Real Life Versus Writing Life by Joan Reeves #AoMS

Blog_Beautiful-woman-with-thoughtfu-29888243_BSPI’m late publishing this post today because I came up empty in the find an entertaining subject category. I just can’t think of anything except how down in the dumps I feel. You see I’m tired and real life is hell-bent on interfering with my writing life.

Do you ever feel that when you set goals, the universe throws all the storms of life at you to keep you from achieving them?

That’s how I feel. I had all these ambitious plans for finishing out my various series this year plus writing some special Christmas projects.

Real Life laughed and said, “Think again.”

Even though my time is being used for a good cause, and my time away from writing won’t be forever, it’s still a let-down to watch the days slip away with nothing done.

All week I’ve been frustrated by not following through on my goals–even though it’s not my fault. Rather than bemoan my lack of sleep and lack of time, I decided to remind myself of something I wrote in an email to a couple of friends who were aspiring authors whose energy was flagging on the long journey to publication.

This is good advice regardless of what you’re trying to achieve.

Image of businessman rolling a giant stone

Feel as if you’re pushing a boulder uphill?

Good Advice If Trying to Achieve Something Amazing

Nothing great was ever created quickly. To develop a great scientific discovery, to paint a masterpiece, to write a book, to become a minister or a college graduate–to do anything great or different requires time, patience, and perseverance.

Goals are achieved by degrees, little by little.

Michelangelo did not paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling in a day. Mozart did not compose his most famous work in a day, Milton did not write Paradise Lost at one sitting, nor did Shakespeare create Hamlet in a day.

Just as the most famous musicians begin with basic musical notes and artists first draw with Crayons, the greatest writer who ever lived began with the alphabet. With words. You too must start there.

Whatever your chosen goal, begin with baby steps that will lead you to giant steps.

To do anything great requires time, patience, and perseverance. Accept this and get started.

That’s my good advice for all of you, and for myself today.

AFB_2400px3200p_NYT99cents Sale

In my romantic comedy APRIL FOOL BRIDE, on sale for only 99cents, Maddie has a goal and is determined to achieve it.

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were kids growing up together.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Or is it something else? Something hot and smouldering that will not be denied?

FB_Fall in Love_04_1832px2200pPost Script

I’d be delighted if you’d follow me on 1 or all of these: Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Triple delighted if you sign up for WordPlay, my email list/newsletter for readers so I can give you a free book.

Advertisements

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.

Review

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.

 

What Did We Do Before YouTube? by Joan Reeves

Need a laugh today?

Need a laugh today?

Back in the old days, humans would sit in front of the TV and flip from channel to channel using the remote. Now, with a smart TV, humans–like me–can click on the TV’s YouTube app and be entertained for hours by amateur filmmakers.

That’s right, I’m a YouTube fan. If there’s nothing on regular TV that interests me, I know there’s always something on YouTube. I can choose from music, dance, movie clips, television clips, humor, commercials from around the world, and educational topics too that are great entertainment, not boring facts.

I love videos and have numerous playlists set up on my YouTube channel.  Here’s a random sampling of some of my favorites.

  1. Evolution of Dance by Judson Laipply. So imaginative which explains the more than 294 million views.
  2. I’m Farming and I Grow It by Peterson Farm Bros. Another humorous video with more than 9 million views.
  3.  Rita Hayworth Is Stayin’ Alive by et7waage1. Combines famous dance sequences with modern pop music. More than 5 million views.
  4. Tequila Ad by Eldon Coldiron. Humor. Unfortunately–and hilariously–too true. 591,ooo+ views.
  5. Heineken has created some of the most imaginative and entertaining videos accompanied by great music. This one is The Switch from 2012.
  6. Heineken Walk In Fridge. Hysterically funny. Over 14 million views.
  7. When Harry Met Sally Part 2 by Funny or Die. OMG! Hysterical.
  8. Tea Partay by iamigor. A classic. Over 6 million views.
  9. Jane Austen’s Fight Club by TwoTurntablesNMic. Another classic with more than 1.5 million views.
  10. Crazy Amount of Sugar Hiding in Random Foods by BuzzFeedVideo. Fascinating and scary. Over 3 million views.

SS_2400px3200p_NYTMaking videos are as much fun as watching them. I made this video for Scents and Sensuality, my romantic comedy currently on sale for only 99cents for the ebook edition.

A transformed ugly duckling…a matchmaking mom…a blind date gone awry.

Available here: Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords. Audiobook edition available at Audible (not on sale but if you buy the ebook from Kindle you can get it at a reduced price.)

Thanks for letting me–and YouTube–entertain you this cold January day!

Christmas in a Galaxy Far Away by Joan Reeves

Illustration of Santa claus and Christmas reindeer in ChristmasI bet you thought this was going to be a review of the new Star Wars movie. Nope. We aren’t seeing that until Christmas Day. (We have a date with our younger daughter and her husband–both are complete Star Wars fanatics.)

This is about another galaxy far, far away…a time when I was a child with my nose stuck in a book. I’d been that way a couple of years since I’d learned to read rather early in life. I was very young and was already a total geek and wanted only to read.

Amazing Gift

Then Christmas came, and I awoke to find a record player under the Christmas tree along with a half dozen 45s.

Yes, kids, jump in the Way Back Machine and head to the Dark Ages…before digital music, iPods, and CD’s. Before cassettes. Before 8-track cartridges.

Even though I was too young to know what was cool and what wasn’t, I still recognized that all those 45 records would appeal more to my parents’ generation than mine. With one exception. A little gem of a song by Alvin and his chipmunk buddies Simon and Theodore with some ineffectual blustering by an adult named David Seville according to the record label.

Wow. I loved that song from the minute the round black vinyl made its first few revolutions on the turntable. I literally wore that record out. Thinking back on the months that followed Christmas and realizing how many times I must have played The Chipmunk Song, I now see how extremely tolerant my parents, especially my mother, were. They never yelled, “Cut that damned thing off.” (I confess, I wasn’t as tolerant with some of my daughter’s alternative or rap or hip hop tunes.) Nor did they try to sneak it off the turntable and consign it to the trash.

The Chipmunk Song by Alvin and The Chipmunks was produced by Liberty Records and first appeared in 1958. It had already been around and popular by the time I received the record. The whole thing was created by Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville. He was a pioneer with the multi-speed record player and became a millionaire by fiddling with those speeds. You may have heard of his first hit, a little ditty called Witch Doctor which sold over a million copies.

A million copies might sound like a huge hit, but it pales in comparison to The Chipmunk Song, actually titled Christmas, Don’t Be Late. He wanted to use a gimmick to represent animal voices, and his children suggested chipmunks. In the end, Bagdasarian did all four voices including the David Seville character. He named his chipmunks after Liberty Records executives. Si Waronker became Simon, the good chipmunk; Ted Keep was Theodore who was kind of silly, and Al Bennett was the memorable Alvin.

You can get a copy of the original Chipmunk Song as well as videos of the subsequent television show or books, but the song remains the best of the lot, in my humble opinion.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve listened to a CD my daughter gave me a few Christmases ago. After receiving it, I promptly loaded it into my computer. The album is a Christmas mix she put together of some of my favorite Christmas songs. Track 1 was, of course, The Chipmunk Song by Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. It’s nice to know I raised my daughter to appreciate the finer things in life. *snicker*

Christmas Romance

I haven’t used The Chipmunk Song in a story yet, but I may. In the meantime, I have 2 Christmas romances for your consideration.

LuvU4Ever, a holiday short story romance, is free! (If Amazon and Nook still haven’t reduced it to FREE, get it from one of the other sellers listed.) Nobody’s Cinderella is reduced to only 99 cents.

LU4E_2500p_NYTLuvU4Ever (Free)

This Christmas, Noelle faces the biggest decision of her life.

LuvU4Ever. That’s what was engraved on the gold heart David gave her when he proposed. They’ve shared 10 years of joy in what she thought was a forever love.

I told you never to call me at home.

Can nine little words destroy her forever love? What will Noelle do? Will she walk away? Or dish out some payback? Or will she choose love?

Available at All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle (Amazon has NOT price matched so it’s still showing 99 cents there.) * iBooks * Kobo * Nook (Nook has NOT price matched either so it’s still showing 99 cents.) * Smashwords and other ebook sellers.

NC_2400px3200p_framed_NYTNobody’s Cinderella (Reduced from $3.99 to 99 cents)

Darcy Benton is the oldest cliche in the world—a woman in love with her boss. Other than that, she’s no-nonsense, practical, mature, and sober. She’s just the kind of woman Chase Whitaker wants as head of accounting for his company. She’s definitely not the kind of woman he wants in his bed.

Enter Darcy’s meddling, matchmaking best friend who has a plan to transform Darcy into a hottie designed to attract Chase’s interest. All it takes? A couple of little lies…and a wish on a Christmas star. Darcy should have heeded that old advice: be careful what you wish for.

Available at All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords and other ebook sellers.

Wishing yoXmas To Do List_webu all the happiest of Holidays and a glorious New Year!

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 book.

Cherry Pie-Cake, Easiest Holiday Dessert Ever by Joan Reeves

Happy Thanksgiving CardLess than a week to Thanksgiving, and I’m in the holiday mood. I’ve been cleaning, sprucing up the guest room, and hanging the rest of the art that has been stacked in an upstairs closet for almost 2 years. With all that done, my thoughts turned to food. Yum, my favorite part of planning.

I have a dozen guests arriving next week so I started thinking about the menu—not just for Thanksgiving Day itself, but for the day before and the days after.

I like to have a dessert each evening, but I like something that doesn’t take a lot of preparation and work. I’d rather spend time with my visitors than stuck in the kitchen. So here’s my family’s favorite go-to dessert for one of the dinners before the big feast day.

Cherry Pie-Cake

This is a dump cake. I call it a pie-cake because it’s not quite a pie, but not quite a cake either. It’s just a delicious, super easy dessert. Your guests will love it. Serves 12-16.

Ingredients

  • 1 Duncan Hines Yellow cake mix
  • 1 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple in syrup (must be syrup)
  • 1 can Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick of butter, cut in slices

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 13x9x2 sheet cake pan or a pretty casserole dish.
  • Dump the undrained crushed pineapple into the pan and spread evenly over the bottom.
  • Spoon the pie filling over the pineapple and spread it as evenly as possible.
  • Sprinkle the box of dry cake mix over the layers and spread it out evenly.
  • Sprinkle the pecans over the cake mix layer.
  • Place the pieces of butter around the top.
  • Bake for 48-53 minutes.
  • Serve warm or cooled.
  • Prepare to collect the compliments!

Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones by Joan ReevesNeed a Break from the Festivities?

Consider JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES, a romantic comedy all about family and friends. Reader Review: “These are two of the most delightful characters on the printed page.

“Jane thinks she’s worldly NYC but is very much the Louisiana belle—and Morgan…well what can you say, the perfect all grown up, hunky former nerd.

“Joan Reeves is at her very best with these two and the entire small town of delightful characters. It’s delightful, delicious, sexy and adorable.”

JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES is available in ebook at: All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords. Also available in audiobook at Audible and iTunes.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and showers of blessings for which to give thanks each and every day.

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives her “happily ever after” with her husband in the Lone Star State. Visit Joan at her Amazon Author PageSlingWords, her blog; and sign up for Wordplay, her email mailing list.

Guilty Pleasures by Joan Reeves

Guilty PleasuresI guess everyone has at least one guilty pleasure. Me? I have so many that I’ve categorized them. Today, I’m sharing my collection of guilty pleasures with you.

Sweets

Some people love ice cream. I can go for months without eating ice cream , pudding, cheesecake, or pie, but a warm blueberry muffin fresh out of the oven and slathered with butter just floats my boat. Frequency? Once in a blue moon.

Drinks

As long as I have my morning cup of Dunkin’ Donuts, I can leap tall buildings in a single bound. My liquid refreshments usually include said coffee, lots of water, and occasional iced teas. My downfall is Dr. Pepper and Coca Cola. I can’t even risk a single draw on the soda straw so I abstain completely. Usually. Frequency? Maybe once a month when I have my next guilty pleasure…

Fast Food

A Dr. Pepper is my beverage of choice with an A-1 Thick and Hearty Burger from Whataburger, a mostly Texas chain, or a Texas Burger, from the fast food restaurant of the same name, where the burgers are Angus beef from Nolan Ryan‘s ranch about 30 miles south of Houston. (For those who may not be baseball fans, Nolan Ryan is a Hall of Fame pitcher. Now retired, he raises Angus cattle.) Frequency: only when on a car trip.

Television/Movies

Television guilty pleasures come and go. Frequency: once a week in the summer for Ninja. The others, during the week in prime time season if there’s time. If there’s not, I DVR the shows at my country place and catch up when I’m up there.

Currently, these are on my radar:

American Ninja Warrior (If I were younger, I would totally go out for this.)

The Blacklist (Love the convoluted story lines that are all tied together.)

Criminal Minds (I like the characters interaction and growth over the years, the small relationship bits and the crime-solving process. Hate the on-screen sadistic details. Seriously. I wonder sometimes if sexual sadists watch these shows for vicarious thrills.

Blue Bloods (Hey, if Tom Selleck is in it, then it’s believable and likable. Great ensemble cast, good police procedural, and good character interaction in realistic situations.)

Fixer Upper (This HGTV design program is set in Waco, Texas, a relatively short drive from our country place. I love the rapport between Chip and Joanna, the married couple who fix up ordinary houses into spectacular, comfortable homes. I wish they’d come visit me in Houston and re-do my kitchen. )

Netflix, Amazon Prime, & Other Video Streaming

I’m just going to mention 2 old TV series that are binge-watching worthy: Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. I’ve seen every episode several times, but I never get tired of this series that showed a woman who was intrepid, honorable, and never backed down. I’m talking about Col. Samantha Carter as portrayed in SG1 by Amanda Tapping. I’ve read that Carter is now a popular name for baby girls. I think all those mommies are Sam Carter fans. Frequency: when I’m in a funk and want to throw the computer out the window.

Books

I’m always so busy that reading itself has become a guilty pleasure. There’s just not enough time to read all the books in my To Be Read pile so I have to sneak a few minutes here and there.

Of course, a lot of readers might name romance novels as their guilty pleasure. If that’s you, then may I offer for your consideration, my romantic comedy Nobody’s Cinderella. In this contemporary comedy, Darcy Benton has a guilty pleasure: playing an old arcade game version of PacMan at her local supermarket. One night when she’s indulging in this favorite pastime and gets herself in quite a predicament.

NC_2400px3200p_NYT

A crush on the boss; a wish on a star… Uh oh!

Nobody’s Cinderella is available at most ebook sellers including Amazon Kindle. It’s also available as an audiobook from Audible.

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives her “happily ever after” with her husband in the Lone Star State. Visit Joan at her Amazon Author PageSlingWords, her blog; and sign up for Wordplay, her email mailing list.

10 Rainy Day Pleasures by Joan Reeves

Romeo and Judy Anne by Joan Reeves, color cover

Judy Anne’s love affair may be the biggest scandal her little Texas town has ever seen.

August has been hotter than usual here on the Texas Gulf Coast with many triple-digit temperature days. Many counties in Texas are now in drought conditions again and burn bans abound.

So it was with surprise and anticipation when we awoke to rain. The temperature has dropped to 78 degrees Fahrenheit–a welcome change from the 101 it was yesterday when we took a day-trip to San Antonio.

I was sitting on the couch, watching Showrunners, a documentary on Netflix, and staring out the window at the rain showering my roses when I thought how pleasant a rainy day can be. In fact, I thought of several things that are great for rainy days but not so good on other days.

10 Rainy Day Pleasures

1. Make soup. Hot weather isn’t conducive to making or eating soup. Give me a rainy day, and I’m in the mood for a pot of vegetable soup using vegetables from the garden (usually courtesy of my sister-in-law) or from a nearby farmer’s market. To go with the soup, I make a skillet of cornbread. From scratch naturally. We had this for lunch, and it was delicious.

2. Clean out a closet. I don’t know why, but rainy weather is my favorite time to clean out closets and cupboards.

3. Watch TV. I truly love laying on the couch in front of the television. There’s just something so decadent about doing this in the middle of the day.

4. Take a nap. The sound of gentle rain on the roof is the perfect background music for a nap.

5. Listen to music. Really listening without doing anything else. A cup of tea or a glass of wine isn’t required, but it’s nice accompaniment to good music.

6. Converse. Life is so busy that it’s easy to get out of the habit of having real conversations. Even when we get together with friends and family, it’s often in a noisy restaurant. Take a rainy day to have a real conversation.

7. Visit a museum. In the summer, most people are busy with outdoor activities. The rare rainy day is a good time to take part in indoor activities.

8. Go for a walk. If it’s not thundering and lightning and the rain is gentle rather than a downpour, put on rain boots and a slicker, grab an umbrella, and go for a walk. It’s really a lot of fun.

9. Go to the movies. When was the last time you went to a theater and saw a good movie? Call a friend and head to the local cineplex. Watching a film on the big screen and nibbling on popcorn is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

10. Read a good book. I love to curl up with a good book on a rainy day. May I recommend one of mine? Romeo and Judy Anne has a great scene set in a rain storm.

Romeo and Judy Anne is available at Amazon and these other ebook sellers: All Romance Ebooks * iBooks * Kobo * Nook.

Giveaway

What do you think about rainy days? Is there anything you do just on rainy days? Leave a comment with your email address and be entered to win an audio book edition of Romeo and Judy Anne.

Post Script

(Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives her happily ever after with her husband in the Lone Star State. Visit her Amazon Author Page and sign up for her Wordplay, her email mailing list.)