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.






Wednesday, October 28, 2020

LIFE IS FULL OF SURPRISES!

By Caroline Clemmons filling in for Beth Trissel

Beth has several family events going on that have taken over her life. Please send prayers and good thoughts her way! 

In the meantime, she asked that someone else fill in for her. Since I have a new release this week, I am happy to tell you about this new contemporary Christmas anthology titled CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS! My novella included is HOLIDAY HEARTS. This anthology is available from Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, and several others.



Only 99 cents!

Here’s the Universal link https://books2read.com/DickensChristmas 

Dickens is a quaint New England town bustling with excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Christmas holiday. Events include the annual tree lighting in the town square, a snowman building competition, ice skating on Grosvenor’s Pond, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. You’re welcome to cut down your own Christmas tree at Gridley Meadows Tree Farm, or join in the caroling on the Common.

Dickens offers an abundance of heartfelt wishes, a few much needed miracles, and—quite possibly—a touch of magic! Families reunite, new friends are made, and old flames take a second chance at happiness. All while celebrating this most joyful time of the year.
                                       
Join us as our best selling and award winning authors fill your holiday stocking with ten brand new novellas ranging from sweet to sassy, including:

Millie’s Awesome Holiday Miracle by Top 100 Author Nancy Fraser ~ She’s an overworked single mom struggling to make ends meet. He’s the handsome CEO who’s come to Dickens to save—or close—the toy factory. Can one precocious little girl bring a couple of much-needed miracles to the people she cares about most?

Miracle At Holly Hill Inn by Top 100 Author Maddie James ~ Ariana is looking for the perfect Christmas village. Instead, she finds the town Scrooge. Will two days snowbound together at Holly Hill Inn bring them closer together, or send them each on their merry way?

Holiday Hearts by Top 100 Author Caroline Clemmons ~ Laura Jordan’s beauty and sense of humor are more apparent than her sharp mind, soft heart, and strict code of right and wrong. Ward Callahan has avoided romantic complications to throw himself into building his ad agency. Once he meets Laura, he falls hard but must convince her that dating her boss is not inappropriate. Can he convince her he doesn’t want her heart only for the holidays, but forever? 

The Tinsel Tango by Best Selling Author Bonnie Edwards ~ Brenna needs some R&R over Christmas in Dickens. Tango lessons from mysterious Jett…Smith? may bring her everything her heart desires, but his secrets may kill the love they find.

Wisdom of the Heart by USA Today Best Selling Author Liz Flaherty ~ They were best friends who fell in love, but that was high school. Life and families and other loves had happened since that dear and distant time. They're friends again, comfortable with each other and having so much fun at Christmas time in Dickens. They're not still in love, but...wait...could it be happening again?

Operation Snowball by Best Selling Author Kathryn Hills ~ Returning to small town life is hard for Army veteran John Gridley. The last thing he expects to find is love with the beautiful widow, Heather Murphy. Can the perfect Christmas tree and a missing cat named Snowball bring them together despite meddling townsfolk?

Angel Kisses and Holiday Wishes by Best Selling Author Peggy Jaeger ~ When Sage left town 18 years ago, she left Keith's heart in tatters. Now she's back, and he's wondering if they can put the past behind them and rekindle the love they lost.

Holly’s Wish by Top 100 Author Kathleen Lawless ~ What if the girl who got away is actually standing right in front of you? Years earlier, Nico and Holly shared one magical Christmas Eve. She never stopped wishing he’d find where she left her number. When he does, is it too late?

Holiday Heart Wishes by Award Winning Author Lucinda Race ~ On her way into Dickens to visit family, Vera picks up Tony, a stranded motorist. Rather than part ways when they arrive, they discover their loved ones are intent on getting married. Can they slow down the older couple's rush to the altar? Or, will holiday heart wishes come true for everyone?

Santa’s Wish by Best Selling Author Jan Scarbrough ~ Will Christmas magic help them overcome Roz’s career ambitions and Cooper’s grief, and bring them together for a second chance at love

 


As a special treat, you can also download IT’S A DICKENS OF A COOKIE recipe book FREE! (my favorite price) The book includes 20 cookie recipes with a little about each author and her book. All of the recipes sound delicious! In fact, I know my two are. I may have, um, tested them before submitting the recipe. Ahem, that was only fair, right?

Here is the Universal link https://books2read.com/dickens-cookie

Friday, October 23, 2020

LUCY ~ THE CLARINETIST by Judy Ann Davis

October reminds us of cool, crisp days, a rainbow of colored leaves, and Halloween. October is also National Dessert Month. With seasonal ingredients like spicy cinnamon, rich caramel, and decadent pecans, autumn is one of the best seasons for baking. Who doesn’t enjoy pumpkin pie heaped with Cool Whip? Or apple pie or crisp? How about pecan pie and the many cobblers?

This month, on October 26th, I’m releasing my last novella in the Musical Christmas Series. It’s Lucy –The Clarinetist, and like the preceding novellas, it includes a recipe that one of the main characters enjoys. This time it’s Andre Almanza, my main character, who likes apple pie with a cinnamon crumb crust.


APPLE PIE with Cinnamon Crumb Crust  

INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Dash of salt
6 cups thinly sliced pared apples
(McIntosh work well)
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Deep Dish Pastry for a 9-inch pie
(You need only the bottom crust)

 Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry or use one purchased from the store.
(Frozen deep dish varieties work best.)

Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt, and mix with apples.

Turn into pastry-lined pie pan and dot with butter.

CINNAMON CRUMB CRUST:

Mix 1 cup flour, ½ cold cup butter, and ½ cup (packed) brown sugar.

Cut dry ingredients into butter with pastry cutter until crumbly.
Carefully spread the mixture on top of the apples, packing it down around the edges, and sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes.

NOTE: You may need to cover topping with aluminum foil for the last ten minutes to
prevent excess browning. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

BLURB:

A merry novella for the holiday season!

Lucy Ciaffonni wants nothing more than to start her own public relations firm, but she’s stuck at the local bank performing boring communications and advertising duties. When her best friend and computer guru, Andre Almanza, buys an area farm to create a barn theater, Lucy is pulled into the mystery of discovering where a rare, German, H.F. Kayser clarinet was hidden on the property during Prohibition.

Andre Almanza has always adored Lucy from afar. He hopes she’ll take the position of barn theater manager. When she agrees to help him renovate the barn and update and furnish his huge Victorian house, he is delighted—that is, until the entire town becomes involved in locating the missing antique instrument. To complicate matters, there are ruthless people who want to recover the expensive clarinet and cash in on its legend and value.

Will Lucy and Andre locate the clarinet and finally acknowledge the sparks of romance that have been smoldering between them for the longest time? Will it be the perfect Christmas?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

metaphysical romances

 by Rain Trueax

Finding the way to tag books gets complicated if they don't fit standard genres. I've been thinking more about my books with magic in them. I've come to see them more about metaphysics. I looked for a few definitions and kind of like this one.

Derived from the Greek meta ta physika ("after the things of nature"); referring to an idea, doctrine, or posited reality outside of human sense perception. In modern philosophical terminology, metaphysics refers to the studies of what cannot be reached through objective studies of material reality.

Many definitions claim that philosophical tradition cannot be real. If someone believed that, then they cannot take the stories of Jesus as real. God's son born of a virgin birth, walked on
water, changed water into wine, healed people with his hands, claimed with faith one could move mountains.  

Obviously many religions do accept what cannot be reached through objective studies of material reality. In a religion, it's apparently okay and not scary.

Right now, this is of interest to me because of my magical romances and the need to find a way for readers to find books that would appeal to them. I've struggled for a genre for them. If
you look at covers for paranormals, mine totally don't fit. And that is because they are love stories with a metaphysical twist, as I see them. 

My books set ordinary people into ordinary settings with one exception-- special powers. Each of them have something different for powers but also for what they see. Is this possible for ordinary people? I do believe that is so. 

Could we all have more powers that could be used to benefit the world? Maybe or maybe not. Maybe it's born into some and comes down through generations. 

Although my books don't have vampires in them, they do describe how humans might morph into a different shape because we are beings of energy.  They can transport themselves from one place to another-- again due to energy use. And the books all have the possibility of evil and good spirits, both which are out there-- call them demons or angels. 

Is such knowledge dangerous? I suggest that it can be. It's why many of us don't want to see what is out there. Metaphysics offers possible answers.


 


 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Blood-Curdling Screams And A Scary Old Man-- A True Halloween Story - by Laurean Brooks

One Halloween, my sister Emily and I decided to take our kids out to Trick-or-Treat as a joint effort. In our rural town, the houses are half-a-mile or more apart. Driving our young'uns through the countryside was the only safe option.

My niece Mandy was six, nephew Shannon, three, and my son Jeremy, seven that year. Mandy was dressed in a fairy princess outfit and carried a wand. Shannon had donned a pirate costume complete with an eye patch while Jeremy wore a life-like gorilla mask he had picked out because it looked authentic and creepy.

The gorilla mask was trouble from the start. Our Plymouth had a bench seat. Jeremy sat in front, between Emily and me while Shannon and Mandy took the back seat. Every time Jeremy turned around in his mask to face his cousins, Shannon screamed bloody murder and yelled, “Make him take it off!”

I said, “Jeremy, just face forward. That way he can't see your mask.”

That worked until Jeremy forgot and turned around again, eliciting another blood-curdling scream. All the while, Mandy giggled, and her mom and I tried, to no avail, to contain our own laughter.

After several ear-piercing screams, we decided to try something different. I said, “Jeremy, why don't you and Shannon swap places? Let him sit up front.” I thought surely that would solve our problem.

It did not work. Shannon seemed to be drawn to the gorilla mask. We couldn't stop him from turning around to look in the back seat. After more screams, my sister suggested, “Jeremy, take the mask off until you get out of the car.”

Jeremy obeyed. Then she asked Jeremy to walk behind Shannon on their trek up to the houses. But the temptation was too strong. Shannon turned around to look behind as they were walking, and the screams started again.

We made a lot of stops that night and our kids' plastic jack-o' lanterns were soon filled to overflowing with chocolate bars, Milk Duds, and Tootsie Rolls. One stop will forever be ingrained in my memory. I will never forget the elderly gentleman, Mr. Garrett Bailey's. 

Mr. Bailey was a man who loved children, but he also loved to tease them. His eccentric ways and quirky sense of humor probably frightened off a few Trick or Treaters. When the kids go out of the car, he hollered, “Come on up here, young'uns and get your fill of candy!”

He'd set a large basket of candy on a plant stand on the front porch and was seated in a rocker beside it, gripping a wooden cane. We had instructed our kids to be polite, only take one piece of candy each. When each little hand had reached into the basket, Mr. Bailey shook his cane at them and ordered, “Grab some more! That ain't enough.”

All three reached inside and took a few extra pieces. The old man yelled again, “Take some more!”

This time the kids scooped up a handful of bite-size candy bars and Tootsie Rolls and dropped them in their pumpkins. Mandy and Shannon scampered off to the car, but when Jeremy started to follow, Mr. Bailey hooked his cane around Jeremy’s neck, pulling him backward.

“Come back, boy,” the old man said and pointed to the basket. “Take some more candy.”

My sister and I were rollicking with laughter inside the car, while Mandy and Shannon appeared to be terrified. To our amazement, Jeremy wasn't afraid of the old gentleman. To him, the old man was more of a hindrance. He turned to face Mr. Bailey and huffed out an exasperated sigh. “Look, Mister, we've gotta go. There are a lot more houses we have to stop at.”

My son obediently reached into the basket and retrieved another handful of goodies. When he had dropped the candy in his pumpkin carrier, Mr. Bailey hiked his shoulders and puffed out his chest.

Pointing his cane at Jeremy, he said. “Alright now, boy. Be off with you! And you folks have a Happy Halloween." 

We will be having a family get-together at the time this post goes live, and you can be sure this hilarious memory will come up in conversation. I can’t wait to hear it from Shannon’s point of view. 

By the way, this frightened little boy grew up to become a Marine.

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

Julie's had a crush on shy Johnny since high school. A few days after Johnny professes his love for her, he suddenly enlists. What sent him packing and left Julie with a broken heart? Will God mend their severed hearts?

https://www.amazon.com/Severed-Hearts-Laurean-Brooks-ebook/dp/B07BFLSQVK/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Severed+Hearts%2F+Laurean+Brooks&qid=1602626792&s=digital-text&sr=1-1





Friday, October 16, 2020

Random Friday by @JoanReeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

Isn't it weird how everyone looks forward to Friday? 

Even though it's been many years since I worked a 9 to 5 job, I still find myself with a bounce in my step each Friday.

I still refer to Wednesday as hump day, and, unfortunately, I still have a moment or two of dread about Monday.

Silly, isn't it? I guess some things are so ingrained in our psyche that logic never dispels them. Things like moving.

Ack! The M Word: Moving

Moving. That's why this post is up late today. Several months ago, Darling Hubby and I decided to put our house on the market. We were slow to act on this goal since neither of us wanted to tackle all of the tasks needed to make the house look perfect and non-personal.

De-personalizing our home required boxes. Lots of them since we needed to move all of our clutter into a rented storage unit.

So we got the boxes and and started filling them with clutter from closets and cupboards.

We packed framed family photos that had been artistically arranged in several rooms, and last of all, we tackled my office and my inventory of office supplies.

Toner cartridges, white boards, file cabinets, boxes of page proofs, and other detritus one finds in a working author's office.

Now, we have a 5x10X10 storage space stacked with what seems like hundreds of boxes that represent our commitment to clutter. Oh the time it took to pack them and cart them to storage. At the same time, we made several trips to Goodwill, and I found myself wishing we'd also donated all the stuff in the storage unit we rented.

However, most of that stuff is from our parents and grandparents who passed several years ago. 

Neither of us seem willing to let that go even though it's all things we never use, but I can look at old quilts our grandmothers pieced and get misty-eyed.

OMG! Deciding What You Can Live Without

The worst thing about moving is deciding what you can live without in order for your house to look like a model home. I hate this! Removing everything from my office but my computer and keeping files in a rolling file box helps, but I never seem to find what I need in any given moment.

The same holds true for the kitchen. I'm a cook, and I say that proudly. But that means my kitchen is packed with cooking and baking items I may use only a few times in any given year. 

So the huge turkey platter and roaster and all the other accessories needed for putting on a big party went into storage. 

The majority of countertop appliances joined them there because one can hardly see the beautiful granite counters when a mixer, food processor, coffee grinder, coffee maker, bread machine, toaster oven, and can opener march around the granite like soldiers guarding their turf.

Light At the End of the Tunnel

We're waiting for our painters to do some touchup painting, but they're so busy they can't make it until the end of the month.

I think today we'll be finished with "perfecting" our house which is good because I have a book that's screaming to be finished.

I'm dreadfully behind on my writing and blogging obligations. All my writing friends and readers probably think I've been abducted by aliens since I've been offline for almost 2 weeks.

Sometime this next year I'll be writing a story about a woman who's doing exactly what I'm doing—getting a house ready to sell. In fact, I think if I already had written such a book I would have never embarked on this journey no matter how much I want to move to a 1-story house.

In the Meantime

It's a mystery why one suddenly decide to take action on something after procrastinating so long, isn't it?

The women in A Moment in Time: A Quartet of Romance Short Stories don't have that problem. 

They go after what they want even though a couple of them are forced into action by their friends.

This Collection of short stories, Volume 1 of A Moment in Time Romance Short Stories is on sale for only 99¢ on Amazon.

Short reads are perfect for those times you want to be reading, but you just don't have the time to devote to a full-length novel.

A Moment in Time: A Quartet of Romance Short Stories is designed to fill that gap.

Try my short stories. You'll be glad you did!


Joan is a NY Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. 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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Night I Became a Ghost Hunter by Bea Tifton

I’ve always believed in ghosts. There. I said it. I even said it out loud, but my cats were unimpressed. They know, you see.

 A few years ago, I was in a writer’s group that had monthly guest speakers from all walks of life. One month the founders of the area ghost hunting organization came to speak. They were fascinating and surprisingly down to earth. My friend and I were especially interested when the guys said that they hosted ghost hunting for amateurs at a locally famous restaurant operating in a Victorian house originally built in 1895. She talked me into saying I would sign up. 

Well, I went home and made my reservation, but my friend chickened out. I decided to go anyway, by golly. The evening began with a meal prepared by the restaurant staff. Then, we listened to our orientation. We needed to be quiet and serious about this and, as the group was rather large, we were going to have to go in two groups. I was able to go with the first group. The second group included a giggling batch of teenage girls celebrating a birthday party. They were cautioned to be quiet as they waited outside for their turn.

First, the ghost hunter in charge of our group told us about the ghosts thought to currently inhabit the restaurant. One was the lady of the house, and as the bathroom was part of her original bedroom, she was usually in the ladies’ bathroom. Her name was Caroline. Another ghost was of an old farmer, name unknown, and a younger man who like to touch women’s knees and tug at their hair. There was also a young woman who seemed unsure of her surroundings and a bride who looked out of the window of the beautiful Victorian. Things levitated and moved and there were mysterious blue lights. Nothing negative or menacing had ever been detected. 

The first thing our guide did was to offer some ghost hunting tools. We all had flashlights, but I snagged an EMF detector, thought to be able to detect a ghost’s electromagnetic energy.  Someone had a tape recorder for EVPs, which are electronic voice phenomena, or voices that can be heard on the recording that are not heard when people were speaking. 

 The group gathered around a ghost box, which is a transmitter that switches around looking for transmissions and words. The theory is that a ghost who wants to communicate will pull out one or two words at a time to make a statement. I don’t personally believe in that. There’s a thing called matrixing. It can be visual, such as looking at the burn marks on a tortilla and seeing Jesus’ face, because it’s in our subconscious to try to make sense out of an image and people try to find human faces in patterns. Matrixing can also be aural, or heard. People try to make sense of what they are hearing. One woman thought she heard her name. She shrieked and her group became loud and raucous. The lead investigator hurried in to shush them and said in a kind but firm voice, “It’s waaay too loud in here. Ghost hunting is quiet listening.” 

One particularly obnoxious woman followed people around with her husband and took pictures with a huge flash on her camera whenever anyone seemed to be having luck with something or just seemed to be onto something. After she nearly blinded me and gave me an actual start of a migraine, I headed away from the increasingly annoying group and went into the bathroom. I immediately felt a shift in the air. Scoff if you will, but it was palpable. The woman with the flash came up behind me and hit me again, but I blinked and closed the door. I said, really not expecting anything, “Wow, Caroline. Isn’t that woman getting on your nerves?”  The EMF recorder light went crazy. I continued to ask her questions. The lead investigator poked his head in and asked if he could come in. He said, “It seems like you’re getting this a little more than the rest and I bet you’re getting some activity.” But even he was amazed at how Caroline answered yes or no to my questions with the EMF detector.

Too soon, it was time to switch out. Some of the others stayed outside to see what the second group said, but I was tired (it was 2:00 in the morning), and well, tired of them. I drove home and went to bed. I really didn’t think much about my night until the next morning. It was such a fascinating experience. I don’t know if I’ll ever go ghost hunting again. It seems, well, kind of exploitive. Those spirits are people. People who’ve passed on, but didn’t move on. They must get so tired of being questioned and harassed. But I’ll always be glad I went. What a memory! 

This photo was captured by another paranormal team at the same restaurant where I got to ghost hunt. Have you ever gone on a ghost hunt? Do you believe in ghosts?