Joan Reeves

About Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Die Hard Christmas…Huh? @JoanReeves #mgtab

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I didn’t set out to write a Die Hard Christmas story. It just happened.

It’s funny how the mind works–and doesn’t work. And thereby hangs the tale of a book.

Recently, I uploaded the final manuscript for my latest book, DEAD HEAT, a romantic suspense that surprised me when I realized that it was set a couple of weeks before Christmas!

Now, I didn’t set out to write it as a Christmas book–and it’s not what you’d call a Christmas book unless it’s of the Die Hard Christmas genre. *LOL*

What happened was that I was brainstorming ideas last year about how I wanted to develop the Outlaw Ridge, Texas series. The first book in the series was HEAT LIGHTNING. I knew I wanted the word HEAT in the title of each book, but I didn’t necessarily want the book set in summer.

The phrase, dead heat, fit the scope of the story since the heroine and the villain are in a dead heat with the prize being her life or death.

I decided to set DEAD HEAT in the winter–December in West Central Texas to be precise.

My husband read the manuscript to make sure I got the “guy stuff” correct. (That’s guns, bullets, fighting moves, etc.) He asked, “Is this a Christmas Romance?”

I said, “Huh?”

He laughed and asked, “Do you realize you set it just before Christmas?”

I said, “Huh?”

No, I did not realize that. I was just living in the world of Outlaw Ridge, Texas, and trying to figure out how Sabrina, the covert operative heroine, can keep her secrets from John, the Navy SEAL hero who was her lover, yet enlist his help to save herself from an international criminal intent on capturing her.

I guess it’s a perfect case of tunnel vision. In any event, I ended up happy with this edgy romance that I first finished in August as a 20,000 word novella. When I was bored during Hurricane Harvey’s 4 days of pounding rain, I played around with the story and ended up expanding the novella so much that it became a full-length novel of 63,000 words by the time I typed THE END for the second time.

THE END — now I can live happily ever after with this latest book up on pre-order and due to publish Nov. 14.

About Joan Reeves

Joan is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  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. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house in the country where they grow fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, coyotes, deer, and the occasional copperhead snake.

Be the first to know about new books and giveaways. Get a free ebook just for signing up for Joan’s Reader Friends.

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Happy Friday the 13th by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Okay, let’s see a show of hands. Who is worried that Friday the 13th brings bad luck?Who’s superstitious?

Not Me

Let me step out from under this ladder where I’m petting a black cat and tell you that I’m not superstitious at all. However, I have a fondness for superstitions because my mother was unbelievably superstitious. I think this is because she was an only child born to a middle-aged couple. My grandparents were actually born in 1882, and my mother was the spoiled darling of them and their elderly siblings and friends.

I’ve always thought it was weird that I–a child of the volatile Sixties–had grandparents who were born just 17 years after the Civil War ended. My grandfather told me stories from his youth such as seeing Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Many people in that era were superstitious. When I helped my mother write her memoir in 2008, just 2 years before she passed, she wanted to include a chapter on Superstitions. I was amazed that there were so many bad luck omens that ruled peoples’ lives.

Excerpt from Memory Lane, My Mom’s Memoir

My mom’s memoir contains a long list of superstitions. Here are 13 for Friday the 13th.

  1. To drop a dish rag means you will have company.
  2. Telling your dreams before breakfast makes them come true.
  3. If you lay a coat on the bed, someone will die.
  4. If the palm of your right hand itches, you’ll shake hands with a stranger.
  5. If the palm of your left hand itches, you’ll receive money.
  6. A rooster crowing on the roost means a death.
  7. If your right eye itches, you’ll have good luck.
  8. If your left eye itches, you’ll have bad luck.
  9. If you give a knife to someone, you’ll cut your friendship in half.
  10. Spilling salt means a family quarrel.
  11. Find a penny, and you’ll have good luck.
  12. Sweep anything out of the house with a broom after dark, and you’ll have bad luck.
  13. Never sweep beneath someone’s feet or they’ll never marry.

So have a chuckle or two over superstitions and make Friday the 13th a day to have fun instead of anxiety. Better yet, chase away bad feelings with some feel-good romance novels like those in A CHRISTMAS SHE’LL REMEMBER. It will be a holiday collection YOU’LL remember. Get it today for the pre-release price of 99 cents. This set will publish on October 19.

About Joan Reeves

Joan is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  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. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house in the country where they grow wine grapes and fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, coyotes, deer, and the occasional copperhead snake.

Be the first to know about new books and giveaways. Get a free ebook just for signing up for Joan’s Mailing List.

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Happy Autumn by @JoanReeves #mgtab #KissThrill

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Happy Autumn! It’s the first day of Fall!

I guess it may look like autumn in many parts of the country, but not here on the Texas coast. We’re still in summer and probably will be for another month before the cool down starts. Our first blue norther will probably blow in around Thanksgiving.

Contrary to popular belief, we do have trees that change colors. This photo is one I took last year that shows the beautiful foliage in my neighborhood. Our changing leaves are most frequently seen on crape myrtles, sweet gum trees, and tallow trees. Although the photo shows only one tree, there will be a few more trees with autumn leaves scattered amidst the massive live oaks that grow here.

Fall Means Winter’s Coming

Now that Fall has, uh, fallen, cold weather will be coming. Many of you will be turning on furnaces and putting away the garden hoses much sooner than we will. Now is a good time to go through a seasonal checklist because there’s more to getting ready for winter than putting away a garden hose and turning on a furnace.

Take Care of Your Home: 9 Things to Do Now

Take care of your home so it doesn’t end up looking like the one at right!

1. Service your furnace and change the filters in the air returns. If you don’t have an annual inspection plan, now is a good time to get one with a reputable heating/cooling company. They usually do a fall and spring check and do it more thoroughly than you can. Ask your neighbors for recommendations because this really is a good thing to pay for.

2. Drain garden hoses. Coil them up, secure with extra long cable ties or twist ties, and store in the garage or a shed until the spring thaw. They will last a lot longer if you do this even in moderate climates like Texas.

3. Clean all gutters and downspouts. Even better, hire someone to do this. This is a dreaded job. Far easier to pay someone a few bucks than to tackle it yourself. In fact, pay someone to put gutter guards on them. We just had that done.

4. Winterize, clean, and store your lawn mower. Winterize usually means draining oil and gas if needed. Wash the underside and remove built up grass “scum.”

5. Check all doors and window seals for cracks in the caulking or in the frame itself. Caulk and weatherize as necessary. This costs little but can save you a lot of money in heating and cooling.

6. Visually inspect your roof. Actually, see if you can take a good set of photos so you can compare the roof aging from one year to the next. (Good reason to buy a drone, right?) If you see any suspiciously dark spots or cracked shingles, call a roofing company. Squirrels

can do a lot of damage to a roof so if you have a lot of squirrels in the area–like we do–check your roof every month.

7. Check out the way your lot drains. Has anything overgrown its spot in your landscaping and now keeps rain from draining away from your house? Rain water should always drain easily away from your house not flow back to it.

8. If you have a chimney, inspect it. Clean out the fireplace if you didn’t do it at the end of the last cold weather. If you burn a lot of “dirty” woods like pine, etc., get a chimney sweep to clean the inside of the chimney. Always check the chimney cap. (That drone would really come in handy!) We found out during Hurricane Harvey that our chimney cap was cracked. It cost us $1,200.00 to repair the cap and the interior damage from a leaking fireplace. Far cheaper and easier to handle small repairs than to let it go and end up replacing the entire roof.

9. Trim overgrown shrubbery and trees away from the roof and exterior of your home. Tree branches scraping against a roof can prematurely age the roof. Clean up all debris. Where home maintenance is concerned, procrastination is disastrous and expensive. Inspect at the beginning of fall and spring. These few things, if done now, might save you thousands of dollars.

Kiss Me, Thrill Me ~ As Only You Can

Celebrate Autumn with a Romance Collection that’s FREE today and tomorrowfree for everyone.

After that, it’s free on Kindle Unlimited and reasonably priced for 6 full-length novels.

Have a wonderful Autumn!

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Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Is “Rich Author” Oxymoron @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Graphic Image: Young surprised woman in eyeglassesDo you think “Rich Author” is an oxymoron?

Side Note: I love the word oxymoron: “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.” The example usually given is: military intelligence.

Yes, these are the things I think about while I idle through life on a summer day. After all, hot summer days are perfect for sitting around and thinking about stuff. That’s such a fun thing to do instead of slaving over a hot keyboard and pulling recalcitrant thoughts from my brain.

I was watching a morning show interview with Ms. Famous Author. Curious about her past, I did an online search for her name. One of the SERP’s (for those who don’t speak Internet, that’s Search Engine Result Page) that popped up was How Much Is Famous Author Worth.Graphic Image: Dollar Sign

Inquiring Minds, Etc.

Seriously. Isn’t that a terrible invasion of privacy? Yes, but that’s not going to stop us from visiting that page, is it?

So I continued my procrastination research. I found a website that gives Top 10 lists. Just in case you ever wondered who the richest authors in the world are, I can now definitively answer that, courtesy of Trending Top Most.

This website gives lots of juicy details about celebrities, and rich authors are celebrities. (So rich author is not an oxymoron.) The author list gives the books that made them such huge bestselling authors so be sure and check it out for all the details.

There are some surprises such as Jim Davis of Garfield fame. I’m rather certain his making the list was due to licensing deals.

I take issue with the inclusion of Candy Spelling. Even though she is an author and has appeared on the NYT list, I don’t believe she accrued her $600 million from her authorial works. I think her riches came from being the heir to her late husband Aaron Spelling. But that’s just my supposition.

Graphic Image: The Winner IsTop 10 Richest Authors (In David Letterman Order)

10. Stephenie Meyer- $180 million (in 2010 and 2011 alone, she earned over $40 million!)
9. John Grisham- $200 million
8. Dean Koontz – $275 million
7. Tom Clancy- $300 million
6. James Patterson- $310 million
5. Danielle Steel- $375 million
4. Stephen King- $400 million
3. Candy Spelling- $600 million
2. Jim Davis- $800 million
1. J.K. Rowling- $1 billion

Of one thing, I’m completely certain. No one on this list need worry about being pushed aside by me.

Back to the Salt Mines ComputerGraphic Image: Heat Lightning Book Teaser

Enough procrastination research. Back to writing Dead Heat, Book 2, Outlaw Ridge, Texas.

Book 1 is Heat Lightning, set during a hot July in Texas.

Heat Lightning is on Kindle Unlimited so you can read for free. (Buy for only $2.99.)

Within Heat Lightning is an excerpt for Dead Heat, the new romantic suspense, which I think you’ll love! The new book will be published in August.

Graphic of writing penAbout Joan Reeves

No, you won’t find her name on a Top 10 Richest Authors list, but she is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the same premise that is her motto: 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. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house in the country where they grow wine grapes and fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, coyotes, deer, and the occasional copperhead snake.

Be the first to know about new books and giveaways. Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List.

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Writers Reading Vs. Readers Reading by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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I spent most of the past 5 days working in the yard at our house in the country. Three years ago, a leprosy-carrying critter tunneled all around the foundation of our house and pretty far up under the foundation of the back porch.

Our neighbor tried to trap it in a cage made for wild critters. He succeeded only in catching 1 pissed-off giant skunk instead.

I learned a lot about wildlife pests that year. For instance, only 1 thing deters an armadillo. Death. My only hope was that it might become road kill. I guess that eventually happened because it stopped coming around. By then, the yard was wrecked. Mulch was scattered everywhere, shrubs were uprooted, flowers were dead.

Real life problems intervened, then last year, another armadillo found our yard. Same story. I bought Coyote Urine Granules which was touted as an armadillo deterrent. Well, it didn’t deter the armadillo, but it sure made us run for cover. Eventually, that pest must have met a speeding car on the highway too.

This year, we made the commitment to evict the weeds that had replaced the landscaping. Big commitment, and an even bigger job!

You may be wondering what this has to do with the title of my post. When I’m pulling weeds and digging up surviving plants, I have a lot of time to think. So I thought about books and reading. I thought about my work in progress and suspension of disbelief which led me to think about how readers would accept my new story. Another leap, and I was thinking about how a writer reads versus how a reader reads.

Writer’s Viewpoint

I think as writers we always look at situations in books from a writer’s viewpoint. I don’t think readers look at those same situations in the same way.

For instance, if a writer is trying to create a situation in which the protagonist does something most people wouldn’t do, the writer agonizes over how to make it believable to the reader. The writer jumps through all kinds of mental hoops to create a situation in which readers will suspend their disbelief and follow the viewpoint character through the story.

Reader’s Viewpoint

Actually, I don’t think most readers (who are non-writers) ever really think about whether a situation is outlandish–especially if they immediately identify with the viewpoint character. They’re not thinking about the story in the same way as writers.

Readers don’t shop for books, picking up one after the other, with the thought, “No, I won’t read that because the premise is unbelievable.” Or, “yes, I can suspend my disbelief and read this.”

Most readers are wanting to be taken on an adventure so they’re not nearly as critical as writers. Otherwise, there would be no paranormal or fantasy sales or any of the other genres populated by high concept books. There’d probably be a lot fewer romance and mystery sales too.

When a reader wants a mystery, he/she probably doesn’t pick up a book, read the blurb, and think: I don’t believe a wacky woman could work as a bail recovery agent. Or, the reason this housewife wants to play sleuth is ridiculous.

Writers who are reading will think like that, but readers don’t. Readers just dive in, wanting an adventure, wanting to be entertained. Readers are more lenient with books than writers, as long as the reader is entertained. Ultimately, suspension of disbelief is achieved by being carried away by a story and its characters.

Bottom Line

Regardless of the genre, readers follow this thought process: “Hmm. This sounds intriguing.” If it does, they buy. Readers buy based on the way the story or the character resonates with them. They don’t pick apart the blurb or over-analyze the premise.

Writers may buy the same book, but that little editor inside them is constantly analyzing and critiquing–not just the writing and the story, but the way it was marketed too.

At least that’s my 2 cents. What do you think?

Passion. Secrets. Lies. What Tessa doesn’t remember may be the death of her.

Post Script

I loosely based the setting in my Outlaw Ridge, Texas series on the country-side near our house. In Heat Lightning, the first book of the series, the only varmints Tessa and David encounter are the two-legged variety. Heat Lightning is free on Kindle Unlimited, or only $2.99 to buy. Dead Heat, Book 2 of the series, will be published in July.

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Marry On April Fool’s Day by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day so here’s a question for you. Would you marry on April Fool’s Day? I think you’d have to possess a very good sense of humor to do that.

In light of our changing culture, perhaps the better question is, would you get married? Ever. I have a couple of friends who refuse to marry. Each lives with the man she loves, but they absolutely refuse to marry.

In today’s world where couples live together and often have children without marriage, getting married seems to have become the ultimate commitment if not the ultimate love story.Weddings are celebrated in ceremonies ranging from small, family-only events to splashy galas costing as much as a house.

Ancient People Knew What Was At Stake

It wasn’t always like this. Ancient history tells us that marriage was first a private, domestic affair.

According to Curious Customs of Sex and Marriage by George Ryley Scott (out of print but available at used book outlets), the basic function of marriage was to multiply. After all, the population was small. Disease was rampant. Under-population was the big problem. The planet needed more people. Marriages were simply a way of sponsoring procreation.Bride Cartoon

You may kiss the bride. Go forth and procreate.

Women Were Valuable–Commodities

It didn’t take men long to decide that the value of a woman–daughter, sister, or a female related in any way that gave them domination over the woman–lay in making marriage contracts that enabled them (the men) to gain more wealth and power.

Yet, marriage was a hard sell to most men. Those testosterone-fueled beings didn’t embrace the concept. They took persuading which is probably why the dowry played such a big part in landing a man who would enhance a father’s power and wealth.

Perhaps that explains why so many nations (remember, just about all society was patriarchal) experimented with Polygyny, a form of plural marriage in which a man is allowed more than one wife, and Polyandry, a form of polygamy whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time. So they could have many wives and get many dowries in order to expand their power base.

Along Came Monogamy

Eventually, in most civilized nations of the world, monogamy was accepted almost universally, at least in theory, as the perfect form of marital union.

As we all know, nothing and no one is perfect, but monogamy was probably what kept the world rocking along for a couple of millennia—dragging all of the customs and superstitions created along the way into our modern world.

Customs Transform To Fit The Times

Many marriage customs continue, with some slight alterations. Although some may still practice Marriage by Capture, that’s usually performed in an altered version called Elopement.

Betrothal in Infancy and Arranged Marriages still survive as do matchmakers. Even Marriage by Purchase survives in other countries although cynics assert that Marriage by Purchase is alive and well in western civilizations too. Just look at all the wealthy sugar daddies–and a few sugar mamas–who are always looking for sexy young sugar babies. Of course, maybe they’re all just looking for love like the rest of us.

Marriage of Convenience

Another classic tradition in the wedding arena is the Marriage of Convenience in which an unwilling man or woman is forced into a marriage. Sometimes this is because of the need for protection or for economic reasons. This is one of the most popular themes in romance novels.

I explore that theme in my romantic comedy, April Fool Bride which is on sale for only 99 cents today through April 16. (Be sure the price is 99 cents before you click Buy.) You can find April Fool Bride at: Amazon * Nook * iTunes * Kobo (U.S.) * Smashwords.

Blurb

Is it a marriage of convenience or something more? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist!

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.

Review

This is a wonderful love story. April Fool Bride is well plotted and beautifully told. As the story came to an end I found myself wanting to read more. I read a lot of books, but I don’t read them all to the end, and I only write a review on the ones I love. I thoroughly enjoyed April Fool Bride. 5 Stars!! ~ Mary Adair, Author

A charming novella with romance, passion, humor. Maddie needs a husband by April to be able to control her inheritance. The only man she can trusts to help her without taking advantage of the situation is Jake who was her friend when they were both teenagers. His mother used to work for Maddie’s family until the night her stepmother caught Maddie in Jake’s bed and threw him and his mother out. Now Jake is a successful businessman and doesn’t need the money or the lucrative deal Maddie is offering for him to marry her on paper for a year. Yet he accepts because…[*g*] Funny and sexy is the trademark of Joan Reeves’ books, add emotion and passion. ~ Amazon Reader Review

I wish you a Happy April Fool’s Day. Play a corny prank on your kids or your spouse. This is a day made for laughter–and romance if you work it right. *g*

Joan Reeves writes sexy–often funny–Romance Novels. Her books are available at major ebook sellers with new print editions coming this year. (Audio editions available at Audible and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “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 Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and get a free ebook. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Blame It On Chocolate @JoanReeves #mgtab #NewRelease

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Dog holding Valentine balloon.A funny thing happened on the way to writing this Valentine post. I didn’t get Blame It On Chocolate, a new entry in my short story series, A Moment in Time, finished.

Agh! Life has just been plain difficult since the New Year began. Of course, that was how 2016 was so I don’t know why I’m surprised!

I did however belatedly publish Last Chance New Year, another short story in A Moment in Time. It was, of course, a month late. Do you see a pattern here? *sigh* I’ll stop moaning and tell you a bit about Last Chance New Year.

This highly sensual romance short story should be available at all ebook sellers within a day. For now, it’s only at Smashwords and Amazon Kindle, and it’s only 99 cents.

In 2015, I thought it would be nice to start a short story series for all those little ideas that pop into my head. Thus A Moment in Time Romance was born.

After all, A Moment in Time is all the heart needs for Love to blossom.

The first short story was LuvU4Ever, and it was about Noelle and David Morales at a crisis in their marriage.

LuvU4Ever is free at all ebook sellers: Kindle * Apple iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.

This past Christmas I started writing Last Chance New Year in which David and Noelle play matchmaker for two of their employees who are obviously in love with each other but haven’t done anything about it. They don’t know it, but one of those employees has also decided to remedy the situation.

Cheyenne SmithCover of Last Chance New Year by Joan Reeves, better known as C. A. Smith to her co-workers, decides New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give in to insanity and throw herself at Luke Harper, the man she loves, and hope that he catches her.

By tomorrow, Last Chance New Year should be available at all ebook sellers.

As I said, it’s live only at Smashwords with Kindle for now.

A Taste of Chocolate

Actually, it’s a taste of Blame It On Chocolate which should be ready to publish in a couple of days. Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite.

Excerpt, Blame It On Chocolate by Joan Reeves © 2017

In years to come, Chloe Elliot decided if she ever told anyone about this night that she’d blame it on chocolate. Okay, maybe that and the bottle of Merlot she and her best friend and sister-in-law Sarah had drunk with the Valentine chocolates from the heart-shaped box Sarah’s husband—and Chloe’s big brother—had given his wife.

At the moment, Chloe’s heart beat so hard and fast that she ought maybe she was in danger of having a heart attack. Wouldn’t that be just peachy? They’d find her dead in this closet. Wearing nothing but red hooker stilettos and outrageous, hot pink lingerie beneath her khaki trenchCover of Blame It On Chocolate by Joan Reeves coat.

No way. She willed her heart to settle down. Besides, she was too young for a coronary, wasn’t she? She’d just turned thirty today. A Happy Fricking Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday combined. What a catastrophe.

Don’t panic, she told herself again. She wouldn’t have a heart attack. She didn’t dare. What would her mom say if she was found dead—like this!—in the coat closet in her brother’s insurance office? And her dad? She shuddered at the thought.

Chloe took a deep breath and released it slowly. Then another. The roaring in her ears subsided enough that she could hear the sounds beyond the closet door. Nothing. Maybe Hunter had left. Please God let that be the case. She pressed her hand over her heart to still the wild pounding, certain it was beating so hard that it interfered with her hearing.

She listened intently. Nothing. Oh, thank the good Lord above. Relief made her weak in the knees. She swore to go to church every Sunday and to never, ever, do anything remotely crazy again. Her hand was on the doorknob when she heard his voice. Goosebumps raised on her overheated skin. Who was he talking to? She didn’t hear another voice so she decided he must be on the phone. Slowly, she removed her hand from the doorknob and held her breath.

No one had a voice like Hunter Cole. Instead of baseball, he should have gone into broadcasting or acting. She imagined that voice could charm a woman out of her panties as easily as the perfection of his hard-muscled body. Even in high school when he’d been a senior, and her brother’s best friend, and she’d been a lowly freshman, one look at him had turned her brain to mush and her body to molten lava.

Why couldn’t he just go away?

Chloe’s feet hurt in the crippling stilettos, and she needed to pee. Plus, she could hardly breathe in the confined space. At least her nerves had settled so she might as well wait it out.

A little of his conversation seeped through the door. She strained to hear what he was saying.

“…a dozen of your best red roses…big heart-shaped box of chocolate…address…tonight even though it’s late.”

Chloe’s heart no longer pounded. It might have turned to lead in her chest or maybe plummeted to her toes. He was order flowers and chocolates for a woman. Another woman. Not for her.

Now she didn’t feel just ridiculous. She felt humiliated. How had she let Sarah talk her into this? If Sarah knew Hunter so well, why hadn’t she known that he was interested in a woman? She’d never had a chance. If she’d known Hunter was seeing someone, she’d never have done this. She felt a tear trickle down her  cheek. She swiped it away, determined to shove her stupid fantasy to the back of her mind. And she would just as soon as she escaped the closet.

Silence now filled the office. Had he finally left? Surely it was obvious to him that her brother hadn’t asked to meet him here. He should be leaving and racing over to his honey’s house to reap the rewards of the Valentine gifts that were probably being delivered at this moment.

Nothing had broken the silence for almost five minutes. Relieved, she opened the closet door and stepped out.

Right into Hunter Cole’s arms.

Valentine's Day note with rose.I hope you enjoyed that little teaser. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your true love.

Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. Check out her Amazon Author Page for a list of books.  (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.” Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and receive a free ebook. Connect with Joan Online: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

 

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Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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New Year Black-eyed Peas @JoanReeves #mgtab

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New Year's 2017 Graphic ImageNew Year’s Day is on the horizon. In the South, the first day of the New Year calls for Black-eyed Peas.

Some home cooks think cooking these beloved little legumes requires too much time and energy so they opt for the canned variety.

So I thought I’d share this really easy slow-cooker method. You just do a little prep work, throw them in your slow cooker or Crock Pot, and in about 6 hours you’ll have the most delicious black-eyed peas you’ve ever eaten. So if you want to serve black-eyed peas at midnight on New Year’s Eve, put them on at 6pm.

Black-eyed Peas the Slow Cook Way

1. Pour a 1-pound bag of dried black-eyed peas into a colander and wash them. Then place them in a cooking pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into the colander and rinse.

2. Place the rinsed peas in the slow cooker.

3. Add 3 cups of water to the slow cooker.

4. Add your choice of a pork meat product: 1/4 pound of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled OR 1/2 pound smoked ham, cubed OR 1 ham hock.

5. Add 2 medium-size onions, chopped

6. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt. I give this range because some bacon and ham can be very salty. So start with a little salt and add more if needed when they’re almost ready to serve.

7. Add 1/4 teaspoon coarsely-ground or cracked fresh ground black pepper.

8. Optional: 1-2 cloves of minced garlic if you like garlic. I use a little garlic because I don’t want to overwhelm the flavor of the peas.

9. Kick it up another notch with a few drops of Tabasco if you like this Creole flavoring. I always add 4-6 drops of Tabasco.

10. Final option: add a can of diced tomatoes to the mixture in the slow cooker.

Once everything is in the slow cooker, stir to mix well. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours. The aroma as they cook is mouth-watering.

I always serve these with cornbread and rice. Like most legumes, black-eyed peas are an incomplete protein so if you want to serve them as a complete protein main dish, serve them with steamed rice.

I hope you’ll try these. They’re really delicious and so easy to make that you may find yourself making them even when it’s not New Year’s.

Of course, remember the bottle of chilled bubbly.

My New Year Wishes For You

May you and your family have good health, good relationships, vocations and avocations you love, prosperity, the ability to endure and persist when life throws curve balls your way, and peace within.

Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. Check out my Amazon Author Page for a list of books.  (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “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. Readers, sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and receive a free ebook. Connect with Joan Online: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

Joan Reeves

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

 View website

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