The Joy of Audiobooks by Rachelle Ayala @AyalaRachelle #mgtab

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There’s always something relaxing and soothing about being read to. Perhaps it brings us back to the nights when our moms and dads read good night stories to us or circle time in kindergarten when the teacher swung a picture around while wowing us with the antics of a beagle or a little caterpillar. The lyrical voice of a good storyteller transports us into that magical dimension of a story.

Nowadays, it’s rare as a grownup to have anyone read to you. But you can still recapture the joy by listening to audiobooks. And these days, they are more exciting and engaging than ever, with actors and actresses playing the roles of the characters, wowing and enchanting the listener.

Here are some of the joys of audiobooks.

  1. You can rest your eyes. Close them and lay back, whether on a hammock or porch swing, or even in a bathtub [just make sure not to drop your player into the water.] Let romance seep into the suds and dream about that hot hero and lazy nights at the beach.
  2. You can exercise while listening. Get your steps in on a brisk walk around the lake, or a quiet stroll through the park. If you prefer a faster pace, plug in the earbuds and run to the tune of a heartpounding thriller.
  3. You can cut boredom while waiting in line, sitting on the bus, riding the subway, or driving to work. Extra bonus, listen to a engaging mystery while driving can keep you awake.
  4. You can multitask. Get in a romantic comedy while scrubbing the kitchen or cleaning the bathroom. Don’t worry if someone hears you laughing out loud while chopping vegetables or dusting your living room.
  5. You can babysit your pets. Studies have shown that dogs are calmer and more relaxed when in the presence of their pack–in many cases, that’s you. Hearing your voice or a calming, soothing human voice lowers their heartbeat and anxiety. Many people leave the TV on, but the constant interruptions of commercials, as well as gunshots and violent sounds, can leave your pets more anxious than you’d like. Playing back a playlist of audiobooks allows you to control what your pet is hearing and lets them relax at the sound of familiarity. Perhaps your dog might like to snooze to a classic or get his tail wagging to a hot romance.

This year, as an author, I’ve invested in getting my most popular stories produced in audio. I’ve enjoyed casting the “right” narrator for the mood and tone of my story, from Christmas novellas to steamy sports romances.

I bet you have more ideas on how to use audiobooks. Please comment and let me know how you like your audiobooks served.

Please check out my Audiobooks on Audible.com AND if you don’t have a membership, you can get one of my books free if you sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Here are a few of the most popular ones. [Check out my Audiobook List on my website] or for the complete updated list of books and those with audio [heat level, etc], http://rachelleayala.net/books/

Here’s a review for Her Christmas Chance narrated by Kate Marcin
” …every teardrop worth crying ”

For me reading a story is like watching a movie. In my mind there’s an image of how the scene will play out, but it doesn’t always end up that way. Her Christmas Chance is like a wonderful gift. It inspires and entertains while waking up even the blackest of hearts. The words were all there, the beauty was evident, all that Bella and Chance needed was the perfect voice to bring their fairy tale to life. Kate Marcin proved the right person for that tough job. It’s only fitting that since the author put so much of herself on display that the narrator do likewise. Ms. Marcin made every teardrop worth crying and every smile a well earned reward.

Rachelle Ayala

Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.

Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.

She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.

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Making a Difference by Mona Risk

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“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ghandi

Some people see themselves as ordinary people going about their daily activities without concerns about their surroundings. They are just happy to make ends meet, put enough food on the table, take care of their families with a little extra on the side for entertainment and vacation. They may complain on and off if things go wrong. When asked about what they do for a living, they shrug and mention they do what they have to do to keep the JOB that gives them a paycheck.  Exactly what I did, when I graduated from University, got married and started a family. All I wanted was a job that would help me make money and improve our difficult beginnings.

Driven by ambition, others are dedicated to their careers and devote every moment to accomplish their goals. When asked about what they do for a living, they talk about their CAREER, about their hard work and perseverance to climb the ladder of success in their field.

That’s me again. At the age of thirty-five, a slipped disc in my back forced me to avoid standing on my feet all day. I quit my job in the lab and enrolled in a Ph.D. program. Once I received my diploma, I changed my goals and worked hard to succeed in my new career as lab manager, and later director of the environmental division of my company.

A few special people want to make a difference in their world. They really believe in a cause larger than themselves and they would go out of their way to make a difference for others. When asked about what they do for a living, they enthusiastically elaborate about their calling, their mission in life, their vocation. Their happiness does not come from money, or status, but from having a positive impact on the lives of others.

I have gone through the three phases.  Burned-out by many years of heavy responsibilities, long hours in the office and continuous traveling, I took an early retirement to write novels and help others around me.

How do you analyze your accomplishments? Wealth? Status? Inner satisfaction? Positive impact on the others?

To start your holidays, I have three books in three very different genres to offer you,  a sweet romance, a sexy mythological adventure, and a sassy modern romance, all at bargain prices.

Just released: a sweet and funny Christmas Story

IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
Dr. Sylvia Reynolds promised to be at her parents’ house in time for Christmas dinner. With a blizzard paralyzing the Midwest, passengers are trapped in airports for endless hours. While rushing toward the gate, Sylvia stumbles on a baby rattle, sprawls on the floor, and meets a gorgeous man and his baby niece.
James Alexander must deliver his five-month-old niece to her grandmother. The successful lawyer, who doesn’t know the ABCs of baby care, is at his wits’ end with the crying baby who holds on to Sylvia for sheer survival.
Sylvia helps as much as she can, but when James holds her in his arms…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Armchair Trip to Ancient Egypt with adventure, suspense and hot passion among the gods.
OSIRIS’ SECOND LIFE
Full of adventure, romance and humor this is a great holiday read.”~Love Reading
[The story] takes the reader on an entertaining and fun journey to ancient Egypt,… blend of historical and contemporary feel to it, … with realistic contemporary emotions and expectations.“~nanjar

Special Offer
A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL is free on Kindle Unlimited.
“Who wouldn’t fall for a prince? Dr. Amy Tyrone falls hard for Prince Paul of Rensy Island, though she doesn’t realize he’s royalty. Discovering the truth forces her to make a difficult choice – her patients back home or the man she loves? This charming story whisks you away to the romantic settings of Paris and the Channel Islands for a modern-day fairy tale that will warm your heart.”~ Sue

Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
 View website

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FALL INTO THANKSGIVING #mgtab

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and because my family is divided throughout the Midwest, it’s easier for most of us to get together then as opposed to Christmas.

Fall foliage makes for a brilliant display here in Illinois, and decorating for the holidays is a pretty big thing in our area of the country. So, as both a former wholesale and retail florist, I’m sharing some methods for preserving greens.

PRESERVING FALL FOLIAGE

Glycerin/Water Method keeps the leaves fairly flexible. This preserving method works because the natural moisture present in the leaves is replaced by the glycerin solution, maintaining the leaf’s texture and form.

  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Flat pan or disposable plates
  • A weight or something to keep leaves submerged
  • Leaves
  1. Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. You only need enough to submerge the leaves — about one cup.
  2. Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. (Tip: try using two Styrofoam or other disposable plates. Put leaves and enough glycerin solution to just lightly cover the leaves in the bottom of one plate. Then put the other plate on top of the leaves and solution. Now you can put a weight of your choosing on the top plate without getting the weight in the solution.)
  3. Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for 2-6 days.
  4. Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel. They should feel soft and pliable.

Pressing between wax paper.

  • Leaves
  • Wax paper
  • Thin towel or paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  1. Place a leaf between two pieces of wax paper.
  2. Put a towel or a piece of thick paper over the wax paper.
  3. Press on the towel or paper with a warm iron to seal the wax sheets together. This takes about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how moist the leaf is. Once you have finished one side, flip the leaf over and do the other side.
  4. Cut around the leaf, leaving a small margin of wax paper to ensure that it will stay sealed.
  5. Rather than cutting out the leaves, you may want to try to peel the wax paper off the leaves, leaving a coat of wax behind to protect the leaves. Try this on one leaf first to see if this method works for you.

Using a microwave:

  • Fresh leaves that have not dried out
  • Paper towels
  • Microwave
  • Acrylic spray from a craft store
  1. Arrange the leaves on top of two paper towels. Lay another towel over the leaves to cover them.
  2. Microwave the leaves for 30-180 seconds. Be very attentive and careful. Leaves that are cooked in the microwave too long can catch fire. The drier the leaves, the less time they will need. Leaves that curl after removal from the microwave have not been in long enough. Leaves that are scorched have been in there too long. Only dry them for a few seconds at a time.
  3. Let the leaves sit for a day or two and then finish by spraying an acrylic sealant on both sides of the leaves.

Learn more (includes some other cool projects): https://learning-center.homesciencetools.com/article/how-to-preserve-leaves/

And how does something like designing relate to my writing?

Sometimes the easiest way to come up with a new story is to write about what you know, and since I have a degree in Ornamental Horticulture, Tales of Dragonfly includes a heroine who’s not only a florist, but a wedding planner and designer.

In Flight: A Tales of the Dragonfly Novel

A woman who’s afraid to trust. Successful designer, Penny Wentworth has arrived from New York to take charge of the wedding flowers for the new owners of the Dragonfly Pointe Inn. As a single parent of a severely autistic and mentally impaired son, she has no romantic illusions; her experience with an abusive husband has left her wary of relationships.

A man who’s afraid to love. Haunted by his past since discovering a six-year old girl brutally murdered at Dragonfly Pointe over twenty-two years ago, Sam has intentionally avoided returning home. But after resigning from his job as a homicide detective in New Orleans when his marriage fell apart, Sam is now the chief of police in Crystal Rock, Wisconsin.

An undying passion that’s endured throughout the years. Penny’s escort for the wedding, Sam had once been the object of every single one of her teenage fantasies.

When Sam’s search for a killer leads him back through his tarnished past, will a woman who’s afraid to love be able to forgive a man who feels undeserving of her love?

My newly revised story, In Flight, is also included in the Bestselling Hotshot Charmers for only 99c.

I hope everyone has a beautiful Fall-

And a fantastic Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.!!

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Tamara Ferguson

A member of the Romance Writers of America, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series, the Kissed By Fate Series, and the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series.

Her latest wounded warrior romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is included in the top-ten bestselling Holiday Anthology, Mother’s Day Magic…With Love, which was also #1 in Wounded Warrior Fiction. Since being released independently, Two Hearts Unspoken has become a #1 International Best Seller at Amazon as well as a #1 International Hot New Release, and is the 2016 SILVER MEDAL WINNER at Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards for Military Fiction.

Presently, Tamara’s working on Two Hearts’ Christmas Wish, the fourth story in her multi-award winning Two Hearts Wounded Warrior series, Emergence, the third book in the multi-award winning Tales of the Dragonfly Novels, and a novella for the next installment of the bestselling Wedding Pets and Kisses anthologies, featuring stories by multi-award winning, bestselling and USA Today authors.

Since she remains a full-time caregiver for an autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home, where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects, because she’s writing or helping author friends promote their books on twitter.

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Which comes first?

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Which comes first, the idea for a complete story or maybe just for the book’s title? Or maybe it’s an image or a quote that gets the words reaching and stretching for each other, bumbling and fumbling until they tumble together into paragraphs and pages.
There’s no telling what will be the prompt for a new book.

For my latest release, these two words popped up and wouldn’t leave me alone until I gave them a story to live in:
Chasing Christmas.
Okay, you two, you’re a title. Now, how about making some sense?

“Mom, remember when I was little and always asked, ‘When’s it going to be Christmas?’ and you’d say, ‘There’s no sense in chasing Christmas. It’ll get here when it’s time.’”
Okay, so now the title makes sense, but I needed more for my historical tale.

And then I saw her. Her eyes told part of the story, but I had to translate it into words, then give her hope and a destiny.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.

“I hate writing, but I love having written,” is ascribed to Dorothy Parker and many other authors. Hmm. I think at some point, all authors feel the same way. I guess the ‘love’ part overrides the ‘hate’ part because we keep on doing it.
Enjoy Chasing Christmas, part of Sweet and Sassy Christmas – A Time for Romance, available today! ELEVEN Christmas tales, some sweet, some sassy (or more) by NY Times and USA Today Bestselling and award winning authors.

Only 99 cents or free to read with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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There’s nothing like a potluck to fill you with thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving image. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! While you’re reading this, I’m probably running around like a chicken with its head cut off (Sorry for the icky mental picture!), getting ready to host a big turkey dinner. There will be 19 people around the tables, plus 3 babies. Wheee!

For many years now, we’ve done our family get-togethers potluck style. Often, we pick a theme, but leave the choice of what people bring wide open. (Our Christmas Eve appie night is a much-loved tradition now, as is the occasional Taco Tuesday.) Other times, we decide on what type of dinner it will be, like, say, a traditional turkey dinner J, and we each pick dishes to bring, according to our mood, energy level, or whatever’s left to choose from by the time we volunteer.

Dinner parties with friends have slowly moved toward this model too—again, usually with a theme: Italian or Greek night, Stone Salad, etc.

So really . . . although I’ll still clean my house (Booo!) for the party and arranging seating will take some work, as will setting and decorating the table (but that’s a chore I always enjoy), my contribution—a turkey, a ham, the punch, and the coffee and tea—will not make me too crazy. I’ll get to relax and enjoy my company, and even clean-up won’t be too arduous. Most of the pots and pans and serving dishes just go home with their owners to get washed up by someone who isn’t me. (And if that isn’t enough to make for a happy Thanksgiving, I don’t know what is!)

For many reasons, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to do-everything-yourself-hosting. Yes, throwing a feast isn’t as daunting cost and labor wise if everyone brings a special dish, but the real benefits go deeper than that.

Many hands make like work image. Potluck style meals allow everyone the fun and honor of contributing. (When my hubby and I were first married, for example, throwing a Christmas banquet for everyone would’ve broken our budget . . . but I still wanted to do something and create dishes that would become traditions for my kids.)

They make special diets easier (a person can bring a dish they know they can safely eat, then pick and choose from others that might fit).

They’re a great conversation starter/icebreaker if you don’t know people well. Not everyone has family, big or small, but you can create your own, friend by friend, meal by meal. Inviting someone over for a formal dinner might seem intimidating. Saying, “Hey, I’m throwing an Italian themed potluck, want to come over with a pizza or buns or something?” is less pressure on you and your guest.

Sharing the work load is fun as people chat about what they’re going to bring, creates a feeling of community, and allows everyone, even the host, to actually enjoy the hours approaching and during the meal.

Most importantly, however, the act of sharing a meal (literally, in terms of work and cost, not just eating—though the eating part is delightful!) feeds and nourishes the reason people get together in groups in the first place: to nurture and build relationships, create and strengthen connections, and help us appreciate the people we’re blessed by and grateful for.

We’re going into a busy time of year, with celebrations and holiday seasons of many kinds ahead in the next few months. If you feel stressed by the very notion of having people over, consider the simple, comforting pleasure of potluck.

Let me know in the comments if you’re already a potluck fan or if you’ve found other ways to make holiday entertaining more entertaining and less draining!

And hey . . . if you save yourself a bunch of time by having your lovely family and friends help make/bring dinner . . . you’ll have more reading time. Win, win, WIN!

Fall in love at River's Sigh B & B this fall-Dawn Yacovetta quote image

 

Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Book 1 in the series, WEDDING BANDS, is FREE right now, so go to your favorite eBook vendor and grab your copy today!

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.

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Christmas In October?? #mgtab

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Yes, for authors October is the month we aim for when releasing a Christmas book, and since I finished my latest Christmas story just today, I figured I’d include previews of my two new books, both from the bestselling, award-winning Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series.

Two Hearts’ Christmas Wish

(Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 4)

Released on September 26.

Seventeen-year-old Jason Matthews made a wish when he’d shared a kiss with Katherine Conlin under the mistletoe at Dragonfly Pointe fourteen years ago. Now an Air Force Captain and wounded warrior, he awakens in the hospital in Germany where his dreams have been invaded by the girl from his past. Once he returns home to the states, he finds out approaching Kat might be a little more difficult than he’d thought since she’s been in a long term relationship for nearly two years. But another year later when Jason discovers she’s on her way to the Dragonfly Pointe Inn for the Christmas holidays without her boyfriend, he seizes the opportunity to become reacquainted. Kat had been expecting a proposal this Christmas, and when her boyfriend backs out yet again on the carefully laid plans she’s made for them, she realizes she probably wouldn’t have been happy with him anyway. Kat has often wondered what happened to Jason Matthews, the boy she’d made a wish with years ago, and the last thing she expects is to run into him again at the Dragonfly Pointe Inn. Will there still be that special Christmas magic between them to make those long ago wishes come true?

Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B074KC1NCJ

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/two-hearts-christmas-wish-tamara-ferguson/1127090782;jsessionid=8117450500E4CE1C8A720E0F79117B5F.prodny_store02-atgap09?ean=2940154954089

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1282813021

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/two-hearts-christmas-wish

My latest release is

Two Hearts Find Christmas

(Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 5)

Josh Loughlin, a blind wounded warrior, has returned to Crystal Rock where Nurse Nina Chandler helps him confront the demons from an abusive past.

But it’ll turn out to be a Christmas they’ll always remember.

An excerpt:

“No, Josh. I’d never laugh at you—only with you.” She took in a deep breath. “I’m pretty sure that I’m in love with you, you know.”

“Well, I’m not pretty sure I’m in love with you,” Josh answered.

And Nina stilled.

“I’m positive that I am,” he muttered fiercely.

Nina breathed out softly, “Oh, Josh.”

 

This story will be part of the new exclusive

Authors’ Billboard Boxset

A Christmas She’ll Remember.

It will be coming out in (you guessed it) October!!

Merry Christmas!!

Tam

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Tamara Ferguson

A member of the Romance Writers of America, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series, the Kissed By Fate Series, and the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series.

Her latest wounded warrior romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is included in the top-ten bestselling Holiday Anthology, Mother’s Day Magic…With Love, which was also #1 in Wounded Warrior Fiction. Since being released independently, Two Hearts Unspoken has become a #1 International Best Seller at Amazon as well as a #1 International Hot New Release, and is the 2016 SILVER MEDAL WINNER at Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards for Military Fiction.

Presently, Tamara’s working on Two Hearts’ Christmas Wish, the fourth story in her multi-award winning Two Hearts Wounded Warrior series, Emergence, the third book in the multi-award winning Tales of the Dragonfly Novels, and a novella for the next installment of the bestselling Wedding Pets and Kisses anthologies, featuring stories by multi-award winning, bestselling and USA Today authors.

Since she remains a full-time caregiver for an autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home, where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects, because she’s writing or helping author friends promote their books on twitter.

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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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Hurricane Irma by Mona Risk

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For days we watched TV and prayed that Hurricane Irma would not come toward Florida. Twelve years ago, I survived Hurricane Wilma and watched the devastation it inflicted to South Florida and my building: broken windows, snatched shuttered, cars smacked on top of each other, uprooted trees. We were left without electricity and water for a week and spent a year repairing the damage.

The mandatory evacuation order annihilated our hope to avoid the hurricane path. Evacuating was a big hassle.

Not sure if we should leave–to go where?

The airports were crowded with stranded tourists trying to go home. The three airports within a two-hour distance responded with a “sold-out”. We couldn’t just take the car and drive north, and risk being stuck for hours on a cluttered highway.

In addition, I was dealing with a fractured kneecap and a big brace to wear 24/7 and had trouble riding in a car for hours. At first, we decided to stay and brace ourselves to cope with the hurricane.

We stocked on water and food, and filled the car with a full tank. Remembering that big buildings can shake under the impact of high winds, we removed frames from walls and delicate bibelots from shelves.

Not sure if we should stay here. We live on the beach–first line of defense.

I spent hours researching Google for “How safe are high rises during hurricanes?” High rises are built to sustain 185 mph wind. The safest place is the stairs, completely built in steel and concrete. The safest apartments are those on the 7th to 10 th floors. Floors higher that the 20 th are exposed to horrible wind. Floors lower than the 6th face the risk of flood and flying objects.

We live on the 22 th floor. Back to watching Irma’s news. The Governor of Florida urged us several times to leave: “We can replace your material possessions. We can’t replace lives.”…”If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone and don’t leave, you will be stuck on your own. No one can access your place. The bridges will be open and we won’t answer an emergency call.”

Enough to scare the heck out of us.

Our daughter insisted we should stay with her family. All our friends in high-rises on the beach were staying home, claiming that these buildings are 50 years old, quite sturdy and have survived their share of hurricanes in previous years. Praying for their safety and for Irma to get lost over the ocean.

On Friday morning, we drove to our daughter’s house, an hour away, northwest from our high-rise on the beach. It was good to be with family. Surprisingly I-95 had little traffic that morning. The calm before the tempest.

The house was all shuttered and we had electricity. We couldn’t see what was going on outside, but we could hear the noise, the wind, the rain. Strident alarms on my cell phone alerted us to the danger of tornadoes and raised panic in my heart. My grandchildren decided they needed a break from bad news and made us watch eight Harry Potter movies over three days.

And we survived Hurricane Irma.

On Monday morning, we welcomed the sun and nice breeze and opened the doors for a peek outside. Fallen branches in the driveway and yard. A few broken or uprooted trees. My son-in-law cleaned the driveway.

In our area the bridges were now accessible and the elevators of our building functioning. We returned home. At the entrance of our evacuated zone, police cars patrolled to protect us from looters and asked for ID to check that we lived in this area.

Our hurricane high impact windows resisted the strong wind. No leaks. I sent a thank you note to the man who did a great job on the installation ten years ago. Many of our neighbors had to cope with buckets of water leaking under the windows or from the sides.

We stayed without TV and Wi-Fi for three days. The Comcast box supplying the building was smashed during the hurricane.

All in all we are grateful we survived without damage. Others were less lucky in Miami, Fort Meyers and the Keys.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL                                                                                           

Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
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