Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Signs of Spring

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden." ~Ruth Stout

By late February, my spirit yearns for warmth, color, the earth reborn...A flush of green tinges the meadow, a hopeful indication. I've started seeds in the greenhouse and, to my delight, most are coming up. Baby violas are potted in readiness, with the promise of more diminutive pansies to follow. Flats of sweet alyssum will go out among the earliest flowers to perfume the air and attract pollinators. Spinach and cabbage seedlings await transplanting. Parsley is showing its face. I'll seed more herbs and vegetables soon, like heirloom lettuce, basil, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. And flowers--always. I may even start peas indoors this year because our soil is so wet they may rot otherwise. We've had a drenched winter after last year's drought, and the weather shows no indication of letting up. No one wants a drought again, just 'normal' weather. Daughter Elise and I are sorting through seed packets from last year and carefully ordering more. The greenhouse will soon burst with new life.

"Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment." ~Ellis Peters

In the garden, I greet tiny pendulous snowdrops, an old friend. These delicate bulbs are tough as nails. The spreading mounds began from a handful of bulbs daughter Alison planted as a small child. Our much-loved pussywillow was son Cory's choice as a wee lad. Fuzzy catkins line its branches like the tiny kittens the pussywillow is named for. Daffodils, tulips, and the green points of crocus leaves are emerging. I plant more bulbs each fall. Discovering them is like an Easter egg hunt. The faithful snow crocus made its appearance yesterday. 'Tis my dream to have masses of crocus everywhere, filling the yard. How splendid that would be. A great trumpet of spring.

"No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." ~Proverb

On the book front:

For the first time since its publication by the Wild Rose Press in July 2017, Somewhere My Lady is on sale at all major online booksellers with the exception of Kobo and was a featured Bookbub deal. Sale runs through March 1st.

Story Blurb:
Lorna Randolph is hired for the summer at Harrison Hall in Virginia, where Revolutionary-War reenactors provide guided tours of the elegant old home. She doesn't expect to receive a note and a kiss from a handsome young man who then vanishes into mist.
Harrison Hall itself has plans for Lorna – and for Hart Harrison, her momentary suitor and its 18th century heir. Past and present are bound by pledges of love, and modern science melds with old skills and history as Harrison Hall takes Lorna and Hart through time in a race to solve a mystery and save Hart's life before the Midsummer Ball.~
Somewhere My Lady is on sale for 0.99 from 2/15 through 3/01 at:

"Spring stirs under silent snow." ~Terri Guillemets

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Soup Weather by Vonnie Davis

Winter weather has played an on-again, off-again visit to many parts of our country. Snow, more snow, wind, ice, rain, and bunches of snow on top of the snow already there. This calls for warm socks, a comfy sweater, and homemade soups.

I love making thick soups in my crockpot. Beef vegetable is my favorite. My hero in my current work in progress—a shapeshifter Christmas romance—cooks Carrot and Orange Soup for the heroine. I found an old Scottish recipe I’ll include at the end of the story.

A winter warmer.

1 chopped onion
1lb (450 grammes) sliced carrots
2 ozs (65 grammes or ½ stick) butter
2 ozs (65 grammes or ½ cup) plain flour
1 pint (600ml or two and a half cups) chicken stock
1 pint (600ml or 2½ cups, scant) milk
1 orange (juice and rind) wash orange first
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 oz (one rounded tablespoon) chopped parsley

Melt the butter and add the onions and carrots. Cook gently (without colouring) then stir in the flour and cook for a further 1/2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and chicken stock. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then simmer on low for 20/30 minutes. Liquidise before adding orange juice (including shredded rind) and reheat - but do not boil. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

I love a man who can cook. Don’t you? Maybe next month, I can share a spring recipe with you.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

~*~ ~*~ Laura Ingalls Wilder and Her "Little House Books" ~*~ ~*~ Judy Ann Davis.....................................

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder
Born February 7, 1867
Died February 10, 1957

I am re-posting this from my blog in honor of Wilder
and her contribution to young readers who've
been fans of  her many book for decades.

Long before Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books became part of the Little House on the Prairie television series, the Little House books were a favorite of mine as a child, starting with the Little House in the Big Woods, published by Harper in 1932. It was Wilder’s first book and was based on memories of her early childhood in the big woods near Pepin, Wisconsin, in the early 1870s. It propelled her Little House series consisting of eight more books which recorded pioneer life late in the 19th century based on her family’s experiences on the American frontier.

I was an avid reader of all the Little House books. I remember taking one of them outside on my swing during the summer and devouring it as quickly as possible. There was something magical about the big woods, the prairie, the unsettled Dakota Territory, the farm, the banks of a Plum Creek and life during a blizzard.

Laura Ingalls was the second child of five children to Charles and Caroline Ingalls. During her childhood, her father moved the family many times, but over the winter of 1879-1880, he filed for a formal homestead in De Smet, South Dakota, which became her parents’ and her older sister’s (Mary) home for the remainder of their lives.

Two months before her 16th birthday, Laura Ingalls accepted her first teaching position. In order to help her family financially, she taught three terms in one-room school houses between 1883 and 1885, worked for the local dressmaker, and attend high school in De Smet, although she didn’t graduate. Her teaching career and studies ended when Laura married 28-year-old Almanzo Wilder on August 25, 1885. She was eighteen years old.

Wilder House in De Smet, SD
  Although there is much controversy over some works, 
  which Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose, supposedly 
  claimed to collaborate on with her mother, the brilliance
  and importance of  the books far outweigh second 
  guessing what might be truthful or false claims.

  Laura Ingalls Wilder is considered a literary legend. 
  School-age children have been enthralled with the 
  series for decades. I was one of them.
All my books are currently listed on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:

Friday, February 22, 2019

My 5 Best Romantic Comedy Movies To Watch in February by Josie Riviera

The weather is still cold for most of us. Besides reading, I love to watch old movies.

Because February is Valentine’s month, here’s a list of my 5 favorite romantic comedy movies in no particular order:

1.  When Harry Met Sally
2.  Groundhog Day
3.  Notting Hill
4.  Moonstruck
5.  Sleepless in Seattle

(And a special shout-out to Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade.)

Do you have a favorite romantic comedy movie? 

Please leave your comments below.

Love sweet and inspirational Valentine romance?

My new Valentine’s Day inspirational romance, A Valentine To Cherish is available!

 In addition, grab Valentine Hearts, my Valentine’s Day book bundle of 3 sweet and inspirational romances, at one low introductory price.

Order now before the price goes up!
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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. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What Happens To Those Fleeting Childhood Dreams?

By Laurean Brooks

Do you remember when you were a child? Anything seemed possible. You could be discovered any day by a Hollywood talent scout. As you matured, you lost that magical quality and realized fate rarely just happens. It usually consists of 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration.

Little girls live in a fairytale world with happy endings. They imagine themselves as Rapunzel, Snow White and Cinderella—beautiful princesses awaiting the rescue of a handsome prince. Little boys thrive in a world of Jack And The Beanstalk, The Little Engine That Could, and Puff The 
Magic Dragon.

I was a dreamer. Some dreams are hard to relinquish. The path you decide to take is not an easy decision. And sometimes after you make that decision, you wonder where if you made the right one. Where would you be now, if you had chosen the other path

By giving up on a dream, you feel that you've failed yourself and those who encouraged you to make the other choice. But, maybe you shouldn't look at it as a failure. It's possible that God put you where you are for a purpose. He can work through you whatever path you've chosen. If  ... you allow Him to.

One of my earliest dreams, also my sister's, was to become a singer. We bellowed folk songs and current pop songs from our separate stumps on a hillside. We also dressed up and pretended we lived in the wild west as singers in an upscale opera house. After the practiced song and dance routine, which included the lively song, “Mister Piano Man, please, tickle those ivory keys ...,” our skits ended the same: We fell in love with handsome cowboys who proposed to us and swept us away from our lonely existences.

Storybook endings, and oh, so romantic. But, if Mama had known we were acting out simulated kisses from those cowboys by kissing the backs of our hands, well ... she would have reprimanded us.

We eventually outgrew our handsome cowboy obsession along with our dreams of becoming singers. Mine was stifled by a fear of performing before a real audience. If one can't perform a solo in front of the church congregation, how can one sing to a large audience on a regular basis? 

The fear of performing before a crowd has never left me. I'm okay, one on one, with a person. Just don't put me up on a state or podium to speak or sing to these same folks, collectively.

By my freshman year, the desire to be a singer had fallen by the wayside. Then, my sister introduced me to her friend Rosalynn, who inspired me to try my hand at poetry and free-flowing verse. Eventually, this led to my desire to become a writer. 

Rosie, as we called her, had a poetic gift. Even her flourishing handwriting was artistic. But it was the flow of her poetry that tugged at the soul.

Following is a short sample of Rosie's work:

The Wind
The wind blows wild, the wind blows free.
Remember the wind as it blows with me.
The wind is restless, and so am I.
It won't be easy to say goodbye.

My first attempts at poetry were childish compared to Rosie's beautiful prose. But, soon I developed a crush on an elusive high school boy. Unrequited love (really it was infatuation), spurred me to pen at least a dozen heart-wrenching poems in silent dedication to him, over the next year. To think, each line was driven by feelings for a guy who never looked my way, had me later shaking my head. 

When I talked to this same guy some 20 years later at an alumni banquet, he scratched his head and said, "No, I don't remember you, but I do remember your sister." (At 16, my sister had already blossomed nicely, while at 14, I was skinny and shapeless.)

Arggh! The time and creative energy I wasted daydreaming about this guy and he really didn't know I existed.

The poems were added to a scrapbook my sister and I kept through high school. I read through them occasionally and wonder how a young teen who had not yet been kissed, could delve so deeply into heartbreak. Did I really write these poems?

Yes, I did. But where did they come from? This makes me question: Does a writer need to pull from the depths of his or her soul to produce the best works? And, does a writer's best work evolve from emotion--the joy, laughter, tears, or pain he or she has experienced?

My hope is to inspire my readers through the words I write, to make them feel something. If my words do not strike a chord within myself as I write them, how likely are they strike a chord in my reader's soul?

King Solomon, said to be wisest the man who lived (besides Christ), wrote in Proverbs 22:6 (KJV), Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

I think the amplified translation ays it best: Train up a child in the way he should go {and in keeping with his individual bent}, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

We must not overlook the God-given gifts in our children and should encourage them in those special areas--if we want them to live fulfilled lives and contribute their best to the world through their choice of vocations.

I leave you with these words: Choosing a career, no matter how high on the monetary scale, will become daily drudgery to the men and women whose talents do not lie in the area of their occupations.

Writing is my passion, but it took me decades to come back to the realization and work toward my goal to become published. 

What is your passion?

It's the Great Depression. Southern, country girl Jenny Largent doesn't have a clue "what" or "who" she will encounter when she steps off the Chicago-bound train. Culture shock will be hard enough, but who is this charismatic but scheming man who stole her valise? What is he up to? Is he following her?

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Alphabet Mail-Order Brides

What would you do if the only mother you had ever known suddenly told you she was dying and you must go out on your own to start your own school for children? Would you become a Mail Order Bride?

That's exactly what happened to the twenty-five women who were raised and now teach at the Wigg School and Foundling Home. Madam Wigg, or Wiggie, as some of the girls affectionately call her, has found out that she is dying and she wants her girls to go out into the world and start their own schools. There is no way to help the girls monetarily at this time, so she suggests the girls look through the paper, called The Bride's Bulletin, for a husband.

As the girls came to Madam Wigg as a foundling, she named them alphabetically. She called them in to see her in groups of four, ABCD, EFGH, etc, when she had news to share. This time was no different. The first group took a copy of The Bride's Bulletin and passed it on to the next group. Most became mail order brides, while some struck out on their own, all hoping to find their Happily Ever After.

There are a couple of items the women speculate about. Is Wiggie really dying? What happened to Xenia? These will be answered in the final book Zara's Zephyr.

I hope you will read these as they are all available in KU or can be purchased separately. Thanks for stopping by today,
Carra Copelin.

The following is a list of all the books in the ALPHABET MAIL-ORDER BRIDES SERIES.

The Alphabet Mail-Order Brides (25 Book Series) by  Caroline Lee Kirsten Osbourne Jolene , Sara  George H. McVey Josephine Blake Kay P. Dawson Kathleen Ball Morgan Dawson Reina Torres Lynn Winchester Maxine Douglas Heidi Vanlandingham Hildie McQueen Peggy McKenzie Cathryn Chandler Sylvia McDaniel Carra Copelin Laura Stapleton Keira K. Barton Dallis Adams Cissie Patterson Danni Roan Michele Lindsey Janelle Daniels

Abigail's Adventure/ Caroline Lee,  Beulah's Brains/ Kirsten Osbourne,  Catalina's Cause/ Sara Jolene,  Dorthy's Disasters/ George H. McVey,  Emmeline's Exile/ Josephine Blake,  Fae's Fantasy/ Kay P. Dawson,  Glory's Groom/ Kathleen Ball,  Harriett's Hope/ Morgan Dawson,  Imogene's Ingenuity/ Reina Torres,  Jessamine's Journal/ Kirsten Osbourne,  Katriona's Keeper/Lynn Winchester,  Leanna's Light/ Maxine Douglas,  Mia's Misfits/ Heidi Vanlandingham,  Nellie's Notions/ Hildie McQueen,  Olivia's Obligation/ Peggy McKenzie,  Phebe's Promise/ Cathryn Chandler,  Quinlan's Quest/ Sylvia McDaniel,  Rebecca's Renegade/ Carra Copelin,  Sally's Sailor/ Laura Stapleton,  Tillie's Theater/ Keira K. Barton,  Uma's Umbrage/ Dallis Adams,  Vera's Virtues/ Cissie Patterson,  Wendi's Wish/ Dannie Roan,  Yetta's Yearning/ Michele Lindsey,  Zara's Zephyr/ Janelle Daniels

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Telling Lies? Sell It! by @JoanReeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

Oh, no! One of the hardest tasks facing a parent is teaching children not to lie.

If you're a a parent, you've probably learned that lying seems to be a child's immediate response when in trouble.

Of course, parents usually know when Junior is telling a whopper. Then the child really is in trouble!

As an adult, if you tell a lie, you face a lot more consequences than having your Xbox or cell phone privileges taken away.

Research: How to Become a Good Liar

I research the "information" topic of every book I write. When I did that for Scents and Sensuality, a romantic comedy that culminates in some interesting events on Valentine's Day, I was really just cruising the internet.

I knew the premise of the book hinged on the heroine going along with a great big whopping lie her best friend cooked up just to get the heroine a date for her cousin's wedding.

What I came across was a rich trove of articles from psychologists about how to be a really good liar. There's even a YouTube video to teach you how to be a pro at it!

Briefly, there are 2 ways to sell a lie. Lie twice to make it convincing because people are more likely to believe it when the lie is spoken twice. The second way is to use a photograph or some kind of image to sell it. This applies to seeing the lie in print, accompanied by a photo. Readers apparently tend to rate that combination as being true, or at least they do according to Psychology Today.

The funniest thing I read was a statement by psychologist Charles Ford, author of a book entitled, Lies! Lies! Lies!

Ford said to always have a reason for the lie. Only do it when you actually have something to gain. He went on to say, " Prisons are filled with bad liars. The good liars are out running HMOs."

That cracked me up. Too bad it's probably true.

There's a great article about this, Top 10 Secrets of Effective Liars, if you're—ahem—researching the subject.

Otherwise, take a peek at a romantic comedy that's kicked off by the stress of a wedding and Valentine's Day.

Scents and Sensuality

A science nerd desperate for a date to her snooty cousin's wedding. A man desperate to put an end to his matchmaking mom's schemes. Let the games begin!

Perfumer Amanda Whitfield no longer sees the science geek when she looks in her mirror - thanks to the makeover her best friend gave her - but inside she still feels like that geeky girl.

She knows all about the Science of Sex Appeal, in a purely intellectual way, but when it comes to a practical application of the knowledge, as in Romance and Sex, Amanda draws a blank.

Desperate for a date to her cousin's wedding, Amanda, follows her best friend's advice to portray an empty-headed hottie whose bra size is a bigger number than her IQ.

She'll do whatever it takes to get a date for her cousin's wedding because there's no way she'll go without a man on her arm.

Enter a matchmaking mom with a son to marry off.

Computer genius Harrison Kincaid is fed up with his mother's crazy schemes. He's determined to teach her a lesson, but, first, he must deal with her latest prospect, Amanda Whitfield.

He hatches a plan guaranteed to make Amanda kick him to the curb.


When Amanda and Harrison meet, desire crackles like electricity between them. They each had an agenda. They both lied.

What will happen when the masquerade is revealed. Will the truth set them free to love or rip them apart?

Scents and Sensuality is a Kindle Unlimited Free Read if you're a subscriber, or buy this romantic comedy 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.

Amazon Author Page | BookBub Author Page | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | YouTube | Joan's Website | YouTube Channel

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Third Time’s the Charm, or The Clafouti that Almost Killed Me by Bea Tifton

I had this month’s blog all ready to go (spoiler alert, I’ll use it in March). But sometimes, in the course of one’s life, a person has an epiphany so astounding, so life changing, that it’s impossible not to share.

I, Bea Tifton, am a major dork. I know. I know. You see the witty, sophisticated fashionista and think, Oh, no, Bea, that can’t be true. But yes, Dear Readers, it is. And here is my story. 

 I’ve gotten so used to being, er, “Event Prone,” as my lovely and talented mother terms it, that it seems normal to me. But, as my favorite maternal cousin once said with a laugh, “Bea, stuff just happens to you.” Okay, she didn’t say “stuff.” Whether it’s forgetting to unfasten my seat belt, punching myself in the eye trying to change the toilet paper roll (don’t ask), or catching my purse strap on my storm door’s handle almost every time I go out, that’s just part of my daily routine. But recently, things took a surreal turn. 

When the sheet to provide homemade breakfast items for an upcoming reception at church was sent around at my book club, I cheerfully signed up. 

The night before, I put the fruit on to drain and set my alarm for dark thirty the following morning. The next day I hummed as I mixed, stirred, and baked. After extricating myself from the storm door, I carefully put my baking dish in the car and drove to church. Since it was so early, the organizer of the program promised she would have a person outside with a cart so we wouldn’t even have to get out of the car. I hadn’t slept much and I’d cut it pretty close, so I decided to do something I never do. I stayed in my pjs. No one would see me, right? 

But when I got to the church, no one was waiting. Hmmm. It was just a minute after the appointed drop off window, so maybe she gave up early. I got out of the car and peered into the church, ringing the doorbell because it was before the receptionist reported for work. No shower, no makeup, pjs. Our custodian answered and almost fell over as he took in my appearance. He looked as though he was afraid my butter had slipped my biscuit, but as always, he was unfailingly polite as he explained the breakfast was on Wednesday.

It was Monday. 

The next evening, Tuesday, I set the fruit to drain. Then, Wednesday at dark thirty, I again rose to make my clafouti. I hummed as I mixed, stirred, and baked. This time, I put on light makeup and got dressed. As the timer went off and I took Clafouti II out of the oven, my sleepy mind searched for what was wrong. It smelled great, the pastry had puffed up nicely and browned just slightly, but something was different. The fruit. I had forgotten to put in the fruit. My heart seized as I frantically tried to decide what to do. I looked around and paced a bit

“That’s it,” I said to my dog. “I can’t do this.” I forced myself to calm down. “Think, Bea. What would a contestant on The Great British Baking Show do?”

They would start again. This time I did not hum as I mixed, stirred, and baked. I hauled fanny. Since I’d memorized the recipe by now, things went much quicker. And I made it to the church with a minute to spare. My friend waved merrily as I drove up. She oohed and ahhed appropriately, and I left dear little Clafouti III to meet its fate.

Oh, and some of you are probably wondering what happened to Clafouti I. After smelling it in my house and in my car? I ate it. It tasted delicious.


1 TBSP butter
1 1/3 cups milk
2 TBSP sugar
4 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 1/3 cups plus 1 TBSP white flour
1 bag frozen fruit of choice, drained (I use a berry medley)

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave, then pour into 9 x 13 inch pan and tilt to evenly coat the pan with butter.
3. In a mixer, add milk first, then all remaining ingredients, except fruit and 1 TBSP of the flour. Blend until frothy and well combined.
4. In a small separate bowl, toss together the fruit and the extra flour.
5. Pour the batter into the baking dish, spoon in the coated fruit, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until it’s puffed up and lightly browned.
6. Cut into large square and serve immediately. This also tastes good left over at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Still Life with Menu Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. 

Bea Tifton is currently working on her first mystery, A Compact Death.  She lives in North Texas with way too many spoiled pets, and she’s still making clafouti.