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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

What's Your Favorite? by Liz Flaherty

Let's talk about favorites. I don't use that term lightly. I have a favorite oldest kid, middle kid, and youngest kid--same with kids-in-law and the grands. (Each of the seven grands thinks she or he is my favorite and guess what--they're all right!) While I relate better to some than to others--and they to me--the love is unconditional and all its cups are full.

Not so much with books. Either the ones I've written or the ones I've read. 

My favorites from when I was a kid are Little Women and Understood Betsy. Really, they are. But then I think of the Little House books, Caddie Woodlawn, and Away Goes Sally and how they made me feel, can't choose a favorite.

When I was in junior high and high school, I spent a lot more time reading Betty Cavanna and Janet Lambert than I did school books. Oh, and Rosamund du Jardin and Anne Emory and Elisabeth Hamilton Friermood. And every word Mary Stewart wrote. Surely among those, there is a favorite, isn't there? No, more likely 50 of them.

Then came Harlequin...and Candlelight...and Silhouette...and Loveswept...and a long list of other publishers and imprints who published books by women, about women, for women. Like most everyone here, I've read hundreds of them. I occasionally re-read Muriel Jensen's category romances and others by Betty Neels, Jenny Crusie, Nora Roberts, and Kathleen Gilles Seidel. And more. 

It is easier with my own books, although it took years for me to figure out that it was okay to have favorites. Just because they're mine doesn't mean they have to be anyone else's. One More Summer is my favorite. It took 83 days to write and 10 years to sell to a publisher. It's still sells and I still ache over the writing of it. I'm an emotional writer anyway, and that story pushed every single button.

But I have a few that share second place, and most of them are ones written about older protagonists, because I can feel where they are and who they are. One exception to that is The Happiness Pact. Like One More Summer, its story included clinical depression. But they survive and they thrive, 

A Soft Place to Fall is about family and quilting and rearranging the pieces of a long marriage gone wrong. It is another one that pushed all the buttons. I kind of think Early McGrath was me...only better. 

The truth, the ones I've chosen here--both the read and the written--are the favorites of the day. Tomorrow it will be books by Cheryl Reavis, Nan Reinhardt, and Cheryl St. John. But which ones? Hmmm...

Want to share your favorites? We'd love to see them. 


Early McGrath doesn't want freedom from her thirty-year marriage to Nash, but when it's forced upon her, she does the only thing she knows to do - she goes home to the Ridge to reinvent herself.

Only what is someone who's spent her life taking care of other people supposed to do when no one needs her anymore? Even as the threads of her life unravel, she finds new ones - reconnecting with the church of her childhood, building the quilt shop that has been a long-time dream, and forging a new friendship with her former husband.

The definition of freedom changes when it's combined with faith, and through it all perhaps Early and Nash can find A Soft Place to Fall.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Dysfunctional Valentine Cards by Joan Reeves

When I was shopping for a Valentine card for Darling Hubby, I remembered a long ago occasion when I was pretty ticked at him for something he'd done.

I no longer remember what that was, but I do remember what I did about it. I made a Valentine card for him with snarky art and snarky words.

We had a good laugh about it. I'm grinning as I write about it. At the time, I thought there should be a bad attitude section of greeting cards for such occasions. Shortly after that, a friend sent me one of those internet "floaters" about Dysfunctional Greeting Cards. I laughed like a loon, printed it, and saved it in my humor file. Yes, I keep things like that. You should too because you never know when you might need a good laugh. I wish I knew who had created it so I could thank her or him.

Dysfunctional Valentine Cards

I think a couple of days after Valentine's Day is the perfect time to laugh at those jokes. So here are a few so you can laugh with me. Hopefully, none of you received a card from your sweetheart with these snarky words. After the 3 periods aka dots is what you'd read inside a card—just in case you want to write one some day.

1. I always wanted to have someone to love. Now that you've come into my life...I've changed my mind.

2. I must admit, you brought religion into my life....I never believed in Hell until I met you.

3. As the days go by, I think how lucky I am....That you're not here to ruin it for me.

4. Someday I hope to marry...Someone other than you.

5. When we were together, you said you'd die for me...Now we've broken up, and I think it's time you kept your promise.

6. I'm so miserable without you...It's almost like you're still here.

7. Looking back over the years we've been together, I can't help but wonder...What was I thinking?

Kinder Gentler Laugh

I love to laugh. In fact, that's one reason I like to write romantic comedy and even put some humor into the other books I write.

I spent most of Valentine's Day working on print editions of my books. I'm also getting ready to submit the rest for audio book narration. All of my full-length books have been in Kindle Unlimited since, well, forever. I've stopped the auto-renewal on that feature. As their term in KU expires, I'm publishing them wide—with all the other ebook publishers—so readers can find them everywhere.

Scents and Sensuality—Available Everywhere

The first one to go wide is Scents and Sensuality, a romantic comedy set against the backdrop of a designer perfumery.

It's available in ebook and audio book editions. I'll probably crow from the rooftops when the print editions of Scents and Sensuality and all the others are published.

The working title of this book was always Beauty and the Geek with Beauty being the handsome hunk and the Geek being the heroine Amanda.

Since it's mid-February, the winter is waning—thank goodness. Winter is not my favorite month by any means. The next time we meet, it will be just a week before Spring so hang in there if you're in a part of the country where the weather is really nasty.

In the meantime, read, read, read. That's the best thing to do—next to staying warm. See you in March!

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Enter Joan's Giveaway for a chance to win a Jane Austen Journal (if you're residence is in USA) or a $10 Amazon Gift Card (if you live abroad). Several options to enter give multiple chances. Giveaway closes Feb. 27. 
Winner selected by random draw.

Monday, February 12, 2024

The Changing Ways of Romance by Bea Tifton


Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day we show our love with chocolate, flowers, dinners out, or merely a greeting card.

Thinking about Valentine’s Day made me think of something else. No, not about how chocolate is 50% off the day after Valentine’s Day. I thought about the way romance has changed since I was young and idealistic.

My college roommate was a very interesting person, artistic, creative, and funny. And our coed dorm (different floors with opposite sex curfews) was chock full of handsome young men. One particular guy caught her eye and she decided to take a chance. She began writing Secret Admirer notes. Each note had a small clue. I delivered some of them myself. I must have been spotted because young Prince Charming and his roommate started watching us in the dining hall. (One of the clues was about a food she liked to eat.) When she did deliver the note telling him who she was, alas, Prince Charming turned out to be a frog. He told her in person, at least, but he  told her he wasn’t interested. She was mortified and broken hearted, but I admired her chutzpah.


Think about that now. First of all, who hand writes letters today? But picture it. Someone begins receiving cryptic, chatty notes from an unknown person. They continue and her trepidation grows. She finally calls the police to report that she has a stalker. Fingerprints are lifted from the notes. Stakeouts are organized to watch the house. Arrests are made. Tsk, tsk, tsk. What a sad ending to unrequited love. 

I know a couple who are very much in love. But Cupid can be tricky. The man loves to say that he had to convince his now wife because she wasn’t interested at first. He followed her around, chattering away. She said no, but he persisted. Finally she agreed to go out with him. Now they walk side by side, hand in hand. They are still absolutely besotted with each other to this day and they have two grown children.

Today a woman would report that man for harassing her. Reports would be taken. Protection orders would be instigated. Arrests would be made. Another potential for romance, foiled.

My tongue in cheek blog isn’t minimizing real stalking or sexual harassment. I’m just reflecting on our changing society. True stalking and harassing shouldn’t  be tolerated by law enforcement or by anyone for that matter.

 But picture someone with no ill intent. Sometimes, it’s some poor Joe or Jolene who received one of Cupid’s arrows and genuinely wants to make a gesture, a hope, a stab at winning their true love. I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe, there are still some happy endings in those instances, don’t you?

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Chocolate-is-Half-Off Day for the day after V Day. Photo Credits:
Karolina Grabowska "Pralines and a Gift for Valentine's Day"
Anastasiya Vragova "Smiling Barefooted Lady Writing Thoughts on Paper at Home"
Kindel Media "A Police Writing on a Paper"
Maksim Goncharenok "A Couple Writing on the Beach
Misha Earl "Bride and Groom Standing Next to Each Other"
alleksana "Happy Valentine's Day on Pink Surface" 



Monday, February 5, 2024

Sweet Art~Sherri Easley

was never bored growing up. Between my mother teaching me how to make cornhusk dolls or my dad carving little chairs out of wood, there was always something happening at my house. I learned how to sew when I was six and crochet when I was 7. Living in the country with not much else to do; my siblings and I learned to entertain ourselves.

Today, my brother is a woodcarver and makes little Santa's and people that my sister-in-law paints and my sister is an artist, in watercolor and oils. Of course, I have my embroidery and sewing business, along with writing.

It should be of no surprise to anyone that our children carry on that artistic gene as well.

This is a photo blog about my incredible niece, Susan, from Kanga’s cookies in McKinney, Texas.

She has been baking and decorating cookies for less than two years. She is self-taught and has also learned to design and print her own unique cookie cutters.

With Valentine’s Day soon approaching, enjoy this sweet treat. 




Sunday, February 4, 2024

Life Without Internet (shudder) by @JacquieRogers

 Life Without Internet 
(Okay, 4 days, but still...)

This blog post will not be fancy, that's for sure, but at least I could get it posted (I hope).  You see, we had a windstorm five days ago and it knocked over the tower that feeds us internet service.  Normally, our provider has solid service and if there's a glitch, we're back online within minutes--maybe an hour but no more than that.  But this time...five days, and it doesn't look like we're going to get service until Monday morning.

After four days, I finally figured out I could tether my computer to my phone and get internet using T-Mobile.  It's slower than snail poop but at least I could get online.  So here I am, typing away, definitely not taking the risk of posting the photos I took earlier in the month.  Or finishing the Valentine's Day video.  Or anything else.  It's text only, just like the days of PC Anywhere.  (I'm really showing my age there--I bet very few people even know what PC Anywhere is.)

I'm not saying that I'm utterly dependent on the internet but:

  • I can't access any of my story notes because they're all on OneNote.  And by notes, I mean character development, conflict, plot, what I've already done and rejected, and anything else you can think of.
  • Even if I could get to my notes, I can't access my file!  For some reason, our new fileserver isn't working, either, and it's not on the cloud.  What's with that???  
  • No internet research, and there was snow on the ground until yesterday so heading to the local museum wasn't an option.
  • Doodly doesn't work, which is how I send Valentine's greetings.  Oh well, there's still time.
  • Sure can't upload YouTube of TikTok videos.
  • No email, of course.  Mr R is having DTs over that little issue.
  • Can't order online.  OMG, and lots of things I need for the greenhouse aren't in stock at local stores yet.
  • I've had a bazillion questions that I'd like answered.  No Google.
  • We get the local newspaper but the news is two days old.  That's just not how it's supposed to be in 2024.
  • No YouTube cooking shows.  No looking up recipes, not even my own.
  • Can't plan our trip to Texas in March, which we wanted to finalize so I can make reservations.
  • Also, can't make reservations online.
  • Can't buy books for my Kindle. (faint)  Luckily, I have hundreds of books already, but still...
  • No Facebook, TikTok, X, Threads, Snapchat.  Wait, that's a plus.  I was amazed at what a timesuck social media is.  Ahem.
There's more, but you get the idea.  On the other hand, I planated a lot of seeds in the greenhouse and started cleaning the patio.  But not the garage--it's entirely too scary.

For reading, I've been into biographies lately.  How about your New Year book choices?

Stay safe, 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, February 1, 2024


By Caroline Clemmons

When you pick up a romance, what do you expect from the hero? Let’s talk about the main components of a hero, shall we?

 First, let’s get his appearance out of the way. Do you require a thick head of hair and perfect physique before a man can be a hero in your eyes?  Does he have to be a certain height, have a particular color of eyes, and wear his hair a certain way? If he’s bald, are all bets off? What if he’s a geek who wears glasses and isn’t that fit? What each of us means by “perfect” hero physically probably differs from one reader to the next. Not that I’m turned off by a handsome man, mind you, but I don’t care as much about his physical aspects as about his character.

For instance, I remember a friend who dated a wonderful man wo was crazy about her. She stopped seeing him because his hairline was receeding. She ended up marrying a nice looking guy who was an alcoholic who beat her.

Gregory Peck, one of my
favorite actor heroes ever


There are several qualities that are necessary for a hero, at least IMO. These qualities might not exist at the first of the book, but they’d better be there by the end or I want my money back.


[1] He has to be trustworthy. In our part of the country, you hear “His word is his bond.” That means if he says it, he’ll do it and you don’t need a contract to hold him to his word. No man with that reputation would risk losing it.


Chris Hemswrth

[2]  Loyalty. If he’s your friend, you don’t have to worry about him stabbing you in the back, figuratively or literally. He will defend you to others and, as the saying goes, have your back. Another saying from the Southwest along this line is “ride for the brand,” and it doesn’t just mean cowboys who work on a ranch.  If he takes a man’s money for a job, he won’t cheat his employer.


Michael B. Jordan

[3] Not afraid of commitment. Not just in romance, but I’m reminded of a man with whom man I once worked. He was in his thirties but still lived in the rented apartment he moved into for grad school, rented his office, leased a car, had the same girlfriend for five years—yet wondered why no one took him seriously as an adult. His lifestyle was still grad student. Talk about arrested development! 

Liam Hemsworth
(Are there any homely people
in their family?)

[4] Takes a stand. This may be a part of commitment, but I list it separately. It means he won’t be a “yes” man to anyone. He is not afraid to state his opinion about a course of action, and not afraid to follow up on that opinion.

 I’m sure you can think of more qualities you look for your heroes. Tell me what they are, and which you think are most important.


Friday, January 26, 2024

Look For the Magic by Laura Hunsaker

 In my free short story Amethyst Heat I wrote in a magical ring from the heroine’s aunt Gilly. She doesn't know that it's magic, of course. Not until something big happens. This ring sends our heroine back through time. When people ask writers how they get their ideas, which we do hear often, that's something that doesn't always have an easy answer. But with this story, I do have an easy answer!

I based the idea off of a ring my own aunt gave me when I was a child. While mine definitely hasn’t sent me through time, it does have a bit of its own magic.

See this ring?

My aunt gave it to me when I was seven. She passed away the next year, so while it was already special, that made it even more so. I wore this ring every day until I was ten when I lost it in the summer camp rec center pool. I searched so much for that ring, I had friends helping, camp counselors, and we didn't even catch a hint of the ring. In a crazy twist of fate, I found it 3 months later in the pool drain (that we'd already searched months ago!) when I was diving for (ha) rings.

I called it my lucky ring and wore it for years, even as beat up as it was from the pool filter incident, until I lost it on a choir trip in high school. We were going up to Utah for a couple of days, and I found it on the bus ride back. It was on the seat. I did not sit in the same seat as I had before. Seriously. Lucky ring, guys. So by this point I put it in my jewelry box so I wouldn’t lose it.

Amethyst Heat was the first thing I wrote (2009) and it's very super short, but even though my ring isn't an amethyst, it was the inspiration for the story.

Around 2016, the magic was still working, because I let my youngest wear it. She was three, and I never saw it again...until about two years later! My youngest found it on the ground in my room. We vacuum daily in my household. Daily. How is this ring just chilling on the ground for two years?! It’s once more in my jewelry box for safekeeping. Lucky ring is lucky.

Amethyst Heat is a very short story, about seven pages long, if that. And it's free!

           Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  Google Play  |  Smashwords
Add short story Amethyst Heat to your shelves on Goodreads

While out riding, Meg McMurray finds herself on unfamiliar lands. Gone are the long expanses of Oklahoma prairie, and in front of her are the wild Scottish Highlands. How did she come to be there, and did Aunt Gilly's amethyst ring have anything to do with it?

A sweet romance set in the Highlands of Scotland.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


 by Judy Ann Davis 

Happy New Year to all!

According to a calendar of events for yearly celebrations, January 24th is Global Belly Laughing Day. This special holiday was created in 2005 by Elaine Helle, a certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, from Lake Oswego, Oregon. It was first celebrated on January 24, 2006.                                                                     

There are four goals according to the author of this special day:

  • To celebrate and remember past laughter.
  • To do it in public with others and connect via laughing.
  • To remember the importance of laughs and smiles.
  • To gain the health benefits of smiling and laughing. Laughter is the best medicine.

I will also add: When we laugh, we ease stress and anxiety, boost the immune system, improve mood, support heart health, burn calories, and even relieve pain.

When I taught career development to adult students, single parents, and displaced homemakers in a program called New Choices, young people often asked me what was the secret to my long marriage. I used to laugh and tell them: “Never say what you’re thinking when you’re angry.” Then, I’d add that both my husband and I are very polite to each other, appreciate each other—and often laugh a lot, even over the smallest things like a shared joke, cartoon, turn of a phrase, even a stupid thing one of us has done or a crazy antic of a grandchild.

HY  Hintermeister 1897-1972
As a writer, I try to write humorous or witty dialogue for my characters in my novels as well because I admire crafty dialogue that makes the reader smile. I enjoy reading RomCom novels as well.

I often think if we could get people in our nation and in the world to enjoy a good belly laugh together, there might be more hope for better understanding among everyone globally.                          

To celebrate this special day, I leave you with two jokes about writers:

1—What do you get when you cross a writer with a deadline?                             A really clean house.

2—Why do writers feel chilly? They’re surrounded by drafts. 

NEW - NEW - NEW     
COURTING BETSY -Book 3 of the Ashmore Brothers Series

                          VISIT MY   AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE FOR ALL MY BOOKS 


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Lipstick on the Cup and Other Memories by Liz Flaherty

I wrote this a few years back. My apologies if you've seen it before, but it felt right for today. Happy January! 

"Flowers in the city are like lipstick on a woman -- it just makes you look better to have a little color." - Lady Bird Johnson

Several months ago, I put on makeup to go out and realized I looked better with it on. Nan Reinhardt and I were off on a weekend soon afterward and did a little high-school-freshman shopping at Walgreen's or CVS and I added to my cosmetics supply. On her advice, I even started wearing eye shadow. I'm still not good at it, but I'm getting better. Whether I like to admit it or not, the truth is that when I look better, I feel better. That being the case, I wear makeup nearly every day, even if I'm not going anywhere. The roommate likes me in it, too, and mentions it, and while I don't think I'd wear it for that reason alone, the "new look from an old lover" doesn't hurt.

A few days into my makeup-wearing adventure, I looked at my coffee cup and saw lipstick on its edge. My first thought was, I'll admit, "Yuck," and I grabbed a napkin to rub it away. My second thought was of my mother-in-law, who left lipstick on every cup she drank from and, more importantly, on everyone she kissed hello or goodbye.

In short, lipstick was part of Mom's telling you she loved you. I think of her every time I see my "Tickled Pink" lip print on my cup. And I leave it there.

You might wonder, and rightfully so, what lipstick smears have to do with writing romance or women's fiction. The only time the prints show up is on murder mystery covers or if a wayward husband is having an affair.

But my kids grew up with their grandma's lip prints on their foreheads and their cheeks. It is a memory that has a place in all our hearts. It gives joy to me each time I look at the pink spot on my cup.

As an author, this is what I want to give to people who read my stuff. They don't have to remember all my titles, protagonists, or story lines. They don't have to finish a book if it doesn't click after the first chapter, although I thank them for trying.

But, if they remember Grace Elliot saying "geezy Pete," or Lucy Dolan's cat, Kitty Kinsale, or that Cass Logan made the best gingerbread men in Christmas Town, I'm happy with that. I hope they are, too. I hope it's the lipstick print on their cups and that they smile when they remember.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

New Year Means New Energy by Joan Reeves

I welcomed 2024 with open arms because it wasn't a very good year for me.

I've always had this feeling that a new year meant new energy and another chance to make one's dreams come true.

Despite the freezing weather outside, I'm content writing a new book, finishing my latest Kindle Vella, and working on my plans to make this year awesome.


I'm giving away one (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card. There are several ways to enter, and you can enter often so click here to enter my January Rafflecopter.


I'm so behind on so many projects—personal and writing—that I'm trying to up my game with a process I saw in a YouTube video.

Each day I make a list of 8 Critical Things I Must Do. With so many things that require my attention, knowing I'm only asking myself to do 8 kind of keeps me from being overwhelmed.

I've been working this Critical 8 for about a week. I don't know if I'm slow or the 8 things I try to do each day just require too much time, but I have yet to cross off all 8 tasks.

In the last few years, I'd utilized the 1,3,5 Method. That worked well for me until I fell a year behind due to family illness and my own illness. Hence trying the Critical 8. I'll keep working on it and let you know next month if I'm staying with it.

Have you tried something new like that for 2024? If so, leave a comment and tell me your process. 


I'm also giving away 1 ebook copy of Brianna's Season for Miracles

This small town romance is currently in Kindle Unlimited, but I think I'm removing it from KU and publishing it "wide" next week.

Now's your chance to get a free copy of a novel described as a heartwarming journey of self-discovery.

To be entered in the random drawing for this prize,  leave a comment about this post along with your email address written out, not as a hot link.

Drawing closes Jan. 23, 2024. Winner chosen by random draw and notified within 48 hours of closing.


I've been reading in different genres these last few months. I wondered if you readers also have been trying new types of books. If so, leave a comment and tell us what genre is attracting your attention.

If you're an author and a reader, are you dipping your toes into the waters of other genres? Let us know in comments please.

Good luck with your 2024 Journey!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Delicious Memories by Bea Tifton


For Christmas, my father gave me some white chocolate candy bars. I love white chocolate, but like any other type of candy, some bars are better than others. This was the best white chocolate I had ever tasted. Dad hit it right out of the park for me, and I really appreciated that.
As a piece of the candy bar melted on my tongue, I had a sharp, clear memory of my childhood.  When I was a child, the Sears Department Store we frequented had a candy counter right smack in the middle of the store. If I was good (which was every time, of course, because I was a perfect child), we would stop by the candy counter. This was a big deal. A whole bag of candy I could choose all by myself.  I always walked solemnly around the display case, looking at every kind of candy, and then ordered white chocolate stars. As I clutched my little paper bag of treasure, I would take out a star, nibble it, and let the piece melt in my mouth. Heaven.  So my father’s gift of candy bars brought back one of my favorite childhood memories.

Isn’t it funny how even the smell of some foods can evoke such powerful memories? I was a sickly child before I became a sickly adult. I didn’t like chicken noodle soup, so Mamaw would make me her potato soup recipe from scratch. I could eat that when I couldn’t tolerate anything else. It was delicious and I felt special because she had gone to so much trouble for me. To this day, every time I smell potato soup or see it on a menu, I smile to myself and think of my Mamaw.

When I was very small, Mom would go to a specific bakery to buy bread. The counter seemed so far away to me since I was so young (and small for my age, anyway), so I couldn’t even see over the display case. Mom would ask for the bread, and then she bought me a sand tart. The baker was always so friendly to me. He would give me a big smile as he leaned over and handed me my cookie.  I felt so special.

Memories are powerful things. They can make us sad, happy, and even angry. But how wonderful that one can go back in time at just a mention of certain foods. Do you have any special food memories?


 Photo Credits: Anete Lusina "Delicious White Chocolate on Ceramic Plate"
The Indiana Album: James Ray Coleman Collection "Sears Candy Counter, 1970s"
Wikimedia Commons: Dept of Agriculture Extension Service "Woman Cooking in a Kitchen"
Wikimedia Commons: Sara Stieneh "Bakery at Clark's, a Grocery, Drug, Sundries, and Department Store and Lunch Counter" Kati Bishop "Woman Looking Up Smiling"