmine, night blooming jasmine, gardenia, roses, butterfly ginger, and magnolia. There are many others, but these vines, shrubs, and trees are my favorites.

4. Porch swings and hammocks.

I can't think of anything more relaxing than lazing away in a porch swing or a hammock in a cool shady spot. A chaise lounge will work nearly as well. Just bring a good book on your Kindle and you have everything needed for a fabulous summer day.

5. Visiting with neighbors.

We have a wrought iron bench and a couple of matching chairs in our front courtyard under the giant live oak tree. We like to sit there in the gloaming and sip glasses of wine. Neighbors come by and stay a while and chat. It's low-key, casual, and friendly--all of which is often missing in today's frantic world. (By the way, gloaming is a word my grandfather often used. In fact, there was a song he sang that had the word in it. One doesn't hear it much any more. In case you don't know the word, it means that time after sunset and before darkness.)

6. Summer rain.

There's something special about a summer rain. I love it when it lightly falls on the roof or taps at your window, like the song Summer Rain says. I love that oldie sung by Johnny Rivers.

7. Flip flops, sundresses, and cork sandals.

I do love to wear breezy sundresses. I choose flip flops if I'm just hanging loose or cork sandals if I'm going somewhere. Cork sandals are the best because they make me taller. *LOL* I'm on the petite side so anything that adds 3-4 inches to my height--comfortably--have a place in my closet.

8. Beach reads.

Of course, summer is for reading, and Kindles make it so easy!

Need a beach book? Try any of my sizzling romantic comedies like The Trouble With Love, with action taking place during the hot Texas summer.

A thoroughly delightful romance. The story of not one but three separate and equally lovely couples. What a merry chase this story is. I absolutely loved how it all wove together to create a satisfying and lovely romance. ~ Amazon Review

If you like your heroes hot you'll love FBI agent Hogan, who's caught up in a family conundrum during his vacation. Together with deputy sheriff Susannah they manage to get themselves into all sorts of trouble. Sparks fly between them with both determined not to fall in love and of course failing. Lovely secondary romance as well for Susannah's mother. Lots of fun and laughs in the Texas sun! ~ Amazon Review 


That's my list of favorite summer delights. What's yours? Answer this in a comment with your email address and be entered in a random draw for a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card. Giveaway closes June 30. Winner announced July 7, when I recover from the Independence Day celebrations.

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Sassy, Sexy Contemporary Romance. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers with audio editions available at  Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. In 2017, new print editions of her books will be available.

All of Joan's books have the same underlying theme: It's never too late to live happily ever after. Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Sign up for Joan's mailing list/free NL and receive a free ebook. Find Joan online: Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

That's Entertainment.....

Most people who read or write books also like plays and movies. I've even had the notion I should write a screenplay. 

I've been a movie fan for as long as I can remember. It started at an early age. When I was a small child, I lived with my grandparents. Their home was in a rural West Texas town that wasn't much more than a village really. We had scant outside entertainment, but we always had books, magazines and newspapers around the house. This is where I learned to read and love and sometimes watch fiction.

A movie was a rare treat. Two or three times a year, "tent movies" would come to town and stay for a week or so. They would set up a big tent in what passed for the town square, line up metal chairs for the audience to sit on and show a repertoire that included everything from silent movies accompanied by piano music to the "talkies." Sometimes we even had music where you could sing along, following the bouncing ball on screen. I think the price of admission might have been a quarter or less.
I found this picture on a site called "Old Magazine Articles," which tells about the traveling tent movies. It hauntingly reminds me so much of my childhood. If you want to read more about this slice of Americana and see more pictures, here's a link:
I and my great-grandpa were enthralled by those old movies. He walked to town every night to watch whatever was shown on the screen, good or bad. He was past 80 and practically deaf, so he had to sit on the very front row. I sometimes went with him, though I didn't get to go every night. 

What was even more fantastical was they had buttered popcorn and cotton candy. I was fascinated by cotton candy. As I recall, it cost a nickel. 

I'm still a movie fan and that's what my post is about. My husband is a movie fan, too. Or at least, he used to be. Last week, we decided to watch a 5-star movie on Netflix called "The Place beyond the Pines." I don't think we got half-way through it. Can you say dark and depressing?

We moved on from there to Amazon and another 5-star movie called "Winter's Bone." Didn't finish that one either. More dark and depressing. Then we chose "Hello, My Name is Doris," also well reviewed.  Didn't even get a quarter of the way through that one and I used to be a fan of Sally Fields. 

We ended up watching "50 First Dates" with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, a movie that had terrible reviews. It did have good reviews on Amazon from people who bought it and watched it. Believe it or not, we actually finished that one and furthermore, we liked it. It presented an interesting situation, I liked the premise and the performances of the actors and it was upbeat.

I guess, bottom line, whether it's books or movies, I don't want to be depressed while I'm trying to be entertained. Movies, as well as good books, were a happy part of my childhood and that's what I still want to see. I don't want to be broken-hearted, preached at or  shamed by social issues I can't remedy. I just want to be entertained.

Every movie they make these days, if it isn't car crashing and giant robots fighting, it's dark, Dystopian themes telling me how grim the future is going to be. I don't want to think about that. Dark and depressing isn't where I park my imagination. I see enough of it on the news.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Two Releases, Twice the Fun!

I had two releases the end of May. I didn't plan that very well. :p But I never discourage a release. I love having stories I enjoyed writing get into the hands of readers who like my characters.

The first release is a  contemporary western romance novella. Catch the Rain is an idea that has been in my western romance idea folder for some time. I came up with the title before the story fully came to me. I was swathing hay(for those who don't know the terminology, I was cutting hay with a large piece of equipment) and listening to music on my MP3 player. A line in a song stuck with me. It was, "like trying to catch the rain." That's what I wrote down for a title, which was shortened to Catch the Rain. Then I worked at discovering something I could use that concept on and found it. I gave my heroine a disability. Little did I know that later before I even wrote the story, I would have a granddaughter with the same disability.

Here is the blurb for Catch the Rain

Running from her past, Kitty Baxter catches a glimpse of her future—if she’s brave enough to believe in herself and the kind-hearted stranger who claims she deserves love.

Focused on setting up his new veterinarian practice, Zach MacDonald becomes sidetracked by a karaoke singing beauty with a secret. He sees what others don’t, and becomes determined to make Kitty see that anyone can learn to catch the rain.

This can be found in the Cowboy Six Pack Box Set

Every woman loves a six-pack! Six sexy cowboy stories sure to make you swoon as they ride, rope, and two-step into your heart!

Pick it up at Amazon for $0.99 or Free in KU  
To Steal a Cowboy’s Heart by Kari Lynn Dell: Rule #1: when undercover, never get personal. He’s the exception she can’t afford…or resist. If lying is your job, is true love possible?

Cowboy Courtship by Allison Merritt: Despite work-place trauma and domestic drama, Dean and London might be able to overcome any relationship trouble with a little patience and a sweet cowboy courtship.

Changing a Cowboy's Tune by Stephanie Berget: After years apart, can the barrel racer and her cowboy see past their own dreams and cultivate a life they both love?

Catch the Rain by Paty Jager: Zach MacDonald, the new veterinarian in town, sees in stable hand, Kitty Baxter, more than she sees in herself.

Broken Vows by Melissa Keir: Distance causes problems for Rick and Julie. It turns their world upside down. When Julie puts her foot down, will Rick make the right choice or will their vows break?

Cowboy Wrecked by D’Ann Lindun: Can a schoolteacher who wants nothing more than a family of her own and a bull rider unable to father children find a way to build a life together.

My second release is Fatal Fall, book 8 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series
This story had been brewing in my mind a while, and when I started writing, things fell into place. I had my suspect chart, my victim, the motives, and I thought the killer. As the story progressed and evidence was revealed both by the police and to Shandra in her dreams, it was apparent I may not have picked the correct murderer from the start. As I wrote a scene toward the end of the book, I realized who the murderer really was and wondered at whether or not it would work. I chatted with my  niece who has read all the books and is putting together my series bible and she agreed I had made a good choice. Then she said after she'd read the book that she was surprised by the killer even though she knew who it would be. Yes! I did my job!


When the doctor is a no-show for her appointment, Shandra Higheagle becomes wrapped up in another murder. The death of the doctor’s elderly aunt has everyone questioning what happened and who’s to blame. Shandra’s dreams soon tell her she’s on the right path, but also suggests her best friend could be in grave danger. 

Detective Ryan Greer knows not even an illness will keep Shandra from sneaking around, and he appreciates that. Her insight is invaluable. When she becomes embroiled deeper in the investigation, he stakes out the crime scene and waits for the murder to make a tell-all mistake. 

But will he be able to act fast enough to keep Shandra or her friend from being the next victim?

Universal Link:

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 30+ novels, a dozen novellas, and a passel of short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest