Favorite Dog Quotes

My Last Dog
I'm working on a Christmas book that has a dog as a character.

Actually, this is the third book in the Small Town Texas Romance series, and the other two books—Last Christmas and Brianna's Season for Miracles—had dogs also.

I want a dog, but we're often at our house in the country. There are too many coyotes around that threaten dogs.

Unless you get a really big dog!

So I write about dogs to satisfy my longing for one. As a dog lover—no offense to cats—I want to share some of...

My Favorite Dog Quotes

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. ~ Will Rogers

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. ~ John Steinbeck
Dog from Last Christmas

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~ Franklin P. Jones

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. ~ Andy Rooney

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons. ~ James Thurber

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, "Wow, you're right! I never would've thought of that!' ~ Dave Barry

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. ~ Phil Pastoret

Takeaway Truth

Politicians would be wise to heed what President Harry Truman said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

Thursday3Some: 3 Effective Blog Tips

Want to know 3 ways to quickly improve your viewer stats? These 3 ways are easy and can be implemented immediately.

I see a lot of elements on other blogs that could be improved. Most are simple changes that can quickly increase readership.

3 Effective Blog Tips To Do Now

1. Update your content regularly.

In blogging, more is more. The more new content you have, the better because internet blog readers always want something new. If you're fresh out of ideas, go back to posts written years ago and refresh them by adding more information or restating your points in a more effective way.

2. Use headlines that hook readers.

Headlines are like book titles. You want something that evokes something in the reader, i.e., curiosity, emotion, excitement, etc. A good headline should be short yet long enough to make the reader curious, give a hint of what the post is about, and make them have to read the first sentence.

3. Write in short paragraphs.

Internet readers read "vertically" with their eyes scanning down the text looking for the salient points. Today, many read blogs on mobile devices.

Long blocks of text overwhelms the eye. In fact, it's hard for readers to keep going when faced with that. So make your paragraphs short.

Takeaway Truth

Reading on electronic devices is nothing like reading print on paper. Adapt or be left behind.

Review: American Renegades

Darling Hubby and I usually watch a military movie on Memorial Day when we're finished with the usual cookout and guests.

This year, we found American Renegades on Amazon Prime Viewing. You'll notice on the movie poster at left that it's billed as Renegades, and that's one of the reasons this movie didn't succeed as a theatrical release or a DVD rental release.

Confused Marketing

The movie production company and/or their marketing department didn't have a firm grasp on how to market the film that opens with heroics by a Navy S.E.A.L. team.

The one-liner blurb is, "A team of Navy SEALs discover an underwater treasure in a Bosnian lake."

I guess they couldn't decide if it was a movie about the exploits of a SEAL team or a caper flick or whatever combination of all of that might be.

I think if it had been promoted as a "caper" flick, it may have succeeded. Marketing is everything when it comes to entertainment.

The First-Billed Cast

Produced by Luc Besson and Raphaël Benolieland, the film was directed by Steven Quale. Seeing the name Luc Besson, you know it will be an action flick. When I saw the names of the cast members, I knew I wanted to watch this film simply because J.K. Simmons was in it.

He always delivers the kind of performance where you believe he really is that character. In this movie, Simmons stars as Levin, the commanding officer. Even though he's not on screen a lot, his performance is memorable.

The rest of the first-billed cast are:
  • Sullivan Stapleton of Strike Back fame as Matt Barnes
  • Charlie Bewley as Stanton Baker (Twilight: New Moon)
  • Sylvia Hoeks as Lara Simic (Blade Runner 2043)
  • Joshua Henry as Ben Moran (Army Wives)
  • Diarmaid Murtagh as Kurt Duffy (Sons of Liberty, The Monuments Men)
  • Dimitri Leonidas as Jack Porter (The Monuments Men)
  • Clemens Schick as Petrovic (Point Break remake, Overdrive)
  • Ewen Bremner as Jim Rainey (T2: Trainspotting, Wonder Woman)
  • Peter Davor as General Milic (Fast Forward)
  • Mahamadou Coulibaly as Detroit Turner (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets)
  • Alain Blazevic as Boris (Spides in post-production)
  • Karim Cherif as Milenko (mostly European films)
  • Denis Brizic as Kurjak (mostly European films)
  • Marko Cindric as Peter the Bartender (Game of Thrones).
Now dubbed American Renegades, this film is a caper flick with intelligence, heart, emotion, some Nazi history thrown in, heroic action, and selfless generosity.

Takeaway Truth

Give this film a look. I think you might like it.

7 Apps Writers Should Explore

I was killing time slowly starting this morning—still tired from the long holiday weekend.

So I was cruising the internet, much as I used to cruise the loop from Jeannette's Diner (best curly fries ever) at the north end of my small  town to Loop Road at the south end.

Ah the life of a teenager—driving around just to see what was going on and who else was driving the strip through town. That old movie American Graffiti was way before my time, but the small town world it showed was still my small town world.

But I digress. I want to ask about the writing apps I found and explored. Voilà! Inspiration for today's post.

I downloaded the ones that worked for me. I'm sharing the ones I explored because you might like some of them too. For your consideration...

7 Apps Every Writer Needs

Needs? Well, if only for the fun factor, but some are very useful.

1. The Hemingway App
Ernest Hemingway’s writing style was simple and direct. He could have been the inspiration for the "less is more" design ethic.

This app grades your writing by its readability. The higher the grade level, the harder your writing is to read. It checks adverb usage, word and phrase simplicity, and passive voice usage.

2. Evernote
The basic version of this which is the note taking is free. The next plan up is $7.99 per month. Evernote helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects, and to-do lists, so nothing falls through the cracks.

Evernote helps you manage everything from big projects to personal moments, capture ideas and inspiration in notes, voice, and pictures, and helps you keep us with deadlines.

3. Simplenote
Is available on Apple devices, Android, and Windows. You can use it everywhere. and your notes stay updated across all your devices. No buttons to press. It just does it.

You can stay organized, find notes quickly with instant search and simple tags, work with a team, sharing lists, posting instructions, or publishing your notes online. Notes are backed up when you change them. There's much more, and it's all completely free.

4. Day One
If you've tried keeping a journal and couldn't, this app is for you. It's always available for you to make notes about what you're doing. You can look back and see what you were doing a year from now.

The Basic is free forever. The paid Premium is $2.92 per month and allows you to sync over all your devices and has many more options.

5. TextExpander
Do you write contracts or have to insert your biography into marketing forms? This app will help you do that. TextExpander lets you instantly insert snippets of text from a saved text files or boilerplate contracts, etc.

6. FocusWriter
If you have a hard time staying focused on your work in progress, then try FocusWriter, a simple, distraction-free writing environment.

The app uses a hide-away interface that enables your monitor to be a "blank page." Available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, it's also been translated into different languages. The app is free, but there's a button to tip the creator $5.00.

7.Cold Turkey Writer
This app has free and a paid versions. It turns your computer into a typewriter by blocking out everything on your computer until you reach your writing goal.

Set your options like blocking everything out, disabling backspace or copy paste, and several more options.

Then set a goal, either a time length or word count, click start, and begin typing. If you set the option, you're blocked from accessing anything else on your computer.

When you reach your goal, the block goes away. This seems to be the perfect app for getting a draft written fast.

Takeaway Truth

I love finding apps that actually help with productivity. Whether you're a professional writer or someone who must write for your day job, you'll find these apps useful. Let me know if you use any of them.

Remembering Americans Who Died in Service

Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States for remembering and honoring those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

On Memorial Day, we honor those and also first responders who have served in some of the greatest tragedies of our times. Many have died in trying to save others.

From 1868 to 1971, Memorial Day was observed on May 30.

After that it was declared a federal holiday to be observed on the last Monday of May.

Take time today to thank soldiers, sailors, Coast Guard, and  Marines.

Thank first responders: ambulance crews, nurses, and doctors and ER teams.

Takeaway Truth

Today and every day, I honor those who gave everything in service to our country.

6 Health Lessons Learned from My Grandfather

Healthy habits are worth effort needed to establish them.
How about some solid advice on how to stay mentally and physically healthy?

This is proven advice from the medical community, and from what I learned from my wonderful grandfather who lived to be 100.

You are in charge of what you eat and drink. Give up the fake fat, fake sugar, high sodium, and other ingredients.

Read labels. If you can't even pronounce the ingredients on the label, it's probably not a good idea to eat them.

Learn to eat real food.It's easier than you think.

1. Exercise every day.
Exercise is crucial. When aerobic exercise like walking is combined with strength training, the rewards are even greater. A 30 minute session is better than three 10 minute sessions. My grandfather walked at least a mile or two every day, and he lived to be 100.

2. Engage in activities that challenge your brain.
Read books, write letters, and learn something new like a language or how to navigate Facebook, etc. My grandfather worked crossword puzzles every day, and he was a voracious reader. When he was in his 70's, he bought a portable typewriter. He wrote me a letter just about every week. One of his favorite sayings was: "Learn something new every day, and you'll be smarter and happier."

3. Avoid isolation.
Strengthen your friendships and family relationships. Meet new people. Volunteer, join a club, or a special interest group like bridge club. Go to worship services, and talk with friends. My grandfather was sociable. When he moved into a retirement home, he was the one everyone gravitated to.

4. Eat a healthy diet.
If you're eating margarine, convenience foods, fast food, and too many empty calorie foods, make a list of changes you can make for better nutrition. Tackle it one step at a time. My grandfather never ate sweets. He just didn't care much for them. He ate simple meals and snacked only on fresh fruit. He never ate after supper. He drank mostly water, tea, and coffee, only at breakfast.

5. Get a good night's sleep.
Sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep is linked to cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's. Sleep apnea puts people at higher risk for memory problems and dementia so if you think this may be a problem for you, talk to your doctor.

My grandfather went to bed at the same time every night. He also rose every morning at the same time. Two hours after lunch, he'd lay across his bed and take an hour's nap. My brother and I were talking about that one day because neither of us nap. We sometimes feel like a nap, but we never give into the feeling because we always have so much to do. I wonder sometimes if this was a key to my grandfather's longevity.

6. Keep your heart healthy.
Studies show that what's good for the heart is good for the brain. Monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. My grandfather had no heart issues until his last year. His heart problem was due as much to age as anything because he never had high blood pressure or cholesterol issues.

Takeaway Truth

Take charge of your health because what you put into your body determines how you're going to age.

Saturday Share: 10 Thrifty Tips to Save Money

How about sharing some easy tips to save you some bucks? Some of these tips will save you some serious bucks.

Unlike some thrifty tips, these are actually very easy to do.

1. Instead of dryer sheets, cut a sponge in half. Soak both pieces in a container with 1 cup of liquid fabric softener and 2 cups of water.

Wring a sponge half out and toss it into your dryer with the wet clothes. When clothes are dry, drop the sponge back into the container. Replace the liquid mixture every 3 months.

2. In a spray bottle, place equal parts white vinegar and water and a few drops of dish washing liquid like Ivory. Use this as you would use any multi-purpose spray cleaner.

3. Use baking soda as a mild abrasive cleaner instead of a powdered cleanser like Comet. Just sprinkle some baking soda in the sink.

4. Have a saucepan with burned food in it? Put a cup of hot water in it, add a few spoonfuls of baking soda, and put the pan on the stove to boil. Turn heat off and let it cool. The burned residue should be easy to wash away.

5. Another use for baking soda is for indigestion. That's what people did back in the day before Alka-Seltzer was invented. In fact, Alka-Seltzer is mostly sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and aspirin. Instead, mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/4 cup of water. Stir and drink.

6. Instead of mouthwash, use 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of warm water. Swish as usual. Sodium bicarbonate has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

7. Set your water heater on 120 degrees instead of the factory setting which is usually 140. You'll save a lot of money and also prevent possible scalding.

8. Relieve itchy skin with a baking soda bath. Add 1–2 cups of baking soda to a lukewarm bath.

9. Remove stinky garbage odor. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash bins.

10. Clean fruits and vegetables with a natural solution of baking soda and water. Of course, peeling produce is the best way to remove pesticides, but if that's impractical—lettuce for instance—soak the produce in a baking soda solution for 15 minutes.

Takeaway Truth

It's amazing how much you can save by making your own household products.

Review: Lucifer, Seasons 1 - 4

When Fox canceled Lucifer at the end of Season 3, I wasn't surprised.

In fact, I don't know why I even watched Season 3 because Lucifer aka The Devil had generated to a whiny little girl.

I didn't watch the TV show at all on Fox. I clicked on episode 1 of season 1 after it appeared on New Releases on Netflix.

Most of the first season was screamingly funny. Rather than being a scary monster from Hell, this incarnation of Lucifer was a misunderstood angel who punished sinners.

Yes, he made "deals," but for the most party, he was after the big baddies of the world.

Then he fell in love. My goodness. How love does change a devil.

Latest Incarnation of Hell King

This new vision of the Devil and his followers is based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg.

The original fallen angel is unhappy with his life in hell so he takes a vacation. Where else could he go but Los Angeles. He indulges in sex, drugs, and rock and roll—well, music at least as plays his grand piano in his upscale nightclub.

When a murder occurs outside his club, he apparently "feels" something for the first time in eons. Of course, he teams up with a pretty L.A. detective, and the story starts rolling.

Talented Cast

Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), becomes a consultant to the LAPD. The ensemble cast includes Lauren German as pretty Detective Chloe Decker, Kevin Alejandro as Detective Daniel "Dan" Espinoza, D. B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen, his demon protector, and Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin, his shrink. After all, everyone in L.A., even the Devil, sees a shrink.

When Fox cancelled the series after 1 brilliant season, 1 okay season, and 1 Devil as whiny-baby season, Netflix grabbed it for a fourth season of ten episodes which Darling Hubby and I binge watched.

Season 4 wrapped up loose ends and ended with a scene that could be the end or could be a segue to a new beginning. I guess it all depends on the number of viewers.

The best thing about the series, IMHO, is the music. Every episode has some pretty fabulous music. I know I bought several tracks just because I heard them on the series and liked them.

I look at the 4 seasons as similar to a really good movie that had 3 sequels. The sequels are never as good as the first movie of the franchise, are they?

Takeaway Truth

Definitely watch Season 1 for some inspired characterization, but be warned. That will suck you into the rest of the seasons.

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

As an author, I'm always drawn to movies about authors, books, and writing.

That was the hook that had me adding The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a 2018 Netflix original, to my watch list. Finally, I made the time to watch this movie.

Short Blurb

In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

So Much More To It

When you start watching, you immediately sense the hidden undercurrents in the author's life and in the people she meets on Guernsey.

There's much hidden beneath the surface of the story of a literary society formed during the occupation by the Germans.

With stellar performances by Lily James as Juliet Ashton, the author, and Michiel Huisman as Dawsey Adams, one of the founders of the literary society.

The other quirky members of the literary society are Elizabeth McKenna, portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay; Eben Ramsey portrayed by Tom Courtenay; and Isola Pribby portrayed by Katherine Parkinson.

Marek Oravec played the German Officer and Jack Morris as the German Soldier. Matthew Goode portrayed the publisher, Sidney Stark. Glen Powell played the American soldier, Mark Reynolds.

That's all I'll say other than watch this movie. It will make you want to walk the woods of Guernsey as it existed 70 years ago, and this movie will touch your heart in so many ways.

Takeaway Truth

I highly recommend this lovely movie, and I hope you'll watch it too.

Most Spiteful Comment Ever

Warning: Toxic Attitudes
I was cleaning out the spam comments folder from SlingWords and came across one I had saved simply because it was so spiteful.

I read it again and thought I'd post it here just as a curiosity. The comment below was left on a book spotlight Thursday3Some post featuring a lovely Christian Romance Author. I won't say the name for obvious reasons.

Quoted Verbatim

"I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

"American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

"This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women."

Website link deleted by SlingWords.


Of course, I did not respond to his comment. I just threw it into the spam folder because reading it told me the man has some severe problems.

Perhaps he was hurt by a woman, but to classify every American woman in the way he described them is obviously wrong.

He asked what man would want the kind of woman he described. No one of course.

However, the way he described a woman can be interpreted in a different way that, I suspect, may be more accurate than his cultural viewpoint.

Leave hate & prejudice behind. Be a better you.
The Flip Side

What man would want a confident, assertive, self-assured, strong, smart, non-judgmental woman who knows what she wants in life and is willing to work hard to achieve it?

What man would want a woman who raises her children with those same values and beliefs and teaches them to respect all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, and all the other superficial differences people have?

Millions upon millions of real men.

Takeaway Truth

There really are a lot of haters and prejudice in this old world. It's a shame they can't direct all that energy toward something positive.

Trying New Computer Keyboard

My output today is minimal because I'm trying a new keyboard.

Actually, it's an old keyboard—old as in I bought it a few years ago, tried it, and gave up.

This is an Adesso PCK-308UB - Tru-Form Pro Ergonomic Contour TouchPad USB Keyboard Black with Hotkeys.

As you can see by the picture, it's ergonomically designed, with a split-wave key layout. Another thing I like about it is that it's got a great touch.

I spent years of my life typing on typewriters (Yes, back in the day of Conestoga wagons, right?), and this keyboard has a great touch to the keys that's reminiscent of typing on a typewriter.

Why Did I Give Up On It

If it's so great, and exactly what I wanted, why did I give up on it? Expediency. I was in the midst of writing a book with a tight deadline when the keyboard arrived.

There's a learning curve involved just because of using the mouse touch pad. It slowed me down when it came to highlighting text, cutting and pasting, and the fine mousing skills needed when manipulating images. I just didn't have the time to learn it.

Now that I've got a ton of books to write in the next few months, I'm spending a huge amount of time in front of the computer which translates to increased muscle spasms caused by reaching for that mouse.

So I decided to try it again. I'll be slower for a while, but I can certainly type faster with these keys. I love the fast typing where your fingers literally dance over the keyboard. The spacing of the keys is just perfect. The faster speed should make up for the slight slowdown in using the mouse pad until I'm used to it.

Takeaway Truth

There's a learning curve to everything so I'll just follow my own advice in such matters. "Suck it up, buttercup, and get on with it."

4 Secrets to a Joyful Life

Want to know the secrets to a joyful life?

1. Avoid being snared by the trap of regret.

Whether it's regret about something little like you didn't clear your To Do list yesterday or regret over something big like you didn't get into the college of your choice, regret is a killer.

Disappointment is natural, but wallowing in disappointment will kill your soul.

2. Avoid postponing happiness.

When you think, "When I reach this goal, I'll be happy," you're just postponing happiness.

3. Adopt the attitude that happiness is a choice that comes from within, not from external circumstances.

You can be happy right where you are, day in and day out. Be happy when you’re typing away on your first draft of a book or working at the Evil Day Job. Be happy when you’re pulling weeds from the garden or having dinner in a 5-star restaurant. Be happy when reading a great review or a lousy one. It's within your power to choose happiness.

4. Live today.

Not yesterday; that's gone, and nothing can call it back. Not tomorrow; no one knows what tomorrow may bring. Be happy right in this minute.

Takeaway Truth

Be present in your life in this very moment.

Dog, A Human's Best Friend

Frosta the Wonder Dog is now in Doggy Heaven
Darling Hubby and I were making a list of dog names the other day.

Sadly, not because we were going to adopt one. Our present lifestyle makes having another canine companion impossible.

{Big sigh.} I miss having a dog. Since I can't have one in real life, I've begun creating dog characters in the books I write.

I have 4 romances to write in the next few months, and I'm happy to say each story will have a dog.

It's as much fun creating a dog character as it is populating a fictional world with people. The first time I wrote a dog character was in Last Christmas, Book 1 of Small Town Texas Romance.

Meet Friday

Friday, all prettied up
A young dog that's part Blue Healer and part something else was rescued from the side of a Texas road and taken to the vet clinic in New Estacado, the fictional town that features prominently in the Small Town Texas Romance series.

He was christened Friday by the volunteers at the clinic because that was the day of the week when he was rescued.

Injured and frightened by the rough start he had in life, he's healed but limps because of the damage to one of his legs, and he's skittish around people.

Like Annabelle, the heroine of Last Christmas, he's slow to trust, but Rick Lassiter, the new police chief in town is just as determined to befriend the dog as he is determined to win Annabelle back.

About Last Christmas, Book 1 of Small Town Texas Romance

A love story that's not just for Christmas.

Last Christmas, Annabelle fell in love at first sight with a mysterious stranger.

After a week of unforgettable passion, he walked out of her life.

A year of heartache, accompanied by the dirty tricks life can serve up, finds Annabelle back in her hometown, determined to forget the man who still haunts her dreams.

Who should walk into her grandmother’s Christmas party? Why the man who seduced her, lied to her, and betrayed her! He has a new name and a new identity, but his effect on her is as old as time.

Rick Lassiter wants to woo Annabelle back to him.

Unfortunately, he has two big problems. He can't explain the past, and the sweet-tempered, passionate woman he fell in love with has a will as strong as his and a desire to make him pay for breaking her heart.

Fortunately, Rick meets Friday, and everything works out, but it might have turned out differently without Friday.

Takeaway Truth

I like what Will Rogers said about dogs. "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." ~ Will Rogers

Farewell, The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is probably my favorite sitcom of all time. It still cracks me up.

Alas, all good things eventually come to an end.

The finale Thursday night was satisfying, and that's a compliment because most series finales aren't.

There have been hundreds of fan reviews of the last episode so I won't bother with writing one.

I'll just say a very heartfelt thank you. Your show and the quirky characters who proved awkward and hilarious in equal measures came along at a time when I really needed some comic relief.

Takeaway Truth

Thanks, y'all, for giving me a lift and a lot of much-needed laughter during some of my darkest days in the last 12 years.

10 Things I'd Do With 3 Extra Hours a Day

1. Sleep an hour later every day.

2. Walk at night as well as in the morning.

3. Update my website. (It's terribly outdated, and it's been on my To Do list for the last 9 months.)

4. Update the blog design on SlingWords. (I fiddle with it every now and then, but it really needs to be cleaned up.)

5. Update the banners on my social media accounts—all of them.

6. Write the book I've been wanting to write but haven't been able to because of other projects I'm committed to finish by October.

7. Sit on the bench by the lake and have a glass of wine every evening at 7 o'clock.

8. Catch up my accounting spreadsheet and book sales spreadsheet.

9. Read more.

10. Change my landscaping in front which I've wanted to do for the last 3 years.

That's my list. What's yours?

Takeaway Truth

Of course, I'd settle for a personal assistant, a chef, and a full-time cleaning lady then I'd have the time and energy to tackle the items above—3, 4, 5, and 8—that are drudgery.

The other 6 items on my list are joys. I guess 4 baddies out of 10 isn't too terrible.

Thursday3Some: Maddy’s Fugitive by Kathleen Lawless

Grab your favorite beverage and get ready to meet an author who is so busy writing and publishing that she makes me dizzy.

I'm happy to welcome my friend Kathleen Lawless to SlingWords.

She's here to tell us about Maddy's Fugitive, a book originally published as Deliver Me.

Not satisfied with the original title or the cover art, Kathleen has re-titled it and created a new cover for this story that's a western historical twist on The Fugitive.

Get Acquainted With Kathleen

Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys. Historical or contemporary, cowboys continue to resonate with her today.

With close to 30 published novels and novellas to her credit, she enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance into historical romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction.

Kathleen hangs with friends at these websites so drop by and Follow her:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Her Amazon Author Page | Her BookBub Author Page

Now, let's find out more about Kathleen's book that sounds like the wild west meets a suspense thriller.

Maddy's Fugitive by Kathleen Lawless

When the prison wagon transporting Judson crashes, he flees, determined to prove he is innocent of his wife’s murder.

The wounded subject of a two-state manhunt, Jud reluctantly accepts the help of the lovely Maddy, never expecting the attraction that grows between them, or what surprises their quest will reveal.

Thursday's 3 Questions

(1) What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

KL: I always loved the Harrison Ford movie, The Fugitive. Because I love the wounded-hero-on-the-run trope, a historical version of a man wrongly accused and determined to clear his name seemed like a natural.

(2) If a movie was made of your book, what actors would be cast as the leading lady and leaving man?

KL: I would love to see Harrison Ford star in the movie version of Maddy’s Fugitive, but to appeal to a younger audience, I choose Bradley Cooper. I think Scarlett Johansson would make a great Maddy.

(3) Why do readers buy Maddy's Fugitive?

KL: I think these reviews tell readers why they should choose this book.

“Maddy’s Fugitive has it all---romance, action, mystery, and solid characters and plot. I enjoyed this western romp and look forward to reading more by Kathleen Lawless.” Jen – Romancing the Book

“Maddy’s Fugitive was a fun, passionate, engaging whodunit with a strong, stubborn heroine. I was quickly drawn in....” Josie -- Night Own Reviews

“An amazing, spirited, adventurous tale.” RT Reviews 

Takeaway Truth

Add Maddy's Fugitive to your Library today and have fun reading it this weekend.

Negativity, Take a Hike

Plan to create a Life full of Joy
Today is a Hot Button post because of some comments I received in an email.

I want everyone—all of you out there—to stop treating yourselves so badly. Stop disrespecting yourself.

How do you do that? You stop being so darn negative.

Why do normal sane people—especially women—constantly find fault with themselves?

How many negative thoughts about yourself do you experience in a 24 hour period?

Do you even realize how much you criticize yourself? Your body, your dreams, your goals, your desires, your achievements—in fact, just about everything about you?

You've heard the expression, "You are your own worst enemy." For too many people, that is true.

Do you find yourself engaged in mental arguments with yourself? Mental debates list these:
  • I want so badly to get a job I love. You don't have a chance in hell of getting another job in this economy.
  • I want to lose 20 pounds and so the cute guy in accounting will notice me. You've never succeeded before at dieting.
  • I want to write a book. You don't have a degree in English or Fine Arts or any of those things.
  • I want to be a success at something. No one in your family ever succeeded at anything so how can you?
  • I want to make a living writing books. Hardly anyone manages to do that so you probably won't either.
Burning Energy

Are you tired all the time? If so, consider how much energy is used by the brain as it engages in a constant mental debate revolving around what you see in the mirror, what you feel when you think about yourself, what you want to do, etc.

What's even worse than that mental debate is that most of us don't even recognize we're doing it. Plus, we don't recognize that the battle is always optimism versus pessimism.

If you don't recognize the ongoing battle within you, how can you hope to change the situation? And change it you must because negativity will make it impossible for you to achieve your dreams and/or find joy in life.

Learn to recognize the immediate negative response when you think about something you want to achieve. Once you recognize the pattern, you can change it.

New Resolution = New Attitude

Change your thinking, and you'll change your attitude. Stop saying things I've heard far too many women say.

I'm so fat. No man would ever want me.

I'm old so I can't learn these new technology things.

I never went to college so no one wants to hear what I have to say.

The list of negative statements is endless, and everyone has a list. Would you say any of those things to someone else? Probably not. So why say them to yourself?

When you were a child, you may have been told the same thing I heard. If you can't say anything good about someone else, that say nothing at all. Adopt that attitude about others.

Then apply it to yourself and your self-talk. Especially your self talk! Recognize when thoughts that limit you are floating around in your brain. Stop saying all those nasty things to yourself.

Some people trash talk themselves so much you'd think they were getting paid to do it. Start saying good things about yourself. You're not a loser because you didn't get that promotion or paint the dining room before Easter or write 100 pages last week.

Gain Some Perspective

Get some perspective on your life and on the events that shaped you into person you may be.

Bad things that happened can make you stronger if you take away the right lesson from the experience.

The right lesson is the one that helps you grow emotionally and gives you the wisdom to deal with even more difficult situations in the future.

Never allow the past to keep you from finding joy in the present.

Takeaway Truth

The past is over and can never be relived. The only thing you can get from the past is wisdom and resolve to go forward and make a better life for yourself.

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

Be the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. Sign up for Joan's Mailing List/Newsletter.

Find Joan Online and Follow her:

Write What You Know—Why?

Why are all writers told to "write what you know" when they get the urge to write a book?

Simple. Writing what you know gives authenticity to your words.

"But what about fiction?" the beginner asks.

She or he may cite all of the serial killer novels. If Thomas Harris had been limited to writing only what he knew, there never would have been Silence of the Lambs.

Research Plus...

One way to write what you know is to do a lot of research. You can learn just about anything from books and the internet. You can write just about anything if you have the facts, but there's more to fiction than just having facts.

Fiction must be believable even if you're "just making the story up," to use a popular phrase we all use.

What gives fiction authenticity? It's not the facts and the research alone. It's the emotional truth you bring to your characters.

Believable fiction doesn't just come from getting the facts straight on your information plot. It comes from finding the underlying universal truth–the emotional truth–that is as real for an American woman like me as it is for a French accountant or a Japanese mother or whomever.

Believable fiction comes from the honesty and recognition of the emotions at work in the characters.

Emotional truth is recognized on a subconscious level, and it's that which makes fiction come to life. When done well, it's what makes a reader say your book "spoke" to her. It's what makes books popular.

Writing what you know–the emotions you feel when hurt, scared, angry, lustful, or happy–is even more important in fiction because without that truth, your fiction will never succeed.

You might be able to fake expert knowledge in an information plot. You can never fake emotional truth and get away with it.

Takeaway Truth

Be authentic is good advice to apply to your life as well as to the fiction you write.

How to Deodorize a Book

If you collect bargain books, you're aware of that aroma that wafts through the air in used and collectible book stores.

You may think that scent is a combination of the ink and the paper, but it's really the breakdown of lignin in the paper that creates that smell.

Paper is made from organic material, and that material contains lignin, part of the cell walls of almost all dry land plants.

Lignin is the second most abundant natural polymer in the world.  Cellulose is the most abundant.

A chemical analysis of the smell of old books found that the scent is a complex mixture of hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air from the paper with dust and other particulates in the book’s life adding to the aromatic "cocktail."

By contrast, new books smell the way they do because of the chemicals used in their manufacture.

I'll buy just about any old book that strikes my fancy except for one that reeks of stale cigarette/cigar smoke.

I can deodorize an old book, but you really can't deodorize one that came from the home of a smoker unless you purchase an ozone generator which we did a few weeks ago to clean the air in our garage because we are surrounded by smokers.

The smoke drifts into our garage when we open it, and it lingers until our garage smells like a smoky nightclub.

The ozone generator really works! I'm going to try it the next time I have some old smelly books.

In the meantime, here's how I've always removed the smell from used books I buy. One caveat. Do not use baking soda on a valuable antique book or a damp book because it may harm the old paper.

How To Deodorize a Book

1. Sprinkle baking soda (yep, the kind you buy for the kitchen) throughout the book—try to get some on every page.

2. Place the book in a Ziplok bag and leave it for at least a week.

3. Remove it from the bag, shake the baking powder out and sniff the book. If it still smells, repeat the process. If the book is really smelly, you may have to leave it for a longer period of time and/or repeat the process a few times.

Takeaway Truth

Keep a box of baking soda in the kitchen, and you never have to pass up a bargain book again.