Green Thumb Secrets by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Photo of young woman walking along a garden pathI’ve given in to the call of spring and decided to share some green thumb secrets with you.

I tried to resist spring’s siren call, but I couldn’t ignore neither the fragrant jasmine outside my kitchen window nor the soft evening breeze that brought with it the smell of roses.

So I had a meeting with my houseplants first—hey, haven’t you heard you should talk to your plants?—and we all agreed it was time to repot some of them.

How To Make Houseplants Happy

(1) Before you stick a plant into a new clay pot—which is mostly what I use—take time to condition the pot first. Immerse the clean clay pot in a bucket of water and leave it until the bubbling stops. (If you lean close to the bucket, you can hear hissing. That’s all the minute particles of trapped air in the clay filling with water.) The conditioned pot will have absorbed moisture so it won’t “rob” water from the potting soil. This makes newly-potted plants less likely to wilt.

Park Bench and Large Potplant

My front patio with large pot plant

(2) If you plan to use a larger pot that has been used before, make sure you wash the pot thoroughly. Just because it holds soil doesn’t mean any old dirty pot will suffice. Bacteria, mold, and/or plant disease cells may exist in a dirty pot. Give the plant you’re repotting a fighting chance by putting it in a clean pot.

(3) Know how much to water a plant. Always use a plant saucer below the pot. Then water until water is running from the drain hole in the bottom of the pot. Stop. Empty the water from the saucer and replace.

(4) Every other month, if possible, immerse your pot plants in a tub of water so all the roots get wet. When the bubbling stops, remove the pot and set it in a place to drain. I’ve got some huge pots on both patios so I can’t do this with them so I try to take the time to let a trickle of water from a garden hose cover the entire top surface.

(5) If you don’t have a lot of time to tend houseplants and your plants are pront to drying up, set the pot plant inside a second larger pot. Line the space between the pots with sphagnum moss. Soak the moss once a week, and the moisutre will seep through the inner clay pot to evenly moisten the plant.

Romance and Gardening

I’ve never had a heroine or a hero who gardens, but in The Trouble With Love, Susannah’s mother is a gardener extraordinaire. The description I give of her mother’s landscaping was the way my yard looked when I wrote the book. After all, write what you know, and I know marigolds and other summer flowers and shrubs.

Cover art for The Trouble With LoveHang on to your Stetson as the fun and games begin in a sexy romantic comedy hotter than a bowl of Texas chili! By-the-book Deputy Susannah Quinn has all she can do to resist rule-breaking FBI Special Agent D. E. Hogan.

To catch a thief, Susannah and Hogan pose as husband and wife and go undercover. Unfortunately, Susannah and Hogan have already been undercover—in a Houston hotel where they first met.

For her part, Susannah wishes her lapse in judgment would take a flying leap and land on Jupiter. Hogan, on the other hand, wants to get the contrary deputy into his bed, but the complications caused by family—his and hers—pretty much guarantee that’s never going to happen.

Throw in an over-the-hill Romeo and his lady love, a middle-aged mom determined to have her own love affair, and the charm of a small Texas town, and you get a story with heart, soul, and passion—lots of passion.

Can Susannah and Hogan, two mismatched lovers doing everything in their power to avoid falling in love, catch a thief and recover stolen jewels? The clock is ticking. They have only seven days—and nights—to complete their assignment and resist the sweet siren call of desire.

The Trouble With Love is a Kindle Unlimited free read if you’re a subscriber, or only $3.99 if you want to buy and keep forever. It makes for great holiday reading fun.Social Media Icons

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The Authors Billboard May Giveaway has Amazon Gift Card up for grabs. Be sure and enter today. Also shop the fabulous box sets we’ve created. You’ll find them on Authors Billboard Books Page.

Wishing you the Joy of Spring as well as the Joy of Reading!

 

The Beauty of May … @josieriviera #mgtab

We’ve arrived. It’s May!

Hopefully, those April showers bring us May flowers. I am looking forward to everything blooming.

It can be difficult to see the BEAUTY in the world right now, and yet, it is there.

Here are a few beautiful things that have stood out to me recently:

  • Mother’s Day certainly was different, but celebrating our mothers, adoptive mothers, step-moms, or our “chosen” moms continued. We still celebrated them and what they mean to us, even if it was in a different way.
  • Students will still receive their diplomas and degrees. They have worked hard to earn them, and that will not change.
  • I expect parents have found a new appreciation for teachers.
  • ZOOM calls are not just for business anymore, and who knew they were so fun! Many people are having virtual game nights, happy hours, book clubs, crafting circles, the ideas only limited by your imagination. I even had a friend say that she feels more connected right now because of using ZOOM.
  • This extra time has become a freedom for many of us. People are getting outside for walks, learning new things, families are playing games, and many are really connecting.
  • Communities here and around the world are coming together to support each other. The posts and videos of people applauding healthcare workers, orchestras performing free concerts, and people having parades to celebrate birthdays are heartwarming.

Let’s take the good we’ve found during these challenging days to carry with us in May.

What beauty do you find in the month of May? Please leave your comments below.

Grab my new recipe book, Recipes From The Heart.

Are you drawn back to certain recipes because they bring up memories?

A heartwarming story is the hallmark of a romantic read, and every one of my books contains a recipe submitted by a reader, my beloved mother or grandmother, or friends in Ireland.
Now these recipes are all together in one book for easy referral.
Savor the magic of my sweet reads—from Tudor to Contemporary, Holiday to Homemade fudge.

Enjoy your happiest moments spent in the kitchen, and bring back the joy and memory of my sweet romances, and the recipes created by my characters.


Each recipe is a grand celebration of love.

 

Staying healthy

I found this article carefully saved in my To Keep folder. “The 10 Best Fat-Melting Foods” as suggested by Lucy Danziger. I don’t exactly agree with all she suggested.  But with the pandemic confinement, I added twelve pounds and I’m seriously concerned about not to being able to shed them.

Apples: This fruit’s 4 to 5 grams of fiber not only are filling but also help ferry out some of the fat and calories you take in from other foods. YES, AGREED
Lentils: These legumes are rich in resistant starch (RS), a carbohydrate that may encourage fat burning and shrink fat cells. NOT SURE.
Sweet Potatoes: These spuds have RS, the same carbs found in lentils that may turn up the body’s fat-scorching furnace. RS may also increase production of peptide hormone compounds that signal the brain to stop eating. I RARELY EAT THEM. Eggs: The breakfast staple is loaded with choline, a compound known to help block fat absorption. YESSSS!!!
Edamame: The green soybeans supply 17 g of protein per cup, and your body torches more calories digesting protein than it does processing carbs and fat. NEVER TRIED IT.
Kiwifruit: A large kiwi has 84 milligrams of vitamin C—more than a day’s quota. C helps form carnitine, a compound that transports fat into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy during exercise. NOPE. I PREFER MANGO.
Wild salmon: The fish’s omega-3 fatty acids could help you fight flab more effectively. They alter the expression of certain genes, shifting your body to burn fat rather than store it. ONCE A WEEK IS A MUST ON MY TABLE.
Yogurt: Lowfat and nonfat Greek and regular yogurts contain 20 percent or more of your daily calcium needs. The mineral slows production of cortisol, a hormone that encourages belly-flab buildup. DAILY. SEVERAL TIMES A DAY.
Quinoa: A complete protein, quinoa has all the essential amino acids needed to build metabolism-revving muscle. LOVE IT, BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO COOK IT. INSTEAD I COOK RICE.
Olive oil: Healthful monounsaturated fats found in olive oil could potentially switch on genes related to fat burning and storage.
the weight that dieters who ate the same calories but less total fat and protein and more carbs lost, a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals. A MUST FOR ME.

Sitting at my desk six to eight hours a day doesn’t help. But writing is as important to my soul as comfort food.

Recommending the following books and boxes of books:

ON AMAZON: What could be more exciting for a 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 killed 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?

ON AMAZON: Natalie Borikev’s dream is finally materializing with a fabulous contract to dance on a Las Vegas stage. To save her young brother from drug addiction, she escapes to Boston with Eric Devereux, a devil-may-care, running away from gambling thugs. In Boston nothing is as Natalie expected. Her charming rescuer is actually a prince with bright prospects, but she lost everything—her budding career as a dancer, and even her brother’s affection.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08413RKNN/
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084HNMFBL
https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B084FJFCFB/
http://mybook.to/IrresistibleWeddings
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0855W6MLB/

There is beauty all around us

I’m spoiled. Really, I am. I am living in Oregon, the destination for thousands of folks in the 1800s. It truly has some of the richest soil in the world. That means great farming for trees, foods, and flowers.

Rhododendrons in Oregon in various stages of bloom

Quarantine while on property with flowering plants and trees (some over fifty years old) and ideal temperatures isn’t house arrest, it’s heaven. But that’s really not the point. There is beauty all around. You just have to open your eyes to see it. Even if you’re confined to an apartment, do you have electricity? Internet? Someone to talk to? How about the gift of sight, even if you have to wear glasses or ‘readers’?

DOZENS of box sets with all types of romance stories, just waiting to be read (and reviewed).

Are you bored? Honestly, read a book. Try out a new recipe. Contact a friend or family member and challenge one another to a cook off using the same limited or odd ingredients. Take a piece of paper and draw portraits of each other or where you’d rather be? Can you draw a palm tree? A movie screen? How about a bar loaded with patrons drinking Coronas with lime? You don’t even have to be in the same room to do these activities. Remember that box of photos you were going to organize ‘one of these days’? Well, today’s the day. How about the files and files of photos on your phone you’ve taken and never printed out? Check out sites like FreePrints.com on your phone. Get prints for free, just pay for the shipping. Or take those pictures and play with your phone’s editing tools, saving your creations in a folder. Remember to record everything you do with a date and place. A year from now, or five or ten years forward, you can look back and tell others that this is what you did to keep from going stir crazy.

Or you can go outside and pull weeds to make a bigger flower and veggie garden. Either way, make good use of your time. Find, create, and enhance the beauty that is all around.

Did you know that The Authors’ Billboard now has a Romantic Comedy Boxset? Check it out: CUTE BUT CRAZY: WACKY, WONDERFUL WOMEN is rated #1 (still!). CUTE BUT CRAZY 2: DITZY DUDES is available for preorder.