Friday, August 25, 2017

Computer Keyboard Nirvana by Cheryl Bolen

How happy are you with your computer's keyboard? Since I got my first pc in, gulp, 1985 I have never found one I like as well as the old electric typewriters I used in my early newspaper career (and when I wrote my first novels--which were never published).

Now I've discovered "mechanical" keyboards that operate as the old-style typewriter keyboards do. These are preferred by gamers. The September Consumer Reports magazine said, "Studies have shown that mechanical keyboards such as [the Das] can significantly increase words-per-minute counts and accuracy."

I knew this. I was a thousand times more accurate on my old electric typewriter than on these chintzy keyboards that come with computers nowadays. I had no idea I could obtain a keyboard that mimicked a typewriter.

Consumer Reports recommends the Das Keyboard 4, which sells for $170, and their more "affordable alternative" is the $80 Logitech G610.

After I learned about these from the PAN loops early this year, my husband researched them. Being a cheapskate, he chose for me the TOMOKO Mechanical Gaming Keyboard which sold on Amazon for $45.99. It's often a few dollars less, and one with less keys is even cheaper. He said I could get the expensive one, but that the Tomoko got good reviews from users.
This is a Tomoko gaming keyboard (which is great for authors)

There's a lot of info out there about these. A lot of it deals with colors. It's clear as mud to me.

For less than $50, it was worth a try. If I wasn't happy, I'd get the $170 one. After all, this stuff is tax deductible, and I'll pay anything for something that makes my job easier and more pleasant. I do type several hours a day, anywhere from a thousand words to several thousand.

I am delighted to share with you that I am thrilled with my Tomoko. My accuracy is almost back where it was when I was in my twenties typing like a wiz on my electric typewriter. These even have the clickity sound like old typewriters (though you can get quiet mechanical keyboards). I cannot praise this highly enough. It's put more of the joy back in my writing because I'm not having to constantly go back and correct transposed and dropped letters.

Not being even remotely techie, I don't think I'd ever have learned about these had I not been networking with other authors through groups like Romance Writers of America's Published Author Network. And the Precious Gems. Love you gals.--Cheryl's latest release is a Regency historical titled Miss Hastings' Excellent London Adventure.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Revisions Done! @lcrandallwriter


I just finished revisions on a new story and I'm dancing with my hands in the air. So coffee, tea, or whatever beverage you enjoy all around!

The story is a short for an upcoming anthology release titled At Midnight, by Lainee Cole, Rena Koontz, and me. Three authors. Three love stories. Three approaching deadlines.

Here's a peek at my story, titled Two Days Until Midnight.

Oh, how he wanted to kiss Lark's lips, but he stood suspended in doubt nanomillimeters away.
“Tamier.” She stared at his mouth. “You don’t know everything about me.”
He pulled his eyes from her lips and looked into her eyes. “I don’t expect I do.”
“There are things I want to tell you, but I’m afraid.”
“Don’t be. If there are things I need to know, you’ll tell me or they will come up and we'll work them out.” He nuzzled the soft spot under her ear and into her neck, all of his senses exploding with sensations.
“Tamier,” she whispered.

“Remember later that I warned you.”

Two Days Until Midnight features three stories in which the clock is ticking for the hero and heroine: Midnight Casanova, a contemporary romance by Lainee Cole; Two Days Until Midnight, a paranormal romance by me; and Midnight Deadline for Love, a romantic suspense by Rena Koontz. I'm excited for its October 2 release. To keep up on when the book goes up for a discounted preorder price and other reading and writing related tidbits, follow my blog at or stay tuned to my posts here.💙

Monday, August 21, 2017

#The Happiness Pact @Liz Flaherty

Not out until January 5, but available for pre-order now. My second Harlequin Heartwarming from Lake Miniagua. 

Tucker Llewellyn and Libby Worth—strictly platonic!—realize they're each at a crossroads. Tucker is successful, but he wants a wife and kids: the whole package. Libby knows that small-town life has her set in her ways; the tearoom owner needs to get out more. 

So they form a pact: Libby will play matchmaker and Tucker will lead her on the adventure she desperately needs. But the electricity Libby feels when they shake on it should be a warning sign. Soon the matchmaking mishaps pile up, and a personal crisis tests Libby's limits. Will Tucker be there for her as a best friend…or something more?


Barnes & Noble 



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I...just...can't... @Liz Flaherty

I must admit, I wrote this post a few years ago, for Word Wranglers. I wrote it because I needed to. Because of that one line down there. "I...just...can't." I'm not in revisions right now; what I am is in the middle of a contracted book and having a heck of a time finding my way out. I'm using this post today to prove to myself (and others if you need it, too) that I've felt like this before--and probably will again--and that there is another side to this particular fence.

Oh, my gosh, I love revisions.
          Last week and the week before, when I talked to my editor—a couple of times; he had a lot of things to tell me—I kept saying Really? in a squealy, whiney, don’t wanna do it voice. I know I did. Not that I’m proud of that particular voice, but since I’ve been hauling it around my whole life, I may as well own it. And I said, at the ends of these conversations, “Okay, I can do this. Thanks for the help.” And then I hung up and looked at my laptop and said Really? in a squealy, whiney, thankfully silent voice.         
          Then I went to work. And I have had, it must be said, some of those stone days we talked about last week. I have stared at the screen of my laptop until dust motes danced merrily before my eyes before settling into the bunnies under the desk. I have chewed my thumbnail down to an uncomfortable nub. I have done laundry before I had a load, washed dishes by hand, and cooked meals when there were leftovers to be had. I have thought, I can’t do this. I may as well call and renege. Because I...just...can’t.
          I also had some days that were diamonds. I had lunch with friends, dinner with friends, saw some of my kids, went places with my husband, sewed on my youngest grandchild’s quilt, and laughed every day. More than once. And I wrote some, revised some, thought Maybe this will work. Didn’t call and renege or even want to.
          And then there was this morning. It is Sunday, when I never work on the manuscript, when I look at Facebook and email and maybe work on the Word Wranglers post and then go to Sunday school.
          Except today I didn’t go to Sunday school, because all of a wonderful sudden, it worked. No maybe about it. Nope, it really worked. This does not mean my editor will be as thrilled as I am. He may say No or Try again or What were you thinking? I can’t control that. But for now, it is fist-pumping time, because of course I can do it—I just did!
          I love revisions.
          Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Release Day for Whole Lot O’ Love (The Brantons #3) by @BonnieEdwards

I’m excited to say that my short, sexy, “secret baby” novella Whole Lot O’ Love is officially available on its own.

Ashlee Branton’s lottery win is giving her and her son a new, settled life back home.
Except that returning to Blaine, Washington means facing her son’s father, Brick Harcourt, in a most unsettling way.
Ashlee deserted Brick and his less-than-accepting family when she’d become pregnant. Refusing to be just a statistic, she worked hard to raise their baby on her own. But as luck would have it, she has a chance to repair what she broke back then. Dare she take one more chance on love?
But Ashlee has two pasts now, one with Brick and one with an ex who wants to crash their reunion. Will she run again or stay and sacrifice money for love?

Here’s a taste of what you can expect from Whole Lot O’ Love:

Life had a lot of peculiar twists in it for the Branton clan. Cousin Tyce married an heiress who turned out to be his first love, but their other cousin Teri Branton was ditched at the altar and married a stranger within weeks.
Yes, Ashlee decided, the Brantons were given different, unusual paths to walk, and now Ashlee had one, too. Considering she was only twenty-three, she’d already been handed some doozies. A teenage pregnancy made her run off alone to take on single motherhood. After a short stint in school, she’d landed a decent job that paid the bills if not much more. Lost that job and started waitressing at a diner and lived broke—very broke.
And now this. The biggest, weirdest twist she could imagine.
She stretched out on the bed, propped her head on her hand and stared at her lottery ticket again. The numbers blurred on the strip of paper as she blinked through tears. Fearful she somehow had the numbers jumbled she checked the screen of her phone again. Not jumbled. There they were; her birthday, Cory’s birthday, and Tommy’s.
She fisted a hand into her mouth to stop a shout of triumph? Fear? Excitement? With Cory asleep on his side of the bed, she had to be quiet. No shrieking, no giggling, no wild crazy joy. Her son would be cranky if he didn’t get a full night’s sleep.
Tracing the numbers on the ticket with a fingertip, she checked the screen on her phone again. She’d used Tommy’s birthdate out of habit, though they’d broken up last week.
The shakes began when she formed the amount in her mind. Half a million dollars. Half a million.
Five hundred thousand. Dollars. Real dollars.
Okay, that part had to be wrong. Luck like this didn’t happen to people like her. People from the La La Land Trailer Park did not win big. Not in the money department.
Except her cousins, Tyce and Teri had won the game of love. And Tyce’s wife, Lisa, had inherited a ton from her husband, so in a way, Tyce and Lisa had won in the money game.
Why couldn’t Ashlee win money? Maybe it was her turn.
Tommy, that’s why. He’d want half, if not more. But Tommy was gone, wasn’t he? He’d walked out of their lives a week ago because she wouldn’t let him move in. But she had Cory to consider and he’d never understood that.
He didn’t get that being with him for six months wasn’t long enough to take a chance. Not with Cory. And she hated the idea of living with a man just for the shared rent. That path led straight downhill to dependence and no way would she get talked into being dependent on a man. She’d been stuck there too often as a kid.
She was better off without Tommy, even if it meant she and Cory had to stay in this crappy motel until one of her job prospects panned out. She was an experienced administrative assistant and soon she’d leave the diner behind.
Soon, meaning first thing in the morning. She didn’t have to wait for a new job.
Because life had just taken another strange turn.
And she and Cory had to get the hell out of town. She’d walked away from her life before and she could do it now.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Are you a worrier? by Jan Scarbrough

I saw this saying on Facebook and reposted it:

Stop being afraid of what good go wrong and start being excited about what could go right.

Then I started thinking about how much my life is consumed by worrying: children, grandchildren, the day job, retirement, money, health, my writing career or lack thereof.

I know that negativity is not good for you. I know that keeping a positive attitude is best. However, in today’s life, keeping a positive outlook is pretty hard. Just take a look at your cable news or listen to Coast to Coast AM on the radio at night.

But wait a minute! Hasn’t life always been like that? When researching – or revisiting – 1968 for my book A Groovy Christmas, I realized life was chaos that year. Of course, I was a high school senior with life unfolding before me. My concerns were boys, the prom and graduation. Perspective. It’s about perspective, isn’t it?

My parents survived THE DEPRESSION and World War II. They didn’t have it easy. My grandfather had six children, lost his job, and couldn’t feed them during The Depression. Life wasn’t easy.

So, when I start to worry, it helps to have a historical perspective on things. Do you find that it helps you too?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

THE WRITING LIFE.... @ kathleenlawless

In the beginning there were words, and I channeled them every way I could.  Short fiction.  Nonfiction.  Historical Romance.  Contemporary Romance.  Erotic Romance.  Romantic Suspense.  Young Adult.  You get the idea.

At the beginning of my career I didn't want to be typecast or limited.  Many years later I wonder if I did myself a favor or a disservice.  Perhaps I listened too much to everyone but myself, influenced  by my agent, my editor, my colleagues, the market needs, etc.

Years later I have come full circle back to my first love, historical romance.  My first published books were western historical romance and after all these years I am back where I started, totally excited to be here.  It doesn't feel like going backwards, it feels like being back where I belong; planning a seven book series and having fun.

Did I take the long way to get here?  A few detours or wrong turns?  Or was it all necessary to shape me into the writer I am today?  What do you think is best?  Stay-the-course or dabble in multi-genres?  Perhaps we naturally change genres as our voice evolves and we seek out more and different challenges in our work.  Whatever and however we get here, it seems the writing life is very much a mirror of life itself.

My newsletter is going out soon with a 'Name-That-Bride' contest.  Sign up for a free novella in one of my many genres and a chance to name Brody's Bride.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Giveaway Books of Summer @lcrandallwriter

It's still summer and I am part way through my summer reading list and deep into revisions on my next book, a romantic suspense. Every season has a different feel here in the Midwest and reading is enjoyable not matter what season it is. But summer offers the sense of leisure, of kicking back with a book and passing the hours in a lawn chair.

In the spirit of summer reading, I'm offering an instafreebie of one of my short stories, Finding Finn. It is a spin-off of my Fierce Hearts series books that feature members of a were-lynx colony. Here's an excerpt from Finding Finn.

On his feet in a whisper, Finn reached Nissa's side in a nanosecond and pulled her to her feet. His eyes glistened down on her, full of something beautiful and sweet. He didn’t speak. He closed his eyes and drew down to her lips. Her heart racing, she waited for him to touch her, and when he did, she melted into his body, his kiss.

To get the free download of Finding Finn, all you have to do is subscribe to my author newsletter by clicking on this link . In my newsletter, I share things about my writing, offer giveaways, and feature books by other authors.

I hope to connect with you soon. Meanwhile, Happy Summer Reading? What is on your list?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sensory Recognition and Desire @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

What would you do if you recognized someone by a touch--a scent--the minute you met the person?

In my book Heat Lightning, the heroine feels that sensory recognition when her eyes meet his--the man who is supposed to be her husband.

I say supposed to be because she does not know him. Heat inundates her. Yet, she remembers nothing about him or their life together.

That's the situation that confronts the woman known by the hospital staff as LG--Lost Girl--when she meets handsome David Galloway. He says he's her husband, and he has documents to prove it.

Yet, her memory has been wiped clean.Global amnesia. That's what the doctors say.

Their eyes meet. Desire flares like heat lightning in the night sky--spectacular but quiet with no accompanying thunder. The stormy emotion she sees in David's dark eyes tell of his passion as well as the secrets he hides.

Heat Lightning is a story of secrets and lies, passion and desire. What Tessa doesn't remember may just be the death of her.

Her husband found her, claimed her, rescued her. Desire flashes like heat lightning on a summer night between David and Tessa. She knows his touch, but when she looks at him, he is a stranger to her. Not a flicker of memory is left of him or their life together.

Everything and everyone she knew is lost to her since she awakened from a coma. All she has left are questions. Who is she? Why does David seem to hate her even as he pulls her into his arms? What is he hiding? How can she trust him when her gut says, “Trust no one”?

Heat Lightning: read for free with Kindle Unlimited, or buy for only $2.99.

Outlaw Ridge, Texas

I liked Outlaw Ridge, Texas, the setting I created in Heat Lightning, so much that I decided to make Heat Lightning the first book in a series with that name--Outlaw Ridge, Texas.

Although Outlaw Ridge, Texas, is fictional, it's created from an area near Abilene, Texas, where I lived many years ago. The house at Outlaw Ridge is nearly identical to the house I owned on Ft. Phantom Lake.

The hilly land honeycombed with caves that surrounds the house is taken from another area I frequently visited.

Dead Heat: Book 2, Outlaw Ridge, Texas

I'm finishing up the second book in the series. Dead Heat centers around John Galloway, David's older brother.

The Galloway brothers have all been in the military in high-risk special operations. Thanks to an assignment John had a couple of years ago, he's had his fill of being a "spy."

Of course, that assignment involved a woman he fell in love with, but she was only in love with the high risk life she was leading.

Here's a short excerpt of Dead Heat which will be available later in August.

(Sign up for my mailing list and be the first to know when new books are released or Click Follow on my Amazon Author Page and get an email from Amazon when it publishes.)

DEAD HEAT, Excerpt
Copyright©2017 by Joan Reeves

She ran to the only man who could protect her.

The only thing that saved Sabrina Snow was the too-sensitive car alarm on the twenty-year-old Renault Espace she’d bought when she'd returned to France. One minute she’d been sound asleep, dreaming about babies and blue skies. The next, the old clunker’s wailing alarm split the night.

Adrenalin dumped into her bloodstream. Her internal timer kicked in.

One-one thousand.

She didn’t hesitate or take time to look out the window to see what had set the alarm off. She thrust her feet into her hiking boots and slapped the Velcro fasteners into place.

Sabrina grabbed her Glock from the nightstand then her winter coat from the hook on the back of the bedroom door. The black all-weather coat held the necessities for escape and evasion. Then she was racing down the basement stairs to the hidden tunnel.

Two-one thousand.

She’d know in a few seconds if her paranoid reaction was warranted. That’s all it would take for someone with the right explosives to breach the heavy wooden door.

Desperation gave her strength and speed. She moved aside what looked like a dusty pile of old carpet and furniture that hid the opening to the tunnel. She crawled inside. Her hands were steady as she set the timer on the charges she’d placed in there after she’d moved into the old farmhouse last year. By the time she reached the other end of the tunnel, there would be nothing left of the ramshackle abandoned house, nor the earthen tunnel that had been dug by French resistance fighters in World War II.

Three-one thousand.

Sabrina ran. This was the third time they'd found her. She was going to get herself killed if she didn’t get help. She trusted only one man. He might be able to save her. If nothing else, she owed him the truth even though she’d fought hard to avoid sharing that with him. But if she were killed, he needed to know where to look.

Would John Galloway help her despite what she’d done?

Dead Heat Pre-Order

This new romantic suspense will be up for pre-order in a couple of weeks so Follow me on Amazon or sign up for my mailing list so you can grab it when it's available.

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of sassy, sexy Contemporary Romance.

She lives her Happily Ever After with her Hero, her husband, in a book-cluttered home in Texas.

Sign up for Joan's mailing list and be the first to know when new books are released or click  Follow on her Amazon Author Page and get an email from Amazon when new books publish.

Want to receive FREE books? Join Joan's Readers Club. For details, email JoanReeves@ outlook dot com. In the Subject Box, put Readers Club.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Trials and Tribulations of a Working Writer

Recently, I decided to get fit.  I posted about this last month.  I made it exactly half way of the fitness challenge that I signed up for.  I was motivated.  I was enthused.  Excited.  Ready to build muscle and lean out.

And then I broke my ankle.

Among my family, I'm well known for being uncoordinated.  I was racing down the stairs in our two story house, my mind occupied with one thing, and I stepped off the stairs three or four steps too high.  End result, ER, X-rays, Foot and Ankle doctor, and walking boot and crutches.  I also purchased one of those knee scooter things which is very helpful.

So the exercise has been put on hold.  No weight on the foot for 8 weeks.  At least it was a clean break.  No surgery required.

Lucky for me, I work from home.  My next book is coming along well and I'm enjoying writing it.  I just completed line edits on one scheduled for January 2018 and also completed proof-reader questions on one scheduled for December 2017.  I'd decided not to go to the Romance Writers of America's National Conference in Orlando and I'm glad.  Can you imagine hobbling around there on crutches.

I've learned several things.  Crutches are hard, ya'll.  Really hard.  And painful.  And the world doesn't end if things don't get done the way I do them (or at all.)  I'm also fortunate because my husband was able to pick up the slack (he's retired.)  Prior to this, he'd had surgery and for two months (or three,) I had to do all his chores.  So now we've traded.

It's summer here in Texas, which means HOT.  We have a lake place, but going there is out while I'm on crutches.  This is actually ok with me, as I'd rather go in cooler weather anyway.

I'll just keep writing and trying to stay positive.  This isn't as easy at you'd think.  But I'm taking it day by day.  Just like when I'm working on a book, I think "Ok, I'm 1/4 done."  That's because I'm on my second week of eight.

That's all you can do, right?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


By now most of the authors who attended Romance Writers of America’s 2017 national conference have probably headed home, exhausted and inspired by a week or so of mingling with fellow writers and industry professionals.  They’re back in their sweats and yoga pants and t-shirts, maybe hunkered down in front of their computers with vast quantities of coffee and chocolate.

I didn’t go to RWA this year, but as I scrolled through Facebook posts showcasing the festivities, I was really, really jealous.

My friends posted photos of themselves in their conference finery, and an alarming number of people posted pictures of food and drinks.  Some really tasty-looking food and drinks.  More importantly, they posted pictures of themselves hugging friends they may not have seen since last year’s conference.

I have mixed feelings about the national conference.  It’s an experience hard to describe to those who’ve never gone.  It’s like a week out of time, when someone else comes along to make your bed each morning and you never have to cook a meal.

Yes, there are workshops on every aspect of the writing life imaginable.  There are endless giveaways of free books.  Free books!  And chocolate.  Lots and lots of chocolate.

The most important part of the conference for me is catching up with friends.  I love walking up and down the rows at the literacy signing, looking for people I know (and buying their books!) and meeting people for meals or for late night chats.

By the time a year has passed I forget how overwhelming it is to be thrust into a closed atmosphere with a few thousand women and to rush to various workshops, meals, and maybe squeeze in a bit of sightseeing.  At times I simply have to retreat to my room for some alone time, maybe a cup of tea, some reading, and of course, chocolate.

The upside is that nobody thinks it’s strange when a fellow writer suddenly gets up and announces that they have to be alone for a while.  And nobody thinks it’s strange to see a fellow writer staring off into space, muttering to herself about some idea that just popped into her head.

It’s so exciting to listen to people talk about what they’re working on now, or to have someone be interested in what I’m working on.  It’s fun to get dressed up and attend the awards ceremony, especially if a friend is up for an award.

In a week or so, no doubt people will begin sharing the more important things, like publishing trends discussed by editors and agents, and writing tips they learned in workshops.  But at first, they share the excitement of being surrounded by people just like themselves.

I’ll soon go to a local conference and have a similar experience in a much shorter period of time, but just as exciting and just as exhausting.  And maybe next year I’ll gird my loins and head for national.
Until then, I content myself with browsing Facebook and feeling just a little tinge of jealousy.

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