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, December 2, 2021


By Caroline Clemmons

This is my favorite time of year. Looking forward to Christmas turns me into a kid waiting for Santa. Not that I’ve been especially good—but it’s never made any difference. <grin>

Don’t lecture me about the meaning of Christmas. I’m deeply religious, but—for me—Christmas is like two events. Of course the most important is observing a day set aside to honor Christ’s birth, even though no one knows real date. The other occasion is the fun of giving (and getting) gifts, decorating, baking, and seeing and hearing from friends and family.

One thing I enjoy is the variety of Hallmark Christmas movies. Yep, and I like them all year. I see the flaws in them, but mistakes in continuity or script don’t spoil the pleasure I receive from watching the story unfold. I'm not put off by the fact that the main characters are from a small pool. Two nights ago we watched a movie in which the villain starred as one of the main good guys in last night’s movie. The “as you know” information dumps amuse but don’t annoy me. I. Don’t. Care.

For me, watching a romance or romantic suspense movie is an extension of reading. You know I LOVE reading! A few of my author acquaintances have sold the rights to their romance books to be made into film. What great feeling that must be!

Given the choice between movies or books, I prefer reading. Some things can’t be squeezed into a movie—like a character’s internal dialogue or lateral story threads. This is especially true the longer the book. Have you ever watched a movie of a book you’d read and thought they had to omit too much?

On the other hand, sometimes seeing a story I enjoyed brought to screen is fun. Did the producer cast the right people as characters? An example that pops into my mind is Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle. The late actress and philanthropist Doris Roberts was perfect in that role. Many other actresses could have done a great job in the role, but Doris Roberts really nailed it. I even enjoy re-watching that movie.

Doris Roberts

What about you? Has one of your favorite books been made into a movie? 

If you're looking for a Christmas story to read, MAIL ORDER GLORIA, An Impostor for Christmas book 7, will be released on Friday, December 3. Grab it here:

AMY, Angel Creek Christmas Brides book 25, will be released on December 10. Preorder it here:

Stay safe, keep reading, and have a Merry Christmas!

People watching TV graphic from 


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Giving Thanks by Kara ONeal

I feel bad for Thanksgiving. It finishes pretty quickly compared to some of the other holidays. While it might be cliché, or seem silly to state the obvious, it's beautiful that there is a day set aside for food, rest and gratitude. I wish it lasted longer. And, you know, it can if we remember the spirit of it as we go forward.

Before I delve into my list of what I appreciate, I first want to ask that we pray for, or think about, those who don't have the opportunity to celebrate this season and want to. Or wish they could. This is just another reason to be grateful, to count your blessings and not take anything for granted.

And here is what I'm counting:

1) God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit
2) Mary
3) My family
4) My friends

And not necessarily in this order, but also:

5) These books

6) The way books smell

7) When Mr. Darcy proposes to Lizzie

8) When Jim and Dwight have to plan a party together

9) When Emma Swan tells Captain Killian Jones that he can't handle it

10) When Anne smashes her slate over Gilbert's head

11) All things Texan: bluebonnets, our historical markers, the Alamo, the brisket, the tacos, the kolaches, the MUSIC, the word "friend", the spirit, the Baylor Ruins, the Antique Rose Emporium, Blue Bell Ice Cream, the sports we play, the art we make, Prasek's, floating, the speed limit, and so, so, so much more

12) Brookwood

13) "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya."

14) The stuff Rachel giggles about and plays

15) The stuff Jake sings and draws

16) The stuff Noah says and draws

17) The end of "Amarillo By Morning" and the whole song actually

18) Musicals -- especially Meet Me In St. Louis and Singing In The Rain

19) Jane Austen

20) the Dyson vacuum

21) When Chuck says, "Guys, I know Kung Fu."

22) Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose

23) When Captain Steve Rogers picks up Thor's hammer

24) When Falcon says, "On your left."

25) When Edward kneels down

26) Ireland -- Let me say that one again. IRELAND.

27) Fiddles and cellos

28) Fairy tales

29) When Flynn Rider climbs the tower

30) When Brenda Lee says, "You first."

31) Libraries and librarians

32) Pocket rosaries

33) Keeping score at a baseball game at Minute Maid Park

34) The number seven

35) Wildflowers. As far as the eye can see. God bless Texas.

And last....but NOT least.....

It's my series, my baby, and it's filled with characters that will make you laugh, cry and sigh in contented wonder. God bless writing, God bless authors, and God bless books!!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Time Capsule by Bea TIfton


Bea Tifton filling in for Beth Trissel. 

Several years ago, I attended one of those parties people have when they want you to buy stuff so they get credit for more stuff, kitchen items in this instance. The saleswoman had us play a game where we looked in our purses and found something that started with each letter of the alphabet. We were up to the letter O and it was between me and one more person. People giggled and whispered, “They’ll never find something. It’s going to be a tie.” The attendees held their collective breaths as I reached into my purse, rooted around, and came out with… Olbus.  Olbus. A homeopathic nasal inhalant for congestion. People Ooohed. They aaahhhed. The other lady frowned. And I won the game. 

I’m still going through all my stuff trying to declutter a bit. Yesterday I found a time capsule in the form

of a purse I’d forgotten I had. I checked for cash immediately, of course. And, of course, there wasn’t any. But here are a few of the things I found. 

A receipt for a former friend’s favorite restaurant. She turned out to be a frenemy, much drama and hurt. I don’t even go to that restaurant anymore. 

A frequent buyer card for Border’s Bookstore. Ooohhhhh. Moment of silence for Border’s. I just loved it. More earth mother than the other bookstore that begins with a “B.” I always felt so comfortable there, having coffee with my mother before we attended an organization that met there, browsing, listening to the folk bands that would play there occasionally. I still miss them. 

An AT and T calling card. Remember those? Such a royal pain. Making calls from public telephones with them. I have mixed emotions about cell phones, but they do make things easier. 

A copy card. I wonder if there are any copies still on it. Do I need to copy something? Hmmm. 

A loyal customer card for the-place-where-I-used-to-get-my-oil-changed-but-then-got-angry-as- they-tried-to-scare-me-into-having-unnecessary-work-done-because-I’m-just-a-dumb-woman. Yeah. Not that I still carry a grudge. Won’t be using that. 

Eighteen cents in pennies. Well, money is money. 

An employee ID for my favorite school with my favorite boss. Leaving that school was such a huge mistake my career never recovered. I was anxious to move from the classroom to the library and, despite very good advice to wait until that district had a rare opening, I moved to a terrible district nearby. Eventually that move ruined my physical health and broke my heart. Sigh. Ah the great advice one never takes. 

I found a few more business cards for people I don’t remember, receipts and loyalty cards. But the funny thing is the memories my little purse evoked. Funny what one stumbles across that can take them to another place.  Have you ever stumbled across an old wallet or purse and been surprised at the contents and the memories they called to mind? 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Author Sightings In the Wild by Laura Hunsaker

 In my day job, I work at an elementary school. Every now and then, I've had parents recognize me, or ask if I'm that Laura Hunsaker a la Romancing the Stone.

But the other day, I had a parent stop by the front office and ask if I would sign her book. You guys. That was the coolest feeling in the world! Sometimes I feel a bit like I'm signing someone's yearbook Stay sweet and have a fun summer! But for the most part, I try really hard to make it personal for them. I've had book signings, and I've been to conventions, and signing a book never gets old. But, having someone spot you in the wild, so to speak, is just another level of awesome that I don't think I was prepared for.

Have you ever spotted an author in the wild? 

And in case you were curious, the book she asked me to sign was this one:

Roughing It  and I'm Kenzie MacLir in this book.

Caught in the Crossfire by Stacey Agdern

Bryce Emerson only agreed to draw an account of the Empires Goalie Tryouts to humor his brother. But when a vision convinces him the woman who saved his prized pen from a snowy grave is in danger of being injured by a faulty mask, he takes it upon himself to make her a new one.

Goaltender Carly Fein is trying out for the New York Empires, and the last thing she needs is the complication of an artist. But when she agrees to let him make her a new mask, Bryce Emerson finds his way under her skin.

Can Bryce and Carly figure out what happens when they’re caught in the crossfire of love and hockey? Or will the stress of new love and competition drive them apart.

Crashing the Net by Isabo Kelly

Billionaire Connor Evans needs a challenge. Trying out for the New York Empires’ hockey team fits the bill, even if it is just a publicity stunt and a way to shut his twin brother up. Running into the woman who left him six years earlier, a woman he’s never gotten over, is not part of the plan. Once he sees Matty, though, Connor knows he can’t let her go again. But he’s got secrets he can’t risk sharing. And Matty is the one person who could uncover those secrets if he lets her get too close.

After traveling the world, Matilda Thomson is ready for a real job and a more stable life. Her internship with the New York Empires will give her the experience she needs to move into that future. But first, she has to face Connor again, and one of the most painful losses she’s ever experienced. The only way she can move forward is to confront her feelings and risk her heart one more time.

Heat and passion spark as hot as ever between them. But trust doesn’t come easy. And if Connor can’t open up and let Matty in this time, he’ll lose her forever.

Against the Boards by Kenzie MacLir

Kyle Sandberg is living his best life. He’s one of the top hockey players in the world. Has two amazing best friends and all the sarcastic hockey t-shirts he could wear. After his own family turns their backs on him, he’s happy playing for the Empires and hanging out with his own found family. What he doesn’t want is his pain in the ass twin brother back in his life or a mate.

When paramedic Faith Church left Puerto Rico for New York, she had zero intentions of getting involved in the local pack. Having had her fill of pack politics, she was ready to go lone wolf. But being left alone was too much to ask when her cousin was the Alpha’s mate.

What neither was counting on was Fate, having her own plans for them. A chance encounter at a traffic accident changes everything. Kyle and his wolf are willing to go with Fate’s plans. But Faith, having finally broken away from her pack’s expectations wants nothing to do with Fate, or Kyle. Too bad her wolf disagrees…

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


by Judy Ann Davis

November 24th, is “Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day.” This is the day to celebrate what makes you special. Do you love to paint, dance, draw, play the piano, sew, construct model cars, cook, garden, or do something that makes you happy? This is the day to show off and embrace your unique talents.

We all have favorite things we love doing. They may be simple tasks or hobbies that let us set aside our worries and just enjoy the present moment. Our unique talents also allow us to free ourselves from negative internal dialogue and disquieting thoughts.

For me, my woodworking shop is my get-away-from-it-all place. With the scent of pine wood around me, I can sketch a design for a birdhouse, or fashion and paint wooden snowmen or angels or rocks from my flowerbed. I also like to sew. Both these talents put me in a creative zone where I can shut out the world.

Now it’s your turn. What is your unique talent which you enjoy, which makes you happy, or which helps you to escape the humdrum of life?

And...before I forget, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 Releasing on December 7th

A Maple Cookie Homecoming


Click here for Amazon Pre-order


When Julien Franklin returns home for Christmas after retiring from the military, his first mission is to taste his home town's maple cookies and find office space for his civilian website business. He's delighted to find the apartment above The Book Bin bookstore is for rent and owned by his old high school sweetheart.

Natalie Pinkett, widow and single parent, has some tragic secrets gnawing at her soul, but she needs to rent the empty rooms to help with her many expenses. To complicate matters, an old love will be literally working above her head—and he owns a rambunctious puppy her daughter has fallen in love with.

Can Julien woo the pretty bookstore owner and get her to reveal her painful past? Will the two be able to cross the divide of twenty-four years and find love again

Monday, November 22, 2021

Beatty, Nevada's burros

 After living in a vacation trailer for 5 months, I don't have a lot to say. I do though have some photos-- the best ones from Beatty, Nevada, where the burros run free through town. Some years back the government had to reduce the herds, where they ended up in farms around the country. Currently there are 69 or so. 

The first ones we saw were in broad daylight as they roamed around for for food to eat. The second was one night when we saw a baby burro with its young mother-- too dark for photos. All were a treat. Fortunately, our trailer had a big window out the back to fully enjoy their freedoms and what this town has let them have. They were from the miners work but now they are wild and hope they stay that way.

I am still barely getting it together after the long hours of travel and time in the trailer. I don't think full-time RVing would ever be my thing.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Loud Voices and Moving On by Liz Flaherty

I am set in my ways. There, I've admitted it. Although I've had a few indie releases of my own and am a squee-worthy part of the Heartwarming authors' group who releases the Christmas Town stories every year, my preference is still traditional publishing. My real preference would be the way traditional used to be, when the publisher did the marketing and most of the promotion. 

Yes. I know there are down sides to trad publishing. Lots of them. I know it's not good for everyone. I know the rejections alone are so discouraging...

Well, there we are. That's my real problem right now. Rejections. I've written about them before, apologizing for my skin that is not only wrinkled but remains thin even after over 20 years of being published. But they've been pretty...common lately. 

I was never one who counted how many rejections I got (there were lots) or laughed about papering my bathroom with them (I could, and our bathroom is pretty big) or gave in to the urge to stop writing forever and ever. Although...let me interrupt myself with a story.

Back in the 90s, I was a member of Outreach, the RWA chapter for people who couldn't get to chapter meetings, and I enjoyed it a lot. I entered its contest with my first completed manuscript. And won. First place. Wowser! What a coup for my first time out of the contest gate. The prize was a critique by members of a RWA group from Canada. (Sorry--some details have escaped me.)

To make a long story short, I was so blistered by the critique that I didn't write a word for three months. I was more broken, writing-wise, than I was before or have been since. Much of the critique was accurate, objective, and appreciated. Much of it was also mean-spirited, subjective, and cruel. Guess which "much" had the loudest voice. 


I kind of wondered what I was trying to say here, and I guess that's it. I am upset about recent rejections. I am bothered that I feel as if my age is held against me in this industry that I love. I do worry that I'm going to have to stop writing before I'm ready because I can't find either a publisher or a market. 

It sounds like I'm listening to the wrong voices, doesn't it? If those are the loud ones, I should turn them down and go on without them. It has nothing to do with whether I prefer indie or trad or hybrid or with my thin, wrinkled skin; rather it has to do with how I choose to proceed. At the end of the day, it's up to me.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving and good voices.