What I miss the most…

CoronaVirus has locked me at home since mid-March–six months to the day. At first I thought it would be a three to four weeks confinement and accepted the situation with resignation. I prepared myself a uniform for grocery shopping, something easy to wash regularly, and I chose a pair of pants and a long-sleeved shirt I was about to give away, my oldest pair of sneakers, a cap, and the little yellow purse I hate. Unfortunately after three washes, these clothes shrank…and I uploaded five pounds all around.

In front of Walmart

But grocery shopping once a month was not enough outing for oxygen breathing. I was suffocating at home, writing eight hours a day or chatting on the phone. I hardly saw my grandchildren once or twice a month, on the beach or in their backyard, always with masks on and never for more than twenty minutes. To exercise, without mask, I walked on the building catwalk with my Fitbit recording 4 to 5 miles a day. I lost my claustrophobic feeling but developed a horrible pain in my left heel, diagnosed as Plantar fasciitis by the podiatrist. I had to stop walking and I started swimming–actually floating with a noodle–in the ocean, or swimming in the building pool if I was on my own or with only two or three people. Now I bought a foot peddler and use it while watching TV at night.

Life has changed so drastically. I miss hugging my grandchildren. I don’t even see the Chicago grandkids. I miss seeing my friends and our Saturday evening dinners in a restaurant or at each other’s place. I miss shopping at the mall or my favorite stores. After gaining fifteen pounds during this pandemic, my wardrobe is reduced to a pajama with elastic band and a t-shirt. I miss wearing dresses, jewelry, makeup. And oh God, how I miss going on cruises! I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable in a plane or a cruiseship again.

Unfortunately, we lost too many relatives during the last six months, two to the Covid-19 and several to strokes, heart problems, and even a goal bladder inflamation, all not treated on time for fear of going to the hospital. I was tested once for Covid-19 when I had a cold in July and was so relieved the results were negative.

Now I live day by day. It’s too depressing to remember the easy-going life from before Pandemic and too scary to think about the future. As long as I can swim, use my peddler, cook and write, I count my blessings.

I just uploaded four new books, funny stories and heart-warming romance that will cheer you up. They are on pre-order:

His Son, Her Daughter: High school sweethearts reunited after twenty years by their small children. Their conflicting baggage prevents them from fully trusting each other. Yet what wouldn’t Daniel do for his son and her daughter? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HKPNRWH

To be RELEASED on Septenber 23, 2020

Sunshine Over Snow: When his children manage to ruin his second wedding, Brad is caught between a furious fiancée and an offended ex-wife, both determined to keep him and make him pay for his mistakes. https://www.amazon.com/DP/B08HHNSSSK

To be RELEASED on October 14, 2020

Half a Dozen with Love: At twenty, Tammy is left with the responsibility of five brothers and sisters. Dr. Jack Conan stops the Foster Care system from separating the children, but his unorthodox solution may complicate Tammy’s problems—or bring her into his arms? https://www.amazon.com/DP/B08HKQSRYC

To be RELEASED on December 2, 2020

Between Babies and Girlfriends:Abandoned baby twins, a former girlfriend, an almost fiancée complicate Dr. Brian Dutton’s life to no end.

To be RELEASED on February 11, 2021

Gingerbread Cake Means Christmas by @JoanReeves #mgtab

In our home, it’s not officially Christmas until I make Old-Fashioned Gingerbread.

Everyone talks about gingerbread men and gingerbread houses during the holidays, and both of those items are really cute. But, to me, they look better than they taste.

I don’t like crisp, hard-baked gingerbread cookies. Maybe it’s because my mom never made gingerbread people or houses. She made gingerbread cake and served it warm from the oven with a dollop of cream cheese frosting sprinkled with lemon zest on top. From scratch.

Oh, my goodness, the smell of the gingerbread baking made salivary glands go into overdrive. And the taste? Amazing.

Many people think it takes too long to make a cake from scratch so they buy a cake mix. I’m sure the cake mix is probably a good product, and you may want to try it.

However, I’d like to share my recipe for homemade gingerbread with you. It’s darker in appearance than the picture shown on the box. That’s probably because my recipe calls for molasses. That’s what gives it the darker color, rich aroma, and depth of flavor.

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

  • 1/2 cup sugar, white or brown
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup hot water (hot from the tap, not boiling)
  1. Butter a 9x9x2 inch baking pan and set aside. Turn your oven on and set it for 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift flour into a small bowl along with the ginger, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and add the egg. Beat well.
  4. Add the molasses to the butter mixture and beat well.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time. Mix well after each addition until all is incorporated.
  6. Carefully stir in the hot water and mix well.
  7. Pour the batter into the baking pan and place in the preheated oven.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Serve warm plain or with a dollop of whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.

I made Gingerbread this past weekend so, for me, it’s officially Christmas!

Be sure and enter our Rafflecopter on our Home Page and check out all the wonderful Holiday Romances—books and box sets galore—you’ll find from the very talented authors of The Authors’ Billboard.

Holiday Romances by Joan Reeves

Above are a few of my Christmas Romances for your consideration. I invite you to sign up for my Newsletter which has new release information and giveaways too.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!

A New Christmas Story Based on the Movie, “The Holiday”

My husband, Walt, and I lived in Hawaii for five years while we were both teaching school. We lived on the island of Oahu, near Waikiki, but neither of us enjoyed water sports very much, so we did a lot of hiking along the mountain ridges there. We bought a topographical map so we could find the trails. Many of the trailheads were semi-hidden, and if we missed one, we just walked along until we came across the trail further up the mountain. Once on the top ridges, the trails were worn so deep into the soil that a foot-high lip formed on each side. The mountainside often dropped away straight down, and sometimes not quite as steep, which is the side we came up on. During the wet season, these trails got muddy and slippery.

Once we had a group of friends who wanted to hike with us, so we took them on a trail we hadn’t hiked before. When we didn’t find the trailhead, we went straight up the mountain, knowing the trail cut across it. Halfway up, Walt, who was in the lead, stopped and said something like, “We might find the trail before we get to the top.” The others were all complaining as they pulled themselves up the steep slope by hanging onto the vegetation. They figured we were lost and wanted to turn back. I remember their surprise, as each in turn put their hands on the trail, then pulled themselves up to where Walt was standing, loudly wondering how much further the trail was. The last one looked around and said, “Here’s the trail. What are you guys talking about?”

We took our Australian collie on the trails, and when we were leading groups and got separated, Walt would send her back to me, then I sent her to him. It gave him some estimation of how far his group was ahead of mine.

Sometimes we spent the night on a wide spot in a trail. We took newspapers with us. The newspapers went under us, our jackets over us, and the dog in between as a heater. One Thanksgiving, we spent the night above a naval air station, which we found out later was off limits.

Hawaii doesn’t have snakes, but they do have mongoose. On one hike we met a mongoose running along the trail towards us, its nose to the ground, sniffing as it ran. About ten feet away it spotted us, and instantly dropped off the trail on the almost vertical side, out of sight. It moved so silently, we couldn’t tell where it had gone, and could just hope it was ok. Earlier, we had come across a wild hog. When it saw us, it also jumped off the trail, but we could hear it, like a rolling boulder, crashing through the underbrush, sounding like it bounced all the way to the bottom.

The Hawaiian Islands are a great holiday destination, and I chose them for the scene of my new book, The Holiday (Christmas). It is based upon the movie, “The Holiday,” where two women swap houses. I put the houses in Seattle and Maui. I put a puppy in it, belonging to the man who also ended up at the Maui home, and based the pup’s description on a dog my grandson owns, named General Washington.

I really enjoyed writing The Holiday, a modern Trahern novella. It is part of the new Love, Christmas 2 collection, now on sale for 99¢. Thanks to our many eager readers, this set skyrocketed into the top 100 on the USA Today bestselling list.

Did you know we are running a giveaway? Are you interested in winning a gift card or a free book? Click here to find out more details on this month’s contest.

Two Hearts Home For Christmas – What’s My Inspiration? Our thanks to everyone who made us a USA TODAY BESTSELLER #mgtab

Hi, I’m Tamara Ferguson, and my contribution to the

LOVE CHRISTMAS—MOVIES THAT YOU ANTHOLOGY is

Two Hearts Home For Christmas Book 9 in my series.

TWO HEARTS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
(Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 9)

At eighteen years old, both Nancy Caldwell and John Ehrlich are planning on enlisting in different branches of the military. After they were each stood up for the Christmas dance when their dates, formerly a couple, decided to get back together, Nancy and John have become good friends. Realizing there was something special developing between them, they say goodbye while making a somewhat serious commitment—they would meet at Dragonfly Pointe ten years later if they weren’t involved in another serious relationship.
Will a long ago promise of love bring these two lonely wounded warriors home for Christmas?

Although there are a lot of serious undertones in my wounded warrior stories, there is also a lot of humor. I know that in my life, laughter can sometimes be the only thing that keeps me going.

Here are a few behind the page facts about the way I write; this story in particular.

My covers inspire what i write. For this story, my heroine Nancy is actually named after my best friend in high school, who looks exactly like the girl on this cover! And so I named my hero John, who looks nothing like my hero in my story. I just didn’t want to leave him out, since he’s married to Nancy. 

Does my friend know I’ve named my character after her? NO. Mostly because I never have any time anymore to talk to people in real life, because the last few years, all I’ve been doing is WRITING! (well, promoting too.)

That is how my mind works. Because I am writing with the history of my friend in my thoughts, I begin my story during her high school years, And because I have a lot of resentment about being forced to move to a small town in Illinois (where no one was friendly) from the suburbs of Chicago (where i had lots of friends and was happy), I can relate to just about every character I write about. 

And just an fyi-the title Two Hearts Home For Christmas? I did name it after the movie I’ll Be Home For Christmas, but not for the well known film made in the 2000s, but for the movie made in the 1990’s, where two kids are trying to get their parents back together after a divorce.

In my story, my hero John has two younger twin sisters who love the girl he dated in high school (Nancy), and have been trying to get them back together ever since. 

But it’s been ten years. Nancy has become engaged, although she’s still active duty Army, and John has returned home without a leg, and a lot of serious medical issues relating to his missing leg, 

Will they get back together? You’ll just have to read

Two Hearts Home For Christmas!

Happy Holidays!! Tammy Amazon    Nook    iBooks    Kobo