The Art of Tenacity by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Sign saying Thoughts of Inspiration, Optimism, Faith, Hope.I grew up during a time when we had to read stories of bravery and courage in school and when old movies on television were about people struggling against great odds to achieve a worth goal. Much of my character was formed by those stories in print and on TV. One story I read that has stuck with me through the years was Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard, a little essay published in 1899.

Message to Garcia is a testament to tenacity, defined as “the quality or fact of being very determined.” The story takes place during the Spanish American War. Here’s a brief summary of the story.

It was of the utmost importance that the President get in touch with the leader of the Cuban Insurgents, a man named Garcia who was somewhere in the mountains where no telegraph could reach him. The President needed his cooperation, and he needed it immediately. A letter, sealed in an oil-skin pouch, was given to a man named Rowan.

This messenger—this Rowan—strapped the package over his heart, and in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba. He disappeared into the jungle. Three weeks later, he came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot. Rowan delivered that letter.

Just think…a night landing in the ocean…swimming to the shore…going into the jungle…hiking all over the island and into the mountains…living off the land..three solid weeks of this…twenty-one days—then he comes out on the other side. Mission accomplished.

Could you have done something that required such physical courage and strength as well as the sheer will to get it done…the will to prevail? When Life is tough, I think about that little essay. Rowan had tenacity…the will to prevail. Accomplishing something important comes down to the will to prevail. Tenacity. You either have it, or you don’t. It’s not a skill or talent you’re born with. It’s one you cultivate by living.

Hubbard’s essay was once the 5th most widely distributed book in history. In the last few years, it’s fallen out of favor because critics focus on the fact that the messenger accepted his orders without challenge. Well, that was a more than a hundred years ago. A different time and culture. I think the focus should still be on the importance of human initiative and determinaton. That’s what inspired me the very first time I read the essay, and it inspired me when I recently read it again.

Book: Vacation Between Two Coverssun Hat, Ebook of Cinderella Blue, Beach

When Life is tough, reach for a book. May I suggest something funny like Cinderella Blue?

Detective Andrea Luft—Andie to her friends—loves to say those three little words. Especially to bad guys who SO deserve it. Andie is undercover to catch the thief stealing designer wedding gowns from San Antonio bridal boutiques. She’s about to make an arrest when Detective Bruce Benton barges onto the scene. The suspect escapes, and, as a reward for this screw-up, Benton and Andie are paired together as partners to close the case.

These two commitment-phobic cops have nothing in common except their tendency to annoy each other—unless you count the desire sizzling between them. But a cop romance just isn’t in the cards for them. At a cop shop, a workplace romance can cause you to make careless mistakes that can be hazardous to your health—and your career!

Too bad because Benton realizes feisty, smart-mouthed Andie is the woman he’s been waiting for. He just doesn’t know how to convince her of that.

“This book was so much fun! I loved the humor and the barbs our couple threw at each other. And then there is the electricity between them….
This was a great beach read.” —NetGalley

Post Script

Maybe we all need some tenacity in our lives to get through COVID-19. Stay healthy. Be happy. Be tenacious. Read a book!

heart shaped ribbons

 

Joan ReevesKeeping Romance Alive…One Sexy Book at a Time—is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Joan lives happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband. They divide their time between a book-cluttered home in Houston and a quiet house at the foot of the Texas Hill Country where they sit on the porch at night, look up at the star-studded sky, and listen to the coyotes howl.

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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

Visit me online: SlingWords Blog * Website * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube. Sign up for my free subscription Newsletter and receive a free ebook after confirming your subscription.

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!

 

New Release News- The Player by Jacquie Biggar #RomCom #SportsRomance @jacqbiggar @mgtab

I have a new release and it’s a Rom-com!

When I started writing the second book in the Men of WarHawks series I had in mind a suspense novel with a female antagonist because I’d read somewhere that something like one in ten women are criminals. Enter Olivia Brandt- psycho stalker.

Excerpt from Villain’s POV

Unable to help herself, Olivia lifted the spyglasses just as Roy got out of the car and went around to open the door for the chunky woman who climbed out and stared up at the rather impressive log cabin in front of them. What did he even see in her? She had no style sense—seriously, bubble coats when you’re plump is like adding wrapping paper to a watermelon, there is no hiding those curves—and what was with those glasses and hairstyle? Did she dream of becoming the next Marilyn Monroe?

Roy put a hand to the woman’s elbow and solicitously helped her over the icy gravel drive and up the stairs to the wraparound porch. They paused for a moment while he unlocked the door, then ushered her inside. Olivia’s blood boiled. She threw the binoculars onto the seat—where they promptly bounced to the floor—and smacked a gloved hand on the steering wheel.

“She’s going to pay for getting in my way,” she vowed.

“You’re going to jail, is what’s going to happen,” Mike retorted. “C’mon, sis, you already have a restraining order against you thanks to this guy, isn’t that enough?”

Heat rose up her chest and coated her cheeks. “I told you, it’s a misunderstanding. Once I get a chance to speak to Roy, he’ll clear it up. That’s why I need you.”

He rolled his eyes. “You’re making excuses. He doesn’t want anything more to do with you. He’s moved on, why can’t you?”

Rage rose in a tidal wave. Before she knew what she was doing, Olivia reached down, grabbed the binoculars, and rammed them into her brother’s face.

“Ow, you bitch,” he yelled, putting both hands up to protect his bleeding nose. “What the hell was that for?”

The anger ebbed, the monster in her head silent for now. She started the truck and backed down the drive until they were out of sight of the house. A couple of maneuvers later, the four-by-four was turned around. Olivia glanced at Mike and frowned. She threw a roll of paper towel from under the seat in his direction. “Clean yourself up, we have a date with a rental agency.”

“You’re fricking crazy,” he mumbled.

She laughed, exhilarated now that the time was near. Soon we will be together, darling. And no one was going to stand in her way.


As you can see, Olivia has a few issues. But, as well as her character came together, I couldn’t tame my protagonists into having the proper respect and solemn attitudes given the seriousness of the situation.

Roy Donaldson is an attitude-ridden hockey player, frustrated with his general manager’s request demand to take time away from the game to get his personal life in order, and Patience Kennedy is the unfortunate PA hired to help him. Roy figures he can boss the PA into leaving so he can get back on the ice, but Patience isn’t the pushover he expects.

Short Excerpt between Roy and Patience

Roy stripped down in the empty locker room and stepped into the shower, sighing as the warm water massaged his back. He’d paid a hefty price to get the arena to himself, but it was worth the fee to escape the merciless eyes of the press. If he wasn’t under contract… hell, who was he kidding? His career was all he had left, he wasn’t going anywhere. His cell phone jingled, wrecking the quiet. He tipped his head back, letting the water roll off his face. Olivia. Again. He had nothing to say to her. She’d made a fool out of him in front of his entire team—unforgivable.

He rubbed his face and blinked unseeingly at the tiled wall. Two months. He and Olivia had been happy together—well, content. God. If he hadn’t come home early that day and found her ensconced in his bed…

They’d agreed to take things slow, enjoy the natural growth of their relationship. Instead, she’d stolen his keys, inserting herself into every part of his life. Calling his mother, arranging a dinner with his teammates, adding her name—in a relationship—to his Facebook profile. He pounded the wall, then bowed his head, failure ringing in his ears.

He rinsed off and left the shower stall, hands squeezing the water from his over-long hair—he needed a cut. A startled screech stopped him in his tracks. A curvy brunette sat half-turned on the bench. She’d covered her eyes and held out his towel, reminding him of a pinup from the fifties with her flouncy dress, short sweater and colorful knotted headscarf.

“Who the hell are you?” he snarled, making a grab for the towel to cover his privates—though it was probably too late for modesty. So much for having this place to himself.

“Umm, P… Patience Kennedy.” She peeked at him from an oversized pair of mint green glasses that made her brown eyes look huge.

Great, they were sending ingénues for reporters now. Didn’t matter, he wasn’t buying into it. “Well, Patience Kennedy, this is the men’s locker room. You aren’t supposed to be in here. Tell whatever rag you’re working for the whole sex kitten thing is wasted on me.” There, that should send her running in…

One.

Two.

The young woman erupted off her seat in the most interesting flurry of bounces and wriggles. Hands on hips, she glared at him in all her bifocaled glory. “That is a horrible, sexist thing to say.” Her eyes lowered to his bare chest and the towel tucked haphazardly around his hips. She jerked her gaze up, cheeks flushing a becoming pink. “This is a misunderstanding. My boss suggested I come down and introduce myself after your practice. I wasn’t expecting…” Her hands flapped in front of her like a frightened peacock attempting to take flight.

Unexpectedly, he grinned. “Never see a naked man before, Patience Kennedy?” He double-checked the towel and chuckled when she sealed her eyes shut. “Don’t worry, your virtue is safe with me.” The smile faded. “I learn from my mistakes.” He looked around for his clothes, realized he’d left them in his locker and Kennedy stood in his path.

“I wish I could say this has been fun, but…” He waited until she reopened her eyes, then jerked his chin in the direction of the other room.

She tipped her head and a heavy sweep of chestnut hair slipped over her shoulder to cover the plump fullness of her breast—not that he was looking. “Sorry?”

He saw the moment the lightbulb went on. Her eyes widened and her mouth made an oh that hooked his attention. She had a beauty mark. “My clothes are behind you—unless you plan on holding me hostage until you get your story?” And why the hell did that not sound like a bad idea?

She jumped out of his way and promptly twisted an ankle on the wet bricks. “Ouch,” she cried, leaning over to cradle the injury.

That damn sweater was too small, her breasts were hanging out of the top, jiggling with every pained breath she took. He was such a pervert. He crouched to get a closer look at the injury, tucking the towel between his legs. Yep, she’d sprained it. Who came into a locker room in three-inch heels anyway?

“You’d better sit down. You can’t walk on it like that.” He rose and took her elbow, frowning when she jerked away.

“Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do. It’s fi… fine,” she groaned as she put her weight on the foot in question. Her face paled and she reached behind her for the bench, easing her rump down. “Dammit, what else can go wrong?”


If you’d like to find out how these two survive themselves and the crazy Olivia, check out The Player releasing Feb 28th!

The Player: Men of WarHawks- Book 2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083CZVVLG

International: https://books2read.com/ThePlayer

TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50439233-the-player

Recommend on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-player-men-of-warhawks-book-2-by-jacquie-biggar

Sometimes, love happens when we least expect it…

NHL defenseman Roy Donaldson lives for the game. When an ex-girlfriend/stalker causes trouble for the team, Roy gets benched.

And the only way he can return to the rotation…? Accept help from sassy, sexy PA Patience Kennedy.

Patience is one step away from a junior partnership– all she needs to do is restore a sullen, annoying, attractive hockey player’s image.

Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Early Reviews

Oh this one took a surprising turn and I couldn’t put it down. I won’t give any spoilers but it is a doozy! It is well written and a nice blend of sports player, strong woman, romance,a touch of humor, twists, family and yes, suspense!

Bookbub reviewer- The Player

I love sports stories (especially hockey ones) and Jacquie gives us Roy who gets sidelined from NHL thanks to his stalker ex so he ends up needing some little help from a PA Patience … so you can imagine the good laughs and antics and aww moments she mixed up for us and to be frank, I think the story would have deserved to be longer! I for sure will keep my eyes open for more by Jacquie!

Bookbub Reviewer- Irresistible Valentine Anthology

I Need a Hero by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Gorgeous male model in wet t-shirtDo you know that song, “Holding Our for a Hero,” sung by Bonnie Tyler? When Tyler sings, “I need a hero,” that’s exactly what romance authors think as we breathe life into the character our heroine will fall for.

Readers are looking for a hero to thrill them too.

As a romance author, I spend a lot of time thinking about heroes and how to make a story’s hero be perfect for the heroine.

What Is a Hero?

Is he the guy in the wet t-shirt? He’s got brooding good looks and toned body. Does that make him a hero? People lay claim to football players, rock stars, actors, and other famous types as heroes, but is that really what a hero is? Do extreme success and likability make someone a hero?

Not in my opinion. Popularity, personality, and skill in a demanding field just makes an interesting man. Maybe it makes someone a potential hero, but it takes more thran a pretty face, good body, and charm to be a hero—in a romance novel or in real life.

Soldier surrounded by children.Real Heroes Give

A real hero gives unselfishly to help others. Most people don’t think about the heroes in their own family, but I think you should look no farther than your own father, grandfather, brother, or other male family members to find heroes.

Think of the men in your family who work hard to give their children a better life. They’re heroes. Far better to idolize them than some hip hop artist or bad boy football star.

Real heroes—whether male or female, on a personal level or the world’s arena—give. They sacrifice, often for strangers. Sometimes that sacrifice is the ultimate one that claims the hero’s life. Real heroes are the Fire Fighters, Police Officers, and other first responders. They are the soldiers who put their lives on the line for us.

They are the doctors and nurses who volunteer for Doctors Without Borders, the emergency room medical staff, the volunteers in free clinics, and the dentists who spend their vacation in third world country villages, providing care for the poorest of people who have little access to any care.

They are the volunteers who dig water wells in poor villages where people don’t have the basic necessities we take for granted like clean water. So many heroes, and they’re everywhere.

Novel Hero Versus Real Life Hero

Is a romance novel hero vastly different from a real life hero? Maybe the romance hero is a little better looking and has six-pack abs rather than love handles, but the qualities of protectiveness, unselfishness, and caring exist in both the romance novel hero and the real life hero.

This desire to protect and serve is why so many romance heroes are soldiers and cops. In my romantic comedy, CinCa Blue, I have a cop hero and a cop heroine. I did a bit of a flip-flop with what the reader might expect. In most stories involving a cop hero, the cop avoids commitment at all costs.

In Cinderella Blue,, Detective Bruce Benton, first introduced in Nobody’s Cinderella, is commitment phobic, but so is Detective Andrea Luft, his new partner who he realizes is perfect for him. He’s the first in their growing relationship to want commitment.

I had fun solving Andie’s problems stemming from her emotional baggage. Here’s a short excerpt to show you these two cops in action.Cover of Cinderella Blue by Joan Reeves

Excerpt, Cinderella Blue

Heat shimmered in waves above the pavement. Across the street, Bruce Benton saw a cluster of shops that created one-stop shopping for women looking to drop a few grand on a pretentious wedding. He crossed the street and headed to the flower shop.

As he passed the glass storefront of a photographer’s studio, he saw a woman inside. A nano second later, he stopped abruptly. The heat must be frying his brain. He retraced his steps, casually glancing in again. The woman wore a wedding dress, but instead of a bridal bouquet, she held a handgun.

Bruce drew his Glock and eased the door open. A bell over the door jingled. He cringed as he slipped inside. Maybe she was deaf.

The woman whirled. Nope. Not deaf. She held her gun in the same shooter’s stance as he. “Take it easy, lady. Maybe the photographer took some lousy pictures of you. That’s no reason to shoot him.”

“That’Cover of Cinderella Blue by Joan Reevess funny.” The blonde suddenly grinned, but her gun never wavered. “You’re cute. Anyone ever tell you that you look kind of like Karl Urban?”

“Let’s not talk about some Aussie actor. Let’s talk about you. Why would a sweet thing like you have a gun?”

“Sweet thing?” Irritation replaced her grin. “Lower your gun. Lay it on the floor.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that. You see I’m a–”

Everything happened at once. A man rushed from behind her, slammed into her, and sent her flying into Bruce. They went down in a tangle of arms, legs, and miles of white satin. She came up snarling.
Bruce leaped up, gun in hand. “Freeze!”Cover of Cinderella Blue by Joan Reeves with Cityscape background.

He grinned and pulled out his handcuffs. “I always wanted to say that. Just like a TV cop. You lost your gun, sweet thing.”

He stepped toward her. With a snarl, she whirled. He saw a white blur and felt agony in his hand. A roundhouse kick to his solar plexus cut off his gasp of pain. He hit the floor. Wheezing, he tried to rise, but the blonde stood over him with her gun–and his–pointed at him.

She smiled. “Uh uh, sweet thing. You stay right where you are.”

Bruce groaned. Not from pain so much as humiliation. Crap. He’d never live this down.

Your Thoughts

What kind of a hero do you like best in romance novels? Does your ideal hero reflect the qualities you admire in your real life heroes?