Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Step into My Memorial Garden

 March has been whacked out crazy weatherwise but today is springtime lovely. I ventured into the early morning garden to tour around and take some pictures. Tomorrow I've got weeding to do. Many hardy weeds overwintered quite happily. So far, most of the roses look good. I've lost few plants this winter, I'm pleased to report. My greenhouse is stuffed full and I have lots more seeds to start. This year in the garden, all shall be glorious.

“God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!”  Robert Browning

O Spring! can I believe you,
With the score of times you've lied?
~V. A. R., "The Return of Spring," Poems, 1867

 Entry to my Memorial Garden.

Crocus are so cheery. I love them and this purple and whitte striped Pickwick crocus is my favorite. 


'Tis the time of daffodils. The scent of daffodils is the essence of spring.

(These two images are of miniature daffodils)

I've planted hyacinths everywhere. Their fragrance is Divine.

"In Spring, everything is full of promise..."

And anything is possible. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Stickers! by Laura Hunsaker

 I love stickers. I don't actually use them beyond the classroom, but I do have a couple of planners, and the stickers they make are so cute! But I get that weird anxiety of if I stick this cute sticker here, then what if I don't like it, or the sticker gets's a whole thing. But I've noticed my students never have that issue. Cute sticker? Bam, on the hydroflask. Funny meme sticker? On the binder. No hesitating, no waffling, no issues, just bam. Cute stickers.

Then I remembered that I am an adult, and I have adult money. I can buy myself stickers any time I want. So I did. But it was cheaper to by 100 stickers than just a couple, so what to do with the extras? My planner got a couple, my laptop got one very special one (from a company called Probably Smut-this is not an ad, I just love the stickers). And I took all the rest (don't worry, none of the smutty ones lol) to my desk at work. Now, I've been incentivizing students with stickers. And it's worked!

The kids love it, parents love that it's not candy, and I love that everyone has really gotten a kick out of silly meme stickers. So I bought 600 more lol 

So now I'm trying to make myself use all of my cute planner stickers. When I hit word goals, I get a sticker. When I edit a chapter, I'm putting a sticker on that date in my planner. When I answer an email, I totally get a gold star. I've been writing more and making use of my planner more and more. 

In my new novel, coming out soon, my heroine uses a bullet journal, and she definitely uses stickers! Look for Lark and her bullet journal in Dangerous Past. Sneak a peek at the cover over on my website or by signing up for my newsletter!

So, how about you? Do you like stickers? Do you utilize them at all in a planner, or notebook, or journal? Or do you slap them on a water bottle whenever you visit a new place? 

This is the only sticker on my laptop. Baby steps! lol

These are the bookish stickers I bought from Probably Smut. Several now grace my Hydroflask :)

Thursday, March 23, 2023


 by Judy Ann Davis

Stressed and anxious? Join the club. I’ve spoken with many writers about feeling stressed or anxious while doing the thing they love the most—writing.

Sometimes I feel like I jumped on a merry-go-round that doesn’t stop to let the riders hop off. And, if you’re holding down another job, or involved in any other family- or community-related activities, the anxiety only grows.         

So where did we go off the rails? Name your spot. First, as writers, we never stop thinking about writing. We agonize over the small details and the development of characters, setting, and plot as we labor over a current unfinished work. And, as we move long this fickle journey, a little voice in our head inevitably pops up to remind us not to forget to advertise and interact on social media. So, off we go to tweet, blog, and post on Facebook and Instagram and other sites.

I’m currently in the process of selling our condo where we winter in Florida. Every drawer, every closet, every storage space has to be cleaned and emptied. Belongings, what I call stuff,  need to be removed, packed, given or thrown away. Moving is tiring on the body and the mind. It’s especially unnerving when you have to keep every room neat and tidy in the process as realtors show your condo to potential buyers.

So how can a person de-stress? Through self-care. We need to take time for ourselves, be kind to ourselves. I discovered that doing one small thing allows me to rejuvenate myself. I take time to listen to music, read a chapter in a book, call a friend, or grab a piece of chocolate and savor it, to name a few. It allows me not only to revitalize myself, but also to embrace the joy of the moment. Finally, it reaffirms my life’s mantra: Never let anyone (or in this case anything) steal your joy.”    

 Wishing all an early Happy Easter with lots and lots of chocolate!  

~ * ~  





Wednesday, March 22, 2023

My New Audiobook Is Out

My new Audiobook is out.

 Today, Atlanta is still one of the remotest towns in the West. Many mining-era cabins and homes remain and a mostly seasonal population keeps the town active. Atlanta sits in the shadow of the magnificent Sawtooth mountain range, on the Middle Fork of the Boise river. There are two campgrounds just outside of town a beautiful vacation spot. The pictures in the video are from our family vacations.

Outdoor Idaho did a wonderful expo of the town you can watch it here.

You can grab a promo code and listen for free now. Just be certain to grab one in your region.
US or UK.
Happy Listening.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Slow and Easy by Liz Flaherty

One of the things that has happened to me as I've gone along is that everything has slowed down. I used to write so fast--it wasn't always good, but it was fast--and now I'm thrilled with 500-word days. No, actually, I'm thrilled with 300-word days. Sigh. 

Reading has slowed just as much. I've gone from reading several books a week to finishing a couple a month. I may start more than a couple, but I don't always finish them. With slowness comes lack of focus. I skim a lot. I don't do justice to the people who put their hearts and souls into their work. Be assured it's me, not them.

But every now and then...

My friend Margie Senechal, one of the charter members of the Word Wranglers blog, has a recently finished manuscript called Suitcases. She honored me by asking me to be a beta reader of the story. I'd read pieces of it during the writing of it, but sometimes...sometimes you need the whole thing. 

I don't use the word honored lightly. 

Suitcases isn't what I normally read, but, you know, I can--for a friend. There is the indisputable fact that a part of me wanted to love this book simply because I love Margie, but it went well beyond that. Analisa and Danny grabbed hold of me and didn't let go until I'd read the last words of their story.

It made me happy not just because it's Margie's story or because, voila, I finished a book, but because even though the reading was slow, the pleasure was as intense as it's always been. 

It made me think about writing--doesn't everything? I realized that even though I don't write fast anymore, that particular pleasure...the one that comes with creation and spending quality time with friends no one but you knows just as intense as it always was. Just as exciting. 

Thanks, Margie, for the honor and for making me remember how much I love both reading and writing. And being slow is just fine.


Thursday, March 16, 2023

How to Make a Woman Love You by Joan Reeves #SMartGirlsReadRomance

In the spring, a young man's fancy often turns to love.

My grandfather would say that and chuckle. I wondered if he was remembering the day he realized he was in love with my grandmother, a woman he'd known since they were children.

They had a long and happy life together. After my grandmother passed, my grandfather lived almost 20 more years. He missed her every day.

Love is such a complex emotion, and it's the great equalizer because it's the one thing we all seek whether we realize it or not.

Men, if you've ever wondered what women want, i.e., so they will want you—love you—here are a few tips for you.

How to Make a Woman Love You

The following actions are what a woman looks for in a man. Give a woman these 11 things, and that's the best shot at getting her to give you her love.

The most important aspect of this is to be sincere, not manipulative just to get her in bed. Women are smart. They know sincerity when they see it. They'll run in the opposite direction if they think you're just another jerk with an age-old agenda.

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Give her Respect

2. Unconditional Love.

3. Listen to her.

4. Don't be a jerk

5. Don't take her for granted.

6. Be a man not her child.

7. Be loyal and faithful.

8. Pay attention to what she says and what she doesn't say but exhibits by actions and moods.

9. Be her partner, not her parent or boss.

10. Be yourself and don't put on a fake persona.

11. Learn her sexual rhythm because a woman's sexuality is not like a man's.


Enjoy it! Think romance. Read romance. Speak romance—yes, women love that and men do too because it shows you're interested.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Life Lessons from Grandma by Cathy Shouse

We’re coming off of International Women’s Day on March 8th, which has me thinking about my grandma. In my eyes, she exemplified a strong woman every day. Not sure what she would think of setting one day aside to celebrate women. 

 My paternal grandma’s been gone for more than two decades. But I continue to be inspired by her. Her ideas are ingrained in me. One of my aunts regularly puts Grandma’s diary entries on Facebook so that keeps her fresh in my mind as well. She was industrious into her 80s and beyond. She lived to be well over one hundred years-old. 

 The following are some snippets about Grandma. In my family, we all have different stories she told us and these are mine. They’re not in any particular order, just things she said that have stuck with me. 

 Grandma was from a rural area of Indiana yet she was a working woman, starting at age 16. That’s when she taught her first piano student. She taught lessons only when her father didn’t need the family horse since that was her transportation. With her first “paycheck,” she asked her brother what she should buy and he said “a Kodak,” so she did. 

 She’d studied the piano for years by the time she started teaching, and was a disciplined student. After she taught me to play, I inherited some of her music and realized she played very difficult pieces from a young age. She had so much music that grandpa built her a music cabinet, which I have in my home. 

 Morning glories grew in her back yard. As a girl, I found the way the blooms opened up each day fascinating. For some reason, I consider them part of her life philosophy. In the dictionary, this flower is described as “unfailingly cheerful.” 

 Grandma was devoted to her family and to making us all strong and hearty, specifically. She told me many times that our family had a “strong constitution.” It’s surprising how often I’ve thought of that over the years when faced with challenges. “You can get through this. You have a strong constitution.” A widow for more than thirty years, Grandma had also lost a baby who was six weeks old. I don’t remember her complaining or discussing hardships. 

Today, it seems we are a sharing society, I often think an oversharing one. As I write this, I wonder if it’s okay to put these stories about Grandma on the internet. Would she approve? 

 Sometimes when I communicate, I will think that I’m like the old Saturday Night Live characters named Wendy and Doug Whiner. Their whole persona was complaining about things in a nasal tone. 

 Grandma had standards and she never let up on those. Once when she was in her 90s, I played her organ for her, although I really didn’t know how to work a pump organ. But there was no piano in her independent living apartment. When finished, I asked how I had done. She said I had played “choppy.” 

Once in his 70s, my dad had lunch on his birthday with grandma, his mother, at her facility. He came home grumbling that at his age, he shouldn’t have to endure a lecture on eating his spinach. Dad hated spinach. She was a woman of faith but I don’t remember her really talking about her beliefs. Her Bible would just be laying open many times when I came to visit. She played many old hymns and played for church services.
Grandma taught me that often it’s what we tell ourselves that matters. And that starts with what others tell us about ourselves, which we then internalize. I’m grateful she contributed to some of the positive tapes in my head. 

 I sometimes wonder what people will remember about my words after I’m gone. I really hope it’s not me complaining about my cable bill. (It’s way too high.) How has your family inspired you in their words or behaviors? Do you think about how your words might boost others?

Friday, March 10, 2023

What's Bugging You? by Bea Tifton

I’ve never been bothered by most bugs. And, as I was a real tomboy, they were even playmates at times when I was a child finding my way through the wide world.

When I was three, I was fascinated with what we called roly polies. Some people call them pill bugs, but they’re actual name is woodlouse. Not really insects, but crustaceans, these harmless little creatures roll up into a ball when threatened. I loved riding on merry go rounds, so I thought, why wouldn’t my little friends? I carefully placed three roly polies on my record turntable, and turned it on.

Whizzzzzz. Those poor little things went whizzing across the room. You can bet they rolled up into balls after that.

My favorite place to live as a kid was beside a lake. A little creek pushed its way up alongside our backyard. I loved ladybugs, and they were everywhere. One day when I was about five or six, I gathered what must have been dozens of ladybugs into a jar. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but I took the jar to my bedroom to watch the brightly colored little ladybugs do their thing. I put the jar down on my bed and after a few minutes I noticed a ladybug flitting past me. Then two. Then three. Then dozens. The lid from the jar had come loose and the Great Ladybug Escape had begun. I ran around frantically trying to recapture all of them before my mother walked in.  Days after I emptied the jar back onto the willow trees by our creek; I still found the odd ladybug or two flying cheerfully around my room.

In the evenings by that same lake, the neighborhood kids would play outside as darkness fell, watching the scores of lightning bugs who twinkled by the water. We would make lanterns by intercepting lightning bugs and dropping them in our jars. I couldn’t bear to keep them captive, though, so I would hold my jar up high and watch each lightning bug wend its way to the lip of the jar, then fly into the summer sky like a star. Magical.


Are you squeamish around bugs?

Photo Credits:
Unsplash: Izzy Park "A Girl Holding a Roly-poly on Her Hand"
Pexels: "Vinyl Record Playing"
Pexels: Susanne Jutzeler, sukiyaki-foto "Close-Up Photo of Ladybug on Camomile Flower"
Pixabay: Willgard "Lightning Bugs"

Sunday, March 5, 2023

The Stars at Night~ Sherri Easley



After three years, I finally got her published.  

I honestly feel like I gave birth. 

On a bright fall day in 1942, Emma Daniels was singing with her friends on the steps of the county courthouse, as they did every Saturday. When the group broke for lunch, Emma stepped into the general store for a soda and overheard a long-held family secret that shattered her world. Feeling humiliated and ashamed, she impulsively left her small east Texas town with only a borrowed bag, her guitar case, and her big dreams.

After a series of setbacks, Emma finds herself stranded in Memphis until Reese Grafton comes to her rescue and invites her to stay at his horse ranch with him and his father. With no other options, Emma accepts and sets out on an adventure that takes her to Nashville and into the home of Boots Grafton, the king of the Grand Ole Opry.

While living with the singing legend and his son, Emma realizes that even when your dreams come true, there's still more to life than chasing success.

Hope you have a great month! 


Saturday, March 4, 2023

New Beginnings by @JacquieRogers #springtime #family

New Beginnings
Family, Friends, Food, Fun (Reading)

We still have four inches of snow on the ground here in SW Idaho but March means the end of winter and I'm an optimist, so this month's topic is "New Beginnings."  Or could be "rebirth" because that does seem appropriate as people have chosen the rites of spring as a rebirth for millennia.  But before a rebirth, there has to be a death--the garden plants are either dead or pumping nutrients from a bulb deep below the soil surface, building up the energy to poke through to the sun.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

March 3 is a special day for me because that's my mom's birthday.  She would've been 91 this year, and it's very hard to picture her as an elderly lady since she passed away at the too young age of 38.  She loved lilacs and tomatoes and I grow both now.

Mom was a paraplegic but she and Dad had a lot of fun together.  They were always pranking each other (called practical joking at the time).  They laughed a lot and seldom argued.  Looking back, I now realize that they knew what most people don't, that her days were numbered.  Dad did everything in his power to make her life enjoyable.  She deeply appreciated him and wasn't afraid to show her gratitude and love.

It's a shame that most of us, including me, don't learn from this lesson and instead go about our crabby ways, picking at details that no one will ever care about or remember in five years.  It's important to take advantage of each day because it's a one-time gift not to be wasted.  Yes, I need to listen to my own advice.

Anyway, here's a wave and a hug to my mom, Greta Alsup Walker.  I really miss her.

First sign of spring (makes me happy)

With every passing life comes a new one.  The following photo might not look like it came from Better Homes and Gardens (it didn't) but it captures the spring rebirth.  It's not the greatest picture for sure, because:
I made pizza during the best light, then went outside to take the photo...
but then the timer buzzed...
and then we ate (yum)...
and then I headed to the coat rack because it was 36° F outside...
but just as I turned the door knob to get the bud picture, my granddaughter called...
and it was a video call on my phone--that kid is so funny, it's hard to believe she's almost 11 now...
so outside I went yet AGAIN...
but the battery went dead...
so I charged it up and finally took the photo at 11:27 PM. Whew!  That's why I'm not at all worried about posting a so-so photo. 😇

Lilac buds.  I can hardly wait for them to bloom!

No greenery yet, but it'll happen.  Mr R reports that the apricot trees are budding, also, but that's no good at all because early buds will be frozen and there goes our crop.  We still have BBQ sauce from last year, and maybe some jam.

All this budding means the time is nigh to plant snow peas, radishes, and spinach.  Most folks plant lettuce, too, but I'm not a big fan of lettuce so I'm not about to freeze my begonias off to plant it.  Of course, this year we'll be leaving for Texas so raised bed prep will be minimal.  Maybe I won't bother at all considering we're leaving in 11 days and there's SO much to do.  So much.

About that Texas trip.  I'm pretty excited to get out of the valley.  They don't call this the Intermountain West for nothing.  We have mountains full of snow to cross no matter which direction we go--and that's okay in a car, but towing a travel trailer?  Ugh.  

Still, we're headed south to the Texas Dogwood Casita and Friends Music Rally, and on the way, we'll be visiting an awesome family, Caroline Clemmons et al, and every one of them is very talented.  I've been Caroline's fangirl for years, Daughter #2 is just marvelous, and Mr R is fast friends with Hero.  Not sure if we'll be seeing Daughter #1 this trip--she lives elsewhere.  Anyhow, we'll be rolling in just in time to celebrate Mr R's birthday, so that'll be fun.

Tillie the Tank
Photo taken last fall because
I didn't feel like wading out there in the snow today.

We really love road trips with our Casita travel trailer.  It's only 17' from tongue to bumper, so 14' of living space, but we have everything we need in that tiny little space including a king bed.  Not kidding!  We do need to get better cushions (mattress) but I think we'll have to wait for next trip because time is going by super fast(ly).  January took about 4 months to pass, but February only lasted a day or two, and March is whizzing by even more quickly than February.

We'll be celebrating St. Patrick's Day on the road so to all of you...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Stay save, and until next month, Happy Reading. 📚😍

If you're on TikTok, friend me!  My handle is @jacquierogersbooks.  
You can get videos of Honey Beaulieu and Sassy's latest updates there.  And goofy videos of her scribe.  Heck, we even do a few cooking videos.

Thursday, March 2, 2023


 By Caroline Clemmons

Mary Poppins insisted one should never explain, but I’m going to anyway. I’m late because I’ve been having some eyesight issues. Better this afternoon, so here I am. Mother Nature is playing ping pong with our weather: spring, winter, spring, winter…. Our poor plants are so confused. The television weather forecaster keeps cautioning people that there will be an “Easter cold snap.”

Sunny, warm weather creates an urge to rush to the landscape nursery and buy flats of bedding plants. Listening to the weather forecaster restrains us. We’re eager for our yard to be as near glorious as we can make it. Hero has already made himself stiff and sore digging and planting rose bushes. No bedding plants, though, as cautioned.

Pink roses are my favorite, 
but we also have red and yellow.

Beth Trissel is my example of a wonderful gardener. She has such beautiful flowers, and shares them with us occasionally. I took her herb class and have her book she and her daughter published. I love it. In addition, she uses heirloom seeds. I am praying that Beth recovers her ability to garden and write this spring!

After "the Easter cold snap" Hero plans to plant butterfly bushes to attract bees and butterflies. We are looking forward to seeing flocks of butterflies and hearing the buzzing of bees this summer. 

At our house, we love old fashioned, drought resistant plants. Our plants contain several types of cacti. We intend to plan more red yucca in the cactus garden. We’re making lists of the other plants we love. To have them all, we’ll need a much bigger yard. J

Do you like to garden?