Christmas Candy by @JoanReeves #mgtab

I love Christmas — the music, the decorations, the Salvation Army bell ringer, wrapping presents, the food — everything!

Every year I say, “I’m not scheduling anything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.” I say this because I want to be free to dive into the holidays and all the fun stuff.

But…that never happens. Instead, I drive myself — and my husband crazy — trying to finish a book or short story, participating in FB parties, etc. To make matters worse, this year I took off a week to go on a cruise which puts me not 1 week behind, but 2 weeks behind— if that makes sense.

What’s a girl to do?

Forget about all of it and make Christmas Candy, of course. This is the month that I allow myself to cook — and eat — foods I normally avoid. As if it wasn’t enough to scarf down Chocolate Melting Cake and other delights on the cruise!

One of the things I love to make — and eat — are those high fat/sugar concoctions beloved in the South. I’m talking about Pralines. (Pronounced praw-leen, not pray-leen.) If you’ve ever visited New Orleans, you’ve probably had a praline.

They’re made of caramelized brown sugar, butter, and pecans, and they’re delicious, fattening, and irresistible. By the way, the nut pecan is pronounced puh-con. Not pee-can. (I always tell non-southerners that the latter is a vessel in which to collect urine.)

Cookbook author Nathalie Dupree wrote in Southern Memories: “I can’t imagine a world without pralines.”

Me either! You just can’t grow up in the south without learning how to make pralines. Today, I’m going to share my secret family recipe for those yummy melt-in-your-mouth confections.

Joan’s Christmas Pralines

Photo by Angele J from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/candy-caramel-nuts-pecan-pralines-128405/

You need: heavy flat-bottomed saucepan, candy thermometer, heavy cream or Pet Evaporated Milk, brown sugar, butter, pecans, something to spoon them onto like parchment paper, foil, granite, or a silicone mat already spread on the counter and ready to go.

In the saucepan, combine:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup Pet Milk)

Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan so that the bulb rests in the liquid. Turn the heat on and bring mixture to a boil. Cook on medium heat to 238 degrees on the candy thermometer.

When 238 is reached, add:

1 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (Some people use pecan halves as in the picture above, but I find when they are broken into big pieces, you get more blobs of candy filled with pecans.)

Keep on the heat, and stir until butter melts and pecans are coated. Continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees.

At 245, remove immediately from heat. Quickly — before mixture seizes — spoon dollops of the mixture onto a silicone mat or parchment paper or whatever you planned on. The pralines will spread so try to use small spoonfuls until you get the hang of it and can make the size you want.

They crystallize as they cool. When completely cool, wrap each praline in a small paper doily or wax paper and store in airtight container. These make a wonderful gift, and they are simply scrumptious.

If you want to make some more Christmas goodies, try the recipes in my cake cookbook, Friday Is Cake Day, only $0.99. This collection of 52 family recipes has something for every level of cook. Some are super easy; some are intricate. All are delicious.

Whatever you make during the holidays, have fun doing it and sharing with family and friends.

Remember all the wonderful bargain box sets from our bestselling authors here at Authors’ Billboard.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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

The Snowball Effect #WritersGroup #LoveandSupport #mgtab @jacqbiggar

PhotoFunia-1511057744

The Benefit of a Writer’s Group

A few months ago Mimi Barbour, creator of The Authors’ Billboard, a group of over thirty bestselling romance writers, came up with the ingenious idea of setting up box sets varying in size from six to eight books and enrolling them into the Kindle Select program.

The hope was to gain new readers, and of course sales, of our individual books. We started out with two or three sets, just to see how they would do.

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There was such a fantastic response from our readers, three more followed. Then three more, then… well, you get the picture 🙂

As quick as we could put them together, they were getting read; to the tune of millions of pages read (Kindle Select’s method of determining how much to pay authors from a fund Amazon adds to each month)

Amazon KENP Rates of Major Stores

 

It has proven to be a snowball effect, benefiting the group in ways we never expected.

 

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We’ve become stronger as a group.

Friends who have each other’s backs. We support and promote new releases. Celebrate achievements. Share information. Build on our successes. And commiserate our failures.

No matter what, we know there’s someone who will listen when we need advice.

If you ever get the opportunity to join a writer’s group, I highly recommend giving it a try!

If you’d like to meet our group and have some fun at the same time, stop by November 29-30 at our 2nd Annual Christmas Bash on Facebook. There’ll be plenty of chatting, games, and giveaways! You don’t want to miss the party, we’d love to meet you there!

 

ABB Christmas Bash

 

And here’s a listing of our #boxsets: available for a LIMITED TIME!

Reviews are the lifeblood of any successful author. Without you, we can’t be heard.

If you enjoy the story, please consider sharing on your favorite social media sites, as well as GoodReads and from wherever you’ve bought the book and visit us online for great deals, interesting blog posts, contests, and much more!

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Thank you!

Love, Christmas

Unforgettable Romances: Unforgettable Heroes

Unforgettable Heroes: Unforgettable Passion

Unforgettable Christmas: Gifts of Love

Kiss Me, Thrill Me

Dangerous Encounters: Love on the Edge

Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics

Sweet and Sassy

Sweet and Sassy Christmas

Love on Fire

Sweet Heat

A Christmas She’ll Remember

 

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

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.