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, April 30, 2019

Home Ownership=Never-ending Projects by Suzanne Rossi

Hi everyone.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and Passover. Now as we roll into the month of May, the temps are warming and the spirits rising, at least mine are. The trees are completely leafed out and the azaleas are spreading loads of color throughout gardens all over the South. The crepe myrtle is gearing up for its turn in a month or so, too.

But with the arrival of Spring, also come the dreaded outdoor projects we all seem to have. That includes me. Luckily, the front yard is in fairly good shape. I've got two massive oak trees and the front flower bed has boxwood and azaleas along with a couple of crepe myrtles. A little trimming, some new mulch, and I'm good to go.

The back yard, however, is another story. As I sit here, I am looking out at a huge expanse of lawn that while green, isn't green with grass. It's mostly weeds and boy, do they ever grow! And since a small portion of the area is heavily shaded, I've got moss as a ground cover. Actually, I kind of like the moss. It's pretty. The back flower bed is a mass of ground cover--periwinkle, I think--and misplaced bushes interspersed with more weeds. In a perfect world, I'd call a landscaper to tear it all out and start over. The only problem is I have the kiss of death when it comes to anything that resembles horticulture. Also along the back fence are four large trees--three red oaks and a willow. Personally, I'd like to get rid of the willow and two of the oaks, but can't afford it.

And speaking of the fence--it's old. The slats are showing more than just a little age. Offhand, I can count at least a dozen of them that need to be replaced. The pool will be uncovered within the next couple of weeks and who knows what will need to be done to that. I always expect the worst when the pool guys pull that cover off.

Our first summer in this house was spent renovating the kitchen and adding a breakfast/sun room on the back. To do so, we tore down a really ugly pergola--my husband and I both hate them, so that was a no-brainer--and ripped up a thirty-three by fifteen foot deck, most of which had rotten or warped boards. Now the topography of the land is sloping from back to front and from one side to another. When we added the room and walkway to the pool, we disturbed the natural flow of rain runoff. A drainage pipe under the walk is totally inadequate. Whenever we have a hard rain, we now also have a large lake/swamp. My plan is to take that area, put in a simple drainage system, be it underground or a slight slope in the right direction, and turn it into a patio.

The retaining wall around the pool is stacked fieldstone and while pretty, I often wonder if it's really retaining anything. I'm not sure what to do about that, but it's something for a future to-do list.

And to add to my woes, last week we contacted a person to clean the gutters and remove the storm windows. The space between the real windows and storms are a mess--lots of old cobwebs, dirt, and dead bugs. The window guy informed us that when the vinyl siding was put on the house several years ago, the contractor covered the edges of the storms thereby concealing the screws making it impossible to remove them. I mean, seriously?? Who does that? Now I've got filthy windows I can't clean. And I checked--I can't get to them from the inside because the upper part of the windows don't open. Arrrrrgh! I suppose we'll have to call a siding guy to see what can be done. But never fear, I have a solution if the answer comes back as nothing. It's called a hammer. I just hope I'm still nimble enough to dodge broken glass.

And this doesn't even cover the inside improvements--painting, new upstairs carpet, and a renovated master bath. Trust me, you don't want to know what that looks like.

My husband usually lets me do what I want regarding this kind of thing, but the other day, he simply picked up the checkbook, pointed at it, and said I could do two of the things on my wish list. I chose the fence and the patio. I also added that if there was money left over (like that ever happens) I'd like to address the window issues and back landscaping. He just looked at me and walked away shaking his head. I'll let you know how the window issue works out. LOL

Why is it these never-ending projects sound so simple to complete in January, but give me a headache when the time comes to implement them? If you come up with a good answer, let me know. I hope your outdoor projects don't have you reaching for the aspirin, too.

Have a good one and I'll see you next month.

Suzanne

Sunday, April 28, 2019

FINDING A NEW SERIES


By Caroline Clemmons

Beth Trissel is tending to her husband, Dennis, as they go for medical tests. So, you’re stuck with me.

One of the things I enjoy is finding a new book I love and learning it’s part of a series. How delicious! Not only do I get to read that one, I get to anticipate the rest of the series.

I also enjoy writing series. So far, I’m writing these series: Kincaid, Stone Mountain Tx, McClintock, Bride Brigade,  Loving A Rancher, Texas Time Travel, Texas Cap rock Tales, and my new Pearson Grove series. As well as having books or novellas in anthologies, I’ve had books in multi-author series such as Widows of Wildcat Ridge and my upcoming contribution to the Proxy Brides.

Keeping characters consistent requires a bible with names and at least a brief description of the occupation and appearance of each. Failing to do this gets authors in trouble. We can’t have a character with blue eyes in one book and brown eyes in the next.

I believe most authors enjoy writing series. Doing so allows us to revisit a place and characters we love. You see, our characters become real to us. We don’t want to abandon them.

What about you—do you enjoy a series or prefer a stand-alone book?

I hope you enjoy series because I have a new release in my Pearson Grove series, ALEXANDRA’S AWAKENING, book 2. This was a fun book to write. Alexandra was NOT a nice character in book one of the series but everyone deserves a chance to redeem himself or herself. The change has to have obstacles and Alexandra meets several.



Here’s the blurb for this sweet western historical romance:

A wealthy woman forced to change; a heroic sheriff standing his ground; the danger that unites them…

Alexandra Novak has been raised in wealth and is used to having whatever she wishes. Her parents have spoiled her and she’d begun to believe it her right. A fire that destroys her family home and almost costs her mother’s life starts Alexandra rethinking her values. When her father’s revelation shatters her world, she is determined to do whatever necessary to make her father happy—even if it means being nice to that girl he’s brought into their home.

Virgil Witt is the best sheriff Pearson Grove has had. Under his leadership, crime is at an all-time low. He has reconciled himself to the fact that he is destined to live alone except for his dog. Maybe that’s best since his job is a dangerous one. He can’t understand why Alexandra chases him, especially not after he’s explained he has no money.

When danger strikes the Novak family, can Virgil solve the problem in time? Can Alexandra convince Virgil she has changed? Can the two of them work together or will her need for the best resurface?

The Universal Amazon buy link is http://mybook.to/Pearson The book is also available in print and is free in KU. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

What is Wet Wednesday? ~ by Judy Ann Davis


Old Wet Monday Postcard
For those you who missed it, April 22nd ,the day following Easter, is called Smigus-dyngus or Wet Monday in the Slavic communities. It’s an old custom where boys throw water over girls and spank them with pussy willows and is still practiced in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and parts of western Ukraine. Additionally, the water throwing day, referred to as just Dyngus Day, is also celebrated in Polish American communities across our nation such as in Buffalo, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; and South Bend, Indiana.

Pussy willows appear to have been adopted as an alternative to the palm leaves used elsewhere in Easter celebrations, which were not obtainable in Poland. They were blessed by the priests on Palm Sunday and then treated as sacred charms thought to prevent lightning strikes, protect animals and encourage honey production. They were believed to bring health and good fortune to people as well.

Pysanki Eggs
Girls could save themselves from a soaking by bribing the boys with painted eggs, pysanki, regarded as magical charms that would insure good harvests, successful relationships, and healthy childbirths.

Why throw water? The tradition is said to be traced back to the 14th century with its origin involving the March equinox. In the western Slavic countries, the origin is linked to mythology and the Slavic goddess of fertility. It is sometimes thought to be related to the tradition of watering the “Corn Mother,” who made crops grow and was represented in the form of a doll or wreath made from corn. Drenched in water and held all winter, the doll or wreath was mixed with the seed corn in the spring to ensure a successful harvest.

Today, Dyngus Day has evolved into a different type of festivity. Although the girls are supposed to wait until the following day to get their revenge by soaking the boys, both sexes now throw water over each other on the same day. Wet Monday is a day of celebration with polka bands, a parade, patriotic songs, and the consumption of foods such as sausages, eggs, and traditional Easter dishes. Party goers dress in white and red colors of the Polish flag.

Although I’ve personally never celebrated Wet Wednesday, I can liken it to my two sons who spent all summer dousing each other with a hose, Super Soaker, or buckets of water on a hot day. All I can envision is a clothesline full of wet soggy garments. Somehow, I think the old custom was a lot more fun for the male population than the female. What do you think?

 WILLIE, MY LOVE

Last week, my latest novel, "Willie, My Love," a historical romantic suspense was released. 

BLURB:
Willie, My Love
The year is 1856. White pine is king of the forest.

The last thing Jonathan Wain wants to do is ride miles through Pennsylvania’s wilderness to help his father’s logging partner in the small settlement of Clearfield. But his family owns clipper ships in the Chesapeake Bay that carry the coveted logs to the markets each spring, and they can’t afford a loss.

The last thing Wilhelmina Wydcliffe wants is a handsome sea captain from Maryland meddling in her father’s logging operations under attack by unknown enemies. A feisty tomboy and better known as Willie to her crews, she has a dream to be the largest logging operator east of the Mississippi River. 


When both Willie’s and Jonathan’s lives are threatened, they are forced to work together to find their enemies before both of their companies are in shambles. But as their attraction to each other escalates, can they set aside their differences, unearth the truth, and discover contentment in each other’s arms
 
BUY LINK:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07P87GNCZ/

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:
https://www.amazon.com/Judy-Ann-Davis/e/B006GXN502/





Monday, April 22, 2019

It's Earth Day by Josie Riviera


 Today is Earth Day, an annual world-wide event. Earth Day began in 1970 and is now celebrated in 193 countries around the world.




Today is a good day to clean a stream, help with a local garden, pick up garbage on the streets, etc. The list is endless. 

This year, the focus is on protecting our species. Threatened and endangered species include: bees, elephants, whales, coral reefs, whales, and many more.
Let's all do our part.

Are you participating in Earth Day events? Please leave your comments below.


 1-800-IRELAND, is on pre-order. 



Fans of OH DANNY BOY will enjoy my newest emotional contemporary romance, and book 3 in the 1-800 series.


Irishwoman Kathleen Kelly wants to renovate her new tea house in America to a sparkling shine, enticing droves of customers to Roses, NC. But the project quickly takes a turn for the worse when her hard work falls flat.

Rob Taylor knows a thing or two about running a business. He’s built Rob’s Marvelous Muffins into a thriving business catering to hundreds of customers.

With Rob in Miami and Kathleen in Roses, a May-December romance isn’t a part of Kathleen’s carefully laid-out plans. Besides, they’ve both admitted to each other how unlucky they are in love. Better to leave romance out of the picture and stick to friendship and hard work.

Kathleen has no choice but to face what she is most afraid of … commitment.

And it will take more than hot tea and marvelous muffins to bridge the gap between them.

Pre-order your ebook now! FREE on Kindle Unlimited!


Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable shih tzu, who constantly needs grooming, and live in an old house forever needing renovations. 


Saturday, April 20, 2019

What On Earth Is Grounding?

by Laurean Brooks


Spring has sprung, and nature is bursting with renewed life. Birds are singing and flowers are blooming. Then why do many of us find ourselves in a physical and/or mental slump, unable to focus or relax? When we try to sleep, we toss and turn, then awaken tired the following morning. 


I can relate. Life has thrown me a few curve balls in the past months.  Since last May, I've lost a beloved family pet, a sweet sister-in-law, a precious mother, and two friends I'd bonded with on Facebook.

Then last month my husband had bypass surgery. I'm happy to say he is improving daily. We are thankful for the many prayers offered up. 

No matter how strong we may think we are, these experiences put stress on our bodies and minds. Taking time to commune with God reduces stress and brings peace to our hearts. But, He also provided natural ways some may deem unorthodox, to improve our physical and mental health. In reality, they are often simple things.

Keep reading. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a Cardiologist known for alternative and integrative medicine, has several interesting videos on "Grounding" or "Earthing." These terms are interchangeable. Dr. Sinatra calls it "Caveman Medicine." I'll call it "Grounding" since it seems to be the most commonly used term. Next to his picture is a link to one of his many videos. I selected one that is 3 minutes.


Grounding is a simple method to energize and heal both mind and body. It works like this. The earth is loaded with negatively-charged electrons from lightning strikes and solar flares. At the same time, our bodies become overloaded with "positive" energy from the overuse of electronic devices--mainly cell phones, and computers. These devices drain energy and can result in health problems. 

Even a TV and other appliances drain the body's energy. The remedy? Go outdoors and place your bare feet on the grass, sand or bare ground. Let the electrons flow into your feet and circulate up and throughout your body, energizing every cell. Even concrete contains these electrons because it's made of natural elements. 

Neither wood nor asphalt is a good conductor of the earth's electrons. To the contrary, these materials block the flow. And since most shoes are made of plastic, rubber or wood soles, we humans don't benefit from the earth's energy. No wonder we continually fight stress and fatigue.

Remember as children, when we ran, played and tumbled in the grass, and all the while barefoot? It's become a lost pastime. How many times in the past couple of decades have you passed a yard seen barefoot children playing games on the lawn?


Grounding has scientific backing and the procedure takes only a couple of minutes to start reaping the benefits. If you feel overwhelmed, tired, or depressed, kick off your shoes and take a walk through the grass. Or if you feel adventurous, trek across a meadow and into the woods. Dogwood trees are in full bloom, now, during this Easter season. Drink in their beauty.


Sit on a creek bank and relax. Press your feet beneath the cool water and let the sand squish between your toes. Close your eyes and inhale slowly. Exhale and let the peace engulf you.


Grounding is simple and it costs nothing. You don't even have to stand. Pull out a lawn chair, sit and relax, instead.  It works as long as your bare feet are in contact with the earth to soak up energizing electrons.

According to Dr. Sinatra, these electrons intercept free radicals in the body, making sticky blood platelets smoother, which helps correct circulatory and cardiovascular problems. Grounding also brings tranquility to the nervous system. And all within a couple of minutes. Dr. Sinatra calls it “Caveman Medicine.” And it's free.

If you are out of sorts, don't hesitate to take advantage of a nature walk. Can you think of a more beautiful season than now, when spring has made her glorious entrance? 

I took a walk to the creek twice this week. If the weather had permitted, I would have gone again. Not only did I enjoy the beauty of nature and the flowing stream, but the dogs had a wonderful time splashing through the shallow water while sniffing trails up and down the creek bank.


When I returned to the house, I felt refreshed, calm and energized, all at the same time. It's hard to put into words unless you've experienced it yourself. 

So, go ahead, give it a try. Kick your shoes off and walk in the grass. Throw the ball for your dog. Splash in a stream. What do you have to lose?

              ****************************************

All Carrie wanted was to flee town after shoving an offensive drunk off the boardwalk. Oh, no! Did she kill him?

 Who was this pretty lady who made Josh forget his broken heart? All he wanted was a young woman to help his ailing aunt with the housework. 

What he got was NOT WHAT HE ORDERED. 

You can find it here.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

BOOKS OR MOVIES OR BOTH?

Caroline Clemmons here, filling in for Carra Copelin. Carra's busy being caregiver for her husband, who has had major health issues.


Obviously, I love reading, especially romance. If the romance includes mystery or suspense, even better. But I also love movies, especially when I can enjoy them in my own home. When my eyes are too tired to focus or my mind and body too tired to concentrate, a good movie on TV or one of the many subscription venues is relaxing. Like a mini-vacation for the mind.

Willie Nelson
Hero and I enjoy an evening movie, and it doesn’t have to be newly released. Recently we watched the Willie Nelson remake of “Stagecoach” starring him, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristopherson, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, and others I recognized but can’t recall their names. Willie Nelson co-wrote the music and sang it. Here in Texas, Willie Nelson is much revered. Hero has always been a Johnny Cash fan. This movie pushed all the buttons for us. Oops, I digress.
When a movie is a depiction of a favorite book, I have mixed emotions. With a book, the author’s descriptions create images of characters in my head. If the book is engrossing, I know who these characters are, how they dress, even how they walk. The reader is privileged to characters’ internal dialogue as well as vivid descriptions. Of course, a movie doesn’t need setting descriptions, but I miss the author’s version. One that comes to mind is Loretta Chase’s LORD PERFEC T.  When the main characters first see one another, Ms Chase has what I think is the most enchanting reactions recorded in any book I’ve read. My favorite is the hero’s thoughts about the heroine’s astonishing beauty and presence : “She is a woman who causes accidents merely by crossing the street.”

Depicting a book like Nora Roberts’ or Debbie Macomber’s as a screenplay usually results in a very pleasant movie. I love Ms Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle movies. (Say that fast three times.) For me, though, the movie doesn’t quite live up to the book. For instance, one of my favorite books by Nora Roberts is MONTANA SKY. That book scared me in many places and kept me turning the pages hurriedly to learn about the sisters. In the movie, some of the edginess disappeared. Oh, the movie was satisfying, but the book much better.

Hugh Jackman
For long, involved books like LES MISERABLES or EYE OF THE NEEDLE, only portions appear in the movie. Of course I enjoyed “Les Miserable.” Hugh Jackman! Oh, um, I mean the movie inspired me. Each of the actors performed superbly.

Ken Follett’s EYE OF THE NEEDLE is one complicated book, as are each of his tomes. The movie depicted only the last few chapters of the protagonist’s journey and the heroine’s courageous actions. I enjoyed the movie, but it paled in comparison to the book. Ken Follett is a gifted author and I am in awe of his ability. 

Every author hopes one day his or her books or book will be adapted into a movie. The fact is, though, that I enjoy reading books. I like to visualize each of the characters and the settings. Perhaps it’s because I’m old enough to have played “pretend like” as a child before watching TV or playing video games commandeered imagination. I also find that when an author's characterizations and descriptions are vivid, the pictures in my head don't match the movie version. 

Yes, I watched TV, but the selections for kids were very limited and I had chores and homework to keep me from being glued to the set. And, I read and read and read. Not great works like LES MISERABLES. Nope, but Nancy Drew and Louisa Mae Alcott launched me into other worlds.

Which do you prefer—movies, books, or both?



I hope you like books and will read my latest, MONK'S BRIDE, Kincaid series book 5, which is available on Amazon with this Universal buy link http://mybook.to/Monk

My next book, ALEXANDRA'S AWAKENING, Pearson Grove series book 2, is available for preorder and will be released April 26. That Universal link is http://mybook.to/Pearson.





Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a tiny office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their three rescued indoor cats as well as providing nourishment outdoors for squirrels, birds, and other critters.

The books she creates in her pink cave have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances about the West, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. Her series include the Kincaids, McClintocks, Stone Mountain Texas, Bride Brigade, Texas Time Travel, Texas Caprock Tales, Pearson Grove, and Loving A Rancher as well as numerous single titles and contributions to multi-author sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, lunching with friends, browsing antique malls, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.

Join her and other readers at Caroline’s Cuties, a Facebook readers group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/277082053015947/ for special excerpts, exchanging ideas, contests, giveaways, recipes, and talking to like-minded people about books and other fun things.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Follow her on BookBub.

To stay up-to-date with her releases and contests, subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here and receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

No Excuses, Do It by Joan Reeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

Oops! I had today's date on my calendar as usual. So why wasn't there a post, by me, published this morning?

Agh!

I can only say that after being gone most of March and coming home to deal with yet another crisis that I was too tired to even look at my Day Planner in the last couple of days.

Is being exhausted and wanting nothing but sleep a good excuse?

Hmm. Probably not. I know I always feel frustrated when someone fails to follow through on something he/she promised to do.

Is There a Good Excuse

I checked to see if there are any acceptable good excuses—other than I'm in a hospital or I'm dead.

After all, I can't say the dog ate my post, can I?

What I found were wise quotations about excuses. {sigh} Apparently, no one accepts any excuse for failure to follow through.

Derek Jeter said, "When I was younger, I was always taught not to make excuses." (I was taught that too.)

Cam Newton said, "I. Hate. Excuses. Excuses are a disease."

Melvyn Douglas said, "Don't make excuses, and don't talk about it. Do it."

"If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses." ~ Bruce Nauman

"Excuses destroy success every time." ~ Jon Taffer

"Not looking for excuses is the right thing to do. I have made a lot of mistakes, and I still make mistakes, but I am not ashamed to look for the reasons behind those mistakes." ~ Gianluigi Buffon

Emily Weiss said, "You can make a million excuses for why something didn't go well, but ultimately, just fix it and get on with it. Be a solutions person."

Well, none of this excuses me—darn it—so I'll do what Ms. Weiss said and fix it. In fact, that's what I've been doing since I sat down to write. I'll publish this post in a few minutes. It's not the post I planned, but you know what they say about plans and good intentions.

Heroine With Excuses

Madeline Quinn is a trust fund baby who had a walk-in closet full of excuses for her Paris Hilton-style behavior.

A DUI forced her to take a hard look at herself. She quit making excuses and changed her life.

Now she wants to claim her full inheritance but she needs one little thing before she can do that. A husband.

Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

She decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son.

He always treated her like a little sister when they were growing up—until one disastrous night when she acted impetuously.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him.

Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Or is it something else? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist!?

April Fool Bride is a Kindle Unlimited Free Read if you're a subscriber, or buy it and keep it forever.


Joan ReevesKeeping Romance Alive…One Sexy Book at a Time—is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All of her stories have the underlying premise that it's never too late to live happily ever after.

Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband. They divide their time between a book-cluttered home in Houston and a quiet house at the foot of the Texas Hill Country where they sit on the porch at night, look up at the star-studded sky, and listen to the coyotes howl.

Visit Joan Online and be the first to know about New Books and Giveaways by signing up for her Mailing List/Newsletter.

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