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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Tourists Prayer (funny)

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Sharing a tourist prayer with those of you who are planing your next vacation:

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble obedient tourist servants, who are doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs and walking around in drip-dry underwear.

Give us this day divine guidance in the selection of our hotels, that we may find our reservations honored, our rooms made, and hot water running in the faucets.

We pray that the phones work and that the receptionists speak our tongue.

Lead us, dear Lord, to good, inexpensive restaurants where the food is superb, the waiters friendly and the wine included in the price.

Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand. Forgive us for undertipping out of ignorance or overtipping out of fear. Make the natives love us for what we are and nor what we can contribute to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the cathedrals , the palaces and castles listed as ‘musts’ in the guidebooks.

And if perchance we skip a historic monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is week.

For Husbands Only
Dear God, keep our wives from shopping sprees and protect them from ‘bargains’ they don’t need or can’t afford. Lead them not into temptation for they know not what they do.

For Wives Only
Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in cafes and nightclubs. Above all do not forgive them their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

Available at Amazon

The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the would-be honeymoon cruise may fulfill the dreams of Julia and her unexpected companion.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk published more than twenty books, some translated in German and French.
She received an Outstanding Achiever Award at Affaire de Coeur Magazine and is a
Best Romance Novel winner at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll;
Two-Time winner of Best Contemporary Romance Novel at Readers Favorite;
EPIC’s Ebook Award Finalist; and Kindle Top 100 Bestselling Author

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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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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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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A Holly Jolly Christmas

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Love Christmas boxed set red image

 

 

 

 

 

 

My contribution to the Love Christmas box is a 23,000 word novella.

Here is the book cover revealed for the first time.

CoverFinalMD-HollyJollyChristmas Holly Jolly Christmas is the prequel to my HOLIDAY BABY SERIES, the story of the Ramsay family that counts five daughters.

When I wrote the first book of the series, CHRISTMAS BABIES, I started with the story of the eldest Ramsay daughter, Dr. Madelyn Ramsay. The mother of the clan, Barbara Ramsay, is already a widow and her daughter #3, Heather, is married and has several children.

Holly Jolly Christmas takes place when Heather is only eighteen-years old and the father, David Ramsay, is still around but quite sick. Enjoy the first chapter.

Chapter One

“Hi babe.” Jeff’s joyful greeting morphed into a puzzled grimace and a worried frown at the sight of Heather’s puffy eyelids and the smear of mascara shadowing her sky-blue eyes. “You’ve been crying. What’s wrong? Your dad? Is he worse?”

With Kentucky’s July temperatures soaring in the nineties, she’d sported a strapped blouse flowing over white shorts that offered him an enticing view of her long tanned legs.

A sniffle and a shudder answered him before she averted her gaze. “No, not Dad. He’s okay. I mean, not worse, but I… I…”

She’d been upset, all right. And she’d tried to hide it under a layer of makeup—something she rarely used with her healthy complexion and lovely features. Eager to gather her in his arms, Jeff led her inside the small foyer of his lodge and closed the door behind them. With infinite care, he drew her against him. Heather’s head burrowed against his shoulder. Her silky ponytail draped over his chest and sobs shook her.

“I know it’s hard, especially when it’s your own dad. But you have to be strong.” He stroked her blonde tresses and brushed her temples with soft kisses.

After heaving a deep breath, she eased away, dabbed her eyes with the back of her hand and faced him. Dismay still puckered her forehead.

To cheer her up, he decided to share his good news right away, instead of waiting until a more appropriate time for celebration. “Babe, listen to this.” Impatient to see her reaction, he cupped her face. “I’ve been accepted to MIT for a Master in Agricultural Engineering. With a scholarship.”

“Ah, congratulations.”

That was it? No smile, no hug?

“When are you leaving?” Her mournful tone of voice damped his elation.

“In September.” Something didn’t click. Where was his sweet and passionate Heather always ready to support him and nestle into his arms? “Honey, I thought you’d be happy. We can become engaged right away, and marry in two years. If you start college in Boston we’ll be together.”

“No,” she said, her tone suddenly frigid. “I can’t go to Boston.”

“Oh, because of your dad? Let’s be optimistic and hope he’ll improve.”

“It’s not about my dad. It’s about us.”

Jeff squinted. “Us?” There was nothing wrong with them. They had loved each other forever. Puppy love, his brothers and sisters teased. But Jeff knew he would never love another woman as long as he lived. And he knew Heather wouldn’t.

In the last two months, studies and finals had kept them busy. They had seen each other only a few short times in his lodge, though long enough to kiss, make out, and run back to their desks. Had Heather met someone else?

Suddenly apprehensive about their future together, he held her at arm’s length and peered into her eyes. “What’s going on? Shoot.” Had it been puppy love for her?

“I’m expecting—”

“Who?” The single word whizzed through his lips, carrying denial and pain as he tightened his hold.

Her eyebrows shot up. “I’m expecting a baby. A baby, Jeff.”

Not sure he understood, he continued to stare. “A…”

“I’m pregnant.”

His arms dropped to his sides and he froze, eyes wide open, throat clogged, mind blank.

“I’m going to have a baby.” She tapped his chest with her finger and touched her belly.  “Your baby.”

“Oh God. A baby. Oh God. Oh God,” he muttered, his voice hardly audible. He fixed a wild look on her tiny waist and flat belly and rubbed his forehead with a shaky hand. “How? When?”

How?” The word came in a shriek and her lips curled to one side. “You should explain. Especially when you insisted we were safe. Apparently not that safe. The baby will come in five months.” She lowered her head as if the whole world weighed on her delicate shoulders.

Guilt pummeled him. She’d been dealing with her secret for four months. All alone.

He pulled her down onto the sofa, and wrapped an arm around her to show his support. “Sweetheart, why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

She clasped her temples and sighed, a long heart-wrenching sigh. “I didn’t realize for two months, because I’m not… Well, you wouldn’t know. It’s a feminine thing.” A blush covered her cheeks. “The third time I missed, I wondered if I was sick. The fourth time I was terrified and tried to grasp the situation.”

“Have you seen a doctor?”

“No.” She shook her head. “And I haven’t told anyone. Not with Dad going through chemo. We must spare him any stress.” Her eyes filled with tears. “It would kill him to hear that his daughter has…has misbehaved.”

“Babe, it’s not your fault. I take full responsibility.” He shouldn’t have touched her. She’d been only seventeen when they first made love in his lodge. He was four years older but he loved her so much and lost control after blazing kisses. Trying to think with a clear head, he scooted to the end of the sofa.

She tortured her lip and watched him.

What could he tell her parents? If he lived long enough to explain anything. The Ramsays had been his folks’ neighbors and good friends for twenty years, but David Ramsay wouldn’t hesitate to shoot him for taking advantage of his little girl’s innocence. To think of it, his own father would probably thrash him soundly at the first word and Mom would cry her heart out.

“Heather, you’re not alone anymore. This baby… Our baby is going to have a loving father and mother.” He spoke slowly to convince himself it was the right thing to do.

Forget the scholarship. Forget the MIT dream and plans for the farm.

The middle child of a family of three boys and two girls, he’d always done the right thing to satisfy his parents, always studied hard and excelled at sports. Until he started kissing Heather.

His mind still reeling from her incredible news, he stood and paced the eight by ten living room. He loved his small lodge—their love nest as Heather called it. Four years ago, when he’d joined the University of Kentucky and decided to commute, he’d transformed an old barn at the edge of his parents’ farm into a modern place.

They could live here, make love every night, and raise their child. “Heather, we’re going to get married right away.” Together, they would be happy anywhere with or without advanced degrees.

“Are you crazy? You have a scholarship waiting for you at MIT.”

“So? Our priority now is that ba…our baby.” Damn, he had to get used to the idea he was going to be a father at twenty-two.

Right now, he felt like smashing a fist into the wall. Fool, idiot, stupid. He knew exactly how she got pregnant. He’d always used a condom when they made love, but when he’d done a repeat performance in the throes of passion, he’d forgotten to protect them the second time around. And it had happened several times.

“No, Jeff. You can’t give up the MS degree and scholarship. It’s your dream.”

“And yours is to go to college in September at UK. Big deal. Meanwhile, we’ll fulfill another dream by getting married.”

“Stop it, Jeff. You can’t plan our future in a few minutes.” She stood and faced him, her eyes shining with a new maturity way beyond her eighteen years. A woman who meant what she said. “I spent two months evaluating my options. And I have everything organized in my head.”

What on Earth had she concocted on her own?

~*~

Seeing Jeff so rattled had somehow calmed Heather. He’d been her hero since she was five. At fifteen, she considered him the most handsome man in Lexington, and at sixteen she’d known without the shadow of a doubt that she would love him forever. And she’d multiplied the opportunities to make him notice her.

Of course, she couldn’t let him bear the responsibility of their passionate encounters when she’d been the one coming to visit him here—knowing she shouldn’t—and throwing her arms around his neck and sitting on his lap. How could he resist when she’d tempted him with reckless innocence? Although she’d never thought they would go all the way. Once they did, Jeff had promised that they would get married after graduation. Reassured that he loved her too, Heather had seen no reason to deny him, and herself, such ecstatic moments.

But she’d never ever imagined she would end up with a baby at the wrong time.

To give up a scholarship at MIT would devastate Jeff. He’d worked so hard to achieve his goal. Besides, she couldn’t tell her parents she was pregnant. The news would surely kill Dad. What lousy example would she set for her young sisters, Claire and Tiffany? Her older sisters had made Dad so proud, Madelyn graduating from medical school and Roxanne from Journalism school. Heather wanted to follow into their footsteps.

“Trust me. I have it all planned. Madelyn will help me. She’s a doctor and knows many people. Like all of us, she’d do anything not to hurt Dad now.”

A few lines wrinkled Jeff’s smooth forehead. “How would Madelyn help?”

“Let me talk to her first.” Not ready to share her ideas, Heather tried to soothe him with tenderness. She stroked his cheek and brushed his lips with a light kiss. “I promise I will tell you everything.”

“Before making any decision, I want to know what you have in mind. Heather, this is my baby too. And I plan to be a good father.”

Stunned by the direction of his thoughts, she backed up to the door and opened it. “See you later,” she threw over her shoulder and jogged away.

“Heather, come back,” he called from his patio, but she soon disappeared in the fields toward her home.

Instead of entering her house by the kitchen door and facing too many people, Heather slid into the open garage, and carefully padded through the mudroom that harbored the laundry machines. As soon as she walked inside the hallway, she found Madelyn in front of her.

“You look out of breath.” Her oldest sister gave her a blatant once-over.

Trying to calm her racing pulse, Heather inhaled and exhaled slowly. “I went jogging.”

“Through the fields?” Madelyn’s eyebrow arched. She’d often babysat Heather, Claire and Tiffany when they were young and ordered them around with the authority of a surrogate mother. “Maybe toward Jeff’s lodge?”

At first, Heather panicked, and then she remembered that she’d planned to enlist Madelyn’s support. There was no need to play innocent now. “Actually, I was jogging away from his place.”

“What happened?”

“Can we go to your room?” No one dared to cross the threshold of Madelyn’s room without invitation. Mom had instilled in her daughters a deep respect for their eldest sister’s need for privacy to study in peace.

“Come,” Madelyn answered without hesitation, for a change giving more importance to a sibling than to her sacrosanct medicine.

Silently rehearsing the words she’d have to say to convince Madelyn to help her, Heather followed her sister to her bedroom. She hadn’t stepped into this place for ages for fear of disturbing Big-Sis.

“Have a seat on the bed.”

Heather flopped onto the edge of the bed covered with a brown comforter.

“We’ll talk soon, but first I want to examine you.”

“What?” Heather jumped to her feet.

“I’m worried about your health. You’ve been throwing up.” Madelyn dug into her medical bag and brought out a stethoscope and a blood pressure kit.

“I told you I had indigestion that day.”

“And two days ago? And yesterday again? Either something is wrong with your stomach or…” The end of the sentence hung in the air ominously.

Good God, Madelyn knew already.

Her hands fisted, Heather threw her a pleading look.

“Lie down and let me do my job.”

No need to argue. She obeyed.

“I’ll start by taking your blood pressure.” Dr. Madelyn put the BP cuff around Heather’s arm and checked her watch. “It’s too low.” She removed the cuff and put it aside, then slipped the metallic disc of the stethoscope under her blouse to hear her heart and lungs. “Lower your shorts.”

Heather sighed but did as asked. Madelyn pressed the disc on her belly and slowly moved it. Heather closed her eyes, waiting for the agonizing moment to pass.

“Do you want to hear the baby’s heartbeat?” Madelyn asked in a gentle but professional voice.

A punch in her face wouldn’t have hurt Heather more. “No.” She bounced up to a sitting position, her eyes filling with tears. “No. I don’t want to. And I don’t want to hear anything about that baby.”

“Heather, what are you talking about? Any mother would be—”

“I don’t want to be a mother. I’m too young and I’m not ready. Please, listen to me, Madelyn.” She dropped her legs to the floor and zipped her shorts.

“I’m listening. Go ahead.” Madelyn had abandoned her firm tone to speak very softly.

“Madelyn, I have been in love with Jeff forever.”

“We know, sweetie. And we know he loves you too. I’m sure you two will marry eventually.”

“Yes, but not now. Not because we made a mistake.”

“Ah, but isn’t it a beautiful mistake, easy to fix since you love each other?”

“No. Jeff has received a scholarship at MIT. His dream. And I am starting at UK in September. We can’t lose that.”

Madelyn crossed her arms and scowled. “What do you intend to do?”

“Don’t look at me like that. I don’t plan to abort.”

“Thank God. Not when I can hear the heartbeat. How far along are you?”

“Four month, I think. I will deliver the baby, but I want you to find a loving couple who would adopt him.”

~*~

 

 

 

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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Balancing Your Focus

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Focus is defined as a central point of attention. What we consistently focus on and put our attention to expands takes or gives energy whether positively or negatively. If we focus on sickness or disease, we will tend to manifest sickness or disease. If we focus on health and well-being, we increase our energy and strength.

How is my attitude and energy? The answer to this question will show where our focus is directed.

We need to focus our attention on the things we desire to achieve, and maintain that focus.

Focusing on the present moment is important because it is the only moment when we have power over making a change. It is important to be aware of our weaknesses and work on improving them, but it is crucial to focus on our strengths, for it is our strengths that will lead us to success and fulfillment.

In the words of Anthony Fernando: “Never let the things you can’t do stop you from doing the things you can do.”

Look at what you can start doing now! Wherever you place your focus gives meaning to the focus, and drives emotion. Instead of looking at the irrelevant and negative details of life, count the many blessings of your life.

“If one advanced confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”~ Henry D. Thoreau.

S N Y T Her French Count 6715What could be more exciting for a young American architect than to live in a French chateau owned by a handsome count and to work on the restoration of a chapel in the Loire Valley?

But when her professor is poisoned because he knew too much about a missing statue, Cheryl’s summer job changes into a dangerous treasure hunt and Count François is faced with a difficult choice. Are the statue and his chateau worth endangering the life of the impetuous young woman who’s turned his life upside down?
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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10 Last Lines from Famous Novels

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OETKB_2400px3200p_NYTEveryone quotes the best opening sentences of novels, but I don’t think people quote the last sentence very often. I thought we might have some fun today and do just that. After all, the last sentence is the last thing a reader sees so it also is very important, isn’t it?

I’ve pulled 10 books from my home library. All the books have been hugely popular and critically acclaimed. I’ve jumbled them so they’re not in any special order or grouped by genre.

I’ll give the last line, and, just to make it interesting, I’ll give the source at the bottom of this post. See if you recognize any of these.

10 Last Lines

“Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!”

Jenny listened to the mill wheels and wondered what mysteries and miracles, wht horrors and joys were being ground out at this very moment, to be served up in times to come.

Then, starting home, he walked toward the trees, and under them, leaving behind him the big sky, the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.

“Probably,” Morelli said, “but I give good . . . pizza.”

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

“God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world,” whispered Anne softly.

And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.

Her work was done.

How Did You Do?

The amazing thing about all of these closing sentences is that they are perfect for the novel in which they appear. I try to do the same–crafting the perfect closing sentence in my books.

In Old Enough to Know Better, the book shown above, I have a closing line that is perfect for this romantic comedy. It fits the premise of the book, the characters, and what happens during the course of the story. This is the closing sentence as it appears in the book:

Truth.

That’s it. No more than that 1 word in italics. You can judge for yourself if it fits the story by picking up Old Enough to Know Better, reduced from $3.99 to only 99cents from today through next Thursday. Available at: Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.

The Answers

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  2. Phantoms by Dean Koontz
  3. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  6. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  10. Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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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Wacky But Useful Gifts

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Xmas_2014_MCHNY from JoanChristmas is just a couple of days away so let’s talk about some wacky but very useful gifts that just might delight the recipient. In case you are a last minute shopper in a total panic, these suggestions might help.

You can get these items in several places, but I’m giving the details from Amazon in case you need it now and can’t find these locally. Amazon says they’ll deliver by Christmas so it’s worth a shot.

Lighted Eyeglasses

LightSpecs Nighttime Readers

These beat reading lights because the light is focused. You can find these as reading glasses or with clear lenses. Google for local sources–Walgreens carries them sometimes–or order from Amazon.

Book: 1001 Funniest Things Ever Said

This book is seriously funny and would be a gift for just about anyone. Here are some sample quotations.

So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year? ~ Christina Aguilera

Fame means when your computer modem is broken, the repair guy comes out to your house a little faster. ~ Sandra Bullock

Tinnitus Therapy and Sleep Machine

Millions of people suffer from tinnitus. I’m one of them. I’m hoping for this
Tinnitus Therapy and Sleep Machineunder my Christmas tree. It’s an alarm clock with soothing sounds developed in conjunction with sleep and sound experts Dr. Lee Bartel and Dr. Jeffrey Thompson.

The device, which can also be found at Sharper Image, has digital soundscapes that alpha, beta, and delta brainwave patterns to coax your brain into healthy states of sleep or relaxation.

Exclusive, doctor-developed ear therapy sounds help relieve tinnitus at home or work. I hope it works.

Absolutely Cutest iPhone Stand

Etsy shops have some amazing products, and this iPhone Stand from MilanDIY is a perfect example. Very inexpensive, imaginative, and useful, this is a fabulous little gift.

My Christmas Romances for You

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

LU4E_2500p_NYTLuvU4Ever (Free)

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

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

I told you never to call me at home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post Script

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

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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