Market to the Older Crowd

I read an interesting article the other day about how those over the age of 50+ are ignored by television and movie powers that be.

The people responsible for making our popular culture entertainment prefer to cater to what they call the all-important 18-25-year-olds. There are scads of demographics articles about how to sell to this group.

What About the Older Consumers?

The article went on to say how ignoring older people is short-sighted at best and bad business at worse. Why? Because the average 55-year-old + consumer has more disposable income than the 18-25 year-old crowd ever thought about having.

You see, if you're older than 55, most people have a steady job with benefits, retirement savings, and  major expenses like raising kids and sending them to college have already been taken care of.

In other words, they've got money to spend. Don't do the expected and ignore them. Do the unexpected and show them something that gets them excited enough to spend their money.

What Do Older Pop Culture Consumers Want
  • something that's not dumbed down
  • something that appeals to humor without preadolescent vulgarity
  • something that doesn't have the premise that everyone is a recreational drug user
  • something that's original, not a rehash of other popular movies and/or books
  • something that's well-plotted and doesn't depend on coincidence or actions that are just plain stupid
  • something that doesn't show people over 55+ as idiots or greedy bloodsuckers
  • something that recognizes that most people in that age group have been using computers for 20+ years. They don't need to get a 12-year-old to explain Facebook, email, Internet, etc.
Takeaway Truth

As Yogi Berra said: "The thing about the unexpected is that it's likely to surprise you."

Saturday Recipe Share: Easiest Spanish Rice

I've given you a lot of Tex-Mex recipes in the past because I often cook with that flavor profile. Sometimes, I've said to "serve with Spanish Rice" so today, I'm giving you a simple, fool-proof recipe for Spanish Rice.

I've found that it's super easy to use my Crock Pot® for this too. My slow cookers are Crock Pot® brand so when I say Crock Pot®, I mean slow cooker.

Transform Spanish Rice Into Entree

You can kick this recipe up another notch and make it an entree by simply adding 1 1/2 pounds of browned ground beef to the Crock Pot® with the other ingredients. Just be sure to drain the fat from the cooked ground beef before adding to the slow cooker.

Another option is to add some whole kernel corn. The kind that comes with red and green pepppers in it, like Green Giant MexiCorn. Just heat the corn separately, drain, and add to the Crock Pot® at the end of the cooking cycle. Stir to blend.

Spanish Rice

A note about the salt in this recipe. Most of the population seems to like more salt than I put in recipes. If you think the salt is not enough, wait until it's cooked. Taste it, then add more if needed. The Bouillon Base I use is salty so the half teaspoon of salt and the teaspoon of beef base is usually salty enough to my family's taste buds.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (medium dice is good)
  • 1 bell pepper or poblano pepper, chopped small (poblano is rather mild and gives a different taste)
  • 1 10-ounce can of Rotel Tomatoes, original or mild, your choice
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (if you don't like Rotel, use 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (mild or hot, your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon All Natural Better Than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Beef Base
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice (I use "brown" rice, but you can use white)
Place all ingredients in your slow cooker. Stir thoroughly.

Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours. (If you forget to put this on in the morning, you can put it on around lunch time just cook it on high for 3 hours.)

Serve with a tossed salad of mixed greens, super thinly-sliced red onions, ripe tomatoes, and chopped jicama for extra crunch. I use a homemade salad dressing that tastes like Italian Dressing.

Garlic bread, warmed corn tortillas, or cornbread make this a feast.

Takeaway Truth

I use my Crock Pot® even on weekends. It just makes life easier.

Video Tips: Music Dispute

I've been caught in a situation on YouTube that is so frustrating. I am a strong proponent of protecting artists' rights. I never violate rights licensing. So that makes this whole situation doubly confusing and frustrating.

The problem is an audio clip I used for the music on a video a few years ago. After going back and forth with YouTube and Animoto, I finally decided the only answer was to remove the video so I deleted it. Read on in case you are in a similar video quandary.


I have a professional membership on Animoto. They offer a huge music library to use with the videos their users create. I used one of those clips in the video book trailer for my children's book Mystery of the Stormy Night. Like always, I cited the music in the video, in the description, etc. I uploaded the video to YouTube.

After a time, I received a Copyright Strike on the video. That is a frequent occurrence if you use music other than clips from YouTube's Music Library. By that statement, you can probably figure out what the problem is.

Like always, I filed a dispute, stating that I had the license to use that music clip. The dispute was satisfied. Then a few months ago, I noticed I again had a Copyright Strike on the same video. I looked and it was the same thing.

I disputed it again, and this time, the rights claimant ruled against my use. Frustrating, but I had to put the situation on the back burner since there's so much going on in my personal life.

Finally, I went in, made the video private then I contacted Animoto, the source of the audio clip, and explained the situation to them. They assured me I had the legal right to use the music clip.

That's when the circle game really got going. Animoto said to file an appeal with YouTube. I told them I had done that and had stated that in my email to them. They basically replied there was nothing they could do. (Even though they offer the library of audio clips, they won't support the right of their users to legally use it.)

I go back to YouTube and read all of their documentation about what happens if you dispute their ruling regarding a Copyright Strike. In essence, they can kick you off YouTube. Back the situation went on the back burner.

When I again had some time to deal with problems, I emailed YouTube support. Told them everything including that I had the right to use the music so how could anyone claim that I didn't?

YouTube didn't address my question. They basically quoted their policy. I thanked them by return email and asked my question again. They answered in the same way.

Does anyone in customer support for any of these megalithic websites actually read an email? Or do they see the subject line and just cut and paste the usual reply? By this time, I was so frustrated, I deleted the damn video.


I can only conclude that YouTube wants to force you to use their music library. An alternative is to purchase audio tracks, but that defeats the reason for having a pro membership on Animoto--which isn't cheap. I have used other music from Animoto's Music Library with no problems, but I wouldn't be surprised if that changes in the future.

Latest Video

I made another video last month for Kiss Me, Thrill Me, the Romance Collection available free on Kindle Unlimited or 99cents for non-subscribers. I used a clip from YouTube's Library just because I didn't want any problems from them. Take a look and see if you like the music. I thought it was okay, but there was an audio track in the Animoto Music Library that was even better.

Takeaway Truth

I'm going to keep making videos. I'll keep you posted if this situation keeps cropping up. Have any of you had similar problems with using music tracks in a video you post to YouTube? If so, was it resolved to your satisfaction?

Thursday3Some: 3 Romance Box Sets for Spring

In the spring, a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love.

So does a young woman's--also older men and women, little kids, and just about every species on the planet. The whole world is in love or wants to be in love.

Another sign of spring? The romance collections popping up like flowers after a spring rain.

Today, I'm featuring 3 of these romance collections that will make readers rejoice!

Each of these 3 sets are 99 cents. If you're a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber, they're free! Here are the sets along with the Description from each Amazon book page.

Unforgettable Romances

Seven unforgettable romances! Seven hot heroes!

These emotionally satiating, tales of contemporary love stories will brighten your day, warm your heart, and quench your desire for happy ever after. From merry-go-round passion, to a beautiful Chilean earthquake survivor, an aristocrat coming to visit or that excruciating puppy love everyone endures - this collection has it all.

I'm No Angel - Mimi Barbour

A woman determined to prove herself to her father contends with the complication of a handsome Search & Rescue hero.

Puppy Love By the Sea - Traci Hall
Sarah Murphy champions the underdog in her shelter by the sea, and Franco de Silva is a wealthy single dad looking for a place to heal. Can love be far behind?

All of Me - Patrice Wilton
Leila Warner is determined to find a donor match for her twelve-year-old daughter, Callie, but the only blood relative is the black sheep of the family--her deceased husband’s brother.

No More Lies - Mona Risk
Dr. Olivia Crane lives a quiet life. No one questions why she doesn't socialize or where she spends every weekend. When Dr. Luc George emotions get messy.

Then Came You - Leanne Banks
Cassie is beautiful, smart, and appealing. Joshua is handsome and sexy. They hit it off when they’re paired together in a wedding party, but happy ever after doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Joshua has secrets, and Cassie is distrustful of men.

The Merry Go Round - Donna Fasano
When Lauren divorces her husband, she just wants off the merry-go-round that's her life. Instead, her life turns into a 3-ring circus, and her ex always seems to be at her house.

Snow Pup - Mimi Barbour
A deputy sheriff's heart is touched by a runaway boy. Add a puppy who is bonded with the boy, and the boy's father who abandoned him, and you have a heartwarming romance.

Dangerous Encounters

Love and suspense, and heart-pounding romance and thrills! 7 full-length action-suspense romances from New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors. Danger and excitement, secret agents, sexy SEALs, hot police detectives, undercover female operatives, and heat! Plus a French aristocrat hiding an old secret in his chateau! From sweet to spicy, what more can a woman want?

The Scent of Lies by Debra Burroughs
Emily Parker thought she had a perfect life...until her dashing private-eye husband was brutally murdered. After his murder goes unsolved and the case grows cold, she discovers that he may not have been who he claimed to be. Can she uncover the truth with the help of her best friends and the hot new police detective before she winds up dead too?

Big Girls Don't Cry by Taylor Lee
The blonde-haired beauty hits the streets to find her brother's killer. In the sleazy cesspool of drug dealers, strippers and pimps, she closes in on the killer. But he's out to get her before she gets him.

Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies by Cynthia Cooke
Sometimes the risk is worth the fall. Ex-secret agent, Genie will stop at nothing to find her father, even accepting help from the one man she let close enough to learn her family secrets, secrets that could destroy them all. But will he keep them?

The Romantics by Stephanie Queen
Big bad bodyguard Joseph Allario keeps his biggest fear a big secret until a so-called cupcake assignment takes him to London to play undercover babysitter to Lady Veronica Douglas. Ronnie made a deathbed promise to her mother to redeem her father's reputation and prove he was murdered. Now Joe finds himself falling for Ronnie as he tries to stop the killer before the killer stops her. Even if it means facing the one thing he fears most...

Tidal Falls by Jacquie Biggar

When Nick Kelley loses most of his teammates in an IED explosion overseas, he shuts down. It takes meeting and falling in love with a woman in danger to make him realize life's worth living.

'Where are the Children?' by Katy Walters
Looking down at the mutilated body of a young woman, D.I. Sam Templeton's fears grow. Where are the victim's children? Sam realizes she is faced with a killer hell bent on vengeance; his reign of terror is just beginning. In the race to catch him, Sam joins forces with profiler Ryan Anderson only to find herself embroiled in a tempestuous romance. As the second body is found, more children go missing. Where are they? Are they still alive?

Her French Count by Mona Risk
What could be more exciting for a young American architect than to live in a French chateau owned by a handsome count, and to work on the restoration of a chapel in the Loire Valley? But when her professor is poisoned because he knew too much about a missing statue, Cheryl's summer job changes into a dangerous treasure hunt and Count François is faced with a difficult choice. Are the statue and his chateau worth endangering the life of the impetuous young woman who's turned his life upside down?

Risky Encounters

Action packed romantic suspense by USA Today, NY Times and international Bestselling Authors. Novels guaranteed to sweep you away with danger and excitement filled pages you won't soon forget! Discover Southern steam and a deal with the devil, amnesia and intrigue on a horse ranch, fame gone terribly awry, star-crossed lovers haunted by betrayal, and an elegant hotel where danger lurks behind every door. This collection includes:

Rx Missing: A Deborah Security Novel by Rebecca York
Max wakes up in a luxury hotel where anyone could be a foe--even the beautiful brunette he rescues from a savage beating.

Sons of Silver Springs: Heart of A Lawman by Patricia Rosemoor
Can Bart protect Josie from the past that's threatening their future together?

Twilight's Encore: Wounded Hearts Book #3 by Jacquie Biggar
One man's betrayal will seal another's fate.

Sink or Swim by Stacy Juba
After her stint on a reality TV show, personal trainer Cassidy Novak returns home to discover she has attracted a stalker.

Cocktail Cove: A Southern Steam Novel by Jennifer Saints
The only things to do when life shakes you up and pours you on rock bottom is fake amnesia to escape the mob and fall in love.

Takeaway Truth

Lots of wonderful romance novels. Take advantage of the bargain prices today.

Hurray! Print Book Now Available

One of my goals this year is to get all of my ebooks into print.

With that goal in mind, the first print book, Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones, has been completed.

The print edition of this book can be purchased from the book's Amazon page or directly from CreateSpace. Oh, the price for this trade paperback (5"x8") is $9.99.

At left, you'll see the cover flat for the book. The artwork is stellar, and the inside format is stunning with drop caps for the first letter or the first word of a chapter, printer's decorative elements for space breaks, chapter beginnings, chapter endings, and other appropriate places.

I apologize for the quality of these scans. My scanner hasn't worked well since my computer upgraded to Windows 10. *grumble, grumble*

At right, you'll see the book list and the inside title page.

How The Format Came About

I studied 8 novels by my favorite authors, all from traditional publishers, to see how their books were put together.

I made a storyboard with each page of the front matter, back matter, and inside pages sketched. Then my format artist and I went over the sketches together. I decided on a 5" by 8" trade paperback size with cream paper, black type, and a matte cover finish.

My graphic artist created a sample, I approved it, and she took care of the rest.

Here are some of the end pages.

I'm absolutely thrilled with the book. It's beautiful, and I can't wait to get the rest of the books into print.

If anyone would like to talk to my graphic artist who did my format, she is Adina Mayo, my very talented daughter.

Her prices are competitive. Visit her website and use the Contact Me form on any page to get in touch with her.

Takeaway Truth

Why print books? Readers still love print books. In fact, I'm a reader who still buys print books, and I'm an author who is happy to add print books to my inventory, starting with Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones.

Review: The Catch Is Must See TV

Are you watching The Catch? If not, you're missing one of the best, most fun series I've seen in a long time.

The show was created by Jennifer Schuur, Kate Atkinson, and Helen Gregory. Allan Heinberg developed it, and it is executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Heinberg, and Robinson.

The sexy series is fresh and tackles something that, so far, is working out quite well.

That something is a continuing romance with characters who not only desire each other but also want to be exclusively with each other. Married even! How nice to see a TV couple who aren't sleeping around!

Moonlighting tried this scenario unsuccessfully. So did Remington Steele. If you remember those, then you'll fall for The Catch.

Amazing Cast

The amazing Mirelle Enos who you may remember from the Netflix Original Series The Killing portrays Alice Vaughan, a strong woman and a successful private investigator. When Episode 1 of Season 1 debuted, Alice was engaged to be married to Christopher Hall.

I don't want to give away any of the delicious surprises so all I'll say is that Mr. Hall vanishes, and Alice sets out to find him--and her entire life savings that vanished with him.

Peter Krause plays the missing fiance Christopher Hall with the panache Cary Grant possessed.

The supporting cast of regulars is equally stellar with Jay Hayden as Danny Yoon, Rose Rollins as Valerie Anderson, Sonya Walger as Margot Bishop, Elvy Yost as Sophie Novak, John Simm as Rhys, and Jacky Ido as Agent Jules Dao.

The Catch debuted on March 24, 2016, on ABC. I came in at the end of the first season. I was so enchanted by the series that I immediately ordered a DVD from Amazon.

The second season started a few weeks ago. The show is on Episode 7. There are only 3 episodes left in this season.

FanGirl Note

I have to say something about the characters' wardrobes. I totally love the clothes, shoes, hairstyles, jewelry, and makeup of the women on The Catch. I seriously want that wardrobe! *sigh*

Takeaway Truth

The Catch is funny, sexy, suspenseful, action-packed, sexy, and romantic. Each episode is full of surprises. The stories are original, and the acting is superb.

You can get Season 1 DVD from Amazon and watch some of the current season's episodes on ABC Go. Or just wait until Season 2 hits DVD. I'd buy it today if it were on pre-order.

Kiss Me, Thrill Me: Free for Kindle Unlimited

Today is World Book Day! That makes it a great day to celebrate Kiss Me, Thrill Me, a collection of romance novels designed to thrill the hopeful romantic, now in Kindle Unlimited.

If you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you know this means you can read "for free" every delicious romance in the collection.

If you're not a subscriber, never fear. For a short time, the collection of 7 full-length romance novels, is priced at only 99 cents. Be sure and get it today before the price increases.

Kiss Me, Thrill Me: As Only You Can

Kiss me. Thrill me. These words sighed softly in a lover’s embrace were the inspiration for this collection of 7 contemporary romance novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.

Whether you’re looking for the humor of romantic comedy, the sassiness of chick lit, the adventure of fantasy romance, the thrilling locales of international romance, the poignance of a second chance at love, or the ever-popular forced marriage romance and medical romance, Kiss Me, Thrill Me has it.

Some of these novels are heartwarming, and some are heart-throbbing. Some are set in exotic locales like France and the Greek Isles, and some are homegrown in the United States. Some will make you laugh, and some will make you blink back tears.

All of these emotion-drenched love stories will touch the hopeful romantic in you and make you believe in the magic of love.

The Authors and Their Books

Joan Reeves,NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Cinderella Blue.
In this funny, sexy cop romance, Andrea–call me Andie–and Benton are two commitment-phobic cops with nothing in common—except the desire sizzling between them.

Mimi Barbour, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, The Surrogate’s Secret.
An international love story to delight the romantic. Miguel forces his dead brother’s surrogate to marry him so he can take her and her twin babies to Chile to save his beloved, sickly mother whose only cure is to see her grandchildren.

Dani Haviland, USA Today Bestselling Author, Aye, I Am a Fairy.
This time-travel romance is an adventure with assaults, arson, a 230-year old video on a solar-powered smartphone, and two very different women awaiting the sharp British lord with a great secret. What will lovely Leah, the sassy heroine, do when she learns the truth?

Alicia Street, USA Today Bestselling Author, Touch Me and Tango.
A lost love returns for one more dance–and a second chance at love. They fell for each other long ago, but reality intruded and broke them apart. When they meet again, the same passion flares between them. Can love prevail this time?

Patrice Wilton, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, For the Love of Candy.
Fun, flirty, a little sexy, and a lot of humor–that’s chick lit romantic comedy at its best. Harrison Wolfe doesn't want his twenty-year-old daughter to marry Candy's son. Candy hasn't met her yet, but knows they are too young. How can the parents keep them apart without their own attraction getting in the way?

Mona Risk, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Right Name, Wrong Man.
What's a girl to do when she whispers another man's name while in her fiancé's arms? In this international medical romance, forbidden dreams about the sexy French surgeon, Dr. Yves Malroux, assail Mary-Beth at every turn. Torn between two lovers and not ready to pledge love and commitment to her fiancé, she flies to France to confront her past and the lover she left behind.

BONUS: Her Greek Tycoon by Mona Risk, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author.
For another international romance, attraction sizzles between American attorney Ashley and Greek tycoon Stefano when they meet incognito on Mykonos Island.

Later, when they meet in court, they’re ready to tear each other apart to protect their grandparents’ opposite interests. Will the heavens align for the grandchildren of thwarted lovers?

Takeaway Truth

Many romance novels are written, but these are some you'll remember. Add Kiss Me, Thrill Me to your Romance Library today, and have a Happy World Book Day!

Saturday Share: Dorito Drumsticks

I have a food confession. I love Nacho Cheese Doritos®. I seldom buy them because they're way too high in calories for this diet-conscious writer.

When I was a kid, there was a Frito-Lay commercial about Lay's Potato Chips®. The tagline was, "Bet you can't eat just one."

Well, that's anything by the Frito-Lay Corporation. I can't eat just one of their potato chips or of Doritos®.

However, I can justify buying a bag of Doritos® if I'm going to use them as the crumb coating for baked chicken. If I happen to munch a few of the trips while I'm putting the dish together, well, that's allowed. Chefs do that. Right.

So if you like the spicy taste of Doritos®, try this baked chicken. You'll love it!

Doritos® Drumsticks
  • 1 6-ounce bag of Doritos® (6 ounce bag is used, but if you get a larger size,you'll have some left. *g*)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 drumsticks (just the legs, not legs with thigh attached)
  • Prepare a 9" x 13" baking pan by lightly greasing or spraying with Pam or a similar product.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Crush the chips finely and place in a plastic bag.
  • Mix the egg and milk in a shallow bowl.
  • Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  • Dip the chicken into the egg mixture.
  • Next place the egg-dipped chicken into the plastic bag and shake to coat with chips.
  • Place in a layer in the baking pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove to a serving platter.
If you want to prepare this for baking later in the day, just cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to bake. Add an extra 5-10 minutes baking time if going from fridge to oven.

Takeaway Truth

The spicy Doritos® perfectly seasons the chicken. I think you'll like this as much as I do.

Happy Birthday, SlingWords + Giveaway

On April 12, 2005, I published the first post in SlingWords. Since then, I've published 2,782 posts.

I've hosted hundreds of authors over the years and have chronicled my path from traditional publishing to indie publishing to producing audio books and learning how to make video book trailers.

I've shared just about everything I've learned over the years with the hope that it helped make your journey easier.

I didn't use much art the first two years. As I blogged more and learned how to legally obtain graphic images, my posts grew more illustrated.

I became quite adept at blogging and have had a book on blogging as a work in progress for a couple of years. I hope to finally publish Blog Ops, designed to make blogging easier and fun for you, in a couple of weeks.

Unlike many who feel blogging is a burden, I enjoy it. I want to show others how to enjoy it too.

First Post

The first post on SlingWords was a Japanese Proverb that I've followed most of my life. I guess it's my declaration that I may fall, but ultimately I will keep going. I will win. Here's that post in its entirety.

Fall down 7 times; stand up 8. ~ Japanese Proverb

Short But Profound

There you have it, my first succinct post about how to succeed. I still believe the wisdom in those 7 words. Winners are those who try one more time. If you quit, you lose. If you keep going, you win.

Yes, sometimes the number of times you fall seems to be multiplied by thousands. I've fallen frequently in life, but I've always managed to pick myself up and stand--and try--again.

The will to prevail--to stand again when you've fallen--is the will to succeed.

About Takeaway Truth

In 2007, I used the phrase "Takeaway Truth" for the first time. I didn't start doing it with every post until July 2008.

I had started adding a summary sentence or two at the end of each post because I'd learned how Internet readers actually read content.

Internet readers read vertically, looking for sub-headings, bullet points, etc. that help them grasp the content immediately. I thought adding a summary sentence of the post made sense. I still do that, and blog readers look for it.

Blog Themes and Pages

I changed blog themes a few years ago, and I may change again. I think blogs need a facelift every now and then so they don't get stale.

I've also added extra pages to the blog because I used it more as a website than my actual website. (My life seems to be busier and more complicated than ever so time has become a scarce commodity for me. I can't seem to find time to update my website which is something I plan to change this year.)

Giveaway to Celebrate the 12th Birthday

Even though I missed posting this on the blog's actual birthday which was April 12, I don't want to wait another day before celebrating the 12th Birthday of my beloved little blog.

I'm giving away 12 copies of my first indie published title, Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones. (The embedded link is for Amazon in case you don't score a freebie.)

A billionaire, a secret crush, a betrayal. Just your typical high school reunion is the background for this sexy romantic comedy!

To claim your free copy, click here to visit the Smashwords page for Jane (I'm Still single) Jones.

Takeaway Truth

Thank you for reading and supporting my little blog. I love receiving your emails and your blog comments. I deeply appreciate those of you who subscribe to SlingWords through the Kindle store (only 99cents a month).

Post Script

I'm always open to "guest stars" who have something valuable to say to those who read SlingWords, and I'm open to readers as well as authors who want to be on the blog.

Use the Contact Page to email me if you'd like to appear on SlingWords.

Review: A Baby for Easter

I think I've read all of the romance novels by Susan R. Hughes. I love the deep emotion with which she imbues her characters.

I would describe her books more as Women's Fiction with strong romance elements.

About A Baby for Easter

Helen Ellis rarely talks about how she met her late husband, Blake. When her granddaughter Julie begs her to tell the story, Helen finally delves into bittersweet memories from the summer of 1978, when a young bartender’s dreamy good looks caught her eye and his kind soul captured her heart.

Having run from her strict religious home at eighteen, and then broken away from her cheating boyfriend, Helen wasn’t ready to give up her newfound freedom. With Blake set to leave for relief work overseas, a temporary romance seemed inevitable—until an unplanned pregnancy turned their plans upside down.

My Review

Like I said above, I love the books Susan R. Hughes writes, but I was a little concerned about this one after reading the book description. I'm happy to say my concern was unwarranted.

In the talented hands of this author, the romance that Helen Ellis relates to her granddaughter about Blake, the love of Helen's life, becomes something timeless rather than nostalgic.

The emotion and love Helen has for her late husband is palpable. This story is the stuff of great romance--books and movies. Like all of the authors' heroines, Helen is someone who has learned life's lessons the hard way. Somehow, she has endured and grown wiser and stronger from those hard lessons.

It's a Keeper!

This is one you'll probably add to your Keeper Shelf.

Takeaway Truth

This is a wonderful story! Hurry, and get A Baby for Easter.

You can find it for only 99 cents at Amazon Kindle. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can get it for free.

Saturday Recipe Share: BBQ Polish Sausage and Beans

This April day is gorgeous. I'm headed outside to garden.

I have 2 giant terracotta pots to plant with zinnias, trailing ivy, and asparagus fern.

I know I'll be too tired to cook dinner so I just put the slow cooker on. The type I have is Crock Pot.

I'm making a dinner that's delicious comfort food. If you don't have these ingredients, pick them up from the supermarket today for an easy, savory and deliciious dinner tomorrow.

This recipe will be included in my upcoming recipe book: 99 Problems But Dinner Ain't One. (It took me a long while to accept the Ain't in the title. *LOL*) I hope to have this book published by the end of April. Enjoy this sneak peek recipe this weekend.

Slow-Cooker Barbecued Polish Sausage and Beans


2 (15.5 ounce) cans of Navy beans or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15 ounce) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped onion (can be coarse chopped or fine chopped--your choice)
1 cup barbecue sauce (I use Austin's, but I don't know if this is available outside of Texas)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon of ground mustard
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 to 1 1/4 pounds fully cooked smoked Polish sausage cut in 3 inch slices (I include this recipe in the Beef section of my cookbook, but you can certainly use Pork or a mixture of Beef/Pork. Turkey sausage can be used, but it doesn't hold up as well during the long, slow cooker process.)

  • Spray a 3 to 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray or use one of those liners.
  • Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours. If you're short of time, cook on High for 2 to 3 hours. (With most slow cookers, you can raise the temp to High and cut the time in half.
  • Serve with garlic bread to rave reviews.
Takeaway Truth

Weekends are easier to enjoy when you know dinner isn't a problem.

Canva: Free Online Digital Illustration

I had a really nice email from Adelbert Bola,
Community Outreach Specialist at Canva.

He had read my post about FotoJet and wanted to remind me of the usefulness of Canva, a digital illustration app that many authors--including me--use.

Since I like Canva and agree with Adelbert that it's very useful, I asked for a guest post.

I'm happy to present the information and great graphics I received.

About Canva

Canva is a simple drag and drop, design software, which is fully online and free. Canva has been around for just over 27 months and already has 17 million users.

The designer tools in Canva make it easy to create stunning layouts. They have more than 1 million shared photos, fonts, and elements.

Add the contents of the top stock photographers and graphic artists to that and you get endless design possibilities.

Need a brochure? Canva allows you to easily create the perfect marketing materials that people want to read.

Present your information clearly and beautifully using their professionally designed templates.

Just (1)drag and drop your favorite images, (2) customize the fonts and colors, and (3) edit text.

How Canva Works

As I said, it's a simple type of drag-and-drop software. If you can click and move the computer mouse, you can create some great projects.

Popular Types of Designs
At the right, you can see a graphic that shows the many popular design types you can create. There's just about everything you need for online promotion. 

Design Feature Choices

There are a large number of design features from which to choose:
• Text
• Background
• Grids
• Framework
• shape
• lines
• Illustration Free stock photos

Create A Design
On the left you can see the Create Design page that gets you started.

Remember, Canva is free, but you do need to register an account to get the most benefit.

Takeaway Truth

If you don't use Canva yet, give it a try. I think you'll like it.

Review: My New Kindle Voyage

My Kindle Voyage arrived on a day when Houston had 4 tornadoes touchdown. Unlike the Dallas area, this is not common occurrence here. Tons of rain, wind, and, of course, a power outage that lasted from before noon Wednesday to the wee hours of Thursday morning. As my daughter says, "Good times."

I picked it up from the package locker and forgot about it since I left home early Thursday morning. Finally home again, I plugged it in and charged it.

My Thoughts

I'm so used to the Kindle 3G keyboard that I've had since early 2010, that it took a while to get used to it. With my old Kindle, I could open the Kindle Store at any time, anywhere, and download books.

With the Voyage, since I opted for the WiFi version only, I have to remember to have books downloaded to the device before I leave home. (I try to avoid pubic WiFi since there are so many ways hackers can mess up your devices. Don't know if they can infect a Kindle--probably not at this point--but I try to practice safe WiFi and just avoid the public ones.)

The reading screen on the Voyage is almost the same size as my old Kindle. What's missing is the keyboard and the slightly larger frame surrounding the screen. Personally, I like the larger frame because I can easily hold the older Kindles.

With the Voyage, you have about a half inch spaced around the screen with which to hold it. That actually ends up making my hand tired because I used to read in bed and just prop the Kindle on a pillow so I didn't have to hold it.

Also with the older Kindle your library was displayed and all your books were in it either listed individually or in Collections you set up. If you deleted a book from your device, you could just go to Archived Items and quickly download it again.

With Voyage, everything is in the Cloud. If you suddenly want to check something in another book or just switch books, you have to take time to download the new one from the Cloud. How fast it downloads depends on the WiFi speed.

Another thing about the Voyage is that the display is "busy." I actually just like a list of my books. I don't want to see covers of other books that they're pushing. Again, I wasn't thinking. I believe I ended up with the Voyage with special offers so be careful what you order. I also don't like being prompted continuously to post a review, go to Goodreads, tell my friends about, Like it on FB, etc. I do all that anyway, but I don't want the Kindle proclaiming it at every opportunity. You can turn most of that off in Settings but not all of it. I just find it intrusive and annoying.

 The battery life is supposedly much longer than on the Kindle, but the caveat is that you must turn the WiFi off or the battery drains as fast as any device connected to WiFi. I finally remembered to put it in Airplane Mode.

Oh, and I decided to get the Voyage because it has PagePress, buttons to navigate through the book. I read fast and get tired of swiping. Plus, I hate touchscreens. I think I'm just not touchscreen coordinated. I didn't realize that everything else about the Voyage is accessed via touchscreen. I guess I thought there would be a navigation button to scroll up and down lists of books. There isn't so beware of possibly buying something you didn't intend if your finger strays.

In Summation: Pros

1. Smaller so will fit easily into all purses, maybe the back pocket of jeans, etc.
2. Built-in light.
3. Longer battery charge if you turn the WiFi off.
4. PagePress buttons to navigate through a book.

I wish I could think of some other pros toward this purchase, but at this time, I simply can't.

In Summation: Cons

1. Harder to hold without getting your fingers on the screen.
2. Display is busy with too many things on the screen.
3. No navigation button for selecting books. Touchscreen only for all other functions.
4. Intrusive announcements and exhortations from Amazon.
5. Must remember to download when you have secure WiFi.
6. Much more expensive.

Takeaway Truth

I guess the bottom line is I wish I'd bought a Kindle Paperwhite with 3G which has the built in light. I think I would have liked it better and could have saved myself a lot of money.

What Was Missing From John Wick 2

I intended to post something about John Wick Chapter 2, which Darling Hubby and I saw on its opening day, but time got away from me.


Unlike the first movie, this one did not have a deeply emotional hook. John Wick 2 opened with the nonstop action of Wick retaking his car that was stolen in the first movie. The plot was based on dealing with the fallout of Wick's actions in the first movie. Based on the character, this was a believable premise.

What Was Missing

Although this movie had all of the elements of the previous one--except the strong emotional hook--the one thing that would have lifted it above the genre would have been a soundtrack like the one in the first movie.

There was some techno music during some of the scenes, but they should have gone back to Marilyn Manson for another signature piece like Killing Strangers at the very least. (I've named that genre Ballistic Music.)

Even if you don't like the language of the lyrics, you find yourself humming along. The first John Wick soundtrack enhanced each scene and lifted the movie above the genre.

Takeaway Truth

Despite not having an emotional hook and the Ballistic Music, John Wick 2 is worth seeing if you're into action flicks or Keanu Reeves--ladies, he just gets better with age.