Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty by @StacyJuba

I'm excited to have my friend Stacy Juba visiting today. Stacy writes delightful romances, and I'm pleased to say she has just released a new book in her Storybook Valley series.

About Stacy Juba

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel.

In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths.

She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List.

Stacy is also the founder of the Glass Slipper Sisters, a group of authors with fairy tale-themed romance novels. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers) or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next book in the Storybook Valley Series.

Visit Stacy Juba Online: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon Author Page *  Sign Up for Stacy's Newsletter

Stacy's Imagination At Work
What a theme park princess thinks

I asked Stacy that question readers always ask.

Where do you get your ideas?

I always seem to get ideas for my Storybook Valley novels when I’m on vacation.

The first book, Fooling Around With Cinderella, occurred to me when I was visiting a fairy tale theme park with my family.

We had just taken pictures at Cinderella’s castle, where the cheerful princess posed with my daughters. As we were leaving the castle, an idea popped into my head.

What if there was a reluctant theme park Cinderella? And what if she fell for her boss?

(I later named the boss Dylan.)

For the second book, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, I knew it would be about Rory Callahan, Dylan’s younger sister. Since she made an appearance in the first book, I already knew that she was a dance teacher named after Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.

What I didn’t know was how the book would begin.

One afternoon, while visiting my in-laws at their beachfront condo, I happened to glance out the window and see an airplane flying over the beach with a banner streaming in its path.

Usually these airplane banners advertised restaurant specials like pizza deals, or events such as a wet T-shirt contest. However, this time it had a more unusual saying: Will you marry me?

Instantly, I knew that was how I had to open the book. Except with this being a romantic comedy, I had to make it humorous. Plus, I couldn’t have Rory engaged to her soulmate on page one. What fun is that? I decided to make the scene a comedy of errors. Since the banner would say, “Will you marry me, Rory?” naturally she would assume the proposal was for her. But what if it wasn’t? And what if her boyfriend wasn’t her prince, anyway?

You can read some of the scene below. I hope you enjoy this peek in Storybook Valley, my fictional family-owned theme park in the Catskills of New York.

Sneak Peek: Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty
by Stacy Juba © 2018

High above the crowded beach, an airplane skimmed the cloudless blue sky, its hum a distant whine over the thunderous surf. Behind it trailed a banner with red block letters. Cupping her hand over her brow, Rory Callahan squinted in the glaring sunlight.


She gasped, and her bare feet pressed into the gritty sand. Rory gripped the sides of her sunken beach chair. Her boyfriend, Dr. Brad Walker, a general surgery medical resident at Mountain View Medical Center, occupied the second chair, engrossed in a sports magazine, oblivious to the romantic gesture—or pretending he was oblivious.

Rory had accompanied him to the Jersey Shore for his parents’ thirtieth anniversary party. When Brad suggested a morning at the beach before driving back to the Catskills, she never expected a marriage proposal. Her stomach clenched, the semi-queasy reaction surprising her.

After all, she had wanted this—well, maybe not this, not yet—but Rory had wanted a declaration of love from the guy her mother worshipped and that her annoying big brother insisted “wasn’t that into her.”

 Obviously Brad was into her. This proved his willingness to make their relationship work. She would show her brother, and her friends, too. Rory knew her roommates worried that Brad didn’t carve out enough time for her, but unlike Dylan, the girls minded their own business.

All brides-to-be probably felt jittery during the proposal. She choked down the very normal mound in her throat, reached over, and touched Brad’s hand. “I had no idea you were planning this. Yes. I’ll . . . I’ll marry you.”

Brad dropped the magazine onto his nearby flip-flops as if sand fleas had nested inside the pages. His chiseled face had blanched whiter than his pale chest, arms, and legs. Summer was almost over, and Rory would bet this was the first time he’d worn the charcoal print swim trunks she bought him.

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

This Sleeping Beauty isn’t sure she wants to wake up…

Dance instructor Rory Callahan likes to play it safe. When she meets Kyle, he’s impulsive, persistent, and her exact opposite. He’s pushing her to tango way past her comfort zone and keeping Rory on her toes more than twenty years of dance teachers ever had.

Unfortunately, he’s the grandson of her family’s arch rival and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. After all, her parents imagine her as a proper princess - hence her namesake Aurora, AKA Sleeping Beauty. Complicating matters, Rory’s also dealing with a surgeon boyfriend who’s perfect for her (sort of), an obnoxious boss, and desperate dance moms. Kyle wants to change her whole life, but Rory doesn’t like the stakes. After all, princesses are the ones who get the happy endings. . .aren’t they?

Add Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty to Your Library

You'll find this chick lit romantic comedy at: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo.

Takeaway Truth

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty. You'll be glad you did.

Authors RIP

In reading the Winter 2017 issue of Authors Guild Bulletin, I reached the end and the In Memoriam column. I'd like to note some of these authors who provided much reading pleasure for me beginning in childhood and carrying into adulthood.

Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, passed at the age of 96.

Natalie Babbit, author of Tuck Everlasting and other popular children's novels, passed at age 84.

E. R. Braithwaite, born in Guyana and Oxford-educated, passed at the age of 104. He was the author of the memoir To Sir, With Love. When I was a young teen, that movie starring Sidney Poitier with the theme song sung by Lulu, was powerful. I canstill sing every word of the song. I didn't know it was the memoir of an amazing and accomplished man until I was an adult.

Lois Duncan, now called a pioneer in teen suspense, was the author of more than 50 books for children and young adults. She was "discovered" by more than readers when her novel I Know What You Did Last Summer hit the big screen. She was 82.

Carrie Fisher. Yes, everyone in the world knows this actress most famous for her Star Wars role. I remember her though for the novels she wrote. Novels? Well, most were thinly-disguised memoirs. My favorite was Postcards from the Edge and Surrender the Pink. She wrote screen plays and also served as a script doctor on many movies. She was only 60.

W. P. Kinsella, the author of Shoeless Joe, one of my favorite books ever which was the basis for Field of Dreams, one of my favorite movies, passed at the age of 81.

Elie Wiesel, died at the age or 87 at his home in Manhattan. In addition to being a lifelong activist and lecturer on the Holocaust, he was the author of 60 books and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. His books were based on his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. To me, Mr. Wiesel was a hero who had the courage to talk about the worst time of his life. He always spoke out against crimes against humanity.

Remember The Lessons of History

When I was a child, we had neighbors who had survived the death camps. I remember the first time I saw the numbers tattooed on Mr. Keller's arm. I grew older and heard their stories along with the story told by one of my mother's friends who was Belgian and whose parents tried to flee when the Germans rolled in.

I guess knowing these people who shared their memories sparked the interest I've always had for the history of WWII, a war in which my dad fought but who hated to talk about it. I've always believed history should never be whitewashed and markers obliterated. The only good that can come of horrible events is to learn from them and vow that they will never be repeated.

Takeaway Truth

Perhaps you notice something these authors have in common, with the exception of Ms. Fisher. They were all long-lived. For some reason, authors seem to live longer than the norm.


This is kind of old news. I was looking through the last few issues of Authors Guild Bulletin, the official magazine of Authors Guild, and saw a piece about the rise of short-form books.

The article mentioned the launch of James Patterson's new book line called BookShots.

Patterson's line is from Little, Brown which is an imprint of Hachette Book Group. They started out with 21 short books to be published from June through December 2016.

Like much of Patterson's work now, his name is in the big font, and there's a co-writer on each of these short books--small font of course.

Each of these books range between 140 and 160 pages it seems. I checked a few of them out, and they appear quite popular. On Amazon, they're also labeled Kindle Singles of course.

A typical example is The House Husband, cover shown at left.

Question for Readers

Do you like these short books? If you do, why? Is it because you can have a satisfying read in an evening rather than spreading a book over a week or two?

If you don't like them, why not?

Takeaway Truth

Readers, I really want to hear from you. Comment any time or use the Contact Form on the blog to email me your opinion.

Health Tip: When & How To Eat

I've been going through old magazines to see if I want to keep them.

In one, I read a little health tip I thought I'd pass on--especially if you're dieting.

When To Eat

According to research, it does matter what time you eat.

If you eat nutritionally sound, modest-sized meals and snacks spaced throughout the day, it helps keep your blood sugar stable.

A lot of people eat most of their calories at night. That's not smart because dumping what amounts to a day's worth of calories in all at one time makes it more difficult for your body to assimilate or manage that large amount of food without secreting extra insulin.

Other research indicates that people are more insulin resistant at night so you get a double whammy.

Perhaps we should take to heart some ancient wisdom. The Greek poet Hesiod, circa 700BC said: "Observe due measure; moderation is best in all things." The Roman Plautus, circa 250–184 BC, said it again, "Moderation in all things is the best policy."

Takeaway Truth

Even Benjamin Franklin said it, with a twist: "Moderation in all things--including moderation." Of course, he had a sly sense of humor.

Review: Wind River

Wind River, a gem of a movie, was recently added to Netflix.


A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, using the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.

Superb Cast

Starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, along with the always-excellent Graham Greene, I was surprised by how moving the movie was even as it ratcheted up the tension from opening scene to The End.

The other nice surprise is how Renner, who plays tracker Cory Lambert, nailed the accent and attitude of a native son of Wyoming. I've been to Wyoming. It takes a survival mentality to endure the winters not to mention the other challenges in a state with a population slightly more than 585,000 inhabitants and an economy driven by mineral extraction (oil, gas, coal, mainly) and tourism.

Renner as Lambert, estranged from his Arapaho wife due to the tragic death of their daughter, is compelling and believable. Yes, he's seeking redemption, but it's more of an unconscious part of his makeup than an overt goal.

In fact, I think he's driven more by a need for justice. Forget law and trials and appeals. Lambert is a hard man, living in a hard world. As he tells rookie FBI Agent Jane Banner, played by Elizabeth Olsen, when Banner says she survived because she was lucky: "Luck lives in the city. Luck doesn't live here."

Lambert is not a vigilante, but, in his world, he knows that sometimes you get justice only when you make it happen--that would be Old Testament type justice.

Olsen is excellent in her role as the newbie FBI agent Jane Banner, who's smart enough to know she's out of her element with not only the case but also the unforgiving landscape and weather of the state of Wyoming.

There are some errors and/or goofs in the movie, but don't let that detract from the excellence of this film.

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for a riveting story, emotional resonance, and superb acting, choose Wind River.

Make Your Social Media Stand Out

This is so cool. Motion Elements has 10 new amazing vertical templates for social media.

I clicked the link in my daily email from them and just had to preview all of them. They're all awesome. I especially liked Fast Stomp Opener and Short Vertical Magazine.

If you're looking for something to make your social media site stand out, look no further.

Just choose one of these templates to create an exciting vertical video for your social media. They're  inexpensively priced from $5.00 to $20.00.

Takeaway Truth
Motion Elements

Standing out is difficult when there are millions of sites competing for attention. If you try one of these templates, let me know how easy it was to use.

Saturday Share: Paleo Orange Ice Cream

My daughter has changed the way she eats and cooks. She's completely Paleo now in her battle against chronic pain. Diet is one of the tools she uses to manage pain.

Some of you may say, "It couldn't possibly make that big a difference." Perhaps, the difference in pain level isn't that large, but when you have a condition where you're always pinging 9 and 10 on the pain scale, any improvement in managing that pain is significant.

She and her husband are coming for dinner tonight so I made a dessert that fits her Paleo lifestyle. It was easy and tastes really good.

Paleo Orange Ice Cream


3 large navel or blood oranges
5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1- 13.5 ounce can of Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla


Peel and section the oranges. Place slices on a cookie sheet and freeze.

Open the can of coconut milk and stir gently. Dump the contents into a blender container and blend well.

Add the frozen orange slices in batches, blending well after each addition until all have been blended up.

Add the maple syrup and blend well.

Add the vanilla and blend well.

Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze until solid.

To serve, remove from freezer about 10 minutes ahead of time to make it easier to scoop. Serve with sliced strawberries, blueberries, and other fresh fruit of your choice with each scoop.

Takeaway Truth

Healthy foods can also be delicious foods.