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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pause & Refresh by @JoanReeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

Gee, my post must have been written in invisible ink today. It's not here.

I did a little sleuthing and found I had the content in a draft on another blogspot blog. Dumb? Intensely.

I've done that before, but I've usually caught the mistake beforehand. Oh, well. Here's what I was going to say.

Pause and Refresh

Wouldn't you like a Refresh button on your life? You know, like the little icon you hit to refresh a web page to update and show new information or to reflect changes you made.

When we feel stuck or stagnant, we could hit the Refresh button and surge forward. When your energy is low, just hit Refresh.

Unfortunately, we don't have that. So we have to work at refreshing. As you see by my lapse in getting this post live, I definitely need to pause and refresh.

7 Strategies to Refresh Yourself

1. Use the Just Do It principle. Regardless of your mood, take action -- one small step in the direction of where you want to go.

You can't wait to be in a good mood in order to write a book, paint the living room, or clean out the garage. Chances are you have a job in the outside world. You go to that job whether you're happy or sad. Often you go whether you're healthy or sick.

Goal achievement must command the same dedication. If your garden needs weeding, then take an action to achieve that no matter how small the action. Do it even if you're depressed. If you want to write a book, then write every day even if it's only 100 words. Set a quota and meet it even if you're sick, depressed, homesick, or ecstatically happy.

2. Grow an attitude of belief in yourself.

If you find yourself constantly thinking negative, defeating thoughts then do some inner exploration to figure out why you like to beat yourself up. Lack of confidence in one's own abilities is a killer. Face your fears in order to get beyond them. Write out a script that changes your self-talk from sabotaging to empowering.

3. Hang around with people who are charged up. Charged up with creativity, excitement, and optimism for life itself, their attitude will rub off on you even though what they're excited about may not be what excites you. Let their general exuberance for life rub off on you.

4. Stay away from people who are black holes of negativity. These people are only too happy and quick to tell you why you can't get what you want. These black holes of the universe will suck the life, ambition, and motivation right out of you.

5. Be very specific about what you want. You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything so figure out what it is you really want. Is it to be a mystery novelist, a crime writer, a botanist, a dancer, or what? You have to know what you want in order to go after it.

6. Make a list of strategies to help you through the challenging times. Write down what you're going to do when you're sick and need to work toward your goal. What will you do when you're depressed and need to take action to achieve your goal? What will you do when you're overworked and underpaid, and you can't seem to get to first base to achieve your goal?

7. Adopt the U.S. Marine Corps motto: "Improvise, overcome, adapt." With every obstacle that crops up or every setback, resolve to use the situation to your best benefit. Figure out how you can improvise, overcome, adapt.

Refresh using these strategies or some of your own. If you've got a good strategy for boosting your motivation or creativity, leave a comment and tell us about it. I'm certainly open to some new strategies to cope with all the demands!

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.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Rocky Path.....

Every author has a story of seeing his work published  and on a book store shelf. I've often said if I had known how hard it is (was), I doubt I would have pursued it.

When indie publishing was just getting off the ground, I had no trouble embracing this new and exciting thing in writing and publishing. Consequently, when I wrote my 9th book, THE TYCOON, I didn't even think about pursuing a traditional publisher. I went straight for indie publishing. Little did I know the quagmire I was stepping into. 

After many obstacles and 2 years of work and learning, I got THE TYCOON on the market. This was Book #1 in a trilogy I planned with a story arc that spanned 3 books and came to a conclusion in Book #3. ..... In THE TYCOON, I introduced the dysfunctional Lockhart family, a hundred-year-old Texas dynasty uber-rich in land, cattle and oil and gas. Drake, the oldest son, had dreams of escaping the ranch and making his own fortune in real estate investing. He did not have a plan to meet a sexy redhead and fall head-over-heels in love, but there she was at a charity Christmas ball.

THE CATTLEMAN is the story of the middle son who stayed at home and assumed the responsibility of managing the huge Double-Barrel ranch. He has an uncertain relationship with a woman he has known his whole life.

Book #3, THE HORSEMAN, is the story of Troy Rattigan, the patriarch's bastard son, who has a mystical connection to the healing of abused horses and unintentionally, abused people. He meets a beautiful woman who started life as a homeless waif and product of the welfare system and instantly falls in love.

The story arching over the 3 books is that a mysterious person is harassing the Lockhart family, but nobody knows who it is until the end of Book #3.

I'm happy to say I'm finished with THE HORSEMAN. Yay!!! .....The list of distractions I've had since I started this trilogy is long. Sometimes life just gets in the way. I'm now in the editing process and hope to have this book on the market in another month. .....

Those of you who have read my books know that my heroes are always heroic alpha males and my heroines are always beautiful and desirable. I try to make my stories dramatic and interesting. Hope you'll read THE HORSEMAN and enjoy it and find the end of the trilogy satisfying.

Here's a brief description:

Troy Rattigan devotes most of his time and energy to horses— rescuing them, training them, understanding them. He seems to have a spiritual connection to the equine species. But because of his brutal schedule and an escalating series of attacks on his family, his connections with the opposite sex haven’t gone beyond meaningless hookups. …. Then he comes across Rudy in his current workshop. There’s something about the fractious, blood-bay horse that lures him. And something about the unassuming beauty on the other end of Rudy’s lead rope that ignites his instinct to fix what’s broken—in both horse and woman.

Single mom Brittany Karol is barely back on her feet after almost losing her life and her leg to a rattlesnake bite. The worst step she could make? Accepting the too-rich, too-handsome, too-sweet-talking trainer’s offer to teach her horse-crazy young son to work with her best friend’s problem horse, Rudy. ..... Having seen the worst of life, Brittany is too old and too jaded for her years. Yet, she can’t resist giving her son his wildest dream. But is the deep, instant fit she feels with Troy simply a mutual understanding of loss and grief? Or is it a solid foundation upon which to build a lifetime of happiness? Is becoming connected to the wealthy and dynamic Lockhart family another risk to her own life and happiness as well as her young son’s?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Visit Tumbling Creek Ranch by Paty Jager

photo taken by Paty Jager
Tumbling Creek Ranch is a fictional Dude/Resort Ranch in Northern Montana that is ran by Brett Wallis the third generation to live on and work the ranch. He has turned it into a working dude ranch to keep it in the family. Families and groups come to stay in the cabins and the lodge for vacations, to ride the mountain side and help with the cattle.  They also hold weddings (book 3) and other events. When these larger events happen, the whole family pitches in, Brett's parents, brothers, cousins, aunt, and uncle. While Brett is the soul owner now, the family still comes together at the ranch to help and for family functions. I made the ranch the type of place I would like to own and/or visit as a guest. If you purchase on of the books I hope you fall in love with the ranch as well as the family.

This is what Romance Junkies has to say about the Tumbling Creek Ranch series: “There are twists and turns to the story with a nice flow and a depth to the characters. The vivid scenic descriptions made me feel like I was there… I hope to return to Tumbling Creek Ranch over and over again.”

The first book in the series starts off with Lacey Wallis, Brett's danger loving cousin who rides bulls. Lacey started riding bulls in high school and she got the bug to be the first woman to ride in the National Finals Rodeo. While most of her family hates her dream, Brett is always there for her when she needs to heal or lick her wounds.

Book 1- 8 Seconds to Love starts with her getting injured. This books is currently $0.99 through July.

Tumbling Creek Ranch series

Lacey Wallis has put blood, sweat, and tears into her dream of making it to the National Finals Rodeo and isn’t about to let an injury stop her. However, she didn’t expect the ER nurse to be the man she had a crush on years ago, or to discover that crush hadn’t been one-sided.

Jared McIntyre lived through loving and the death of one thrill-seeking woman, and wasn’t about to let that happen again. Especially not to Lacey. But that would mean he’d have to allow himself to love again.  
Which will it be, a life-long dream, or the love of a lifetime?

While Lacey is at the ranch recovering, she notices Brett and his housekeeper have become close. But they seem to dance around the fact they are falling in love.

Book 2 - Love Me Anyway is the story of Brett's pursuit of his housekeeper, Melanie.

Tumbling Creek Ranch Series

Melanie Trask ran away from an abusive husband and is hiding at a remote dude ranch. When she and the ranch owner can no longer deny their feelings, he offers to help her divorce her husband. But she has one more secret she hasn’t revealed…

Brett Wallis has fallen hard for the quiet, competent woman who landed at his ranch when he needed help. But will he be able to choose between Melanie or the ranch when he discovers the truth behind her secrecy?

Universal buy link:

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 8 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.

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Sultry Childhood Journey #romance #books

Welcome to Smart Girls Read Romance. I’m Keta Diablo, a romance writer and reader. Often writers are asked, “When did you first know you wanted to be a writer or, when did you start writing?” I’m pretty sure the writer in me was awakened in the 7th grade. To find out how, read all about it below.

(Oh, and this is my first time posting on this FAB blog. Thanks so much to all the wonderful authors who contribute to Smart Girls Read Romance.)

My Sultry Childhood Journey . . . .

Have you ever heard a word that somehow reminds you of a certain time and place, almost like a Déjà vu? Take the word ‘sultry’, for instance. Sultry reminds some people of steamed heat or an image of Marilyn Monroe standing over a street vent, her short skirt billowing about her. The dictionary says sultry means to be hot with passion or to be capable of exciting strong desire. Sultry can also mean sweltering or torrid.

I’ll go with sweltering, the sweltering heat of the deep South and a wonderful book called To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In the seventh grade, my teacher placed that book on my desk, along with a handwritten note that said: “Read this, Keta. I think the book will open many doors for you.”

At the time, I thought the note strange, but then Miss Holmquist was a strange woman. (She had too many idiosyncrasies to list here). Still, the missive piqued my interest. How could books open doors and why did I want to read about some old lawyer in a small southern town? What’s more, what kind of people  named their children Jem and Scout?

I took the book home and several days passed before I opened it and read the first line, When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. Hmm, this Ms. Harper Lee, whoever she is, had grabbed my attention with that opening. I wondered who Jem was and wanted to know how he broke his arm.

From that moment I was hooked – mesmerized with the story, in awe over the character names, Boo Radley, Aunt Avery, Dill, Atticus, Calpurnia, and even the young girl named Mayella. To this day I’m in awe of the plot, the personalities, and the vivid descriptions of the town and the people who lived there. I think I’ve read the book a thousand times (slight exaggeration).

So why does the word “sultry” remind me of To Kill A Mockingbird? Because for the first time in my life I realized that by simply turning the pages, I could feel the sultry heat of another place, taste the hostile prejudice of human beings and agonize over the hatred between black and white.

“So what did you discover after reading this book?” Miss Holmquist asked me two weeks later.  I didn’t know where to begin. Should I tell her about the rollercoaster of emotions I went through while reading it? Should I ask her why the jury convicted Tom even though he was innocent? Maybe I should tell her how much I admired Scout when she diffused an explosive situation between Atticus and the old-timers of the town with a simple, “Hey there, Mr. Ewell, how’s your boy, Henry doing?”

I didn’t ask her any of those questions, but I did tell her the book evoked feelings in me I didn’t know existed. I told her about the bitter taste in my mouth over a word called prejudice, and I told her I actually felt the hot, sultry sun of Maycomb County.

Some days, I wish I could go back to 7th grade and ask Miss Holmquist if she knew that one day To Kill A Mockingbird would be one of the best-loved stories of all time, that it would earn many accolades since its original publication in 1960. I’d ask her if she thought it would win the Pulitzer Prize one day and be translated into more than forty languages. And Miss Holmquist, do you think it will sell more than thirty million copies worldwide and be made into an enormously popular movie? 
 You know, I think Miss Holmquist would have said, “Yes, I do think Miss Lee’s novel will achieve all those things and more, but the most important thing, Keta, To Kill A Mockingbird will transport you to the sultry heat of the deep south and will take you to places you never dreamed existed.”

And to that I would say, “Thank you, Miss Holmquist.”

Famous Quotes from To Kill A Mockingbird:
"There's too much risk in loving," said the young boy. "No," said the old man, "there's too much risk in not." Atticus Finch

"Real courage is when  you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway to see it through. No matter what." Harper Lee

"Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts." Scout

"If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they all get along with one another?" Jem

I love to write about Native Americans, cowboys, animals and…ghosts. While going over my back list of books recently, I realized how many stories included furry friends and dead spirits (most of them evil).

My two most recent stories also include both.

A Ghost To Die For
Contemporary Romance/Paranormal

Do you believe in ghosts? Rooney Fontaine doesn't—or didn't until one named Stuart Granger showed up in her hotel room. Now the humorous, yet desperate,apparition is begging her to find the men who murdered him before his brother becomes their next victim.

After serving three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq,Stephan Granger is no stranger to risk and peril. When a woman shows up at his house rambling about ghosts, murder and assassins, his first inclination is to deem her wrong in the head and send her packing. But how does she know things that happened to him and his dear departed brother in their childhoods, secrets they never shared with anyone?

Soon after he invites her in to hear more about what really happened to Stuart, gunfire splits the air and shatters all the windows in the house. Someone is trying to kill them. Now they're on the run from assassins while trying to find out who killed his brother and why they want him dead too.

Even amid murder and mayhem, sometimes you find love.

Comes An Outlaw
When a tragic accident claims her husband's life, Jesse Santos must find a way to keep the ranch, the only home her 12-year-old son has ever known.  The ranch hands have abandoned her, a gang of cutthroat ranchers want her land and an ancient Yaqui Indian insists a spirit has taken up residence in the house.

After a fifteen-year absence, her husband's brother, Coy, returns to his childhood home. He doesn't plan on staying, and he certainly doesn't intend to settle down with a widow and her son…no matter how pretty she is.

He's an outlaw, after all, and made a decision to put an end to his gun-slinging days long ago. Will his conscience let him walk away from family, or will his heart overrule his head?

Thanks so much for stopping by Smart Girls Read Romance.
Hope to see you next month!


Sunday, July 8, 2018


By Caroline Clemmons for Reina Torres

Is your summer filled with lazy days for hectic ones? For most of us, time marches regardless of the time of year. Still, summer does spark a change in routine.

Are you a fan of cooking outdoors? Food tastes differently when cooked over a grill. This time of year, many people love firing up the grill.

Here’s a recipe to serve with your backyard picnic:

10 oz. box frozen corn kernels
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
28 oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 cup Pace salsa
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: avocado slices or guacamole, shredded cheese, sour cream
May be used with lettuce to fill a fried tortilla bowl or served as salad or relish.

Reina's latest release is :

The first rule about owning a fight club is it’s no place for kids. Even shifters. 

Cage Gamble, a Jaguar Shifter in Sylvan City, owns the first licensed ‘fight club’ where men and shifters could fight in the ring or the cage. It was a good life, some work and a lot of play, until he was called to England to take custody of his best friend’s daughter. Her father’s sudden passing left her in Cage’s care. He could handle a berserk bear shifter or a gorilla full of rage with one hand, but a moody teenage lioness? Not so much.

Just when he was nearly ready to string himself up from the nearest light post and jump, his old commanding officer throws him a lifeline. 

Maggie Fordice, the Colonel’s once rebellious daughter, is all grown up and moving home to Sylvan City. On paper she was just what he needed, a teen-whisperer. But up close and very personal, she was also what he didn’t need. Whip smart and voluptuous, she was a woman who could send him up in flames with a look or a wiggle. 

Maggie was ready to light a match and burn his resistance to the ground, even when helping him brought danger to her doorstep. Was Cage going to fight what he felt for the fiery woman who lived across the street? Or was he going to fight for what they could have… everything?

The Amazon buy link is

Don't miss one of Reina Torres books! Check out her Amazon Author Page.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Summer Survival

Dearest Smart Girls,

We're halfway through the summer and so far I've survived. I cannot say the same for my grill which has been turned into a makeshift bonfire, the hand held net for the pool or the tree at the end of my driveway did not survive one of the boys climbing in it.....and we've gone through at least a box and a half of band-aids. My living room and bedrooms for the boys seem to triple in numbers for my house has become the hangout spot. We had our first trip to the ER when one of the boys busted his lip open while water skiing. #SurvivingSummer. 37 more days until school starts. Wooo sahhh ..

I am realizing I can survive with lists (and you know I have the planner to help!)

The boys and I are not that different. We all need some of the same things to survive this summer.

So here it is.. the middle of the summer and I'm playing catch-up. Catch-up on my DVR'd stuff, Catch-up on my Netflix, Catch-up on my writing, and Catch-up on my cleaning (okay I just added that to make myself look good). I did sign up for Camp Nanowrimo.
Have you? I started a cabin if you're interested. It's the
Plotters, Pantsers, & Pajamas-Romance Cabin 

If you're interested in joining it, find me on Twitter and let me know your campnanowrimo name.

I know I'm supposed to write like 1667 words a day. It's day 5 and I'm totally 600 words behind every day. I need help y'all!

I am revisiting my bad-ass-chick series. I just got a royalty statement and I'm sooooooooo flattered that after 3 years, folks are still buying it. Want to read about one?

Here are a few places you can get it.

Barnes and Noble
KOBO Books

The Wild Rose Press

This blog is going to be short and sweet. I'm dealing with what could be a gall bladder or a liver issue. I'll know in a little bit. The sucky thing is no eating after midnight...which I can do. It's not having my coffee in the morning that's worrying me. The world is a better place when I've had coffee. lol

Well, that's it for now,


Catch up on the Once Upon a Tiara Series and pre-order the next installment, Her Mistletoe Bachelor

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Silver City, Moving, and Books @JacquieRogers #western #idahohotel

Memories: Moving Right Along... 
by Jacquie Rogers

First of all, I invite you to come to the best party of the year: Much Ado About Silver City 2018.  It's a hoot!  You don't want to miss this one, especially if you love the Old West.  Why?  Because the Old West never died at Silver City.  It's NOT a tourist town with fake shoot-outs and such.  It's the real deal.  No electricity, no phones, no television, no internet.  You make your own entertainment and actually visit with people face to face.  We have great music and lots of fun things planned.  And the food at the Idaho Hotel is absolutely outstanding.  Don't miss the Jerri Berry pie!!!

We'll be moving soon.  No, we don't know where.  No, we don't know when.

But we do know that when Sound Transit cuts us a check for our house (they're going to crush our house and build a railroad track here), we have seven days to buy another and move.  Yes, seven days to clear out fourteen years of junk, er, memories.  They want us to give them a destination address now, but they don't seem to understand that most people don't have the purchase price for a house in their cookie jars.  So it goes.  Maybe next month we'll be living here and maybe not.

Meantime, the Purge is On (sung to the tune of The Heat is On).

Yes, we're living in a mess and it's going to get worse before it gets better, so we just have to keep our eye on the end result, which should be very positive.  Mr R has now fully retired so it's time to move on to the fun stage of life.  This just hurried things up a bit.

Meantime, my daughter thought I needed a little refreshment, so, in honor of the Pickle Barrel Bar and Books (my Facebook group), she brought these over to cheer me up:

While I've been editing my last story (more about that in a minute) and purging/packing, Honey Beaulieu has headed to Europe with Diane Garland.  Those two are always finding trouble!

I just finished a story titled A Family for Polly, and it's connected to A Family for Merry by Caroline Clemmons (read hers first, then mine).  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!

While you're waiting for that book to come out, you might as well read my latest release, the sixth book in the Hearts of Owyhee series, Much Ado About Mail-Order Brides

Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews: "This story is, for lack of a more appropriate word, FUN! The main male character is busy with three brides, a blacksmith shop to open, an enemy from the past out for revenge, and a yearning for a café owner. The main female has a restaurant to run, two boys underfoot, an old flame popping up, and she melts any time she meets the eyes of the new blacksmith. So the author has inserted romance, obstacles, and let us not forget humor – such as Bram’s birthday party that is crashed by a huge dog, cat, kittens, and raccoons. Hilarious chaos ensued! This is the author’s outstanding ability: To give her readers a thoroughly entertaining story. This is not one to miss!"

Enjoy your 4th of July, and Happy Reading!

Click here to sign up for Jacquie's newsletter
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

Monday, July 2, 2018


By Caroline Clemmons

Sum-Sum-Summertime is here. How about a beat-the-heat recipe?

Are you a lover of hot weather? I hope so because we definitely have triple digit temperatures in North Central Texas. I prefer cooler temperatures, but what can a person do? We talk about how nice it would be to live where the weather is moderate all year but we’ll never actually move.

Recipe makes a lovely summer luncheon

So, I’d like to share a favorite recipe for entertaining and for picnics that beat the heat? Whether you like to commune with nature or observe it through a large window from your air-conditioned home as I do, you will love this recipe. You can make it a day ahead and decrease your last minute stress. Kept refrigerated, it keeps for several days--if it's not gobbled up before then.

Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
1 cup green seedless grapes, halved (omit if you are making sandwiches)
1 cup crushed pineapple and juice
½ cup diced celery
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 ounces of cream cheese
½ cup sour cream

Toast almonds about five minutes. Whip cream cheese with pineapple juice. Blend all ingredients and chill.  

If serving as sandwiches, I suggest filling a croissant and placing green grapes on the side. As a light meal, this recipe makes a nice accompaniment to pasta salad and potato salad. Goes well with a dessert of mixed melon or strawberry shortcake.

I do hope you’re enjoying the summer. If you’re looking for a book to read, why not choose my latest release, THE RANCHER’S PERFECT BRIDE? The Amazon URL is

The book is set in Montana.
Doesn't that scenery look refreshing?

Zenobia Stanton wants to be the perfect bride. Trouble is, she doesn’t know how to cook or clean or do laundry. Although she’s never before seen a chicken or cow up close, she’s in charge of gathering the eggs and the milking. She’s determined to learn all the skills she needs to be the perfect bride for Callum McFadden, but it’s a topsy turvy transition.

Only 99 cents for a
limited time

You can pre-order the western historical romance anthology, UNDER A MULBERRY MOON, which will be released on July 19. The Amazon URL is Authors are Zina Abbott, Patricia Carroll, Caroline Clemmons, Carra Copelin, Keta Diablo, P. A. Estelle, Cissie Patterson, Charlene Raddon, and Jacquie Rogers. For a limited time, the anthology is only 99 cents!

The authors are offering a FREE sample book, MEDLEYS AND MUSINGS, at the Amazon URl Free is everyone’s favorite price, right? This sample includes a recipe or historic tidbit, the blurb, an excerpt, and the author’s bio. We hope you’ll snap up both of these. You’ll notice that four of the authors are members of this blog.

FREE for readers!

Have a happy and safe celebration this week. Remember that we are celebrating the founding of our nation and all that it represents. While you’re thinking of it, thank a veteran!

I’ll see you next month.