President’s Day Beards or Not? by @AyalaRachelle #mgtab

I’m old enough to remember TWO holidays in February. Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, and Washington’s Birthday, February 22. Back when I was in elementary school, it meant two activities where we would trace the profile of Abraham Lincoln, with the hawk nose, pompadour hair and beard, on black colored paper and another one with George Washington’s profile, with the sloped forehead and braid at the back of his head. In between, we’d cut out red paper hearts for Valentine’s Day.

In 1971, they changed it all. Conglomerated both Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays into a single holiday called President’s Day. Gradually, through the years, this holiday has become less about two of our greatest presidents, and more about sales and a three-day weekend. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I miss the stories we told of Washington at Valley Forge, the reports we did on Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and yes, even the cherry tree cutting, or how a little girl wrote a letter to Lincoln that changed history.

Hon A B Lincoln…

Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chatauque County New York

I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye

Grace Bedell

Lincoln apparently wrote back to her. Click here to find out how he responded.

For a more up-to-date transformation, check out this Article of an insurance salesman transforming into a cover model.

So, now that we’ve digressed. Which is it, ladies? Beard or no beard? And would you vote for a man on the basis of his beard?

My work in progress is a romantic suspense about a single mother who has to hide her baby from her crazy ex. She turns to her childhood best buddy and asks him to claim the baby as his own while she is being hunted by the baby’s father who wants to kill the baby. Both men are bearded and it takes place in the backwoods of Idaho in the dead of winter. It will be available in one of the new Author’s Billboard Boxed Sets!

In the meantime, please check out my FREE books, a Romantic Suspense, Broken Build, where a woman falls in love with the man whose life she ruined years ago.

Jen Jones falls in love with the man whose life she ruined.

And Playing Without Rules, a gritty story about second chances and overcoming domestic violence.

The specter of domestic violence hangs over Marcia and Brock. She’s keeping secrets. He’s keeping her heart. There are no rules when it comes to love.

Enjoy Your President’s Day! Let’s honor the Office of the President and the leadership and commitment it represents, whether bearded or not! List of Presidents with facial hair.

Check out my website, http://www.rachelleayala.net for more free books.

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.

FEBRUARY BRINGS VALENTINE ROMANCE #mgtab

This year, I can’t wait until Spring. It’s been soooooooooooo cold in Illinois. But meanwhile, February’s here and I have two new releases coming out this month, as well as stories in two new anthologies now available for Valentine’s Day with The Authors’ Billboard!!

First Is A Valentine She’ll Remember. Two Hearts Unbroken (Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 6) is my latest wounded warrior story, and this story is slightly different from the others in that my wounded warrior is a woman, who’s been through unimaginable horror when she’s captured in Iraq.

But despite her injuries as well as deep personal issues to resolve, Sarah Benton is finally ready to move forward two years later, and Lieutenant Brand Reardon is there to pick up the slack when Sarah’s life is once again endangered.

As my wounded warrior series continues, one element that’s changed is the twist of intrigue I began weaving into the stories beginning with Two Hearts Find Christmas. But despite the serious undertones, I still enjoy adding humor wherever possible.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Sarah. Sarah, are you okay?” Mel was asking with obvious concern. “Oh, I’m so sorry. What did I say?”

But Sarah didn’t seem to have the energy to open her eyes and respond as her whole body began shaking.

Suddenly, she found herself lifted to her feet and pulled into a warm masculine embrace.

“It’s okay, Sarah,” he whispered. “Everything’s alright. You’re alright.”

Opening her eyes, she blinked. “Brand? Uh…I mean, Captain Reardon?”

“Yeah, it’s me. And I’m even a Lieutenant now. I wasn’t sure it was you, though, when I first saw you come in. You look, uh…wow, like gorgeous. Not that I didn’t think you weren’t beautiful before.”

Sarah’s mind immediately snapped back to the present as she muttered, “You thought I was beautiful?”

He wore a wry grin. “Oh, yeah. Especially after seeing those legs.”

Wrinkling her nose, Sarah backed up and punched him in the shoulder.

Although Mel still wore a look of concern on her face, she began laughing.

“Um,” Sarah began. “What are you doing here in Crystal Rock?”

He gave her a huge smile, and Sarah remembered the reason she’d tried to stay away from him, even when she was part of his team.

She’d been attracted to him, this big giant hunk of a man, and it’d made her uncomfortable thinking of Jim, who’d been waiting for her back home.

“I’m here for the same reason you are,” he answered. “Retraining wounded warriors who want to remain in active service. I’ll be the Air Force liaison.”

She shook her head in amazement. How crazy was this? She’d never thought she’d ever see Brand again.

 

 

A VALENTINE SHE’LL REMEMBER

Memorable Valentine romances to sweeten the season of love.

There is no better way to celebrate the season of love than with each of these eight heroines and that one special Valentine they’ll remember forever.

And so will you…

SWEET AND SASSY VALENTINE

If you’ve ever been struck by Cupid’s Arrow, you know Love has the power to change you and your world. If you’ve ever been in love, then you know there is no feeling more exquisite than being held by the one you love. We, the twelve authors of SWEET AND SASSY ROMANCE, dedicate this Valentine Collection to you, the Hopeful Romantic!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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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.

Making a Difference by Mona Risk

“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

Die Hard Christmas…Huh? @JoanReeves #mgtab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I said, “Huh?”

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

I said, “Huh?”

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

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

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

About Joan Reeves

Joan is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  It’s never too late to live happily ever after. Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house in the country where they grow fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, coyotes, deer, and the occasional copperhead snake.

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

Joan Reeves

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

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

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

 View website

FALL INTO THANKSGIVING #mgtab

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.

Happy Friday the 13th by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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

Not Me

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

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

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

Excerpt from Memory Lane, My Mom’s Memoir

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

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

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

About Joan Reeves

Joan is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  It’s never too late to live happily ever after.

Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house in the country where they grow wine grapes and fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, coyotes, deer, and the occasional copperhead snake.

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

Joan Reeves

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

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

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

 View website

Vengeance rules her life… Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar #RomSuspense #MilitaryRomance #mgtab @jacqbiggar

JacquieBiggar_MaggiesRevenge_800px

DEA Special Agent Maggie Holt is fierce, smart, beautiful– and in over her head.

Maggie has been working undercover 15 months when she is taken by Chinese-Mexican cartel leader, Chenglei. She tries to escape with 8 other women and is captured and brutally punished.

Adam O’Connor is angry and frustrated. It’s his fault his partner, and one-time lover, is missing and no matter how many leads he chases, they don’t bring Maggie home.

An unexpected break in the case sends Adam south to Texas. His old SEAL Team Chief, Frank Stein, offers his home and his help in the search effort.

Will these two strong men find Maggie? And will their decades old friendship be destroyed by their love for the same woman?

Read the exciting continuation of the Wounded Hearts Saga this December!

Pre-order Your Copy Today!

she scared him. Magdalena Holt had the power to rip his safe, secure world apart and Frank wasn't sure he could handle the fallout.

Excerpt

Maggie wiped the sweat dripping into her eyes and scowled at the still-too-damn-hot sun taking its sweet time to dip behind the hills. She looked at the other women hunkered under the Humvee to grab what shade they could, and sighed. They were bruised and bloody, but alive. That’s all she could ask for right now.

Well, that and a tank of gas would be nice.

And a cool shower.

A steak dinner.

Her own bed.

Maybe she was hallucinating.

She laid the rifle across her thighs and leaned against the massive tire of the truck, one of the only spots she could touch without getting burnt. Someone with a sense of humor must have a plan for her, otherwise how could she have escaped a Mexican prison after months of captivity, get shot and survive it, then outgun a truckload of banditos and still be able to sit here boiling to death?

“You should join us,” Olga called, her voice raspy. “It’s safer under here. You don’t look so good, my friend.”

Maggie tried to make her smile reassuring, though the pain in her side was getting progressively worse. She’d glanced at it a few minutes ago and been dismayed by the redness surrounding the wound. “Soon. I need to do a reconnaissance of our friends over there first. I’m just getting up the energy.”

She hated how weak and dizzy she felt. They had neither the time for her to fight through an infection—and unless one of the ladies knew some desert secret—nor antibiotics to help the healing process.

Thank goodness, the men had not been trained troops. It took only moments for the firefight to end, with no injuries to the women. Maggie hated to kill them, but there was no choice. It was them or her. The grenade blast had done a good job of creating chaos among the men. They’d jumped from the truck, fearing another blast, and then it was a simple matter to pick them off from there.

She used the butt of the rifle to climb awkwardly to her feet and trudged through the sand toward the carnage, stiffening at the sound of steps behind her. She turned and frowned. The women trailed her, Olga in the lead brandishing a piece of lead piping that had been lying on the floor of the Humvee.

“Go back,” Maggie cried. “It’s too dangerous. At least until I make sure they’re…”

Olga reached her side and clasped a hand around her waist, careful to avoid the wound. “You can barely stand,” she whispered, for Maggie’s ears alone. “Do not be so brave, you’re stupid. We need you to get out of here. I need you,” she added.

Maggie gulped tears of gratitude. They may be in the middle of a war, but she’d made a friend for life.

She nodded. “Okay, let’s do this.”

***

Chenglei poured his tea and ignored the foot soldier sweating in his doorway. The child he’d been training lay sobbing quietly on the floor at his feet. Her leg was red and angry-looking where the hot liquid had spilled. She’d been warned on the proper etiquette; he never repeated himself.

It was a sign of weakness.

And Chenglei refused to fail.

“Tell me, how is it your militia cannot manage to capture five scrawny women? This is beyond my understanding.” He glared at the soldier. “Did I not make myself clear? I want them,

dead or alive. Why could your fools not accomplish this one small matter?”

The man wiped a shaky hand over his brow, then resumed Parade Rest position. “I am sorry, señor. I lost good soldiers today. The woman, she has training. My men were not expecting a firefight. They did their best under the circumstances.”

Under the…

Chenglei sipped his tea and tried to calm his nerves. The girl’s sniveling wasn’t helping matters. He gave her a shove with his toe. “Go to your room. I do not wish to see you again this night.”

She hiccupped and lifted her head, eyes red, cheeks flushed. She would be a beauty one day; if he didn’t kill her first.

“Go,” he snarled, some of the fury churning within escaping despite his control. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Once.

Twice.

There, see. The monster who beat at the doors of his mind did not rule him, he was its master. Just as he was the ruler of his fate. And one stupid American woman was not going to change that fact. He waited until the child slipped out of the room before addressing the captain.

“You are right. The woman—the one with dark hair—she is a spy.” The soldier stiffened. Chenglei hid his satisfaction. “She is here to destroy the cartel. We must do whatever is necessary to stop her. Do you understand?”

The man gave a sharp nod, the light of retribution shining out of his dark eyes. “. I will round up another team, and this time, she will not get away.”

Bueno,” Chenglei murmured. “Bring her back alive, if you can. I do not care about the rest; your men may do as they wish with them. But Señorita Holt and I have business to finish; I want her returned to me.”

The captain bowed and backed out of the room, closing the heavy brass-plated door behind him. Chenglei had a love of beauty and was careful to surround himself with only the very best of everything. The wall-hangings dated from the sixteenth century, as did the Aubusson rug he sat upon, legs crossed. The rich greens and golds pleased his eye and the silkiness of his robes gratified his skin.

Success.

He’d made something of his life; he wasn’t about to let some gringa federal agent take that away from him.

I’m so excited to share Maggie’s book with you. Her story began way back in #2 of the Wounded Hearts series, The Rebel’s Redemption (soon to be available in Audible format), and quickly became a fan favorite. It’s taken me a while to give her journey the attention it deserves. Her voice has haunted me for long enough, it’s time to tell the tale!

When writer’s say they work in solitary, that’s not strictly true. At least, it isn’t for me. My characters live in my mind. They argue, dream, demand, ask for advice, rule my heart and my pen.

While I’ve written a few standalone novels, I have to admit I favor writing in a series. I like building a world and filling it with strong, interesting people readers can connect with, have empathy for, fall in love with.

If I can do that, I’ve done my job 🙂

Jacquie Biggar

Lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her her husband, daughter, and grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley.
And can’t function without coffee.
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Is “Rich Author” Oxymoron @JoanReeves #mgtab

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

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

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

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

Inquiring Minds, Etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic of writing penAbout Joan Reeves

No, you won’t find her name on a Top 10 Richest Authors list, but she is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the same premise that is her motto: It’s never too late to live happily ever after.

Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house in the country where they grow wine grapes and fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, coyotes, deer, and the occasional copperhead snake.

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

Joan Reeves

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

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

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

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