Changes – For The Better

            When a person experiences a catastrophic event, it changes the way they breathe, work, play, eat, everything – I’m sure you get my meaning.

My husband Joe died seventeen months ago and, not only was he my soulmate and lover, he was the inspiration for the Cindy’s Crusades series. He and I collaborated the story Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, a fun fictionalized-nonfiction tale about events leading up to how we met, became lovers, and eventually married. We named ourselves Cindy and Jay DeMatteo and although many elements of the story were true, we took many literary liberties with the rest. The book, an award winning, bestseller, inspired a sequel The Sugar Ticket, and a bunch of other novellas followed, introducing new characters and plots, but always including the Cindy and Jay couple from Dinosaurs. This is the link to Cindy’s Crusades:

I’d begun a third novel Don’t Bruise the Bananas around the time Joe got sick and, after he spirited off to a better dimension, I decided to rewrite Bananas without the fiction. I hope to get it finished very soon. Here’s a taste:

Because I have been floundering with writing such profoundly devastating events, with Joe’s whispered encouragement, I created a new series called Love’s Salvation. Currently, there are five standalone stories in my new collection, with more on the way. Here’s the link to Love’s Salvation: Love’s Salvation

On October 6, the Authors’ Billboard will release an intense collection of stories now available for pre-order Invincible Diversity: A Premier Collection of Eight Exceptional Stories, Four Brand-New, From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors. Eight unique and unusual love stories that tackle the tough issues we face every day – racial acceptance or intolerance, whether black, brown, red or yellow, differing religious views, sexuality, family and social values, and so much more.

In addition to our many Romance and Suspense anthologies, we’ve just released a Second Bestselling Comedy Collection: Cute But Crazy: Ditzy Dudes: SIX BRAND NEW Side-splitting Romantic Comedies plus two read-tested surprise titles by Eight New York Times and USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors, CUTE BUT CRAZY 2 – DITZY DUDES is the follow-up boxset to the Bestselling Cute But Crazy – Wacky, Wonderful Women.
Get ready for another Romantic Comedy box set from the fabulous Authors’ Billboard gang. Come get acquainted with these charming and sexy Ditzy Dudes and the ladies they bring Happy (and tickle-bone funny) Ever After’s to.

Mimi’s Gang and the Authors’ Billboard are already looking forward to the Christmas Season. This year we’re excited to present: DEAR SANTA: A Christmas Wish

http://Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish (The Holiday Series Book 3)

DEAR SANTA is filled with 18 brand new stories about characters who have special wishes to ask the big guy during this season.Most of us have had experiences when something we’ve desperately wanted is so close that Santa seems the perfect person to ask for the miracle.
When one believes, it’s amazing the conflicts that are overcome and the surprises that can follow.

You’ll be amazed by each of these fantastic holiday books full of Christmas cheer and thrilling romance we’ve written for your entertainment. Pre-Order Here! http://Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish (The Holiday Series Book 3)

Thanks for hopping by and don’t forget to check out our monthly contest – Win Gift Cards, eBooks and more! Enter here:

How Are YOU Managing Your Covid Time?

Raise your hand if you’ve gained a few extra pounds since this pandemic began – You can’t see me, but I’m waving over here! Yeah, that’s me wearing the spanks –

I received the George Foreman grill as a gift from a caring friend who took pity on me, because my cooking skills are sorely lacking. Before Covid, I rarely snacked, but that’s over for now, too. My exercise has been reduced to MINIMAL manual household labor and occasional walks when the weather cooperates.

Since being quarantined, my writing time has increased and become a fierce ally. I’m not sure I’d like to actually thank Covid for gluing me to the computer, but I will credit and acknowledge Mr. Ice Pack, who’s lent me comfort for achy shoulders, and Ms. Tylenol for various assorted muscle aches.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished to date.

Row With Me is a fun novelette included in our Summer Shorts Collection, which I am offering now as a single on preorder – Here’s the blurb: “Shiloh’s previous liaisons are the less than traditional type, but meeting Gus is a game changer on so many levels. Her attraction to him is gut slamming, but is she ready to commit to a man?”

I released Braving the Wild Elements last week and it’s having a pretty good run – the story is also included in our Sweet and Sassy Summertime: Volume One Anthology.

Here’s the blurb: “Two softhearted sisters throw caution to the wind and rescue a stranded hitchhiker during a mandatory evacuation. Add a homeless veterinarian for good measure and learn the secret of how all four weather the elements during an unexpected hurricane – especially behind closed doors when they face the passionate storms brewing in their hearts.” You can get Elements here:

My third tale is (oddly enough) called Work in Progress, but this fun story is only available in our soon to be released, comedy collection Cute But Crazy: Ditzy Dudes. You can preorder the collection now and it will zoom into your Kindle on Sept. 8. Pre-Order it here:

Our newest collection is called Invincible Diversity (Invincible Women Book 4) and is on preorder status – Ladies, you won’t want to miss this one – the collection is guaranteed to knock your socks off – Women’s Fiction at its finest – with nothing held back.

Check out this blurb!

A Premier Collection of Eight Exceptional Stories, Four Brand-New, From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors – Eight unique and unusual love stories that tackle the tough issues we face every day – racial acceptance or intolerance, whether black, brown, red or yellow, differing religious views, sexuality, family and social values, and so much more. You can PreOrder this outstanding new collection here:

PS: I’ve thrown away my scale –

Have you entered our monthly contest? You should – Our Prizes include Amazon gift cards, Free eBooks and other bargains – Plus, we support guest authors, so take a peek, okay?

Stay safe, healthy, and enjoy every day. Hugs!

The Beauty of Chocolate @josieriviera, #mgtab

Why not celebrate chocolate? Typically, it’s a Valentine’s thing, but let’s face it, this year has thrown us a LOT of curveballs. An August celebration of creamy, delicious, delectable chocolate is in order and well deserved.

Chocolate was first used as a fermented drink around 400 BC. The Aztecs believed the cacao seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. The seeds were thought to be so valuable they were even used as currency. While the history is interesting, here are some ways you can ENJOY chocolate:

A childhood favorite and staple is Chocolate Chip Cookies. Enjoyed with a glass of milk, it seems they can make any little problem fade away. Just the smell can bring you a sense of comfort. 

I am sharing this delicious recipe today. Perhaps you can bake a few cookies and revisit your memories around these delightful treats.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, bake time 10 minutes. Yield 2 dozen.

  • 4 ounces butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (your choice of what type, I use semi-sweet)

Cream the butter until fluffy. Add the brown and white sugar, cream until blended. Mix in the egg and salt. Next, add all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Also known as, the yummy goodness!

Form into small balls, place on your baking sheet, leaving room for them to spread out and bake for 10 minutes. Serve with a glass of milk, for dipping, if desired.


️ New Release! 

A Chocolate-Box Summer Breeze, my sweet contemporary romance and the 4th book in my reader-favorite Chocolate-Box Series, is only 99¢ for a limited time.

A disillusioned widow longing for a change. A hard-working truck
driver looking for love. Will Emily and Joe find their happily-ever-after in a
forgotten summer breeze?


Grab your copy today before price goes up. Also available in Paperback and
Large Print Paperback.

FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Memories and New Beginnings

July is drawing to a close and with it concludes a jumble full of memories to me – some are bittersweet sweet and some are endearing on so many levels.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a widow and my late husband’s birthday was July 5th. Here’s one of my favorite pictures of Joe and I – it was taken the Christmas we got engaged. Looks like he’s tickling me, right? For sure this man tickled my fancy.

Our wedding anniversary was July 11th. We were married on a white sandy beach in Hawaii. Joe always planned something special for Our Day, and I miss the wholesomeness of US more than I can say. He was the love of my life. He and I collaborated on my first novel Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, and to our delighted surprise, the story became an award winning, bestseller. For this I am extremely blessed.

“Twice divorced, cynical Cindy Layton feels like a relic with prehistoric baggage, and doubts she can muster the courage to establish a new relationship, even if it’s on her own terms.
Her journey out of the Stone Age hits freaky, hilarious turbulence when she joins an Internet dating service. The scammers and weirdoes she meets in cyberspace make Cindy want to crawl back into her cave, until she receives an accidental email from Jay DeMatteo.
Jay has the dating blues, too, but after meeting Cindy, reconsiders his options. Now it’s up to him to convince her it’s never too late to pursue a meaningful relationship, even when a couple is struggling with midlife adolescence.”

After Joe died in May 2019, I was encouraged to make new and special memories with friends and family. My daughter Stacey took me to see Frozen in NYC in July 2019 – that was a fun, exciting evening and we dined on lobster rolls before the show – who doesn’t love lobster?

I also attended the RWC in New York City as a visitor last July 2019, and met up with my sweet friend Stephanie. We had a grand time and it’s my hope once the Covid 19 pandemic is under control, NYC will reopen in all its glory, as well the rest of our beautiful world.

Fortunately, life moves forward and this July I’m humbled and honored to be a participating author in many of The Authors’ Billboard Collections, including our new, number one release Sweet and Sassy Summertime: Volume One.

“NINE SWEET AND SASSY STORIES of SUMMER, Including Four Brand New, From New York Times & USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors. Some like them sweet and some like them sexy, but if you’re looking for a little heat, spice up your summer reading with this hot selection of stories!” FREE on Kindle Unlimited or 99 cents!

As you cruise into August, I pray you and your families stay safe, healthy, and embrace those blessings you have tucked in your memory bank – they will surely keep you rich and looking forward to the future.

Please don’t forget to enter The Authors’ Billboard Monthly contest – Win Amazon Gift cards, Free eBooks and other prizes. Simply click here: