Ready to Party? Lots of Prizes!

Love, Christmas 2: Holiday Movies You Love
I just returned home from an extended trip to visit family.

This trip was to welcome my sister-in-law home after a month in the hospital, preceded by emergency surgery.

Even though it is going to be a long road to recovery--and there will be another surgery in the spring--I'm pleased to report she's doing well and is in good spirits. My brother is trying to catch up on his sleep.

A lot happened while I was gone which means I'm woefully behind on just about everything. Is your life like that? Go away for a week or two and spend the next month trying to catch up?

I'm proud to have one of my romances in Love, Christmas 2: Holiday Movies You Love which published today. This collection is only 99cents for 26 ebooks--all new, never-before-published romances.

Watch the Video

Enjoy the video for this sequel to our immensely popular Love, Christmas 1, published in 2016. Please share it with your friends.

My book in this collection is Brianna's Season for Miracles.

Like all of the books in Love, Christmas 2, my story is a homage to a Christmas movie I particularly like.

I make it a point to watch A Season for Miracles starring Carla Gugino every Christmas. It's on my must-see list along with It's a Wonderful Life and The Ultimate Gift.

My daughter and I watch these movies together and cry together--always at the same scenes,

Here's a short blurb for Brianna's Season for Miracles

Brianna hides behind a seductive persona and avoids men like Daniel, afraid her secret might get discovered and fearful that she might end up wanting forever out of a relationship. But that doesn't stop her from falling in love with him.

Daniel already knows the secret she hides. He has a secret too. What will happen when Brianna discovers Daniel's secret?

Come join the fun!
Come to Our Facebook Party

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Oct. 17, we're celebrating with a Facebook Party.

Come and join the fun. We're giving away some really nice prizes--gift cards, jewelry, writing journals, books, and a lot more.

I'll be hosting the party from 2:20 (central time) until 2:40.

Takeaway Truth

Polish up your tiara and come join the fun. Let's get this party started!


Joan Reeves lives her Happily Ever After with her Hero, her husband, in a book-cluttered home in Texas.

Visit Joan online at any of these locations: Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan's Website.

Be the first to know about Giveaways, Bargains, and New Books, sign up for Joan's Mailing List.

Just for Halloween: A World of Gothic

Good morning, Readers. I have a treat for you today: a big sale on gothic mysteries!

A World of Gothic

10 Gothic Mystery Novellas ON SALE for ONLY 99 cents each through Halloween!

A group of authors from countries all over the world were drawn together by our love of the classic gothic mysteries by authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney.

While the stories are stand-alone, they each share a recurring thread of a Spinel stone, which can play a small or large part in the plot.

We have stories set in Scotland, Greece, Oklahoma, Florida, France, Ireland, and more. We hope readers have as much fun reading these stories (we recommend you do so with the lights on) as we had writing them.

Dark Hunt ~ A World of Gothic: Florida by Tamrie Foxtail

Ghost in the Rain ~ A World of Gothic: Scotland by Marie Treanor

House at the Edge ~ A World of Gothic: Greece by MM Jaye:

Haunting at Spook Light Inn ~ A World of Gothic: Oklahoma by Alicia Dean

Haunting in the Pines ~ A World of Gothic: East Texas by Janis Susan May

Raven of Blackthorn Manor ~ A World of Gothic: Ireland by Gemma Juliana

Blood-Stained Memories ~ A World of Gothic: Florida by Kathy L Wheeler

Sea of Darkness ~ A World of Gothic: France by Amanda McCabe

Shadows and Lies ~ A World of Gothic: Louisiana by Raine English

Sinister Ceremony ~ A World of Gothic: Maine by Stacey Coverstone ~ Available for pre-order

Takeaway Truth

Most romance readers love Gothic novels. I know I do. Can't wait to dive into these. Grab some for your weekend reading entertainment.

Free Holiday Cookbook

Besides Songs, What Else Do We Love About the Holidays?

Movies, of course. Everything from the classic It's a Wonderful Life to Love to Love, Actually and everything in between.

So my friends and I decided to create Love, Christmas 2: Holiday Movies You Love.

To promote this wonderful romance collection of 26 never-before-published romance stories, we have 2 free ebooks to offer.

Sampler Book

The first free ebook is Book Bites 11, a Sampler Book of all the first chapters in Love, Christmas 2. That way you can try each book in advance.

(In the case of my book in the collection, Brianna's Season for Miracles, the first chapter was written before I actually wrote the book so the first chapter in the actual book is a bit different.)

Here's the link to Book Bites 11 from Amazon. This Love, Christmas 2 Sampler Book is free at other retailers too.

Just Published, Another Free Ebook

To make this collection even more special, we created Favorite Holiday Recipes.

This Cookbook from the authors of Love, Christmas 2, is free. I hope you'll love it.

In each of the 26 ebooks, a recipe is mentioned. From Appetizers to Desserts, those recipes are collected in Favorite Holiday Recipes.

The recipe I contributed was an appetizer, Ham and Cheese Cups. That appetizer is mentioned in Brianna's Season for Miracles.

Edited by Rebecca York, this free cookbook is one you'll love, and it's available now.

Takeaway Truth

Get Favorite Holiday Recipes from Amazon. Also available at other retailers.


Joan ReevesKeeping Romance Alive…One Sexy Book at a Time—is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All of her stories have the same premise: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

Visit Joan online at any of these locations: Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan's Website.

Be the first to know about Giveaways, Bargains, and New Books, sign up for Joan's Mailing List.

Great Words from a Great Mystery Author

I discovered the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout long ago, and I loved them all. Years before I wrote for publication, I'd scribble down sentences I liked from the books I read.

In case you haven't read the Nero Wolfe books, Wolfe was a brilliant crime solver and Archie Goodwin, was his brilliant assistant. (In a TV series several years ago, Timothy Hutton played Archie Goodwin.)

Stout began writing his Nero Wolfe books in the 1930's. In 1937, his novel, The Hand in the Glove, introduced Theodolinda "Dol" Bonner, a female private detective who appeared in other Wolfe stories. She was one of the first, if not the first, woman PI as a protagonist in a book.

But, I digress. I wanted to give you this quotation I wrote down years ago because it struck me as being memorable.

The words were spoken by the character, Archie Goodwin. He said: "No man was ever taken to hell by a woman unless he already had a ticket in his pocket, or at least had been fooling around with timetables."

Takeaway Truth

Now that's a memorable sentence!

Xpresso Book Tour: Love, Christmas 2

Love, Christmas – Movies You Love
(The Holiday Series, #2)
Publication date: October 16th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance
Sprinkle a little Christmas magic into your life with 25 ALL-NEW, never before released romances. Each title – exclusive to this set – is inspired by a favorite holiday movie, spun into a fantastic love story by a NY Times, USA Today, and/or award-winning, bestselling author and delivered to you in this wonderful collection full of cheer for the coming season.
Mimi Barbour – A Wonderful Life – Though Rylee works with troubled teens, can she and an angel help a man living a nightmare?

Leanne Banks – A Royal White Christmas – Can a secret prince be a Christmas wish-come-true for a small-town girl?

Joan Reeves – Brianna’s Season For Miracles – Her seductive persona hides what she’s ashamed of… What will happen if the man she’s fallen for discovers her secret?

Mona Risk – Jingle With My Princess – The doc and the princess… He saves lives, but she may save his heart.

Rebecca York – Can She Get Home for Christmas? – Will a killer stop her from getting home for Christmas?

Jacquie Biggar – Mistletoe Inn – A grieving man finds the greatest gift is love.

Alicia Street – Miracle on Christmas Tree Street – A single mom discovers her business partner is more than he seems.

Nancy Radke – The Holiday (Christmas) – Jodi’s house-swap to Maui came with a small dog and a shipwrecked sailor.

Katy Walters –Letters from the Snowman – The snow revealed a precious love.

Stephanie Queen – Holiday Affair – Melissa goes from riches to rags but will she find gold in a holiday affair?

Aileen Fish – Christmas in Connecticut – Can a wounded warrior learn to trust her celebrity chef crush after discovering his secret?

Rachelle Ayala – A Christmas Creek Carol – A reclusive writer is given a one-star review on her life by characters from her past, present, and future.

Dani Haviland – The Polar Xpress – She prefers dogs to men…until she rescues the doctor.

Traci Hall – Love, Actually (By the Sea) – Two strangers. One intimate night. Reunited a year later, can it actually be love?

Taylor Lee – The Ref-er-ee – With a family this discombobulated, it will take a referee to save their Christmas.

Donna Fasano – Her Mr. Miracle – It’s Christmas Eve and Veronica is stuck in a nearly deserted seaside town… She needs a miracle.

Cynthia Cooke – A Christmas to Remember – A Christmas storm. Wedding plans in peril. Has a lost love been found?

Susan Jean Ricci – A Joyous Holiday Inn – Can Twigg restore the joy of Christmas to Chloe’s indifferent heart?

Tamara Ferguson – Two Hearts Home for Christmas – Can a long ago promise of love bring two lonely wounded warriors home for Christmas?

Suzanne Jenkins – Christmas with the Clouds – Tracy isn’t interested in love until an unexpected Christmas visitor changes her heart.

Natalie Ann – How Gavin Stole Christmas – Can Jolene help Gavin find the Christmas spirit when he’s the epitome of Mr. Bah Humbug?

Ev Bishop – A Sharla Brown Christmas – For single parents Sharla and Jake, Christmas is the loneliest time of the year…until it’s not.

Alyssa Bailey – In the Spirit of Christmas – Chase can protect Tara from danger, but can he protect his heart?

Stacy Eaton – Finding Love on Christmas Vacation – Christmas isn’t the same for Lucy without her father…until she meets his friend Maverick.

Jen Talty – The Christmas Getaway – A mix-up in reservations leaves a mother and her son to share a cabin with a broken-hearted stranger.

Melinda De Ross – Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas – A thirty-something singleton’s desperate yet humorous quest to find a boyfriend in the seven days before Christmas.
A Wonderful Life by Mimi Barbour
“Clarence, you haven’t stopped watching Noel Bradford for days. What in the world is happening to that young man?”
“I’m glad you noticed my preoccupation, Sir. I’m afraid he’s not doing too well. Do you remember a man called George Bailey?”
“Certainly, I do. Wasn’t he the reason you got your wings?”
“Yes, that’s him. Well poor Noel Bradford is heading in the same direction; he’s on the bridge right now, ready to jump. I’m thinking it’ll take the same interference to stop him from killing himself that it took to prevent George from doing the same thing many years ago.”
“I see. Then what are you waiting for, Clarence? You must go and save him.”
“I suppose you’re right. I just hate the thought of that icy water. It took me forever to warm up the last time.”
“Clarence, if you stop that poor fellow from ruining all the lives of the people who will one day love him, I’ll send you the wherewithal to get warm, now off with you. There’s no time to waste.”
Chapter One
Noel Bradford never believed himself to be a coward, a weakling who gave up in troubled times, a man whose shoulders were so narrow they couldn’t bear misfortune.
He was wrong.
Four days ago, when the police had knocked on his door to give him the horrifying news that his parents and their driver, his only brother, had all been killed in a car accident, he’d thought nothing could get worse.
They were heading to their favorite resort in Aspen when their car careened over the bank of the mountainous road, dropping into a lake probably 400 feet below. The back end of the car, where the license plate could be seen through binoculars, proved it was their vehicle and the chance of any survivors was nil.
A Royal White Christmas by Leanne Banks
Chapter One
A baying howl cut through the early December night, even through the walls of the cottage Brice rented. He glanced up from the material he was studying and the baying howl echoed again. The fireplace crackled, and Brice knew the snow was still falling.
Again, the baying howl broke through the quiet.
Sighing, Brice rose from his laptop and peered out the window. The floodlights revealed nothing. He was going to have to brave the cold, he supposed.
Tugging on his boots, jacket and gloves, he opened the door and trudged outside. “Talk to me beagle or hound,” he muttered.
Another howl cut the air. Several moments later, Brice found the beagle wagging its tail, its leash wrapped around a tree trunk. The beagle whined and barked. He immediately noted that the dog was female. “Well, good evening to you, Miss. A fine mess you’re in. Let me help you out.” He unwound the leash and waited for the beagle to run for freedom. Instead the dog came at him and licked his hand.
“I know you have an owner,” he said. “That’s a nice leash.”
The beagle continued to nuzzle at him and whine.
“I guess you can stay the night. It’s a nasty one,” he said and looked at a tag. “Brandi,” he read. “I’ll give your owner a call, but you can stay the night.”
Brice pulled off some chicken and rice from his leftovers and offered it to the dog. She gobbled it up quickly. “You have a good appetite,” he said and dialed the number on the dog tag. The number rang and rang then disconnected. Brice frowned. “That’s not good,” he muttered to himself and punched in the number again.


2019 Emily Closes October 2!

If you plan on entering the 2019 Emily Contest, you have only a few days left to submit your entry.

Sponsored by the West Houston Chapter of Romance Writers of America, or WHRWA, this contest closes October 2.

About The Emily
Silver Emily Pin

West Houston RWA’s Emily Contest is a premier contest for unpublished romance writers and offers:
  • Incisive first-round feedback
  • High request rate from final round editors and judges
  • Springboard to success for new writers.
For over 25 years, Emily entrants have found success through entering our contest. Visit our Contest History page to see a list of all the great authors. You could be next!

Fee: $25 WHRWA members / $35 all others

Closes: October 2, 2018, midnight CST

Eligibility: unpublished in the category entered.

Entry: First 5600 words, no synopsis.

Categories: Contemporary-Long, Contemporary-Short, Historical, FFP/Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, YA.

Judges: First Round Judges: Published in Romance, PAN authors or PRO authors who give positive, helpful feedback.

Final Judges: Two publishing professionals: agent and editor for each finalist.

Top Prize: Silver Emily Pin and Certificate for winner, $100 Grand Prize.

For More Information

Visit West Houston RWA.

Takeaway Truth

Through the years, numerous finalists and winners of The Emily have gone on to great publishing careers.

Enter today, and you may be one of those featured in Contest History in the future.

Thought: Rain

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." ~ Dolly Parton

For the last few years, there's sure been a lot of rain in my life and in the lives of those I love

I'm waiting for my rainbow.

Takeaway Truth

Unfortunately, "rainbows" have no deadline. They come when they come, and there's nothing you can do to hurry them along.

EZ Lesson: Who Invented the Internet?

I like to think cyberspace looks like this!
I found some notes I'd made years ago about how the Internet came into existence.

I've always had a curious mind and never hesitate to research things that interest me.

Of course, that accounts for bulging paper files in my office lateral files and umpteen folders of information saved on my computer.

So I know who "invented" the internet. In case you play trivia and come across that question, here's an easy to understand history with simplified explanations of why these inventions were significant. Now you know and can win that trivia trophy. (I love trivia games on cruise ships. I have 2 trophies in my bookcase.)

1961, Leonard Kleinrock

He published a paper about the idea of packet switching, an essential component of the internet. Packet switching routes packets of data from one place to another based on address info in the packet (like a mailed letter with the address on the envelope).
Google et al couldn't exist without packet switching.

That replaced circuit switching, the science behind traditional telephone exchanges, in which an actual electrical circuit had to be established from the source to the destination.

The advantage was that a physical connection carries packets for many different purposes all at the same time.

For services like the World Wide Web (NOT the same thing as the internet) packet switching is essential and makes it possible for millions of users to share a single physical connection to the internet.

1962, J.C.R. Licklider

He first described a worldwide network of computers, but he didn't call it the internet. His name for it was the Galactic Network. (Sounds more impressive, doesn't it?)

1965, Larry G. Roberts

He created the first functioning long-distance computer network.

1966, Larry G. Roberts

The same guy designed ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) which became the seed from which the internet, as we know it, grew.

1972-1973, Bob Kahn and Vint Cert

These two invented TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) a means of moving data on the internet. Many consider these two as the ones who invented the internet, but they publicly stated that no one person or group invented the internet.

1980's, Radia Perlman

She invented the spanning tree algorithm which allows efficient bridging between separate networks. Without this, the internet or any large network would be impossible.

Takeaway Truth

Like any significant invention that changes civilization, there are positives and negatives about the effect on civilization. History will be the final judge.

ALS & Children's Book: Guest Blogger Bonnie Edwards

I'm pleased to welcome my friend, bestselling author Bonnie Edwards, to SlingWords.

Bonnie has written a heartfelt post about a new children's book, I Love My Gramps, by Deana Larsson, one of her young cousins.

This book was written to help adults explain dreadful debilitating diseases, like ALS, to young children.

All profits from the sale of I Love My Gramps go to the ALS Society of British Columbia.

Now, Here's Bonnie Edwards...

My lovely cousin married a wonderful man many years ago. I first met Neil when I was only 18 and visiting the newlyweds. They’d moved all the way from Ontario Canada to a large, beautiful island on the West Coast. We had a fun-filled family time and I’ll never forget his happy grin and warm welcome.

Years Passed

Eventually, I too moved to the same island off the coast. We brought our children and at our “Welcome to the Island” dinner, Neil quipped that I didn’t need to take photos, ( I was snapping them like a crazed tourist) because “you live here now.” I wasn’t just visiting like the previous time. Neil was slyly funny and you had to pay attention to get his humour.

Disease Progression

Fast forward to our daughter’s wedding. All the cousins attended, along with their mother, (my favorite Auntie). Neil’s PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis) had been slowly changing his speech; he was less steady when he walked, but his humour still shone and we had a wonderful family time.

Shortly after, Neil learned that his condition had changed to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

More Common Than You Know

It’s a devastating diagnosis and for the record, his is the second death from ALS of a person I know. I believe it’s far more common than we think. Maybe it isn’t one of the Big Three: Cancer, Heart or Diabetes…but it’s common enough that I’m willing to bet most people know someone or a relative of someone with ALS.

Neil’s daughter, one of the many I call “My Young Cousins” wrote this book to help her children and others understand what was happening to their Gramps. The picture that made me tear up was the one that shows Neil’s guitar on its stand, cobwebs clinging like reminders of what had once been.

Maybe you have someone with children who need help to understand this dreadful thief, this disease that steals loved ones away. I hope that this book will help.

Lovely Memories

And Neil, thanks for the memories, the love, the laughter, and the music.

I Love My Gramps by Deana Larsson, Author, and Shannon Budau, Illustrator

Deana Larrson is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, and teacher to a room full of active kindergarten students.

She has always enjoyed reading and writing, and wanted to find a way to help her children – and others – who are living with the challenges of ALS, find a way to make sense of what’s going on.

"The creation of this book has been a long journey, but good things are worth waiting for, right Dad?"

Shannon Budau is an artist by hobby. She met Deana at their church three years ago. Shannon teaches piano professionally and both of Deana’s girls are students of hers.

So grateful for his opportunity, Shannon wishes the very best for Deana and her family. She knows this book will do a wonderful job of teaching kids about ALS.

Profits from this book are going to The ALS Society of BC.

Buy I Love My Gramps from Amazon U.S. * Amazon Canada * Amazon UK

Takeaway Truth

Thank you to all who buy this book. For more information about ALS, click one of these links: ALS-Canada or ALS-U.S.A.

Timeless Content Means Always Relevant

One of the first things I learned about blogging was that content should be timeless.

At first, I didn't understand why that was important. A few years later, I knew exactly why it was important.

I started writing and publishing SlingWords in 2005. To date, I've written well over 3,000 posts. A few times every month, I get a comment from posts written years ago.

That's why you want your content to be timeless. So it will always be relevant and read "fresh" to someone who comes across it years later.

Tough Trick

That may sound impossible to you. Admittedly, it's a hard thing to manage with every single post, but it's possible to create timeless content that will always be relevant with more posts than you might think.

1. Don't use words and phrases that "date" the post.

Words like today, tomorrow, yesterday and phrases like next month, last year, etc.

Okay, that's fairly easy to do. However, some posts are written in response to things happening in your life or in the world about which you feel compelled to blog.

For instance, next month my new holiday collection Love, Christmas 2 will publish. I've blogged about that using "date" expressions and words. That's understandable so don't twist yourself into a pretzel trying to avoid using a "date expression."

2. Remember the phrase: add value.

When you write a post, think about how it will read a year from now. If I wrote a post about something happening in the news, I might say, "yesterday in Houston there was a bank robbery that resulted in a shoot out." How can you make that post timeless so that someone coming across it a year from now would be interested in reading it?

You add value to the current event reporting. You do this perhaps by giving your personal opinion on (1) the increasing number of bank robberies in hard economic times (2) the quality of the law enforcement response and why it was good or bad (3) perhaps put the incident into context with similar incidents like the famous shootout in Los Angeles several years ago when the police were outgunned by robbers wearing body armor and determined not to go down. In other words, do a deep analysis of the situation and possibly cross reference it to another event that resulted in changes in police arming, response, etc.

3. Remove obvious "date" signals.

Get rid of calendars in the sidebars. If the date of your post appears right beneath the post title, move the date so that it appears below the post.

4. Blog about things you're passionate about.

Most things we're intensely interest in and passionate about are timeless. I'm an author so what I say about writing, publishing, books, movies, and music is as relevant now as it will be a year from now.

If your blog is about fashion and style, you've got a tougher job, but then your readers probably age in and age out of your target audience as fast as styles change so you're not as concerned with archived posts.

Takeaway Truth

Check comments on old posts. If your old posts aren't getting read, maybe there's room for improvement going forward in making your content timeless.


Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan's Website.

Be the first to know about New Books and Giveaways, sign up for Joan's Mailing List.

7 Romantic Movies to See on Netflix

Ah, romance! Let's get your week started off right.

Here is my list of 7 romantic movies you should watch. Add some romance and love to your life and watch one every day.

1. Something New starring Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker

Absolutely romantic, sensual story about love growing in spite of superficial differences. A perfect example of "You complete me."

2. Out of Sight starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez

Deliciously quirky with a federal marshal (played by Jennifer Lopez) falling for a prisoner being transported (George Clooney). I mean who wouldn't fall for Clooney?

3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society starring Lily James and Michiel Huisman.

A London writer bonds with the residents of Guernsey and learns about the book club they formed during the German occupation of WWII.

4. Set It Up starring Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, and Taye Diggs

Two overworked assistants team up to make their bosses fall in love with each other. Funny and romantic.

5. No Reservations starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart

An uptight chef (Zeta-Jones) loses her sister in a car wreck and becomes the guardian of her niece. Sexy funny chef (Eckhart) is exactly what she needs in her life--but she doesn't think so. Lovely romance.

6. Inlawfully Yours starring Chelsea Crisp, Joe Williamson, Marilu Henner

A recently divorced New Yorker moves to a small town and falls in love with the pastor. Delightful, romantic, and heartwarming with perfect performances by Crisp and Williamson.

7. Leap Year starring Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, and Adam Scott.

Anna (Amy Adams) decides to propose to her boyfriend on Feb. 29, but an Irish innkeeper makes her have second thoughts. Great performances, charming romance, and beautiful Ireland. What more can you ask for?

Takeaway Truth

Have a wonderful week.


Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan's Website.

Be the first to know about New Books and Giveaways, sign up for Joan's Mailing List.

Saturday Share: Websites With Great Content

I want to share the LUV and direct you to some of the websites to which I subscribe.

Some of these are author/writing focused, but most are of interest to other entrepreneurs, or they're informative and interesting to anyone who uses the internet. 

These websites/blogs are always full of good content—web resources, links, articles, all kinds of goodies.

Be sure and subscribe when you find a website you like. Great content is available on the internet—the trick is discovering it. I hope this post helps you find a few treasures.

Make Use Of

Each email newsletter from MakeUseOf offers their usual variety of articles about Social Media, Android, Linux, Tech Reviews, Internet, Entertainment, Windows, Productivity, DIY, and Giveaways.

I won't give all of the articles and links—just the ones I clicked on.

How to Finally Detoxify your Facebook News Feed.

Quickly Improve Your Handwriting. Think handwriting is passe? Think again!

Review: Reolink Argus Pro 100% Wireless Security Cam That Never Needs Charging (Giveaway!) and 4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer.

This Day In History

A great resource when you can't think of anything about which to blog.

Nicholas C. Rossis Blog

This blog is focused primarily on helping authors with their book marketing efforts and at sharing what he has learned. For readers, he offers free stories.

Bakerview Consulting

Need help with the business and/or technical aspects of running an online business. The content on this website is aimed at authors and entrepreneurs with a different product. Check out this blog from Barb Drozdowich's Bakerview Consulting. Then visit Barb's website Resources Page for even more information.

Book Marketing Buzz Blog

Aimed at authors, this blog covers book publishing and news media, "revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions." Great information from a two-decades veteran of book publishing publicity and marketing.

Covers Sell Books

If you're marketing books online, CoversSellBooks is one of the best and easiest to use websites for graphics. I can see how Covers Sell Books could easily be used for products other than books.

I made this graphic at the right using Covers Sell Books. Authors if you haven't signed up for one of their plans, you're really missing the boat.

Takeaway Truth

When you find a website that has great content, share the LUV and tell others about it. If you know of a great website for authors or a general interest resource, describe it in 1 sentence in comments and leave the link.


Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan's Website.

Be the first to know about New Books and Giveaways, sign up for Joan's Mailing List.

6 Dumb Things People Do in Horror Movies

I watched a couple of horror movies on Netflix recently which inspired today's list.

6 Dumb Things People Do In Horror Movies

1. Go into creepy basements, attics, or wherever the evil--paranormal or psycho--resides.

2. Never make sure a flashlight has new batteries before going into the basement, attic, etc.

3. Never tell police, your BFF, or your Mom and Dad that you think someone is stalking you.

4. Never share information even though the other people in the story might be saved if only you'd spoken.

5. Go into a haunted house, abandoned hospital, or asylum because the boyfriend wants to make out there.

6. Women make irrational decisions thus becoming TSTL (Too Stupid To Live).

Takeaway Truth

Oh, I should have made this a list of 7 things. I forgot this one. People so frozen in fear they can't run, fight, or react; they can only scream, run, flail about, and fall down.

About Finishing Things

Hurray! I finished the latest draft of my book. Now I'm leaving it alone to "distance" myself from it.

In a few days, I'll read it and see if more edits are needed. Once it's finalized, I'll get it proofed and formatted. After that I can email it off and check that task off my To Do list.

When I start a book, I'm convinced it's an impossible task--even though I've done it many times before.

Finishing something that seems impossible is the best feeling in the world. Writing just never gets easy so I am euphoric when I type THE END.

Here's a short, sweet post to celebrate. (Actually, it's short and sweet because I'm too tired to do anything else.)

Quotations About Finishing

"If you're having trouble finishing a book, it might be that you're trying to fix it as you go. Just finish the story, no matter how terrible you think that first draft is. Then let it cool off. In other words, don't look at it for a while. Then you can rewrite it." ~ Kimberly Willis Holt

Absolutely true!!

“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” ~ Neil Gaiman

Very wise.

"Writing is a craft and, like all craft, proceeds by stages: conception, material selection, rough shaping, detailed shaping, sanding and finishing." ~ Richard Rhodes

I love the sanding and finishing best of all.

“Writers often torture themselves trying to get the words right. Sometimes you must lower your expectations and just finish it.” ~ Don Roff

You'll never get the words write until you finish--then you edit to get the words right.

I think, with most writers, their neurosis is finishing things. I have a different neurosis. I'm terribly anxious when it's not finished. Then I become really difficult to live with. ~ Theresa Rebeck

That's me. I can't think of anything until the book is finished.

Takeaway Truth

That's it--short and sweet.

For the Love of Hawthorne by Diana Rubino

I'm pleased to welcome Diana Rubino to SlingWords today.

Diana is the author of wonderful historical novels.

Her latest release, thoroughly researched of course, is For the Love of Hawthorne.

Her latest novel brings to life the Nathaniel Hawthorne most of us know only as the author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables.

More About Diana Rubino: In Her Own Words

"My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Paris, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, Washington D.C. and New York.

"My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association.

"My husband Chris and I own CostPro, an engineering firm based in Boston. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano, devour books of any genre, and spend as much time as possible living the dream on my beloved Cape Cod."

Find Diana Online: Website  * Blog  * Facebook  * Twitter.

For the Love of Hawthorne by Diana Rubino

In 19th century Salem, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s clairvoyant bride rescues her beloved husband from a perceived curse that spanned generations.

Salem's Infamous History

Salem, Massachusetts witnessed horrific and shameful events in 1692 that haunted the town for three centuries. Accused as witches, nineteen innocent people were hanged and one was pressed to death. Judge John Hathorne and Reverend Nicholas Noyes handed down the sentences.

One victim, Sarah Good, cursed Noyes from the hanging tree: “If you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink!” She then set her eyes on Judge Hathorne. “I curse you and your acknowledged heirs for all time on this wicked earth!” Hathorne was not only Sarah Good’s merciless judge; he also fathered her son Peter and refused to acknowledge him.

Reaping What Was Sown

In 1717, Nicholas Noyes choked on his own blood and died. Every generation after the judge continued to lose Hathorne land and money, prompting the rumor of a family curse. By the time his great great grandson Nathaniel was born, they faced poverty.

Ashamed of his ancestor, Nathaniel added the ‘w’ to his last name. His novels and stories explore his beliefs and fears of sin and evil, and he based many of his characters on overbearing Puritan rulers such as Judge Hathorne.

Sophia Peabody's home, Salem, MA
Love at First Sight?

When Nathaniel first met Sophia Peabody, they experienced instantaneous mutual attraction. Sparks flew. "He rose upon my eyes and soul a king among men by divine right," she wrote in her journal.

But to Sophia’s frustration, Nathaniel insisted they keep their romance secret for three years. He had his reasons, none of which made sense to Sophia.

Knowing that he believed Sarah Good’s curse inflicted so much tragedy on his family over the centuries, she made it her mission to save him. Sarah was an ancestor of Sophia’s, making her and Nathaniel distant cousins—but she kept that to herself for the time being.

About Sophia

Sophia suffered severe headaches as a result of childhood mercury treatments. She underwent routine mesmerizing sessions, a popular cure for many ailments. Spirits sometimes came to her when mesmerized, and as a spiritualist and medium, she was able to contact and communicate with spirits. She knew if she could reach Sarah and persuade her to forgive Judge Hathorne, Nathaniel would be free of his lifelong burden.

Sarah Good’s son Peter had kept a journal the family passed down to the Peabodys. Sophia sensed his presence every time she turned the brittle pages and read his words.

John Hathorne’s legitimate son John also kept a journal, now in the Hawthorne family’s possession. Living on opposite sides of Salem in 1692, Peter and John wrote in vivid detail about how the Salem trials tormented them throughout their lives.
The Old Manse

Nathaniel finally agreed to announce their engagement, and married Sophia on July 9, 1842.

They moved into their first home, The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts.

"Wanting nothing else but to spend the summer enjoying each other, we became Adam and Eve, alone in our Garden of Eden," Sophia wrote in her journal.

Hawthorne's Frustration

As success eluded Nathaniel, they lived on the verge of poverty. After being dismissed from his day job at the Salem Custom House, he wrote The Scarlet Letter, which finally gained him the recognition he deserved. But the curse he believed Sarah cast on his family still haunted him. In the book he asks for the curse to be lifted.

Nathaniel's Muse

Sophia urged Nathaniel to write a novel about the house, knowing it would be cathartic for him. While they lived in Lenox, Nathaniel finished writing The House of the Seven Gables.

The real House of Seven Gables, built in 1668.
The Gothic novel explored all his fears and trepidation about the curse.

He told Sophia, “Writing it, and especially reading it aloud to you lifted a tremendous burden off my shoulders. I felt it physically leave me. I carried this inside me since my youth and couldn’t bring it out to face it. And I have you, and only you, to thank.”

But he did not believe the curse could be lifted.

Sophia invited renowned spiritualist John Spear to The Gables.

She explained that she needed to complete one final step to convince Nathaniel the curse was lifted.

Charter Street Burial Grounds, Salem, MA
Spiritualist John Spear urged Nathaniel to forgive Judge Hathorne.

“You don’t have to say it out loud,” John Spear said. “Just forgive him in your heart.”

Nathaniel whispered his forgiveness.

John, Nathaniel, and Sophia went to Judge Hathorne’s grave site to give the journals proper burial.

The Inspiration for Diana Rubino's Novel

Why did I write For the Love of Hawthorne?

I live near Salem and have been to all the Hawthorne landmarks there, and in Concord.

The House of the Seven Gables has been my favorite house in the world since I was a kid. I've always felt a strong spiritual connection to Salem, and always wanted to write one of my books set there, including the witch trials.

I read several of Nathaniel Hawthorne's books and stories to get a better background on him. He wrote from the heart, about his true beliefs, and his loathing of how the witch victims were treated.

He did consider it disgraceful, and it certainly was. He added the 'w' to his last name to distance himself from the judge. His connection to the judge tormented him and his family all of his life. It must have been cathartic to him to have his writing as his outlet.

Visit Salem

I was fortunate to get a private tour of the House of the Seven Gables when I was writing the book.

Two of the guides, Ryan Conary and David Moffat, showed me around, and it was fabulous.

Conary, Moffat, and Edward Philbrook are the authors of The House of the Seven Gables (Images of America) which is available in Kindle, Hardback, and Paperback editions on Amazon.

Post Script About the Hawthornes

Pictured at right is The Wayside, the only home Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne ever owned.

The Wayside is located in Concord, Massachusetts.

Nathaniel added the room at the top and used it as his writing studio.

An Excerpt from For the Love of Hawthorne

This Excerpt is a scene from Sophia and Nathaniel’s visit to his cousin Susan Ingersoll at The House of the Seven Gables.

I went over to a curio cabinet and swept my eyes over the items on the shelves—a china doll wearing a calico dress, a stack of gold cups and saucers, a red and blue glass checkerboard propped up to display its surface…and a wooden hammer on the top shelf. Upon closer inspection, I saw it was a gavel that judges use in trials. Out of curiosity I picked it up and a shock ran through me as if electrified. Dear God, was it that gavel?

I dropped it to the rug. It landed with a thump. I bent to retrieve it. Somehow I knew it wouldn’t shock me this time—that was only an initial warning. “Something about it made me want to touch it, to pick it up and hold it.”

Nathaniel approached me. He stared at the gavel in my hand, horror darkening his eyes. His lips parted but no words emerged. I knew what he was thinking—the curse. He turned to his cousin, pointing at the gavel, his arm trembling.

Susan hurried over to us, took it from me and placed it back on the shelf. “Yes, it’s Judge Hathorne’s. What happened, Sophie? Are you all right?”

I looked down at my open hands, palms up. They burned as if I’d touched a hot poker. “That gavel—it carries something evil. Has anything happened to you with this, Susie?”

Nathaniel backed away and before Susan could answer me, he grasped her arm. “I begged you to get rid of that accursed thing! You know it shouldn’t be here!”

She looked from him to me, heaving a deep sigh. “I’m not inclined to dispose of it, Natty. It’s a family heirloom, notwithstanding its past.”

He gripped the chair, his face drained of color. “It’s downright evil. You know what he used that thing for.”

She held her hands up in surrender. “Very well, I’ll conceal it.” She took it off the shelf and slid it behind the checkerboard.

“That should not be in this house!” He stood his ground, his eyes fixed on the checkerboard as if it would melt in such close proximity to that horrid object.

“It’s fine there, Natty. It’s concealed from sight now.” She looked at me and gestured for me to sit again. I sat and gulped my sherry.
“Nathaniel’s always overcome with distress at the witch trials.” Susan explained what I already knew.

“And so should you be,” he cut in.

“If I must speak for Judge Hathorne, I heard stories of him from my grandfather.” Susan looked from Nathaniel to me. “The whole hysteria that caught up the judge was started by unscrupulous men to further their own riches. But spectral evidence was still admissible. No sane person could believe that blithery.”

Just click to add For the Love of Hawthorne to Your Library Today.

Takeaway Truth

This was utterly fascinating. Thank you, Diana, for sharing your book and the research you did in order to write it.