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.






Saturday, June 16, 2018

Earning Happily Ever After by @JoanReeves

Life is full of choices. Come to a fork in the road, and go left. Life ends up one way. Turn right, and life ends up a different way.

Sometimes, you end up hating the life you're living, but you're trapped by the choice you make. That's what happened to Constance Quinn, the heroine of Second Chance Bride.

When she was a teen, she took a fork in the road, and she's lived with regret ever since.

Now, she has every material thing she wanted, but she has none of what she needs. Love.

Unfortunately, knowing what you want doesn't mean you get what you want. Constance realizes that when she falls in love with Alex Martinez.

He's the only man she wants--but the one man she can never have.

Finding Happily Ever After

One thing romance novels teach readers is that happily ever after doesn't just fall into your lap. Like most worthwhile things, it must be earned.

You earn it by opening yourself to someone else--letting them see all of you, the public face and the person inside. You earn it by loving someone enough to want what's best for them. You earn it be overcoming challenges and conflicts--sometimes you earn it by sacrifice.

Last, but certainly not least, you earn it by grabbing hold of a second chance if one comes your way. Constance does all of these things--especially this last one.


Joan Reeves lives her well-earned Happily Ever After with her Hero, her husband, in a book-cluttered home in Texas. Visit her Amazon Author Page for a list of her books. While you're there, please click to Follow her. Sign up for Joan's mailing list and be the first to know about new books and giveaways.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

MAKING PLANS?

By Caroline Clemmons for Anna Jeffrey

What do you do when life interferes with your plans? The past week has been a lesson in patience with little productivity on my part. Both my Darling Daughters had accidents.

DD2 fell Friday evening and dislocated her knee. We went over to take her to the ER because she was certain they wouldn't keep her overnight and didn't want to have to pay the ambulance bill. So, Saturday morning we arrived home--her to her house on crutches and Hero and me to our house. She injured her left knee so she can still drive if necessary.



Monday morning, DD1 called to say she had broken her leg. I was still in jammies so Hero bolted out of here to her place. She has two large dogs to corral before the ambulance guys could get in plus she didn't want them breaking down her door to get to her. Yep, her leg is broken. This is the same leg on which she had six operations on the femur in the past two-and-a-half years. The first four were not successful but a trauma surgeon in Dallas repaired the leg and it finally healed. The first smashed bones were three inches above the right knee. This time, the two clean breaks are a couple of inches below the right knee.

Her surgery was yesterday and--according to the surgeon--she is doing well. Probably will come to our house for a couple of months until she heals. Big sighs all around, as she loves her house. Besides, no one who's grown wants to live with the parents, do they?



Weaving around this, I'm writing THE RANCHER'S PERFECT BRIDE. Slowly, it seems. This is the seventh book in the Loving A Rancher Series I started for Debra Holland's Montana Sky Series Kindle World. Since Kindle Worlds are going away, these rights will revert to me and the entire series will be republished. Debra is so gracious to allow authors to do this.

So, you can preorder THE RANCHER'S PERFECT BRIDE at  http://a.co/cTM9y6q and it will be released on June 25th. It really will--providing life doesn't interfere with my plans again. Keep your fingers crossed and please, send up prayers for our daughters' healing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Full Birthday Month for me! by Paty Jager

This is my birthday month and I feel like I should be doing something special, but I'm so far behind on my deadlines and as this post posts, I'm headed home from a 7 day trip where I did research and attended the Wild Deadwood Reads reader event in Deadwood, SD. Finding a fun birthday month thing to do... my brain can't comprehend!

I had planned to have the second book in the Silver Dollar Saloon series out this month. Lottie Mae will be coming out next month, July. That is how far I am behind on my scheduled deadlines, a month. If I want to be true to myself, I'm almost two months behind. I should be writing the next Shandra Higheagle book right now, but I'm still on the last book in line to be written.

I'm starting to see a pattern. Last year at this time I was a month or two behind my planned schedule. Does this mean I need to start giving myself more time per book? I would think so, but I want to keep my readers happy and writing in multiple genres and series, I have to get at least one book in each series out in a year.  I prefer 2-3 in the mystery series and 1-2 in the western romance series.

Because I am also writing a new series which will debut the first of 2019, I need to add that to the mix. Aii Yii!

This wasn't supposed to be a blog about my writing woes! Sorry!

I'm excited about the Wild Deadwood Tales anthology that is available in print and ebook and all the proceeds go to the Western Sports Foundation. I'll give you a run down on how our signings went at the rodeos in Deadwood in next month's post. All the stories in this anthology are great!


Another exciting thing for me but not all the authors who were in Debra Holland's Montana Sky Kindle World, is that Amazon is phasing out the Kindle Worlds. This means I get my rights back to  Isaac: Letters of Fate book. I have to go through and take out all of the Montana Sky elements that were in it, but I will finally have book 2 in the Letters of Fate trilogy to put in a box set with the other two. I'm excited because Isaac was my favorite book in the series.


And the last amazing thing to happen is my book, Haunting Corpse in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series is a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier contest through Romance Writers of America. I'm excited that my mystery has been valued good enough to be a finalist. While readers have been telling me how much they love the series, to have a book do well in a contest is icing on the cake.

And if you are another June baby, Happy Birthday this month to you!



Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. 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   / Bookbub


Top photo: Depositphotos

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Finally Summer, and Bon Voyage From Susan Sheehey

Finally, summer!

Summer is my favorite season, yes, even down here in Texas where it's a billion degrees and we can cook eggs on the sidewalk (not the best recommended flavor). But it's the season where I can go swimming with my boys, their most favorite thing in the world. I also have my most fruitful plotting sessions in the pool.

More importantly, summer is when most of my novels are set. 
Royals of Solana series in the South Pacific, the Knights of Texas novella series in Texas, and the Sweet Escape series in various tropical resorts, or at least by a beach.

What do you have planned for the summer? Any interesting trips or experiences planned?

I have a lot planned this summer. Between RWA Convention in Colorado in July, followed by a writer's retreat with friends at Lake Conroe, I'll be busy chauffeuring around my boys to various appointments and summer camps. They are both on the Autism Spectrum, and require a lot of intervention (literally, appointments every single day for both of them).
So, I think I'm going to invest in voice recording software for the frequent hauls in the car. That's the only way I can keep up with my writing schedule. Not to mention, I always carry around my notebook to write while I sit in lobbies.

Unfortunately, for those reasons, I have to bow out of my contributions to Smart Girls Read Romance Blog.

Thank you all for following me here. I've greatly enjoyed being a part of this wonderful blog, and sharing with you. The authors on this page are fantastic, and you're in good hands with them! I'd like to extend a special thanks to Caroline Clemmons, a true gem!

Keep reading, keep loving, farewell, and God bless you all!

Royals of Solana series


Dry Spell - Sweet Escape series

Knights of Texas series



Susan Sheehey writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and adventure, and women's fiction. Water is a crucial element in all her novels, and she's a strong advocate for Autism awareness and acceptance. Follow her on her Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Amazon, and BookBub. Join her newsletter here for monthly goodies!

Friday, June 8, 2018

GROUP PROJECTS



Recently, I have become involved in two group projects—one is an anthology titled UNDER A MULBERRY MOON and the other is a book series titled WIDOWS OF COUGAR CREEK. I’ve done anthologies and series before but these brought out the difficulty of conjuring up a series that involved multiple authors.

When I do my own series, of course I’m in control of everything. Bwahahaha. I get to decide who, what, when, where, why, and how. I keep a bible so each character's description doesn't change in the series. (I goofed once and changed a character's nickname. I've written around 45 titles, though, so please cut me some slack.)

Having numerous others involved in a project means coordinating and compromising. The series this time was originated by Charlene Raddon, who lives in Utah. For obvious reasons, she set the series in Utah. 

Charlene is also designing all the covers for the series. Each book is titled with a woman’s name and a similar background behind the woman but in varying shades. I think this is a nice touch. See for yourself with the covers Charlene has made for me. Those for the other authors are similar and just as lovely.



Basing her fictional series, Widows of Cougar Creek, on factual historical accounts, she set up the parameters. Here’s where things get confusing. When setting up a series, there are a gazillion things to consider.



You think I exaggerated but I assure you it’s not by much. One can’t just set the time and place. That would be too easy. Minute details must be decided. A town map is needed. 

In this case, a mine explosion in 1884 left many widows. The motivating incident was the mine owner deciding he’d only allow businesses to remain if owned by couples, thus shutting out the widows.

Fat chance, mister. These widows in Cougar Creek aren’t going to lose their homes and businesses because of a misogynistic, crooked mine owner. So, here come the men and the stories—but wait, as they say on television ads, there’s more.

So many questions arise that must be settled unanimously. For instance, we needed a railroad so in what year did one come to that area of Utah? In what order do the books get released? These and a lot more questions have arisen. Fortunately, the authors involved are harmoniously deciding the details Charlene had not set initially.

Other than Charlene Raddon and moi, Widows of Cougar Creek authors include Zina Abbott, Cait Braxton, Mary Connealy, Shirleen Davies, Keta Diablo, Sylvia McDaniel, Kit Morgan, Cissie Patterson, and Cynthia Woolf. Isn’t that a great line-up? This list includes several of my favorite authors. 

The first book will be released August 15th and a new book will be released on the 1st and 15th until the end of the series. This promises to be a great series! I’m fortunate to be included to write two of the books, BLESSING (to be released September 15, 2018) and GARNET (to be released in 2019). I’ll reveal more later this summer.

You can see that with this many authors a series will be complicated. From the discussions we've had so far, I am eager to read the books. They sound like fun with exciting adventures. I love series in the first place. Don't you love finding a book you love and learning it's part of a series?

When you read a series, do you keep up with the details in the books? Do you enjoy seeing characters from earlier books appear as secondary characters in later books. Next time you read a series, please consider all the thought that went into keeping it consistent.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Location! Location! Vacation? By Carolyn Hector

Location! Location! Vacation?

So here we are...8 weeks and 4 days until school starts again. I'll have two 8th graders, two 9th graders, and one senior. Let's keep our fingers crossed that one year from now the senior will be off at college... and we'll have 4 boys in the house. What do they have planned (you didn't ask) for them this summer? Camps. But not the expensive kind that cost $250 a week ...a week that consists of Monday - Thursday from 9-3 (and you know parents work 8-5 Mondays through Fridays, right)  UGH... wooosahhhhh... 8 weeks... 4 days... 8 weeks...4 days. My last few days of school I can admit. I checked out mentally. Hey! I was on a deadline!
A child may have gone to school wearing plaid shorts and a striped shirt.... but in his defense they were all in the blue-family. Dinner consisted of pizza and or frozen chicken (cooked of course) and a lot of salads. 
I can do this!



  





I keep failing with my oldest by letting him make his own decisions....such as.. what day he'll take the SATs. By doing so, he didn't take them sophomore and junior year and it's not being offered this summer. Now he wants to do a wrestling camp. My son wants to go to football camp all summer long. My other 15 year would like to go to the same football camp but he is under a hundred pounds and barely 5'4". Decisions Decisions. Another kiddo is in basketball camp and the other is in a academic camp. Whatever happens, the boys will do their summer reading & summer math, chores before games, and deodorant before going outside for basketball & football! 

It'd be nice to win the lottery and be able to take the kids anywhere for the summer or let them do whatever they want to do for camps and it not  costing an arm and a leg. Thank God for 21st Century Programs












So why location! Location! Vacation?? I'm a writer, so my mind is always thinking about the next book. How does one fit in family vacation with writing? Am I turning into one of my phone-social media-fortnight addicted teens?










Two weeks ago I met the city-love of my life. I brought my 21-year old daughter and her friend. I was there for a girls' trip with some fantastic ladies. I  Can I say it was WONDERFUL?! 
I loved the city, food, and people so much...I want to set a book there. It is not a place I can bring my younger kids...unless you count the swamp tour. But the swamp tour did conjure up some story ideas for me. Let's see if they pan out over the next 12 months. 



That brings me to my train of thought. Writers...when you set your books...how do you pick your location? Do you go on a vacation or a staycation (researching from your desk and the library)? Do you look up city maps? Check out the local real-estate agents and see what homes are for sale? Since I never know about legal issues, I like to make up my own towns. Weird? Maybe. I did write two books set in Tallahassee, with made-neighborhood. Mr. and Mrs. Rossi was set in Tallahassee-ish and then moved to my fictional island city, Villa San Juan. Then there's my feel-good Christmas story, The Magic of Mistletoe. I guess if you write fantasy,
you have to create your own location, huh. lol. 

Readers, do you prefer a made up town or some place you can visit? 




Given the fact that I'm literally the old lady in the shoe right now, a vacation to get away and write is not easy.
My folks have a place at Lake Martin...buuut it's a family setting and it's hard to write the bowchicawowow when I'm constantly hearing.... "stop'... "no, you stop".. "I'm hungry" "I'm bored". 








So what's a gal to do? I'll just daydream about the day I can bring the kids on a scouted location that gives me plenty of plot bunnies for my future books.


The latest beauty queen book has been installed. I've said it once and I'll say it a million times again. ... you do not have to be a beauty queen in order to love these books. These ladies are flawed and driven.. and paired with sexy men (but of course). Have you seen my Once Upon a Tiara series


Book 6 comes out later. You can pre-order it now. 

I'm currently working on book 8. Book 7 was just turned in (whew)! 

What are your summer plans? I'd love to hear from you. Check me out on FaceBook or Instagram or even on twitter





Happy Summer!

XOXO

Monday, June 4, 2018

Birthdays, Books, and Bread @JacquieRogers


Birthdays, Books, and Bread 
by Jacquie Rogers

This has been one of those frenzied weekends.  First of all, birthdays.  We normally have the June birthday celebration (daughter, brother, and son) the second Sunday, but my son has to work that day so we moved it up a week.  Then my daughter-in-law told us that their daughter would graduate Japanese kindergarten on Saturday morning.

I normally don't have a problem with last-minute plans, but this graduation posed several challenges.  First, it was at 10am.  I'm not a morning person.  Second, WSDOT closed I-5 for repaving.  Traffic in the Seattle area is horrific at the best of times, so Mr R wasn't overly enthused about negotiating jammed up alternative routes.  But he relented and we headed south.

Our granddaughter's kindergarten graduation
The graduation was really cute and I'm so glad we went.  But then we had to go home, which took two hours (for a 30-minute drive).

And start cooking for the birthday dinner.  I made bread bowls for potato soup.  Yummy.

Bread bowls were a hit with the kids!
Yes, that's bacon bits in the background--they go in the potato soup.  Idahoans do like their potato soup.  We call it Idaho Penicillin.  Cures what ails you and tastes good, too.   It's so easy to make, especially in an Instant Pot.  Recipe?  Nope, but I can tell you how to make it.

Dice potatoes and onions (same amount of onions as potatoes), and less celery or to taste.  Salt and boil in as little water as possible.  This is where the Instant Pot comes in handy because you can put water in the inner liner, the trivet, and then the pot of potato soup makin's on that--so no water in the potatoes at all.  Pressure for 20 to 30 minutes depending on how full the pot is.  When cooked, throw in a big wad of garlic, some bacon bits, and black pepper to taste, then pour in half and half until it covers the potatoes.  Stir and let warm through.  Voila!  You have delicious genuine potato soup and it's gluten-free. 

No, I don't have a picture because I did my utter best to ruin my Instant Pot by boiling the milk over--it was all over the place including in the electrical spot that's always supposed to be dry.  Luckily, Mr R and my sister-in-law fixed it.

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

It's always advantageous to sleep with an engineer.

In case you haven't read it yet, the sixth book in the Hearts of Owyhee series, Much Ado About Mail-Order Brides is now available on Amazon.  Here's the cover:


Three mail-order brides, but his heart belongs to another. What’s a man to do?

I'm currently working on a story titled A Family for Polly, and it's connected to A Family for Merry by Caroline Clemmons.  These stories along with Carra Copelin's story will be released July 19 in a boxed set Under a Mulberry Moon, so be watching for it!


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Pickle Barrel Gazette

If you're on Snapchat, friend me!  My handle is jacquierogers.  You can get videos of Sassy's latest updates there.  And goofy pictures of her scribe.

Keep up with Jacquie Rogers' latest news at the

Saturday, June 2, 2018

RESEARCH IS A TRIP!


One of the fun parts of writing is a research trip. Today’s writers are fortunate to have Google and the myriad of resources that come with the internet in addition to the local library. I take advantage of the wonderful reserves at my fingertips, yet nothing is like actually being there. As one of my friends from this blog, Jacquie Rogers, said, “I need to smell the air.”

Obviously, we can’t always go smell the air. I write the Loving A Rancher Series of western historical romances set in Montana, yet—shhhh, don't tell—I’ve never been in that state. In fact, I'm working on book 7 in that series now, THE RANCHER'S PERFECT BRIDE, for release later this month. 

I’ve been through lower Utah, but not the part in which an upcoming couple of books for the Widows of Cougar Creek Series, GARNET (September 2018) and BLESSING (March 2019), are set.





I wrote PATIENCE, BRIDE OF WASHINGTON, for Kirsten Osbourne’s American Mail-Order Bride project. For each of these books, I’ve depended not only on the internet and books, but on friends who have lived in or visited those places.



But today I’m discussing research trips. 
                      Going there. 
                                                  Smelling the air. 
                                                                                  Setting feet firmly on the landscape.

Lost Maples

My youngest daughter and I love short trips with diversions. For us, everything is “on the way”. When I was working on THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, we went to a writer’s conference in San Antonio and came back to North Central Texas via Lost Maples National Historic Site near Bandera, Texas. Hero pointed out that this was not “on the way” for anyone but us. I confess that’s true. We were glad we'd been in person because seeing photos could never convey the sense of awe we experienced there.


Irish Traveler caravan from
a living history park

The wagons have an amazing amount
of storage and decoration.

A trip which inspired that novel was when Hero and I went to Ireland for the first time. We were fortunate to have had an unusually knowledgeable guide who had a university degree in history. I became fascinated with Irish Travelers and with displaced Irish from different periods in history. 




I also referenced one of those periods in Ireland in OUT OF THE BLUE, in which a young Irish woman from 1845 leaped from an Irish cliff and landed out of the blue in a modern Texas lake.


Not my best photo ever shows the windmill
and one of the homes moved to the
Ranching Heritage Center

Hero and I grew up in the West Texas city of Lubbock. One of my favorite resources for western historical romances is the Ranching Heritage Museum at Texas Tech in Lubbock. This is a wonderful place for anyone who loves Southwestern history.


Hero and I visit the WASP Museum
Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas

One of our recent research trips was to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. I was doing research for my latest release, TEXAS STORM, in which the time traveling heroine was a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) from WWII who trained at Avenger Field. This was the only all-women's air training base in the United States, although there were men there as instructors and ground crew. Reading about the place online and from library books helped a great deal. 

Replica WASP Barracks

Seeing the replica barracks and the many displays made a huge impression on me. I believe it added to my ability to convey the heroine's point of view in TEXAS STORM, book 3 of the Texas Time Travel Series, that is available at https://www.amazon.com/Texas-Storm-Time-Travel-Book-ebook/dp/B07CYT9KT5/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1527946588&sr=8-3&keywords=Caroline+Clemmons



I love learning new things from travel. Where are your favorite places to visit?