The Sky Is Falling--GDPR

Yesterday, as I was wading through all the requirements and various websites, a line from an old country music song popped into my brain, "Gloom, despair, agony on end..." That's what yesterday was.

What's Uh Happening, Hot Stuff?

Just about every author I know who maintains a subscription mailing list has been inundated with information about the General Data Protection Regulation, commonly known as GDPR.

Privately I added an adjective in front of GDPR that indicates my general state of disgruntlement as I tried to figure out what the heck I needed to actually do about this regulation that is focused on the rights of citizens living in a country that is part of the European Union.

If you just said, "Huh?" you know exactly how we all feel.

GDPR Apocolypse

Apparently, the EU is out to make sure that all of the citizens under them never receive an email without having subscribed AND confirmed the subscription.

They also want their citizens to understand their rights to privacy to protect them from having their data used in a way they were not advised about.

What all this means is that I spent an entire day figuring out a Privacy Policy and a Cookie Policy--as if I have any control over what data is automatically gathered by software bots since my blog is hosted by Blogger and my website is hosted by Authors Guild.

Just In Case You Want To Know

Skip over this if you're already bored to tears.

What is GDPR? What does it mean? The General Data Protection Regulation is a regulation on data protection and privacy for all people living in a European Union country.

The purpose of it is to give EU residents control over their personal data and how it can be collected and processed. Uh, privacy? Hasn't that ship already sailed for everyone on the planet?

Still Saying, "Huh?"

Me too. However, since it does no good to try to fight city hall or the EU, I placed a Privacy Policy on my blog (see the tab on the menu bar) and website yesterday and linked one to BookFunnel which hosts my free book that's a welcome gift for Mailing List subscribers.

By Friday, I'll have a Cookie Policy up--for whatever it's worth since I don't actually have any control over that. The Cookie Policy isn't required yet, but people who know far more than I about all this says it will be in the near future.

I'm also having to change the wording on my Mailing List signup. I can't use the text, "sign up for my mailing list and receive a free ebook." Well, that sentence is in the front and back of every published book I have online. So guess what I'll be doing in a few days? Yep, editing every single book and uploading again. Of course, that won't change the books that are already out there.

Takeaway Truth

I'm a writer. All I want to do is write, darn it! How rare it is to have a week--heck, a day--devoted primarily to writing. *sigh*

Unforgettable Weddings Available Now

I'm back! After more than a week away at my brother's farm where there is no WiFi, I'm back.

Every year my younger brother in Colorado and his wife and Darling Hubby and I meet at my older brother's farm for a few days of fabulous food and visiting with those dear to us.

The most challenging thing is being disconnected from everything online. Today, I begin the process of catching up.

Unforgettable Weddings

First, I want to tell you about Unforgettable Weddings: Joyful Memories, the new box set I'm in with 7 of my author friends. Isn't the cover art romantic and beautiful?

To Have and To Hold. That's the promise made by marriage. In this era of casual relationships, true
love STILL exists. True love is what helps a woman and a man overcome huge conflicts. It's what keeps them together despite battles they fight and obstacles they confront. When everything seems to go wrong, true love is what brings the lovers back into each other's embrace.

Celebrate true love and commitment with Unforgettable Weddings: Joyful Memories, 8 breathtaking stories from NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors.

Follow the adventures of 8 couples as they face many twists and turns on their way to happily-ever-after. These intriguing men and women will navigate dysfunctional families, pregnancy (oopsies!), second chance at love, royalty, trust fund calamities, and even time travel as they make their way down the aisle toward, “I do!” One thing is certain—love is never easy, but it’s always surprising, fun, and memorable!

UNFORGETTABLE WEDDINGS produce Joyful Memories that will stay with you long after you've finished reading each of these heart-throbbing romances.

April Fool Bride, Joan Reeves, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: Is it a Marriage of Convenience or something--more?

The Troublemaker Bride, Leanne Banks, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: When a single pregnant mom needs emergency help from a single dad, sparks fly and emotions run high. But can forever love prevail?

Trouble In Vegas, Patrice Wilton, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: A bride-to-be is in Vegas with her sister and bridesmaid to celebrate her upcoming wedding when calamity, chaos and a hot guy named Josh, sets her life on a different course!

Return Of The Runaway Bride, Donna Fasano, USA Today bestselling author: She ran from her fairy tale wedding; now she's back to face the man whose heart she broke.

Forever By The Sea, Traci Hall, USA Today bestselling author: Will the ceremony they both want so much be the end of their relationship—or will the trials create a love to last forever?

A Bride For Prince Paul, Mona Risk, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: She loved him as her driver, but she can’t abandon her patients for his crown!

Be My Angel, Dani Haviland, USA Today bestselling author: He dreamed of saving the wild horses in the west, but hadn't anticipated being mesmerized by a sassy woman in a wheelchair.

Together Always, Mimi Barbour, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: A new body, a new face, someone else’s husband!

Takeaway Truth

Unforgettable Weddings: Joyful Memories is a Kindle Unlimited "free read" if you are a subscriber. Or, buy it for only 99cents and own it.

Oops! Posts You May Have Missed

I've had my head buried in my work in progress Second Chance Bride for a solid month so I've missed reading a lot of great posts.

Here's a few I read tonight since I had insomnia -- probably about getting my book finished on time. *g*

As soon as I send that manuscript off, I'm taking a couple of weeks to recover, relax, visit family, and catch up on reading: blogs, novels, and nonfiction.

 I'll also get caught up on office paperwork I hope and review a bunch of books. (The Kindle is full of new books and those left from last year that I never reviewed.)

There's a lot of good reading on blogs, but it's hard to weed through all the content. Here are a few you might add to your reading list.


Gene-Editing Tool for Medical Treatment

5 Side Effects of Chronic Illness

The Lies Perfectionists Tell Themselves

Love and Relationship Templates from The Sunday Chapter
Food & Drink

Sweet Potato and Cranberry Muffins

Reading Food Labels: 60+ Words That Mean Sugar

Paleo Frozen Margaritas

For Authors

Authors, Are You GDPR Ready

21 Ways Authors Recommend Books to Readers

These Mistakes Will Get You Banned As An Amazon Affiliate

Instagram for Business

The Unbelievable

Money Glitch

Takeaway Truth

Cruise around and sample different blogs. You may find some you love. If you do, subscribe.

Amazing Process Inspired by Terminator Movie

My friend Frank sent me this YouTube video. I couldn't resist watching. It had me at Terminator.

It's amazing what technology can do, and what inspires inventors is equally amazing.

Before I dive into my final edit, I thought I'd share this video with you. Of course, the normal 3D printers aren't affordable for individuals. Some companies have purchased them, but they're expensive.

Just imagine how these liquid resin printers could figure in a science fiction novel or movie.

I imagine these liquid resin printers are out of sight when it comes to the price tag.

Takeaway Truth

Have a great Monday.

5 Video Tips For Authors + Giveaway

The other day I took a break from editing my new book Second Chance Bride, Book 2 of All Brides Are Beautiful, so I could create the video for the new box set I'm in.

Unforgettable Weddings, a collection of 8 wedding romances by my friends and I--all NY Times and/or USA Today bestselling authors. This box set contains my book April Fool Bride.

I've done quite a few video trailers now so I have some tips to help you with yours. Plus, I'm giving away a video to 1 lucky winner. Details at the bottom of this post.

First, watch my latest video. Let me know if you like it! Hopefully, it will make the viewer/reader want to buy Unforgettable Weddings!

Remember, after watching the video, scroll down for 5 tips on how to make an effective video book trailer, plus the Giveaway offer.

Video Tips

1. Make it short. A successful video should be no more than 60 seconds. The first one I ever did was over 2 minutes long. I just didn't think I could convey a visual representation of my book in a shorter length. Wrong!

2. Make a separate image for the YouTube Thumbprint. That's what you call the image that appears next to the video in a list on YouTube. It's the image you see above.

3. Think about theme or branding. Do you want to brand your author name, the kind of books you write, or a particular book? Or do you want the video to be a visual synopsis of your book? What is the impression you want the viewer to receive from the video?

4. Select great music that isn't too fast and frenetic or too slow and draggy. You want the music to move the story along. Music can either make or break a video.

5. Have a good opening image for your video and an equally good closing one. The opening shows what the reader can expect, and the closing image cements that image with the viewer.

Giveaway for Your Own Video

No Purchase Necessary.

(1) Click LIKE and leave a comment on Unforgettable Weddings on YouTube. (Please subscribe to my YouTube channel while you're there.)

(2) Copy the comment you made on the YouTube page and paste it into the Comment section of this post with your email written out--not as a hot link.

(3) Winner chosen by random draw.

(4) Winner will receive a 60 second or less video for a book.

(5) Giveaway offer closes May 20. (6) Winner will be contacted by email after that date.

By the way, Unforgettable Weddings is an Amazon Exclusive and is available for preorder now for only 99cents.

Takeaway Truth

Video trailers may not sell a book, but they do grow awareness of the book and the author. Hopefully, that leads to "discoverability" and that's what all authors want.

Visit Joan online: Blog * Amazon * BookBub * Facebook * Twitter.

Want a free ebook of one of Joan's popular romance novels? Just click here to sign up for Joan's mailing list.

May the 4th Be With You

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. My kids love this day. I wonder how many times people have said this familiar phrase today.

This morning I saw Will Wheaton (Love him on The Big Bang Theory) "trick" Mark Hamill, the original Luke Skywalker, into saying it on TV.

This constitutes my post for today. Yeah, I apologize.

I'm trapped. Help, I've fallen into Deadline Hell, and I can't get up!

I'll be back, maybe tomorrow, when I have a minute to breathe.

In the meantime, watch something Star Wars-ish.

Takeaway Truth

May the 4th be you -- and with me too!

Photo by Alex Broski

Lone Star Writing Contest 2018 Now Open

The 26th Annual Lone Star Writing Contest, sponsored by the Northwest Houston Chapter of Romance Writers of America, is now open to entries. Authors, get those manuscripts ready!


• Competition is open to published and unpublished authors.
• Entry must be an unpublished work – (it cannot be published or under contract in any form or format, not in digital or print prior to the announcement date in October 2018). If the entry is disqualified, a letter will be sent to the contestant and the entry fee will be forfeited.
Final Round judges are chosen from experienced editors and agents within the romance publishing industry. Each category will have three final round judges.


CONTEMPORARY: Present day romance novels or novellas that focus on the romantic relationship. Word count is between 20,000 and 70,000 words.
• Susan Litman, Editor, Harlequin
• Sharon Roe, Acquiring Editor, Soul Mate Publishing
• Kate Brauning, Editor, Entangled Publishing
HISTORICAL/REGENCY: Romance novels or novellas with a time period prior to WWII. Projected word count between 20,000 – maximum open.
• Janet Clementz, Acquiring Editor, Soul Mate Publishing
• Allison Byers, Editor, The Wild Rose Press
• Third judge tba
FANTASY, FUTURE AND PARANORMAL: Romance novels or novellas in which the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are an integral part of the plot. May include vampires, ghost, time travel, werewolves, etc. Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.
• Laura Costello, Assistant Editor, Sourcebooks Casablanca
• Callie Lynn Wolfe, Senior Managing Editor, The Wild Rose Press
• Tera Cuskaden, Editor, Entangled Publishing
INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE: Novels or novellas in which religion or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship. Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.
• Nicola Martinez, Editor-in-Chief, Pelican Books
• Dina Davis, Editor, Harlequin
• Raela Schoenherr, Acquisitions Editor, Bethany House Publishers
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE/INTRIGUE: Novels or novellas in which suspense, mystery or thriller elements play and integral part of the plot. Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.
• Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency
• Patience Bloom, Editor, Harlequin Romantic Suspense
• Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency
YOUNG ADULT: Novels or novellas that fit into the following: Young adult; geared to young adult readers between the age of 16-25 (Most fall in audience range of 12-18 yrs old) . Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.


• Alycia Toretta, Editorial Director, Entangled Publishing
• Michelle Klayman, President, Boroughs Publishing
• Candace Havens, Editorial Director, Entangled Publishing
SINGLE TITLE: (includes Women’s fiction and Chick Lit) Novels that may have subplots, but the romance is the central part of the story. These are usually stand-alone novels and have a word count of 75,000 to 100,000 words.
• Susan Grimshaw, Editor at Large, Penguin-Random House
• Alicia Condon, Editorial Director, Kensington Publishing
• Deb Werksman, Editorial Director, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Judging and Awards

In the primary round three (3) judges, at least two of whom have been published in novella or book length will judge each entry.

The lowest of the three scores from first round judges will be dropped from the final tally. This means that although an entrant will receive three critiques, only the top two scores will be used to determine which three finalists go to the editor and agent judges. The top two scores will be added then divided to achieve an average score. The entries with the top three average scores will advance to the final round. In the event of a tie, the third dropped score will be consulted to determine the finalist.

Finalist will be sent back the scores and comments from the first round judges and given one week to make edits on manuscript before they are sent in to the final round judges. Finalist will receive a seal to place on their website announcing they are a finalist in the Lone Star Writing Competition.

Editors and agents will judge final round entries. Each editor and agent will rank and score the finalists from first through third.

Winners will be announced in October 2018 at the Northwest Houston RWA meeting held in Spring, Texas (and notified by telephone/email). Winners in each category will receive a certificate, $50.00, and a seal/banner announcing they are a winner in the Lone Star Writing competition.

Grand Prize

The grand prize for the 2018 Lone Star Writing Contest will be a free session of “Mailing List Expert,” a four-week course designed to teach authors how to build and maintain a strong and engaged email list (a $299 value). The grand prize winner will be selected at random from the first prize winners in each category.

Additionally, all non-finalists will be entered in a drawing to win an Amazon Fire tablet with Alexa, pre-loaded with exclusive romance titles.

DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: June 8, 2018 at midnight CST

For more info and contest entry forms, please visit Northwest Houston RWA

Takeaway Truth

The Lone Star Writing Contest is one of the most prestigious in Romance Writers of America. Many bestselling authors have got their start with this contest. Enter today!