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

Location, Location, Location by @JoanReeves #mgtab

man on motorcycle, woman standingLocation is supposed to be the most important thing in real estate, at least that’s what the old joke says. In writing, location, as in setting, is also very important. Why?

Because a location can tell you something about the characters. In The Key to Kristina, my novel in Forutune’s Favor: The Treasure, the heroine is from a sparsely-populated West Texas county.

In her words, she lives in a “crappy house trailer she called home in a dry, windy West Texas county.” Later, the reader learns, “Through the deserted highways of West Texas, she’d driven eighty until she reached a more populated area.”

Farther on, she says, “Yes, I know about video monitoring, but we don’t have to worry about Big Brother watching our every move in the wide open spaces where the buffalo once roamed.”

In truth, the lack of people, the wide open spaces, the crappy house trailer, and other details build a picture of a lonely woman of limited means.

Many West Texas counties are sparsely populated. I’ve driven through a lot of them and knew I wanted to set a book in one because the people are always friendly, the sunsets are amazing, and the monochromatic landscape can be either discouraging or beautiful depending on one’s mood.

From Desert to the Beach

From arid West Texas, I moved to Last Chance Beach for my next story, Hot August Night. This romance short story and the 13 others are set at a fictional resort island called Last Chance Beach.

I wrote the Legend of Last Chance Beach and included it in the box set. Then all of us created the details about the island paradise like the names of hotels, beach houses, restaurants, gift shops, and all the other businesses you’d find at an island resort. Creating the bible or the Master Plan of this community was a lot of fun.

When I created the concept of Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End, I thought of all the beaches I’ve loved: the one bordered by coral boulders below my house overlooking the East China Sea, the one in Italy on the Adriatic Sea, the one at a Mexican resort on the Pacific, and Galveston beach, the one nearest my home.

I took the atomosphere, the details, the landscape of trees, shrubs, and flowers, the character of the oceans—in other words all of the sensory details that make readers “identify” with the location even though this island resort is a figment of the imagination.

If you’re still “staying home” and wish you could travel, then do it the safe and easy way. Read a book! In The Key to Kristina, in Forutune’s Favor: The Treasure, the heroine starts out in West Texas, goes to Houston, then to Michigan, Memphis, a small town in Louisiana, and back to Houston.

Then, chasing a different kind of treasure, they head out to West Texas to a completely different area than where she started. That road trip is a lot of traveling!

Or pack your virtual suitcase and head to Last Chance Beach for Summer’s End! Maybe you’ll run into celebrity chef Zander Rojas, a former Navy S.E.A.L. and his nemesis, Chelsea Elliot, a Houston police detective who find a Hot August Night can change everything.

By the way, both of these box sets are priced at only 99¢, a bargain in anyone’s book. They’re both in Kindle Unlimited so if you’re a subscriber, you can “read free.”

Sign up for Joan’s FREE Newsletter, and you’ll be the first to know about new books and giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you’ll receive a link for a free ebook.

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Amazing Summer Adventures by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Vintage traveler suitcase with sunglasses straw hat old camera and maps.I’ve had the most amazing summer—and July hasn’t even ended yet. Let me tell you all about it.

I attended a high school reunion and met the first guy I ever fell in love with. He was a nerd in high school, but he left our small town and went to Harvard. Over the last ten years, his investments have made him a billionaire. Plus, he’s no longer nerdy looking. He’s completely gorgeous. He arrived at our high school in a stretch limo with his entourage.

I couldn’t believe he had come back to our little home town. For me, he was the one who got away.

Wait a minute. That didn’t happen to me. That happened to the heroine in JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES, the romantic comedy I’d written that went into the Sweet and Sassy Summertime Volume 1 Collection.

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!”

Sorry about that. Let me tell you about going on a hunt for hidden treasure. This was unbelievable. My father never gave me anything but a hard time until he died and left me a key, but I didn’t know what the key unlocked. However, he had arranged for this guy to join me in a Quest to find The Key To Kristina. We traveled to a lot of different locations, and there were some shady people following us.

To my surprise, the guy accompanying me turned out to be the kind of man I never thought I’d find. We had so much in common: both had ex-cons for fathers, both had a strong will. He called me opinionated and bossy, but I’m really not. I’m smart enough to figure some things out that he can’t. It was the greatest adventure. You’ll never guess what the treasure was. In fact, you’ll have to read…oh, wait.

I’m so embarrassed. That didn’t happen to me. That happened to Kristina Rivera, the heroine of The Key to Kristina, a new book I wrote for Fortune’s Favor: The Treasure. Oh, my, I had so much fun writing about Kristina and her Quest and Wyatt her partner who is a crusader for lost causes.

Fortune’s Favor: The Treasure 

Fortune favors the Bold, and bold women and men through the centuries have sought Fortune’s Favor in Life and Love.

A quest, hidden treasure, inheritance, Spanish Gold, and missing jewels inspire five riveting action adventure tales of women and men seeking redemption and rewards, searching for legacies, revealing secrets, finding romance, falling in love and winning that happily-ever-after that make all the challenges they must overcome worthwhile.

For the best Kindle Beach Read 2020, go treasure hunting with five NY Times, USA Today Bestselling, and Award-winning Authors as they seek Fortune’s Favor: The Treasure.

Let me rhttps://amzn.to/3fR1hoYegroup. I know I had some kind of adventure this summer. Oh, right. I know. I went to Last Chance Beach. I’d read the legend before. It’s about a woman and man back in the 18th or 19th century, I forget which, who had fallen in love. She was a rich man’s daughter; he was a poor young man seeking a way to make a living by writing.

The father had him thrown into the hold of one of his ships and sent back to the new world. The daughter ran away to find him. She searched for years until she ended up on this island that had been newly settled. He was there! He’d washed ashore after a shipwreck. They reunited for their Last Chance at Love which is how the island got its name. Anyway, that place is a popular vacation spot now. I went there because I really needed to de-stress.

It’s hard being a woman cop, especially when you’ve been undercover for almost a year. I stayed in this adorable cottage called Blue Moon House. My friend Bogey owns it. I had just arrived when someone broke in!

Well, he didn’t exaclty break in. He had booked the cottage for the same 2 weeks I was supposed to have it. I guess Bogey forgot to notify the management company that I was staying there. Of all the men on the planet, why did it have to be him aka the Jerk?

He’s a celebrity chef all the women are ga-ga over refused to leave. Can you believe that? We knew each other and already disliked each other. What happened next was completely unexpected.

Oh, no! I did it again. That wasn’t me staying at Blue Moon House. That was Chelsea Elliot and Zander Rojas. They’re the “stars” of Hot August Night, my story in the LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End Romance Collection.

LAST CHANCE BEACH, the island paradise where Dreams go to live again, and Wishes may come true. It’s Summer’s End on the island, and the cottages, condos, hotels, and bungalows are filled to capacity. There’s plenty of time left to find summer fun and summer love, new romances and second chances, hot alpha males and heartwarming heroes, love at first sight and romantic delight, enemies to lovers and opposites to attract.

Throw a log on the beach bonfire tonight and celebrate LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End, a special romance collection of 14 all-new short stories from bestselling and award-winning authors. These summer stories—created especially for this collection—will thrill the hopeful romantic in you. Some are sweet: some are sizzling! Some are humorous; some are serious.

LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End will make you want to book a vacation to the island of legend and love, the place where soul mates find each other and love at first sight happens all the time!

Being an Author: Best Job Ever

An amazing summer? Yes! I may not have left my home and office, but I did travel to all of these places in my imagination. Being an author is the best job ever because I get to create wonderful adventures and heartwarming small town stories—dramas, mysteries, and comedies. Then I’m the one who breathes life into the smart, sassy heroines and the brave, charming heroes who “live” the stories I write.

Click the “Keeping Romance Alive” image to subscribe to my newsletter. You’ll receive a free ebook when you confirm your subscription.

All of the box set collections mentioned above are only 99cents, and they’re all on Kindle Unlimited too!

Wishing you a fabulous summer of reading—the best and cheapest vacation for the mind and the spirit that you’ll ever find. Happy reading!

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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