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.

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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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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.

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Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Love, Christmas, a USA Today BestsellerI guarantee this Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake is effortless–and delicious! You’ve probably heard of “dump cakes,” a concoction where everything is dumped together and baked.

When I wrote Last Christmas, part of the fabulous Love, Christmas Romance Collection, I wrote long. Way too wordy. So I ended up cutting a lot of those words in every way I could.

One thing I deleted was the recipe for Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake that one of the characters makes. (Since I love to cook and bake–my daughter and her friends call me MacGyver in the kitchen–I often put recipes in my books.)

After I finished that novella, I dived into another project that was dear to my heart: a collection of family recipes from my grandmother, my mom, other far-flung friends and family, and me that I’ve titled Friday Is Cake Day.

The title comes from the fact that my mom always made a cake on Friday so she’d have something delicious to serve family and friends for the weekend and beyond. The cake was always gone by Thursday. It would have been gone a lot sooner, but we were allowed only a slice for dessert after our evening meal.

Deleted Words Always UsefulFriday Is Cake Day by Joan Reeves

I added the cake recipe, deleted from Last Christmas, to my “bake book.” Today, I’m sharing that with you.

If you’ve not made or eaten a dump cake, then you’ve missed out. There is nothing easier than a dump cake, and, believe it or not, it tastes delicious served warm or cold!

Excerpt from Friday Is Cake Day: Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake

Ingredients

1 large can crushed pineapple in juice
1 can cherry pie filling
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped pecans or other nut of your choice

Directions

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (I’m American so I have no idea what that is in Celsius.)
• Prepare rectangular glass baking dish or metal pan (13″ long type) by spraying with Baker’s Joy or Pam.
• Pour pineapple and juice evenly into pan. Spread it around so it’s evenly distributed.
• Spoon the pie filling evenly over the pineapple.
• Crumble the cake mix evenly over the fruit layer.
• Slice the butter into slender pats and place evenly over the layers.
• Sprinkle with nuts.
• Bake for one hour or until golden brown.

Add Friday Is Cake Day to your library. You’ll find it at: Amazon * Nook * Smashwords.

last-christmas_joan-reevesLast Christmas she gave him her heart…this Christmas he’s going to pay for breaking it!

I hope you enjoy reading this rollicking romance set in the Texas panhandle. It’s funny, poignant, and suspenseful according to reviewers.

If you haven’t grabbed a copy of Love, Christmas yet, you should. It’s been the bestselling holiday collection this year!

Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (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. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

Happy Baking and Happy Holiday!

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Last Christmas from Love, Christmas @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Cover of Last Christmas by Joan ReevesLast Christmas has always been one of my favorite holiday songs. Earlier this year, we ran a contest with Fresh Fiction and asked entrants to name their favorite holiday song–a classic carol or a popular song.

We authors had chosen a favorite song in advance. The first person to name the author’s song became the reader to which the author dedicated her novella.

My song was Last Christmas, made popular by Wham and recorded most recently by Taylor Swift. Several readers listed the song as a favorite, but Corissa Palfrey was the first to list it. So Last Christmas, my holiday romance in the Love, Christmas Collection, is dedicated to Corissa.

Why I Chose Last Christmas

I’ve always liked Last Christmas because the song is a study in contrast. The lyrics are poignant, but the rock and roll beat and tune don’t make you feel tearful and sad as so many Christmas songs do. When Last Christmas plays, you want to snap your fingers and tap your feet.

Further analysis shows that the song is actually one of optimism and personal growth. In the song, a girl gave her love unwisely to a man who didn’t value it, but she learned from the experience. That’s why this Christmas, she’s going to give her heart to someone special!

What If…

Every woman has probably had her heart broken at some time or other. The lyrics for Last Christmas fired my imagination and the story nearly told itself: a woman fell for a man and gave her heart to him. After a few days, he simply vanished!

Ever been told, “I’ll call you,” but the phone never rings–no matter how long you wait!

Sign says RetaliationWhat if the two lovers meet again?

What if he wants to rekindle the romance?

What if she wants to make him pay for breaking her heart?

Haven’t we all had similar fantasies of getting redress when wronged?

Blurb

Last Christmas Annabelle Cooper fell in love at first sight with a mysterious stranger. After a week of unforgettable passion, he walked out of her life with a promise to call her later.

ab_lc_lastchristmas_01_webA year of heartache accompanied by the dirty tricks life can serve up finds Annabelle back in her hometown, determined to forget the man who still haunts her dreams.

Who should walk into her grandmother’s Christmas party? Why the man who seduced her, lied to her, and betrayed her! He has a new name and a new identity, but his effect on Annabelle is as old as time.

Rick Lassiter thinks–hopes–he can woo Annabelle back to him–and his bed. But, he didn’t count on the passionate sweet-tempered woman he remembered as having a will as strong as his and a desire to make him pay for breaking her heart.

Rick wants redemption, but Annabelle has revenge in mind.

Special Price–Limited Time

Love, Christmas is the Collection of the YEAR, and it’s only 99Cents!!!

You’ll love this heartwarming collection of 20 all-new Christmas stories from NY Times, USA Today, and national best-selling authors. Every title in the set is from a well-known Christmas song, and we hope while reading these delightful stories, they will put a song in your heart.

love-christmas
Love, Christmas is on pre-order now! The Collection will publish on October 18. Get it now at these ebook sellers: Amazon Kindle * KoboBooks * B&N * iBooks.

Try Before You Buy

That’s right, we’ve put together a sampler, Book Bites 7, containing every first chapter of all the novellas in Love, Christmas. This Holiday Sampler is free! You’ll find it at these ebook sellers: Amazon * Kobo * B&N.

rsz_1bookbites7-1350-x-2015-resizedBut Wait, There’s More!

To celebrate the release of Love, Christmas, we are having Facebook parties with prizes, giveaways, and even a Treasure Hunt!

Love, Christmas Treasure Hunt graphicClick to join the Love, Christmas Treasure Hunt. There’s a lot of fun to be had and prizes too!

Click to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway–there are some great prizes!

The Rafflecopter began Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 25.

ab_lc_tour_bookpartners_fb-eventJoin the Authors of Love, Christmas on Oct. 17 and 18 for Facebook Parties thrown by Book Partners. All authors are giving away prizes. I hope to see you there!

For information about these events, check the Love, Christmas Facebook Page.

ab_lc_collage-wideBook Links Encore

Book Bites 7: Holiday Sampler. FREE! Amazon * Kobo * B&N.

Love, Christmas Romance Collection. Pre-order now and find it in your Inbox at midnight on October 18. Amazon Kindle * KoboBooks * B&N * iBooks.


Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (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 . Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan’s free NL for authors. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

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Take Care of Your Home: 9 Things to Do Now @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Take Care of Your HomeI love checklists. They keep me on track. Here’s one to help you Take Care of Your Home: 9 Things To Do Now.

In a couple of days, we will have the Autumnal Equinox, better known as the first day of Fall! Here on the Texas Gulf Coast, we cross our fingers and hope that cooler weather is just around the corner. My brother on top of his Colorado mountain has already had his first snow.

All over the northern hemisphere, people will be turning on furnaces and putting away the garden hoses.

But Wait, There’s More!

Indeed, there’s more to getting ready for cold weather than that. Here’s a checklist to help you out. These few things, if done now, might save you thousands of dollars.

Take Care of Your Home: 9 Things to Do Now

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 those garden hoses, coil them up, secure with extra long cable ties or twist ties, and store in the garage or a shed.

They will last a lot longer if you do this even in moderate climates like Texas.

3. Clean the gutters and downspouts.

This is a dreaded job. Far easier to pay someone a few bucks than to tackle it yourself. Consider putting screens over the gutters to prevent debris from falling into them.

4. Winterize and store your lawn mower.

5. Check all doors and windows for any cracks around them that may have developed.

Caulk and weatherize them to keep the outside air, outside. This costs little but can save big bucks 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. 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, check your roof every month. Far cheaper and easier to handle small repairs than to let it go and end up replacing the entire roof.

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 and clean out the fireplace if you didn’t do it at the end of the last cold weather.

If you burn a lot of pine and other “dirty” woods, get a chimney sweep out to clean the inside of the chimney.

9. Trim any 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.

Always Remember

Where home maintenance is concerned, procrastination is disastrous and expensive. Do it now.


Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (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 . Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan’s free NL for authors. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

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Small Towns; Big Hearts

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Flynn_GodBlessTXI spent yesterday fighting the urban traffic snarls that occur daily in Houston and other large cities. At the end of the day, exhausted, I realized traffic was another of the many attractions small towns hold for me.

In a small town, there are no traffic jams. No rush hours twice a day with each one taking 2-3 hours. No rain induced “domino effect” rear end crashes.

If there is an accident, someone will pull over to see if they can help or call your family to come to the scene. People in small town have big hearts.

Ah! Small Towns

I love small towns with businesses decorated to express the owner’s opinions like the store above. Because I grew up in a small town, I know a lot about these unique communities — the social structure, the economics, and, most importantly, the people who live in small towns.

Favorite Book Setting

A small town is my favorite place to set a story, and many of my contemporary romance novels are set in small towns. Small towns are like characters in a book–they give color and depth to the story.

Most of the time, I live in a townhouse in Houston, but on the weekends, my husband and I head to the country to our house there. The sky is bigger it seems in the country. Sitting on the back porch at night with a million brilliant stars above and the quiet sounds of a coyote howl gives a sensation of tranquility.

I subscribe to the weekly newspaper in the town nearest our country house. That small town, with a population of 664, is the largest of the nearby towns. My goodness. That makes my hometown where I grew up look huge with its boasted population of 5,000+. (I also subscribe to my hometown’s weekly newspaper.)

Homage to The Tonight Show Kings

When Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, the kings of The Tonight Show,  read the unintentionally funny items from newspapers and advertisements sent in from viewers, they had me–and probably most of America–laughing.

Since I subscribe to 2 small town newspapers, I see funny stuff in print all the time. Of course, it’s not supposed to be funny!

I just about fell out of my chair when I read in one of those papers about the man who planted a bomb in his wife’s car. No, that wasn’t funny, but the comment from the Sheriff’s Department was.

When the small town reporter asked the Deputy about the explosive device, the Deputy earnestly replied: “The explosive device did not explode, and we can’t tell whether it was homemade or not.”

Excuse me? Homemade or not? Are there stores that actually sell car bombs? I mean, aren’t all car bombs, by their very nature, homemade?

Life Is Just Different

The following is a perfect example of rural Texas life in the oil patch. I don’t think you’ll see a sign like this in the city.

Sign on a local restaurant: “We deliver to surrounding oil fields.”

Now that’s small town.

Life really is different in rural and small town America. The people seem more patient and kinder. It’s almost as if there are stock characters, and every town is required to have its requisite number of them.

The pace is definitely more relaxed. My Romantic Comedy series Texas One Night Stands is all about small town life where you sneeze and someone across town says, “God bless you.”

Sheriff’s Deputy Susannah Quinn, the heroine of The Trouble With Love, that closeness is suffocating. She’s tired of the town knowing everything about “poor little Susannah” and plans to escape as soon as she can. The only thing standing in her way is a tall, dark, and too darn sexy for her own peace of mind FBI Special Agent.

RJAIn the second book of the series, Romeo and Judy Anne, high school principal Judy Anne Palmer is tired of being up on a pedestal of respectability. She kicks over the traces one night in Dallas.

When her one-night lover shows up in her hometown, she’s afraid her night of passion will end up being the biggest scandal her little Texas town has ever seen.

Both of these books, along with my others, are available at most ebook sellers; audio book editions are at Audible.com and iTunes.

Your Opinion

Do you like small towns as a book setting? If not, what’s your favorite setting? Leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll send you a coupon code for a free copy of The Trouble With Love.


Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (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 . Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan’s free NL for authors. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

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Romance Novel Defined by Joan Reeves

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Fresco_image-of-a-couple-on-the-wal-12147584_BSPWhat is a romance novel?

As a reader, you may be surprised that the answer to that question is frequently under discussion by romance authors and the main organization of romance authors.

Sure, you know that the romance novel is a literary genre, and that the primary focus in this genre is the relationship – the love – between two people. Once, publishers of romance novels demanded writers end the story with a happily ever after. Now, writers can end stories with an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

To me, there’s a huge difference between happily ever after and emotionally satisfying and optimistic. Personally, I wonder if this alternative ending for a romance novel merely reflects contemporary cynicism about long-term relationships.

Teensy Bit of Romance Genre History

In 1740, Samuel Richardson penned Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Considered the first romantic novel, Pamela had two surprising elements that were different from other novels. First, it focused almost entirely on courtship. Second, the novel was told from the viewpoint of a female protagonist.

In the next century, the remarkable Jane Austen, whose Pride and Prejudice is now considered the pinnacle of romance, came along. She inspired Georgette Heyer – I always think of her as the twentieth century Jane Austen – who introduced historical romances in 1921.

About 10 years later, a small British company called Mills and Boon began publishing what were called category romance novels – short books with a set number of pages and standard elements. (In England, romance novels were often called courtship novels.)

The Mills and Boon romances were resold for a North American market by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. who marketed directly to readers and allowed mass-market merchandisers to sell the books too. The genre was off and running.

Then, in 1972, Avon published The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, the first single title romance novel to be published as a paperback original, and the modern romance genre was truly born.

Beautiful romantic couple of newlyweds holding hands & kissing near old castle

Beautiful romantic couple of newlyweds holding hands & kissing near old castle

My! How Romance Grew

From then until now, there have been a lot of romance novels published. The genre has grown and given birth to sub-genres of every possible variation. It has become the most popular genre in North America where it accounts for more than half of all paperback books sold.

Romance isn’t just a North America phenomenon. The genre is popular on every continent–well, maybe Antarctica might be an exception. Romance novels are published in more than 90 languages.

Romance Readers Out of Touch?

For years, the romance novel was decried as being lowbrow and read by women who were out of touch with reality. We’re not out of touch with reality. We just know what we want. We want romance!

A good romance novel sets the standard for the kind of love and romance a woman wants in a relationship. If a man really wants to know what a woman wants, he should read a good romance novel.

I find it heartwarming — and a bit ironic — that our beloved genre is now the most popular, best selling genre of all time. Tell that to your romance-dissing acquaintances the next time they start talking about how romance novels aren’t “real” books!

With all the changes and growth in our contemporary world, I guess it’s no surprise that the romance genre reflects those changes–providing the happily ever after some want and the optimistic and satisfying ending others may want. But, I’m not willing to give up my happily ever after – in real life or fiction.

All About Love and Commitment

Heat Lightning_NYTMaybe, I don’t want to give up the HEA because that traditional ending is all about lasting love. Today, in the wake of so much death and destruction in the news, I find myself thinking more than ever about the importance of love. In the end, it truly is the most important thing in anyone’s world.

With the romance novels I write, I always aim for that happily ever after for my characters, not just an optimistic, satisfying ending. In Heat Lightning, love once existed between Tessa and David, but amnesia stole every moment of their life together from Tessa. The desire sizzling between them makes Tessa want to discover their love again, but David is hiding something. Will she risk everything to love him again?

Well, my motto is: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” So Tessa and David have more than a fighting chance!


Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (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 . Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan’s free NL for authors. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

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