Allen's Heroic Battle

Allen Reeves
I must apologize for not posting these last few weeks. It's been a terribly difficult year. My husband's brother has been battling cancer since January 2014. He's gone through 2 major surgeries, biopsies, a year of chemo and radiation, and all the medical intervention done to survive this awful disease.

It is with great sadness that I tell you Allen, my wonderful brother-in-law, is almost at the end of his battle. He fought heroically as did his doctors. Allen is now in hospice. My husband and I, and Allen's family, are bereft.

I will be offline for the next few weeks. If you send me a message, I'll eventually get it and respond. If you won a prize from any of my giveaways, I'll eventually get it to you.

There are some scheduled posts and tweets that were set up in advance. I'll see you later.

Takeaway Truth

Please donate to cancer research.

Girl on Her Own Horse by Ines Johnson

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Today, Ines Johnson, author of Pumpkin: A Cindermama Story, is my guest blogger. Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love.

If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Find Ines Johnson Online

Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter * Website * Publisher

About Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story by Ines Johnson

Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.

Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.

When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

Girl On Her Own Horse
by Ines Johnson

Have you been paying attention to the evolution of the Cinderella story? If you’ve watched the Disney blockbuster, Frozen, then you have. Young girls and women are no longer waiting around for a man to come by on his horse, sweep them off their feet, and give them shoes.

Okay, I doubt any of us would turn down the shoes!

My point is that women are now taking the reins of their own stories and rejecting the Cinderella trope of changing themselves into someone new. In many, dare I say most, of these stories the prince doesn’t pay attention to the Cinderella character in her ordinary world of working 9-5pm with grime under her nails and threadbare clothes. He doesn’t look her way until she gets magicked into expertly applied makeup, a binding, shape-shifting corset, and brand new shoes.

My first notice of this was in the film Working Girl. This 80’s retelling of the Cinderella story featured a bright secretary who had dreams of entering the boardroom with a briefcase instead of coffee. When her wicked boss steals her idea, the secretary seizes an opportunity to steal into a high profile business meeting by pretending that she’s her boss, while also wearing her boss’s dress and shoes. Melanie Griffith, as the secretary, uses Harrison Ford’s charming character to get her into the board room’s door. When the business deal goes south, Griffith doesn’t wait for the knight in a business suite to rescue her. Instead, she shows off her ‘head for business and bod for sin’ in order to win a business deal, thwart her boss, and get her man.

A decade later Drew Barrymore retold the Cinderella story in Ever After. In a pivotal scene when Barrymore’s character, Danielle, has been taken prisoner by the evil Pierre Le Pieu, the audience holds their breath as the prince leaps onto his horse and heads off to rescue her. But Danielle picks up not one, but two swords, and swashbuckles her way to an escape. As she’s walking out of the castle a free woman, the prince arrives moments too late with her shoe in hand.

Nearly another decade later came another retelling with Penelope. Penelope is an heiress born under a curse that can only be broken in the face of true love. The problem? Penelope’s face doesn’t inspire sonnets and poems as much as it does a hankering for breakfast meats. Penelope’s snout nose has caused her to be rejected her whole life, including rejection from her own mother. When she finally finds a man willing to tolerate her looks and break the curse, she comes to the realization that she likes herself just the way she is. And just like that, the curse is broken and Penelope’s outside matches her glowing inside.

In today’s stories, women don’t wait around for men on horses. They take the reins, defend themselves, and declare love to their own reflections. They’re now even qualified to deliver true love’s kiss to their own sisters as we saw in the blockbuster Frozen.

In my fairytale retelling, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story, my heroine has given up on fairytale love. Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne has been searching for his soulmate all his life, whom he’ll recognize at first sight by a golden aura, that only he can see, surrounding her person. Manny doesn’t see gold when he meets Pumpkin, but the more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

Buy Pumpkin: A Cindermama Story by Ines Johnson

Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Kobo

Takeaway Truth

The weekend is coming. Have you selected a book for your reading entertainment yet?

2015 Romancing the Novel Published Authors Contest

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A writing contest for Historical Romance.

The 2015 Romancing the Novel Published Authors Contest, sponsored by Hearts through History Romance Writers, RWA Chapter #189, was conceived to award excellence in published—especially historical—romance fiction. The contest is judged by avid readers of romance.

Eligibility: Entries must be received by June 15, 2015. Novels and novellas must have a copyright of first printing date of 2014, regardless of format. Entries must be entered in electronic format (PDF, Kindle, or epub). No print copies can be accepted.

Prizes: The winners of each category will be included in a full-page RWR advertisement, plus as follows:

Full page ad in InD'tale magazine

Press Release from HHRW to winners’ local newspaper

Press Release to yet-to-be-determine review sites

$25 Facebook (or similar) gift certificate to winners in each category

Entry Fee:

$20 for Hearts through History Romance Writers members

(RWA members may join HHRW by paying $45. This includes $25 for annual dues, plus a reduced member entry fee of $20.)

$15 for each additional entry for HHRW members

$25 for other RWA members

$20 for each additional entry for other RWA members

$30 for non-RWA members

$25 for each additional entry from non-RWA members

Submission: Authors must provide a DRM-free digital copy of the entered book/s, which will not be returned.

If a category does not receive at least 5 entries, the category will be merged with a similar category. The author will have the option to choose another category. If the author chooses to withdraw the books, entry fees will be refunded.

Categories: HHRW is all about history. Therefore, the historical romances have several defined categories as follows:

Colonial/Civil War/Western
Post-Victorian/WWII/up to 1960
Historical Inspirational
Time Travel/Historical Paranormal
Historical Young/New Adult
Historical Novella (less than 40,000 words)
Best First Historical Romance Novel

Other Categories:

Romantic Suspense
Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic/Time Travel
Young Adult / New Adult
Novella (less than 40,000 words)
Best First Romance Novel

Entry Form

The entry form is located here: Romancing the Novel Published Authors Contest 2015 (

Please submit a separate form for each book entered. The email address to submit your digital DRM-free book will be provided once your entry form and payment are confirmed.

Judging: All entries are judged by avid readers of romance. There are four judges for each category. The lowest score will be dropped to determine the final score, however, ties will be broken using the dropped low score. After the dropped low score is used, if there is still a tie for first place, a joint win will be offered.

Digital books will be given to the judges as a “thank you” for judging. Scores and finalist placement are not revealed. Score sheets are not returned. The decision of the judges is final.

NOTE: The entry form must be sent electronically, together with a DRM-free copy of the book/s entry. The email address for books will be sent later in an "Entry Confirmation" email.

The Process

Please send entry fee/s by PayPal to Please ensure that your name, book title and the category of your entry is in the comment section of your PayPal payment. If entering more than one book, please send entry fees in a single payment (as above) with the titles and categories (if different) in the comments section. You may pay by debit or credit card, your through your own PayPal account.

Winners will be informed via email at the close of the contest, when all judges have reported their votes. Winners will be publicly announced in Fall 2015. Prizes (as detailed above) will be awarded in a timely fashion following the public announcement.

More Info:  vp2 at heartsthroughhistory dot com

Takeaway Truth

Someone will win. Maybe it will be you...but only if you enter.

Romancing the URL Contest - NEW

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I'm home and back in the office. I had a lovely time at the annual siblings' reunion. My brothers and I try to do this once a year. It's a lot of travel, but it's so nice to see everyone.

Today--and probably the rest of the week--I'll be playing that All-American game, Catch-up. So let's jump right in with news of a new contest for writers.

2015 Romancing The URL Contest

This contest for authors is new and brought to you by the West Houston Chapter of Romance Writers of America, the same group that sponsors the prestigious Emily Contest every year.

Romancing The URL Contest is open to all romance authors, including aspiring authors, and to RWA chapters. It is an opportunity to showcase your website.

Entering Romancing the URL is easy. Just show us your link (URL). See registration form here.

Authors may enter in categories appropriate for their genre and/or can enter the multi-genre category.

Judges will be industry professionals (publishers, agents, marketing professionals, publicists, etc.), and the finalists will be announced in July.

Important Details

Entry Fee

$10.00: members of WHRWA
$15.00: members of other RWA chapters
$20.00: all others.

Note: You might consider joining this wonderful chapter. Dues are only $25.00 a year.


05/01/2015: Open for Entries
06/01/2015: Deadline for Entries
07/01/2015: Finalists announced
07/01/2015: Reader’s Choice contest opens
08/01/2015: Winners announced

All winners will be featured on WHRWA website and receive a Digital Badge to display on their website permanently.


You can find more information about the categories here.

Contemporary Romance
Historical Romance
Paranormal/FF&P Romance
Romantic Suspense
Young Adult Romance
Aspiring Author
RWA Chapters (Best Chapter Website)

Reader's Choice Award

All entries will automatically be considered for the Reader’s Choice Award which will be voted on separately by readers once the finalists are announced.

More Information

Contact: romancingtheurl at whrwa dot com or visit Romancing The URL Contest

Takeaway Truth

Proud of your website? Now's the chance to get more eyes on it. Enter today.

Video: 3 Things I Learned Recently

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I've been doing a lot of videos lately since I have several new releases coming out.

(See April Giveaway below for details.)

3 Things I Learned Recently

1. I've been a long-time Animoto user. Last month, I upgraded to a Pro Membership. It's totally worth it. I was paying $5 and $10 bucks a pop to upgrade each video to HD. It's free if you're a pro member.

You also get access to more themes, music, image and video clips.

2. An Animoto video created under the Pro plan can contain a Call to Action with a clickable link at the end. This CTA remains in place if you embed the player on your blog or website.

It does not remain in place if you load the video to YouTube or Facebook.  

3. If you're creating a video that you want to use in a YouTube / GoogleAds project, don't use images of people that may be naked or look as if they are. Your ad will be turned down. 

 Please enjoy these videos. Let me know what you think about them. Below the last one, I offer the April Giveaway.

Summer Fire: Love When It's Hot

Love Blooms on Main Street, a Collection of 10 Romance Novels

Cinderella Blue, A Romantic Comedy

 April Giveaway

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel then come back and leave a comment here with your email address to be entered in the April Swag Bag Giveaway (books, gadgets, & more). Prize to be awarded when I return from my trip next week.

Takeaway Truth

A video book trailer is a great way to encapsulate a book's story in a way that makes a big impact.

All Out of Words?

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Wow! It's been a long day. Make that month ... uh, year. I've published:

one book, Cinderella Blue
contributed another one, Old Enough to Know Better, to the Love Blooms on Main Street Box Set which was released today

wrote Heat Lightning, a new novella for the Summer Fire Romance Collection, on pre-release now with publication in May.

(See end of post for books and buy links.)

Add to that a lot of weekend traveling and a lot of Facebook and Twitter, and I'm, well, I'm tired.

SlingWords has suffered from lack of time. For the first time in years, I've let a week pass between posts. Tonight, as I write this, it's after midnight. I'm literally too tired to sleep. I have 11 guest posts to write next week, but I'm just too tired to tackle that now.

Writing is certainly a curious profession, but, if one is a reader, writing is about the best job in the world. If I could get paid to read, that might have an edge up over writing. But I'd probably still write.

Speaking of Reading

Did you see the latest statistics on reading from Pew Internet researchers?

76% of American adults, 18 and older, read at least 1 book in the past year.
69% read a book in print in the last year.
28% read an e-book
14% listened to an audiobook.

16% of romance book buyers are men
84% of romance book buyers are women

20% of all books sold in 2012 were eBooks
77% of ebook buyers use only 1 device
23% of ebook buyers buy across multiple devices

Books & Buy Links

Cinderella Blue

All Romance Ebooks * Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords

Love Blooms on Main Street 

Summer Fire

Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook

Takeaway Truth

I think I'll read a while now. Goodnight.

What's Happenin', Hot Stuff?

But I've been writing like crazy! Sorry, Blog Readers.
I started to post about what's happening that has prevented me from blogging much in April. The line from one of my favorite movies, Sixteen Candles, popped into my head so I thought I'd use it for the title of this post.

Spring Has Sprung

Yes, Spring finally arrived. Wildflowers covered the sides of our roads here in Texas, my roses are blooming their hearts out, and azaleas made the whole neighborhood look like one big flower garden.

Alas, spring has also brought those pesky thunderstorms, tornado warnings, and power outages when you least expect them. That sure plays havoc with writing.

Spring also brought the publication of Cinderella Blue. The price has now risen to $3.99, but I plan to offer sales on it so check the blog and social media for news of that. If you buy it and like it, please post a review.

New Box Set

On Tuesday, April 28, Love Blooms on Main Street will be released. This box set of 10 books contains my novel Old Enough to Know Better. If you haven't read it before, now is the chance to get it and 9 other romances for only 99cents. See below for buy links. The video for it is posted on the Video page of the blog. Take a look.

Another New Box Set

At the moment, I'm putting the final touches on Heat Lightning, a new novella that will be in the Summer Fire Ultimate Romance Collection. This box set is available for pre-order now--21 books for only 99cents. It will be published May 26. I'm currently doing a video for it so be sure and watch it when I post it on the blog. This collection will be something special with so many NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors in it.

Reviews Wanted

If you read a book--not just mine--and like it, please leave the author a short review. Just a paragraph saying why you liked it is sufficient. I know I deeply appreciate readers who post reviews. In fact, if you send me a link to a review you posted for one of my books, I'll send you a small gift as a token of my appreciation.

Giveaway News

The April Swag Bag Giveaway will close the last day of this month. To be entered to win, just leave a comment with your email address written out, not as a hot link, on a blog post this month. (Must be a real comment not 2-5 generic words left on each blog post to better your chances. Yes, that's what someone did last month. 55 comments made that way. I call those canned comments, and they will get killed by the spam filter.)

The April Swag Bag Giveaway is open to anyone who has NOT won a Swag Bag since Feb. 1, 2015. Winner to be announced on or before May 10, 2015, when I return from a trip.

Buy Links for All Books Mentioned

Cinderella Blue: All Romance Ebooks * Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords

Love Blooms on Main Street: Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook

Great reading; low prices. 10 Captivating Romance Novels.

Summer Fire: Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook

Great reading; low prices. 21 novellas from 21 bestselling authors.

Takeaway Truth

By the way, if you've missed my daily posts, and the authors and book spotlights on Wednesday's and Thursday's, they will resume in May. So authors if you want to be featured, use the Contact Page on the blog. Thanks!