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.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head by Bea Tifton

I am a pluviophile. No, I don't need medical attention. That merely means that I  am a person who loves the sound of rain, or feel joy or peace on rainy days. Everyone around me may be complaining about the overcast skies and gloomy days, but I'm sighing with contentment and settling in.

Rainy skies were not always my friend. One year when I was in my early twenties, a friend and I were eating in an Indian restaurant in a sketchy part of town when we had one of those Texas downpours. The power even went out, so we just calmly finished our food in the dark. When it was time to go home, we realized our car was now sitting in the middle of a new lake. With the invincibility and poor judgement of youth, we took off our shoes and just waded to our car, laughing and shrieking as the rain started again. Amazingly, we didn't cut our feet, get sepsis, or drown. We were able to start my car and drive carefully home. 

Another time, my part of town flooded quickly  I was out doing errands and it wasn't a case of "Turn Around, Don't Drown," as the water surrounded me within seconds. I have a little car, a Hyundai Sonata, but my faithful little Sonny stayed on as I drove through the rain, white knuckles gripping the steering wheel until my hands ached. I have no sense of direction, so as I turned to avoid the worst of the flooding or looked for a place to wait until the waters receded, I became disoriented and lost. I followed a huge truck that shielded me from the worst of the rain, and finally I realized where I was and made it home.

But usually, rain is just a great way for me to hunker down in my little nest. The overcast skies and the rhythm of the rain soothe me as I nap during the day or sleep at night. What a great excuse to just sit and read a wonderful book, cup of tea at my side. 

The smell of the earth after a rain, fresh and clear. And the sense of clean, or renewal. Even after a rain, I am a happy camper. A rain nerd. And unapologetically so.  Are you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Taking Mail Delivery for Granted

by Judy Ann Davis

Over the last eleven months of the pandemic, I’ve noticed that my credit card has been weighed down with larger amounts than usual as I purchase more and more items online.

Recently, after a delivery, I thought about how we take for granted our mail carriers and our many delivery service providers who have been busy distributing our bills, letters, and packages.

When the English colonists came to America, there was no regular postal service. People gave their letters to any traveler who happened to be going in the right direction. Often, they gave them to a peddler or a traveling shoemaker. When the traveler reached the town where the letter was going, he might stop at an inn where he’d leave it. But until the person, who the letter was addressed to, happen to stop at the inn, it remained at that destination. 

 In the South, with few inns, the owners of plantations would take a letter and pass it on to a neighbor, and the neighbor would then do the same. And on and went until it reached the recipient.

Later, when mail carriers on horseback were hired, they rode from one big town to another. For example, between New York and Boston, there was one “post rider” a month who traveled by day and spent two weeks making the trip, often hindered by inclement weather.

When Benjamin Franklin was made postmaster for the colonies, his first act was to make a long journey to find out the best routes for transporting the mail. He set up a line of post stations between the northern and southern colonies. His post riders traveled both day and night. This better service resulted in uniting the colonies and later helped us win independence as they shared information and ideals.

Even after our nation set up its own government, there were only seventy-five post offices across the country. Sailing ships along the coast, stage coaches, and Pony Express riders all helped to move the letters and packages from post office to post offices and to smaller towns.

So now, when we hit that send button on our computers and purchase a product, let’s pause to give thanks to all those people in our transportation, mail, and delivery services who are playing a part to keep us safe during these extraordinary times.


                                                  Amazon Author Page Link


Monday, February 22, 2021

movie dreams

 by Rain Trueax

 My, what I call, movie dreams have plots and characters that make them interesting. I consider them to be gifts from the muse. I don't always write their descriptions, but I did this one from October 10, 2019. It is followed by how I thought at the time that the dream could be used in a book. I've had some that worked into a story or even gave me a plot. I haven't done anything with this one


 A couple are in the wilderness but apparently about to arrest someone. The man is a sheriff or something. He wears a gun. He is attacked by the person using a knife, stabbing him in the shoulder and chest. He does not reach for his gun. The heroine has a gun or takes his, not sure but she kills the attacker, then has to help the hero with his wound.

They both head for a small town in the mountains. She is still with him but now does not respect him for not fighting back. Is he a coward? In town they request if any property is available to buy. She has $10,000 which was the reward for the man she killed. The people point up the hill to a small log church. It’s been upgraded they are told.

When they get to the church, it’s pretty inside but the sanctuary is still being used by someone preaching. They go around back to where the quarters are for a pastor. It obviously has no one living in it but it’s nice with tidy living room and sofa, kitchen, inside bathroom and bedroom. Dream ends


I wake thinking how this could be a novella connected to my Oregon historicals with one of the grown up kids. If the hero had a backstory where he’d used his gun too many times. Looks at the living man coming toward him and knows he can’t do it again. He didn’t see the knife in time.

She is offended that he doesn’t protect himself but she tends his wound, aware of his ropy
muscles. She’s been in love with him but can’t love a man who has become a coward.

They travel to that small woodsy community where there’s only a store, homes, a stable and blacksmith. They ask for a house to buy with her reward money. It is on the hill. A log church where the pastor moved on with the gold fever. Some still go there. It’s only $6000 and has living quarters upgraded.

I see the potential of them getting the cabin, marrying to look proper as she still loves him but won’t be the mate of a coward. She takes on the job of sheriff in the community.

The church is the interesting thing for him. What if he becomes the pastor there for the small flock where theirs had left and they are doing it themselves. What if instead of religion, as such, he teaches responsibility and love, consequences, spiritual connection to nature. What if he cuts down trees on their land to expand the cabin. She works as the sheriff but not much happens there.

Then a man comes into town who is looking for the killer of his brother. He would shoot her but the hero stops in, draws the man to him, knocks the gun out of his hand and gives him enough blows to send him to the ground where she can cuff him for their small jail to wait for the US marshal to come through.

What if she sees him differently and they consummate their desire? Did it take him doing something brave for her to recognize the man he really is? If so, is that a character flaw in her? Lots of 'What ifs'

I wrote down possible characters from previous books in the Oregon Historical pioneer series and the dates they had been born. Laura Kane 1855; Elijah Stone 1856;  Elizabeth Kane 1857; Jeremy Forester 1858; Rufus Kane 1859; Jessica Forester 1862--  the children of the Stevens family adopted and born. Because the original heroes had their happily ever after, their children were left to see how that'd work for them.


For me, movie dreams are about the fun as they make a time of dreaming into something else-- a time of magick. I used to do digital paintings from some of them. That gave them a physical reality that dreams usually don't have for me. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Valentine's Day -- One Mother's Sacrificial Gift by Laurean Brooks


Valentine’s Day in grammar school was an occasion my classmates and I looked forward to. Girls with creative bents were selected a few days beforehand to decorate a cardboard box with pretty paper and hearts to hold the cards. A slit was cut in the top. We had studies the first half of the day, but in the afternoon, it was party time. Besides passing out the Valentine cards, the elected room mothers came with treats for all.

On the big day, each student dropped his/her Valentines in the pretty box and waited impatiently for the party to begin. In 4th grade, I had a crush on a boy, whose name I won't mention. I hoped he would give me a Valentine so I would know if he liked me too. Imagine my delight when I opened an envelope and found a card from him inside. It didn’t matter that a big, smiling skunk was staring at me from the card. I don’t recall the message from the skunk, but I cherished that card.

We had about 20-something students in our classroom. I normally had 10 cards to give away after the package was divided among my four siblings and me. There were never enough cards to give to every classmate. I fretted over leaving anyone out. I didn't want them to think I didn't like them.

Everyone knew the popular kids in the class "had" to receive Valentine cards. The least popular were lucky to receive half the number. Since I was timid, I fit into the latter group. I came home with around 10 cards, the same number I gave away. It made me feel a little rejected, but as I now ponder on it, I don’t believe this was a sign of rejection as much as a  shortage of Valentine cards shortage in certain families.

Like myself, some classmates came from large families. I figure their mothers, the same as mine, bought one large package of Valentines and divided them among their children. With 20-something classmates and only 10 cards, it was a hard choice.  If I had it to do over, I would address my Valentine cards to those classmates who would likely come up short.


It was also 4th grade when a boy named William touched my heart on Valentine’s Day. He walked into the classroom the morning of our party, proudly bearing a plate piled high with home-baked cookies, and announced, “Mama said we couldn’t afford to buy valentines for everybody, so she baked  these cookies for everybody.” William’s eyes teared up as he proudly made his way down each aisle placing a cookie on every student's desk.

The cookies were soft, chewy, and delicious. More so, because William’s mother had sacrificed her time, and probably ingredients she could not afford to spare, to whip up a batch of cookies for a bunch of rambunctious kids. 

William’s mother’s gift was better than the prettiest Valentine card any of us could receive because she put her love into every cookie. When someone makes a sacrifice like William's mother did, expecting nothing in return, well it makes the gift all the sweeter.

Do you have a Valentine’s Day memory you would like to share? We would love to read it.

Does a Mail-Order Bride romance tickle your fancy? How about one with plenty of twists? Then you've come to the right place. NOT WHAT HE ORDERED fills the bill. 

Carrie has no idea the web she'll become entangled in when she flees Denton, Texas on a possible murder charge. On the train she meets a young lady on her way to becoming a mail-order bride. Molly discloses that her best friend was in this with her but backed out. And since Carrie is disembarking at Abilene, the town the "no-show bride" was destined, Molly begs Carrie to tell the Rancher groom that his bride balked.

The Rancher, Josh, will not let Carrie get a word in edgewise when she tries to explain she is NOT his bride. Carrie gives up the argument when she finds four coins in her purse. She will explain later. Or will she? Josh's aunt pulls Carrie aside to whisper, "Josh thinks I ordered household help when I really ordered a bride for him." 

Carrie is caught in a trap, partially of her own making. How can she reveal the truth when it will anger t Josh and upset Aunt Em? Especially when Carrie's heart is involved. To find out how it all ends, read this book. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Zooming Through the Pandemic by Bea Tifton

I have a confession to make. I. Hate. Zoom. Am I alone? How many people actually like it?  By now we’ve all heard about the supervisor who appeared as a potato in an onscreen meeting. And of course, the hapless attorney who appeared as a cute little kitten during a legal meeting and couldn’t figure out how to turn off the filter. I feel their pain.

But in these socially distanced, please-stay-home times, Zoom is a necessary evil. Something I had previously never known existed has become a part of my life. 

The first time I used Zoom, I was appalled at how bad I looked. I strongly resembled one of the walking dead. But, when I got over the initial shock, I unmuted and joined the meeting. A group of church ladies I meet once a month for coffee were ready and waiting. We had been in lockdown for about a month. One of my gregarious, quirky older friends immediately exploded, saying she felt like a prisoner, that this was so stupid, etc. I must have twitched or something, because suddenly I had her full attention. She said, “Oh, but it’s so much worse for poor Bea. She’s never been married and she doesn’t have kids. She’s just totally alone. She’s stuck at home with no one in her life. No one to talk to. Completely alone.”

I tried in vain to interrupt, but she barreled on. Finally, a friend managed to interrupt and changed the subject. Whew! I felt like I was stuck in a rerun of the old Mary Tyler Moore show for a minute there.

My Sunday school class Zooms once a week, purely socially. We have one guy who’s a whiz at PowerPoint and one week we may send in pictures from our childhood, another week places we'd love to visit. It’s actually fun once we get started even though I have to drag myself to the screen initially. But, Ranger, my oft-mentioned Maine Coon Cat, decided to Zoom bomb.  People oohed and ahhed, which only encouraged him. Ranger decided to plop his 26 pound body onto my head. He loves to sniff my mousse for some reason. Just sniff. I think maybe it has catnip in it or something. But, since we were on camera, he decided to groom me. To my horror, he licked my head. One of my friends said, “Hey, Bea. I have a question. How often does your cat do your hair?” Amidst the snickers, I fumbled and tried to explain. I think it sounded like I regularly let him groom me. Spoiler alert--I do NOT, but I won the weirdo of the week award, I’m sure. 

Ah, to Zoom or not to Zoom. I have to say that it does serve a purpose, and will continue to do so for the next few months. I confess, though, that I look forward to meeting in person again. I hope the other people meeting with me then don’t speak too quietly. I’ve gotten so used to yelling, “You’re on mute!”