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, September 22, 2020

Just Because

by Rain Trueax


It's been a tough month for me with the disastrous fires in my home state. Just hard to get my head around what has happened and still is happening. Small towns like Talent and Phoenix were burned almost to the ground. Who paid the highest price for this catastrophe? In this case Latinx who had come up there for work in the orchards and were renting. All they might've accumulated from their work was obliterated. My daughter said half the children in those those school districts had lost their homes. The poor, of all colors, once again were unable to protect themselves. So very sad.

In such a depressing time, writing a blog or on the book is difficult as I don't want to just string together words. I want to have what I say have meaning. How do you do that when you are dealing with so much that is difficult and worse? All I can say is it has been a stressful month after the virus and the riots. People ask what more can happen? I don't think we want to know.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM - Laurean Brooks


In The Eye Of The Storm - by Laurean Brooks

It was November 1994, 3 p.m and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. My sister and I stood outside Mom’s house saying our goodbyes. The temperature in the 70s plus the cloudless autumn sky and stillness gave no hint of things to come.

I chose the backroad home because I enjoy the scenery. To pass the time, I pushed the soundtrack, Master Of The Wind into the tape deck and sang along. The chorus goes: “I know the Master of the wind. I know the Maker of the rain. He can calm the storm and make the sun shine again. I know the Master of the wind.”

The song had replayed inside my head for weeks. I woke up with it and went to bed with it. It bombarded me, day after day, for six weeks. I could not purge it from my mind. What did it mean? Was the Lord urging me to sing this song in front of the congregation? “Oh, no!” I argued.“Lord, don’t ask me to do that. My knees will buckle if I try to sing to a crowd.”

So I tried a compromise. “Lord, I will buy the tape and sing it to You, and You only” I did, and sang it dozens of times over the next several weeks. But even with repeated practice, I couldn’t get it right. And why did this song keep nagging at me?

On that November afternoon, while driving home, the answer was revealed to me. Seven miles down the road, I took a curve to the right. Outside my drivers’ side window, a large black cloud loomed like a blanket spanning the western sky and covering the length of the cornfield as it stretched to the ground.

I took a breath and prayed, stifling a panic attack. Which direction was this monstrosity moving--parallel to my car, or straight for me? No air was stirring, so maybe I could beat it. Should I get out of my car and take the ditch, or should I keep driving? Was there I chance I could outrun it?

I kept driving and kept an eye on the sky. But before I had covered two-tenths of a mile, thick woods blocked my view of the sky. A half-mile farther, the road curved to the left. I had just come out of that curve onto the straight-of-way when darkness encompassed me and my car. Everything went black for several seconds.

I slowed down and when the consuming darkness lifted, I accelerated and drove home. I related the experience to my husband and learned that the same tornado had first ripped through our neighboring community of Latham before it zipped toward the hills of Austin Springs where I had been.

The next day my husband hopped in his truck to investigate the damage, taking the same route I had the day before. That evening when I came in from work, he had this to say. “You don’t know how lucky you are. You and your little red car could have been stuck in a treetop in the Austin Springs hills.”

He explained that the tornado ripped a side room off the house to my left at the same place the darkness engulfed me. Then it had torn through the woods across the road.

I told him, “It was not luck. It was the Lord watching over me.”

After that day, “Master Of The Wind” ceased running through my mind. Was the Lord forewarning me of the tornado, and letting me know He had my back?

To this day, each time I pass the place where the tornado ripped through the woods felling trees in its path, warmth and peace fill my heart to know that the Master Of The Wind had me in the palm of His hand.


When Amanda's husband dies in his mangled sports car with his young secretary, Amanda vows to never allow her heart to be broken again. The gambling debts he left behind force her to look for work. 

Will Attorney Jake Tyler find a way to open his new secretary's heart, or will his own emotional baggage and the vow he made, destroy his and Amanda's budding relationship?

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Blending Mystery and Romance by Joan Reeves

Before I read Sherlock Holmes, I discovered the magical world of mystery in the pages of an old Nancy Drew book. 

I was young enough that I didn't know what a series book was. I lived in a very small town, and the books in the library were old editions published decades before I knew how to read.

I wasn't even a teen, but I loved the intrepid girl detective and didn't care that the books were about characters from the 1940's or earlier.

Nancy in her roadster with her girl pals, feminine Bess and tomboy George, and her boyfriend Ned Nickerson was my fantasy of the perfect teenage girl's life.

Bigger Mystery Challenges

I was a precocious reader. From Nancy Drew, I moved up to Earle Stanley Gardner, Ed McBain, the aforesaid Sherlock Holmes, and others of that male-dominated genre. 

Then I discovered Mary Stewart! This author wrote mysteries with a woman as the heroic sleuth and that woman had a romance!

Nine Coaches Waiting was my first Mary Stewart. I quickly read everything she'd ever written and eagerly waited for the library to acquire other books by the amazing Ms. Stewart.

This Rough Magic, Touch Not the Cat, Madam, Will You Talk?, My Brother Michael—book after book of wonderful romantic suspense.

Judging by the Amazon rank for Mary Stewart's books, they're as popular now as they were when I read them. Try one of her books yourself if you've never had the pleasure.

Another discovery awaited me. Her Arthurian saga books—mythical mystery, romance, and suspense at its finest—I was hooked even though they were so different from her previous romantic suspense.

Once the romance genre was "created" and romance novels were the hottest thing going, I moved into that genre, but my favorite romance novels always fell into 2 groups: funny romance and romance with a mystery.

Inspired by the Best

I've always thought what I write was inspired by the wonderful authors I read as a child. I've written several romantic comedy novels, many contemporary romance, and a few romantic suspense. 

With The Key To Kristina, the most recent book I wrote, I wanted to combine the elements I love. So there's a little humor, suspense, and romance, of course. What I added this time was a mystery that can't be solved until the end of the book.

In fact, I was so proud of the end result, I put a note immediately after THE END and asked readers to please not divulge what the mysterious treasure was in a review—to let the reader discover what was going on and why.

The Key To Kristina, Mystery Romance

Bookzilla, TOP 500 REVIEWER, said: "Surprise ending. Intriguing storyline...twists to keep the reader’s interest. Realistic procedures, actions and reactions. Believable characters with distinct personalities. Thought-provoking and occasionally snarky dialogue.

"I may re-read this story and always look forward to works by this author."

I have never seen this reviewer say they might re-read a story. At least not in a review of mine. *LOL*

About The Key To Kristina

Her father never gave her anything but a hard time—until he died and left Kristina a key. But a key to what?

Kristina Rivera's father never gave her anything but a hard time—until he died and left her a key. But a key to what?

A suspicious death and an inheritance. A mystery and a key with a clue leading to a treasure. A romance—and a Quest that may be the adventure of a lifetime.

None of that is what Kristina expects when she arrives for an appointment with a Houston lawyer. Instead of gathering her father's possessions because he's been sent to jail again, she meets Wyatt Morgan, the Executor of her father's estate, and the lawyer who reads the will.

Shocked, Kristina is grief-stricken, confused, and angry. Her father didn't have two nickels to rub together. Why would he write a will? Life has taught Kristina to initially distrust everyone and every situation, but she finds a possible ally in Wyatt Morgan, the will's Executor and a man whose business seems to be fighting lost causes.

With Wyatt, Kristina undertakes The Quest, designed by her father, to find his hidden treasure. 

More than her legacy will be revealed, and danger stalks her every mile of her journey as she tries to discover what The Key To Kristina means.

The Key To Kristina special introductory price of 99¢ goes away in a couple of weeks. Get your copy today!

Remember, don't give away the ending!

Joan is a NY Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Her novels have been published in a half dozen languages, and her ebooks are available at most ebook sellers with audio book and print editions also available. All of Joan’s romance novels have the same underlying theme: “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 the hustle and bustle of Houston and a small house at the foot of the Texas Hill Country where they sit on the porch at night, look at the star-studded sky, and listen to the coyotes howl.

Sign up for Joan’s FREE Newsletter and receive a free ebook copy of a full-length novel when you confirm your subscription. You'll always be the first to know about new books, special deals, and giveaways.

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Monday, September 14, 2020

The Bee's Knees by Bea Tifton


For months, I’d been ignoring them.

Just walking past as they hung around a small opening between the brick and the soffit board that makes up the covered porch of my modest mid-century home.  But, I worried about people being attacked and  about the damage they could wreak. So, finally, after I saw an ad in Facebook Marketplace, I contacted someone who could help me. 

I had bees. I walked past them, as I’ve said, for months, and did not ever get stung. They seemed to be most active just before a storm or when I turned the porch lights on for my dogs’ last foray of the evening into my backyard. But, I’d heard they could really damage my house and my lawn guys entered on that side of the yard so I thought I should take care of it. 

When I messaged the apiarist, Phillip, he informed me that it would have to be done within the next couple of weeks or the bees would not be able to settle well enough in their new hive to survive the winter. I know how important bees are to our food chain and I don’t like to kill things, so I agreed to let him come the next day. He was very professional and arrived right on time. I showed him where the bees lived and he used a thermal camera to pinpoint where they were.

There was quite a bit of yellow. Many heat-containing little organisms. Hmmm. Concerning, but seeing the thermal images was neat. Phillip said that with my permission, he’d get right to work. It would probably take hours. 

I agreed, and when he said he needed to go get his shield, I knew it was time for me to beat a hasty retreat as I didn’t have any bee protection gear. I was sorry I wasn’t going to get to see the process, but after avoiding bee stings for so long I was reluctant to break my lucky streak. Over the next few hours, I heard all sorts of odd sounds, wood being pried away (Yikes!), scraping, vacuuming, and one very loud yell followed by an expletive my Mamaw would have made me cut a switch for uttering. Yes, Phillip got stung. It’s an occupational hazard, I guess. He later told me that he’d been stung over 100 times and that it only hurt for about five minutes, with no adverse reactions as his immunity had been built up.

Phillip sent me a couple of progress reports. One message said, “Yup. You’ve got bees. Looks like a big hive. Usually, people don’t notice them until one day, Boom! They see some swarming and realize they’ve got bees.”

The next picture caption read, “From the dark color of the comb, I’d say they’ve been here for a year. I estimate that you have about 30,000 bees.” Wow. I couldn’t even wrap my head around that number. While I walked past them for months, the little buggers had busily been making honey behind my soffit. Luckily, the damage was minimal and Phillip assured me he would fix it.

Phillip did his mysterious things for six hours. It was one in the morning before he said he was finished for the night.  The next day, I peeked over to see how it looked. He had sealed the hive for the most part, but a piece of honeycomb was on the ground and a few bees were frantically flying around it, probably trying to figure out what the heck happened. 

 The next night, earlier this time because he didn’t need to wait until the bees were inactive, Phillip returned and vacuumed out the stragglers, then put everything together again. He gave me a jar of honey as a souvenir. It tastes great, strong and wild. Some people believe that it’s good for one’s allergies to eat local honey. I couldn’t have gotten any more local, but in the future, I’ll be content to get my honey from the farmer’s market.