99 Cent Sale? Whee!

Yes, it's sale time.

From now until Saturday, Oct. 19 at midnight, ROMEO and JUDY ANNE is on sale for only 99 cents.

As a farewell to summer, I'm having a sale on ROMEO and JUDY ANNE, a steamy romance set in the hot, humid Texas summer.

Normally priced at $3.99, this romance is reduced to 99 cents for the sale, through midnight Saturday, Oct. 19.


With eccentric small town characters, a bratty niece, an overbearing school board president, and the temptation of a secret lover, Judy Anne has all she can do to keep her passion from turning into the biggest scandal little Clayton Bend, Texas, has ever seen.


"Roman Carlisle is a wonderful hero, sophisticated, handsome, and charming.

"But what really engages the reader--aside from Roman's uber sexiness, ahem--is the warmth he exudes and his heartfelt pursuit of woman he wants but hasn't quite decided what that means.

"I can't recommend this story enough. The characterization is deep and the end as satisfying as the reader could hope for."

Takeaway Truth

I hope you love a bargain as much as I do. Get this one before Saturday.

Happy Autumn!

Thursday3Some: 3 Captivating Romances

Welcome to Thursday3Some!

I'm glad you stopped by today because I have 3 captivating romances to tell you about.

I think you'll like these books, and I hope you'll add them to your "to be read" stack. In fact, you might want to grab these for some weekend reading.

If these authors are new to you, that's even better because it's good to make new author friends.

Nom de Plume by Jan Scarbrough

When the dream of happily-ever-after is shattered, sometimes another door opens.

Devoted homemaker and mother C.B Lyons hadn’t known she was living a lie, right up until the moment when she caught her husband cheating. Betrayed and then divorced, with her dreams of a big, happy family smashed to pieces, C.B. takes her toddler son to Heritage Springs, Kentucky, to be near family. Typing manuscripts for a famous romance author seems like the perfect job until she discovers the hidden truth about the reserved, reclusive writer.

Nom de Plume, a second chance romance, is now on KindleUnlimited.

Visit Jan Scarbrough online: Bookbub * Facebook

Jan, why do readers read your books?

"I write contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and if the plot allows, about another passion—horses. I also have a contemporary Western series with Maddie James, gothic romances, and a medieval."

Caught in a Trap by Elaine Raco Chase

Kit Forrester lived a life of lies - so what was one more? When her first vacation ever sank like the Titanic - she couldn't tell her friends THAT! So she did what she always did - she lied.

Kit told everyone about her fabulous five day cruise. Her days of fun in the sun and moonlit nights with the man of her dreams - Rafe Morgan - tall, handsome, incredibly sexy and successful. And well - now they were engaged!

Retired Navy SEAL and Texas business tycoon, Rafe Morgan was real and he was sure he was being set up by his suddenly acquired fiancee.

Why do readers select books by Elaine Raco Chase?

Caught in a Trap was accepted into LibraryJournal's curated SELF-e collections and is shared with subscribing libraries all over the country on BiblioBoard Library. —Library Journal, October 5, 2015

Romeo and Judy Anne by Joan Reeves

On sale today through Saturday, Oct. 18, for only 99 cents. Regular price is $3.99.

With eccentric small town characters, a bratty niece, an overbearing school board president, and the temptation of a secret lover, Judy Anne has all she can do to keep her passion from turning into the biggest scandal little Clayton Bend, Texas, has ever seen.

"Wonderful love story!" —Amazon Review

"Roman Carlisle is a wonderful hero, sophisticated, handsome, and charming. But what really engages the reader--aside from Roman's uber sexiness, ahem--is the warmth he exudes and his heartfelt pursuit of woman he wants but hasn't quite decided what that means. I can't recommend this story enough. The characterization is deep and the end as satisfying as the reader could hope for." —AmazonReview

Takeaway Truth

Grab some good books for the weekend. They're just a click away.

What Men Want Women To Know

I finished my work in progress so I'm having a glass of bubbly and chuckling at some funny things I fished out of My Archives.

You could file this under So True. I don't know who came up with this, but the guy is a genius! Come forth so everyone can put your name on it.

10 Things Men Wished Women Knew

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done, but not both. (OMG, yes, that's how it is.)

2. Don't cut your hair. Ever. (Some women could benefit by changing their style. High school was so long ago.

3. Sometimes, we're not thinking about you. Live with it. (LOL)

4. Sunday = sports (and that's why women like Romance Novels)

5. Anything you wear is fine. Really. (I probably wouldn't wear anything my hubby suggested.)

6. You have too many shoes. (Men think they need a brown pair a black pair, and some sneakers. That's it.)

7. You have enough clothes.(Probably true, but we like variety.)

8. Ask for what you want. Subtle hints don't work. (I tell this same thing to my hubby who somehow thinks I can read his mind.)

9. Don’t ask us for our opinion of how your butt looks. It’s a no win situation for us. (I probably wouldn't like the answer.)

10.If something we said can be interpreted in two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or mad, we meant the other one. (There's a third choice. You could say something so we could interpret it in a way that made us happy!)

Takeaway Truth

I save the things the Inbox Fairy brings when they're funny.

Short & Sweet Paraphrases Heinlein's Quote

Robert A. Heinlein once said: "You must write. You must finish what you write. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order. You must put it on the market until sold."

Well, I finished what I was writing, and I really love it. I hope readers do too.

I think maybe I should make a version of that quotation as it applies to indie authors who self-publish.

How About This?

You must write. You must finish what you write. You must refrain from endlessly rewriting  because you're scared to let it go. You must put it on the market so readers can buy it!

Takeaway Truth

I like my version because as an indie author, I can immediately put it out there to sell. No making an endless round of submissions, hoping, praying an editor will contract it and eventually—meaning 9 months to a year or more—it will be available for readers to buy it.

What Is a Successful Author?

Hardly any writer is an overnight success. Very few writers sell his or her first manuscript.

There's one thing I want to tell you though. You don't have to sell a manuscript to feel like a successful author.

Writing is a business involving:

1. a learned set of narrative skills - grammar, spelling, plotting, characterization, viewpoint, scene and sequel, etc. If you don't know the full extent of narrative skills necessary, do yourself a favor and study so you can learn what you need to know.

2. the desire to tell stories - I think if you've got the desire to do something, that is an innate form of talent.

3. business sense - You need this to network, market well, get the professional assistance needed (that's an agent), take care of the money aspects of your career, learn how to promote you and your writing if that's in your game plan.

4. persistence - You must keep plugging away until success is achieved.

These characteristics are what all successful authors share in common. You notice that selling a manuscript isn't on the list. That's because selling a manuscript is something out of your control.

Do an inventory of your writing characteristics. How do you stack up? Room for improvement? If so, you know what to do. Get started on improving.

Takeaway Truth

In today's world, you actually can control publishing and selling your book. That's what an independent publishing author does. If I can do it, anyone can!

Free Ebook for Indie Author Day

Happy Indie Author Day!

Today, all over the world, libraries and literacy organizations are paying tribute to independent authors and their books.

Want to know more? Click Indie Author Day to find out about this annual event.

In the meantime, I'm celebrating by giving away Kindle copies of LuvU4Ever,  a holiday romance that's free at most Kindle stores.

(Some countries try to charge for it, and I apologize for that. I have no control over the situation. Make sure it says free before you check out.)

About LuvU4Ever
At your Kindle Store

A Moment in Time is all it takes for Love to be revealed.

LuvU4Ever. That's what was engraved on the gold heart David gave Noelle when he proposed. David and Noelle have been married 10 years. He promised to love her forever? So what happened?

"I told you to never call me at home."

Can nine little words destroy love? This year as Christmas approaches, Noelle faces the biggest decision of her life. Will she choose payback? Will she choose love? Or will she just walk away?

LuvU4Ever has been expanded and is now the anchor book for a 13-story series, A Moment in Time Romance, very sexy short stories with each short story introducing new characters and revisiting the heroes and heroines of previous stories.

What Reviewers Say About LuvU4Ever

Jane Jones, Amazon TOP 1000 Reviewer. 5 Stars —"I love a good short story with a beginning, middle and strong ending and LuvU4Ever delivers with no cliffhangers to cheat the reader. I can relate to Noelle taking care of her mother when she is sick and away from her husband as I have done it several times for both my parents and it does put stress on the best relationship with a spouse.

"LuvU4Ever is based on a giant misunderstanding and David soon sets Noelle right with a perfect gift. LuvU4Ever is one short story I would recommend to all lovers of romance!"

Free! Just for YOU.

Bestselling Author Karen Kelley —"I devoured this story. The emotions tugged at my heartstrings and didn’t let go until the very end. Fantastic story!"

Amazon Reviewer — "It's a lovely story about a couple falling out of love - when things look like they're falling apart, we get our twist and a HEA! Makes you "awww!" and believe in true love!"

Amazon Reviewer — "What a wonderful short story. It is amazing the conclusions we can jump to and what lack of communication can do to a marriage. What a great story. Perfect for a quick get-away from reality!"

Takeaway Truth

Get your free copy of LuvU4Ever today. Indie Authors like me appreciate your buying our books and posting reviews. Happy Indie Author Day!

Success One Step at a Time

Do you ever feel that when you set goals, the universe throws all the storms of life at you to keep you from achieving them?

That’s how I feel—far too often. I had all these ambitious plans for 2019. Real Life laughed and said, “Think again.”

It's not as if I'm lounging on the couch every day and inhaling chocolate candies either. I use my time for work, home, family, and friends, but it's a let-down to watch the days slip away with not enough accomplished.

Good Advice to Remember

Nothing great was ever created quickly. To develop a great scientific discovery, to paint a masterpiece, to write a book, to become a minister or a college graduate–to do anything great or different requires time, patience, and perseverance.

Success is achieved by degrees, little by little, like water filling a gallon bucket, one drop at a time.

Michelangelo did not paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling in a day. Mozart did not compose his most famous work in a day, Milton did not write Paradise Lost at one sitting, nor did Shakespeare create Hamlet in a day.

Just as the most famous musicians begin with basic musical notes and artists first draw with Crayons, the greatest writer who ever lived began with the alphabet.

The ABCs lead to words which leads to anything from articles and blogging to novels and nonfiction books.

Takeaway Truth

You too must start with baby steps toward whatever wish to achieve. Baby steps lead to giant steps. Accept and get started.

Thursday3Some: 3 Delightful Romance Novels

Thrusday3Some is back, and it's about time!

Life has just been too darn busy this year.

The history of Thursday3Some dates back a few years when I began to present trios of items to readers on Thursday. Duh.

Sometimes, it was movie, music, or book reviews, sometimes apps to make life easier, and sometimes just 3 interesting "things" that I thought you might find interesting too.

I had posts with a single book spotlighted and the answers from the authors to 3 questions. I think the 3 book presentations were always most popular.

Today, I bring you 3 delightful romance novels for you to browse.

The Sheriff's Gift by Kara O'Neal.

Forbidden kisses with the sheriff weren't a part of the schoolteacher's plans.

Visit Kara online: Pinterest * Facebook

IMHO, why readers buy Kara's books?

"While people read my books for the love story and the happily ever after, they also choose the Pike's Run series for the depth of character development, and the very real familial aspects of my stories. Many readers have told me when they read my books, they feel as if they're home.

The Healing Summer by Liz Flaherty

When Steven Elliott accidentally rides his bike into Carol Whitney's car at the cemetery, the summer takes on new and exciting possibilities. Long friendship wends its way into something deeper when their hearts get involved.

Visit Liz online: Facebook * Twitter

IMHO, why readers buy Liz's books?

"I tend to write flawed and funny, with the intent to make the reader both laugh and cry—sometimes at the same time. I don't think I'm a life-changing writer; rather, I like the idea of giving someone a good afternoon."

An Honorable Man by Donna Fasano

Nothing can make Native American Mat Makwa give up being a New York City police officer… except one little girl—all alone in the world—who needs a father. Returning to his Kolheek reservation to take on the safer job of sheriff of this small, close-knit community, he never expects his heart might be in danger to school teacher Julie Dacey.

Visit Donna online: Amazon * Website

IMHO, why readers buy Donna's books?

"Her books are complex and emotional with characters who are easy to identify with."

Takeaway Truth

There you have it! Three outstanding romance novels for the weekend. Add these to your romance library today.

Review: How To Starve Cancer by Jane McLelland

Since 2000, we have lost 6 people in our family whom we loved to cancer. Now my younger brother is fighting this scourge on humanity.

NOTE: I am not a doctor. I am not saying try this treatment protocol.

What I'm saying is leave no stone unturned in a quest for surviving cancer.

In my opinion, this book is important so I'm giving away a Kindle copy of it.


To be entered in a Random Drawing for a Kindle edition of How to Starve Cancer ...Without Starving Yourself by Jane McLelland, just leave a comment on this post, with your email address written out, not as a hot link. You have from now until Friday evening to do this.

I'll draw a name using Random Name Picker app and notify the winner by email.

Now, read on so I can tell you why I think it's important to read this book if you have a loved one with cancer or if you're concerned about getting cancer because of a family history of the disease.


My brother has become quite the adept medical researcher, and I read everything he finds about various medical protocols and treatments from the contemporary, usually covered by medical insurance, to the alternative, usually paid for out of your own pocket.

Available at Amazon
He found How to Starve Cancer ...Without Starving Yourself by Jane McLelland. He read it in one night and called to ask me to read it immediately.

I grabbed the Kindle edition of this book, but before I was a fourth of the way through, I knew I wanted the print version.

I wanted to highlight the various treatments tried in studies both in the U.S. and abroad that had proved successful but aren't usually told to cancer patients and their families.

The one drawback to the book is there is no index. I hope future editions will have that remedied. My darling husband has started an Excel spreadsheet with 2 columns.

The first column is for things that prevent cancer like supplements (berberine and dozens more) and lifestyle changes (eliminate sugar from your diet).

The second column is for things that kill cancer cells like supplements (berberine again, low dosage aspirin, and many more), lifestyle changes, and procedures (like IV Vitamin C therapy).

Many things used in combination can actually kill cancer cells.

McLelland is not opposed to chemotherapy but wants it used in the lowest dose possible that will kill cancer cells and used in combination with other treatments rather than using it in the highest dose possible that you can withstand without actually killing you.

However, blasting your body with chemo will kill your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to cancer that may rebound as if often does when you have had it. The book explains why.

Eye-Opening Exploration of Cancer Treatment

The stunning thing I have learned in reading this book and the white papers and other articles, all with citations to reputable journals, is that cancer is big business.

Image,Nebraska Department of Education, Pixabay
It's billions of dollars a year for cancer research hospitals, oncologists, pharmaceutical companies, etc.

Apparently, there is some thought that it will cost too much in lost revenue for those involved in finding a cure and/or treating cancer.

Frankly, I was horrified by the article about a Goldman-Sachs biotech research report, The Genome Report that asked the question: "Is curing patients a sound business model?"

They mentioned Hepatitis C and other diseases including cancer.

I've read unbelievable stories like the man in Oklahoma who cured his cancer with a veterinary medicine for dog de-worming called PanacurC in combination with high purity CBD oil, organic Vitamin E Compound containing 8 tocopherols, and an organic Curcumin Complex.

Then there's McLelland, listed as a quack by many, who dived headlong into researching cancer treatments because she has had cancer 4 times.

The book began as her journal of exploration into why she was so unlucky—luck had nothing to do with it—to suffer through this so often. All treatments mentioned were tested by herself in an attempt to keep cancer at bay.

She cites references for every protocol she tried and developed a "cocktail" of 4 common off-label drugs that have proved effective, along with other supplements and treatments, that have cured brain cancer, one of the cancers that rarely leaves survivors.

Remember the dog de-wormer I mentioned above? One of the 4 off-label drugs McLelland uses in her protocol is the human version of the canine de-wormer, PanacurC.

Another interesting thing I've learned is if there is a low-cost treatment available and anecdotal evidence that it works, eventually the big cancer research hospitals will test it—but never in the way that anecdotal evidence said it worked.

Example? Low doses of aspirin each day. That theory was tested in a controlled study. Instead of giving the low dose, they gave massive doses of aspirin to one group.

I'm surprised all those getting that didn't end up with bleeding stomachs. Conclusion by the research study? Aspirin is not effective in treating cancer. Testing various treatments, not as the way they were used successfully, seemed to be habitual by researchers. Why do it that way?

Then there are the herbal supplements used for centuries, like berberine. As far as I know, people aren't told to take it to prevent cancer, and cancer patients aren't told to take it as part of their "kill cancer" protocol. I guess they don't want you paying 30 bucks for a bottle of something that might help you when medical insurance companies can bill cancer hospitals 2.1 million to treat you.

Pharmaceutical companies study these supplements, especially the natural ones, trying to chemically synthesize the part of them that kills the cancer so they can create a drug from it. You can bet a bottle of that will cost far more than 30 bucks.

It seems to me that there's a conflict of interest around cancer treatment especially when there are millions at stake for cancer drugs and treatments. Shareholders in pharmaceutical companies, medical insurance companies, etc. want their profits.

Yes, I've become cynical.

114 Reviews on Amazon

I read every single review on Amazon and many were from patients who had cancer. One suffered from the type of cancer that killed my brother-in-law. He was still alive after being given a year to live. One suffered from the lung cancer that killed my husband's uncle. He survived. One woman had metastasized breast cancer and is surviving.

Reading all of these, it was easy to see that the few low reviews were from people involved in conventional cancer treatment. Every single one of the 6 relatives who died from cancer had conventional treatment. They were offered no options.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
My personal opinion is that if you develop cancer, you should be offered every option available.

If you have cancer, you're in for the fight of your life.

You should know as much as possible whether you follow traditional treatment or alternative.

Arm yourself with information.

Takeaway Truth

If you have cancer or have a loved one fighting it, read How to Starve Cancer ...Without Starving Yourself by Jane McLelland. Leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway for a free Kindle copy.

P.S. If you can't wait to see if you win a copy, buy it on Kindle today. It's only $2.99.

Ransomware Dents City Budgets

The extortion emails have resumed landing in my spam folder. They'd stopped for a while.

Maybe they figured out I'm just another starving artist and don't have any bucks to spare?

(Remember all those starving artist sales of oil paintings from the 1990's?)

I was reading my Vipre newsletter last night. Vipre is my preferred anti-virus, malware, etc. software because it doesn't bog my computer down the way the other popular software products always did.

Anyway, I was reading about the ransomware attack that have hit Baltimore some months after Atlanta was similarly attacked. These attacks are costing cities millions and millions of dollars.

That's money that won't be available to hire new police and firemen and municipal workers. Money that won't be there to fund raises, pay for schools, streets, utilities, and so much more.

Agh! Phishing
Internet #1862312_1920 by Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

The truly wrenching fact is authorities think the attack didn't come from hacking so much as it came from good old-fashioned phishing.

The phishers duped some unsuspecting email user, probably on a city server into clicking an unsafe link or revealing information that seemed innocuous.

Never click a link in an email unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the email came from someone you know. If in doubt, text or call the person and ask if they sent it to you. Never give out any personal information or passwords in an email or over a phone call which you did not initiate.

By the way, if you don't have a piece of tape or paper over your webcam when you're not using it, you're opening a doorway someone may peep through. I've kept mine covered ever since I set up my laptop.

In the Vipre Newsletter, a small article said Facebook's Zuckerberg and former FBI Director James Comey have one thing in common besides testifying before Congress. They each cover their webcams with pieces of tape.

Takeaway Truth

 No one will ever email or call you and ask you to verify your user account, password, or identifying information. If you get a call or email like that, call the bank or company and ask.

Like they said in WWII. "Loose lips sink ships."

Romance Gems No Tricks—Just Treats Giveaway

Trick or Treat? Guess what? Every day is Treat Day in October at Romance Gems.

In addition to giving away a treat every single day, they're also hosting an October Rafflecopter with 4 Amazon Gift Cards up for grabs.

The form for entering is also at the bottom of this post for your convenience.

Cruise on over to Romance Gems and just leave a comment with your email address on the daily post each day to be entered to win that day's prize.

When you finish reading the daily post and commenting on it, be sure and enter the October Rafflecopter too. How simple is that? Tell your friends too.

Want to Say Thanks?

The Authors of Romance Gems give away a lot of ebooks, Gift Cards, and other prizes. Why? Because it's a way to get exposure to their writing and hopefully gain new readers. The best way to thank any author for a free book you liked—whether you received it from Romance Gems or elsewhere—is to leave a short review on the book. All it takes is a few sentences telling why you liked the book.

For details about the Romance Gems Giveaway, visit Monthly Giveaways page. Also for details about Promotions, Eligibility, and Award Procedures, visit the Policies page.

October Video

To tease your imagination, here's the October No Tricks—Just Treats video. (Yes, I made the video. If you like it, please click LIKE and Subscribe to Joan Reeves's Channel. Help me get to 110 subscribers!)

The Awesome Authors Sponsor NO TRICKS—JUST TREATS

Bonnie Edwards * Caroline Clemmons * Cheryl Bolen * Connie Vines * Constance Bretes * Elsa Kurt * Hannah Rowan * Jan Scarbrough * Joan Reeves * Judy Hudson * Kara O'Neal * Karen Kelley * Karen Whiddon * Kari Lemor * Kathleen Lawless * Kathryn Hills * Laura Hunsaker * Liz Flaherty * Lucinda Race * Nancy Fraser * Nora LeDuc * Peggy Jaeger * Satin Russell.

Takeaway Truth

Enter today. Enter often. Good luck!

Funny Universal Laws of Life

Start the week with Laughter
I've been known to  write Romantic Comedy—several of them in fact.

I love humor with romance. In fact, I love a good laugh. So, let's start the week with some chuckles!

I searched through my archive of funny things and found what follows.

I don't know who first uttered these witty words or created these "laws" or when. It seems as if they've floated around the Internet for years. Enjoy!

12 Universal Laws of Life

1. Law of Mechanical Repair
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch. And you'll have to pee.

2. Law of Gravity
Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, etc. when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4. Law of Variation
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

5. Law of Close Encounters
The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

6. Law of the Result
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

7. Law of Biomechanics
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

8. Law of Coffee
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

9. Law of Physical Surfaces
The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.

10. Law of Logical Argument
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

11. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance
If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

12. Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy
As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

For More Laughter

If you like to laugh, try my romantic comedy, Cinderella Blue.

San Antonio Police Detective Andrea Luft—Andie to her friends—loves those 3 little words. "You're under arrest."

Especially when she's saying them to a "bad guy" who SO deserves it. Like the thief stealing designer wedding gowns from San Antonio bridal boutiques.

Andie is undercover and 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.

On the surface, this mismatched duo appear to have only one thing in common: their tendency to annoy each other.

Underneath though, desire sizzles. Is it just a matter of time before these two commitment-phobic cops yield to the inevitable?

Takeaway Truth

Have a wonderful week.

Saturday Share: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cookies

This is my mom's recipe for chocolate cookies.

They're easy to make even if they do require chilling, rolling out, and cutting.

I sometimes take a shortcut. Once chilled, I scoop out a teaspoon of dough, flatten it and place it on the cookie sheet.

I get a ragged-edge cookie, but the cookies still taste delicious.

Sometimes, I take 2 thin cookies and put them together with chocolate frosting like an Oreo.

Then I dip the top cookie into my version of chocolate ganache (recipe at the end of the cookie recipe) and then into flaked coconut or chopped pecans. That's what I did with the picture of the cookies on the rack that I made last week.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cookies


1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
flaked coconut, garnish
chopped pecans or other nuts, garnish


1. Cream the softened butter and the sugar together for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the egg and beat.
3. Add the flour and the cocoa a little at a time so you won't create a dust cloud. If you don't have a spatter shield, it's best to stir in the dry ingredients by hand just until mixed a little.
4. Then use your mixer on low speed to mix well.
5. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
6. Shape the cookie mixture into a ball, place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator, and chill for 2 hours.
7. Remove from the fridge. Dust a rolling pin and the surface on which you'll roll the dough out very lightly with flour.
8. Roll the cookie dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters.
9. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes until they're set. You don't want to overcook them.
10. Cool on a rack.
11. Dip one side into my fake chocolate ganache then press into garnishes or double stack them like Oreos.

My Fake Ganache

This is easy to make. You just have to know your microwave. You'll need some semi-sweet chocolate chips and some heavy cream.

Put the chips in a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for about 20 seconds. Using a spoon, stir to see if they're all melted and gooey. If not, microwave for another 10 seconds. Repeat the spoon test. If you have to microwave again, do it in 5 second increments.

When melted and all gooey, stir in a couple of tablespoons of cream. Stir and stir. The melted chocolate should be hot enough to incorporate the cream easily. If needed, nuke it 5 seconds more then beat it well. It will end up glossy like real ganache.

Eat and enjoy! I like a glass of milk with chocolate anything.

After making these chocolate goodies, reward yourself by reading a romantic comedy short story like Blame It On Chocolate.

Only 99¢ for a story that a reviewer said is: "A fresh, witty, delicious story. Just like an irresistible bar of chocolate, you'll finish it all at once."

Takeaway Truth

Enjoy the cookies and this short story.

Saturday Share

Join me every Saturday when I share a recipe, a household or organizational tip, or a short cut to make life easier for you! Have a great weekend!

10 Signs You're Overscheduled

1. You slip up and forget to follow through on an obligation even though it's on your calendar—which you're too tired to look at before you leave the office.

2. You wake up dreading the day because there's so much to do.

3. You have breakfast—a cup of coffee and whatever is fast and easy and not necessarily nutritious—at the computer because you need to dive right in to the day's tasks.

4. You feel pressed for time so you just skim email and delete rather than take time to actually read and respond.

5. You eat lunch at your desk because you can't take at least 30 minutes away because your computer will explode from the volume of email and social media requests.

6. You long to write more or do something that energizes you and makes you happy but you keep getting sucked in by requests to which you feel you must agree.

7. You long to read more, but never have the time.

8. You never have time to sit and do absolutely nothing except breathe deep and think about how wonderful life is. Even if you're watching TV, you're probably on the laptop or your cell checking social media.
There are 7 days in a week. Learn how to enjoy each one.

9. At the end of the day, you feel depressed because you didn't accomplish enough even though you
worked from sun-up to sun-down.

10. You can't remember the last time you had a leisurely fun day.

Takeaway Truth

If even half of those above are you, then you need to recover your lost life. Get it back.

Delegate and prioritize. Focus on what's most important to do and get that done. Learn to say no. Forget FOMO and reclaim your real life.

Curse of the Blank Page

How can you write when you don't know what comes next?

Do you go blank when you're staring at a blank page or today's equivalent, the blank monitor screen?

Laughingly, it does in movies all the time, but sometimes it does in real life too. Then it's no laughing matter.

Sometimes even when we writers have notes or an outline or some kind of roadmap, we sit down at the computer, lift our hands to the keyboard, and nothing happens. We're blank. Our mind is as clean as a wiped slate.

What do you do then?

You write anyway. Just start writing even if it's something inane and dull. Forget sparkling dialogue, beautiful description, and captivating narrative.

Start by saying out loud, "I want to write about what happens to Jane when Jack rejects her."

Then write. Write sentence after sentence, describing what a character should be feeling or what should be happening or write what you had wanted that scene to be about. As a last resort, write about why you think your brain is blank.

Something Miraculous Happens

I've seen this time and again. You'll fill the page with what you think are just words that mean nothing, but somewhere along the way, the words will start to take form and be germane to the story in some way. Your amazing brain follows through when you give it a task.

Sure, the writing won't be "finished" write, but you know what you do with a page of bad writing, don't you? You save it or print it and put it in the stack of pages if you work that way. You can always fix a page of bad writing, even really bad writing, but you can't fix a blank page.

Nora Roberts is often quoted as saying that very same thing. I doubt if she was the first to state that insight.

I bet every working writer who has earned a living has said or thought the same thing because it's a universal truth about writing for publication.

Rough draft can be edited into finished draft. No matter how awful and pedestrian it may be. Blank pages cannot be edited into anything.

Takeaway Truth

Get the words down. Give yourself permission to write dreck if that's all you can manage. Then refine gold from that dross.

20 Minute Rule Gets You Moving

Do you sometimes have a hard time getting started?

I don't just mean in the morning when you crawl out of bed, but when you're supposed to be dressed and ready to tackle your big project of the day.

For writers, that means being in the chair in front of the computer and writing what needs to be written that day.

I confess that sometimes I just can't get those fingers moving on the keyboard and the words flowing. Sometimes maybe I'm sad because of sad news. I'd rather be doing anything—even cleaning house—than writing.

Writing's my job so I can't afford to idle away the hours mindlessly jumping around social media or cruising the net in search of entertainment.

My 20 Minute Rule

You'll probably think I'm the biggest goof in the world or the most undisciplined, but here's a method I created that works for me. Especially on Monday mornings which are usually the worst morning of the week for me because I often  can't find a dram of enthusiasm no matter how many cups of coffee I drink.

I set my phone alarm for 20 minutes. For those 20 minutes, I goof off. I might channel surf or read some in a novel or play a mind-dulling computer game. I give myself permission to goof off.

When the alarm chimes, I get up and reset it for another 20 minutes. Then I deposit my behind in the chair, open my writing file and dive into whatever I've been procrastinating on. I type away, giving myself permission to write garbage as long as my fingers are moving and words are appearing. I work until the alarm chimes again.

I get up, but this time my mind is awake and my imagination is working. I reset the alarm for 15 minutes this time, and this time I go downstairs and put the laundry on or do some other mundane household chore.

When my alarm sounds, I go back to my computer, reset my alarm—this time for 25 minutes.

When it goes off at the end of 25 minutes, I don't reset it. I'm in the groove. Ideas are flowing. I no longer need the goof off time.

Why This Works

Does it work because I first reward myself first with some goof-off time and follow that with an equal amount of time in which I do something constructive? I don't know.

I do know that even if I don't want to do something, I can hang in there for 20 minutes and do whatever it is.

Twenty minutes seems to be the amount of time needed to get my motivation and energy engaged in a project.

You can do just about anything for 20 minutes if you have a reward at the end. *LOL*

I'll even confess to using my 20 Minute Rule for housework because I'm never enthusiastic about domestic chores.

When I use it for housework, I have to keep resetting the timer.

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes you have to trick the brain into doing what needs to be done. Once you overcome inertia, it's easy to keep going.

The Bridge Between Talent & Success

Today, let's talk about a subject most people don't pay enough attention to because it sounds like, well, hard work.

Many years ago I attended a workshop by Robert Vaughan who has had more than 250 books published under his own name and various pseudonyms—35 names to date.

He's been nominated for the Pulitzer, won the Porgie, the Spur (under the name K. C. McKenna), and was inducted into the Writers' Hall of Fame in 1998.

His novel Brandywine's War was named by the Canadian University Symposium of Literature as "the best iconoclastic novel to come from the Vietnam War."

Brandywine's War at Amazon
Vaughan has written novelizations for television movies and has hit the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists more than once. He's also written and produced a one-man play about Ernest Hemingway.

In addition to creating this immense body of work, he's a frequent speaker at high schools, colleges, and writing workshops. All this and he's hosted 3 television talk shows in addition to speaking at seminars, high schools, and colleges.

I give you his credentials in order to make the point that this man knows a lot more about writing and publishing—and staying published—than most of us will ever know.

How has he produced so many words? So many short stories, novels, nonfiction books, plays,  and every kind of writing?

Oh, and he started his writing on a typewriter and only came to computers a couple of decades later.

Work Discipline

His secret is Work Discipline. Allow me to elaborate.

In the workshop I attended, he said if you look at writing talent that it's maybe 15% of writing success. And that might be stretching it.

He then said writing opportunity (going on the internet, finding editors who were acquiring, networking with other writers, etc.) is maybe 10%.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that those two elements make 25% of writing success.

What's the other 75%?

Work Discipline.

Vaughan said, and I agree, that Work Discipline makes up the bigger part of the equation called writing success.

He said to embroider this on a sampler and hang it above your computer.

I think most of you will just print out a sign as I did.

In fact, when I feel hard-pressed to get something written or meet a deadline that seems impossible, I make a new sign and replace the old one that sits on top of my CPU. My sign says:

The Bridge between Talent and Success is Work Discipline.

Frame was a gift from my friend Cheryl Bolen years ago.

Vaughan advocated establishing a daily page quota whether it be 1 page or 10 or more. Every day, produce that page quota.

That's Work Discipline.

That's how he approaches every project. He knows how long it takes him to write a book, and he breaks that down into pages per day.

How many pages a day can you write? Break your project down into how many pages a day you must write to meet your goal. That's your daily quota.

Meet your daily quota come hell or high water. That's Work Discipline.

Do you possess Work Discipline?

Takeaway Truth

You can move a mountain one shovelful at a time. That's the same philosophy you bring to your writing.

You can write the biggest book ever. One page at a time. Or whatever your daily quota might be.