Are you a competitive person? Do you feel the urge to challenge yourself continuously? Do you set more difficult goals as you achieve the previous ones?


Granddaughter’s medal for pre-olympic gymnastics

I am not an athletic person, but I have always been competitive in school and at work. I have never refused a challenge and I always thrive to reach higher. As a result I am often stressed if I don’t achieve my goal.

I have friends who shrug when they hear I stayed late to write, or missed an outing to promote a book. Why do you do this to yourself?

They are convinced it’s better to avoid  commitments that would cause  stress. Actually, they are content with what they have. Being relaxed and in good health is more important than achievement and success. They would lecture me for hours to make me understand that hard work might lead to heart attacks.

So, here are the two theories:

The successful man is never content with what he has.

The happy person is one who is content with what she has.



In my family, two granddaughters are extremely competitive, garnering medals and cups in gymnastic, skating, sailing and karate. Their two young siblings don’t have a single medal, but have a dozen best-friends-forever and are often smiling and laughing. Is it impossible to be successful AND happy?      



And here my latest achievement, I mean book:MD-Two Loves For Christmas






Barnes and Noble

Appealing To the Muse

A good while back I began what was to be Book 2 of a romantic comedy.

The characters and story were fresh in my mind. I had great expectations at finishing the book in a matter of a couple of months. The storyline began like this.


Life took over-and every time I tried to write, the book turned to this.

DSC00709 (1)

I struggled with too much on my mind and had left the book too long. The story became fuzzy and I was unable to connect.  A few months later I dug the manuscript from its file and read through what I’d written. I let it simmer, connected with the characters again and changed the outline. So, then I had this.


Things are looking up!

Now, I’m loving my characters again and appealing to my muse while I complete A Smoky Mountain Wedding in time for Christmas this year. I hope life is agreeable and the book comes to a close, because there’s Book 3 to jump into!

So watch out Muse! I won’t take no for an answer. 🙂

Name that deputy sheriff!  He’s a twenty-five-year-old, quiet young man and as honest as the day is long, from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. When things get too busy around the jail, he gets a bit rattled. Think Barney Fife.

If you have a catchy first name, and if I use your suggestion, I’ll be happy to send you a free digital copy of A Smoky Mountain Wedding when it’s completed.

So send in your first names for the deputy sheriff! Grab a chance for a free copy of A Smoky Mountain Wedding.

I can’t wait to read the names you come up with!

You can leave a comment here or email me at Please put “deputy sheriff contest” in the subject line.

The deadline for sending in your names for the deputy is March 19, 2016. I’ll announce the winner on my next post, which will be March 23, 2016. In case of a tie, I’ll have someone draw for the winner.

Please don’t forget to leave your name and email so I may reach you. Thank you!

Good luck and happy reading!

Links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords, can be found here:

The (Secret) Glamorous Life of a Romance Writer

As I sit at my desk…no, I mean, as I lounge on my pink velvet divan, I’m waiting for my agent to call. Any minute the phone shall ring like St. Patricks Cathedral bells chiming and he’ll have the news. The movie studio will want me to play the leading role as the heroine in the latest movie version of my last best selling novel and my chauffeur Myren, who is a consummate professional, a deferential chauffeur, will drive me to New York…

SQ and KittyThis is about when my cat, Kitty, (yes, that’s her name—when you sit around all day making up names for characters, maybe you want to take a break on the cat-naming) jumps up on the desk, licks my face and snaps me out of my day-dream.

(L) Stephanie Queen with Kitty (The crown actually belongs to Kitty. I swiped it for the photo.)

The secret to the (secret) glamorous life is to never, ever admit reality to intrude on your illusion for more than ten minutes at a time—say for instance, the amount of time you might need to run in the grocery store and buy some Pepto Bismol. Once you emerge from the store, with your head held high, the regal air in tact—and your purchase safely tucked in your Gucci/DB/Coach or other suitable bag (or facsimile thereof—I know of a good flea market) matching designer sunglasses in place, you stroll, and wave as needed, to your waiting car. (so what if there’s no driver waiting in said waiting car because Myren is off flirting with the lady in the deli department—in your minds eye, you get in the back seat, glance out the window for a quick final pose for the paparazzi and then tell the driver “Home, James”–or Myren or whoever).

Once home, you resume your position on the pink velvet Divan of your imagination and PinkDivanwith your laptop in hand—or on lap—you take up the story where you left off. Now where was I…Morocco? Paris? Maybe standing in front of Tiffany’s on Fifth Ave waiting… and most importantly, wearing Tiffany diamond earrings with the large signature pendant and …who was I waiting for? (Darn that leg cramp–they don’t make divans the way they used to…)


What glamorous life do you dream about from your pink divan?

Stephanie Queen of the imaginary pink divan fame has actually written numerous novels including the Beachcomber Investigation romantic detective series novels. Check out her website if you don’t believe it at

Parents And Problems by Joan Reeves

Inspirational Typographic Quote - What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

I’m slow to get this post up today because I’ve been on the phone a long time counseling my oldest kid. He’s going through that difficult time: raising a teenager. He bemoaned how hard it was to deal with his teenager.

*ROTFL* I remember how he was when he was a teen. Oh, my! It really is true. What goes around, comes around.

Difficult Relationships

That made me think about all the parental-child relationships in my books. There are some where the heroine has a great relationship with her parents. That’s based on personal experience because that’s a reflection of our relationships with our kids.

Then there’s the heroine dealing with a difficult mother. Sadly, that too is based on personal experience. My mother was the poster child for difficult, but that didn’t mean I didn’t love her and do everything I could for her. That’s often the way it is with these relationships. You just do the best you can and learn from the experience.

RJA_2400px3200p_NYTRomeo and Judy Anne

I suppose when I was creating the mother in Romeo and Judy Anne, I was mirroring part of my own relationship. Some readers have posted reviews for this book saying Judy Anne was a wimp for putting up with her mother. I disagree. She was just doing what she could to support her mother until her mother “grew up” and could move on in life.

In the book I wrote, that was part of the resolution of the story. Judy Anne’s mother did manage to accept what had happened and become able to stand on her own rather than clinging to her daughter for everything. That’s one reason I love being a writer. I can make everything work out whereas in real life, it usually doesn’t.

Romeo and Judy Anne, a romantic comedy, has eccentric small town characters, a bratty niece, an overbearing school board president, and the temptation of a secret lover. Judy Anne has all she can do to keep her passion for her Romeo from turning into the biggest scandal little Clayton Bend, Texas, has ever seen.


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.~ Amazon Reader Review

Add Romeo and Judy Anne to Your Library: All Romance eBooks * Amazon Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.

By the way, you can buy the Kindle edition and get the audiobook from Audible at a greatly reduced price. (The audiobook is WhisperSynced with Amazon.)

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Available as ebooks and audiobooks, her romance novels all have the same underlying theme: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s email list/newsletter for readers and receive a free ebook.


World Building

Recently, in my work-in-progress, I had to step back and compile a “bible” for a secret society I’ve created. I didn’t think I’d been all that technical when I laid it out in a previous book, DEFENDING DESTINY, but as it turns out, when writing rules, one doesn’t necessarily remember every detail. Hence the “bible.”

Do you like to write or read books in a series? How critical are you if a defining characteristic of a character or setting changes from book to book?

I’ve read eighteen books by a well-known author who only writes one character. When that character’s height changed by an inch in one of the books, I noticed. Did I stop reading? NO. But it did pull me out of the story.

Another bestselling author with many books in a series didn’t make an error in his fictional world from book to book – he did it in the first three pages of the same book. A female character went from being a redhead to a blonde, and NO ONE caught it. That book went on to sell millions of copies. I guess mistakes like that don’t kill the big boys.

I, for one, don’t think they should.

Magician's Chalice

Still, I’ve built my “bible” and I’ll be building another as soon as THE MAGICIAN’S CHALICE has gone through my editor’s fine tooth comb.

Any mistake stories you’d like to share? After all, even writers are human.

Happy February,


Candy Hearts

candy heartsSweethearts (candy)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sweethearts (also known as conversation hearts) are small heart-shaped sugar candies sold around Valentine’s Day. Each heart is printed with a message such as “Be Mine”, “Kiss Me”, “Call Me”, “Let’s Get Busy”, and “Miss You”. Sweethearts are made by the New England Confectionery Company, or Necco. A similar type of candy is sold in the UK under the name Love Hearts. Necco manufactures nearly 2 billion Sweethearts per year. (That’s a lot of candy!!)

Some of my early childhood memories are of those little boxes of love. Long before I was old enough to get chocolates from a boy, I would receive those candy hearts in a decorated brown paper bag hanging from my desk. Way back before Politically Correct was a thing, you only got valentines from those who liked you and lived in fear of taking home an empty bag.

In line with the song, You Can’t Buy Me Love, you can’t make little boys like little girls and vice versa until they are ready. But you can give a little happiness with a little box of candy hearts.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jill James, romance writer

Valentine’s Day Shopping for the Book Lover

It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend, and if your sweetheart is a book lover, he/she might love something that indulges that passion. To help you out, I’ve amassed a few items that would be fun for anyone who’s idea of a hot Saturday night is finishing that book. While it might be a little late to get your shopping on for this year, it’s never too late to think about next year. Or you might want to consider one of these gifts for an upcoming birthday (mine’s in August, in case you’re wondering).

  1. Ex Libris wine from Polaner Selections. As any good bibliophile will tell you, “ex libris” means, “from the library of…”
  2. fingerprintA bookmark that not only holds your place, but also points to the last line you read. Available at Amazon.
  3. Library stamp t-shirtL-1090_library-stamp_Womens_Tees_1_compact
  4. chocolate barBook quotes and chocolate. Need I say more?
  5. The Bamboo Bathtub CaddyBamboo-Bathtub-Caddy1-500x500
  6. teaspoonThis stamped teaspoon.
  7. So Many Books, So Little Time bookends.
  8. Pride & Prejudice jewelry like this: Pride-and-Prejudice-Bead-Earrings-540x608
  9. Mix your valentine one of these literary-inspired cocktails.
  10. paper rosesMore a traditional gift-giver? How about these paper roses?

Of course, the best gift you can give your book lover is time to read!


Mercy is Free!

Hi all,

Today it’s my turn to post on Main Street and I invited a guest, Inez Johnson to talk to us about blog tours. Awesome post. Don’t miss it. Read it here.

But I also wanted to put in a plug for my novel Stealing Mercy. It’s free for just today. Get it here.


A girl disguised as a boy.
A villain with a brothel to fill.
A hero wondering why he’s in love with a lad in breeches.
Serving murder, mayhem and pies, Stealing Mercy is a romantic adventure set in 1889—on the eve of the Great Seattle Fire, when more than a city is set on fire.

After a night of terror, Mercy Faye flees New York. Disguised as a boy, she sets sail for a new life in Seattle, but her nightmare, Mr. Steele, follows close behind. Armed with only her chocolates, laced tarts, and wits, Mercy sets out to destroy Mr. Steele and his Lucky Island brothel.

Trent Michaels is searching for his missing cousin. He can’t afford complications – or romance – yet, at every turn he finds Mercy Faye. The night before the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, flames spark between Mercy and Trent leaving the life they know and the city they love in ashes.

Their story reaches forward through time to Bette Michaels, a genealogist, struggling with grief after the sudden death of her husband. Although generations apart, as Bette unravels Mercy’s story, she learns that a life can be rebuilt – even after everything is lost.

Through Mercy, Bette discovers that sometimes the only way to find happiness is to steal it.


DIY Blog Tour by Ines Johnson

  • If You Publish It, They Will Come
    That may have been true ten, five years ago in indie publishing. It is no longer the case today. Readers have a lot of authors and books to choose from. They don’t know you, so you have to do something to get their attention.
    Okay, but what something? After visiting Google, I decided to do my own blog tour. I went to listservs and chat rooms for authors and asked questions. Established authors said a blog tour was a waste of time. But new and indie authors said to go for it. I had nothing to lose, and no money to spend, so I did it myself. Here’s how I did it.
    . Build a MEDIA KIT
    Honestly, this wasn’t the first thing I did. I realized I needed it as responses started rolling in with bloggers requesting the same materials over and again. But I recommend it be the first thing you do.
    A media kit is everything a blogger could possibly want or need in order to host you on their webpage. Include in your Media Kit the following:
    Your book blurb. I included different lengths of my blurb, including the full blurb that’s up on Amazon. A shorter three sentence blurb. And a one sentence blurb. My debut book was erotic romance, so I also had to be sure and include a PG version of my blurb for bloggers who also showcased YA books.
    Book excerpts. Choose one to two scenes that you feel would get readers engaged in your story. I recommend the excerpt should start somewhere in the middle of the scene and end before the scene is over at a high point of tension. If you choose well, this tactic would naturally lead a reader to push the ‘buy now’ link so they can find out what happens next. Again, make sure you have a PG excerpt for bloggers who showcase YA books.
    Guest Posts. I wrote three guests posts for my tour. I found that bloggers liked craft pieces, writing tips, and social commentary. So, I wrote one of each. I also found that some bloggers wanted you to answer their list of questions instead of using your posts. I complied, and the saved each question and answer. I included these Q&A’s in my media kit and made them available to all subsequent bloggers.
    Author biography. Be sure to include the bio you’ve written for yourself and posted on your website. I found that some bloggers preferred a one sentence bio, called a tagline. So, I paired my long bio down and included two options in my kit.
    Links. Be sure to include your store purchase links, your website url, and all social media links and handles. In my ebook, I have fancy graphic links. I assumed the bloggers would do something graphical with my link, but few did. Instead they just left the entire URL up under my name. I didn’t like that, but I had to realize that many of these bloggers weren’t graphic artists or any more tech savvy than your average person. Moving forward, I’ll need to think of a better way to list these links.
    Images. Attach images separately, as well as in the body of the kit. If you have a lot of images, make them available upon request.
    That was a lot of information, but I suggest you get started on that before contacting bloggers. Many get back to you straight away and begin making requests.
    2. Find BLOGGERS
    Once your media kit is assembled, you need to start finding blogs to host your amazing information.
    I began my search at the Book Blogger Directory:
    I made certain to check for bloggers who were in my genre. I also checked their sites to see when their last activity happened. You don’t want to spend time querying a blogger whose last post was in 2013.
    3. Make CONTACT

    Once I had my list of vetted bloggers in my genre, I began to contact them. Be aware that some of these bloggers have handy Google Docs. They’d prefer you use these instead of emailing them directly. For those I emailed directly, I made a form email, but I sent each blogger an individual email with their name in the salutation. I also tailored the form email to each blogger where possible. For example, if I saw that a blogger was only interested in author interviews, I didn’t mention that I had blog posts and excerpts because I knew they wouldn’t be interested in those items.

    Here’s an example of the basic form email that I sent out:
    Dear [Book Blogger],
    I write erotic romance, paranormal romance, and fairytale retellings under the pen name, Ines Johnson. My newest release, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story, which is a fairytale retelling of the Cinderella story will hit the print and virtual shelves on March 17th. I’ve planned a book tour throughout the month of March to create some buzz and garner a bigger audience for my book. I’d love to make a stop at your site. I’m happy to do a Q&A, a blog posting, submit my book for your review, or any combination of the three. I’ve prepared three posts for the occasion. If you feel that one of the topics might interest your readers, I would be happy to make it available to you any day during the month of March and April. Attached you’ll find my Media Kit for your convenience.
    4. Keep RECORDS
    It looks bad to contact the same person over and again. Or to forget that you agreed to give this blogger that post on this day. I kept a spreadsheet in Google Docs so that I had access to it at all times. On the list I listed the blog title, the blog URL, the contact person’s name and email address. In other columns, I placed what each blog looked for from guest bloggers, when I contacted them, if they responded, if they said yes and what they wanted, when the post would be live, and when they needed the information by. You should also note if they want exclusive content, and if
    they want you to provide them a giveaway.
      Review Interview Blog
      DATE Requested
       * a note about giveaways: try where possible to offer your book as a giveaway. I got my highest sales on the days I offered my book as a free giveaway. I didn’t want to offer a gift card, remember I was broke by this time.
  • 5. Be SOCIAL
    As the blog tour began, I made a fancy banner announcing the tour for my webpage. I linked to each blog that hosted me. On the day of each tour stop, I tweeted and posted each blog. And I visited each site to try and interact with any commenters and responded where appropriate.
    But the most important thing I did, was mind my manners. After each post I wrote a personalized thank you note to each blogger. I told them how they affected my sales rank that day. Each one invited me back!
    I had phenomenal success with my tour! I was on thirty blogs over the course of my launch week. As soon as those posts went live, my debut novel was launched into the Top 100 where it’s stayed for a week after my launch. I could see the effects in real time. When a tour stop went live, an hour or so later, I’d see sales. I didn’t see much of a blip on social media (ie, my newsletter or Facebook Likes). My twitter followers did see some of an uptick, but mostly from the bloggers themselves as they tweeted about the post.
    I repeated these steps fro the When Black Women Fall promo tour. This time I had over 50 bloggers sign up for the tour, many were repeat bloggers who I built a relationship with over the year I’ve been published. To see the other authors on the tour, please visit our site at

Books & Vegas!

 Here’s the thing about Las Vegas, it’s proof that you actually CAN have too much of a good thing! 😀 Exhausting!

Earlier this month I went to my first book signing, as a signing author. I was both nervous and excited for this event. I got to Vegas a few days early to enjoy the town and catch a few shows. My favorite was Jersey Boys, at the Paris Hotel & Casino. This show was FANtastic and I recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in Vegas. MUST SEE❗️

After two days of good times with friends, it was time to buckle down and spend time with my publishing house, editor, and fellow Forever Red Authors. Okay… we goofed off a little, before the work started. We walked the strip, saw Zumanity (another superb show), and maybe went to a show where a lot of men speak Australian. 🙈   

Eventually, it was time to get to work and attend the signing. I had such an amazing time meeting new readers and authors. There were also a few cover models in the room and I have to admit they did take a little attention away from the authors; even if they were instructed to keep their shirts on. (No, seriously, it was announced before the start that they had to wear their shirts! 😝) 

Five hours, several signed copies sold, a lot of really amazing people at my table,  and I managed to get through my first signing. Such a great feeling and experience. Every new step in my career is a reason to celebrate, although mostly I was just tired. 💤 There is so much to do and see in Vegas, that the last day I really only wanted coffee and a good read, by one of the new authors I’d met at the signing! 

The week did have an added bonus, because Books One & Two of the Series I was signing,One Day at a Wedding, released and a cover reveal went out for a follow up novella to the series, Call Me Yours❣The entire week was a huge succes and a lot of fun, but, and I hate to say it, I was beyonf ready to head home and sleep when it was all over. LOL 

Since then, Call Me Yours, released and I am getting amazing feedback on the series! It’s always encouraging when people enjoy the work. If you’d like to check out the series with little to no commitmen, lol, there is a prequel that’s FREE. See the series links below for all 4 stories that make up my One Day at a Wedding Series❗️
✯ ☆҉‿➹⁀☆҉☆


 ✯ ☆҉‿➹⁀☆҉☆

 Call Me Yours by Kelly Rae


Thad got his woman, but he also met his match. Brianna is tough and yet very skittish when it comes to having a real relationship. Thad, who is usually all about fun and keeping things light and loose, is not so sure he can do that with Brianna Simmons.

One Day at a Wedding Series by Kelly Rae 

PreQuel, When Cassie Met Thad, is FREE:…/…/B019LQKDEG

Books One & Two Available NOW:…/…/B019GIUWZ4

Novella 2.5  ONLY 99cents! 

(this one is a little hotter):

I hope this first month of the new year treated you as well or better than it did me! Thanks for stopping by today and please, leave a comment below about #Vegas, your best Vegas story and I’ll enter every name into and pick someone to WIN a signed copy of When Cassie Met Thad – the prequel to the entire series❣

As always, wishing you well in fiction and rel life! 

Kelly Rae