Friday, March 30, 2018

Traveling in England: It's a Business Expense!

The Bolens enjoying afternoon tea at Yorkshire's Harewood House terrace.

Because most of my novels are set in Regency England, I'm often asked if I travel to England. The answer is a resounding yes. I started going there in the 1980s on spring breaks. Air fares are typically reduced from October to April; so, we used to get really great value by traveling to England in March.

It wasn't until about our eighth trip there that we went at another time. In 2005, we traveled to England in May. And England is far more spectacular in May than it is in dreary March. The next two trips we were able to spend a whole three weeks in the British Isles. Those trips straddled the months of May and June, and they were magnificent!

Shortly after we started going to England, I sold my first book--a historical set in Regency England. Since then I've been consumed with studying all things English to make my books as authentic as possible. 

We have toured more than 30 stately homes, we've been to several royal residences, we've been to every attraction the wonderful city of London has to offer, and we've spent time in the city's great museums and at the British Library.

We've zigzagged across the country using our unlimited travel on BritRail. We've cliff walked in Cornwall. We've taken walking tours of Jack the Ripper's London, of Jewish London, of Mayfair. Other walking tours have included the university town of Cambridge and the cathedral town of Salisbury.

The Scottish Highlands and the English Lake District provided us with scenic memories that will never fade. And the city of Bath alongside the River Avon is one which keeps beckoning us to return.

We're crazy for scones with clotted cream, and what better way to end a long day of British travel than a pint in a local pub?--Cheryl Bolen is working on a new English-set historical series, Lords of Eton, the first two to (hopefully) published in May.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Author Confessions: Guilty Pleasures by @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

Welcome back for another round of Author Confessions.

Giveaway Alert: Leave a comment with your email address written out (not as a hot link) to be entered in a drawing for a free audiobook donated by Joan Reeves--yep, that's me. Winner chosen by random drawing and notified by email.

Today, we have quite a few of the Gems In The Attic authors here with us. Read on and get acquainted with them. They're all rather awesome and fun to be around!

I asked the authors to share one of their innermost secrets. I mean, we all have this kind of secret. We indulge in it, but we feel a little embarrassed that we do so. Time to confess, Authors. Readers have inquiring minds, and they want to know!

What is one of your Guilty Pleasures, and why do you enjoy it so much?

Nancy Fraser

Nancy is the author of Time and Again, a romantic suspense with a time travel twist.

Can tenacious reporter Kate Brogan and vice cop Matt Kelly set aside their volatile past in order to save their own lives? Or, will an unexpected trip to the future end in disaster and tear them apart forever?

"Probably my most guilty pleasure is making time for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, when I can't get that, a double Bailey's over ice and a good time travel romance works wonders for the soul."

Kathleen Lawless

Kathleen is the author of Deliver Me, a western romance.

Imagine a Western Historical twist on The Fugitive! That's Deliver Me. A wounded hero on the run pairs up with an adventure-seeking heroine in order to clear his name of a crime he did not commit.

Action, adventure, twists, and betrayal beset the duo at every turn until the real killer is unmasked.

"My guilty pleasure is a glass of sparkling wine in the hot tub on Sunday morning. Very good for the creativity!"

Karen Kelley

Karen is the author of Thief of Hearts (Bachelors Series, Book 3), a Contemporary Romance.

One last job and she’s out of the family business…Get in, grab the jewelry, and get the hell out. Technically Piper Lewis is not a thief. She’s a retrieval expert, except the law probably won’t see it like that.

One small glitch: Piper didn’t plan on sexy Cason Wilde catching her in the middle of the job.

"My guilty pleasure is spending a whole day watching sappy movies with a tub of Blue Bell Banana Pudding Ice Cream and a big spoon."

Lynn Crandall

Lynn is the author of Probabilities (Fierce Hearts, Book 4), a shifter romance.

Bubbly were-lynx Tizzy Sands gave up on any possibility of a love relationship at her cancer diagnosis. But fellow were-lynx Quinn Arons isn’t having any of that. With his genius IQ, Quinn isn’t the most socially skilled were-lynx in the colony, but he cares deeply for Tizzy and can’t accept her attitude that cancer will return soon and claim her life. Instead of persuading her she’s wrong, he patiently shows her life is what you make it, as they work as partners to prevent The Nexus Group from destroying the world.

"My guilty pleasure? I can't even apologize for my guilty pleasure, it's so delicious. I love lying in bed, especially between flannel sheets. I'm as active and busy as the next person, but bed is my heaven. I pull the covers up to my chin, close my eyes, and feel every inch of my body relax in the sensuous delight of cozy. I meditate in bed, I read in bed, I write in bed. It's kind of a sanctuary for me.

"I'm a highly sensitive person--it's a real personality type--so I am frequently bombarded with input. Sounds are loud, odors are intolerable, heightened activity around me can overwhelm me. With all this input I can become highly and uncomfortably stimulated.

"Being a highly sensitive person isn't all bad. It's a way of life that is rich with awareness. But when I feel my nerves firing like a live wire, I turn to calm and soothing places in nature, seek peace inside myself, and relish in my guilty pleasure, bed."

Liz Flaherty

Liz is the author of The Girls of Tonsil Lake, women's fiction/contemporary romance.

Friends at five...still friends at fifty-one.

Four women whose differences only deepen the friendship forged in a needy childhood... They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed--except their friendship.

"I've noticed that my guilty pleasures always involve food. Hmm... Anyway, my choice of the day is Chuck and Dave's Mexican Style Salsa. While this is best eaten with an entire bag of your choice of chips, it's also outstanding on eggs, chicken breast, and wherever else you can find a suitable surface to shovel it onto. (Don't bother with a spoon--you need much more of it than that.)

"It's best to eat it when no one else is around--you can hide the empty chips bag easier that way--but sharing's all right, too. It's kind of like reading. It's best on gray, rainy days when you and your blanket are all by yourselves, but if you have to read in the virtual madhouse that life often is, that works, too."

Bonnie Edwards

Bonnie is the author of Finding Mercy: Return to Welcome, Book 1, a Contemporary Romance.

Mercy Talbot, a golden-girl with a bright future, left Welcome. Now, she's failed in everything--career, love, family--and she's dead broke. She returns to Welcome, wanting only a fresh start.

Clay Foster used to be Welcome's bad boy, but marriage and a daughter transformed him into a devoted father. Widowed now and a struggling single father, he fights his attraction to Mercy. He can't afford to let her into his life because he thinks she'll eventually leave town again.

When Mercy has a reversal of fortune, will she leave the man and child who need her? Will Clay believe in their future and accept that Mercy has found there's no place like home?

"A guilty pleasure I enjoy with my husband is watching great movies and television. Some people think it a waste of time, but I learn a lot about storytelling, pacing, and plotting...or at least that's what I tell myself."

Jan Scarbrough

Jan is the author of Brody: The Montana McKennas (Montana Ranchers, Book 2), a contemporary western romance.

Home…it’s where you go when your past, present, and future collide.

Can Brody Caldera, the champion bull rider, turn his life around and make up for his past mistakes?

Single mom Stephanie Chambers hopes to keep her daughter away from man who deserted them years ago. But the spunky ten-year-old is enamored by the famous cowboy, and Stef’s best intentions are side-tracked from day one.

Jan said: "My weekly riding lesson at Premier Stables is a guilty pleasure. It keeps me young and fit. It clears my head. I get a weekly “horse fix” without the enormous expense of owning a horse."

Joan Reeves

Joan is the author of Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones, a Contemporary Romantic Comedy available in print, audio, and ebook.

What could be worse for former high school beauty Jane Louise Jones than attending her 10-year high school reunion alone? Not much, unless it's the unexpected arrival of Morgan Sherwood, once her secret love who shows up complete with a stretch limo, an entourage, and a plan to focus his high-powered brain and his considerable masculine charm on seducing Jane!

Throw in the blue-haired, matchmaking Ladies of the Bridge Club, lots of southern charm, a ten-year old betrayal, and plenty of romantic humor for a heartwarming, story that will leave you with a smile.

"My guilty pleasure usually involves things I shouldn't eat. I guess that's because I've watched my weight all my life! Diabetes runs in my dad's family so I'm always conscious about not gaining weight. I never want to develop diabetes. So, guilty pleasure? Nacho Cheese Doritos. Yum. I salivate just thinking about the spicy snack. Oh, and an ice-cold Dr. Pepper to wash them down. I never buy these at the supermarket because I can't trust myself to have an occasional serving. To me, a serving is half the bag!"

Remember, leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the Giveaway!

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All of her books have the same underlying theme: It's never too late to live happily ever after. She lives her HEA with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Visit Joan online: Blog * Amazon * BookBub * Facebook * Twitter. Want a free ebook of one of Joan's popular romance novels? Just click here to sign up for Joan's mailing list.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Working the puzzle @Liz Flaherty

There were times in my work life when I was a less-than-exemplary employee. More than once, I called in sick when know, wasn't. I didn't work as hard as I should have some days. Some 10-minute breaks turned into 20 because some of us were laughing too hard to stop or because my friend Debby and I were at a Very Important Point in the crossword puzzles we worked every day.

In my own defense, I think most of the time I was a good employee. I'm a proponent of working hard and staying on task when I'm "on the clock." Even now, working a part-time job that's not labor-intensive, I like being busy. Being productive.

I write every day. Not necessarily a lot, but every day. Even on weekend mornings I come into the office and fumble out a few paragraphs between Facebook-checking and games of Solitaire. I do it to maintain the habit, because--just like eating well--if I take a week off, it is way difficult to get back into the swing.

But right now I have two siblings in separate hospitals. I worry with what seems like every minute. My dreams are populated by my sister and brother. I'm uncertain of where I should be and when I should be there. We are not a fussing family, so I need to not do that. And yet.

Although I depend on emotion for writing, emotion will also silence me. And it has. Which worries me. What if I never write again? What if I can't finish the WIP that I've signed a contract for? What if...

My office is a quiet place, a place that reflects nothing but me. Sitting here trying to finish a blog post that isn't at all what I meant to write--but writing anyway when my heart is silent--has given me more peace than I've had in days.

It's like the crossword puzzles Debby and I used to do at work. They were hard ones, and we each had our own strengths in working them. The puzzles--and we did hundreds of them--added glue to an already tight friendship.

They were indeed time away from work, but they were strengthening things. We did them even when we didn't particularly feel like it and made mistakes in them. A few times, we made such a mess of a puzzle we ended up tearing it out of the book. Through some rough times in our lives, we still did them.

I'm tearing out some pages right now, but at the end of each day I'm still here in this room of my own writing words that are faultier than usual. Taking a 20-minute break instead of 10. Being less than exemplary. But still working the puzzle.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How to go on... @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

I'm just back from an extended time in Portugal (with a week in Spain thrown in) and while we were away my husband insisted on not watching the news. "News ruins vacations and we don't need to keep up with much."

It meant that sometimes the only snatches of news I got were from Social Media posts. There were days when terrible events occurred and we remained blissfully unaware.

Talk about taking a break. We were happy every dark clouds of worry about the state of the world hovered on our horizons.

This morning I woke to news of random bombings, stories about death threats to high schoolers for speaking out against guns, another school shooting, and how today is the first day of Spring.

All of us on this blog have been writing romance for decades. We've seen all kinds of horrible events unfold...too many to recount here.

But we keep writing.

We keep the flame of hope alive by writing our happy endings where love wins and good people find the happiness they deserve.

It's tough sometimes to keep on - we feel the pain, the losses, the confusion as much as everyone else. But if we quit where would our readers go to hide and to heal from the darkness of everyday events?

We must keep going.

We must keep hope alive. People need it. People need us.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Sisterhood* of Romance Authors

* Apologies up front to the many, many talented gentlemen who also write romance. When I speak of Sisterhood for the purposes of this post, I'm speaking about any and all of the dedicated authors of this feel-good, heart pounding genre. So fellows, welcome to the fold!

When I first began writing romance in the early 1990s my first thought was ... writing is a fairly solitaire existence. Then, I discovered Romance Writers of America and, more specifically, my local chapter, Greater Detroit RWA. And, just like that, I was a member of the pack!

Despite years of working in a large corporate environment where I developed many friendships, I'd never felt as welcome as I did at that first chapter meeting. It was like I'd found three dozen soulmates all at one time!

I attended my first national conference in 1993 and upped that soulmate count into the hundreds. What struck me most as a relative newbie was the willingness to help another writer, the instant friends ... not something I was used to in a business environment.

Over the course of the years following that first conference, many things have changed. The romance market has evolved drastically, the outlets for publication multiplied, the avenues for promotion limited only by the author's imagination.

Despite all the friendships, the support, and the advances, the romance industry ... like any other big business ... has had its bad moments, its dark sides.

Book piracy has become a huge business with unscrupulous thieves selling off an author's hard work for bargain prices.

Plagiarism is a serious issue with entire books stolen and reissued in another author's name.

Review sites are filled with angry, mean-spirited people who spend a good portion of their day bad mouthing books they've not even read.

As if all of these issues weren't enough to taint a profession we all know and love, we've now become a home to bullies. A recent incident has brought to light a horrific case of multi-author bullying of another romance professional/cover artist. Although names have not yet been released, I trust that they will eventually come out into the open.

These bullies do not deserve a career in romance.

I encourage all readers to get to know the authors you like to read. Support them with positive reviews, follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for their newsletters. Let's keep this genre the positive, loving environment it has always been.

Authors are hard-working and dedicated to their craft and to the support of other authors and industry professionals. They deserve the same happy ending they give their characters but without the angst!

Peace and love to all!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Love Letters by @lyncrandallwriter

© publicdomainstockphotos
ID 84976177 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The most written and spoken love letters are those in the phrase I love you. They contain a lot of power, especially when they are spoken with clarity, sincerity, and truth.

The sentiment is expressed in so many ways, from baking a blueberry pie for a loved one to sitting quietly on the side of hill and holding hands. Creatives seek to express concepts of love in sculpture, painting, photography, music, dance, and all types of media. Writers write books defining and exploring the variety of love. Poets write poetry about love. All of these expressions are gifts to the world in the name of love.

So today I decided to bring expressions of love to this blog post. We all have reasons on a regular basis to feel discouraged, angry, bitter, hurt, bored, confused, jealous, etc. But if love is the best of things, it can be the ground we walk on every day.

Here is a selection of my favorite expressions of love. Some are from my Pinterest boards. You'll find these and other beautiful things in my boards. I update them regularly. If you like what you see, please follow me and I'll follow you back.

All but three of these are the creation of another writer or artist, not me. Some of these are to my husband. One is a note he wrote to me for Valentine's Day.

 MC and I have been together a long time. He is beautiful to me.

My favorite.

ID 92173816 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Please share images or thoughts that are meaningful to you about love. I'd be so happy for you share.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Best-Laid Plans by Jan Scarbrough

With retirement looming, I had plenty of plans. I’d write every day and finish the next book quickly. Every morning, I’d write for four hours. Easy-peasy.

Then life intervened—of course. The husband got the flu. I got a sinus infection. There were appointments and a trip out of town for a wedding.

But the biggest problem with my best-laid plans has been writer’s block. I have my characters and their conflict. I know the happily-ever-after ending. But getting from page one to THE END is the predicament. In fact, writing this blog is a form of writer’s block—putting off what I need to do.

I know what that is. I need to put butt in chair, open the document, and write through the block. I need to write junk, just to get it down. Then I can always go back and polish. My editor will edit the manuscript and suggest changes. It will be okay. But getting those first words down is the big, big problem.

So much for best-laid plans.

From Wikipedia: “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785” is a Scots Language poem written by Robert Burns in 1785 and was included in the Kilmarnock volume. According to legend, Burns was ploughing in the fields and accidentally destroyed a mouse's nest, which it needed to survive the winter. In fact, Burns' brother claimed that the poet composed the poem while still holding his plough.
From the poem:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What Are You Reading? #Giveaway #Free #Discount

March is National Reading Month. What are you reading? 
What? It's National Reading Month and you have exhausted your TBR pile? Have read through all of the books in your Kindle, and have lost the paperback in your purse? No worries. Let's find you some books!
This seems the perfect time to kickstart some promotional opportunities so that readers have access to a variety of FREE and discounted ebooks. There are several multi-author promotions going on right now and I'm involved in a few. I'll highlight them below with links to more information on my blog and elsewhere.

Read an Ebook Week is March 4 – 10 at SMASHWORDS. Both my Sophie Jacobs and Maddie James catalogs at Smashwords are entered into this promotion. Six (6) of my ebooks are FREE! Corporate Cowboy is 75% off (just $1), and the rest of the catalogs are 50% off. Remember, these deals are at Smashwords only.



I’ve also teamed up with 35 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of romantic women’s novels to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! You can win my novel TEMPT ME, plus books from authors like K.M. Jackson and Amy E. Reichert. 


TAME MY HEART by Sophie Jacobs 
Just Released * 99 cents * Limited Time
Books 6 - Harbor Falls Romance

Maddie James writes steamier contemporary cowboys and romantic suspense (sometimes with a splash of paranormal). Sophie Jacobs writes sweeter contemporary romance and women's fiction. You can find them both at 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

FEAR OF PHOTOS by Hannah Rowan

In this age of constant selfies and people snapping photos of every event with their phones, I still can’t seem to relax and act naturally when someone is taking my picture.  And yet I needed a picture for my blog and for a possible website and various other things authors need pictures for.  Until now I’ve been cropping the rare photos family members take, resulting in very blurry and very old pictures.

The first time I had a picture taken for the humor column I used to write for our local paper, I concluded that either the editor hated me and chose the worst one of the bunch, or the rest were so horrible she couldn’t print them in a family newspaper. I was horrified when someone actually recognized me in the grocery store because she’d seen my picture in the paper because, I concluded, that must mean I really looked like that.

In general my pictures feature what my friend calls “the deer in the headlights look” because I’m trying to pop my eyes open so I don’t look all squinty the way I do when I smile.

So last week I went off to a professional photographer ( recommended by friends in my writing group.  I loved their pictures!  And she assured me she’d be able to help me relax.

In truth, I did enjoy meeting her and doing the photo session.  She took me to a beautiful park where I could focus on watching people walk their dogs instead of thinking about how I looked. She said all those things photographers say like “beautiful,” and “tilt your head just a bit…perfect!”  I had great confidence in a good outcome.

The problem came when she sent me the proofs.

And my goodness, that’s not what I see when I look in the mirror!  Where did those wrinkles come from?  And my hair—I was sure I combed it.  What’s all that extra stuff around my waist?  Did someone stuff a pillow in there when I wasn’t looking?

So now I have a new photo my daughter assures me is “cute” and I can ditch the one that someone took when I was gardening twenty-something years ago.

I’ll have to put it up on my various social media pages.

And then I’m going to Google plastic surgeons.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Word Counts. Are They Carved in Stone? by Connie Vines

The ‘how long?’ question has to be one of the most commonly asked by new authors – perhaps even experienced ones, too. It was certainly one of the first to pass my lips when I began to cross genres.

“What’s the age range?” I asked a multi-published at my local OCC/RWA Chapter monthly meeting.
“I’m thinking of aiming for older children,” I told her.
“That would be ages eight to twelve, then. In that case, it should be between 30,000 and 50,000 words.”

The precision of her answer was satisfying, but it also piqued my curiosity.
“Why that particular length?”

“It’s just considered to be the ‘right’ length at the moment for that age range,” she explained. “Not too long, not too short.”

This ‘Goldilocks’ principle is good general advice to keep in mind, but there are also more specific factors to consider that will help you nail the ‘right’ length for whatever genre book you’re writing. While you should work to your natural style, it’s advisable to be aware of and (as much as possible) write to the length that publisher and readers expect (logon to a publisher’s website for ‘publisher-specific’ guidelines.)

Type of book and target audience

You can hone in on a rough idea of ‘how long’ simply by categorizing what kind of book you’re writing and its target audience. Clearly, any six-year-olds without the miraculous intellect of Roald Dahl’s Matilda aren’t going to want to read something the length of A Tale of Two Cities. Similarly, most adults won’t be very interested in a 40-page picture book.
Most of the data I’ll be using throughout this article was sourced from Writer’s Digest  and personal experience.

Children’s picture book: 500–600 words over 32–48 pages.

Children’s chapter book: 1,000–10,000 words.

Middle grade: 20,000–50,000 words.

Young Adult (YA): 40,000–70,000 words.

Flash fiction: 500 words or less.

Short Story: 5,000–10,000 words.

Novella: 10,000–40,000 words.

Novel: Anything over 40,000 words. Anything over 110,000 words is an ‘epic’.
Adult literary and commercial fiction: 80,000–100,000 words is considered to be the ‘Goldilocks’ zone, though you could get away with 70,000 words minimum and 109,000 words max.


Again, when considering the authority of agents and publishers, “adhering to the expected word count demonstrates that you understand your market.” The ‘right’ answer to ‘how long should my book be?’ is dictated by the audience’s expectations.

Genre has more influence on book length than you might think... 

Here’s a guide to the recommended lengths for genre books.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: 90,000–120,000, anything over 150,000 words might be testing for your readers. As I just touched on above, books in these genres are allowed and expected to run longer than others. This is due to the amount of world building required to introduce a reader to a fictional setting, but be careful not to let this expectation manipulate your natural style.

Historical: As above.

Romance: 50,000–100,000 words. The wide range for this genre is because of the number of sub-genres that it can divide into: supernatural, erotica, historical, ‘chick-lit’, etc.  It’s also worth bearing in mind that longer romance novels seem to be the trend du jour, with bestsellers Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey both comfortably over 100,000 words.

Crime/Mystery/Thriller/Horror: 70,000–90,000 words.  Suspense is key to all of these genres. Pacing is vital in creating suspense, which means it couldn’t be any more important to nail the word count.

Personal style

While you should certainly keep the data I’ve provided in mind, being too prescriptive about sticking to word counts will only impede your personal writing style. If you end up way under the standard word count, you know that you either need to slow the pace a little or flesh out some underdeveloped areas.

How are your word counts?  What word count is your 'comfort zone'?

I am happiest between 50,000 - 60,000 words.  However, I am more comfortable deleting words, rather than increasing my word count.

Where do you fall in the 'word-count' comfort zone?

Happy Reading & Writing!


My Newest Release:

YA Novels--not just for young adults any longer!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Yearning Makes a Great Romance by @JoanReeves

What makes a memorable romance? Yearning--that overpowering desire for the object of your affections.

The dictionary defines yearning as "a feeling of intense longing for something."

I'll add "for someone" because that's one of the building blocks of good romance.

A man longs for the woman he loves. A woman longs for the man she loves. At some point, these two people longing for each other realize that there's more than mere hot desire sizzling between them.

How Yearning Plays Out

Successful TV shows and movies depict yearning in nearly every story. A perfect example of yearning is the TV show The Catch which I adored but which the network canceled.

In the first season of The Catch, Ben yearns for Alice, a woman he wronged...a woman he knows he can never have, but that doesn't stop the yearning.

Alice yearns for Ben, even though she knows the man she loves wasn't real, plus, he stole everything from her. That devastation doesn't stop her from yearning for him. Even though she goes after him, intent on making him pay--and then some--she still yearns for him.

That's a hallmark of yearning. The lovers yearn for each other against their better judgment. That's what creates the push-pull in a relationship that can be so emotional--sometimes funny and sometimes dramatic but always page-turning.

Work In Progress

I'm writing a book now about yearning! In my new story, a woman has everything money can buy, but she yearns for what money can't buy--for something she gave up years ago. When she finds what she lost, she also finds love and passion with a man who's opposite her in every way! She yearns for him--for a life with him--but she knows her long-buried secret when revealed will destroy her chance at happiness.

While you're waiting for this new book that will be published in June, check out one of my other books that has a woman yearning for the man she can't forget.

Romeo and Judy Anne

A romantic comedy with eccentric small town characters, a bratty niece, an overbearing school board president.

Then there's the temptation of her secret love!

High school principal Judy Anne Palmer has all she can do to keep her secret passion from turning into the biggest scandal little Clayton Bend, Texas, has ever seen!

Review: "There are so many things I love about the way Reeves writes -- her characters are well developed, the situations they're put in are compelling and the dialogue is frequently humorous. But it's the underlying emotion that continues to draw me further into every story. I really loved the way we're given a peek into Judy Anne's family life. The multi-generational aspect of the story brought a very realistic dimension to this romance, and I appreciated the challenges Judy Anne had in this arena of her life. Of course, it would be hard to resist the sexy, music-loving, full-of-surprises Roman/Romeo for long, wouldn't it? Watching the two of them discover, define and work out their relationship was delightful from start to finish."

Joan Reeves lives her Happily Ever After with her Hero, her husband, in a book-cluttered home in Texas. Visit her Amazon Author Page for a list of her books. While you're there, click to Follow her. To receive a free ebook (download link sent to your inbox) and be the first to know about new books and giveaways, sign up for Joan's  mailing list.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Writing When Life Gets in the Way

Today my post is targeted more for other writers.  Like everyone else, I have dealt with numerous issues that get in the way of writing, both time-wise and emotionally.  My mother's illness and death from pancreatic cancer, my father's slow slide into late-stage congestive heart failure and death. Dealing with his estate, getting the house cleaned out and ready for sale and dispersing everything. My husband's numerous health issues, my work as a volunteer for a dog rescue group.  My daughter's new puppy who I have to go over and let out and play with for an hour each day.

I could go on, but by now you get the picture.  It seems like every time things start to settle down, something happens.  I guess this is life, right?  And when people ask me how on earth I continue to write with all this going on, my answer is simple.

Writing is my job.

Back when I co-owned a commercial insurance agency, I couldn't just turn my back on it when my life got tough.  I had employees and customers and insurance companies depending on me.  I had to show up, put on a professional face, and make it through.  Even though I now write only in the privacy of my own home, it's very similar.  I have deadlines, and publishers, and readers depending on me.

My solution - which works very well for me, but might not for everyone - is that I assign time to write.  That time is mine and I don't schedule anything else (like doctor's appointments) during that time.  I open my laptop and get to work.  And while I take breaks to get up and walk around or get a snack or water, I write.  (Ok, yes I check Facebook sometimes and IG and even Twitter.)  But mostly I just write.

And because I need to have a minimum of 4 books out a year from my publisher (Harlequin) to stay financially afloat, I make my deadlines.  This year, I will have 5 books out, because one is a reissue of an older book.  In addition to that, I got rights back on 11 other older books, and am working on getting them self-published.  I'm designing covers, reformatting, and even in some cases, tweaking the writing.  That has a lower priority than my paying gig, so I missed my goal of getting one out in February.  But I'm looking at March for the next one there.  It'll get done.

Here is my March reissue from Harlequin Romantic Suspense.  It comes out March 18, 2018

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I love my job.  Writing brings me great joy and I honestly believe it's the best job in the entire world.

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