Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Takeaway Truth

I'm spending family time. I'll be back in a few days.

FREE Holiday Romances & Bargains Too

Highlights of my FREE newsletter that reached subscribers today.


Until /dec, 20, midnightPST, you can pick up a free Kindle copy of STUCK ON THE NAUGHTY LIST.

"Wanted: A Cure for a Broken Heart. Cassie comes home for the holidays—and is immediately arrested and taken to jail!"

Reviews of Stuck on the Naughty List

Too nice to be naughty! This is a perfect "quick-fun" hot chocolate and whipped cream holiday romance from one of my favorite authors, Joan Reeves. Joan is a master at setting the stage (aka Texas) with wonderful characters and places. Capitola comes alive for the reader, as do Cassie & Ben! —EbookLuver Review

If you’ve ever locked yourself out of your house, you’ll share some laughs at the dilemma Cassie Johnson gets herself into. Funny, short, and perfect for the holidays! —J.A.Davis Reviewer

FREE, LuvU4Ever, Book 1 of A Moment in Time

Get the first story in the 13-short story romance series that will conclude in 2021. All of the stories are connected like chapters in a book.

Review of LuvU4Ever

I love a good short story with a beginning, middle and strong ending and 'LuvU4Ever' delivers with no cliffhangers to cheat the reader. I can relate to Noelle taking care of her mother when she is sick and away from her husband as I have done it several times for both my parents and it does put stress on the best relationship with a spouse. 'LuvU4Ever' is based on a giant misunderstanding and David soon sets Noelle right with a perfect gift. —Jane Jones, Top 1000 Reviewer

Other Bargains

99¢ sale on JUST ONE LOOK, reduced from $3.99 until Dec. 24 midnight.

I loved this book! If you haven't read JUST ONE LOOK, you're missing out on a great story. It's humorous, sexy to the max, and just plain entertaining. —NetGalley

Other Books in Newsletter

Another of My Many Christmas Romance Novels

Brianna's Season for Miracles, Book 2 of Small Town Texas Romance.

Not on sale, but it is on Kindle Unlimited.

Last Christmas was the last straw for Brianna Walker. She hated her life. Too much whisky, too much misery, and too much loneliness had resulted in a very public embarrassment. Vowing never to return to her hometown, she returned to her condo in  Vegas. She faced the fact that if she wanted her life to be different, she had to change so she set about doing that.

When her father demands she come home for the holidays, she’s devastated and afraid she’ll revert to old habits to deal with social situations that have always terrified her. Then she meets Daniel Kelly. His warmth and kindness attract her. Best of all, he’s a stranger in town and doesn’t know her reputation. She's always avoided men like him for fear she might want forever out of the relationship. A man like Daniel would never want forever with her once he knew her secret.

Daniel already knows the secret Brianna is hiding. He knows he shouldn’t complicate the situation he’s in, but the attraction between them is hot and sizzling. What will happen when Brianna realizes Daniel has a secret too?

Reviews for Brianna's Season for Miracles

I loved this book's storyline, the hot & steamy scenes, Brianna's character, Daniel's character. and the ending. Great Christmas story. Awesome job...—Liz Reviews

The theme...the all-too-common angst that exists in families and how it’s highlighted during the holidays. Who hasn’t had to deal with that? The romance is front and center, of course, but there’s healing going on, forgiveness. I love multi-layered stories, not always easy to do, but Ms. Reeves delivers in spades. —CRich Review

Takeaway Truth

The way to get the best prices on ebooks is to subscribe to an author's newsletter. 

I publish my newsletter twice a month and list free and bargain sale books from me and my friends.

Subscribe to my free newsletter today and become one of my Reader Friends. You'll receive a free ebook when you confirm your subscription.

New Release: Love's Redemption by Kara O'Neal

My guest today is the delightful Kara O'Neal, author of the Texas Brides of Pike's Run series

Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for Kara's first series.

A Note from Kara

From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me.

My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero.

Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over.

I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Visit Kara O'Neal Online

About Love's Redemption

Book 7 in the Texas Brides of Pike's Run Series was a labor of love for me.

Love's Redemption tells Willa Kramer's story, which became quite complex and meaningful.

Willa has to overcome some very difficult internal and external battles. She faces two truly evil people, and it was hard to write. Not because the story wouldn't flow, but because Willa's journey contained some tough events that she had to endure. And, of course, triumph over.

I love her story. I love what she learns about herself, and how she takes the necessary risks in order to save everyone.

She is strong. She is tough. Stubborn. VERY stubborn. And Lonnie, the man she loves, is her match.

I enjoyed bringing these two together. They are a force, in my opinion. After what they go through, not much else can shake their love.

Blurbing the Book

September, 1880

Pike’s Run, Texas

When she was little more than a child, Willa Kramer went to extreme lengths to save her family from their abusive father. After that horrible day, her mother and siblings moved to Tennessee, and Willa had hoped to leave Texas, its memories and Lonnie Davis, the only boy she ever trusted, behind. But fate is unpredictable.

Five years have passed, and Lonnie finds himself reunited with Willa, the only girl he’s ever loved. He’s determined not to let her slip away again, but a figure from the past looms, threatening his hopes for the future.

Sneak Peek at Love's Redemption by Kara O'Neal

A sagging house stood before Oscar Kramer. His blood boiled. What the hell had happened to his brother’s home? The damn place was falling apart. The weeds rising around the rotting wood served as evidence something had gone wrong. He spat tobacco on the ground.

While he considered possible scenarios, he cracked his knuckles and narrowed his eyes. If someone had ruined his brother, Oscar would rip his heart out then get back everything that had once belonged to his kin. The acres of wheat and corn surrounding the house were in good condition. What was going on?

A cheerful whistle distracted him. He turned his head toward the sound and found a man with a hoe slung over his shoulder walking down the dirt road. Oscar stalked to the gate. “Whoa, there.”

The wiry man noticed him and paused. Caution spread over the whistler’s face. “M-Mornin’.”

Oscar jerked his head at the decaying structure behind him. “You know the people who lived here?”

The man swallowed then nodded.

When he didn’t continue, Oscar had to tamp down irritation. Grabbing him by the throat wouldn’t help get the answers he needed. “Where are they?”



The man’s face paled. “I…uh…I don’t know. Their man died.”

The explanation knocked Oscar on the jaw. “What the hell do you mean? Willard Kramer is dead?”

White appeared around the informer’s lips. “I-I…”

Oscar shoved the gate. “Get the damn words out before I rip them from you!”

The man’s eyes shot wide. “The sheriff shot him. K-Killed him. A-After Kramer beat up the schoolteacher, Miss Parker.”

Murdered? His brother had been murdered? Because of a woman? He blinked as a roaring grew in his head. The sound of harsh breathing reminded him he wasn’t alone. He snapped out of his haze. “Get the hell out of here,” he growled.

The man didn’t hesitate. Dust followed in his wake.

Oscar’s hands trembled. He whipped back to the house. The sheriff would pay for this, and he’d find his brother’s children and take them from that bitch of a wife. He gritted his teeth as he cracked his knuckles again. No one murdered a Kramer. No one.

Takeaway Truth

Great excerpt! I know you want to click to buy Love's Redemption immediately so don't hesitate a moment longer.

Update: Attempt to Post on Social Media About The Social Dilemma

I reviewed The Social Dilemma Sunday, Dec. 13. I tweeted about it a few times to drive readers to my Review.

I went to Facebook and wondered if I could do the same. Facebook is one of the social media sites most frequently discussed in the documentary-drama hybrid.

Here's what I wanted to post:

A horrific future awaits our world unless change starts soon. My Review of THE SOCIAL DILEMMA. Watch it with your family. It's a call to arms to change what's changing our world—before it's too late. Based on what I saw in this documentary-drama hybrid, I wonder if anyone will even see this post. It may end up on the cutting room floor so to speak. #SlingWords

I clicked to add the fair use graphic image of the film's poster which is a 135kb jpg file. (The Social Dilemma Graphic Poster By Source, Fair useLink.) 

A moment later this message popped up: You cannot post while media upload is queuing.

The Post bar grayed out. I waited more than 5 minutes just to see, but the error message never went away, there was no indication of anything trying to upload, and the Post bar remained grayed out.

I added this to the post: 

I tried to upload a fair use 135kb image file of the film's poster. Not only won't it upload, but I received a message saying, "You cannot post while media upload is queuing." Hmm. 135kb is nothing. The Post bar is grayed out. 

After another few minutes, I took a snip screenshot with the P.S. I'd added as shown at the right.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Facebook throws me into FB jail. I'll keep you posted. (Not really worried about that because it would free up so much of my time.)

After watching that docu-drama, I can't say I'm surprised that I was not able to post to FB about it. Probably anything containing the words "Social Dilemma" gets an automatic ban from them. 

Takeaway Truth

What bothers me is they allow really bad stuff to be posted, citing Freedom of Speech, but they don't give a fig for that same Freedom of Speech if it's something that warns people about the dangers of social media for their children.

Review: The Social Dilemma

Want to watch a tale of apocolyptic horror? Watch The Social Dilemma, a documentary-drama hybrid that's a Netflix original. 

Watch the Trailer.

This film explains much of what is going wrong not just in our country but in countries around the globe. It explores the dangerous human impact of social networking.

The tech experts who created the software for social networking are sounding the alarm on their own creations. 

(The Social Dilemma Graphic Poster By Source, Fair use, Link.) 

I'm talking about young people with a lack of interest in any of the things most of us adults over fifty take for granted.

Things like doing well in school, going to college or learning a trade, becoming independent, getting and holding a job, forming friendships, having hobbies, viewing the world and events with an objective eye.

We know all of these things make for a happy fulfilled life, a good economy, and a peaceful society.

Why Has the Younger Generation Changed?

Everyone jokes about millenials, but this documentary-drama hybrid explains the problem, and it's frightening. We are losing the generations below thirty.

Contractors who work for us have given up on training an apprentice whether it's electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, carpentry, etc.

In two cases, our electrician has paid more than 5 grand for a young person to learn the trade then work for him to get real world experience. Less than halfway through the course, both of the young men he'd sponsored quit. He said they couldn't leave their phones alone. They were constantly looking at it.

I see this when I go into retail establishments whether clothing stores, grocery stores, or fast food restaurants that employ teens. Young people can't take the time to assist you. Their attention is on their phone.

The problem goes beyond distraction. Those who have grown up with social media do not know how to objectively examine what they see on social media and try to determine whether it's true or fake.

The consequence is that what they're being fed on social media is making them react emotionally and often violently.

Suicides in teens have skyrocketed. In tweens, it's even a bigger jump. Cutting and other self-damaging activities have leaped in numbers. 

Social Media Is AI

When Hawking said he thought the biggest threat to humanity was Artificial Intelligence, I think we all believed he meant like a Terminator/SkyNet sort of thing.

After watching this docu-drama, I think he meant social media as the AI. If we keep going in this direction, it's a dead end for our world as we know it.

Banks of computers all over the world assess what you're doing online, not just on a particular site, but everywhere.

If you're looking for a slant on a particular topic, that will be fed to you on the social media site you most often visit.

It feeds you true stuff and fake stuff because the social media sites do NOT distinguish between true and false. That's not their job. Their job is to keep you glued to their page.

The Social Dilemma was created by the people who created the problem. Check out The Social Dilemma Wiki and look at the list of people who contributed to this documentary. They were all engineers and executives of Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Do they let their children use social media and email on a phone? Not until they're teens, and they limit the time their kids can be on screens. 

How do we change what's happening?

Wow. That's the big question. I wonder if it can be changed?

The first step is for parents to be aware of the problem. Start being parents. Be involved in your child's life. Know what they're doing online. Do they have any of the hallmarks of social dilemma?

Grades declining in school? No extra-curricular activities? No friendships in the real world? Glued to their devices all the time? Do you allow them to have them at night? Are they tired and sleepy every morning? Do you suspect their on social media far into the night?

Watch this docu-drama with your children. Discuss it. 

It's going to take a massive effort by parents and probably government intervention to get children back into the real world and to regulate what social media is sending to your child's phone/device.

One of the problems going into solving the dilemma is that greed for big profits is the engine that fueled this social dilemma. 

Who among the wealthy, powerful, and politically connected will step forward and say, We've got to stop this trend and get back on track

Will they heed the warning in this film, or will they let their respective countries fall into chaos which is happening already? Look at the violence that suddenly arises; de-stabilized economies; racial, religious, and ethnic divisiveness; and the intolerance that's has become commonplace.

Takeaway Truth

If something isn't done sooner rather than later, I fear for the world in which our children and grandchildren will be forced to live.

Recipe: Cowboy Cookies

What says Christmas better than cookies baking in the oven?

Nothing unless it's the aroma of pies, cakes, and candy making in progress.

I have a new cookie recipe that I'm making this year, and I can't wait for Saturday to share it with you. These cookies are totally delicious.

The recipe is Cowboy Cookies, and it's from former First Lady Laura Bush. You're going to love these.

This cookie is big since everything in Texas is bigger. It's the size of your palm. If an oatmeal cookie married a chocolate chip cookie and coconut was tossed on the wedded couple instead of rice, you get a Cowboy Cookie. Needless to say, it contains pecans, the state tree of Texas, too.

The pecans should be chopped and toasted before adding them to the ingredients. Toasting is easy. Take an iron skillet or fry pan, put over medium heat, add the pecans, and watch them carefully. You should be able to smell the nutty taste as they toast. Be careful not to burn them. Toasted nuts in a recipe add another depth of flavor.

Cowboy Cookies


1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
12 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup Baker's shredded coconut
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup oatmeal


1. Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Don't super heat it. Just want it melted. Let cool so the egg won't cook when you add it.

2. In a bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Into the melted butter, add the brown sugar and vanilla. Beat well.

4. Beat the egg and egg yolk together in a small bowl or cup and add to the sugar mixture. Mix well.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, stirring well to combine.

By Daria Yakovleva #3938704 Pixabay

 6. Add the toasted pecans, coconut, chocolate chips, and oatmeal,   mixing well.

 7. Spray a 1/4 cup measuring cup with baking spray. Get 2 cookie   sheets out.

 8. Scoop up the mixture in 1/4 cup increments. Place the scoop on a   rimless cookie sheet or a large cookie sheet with enough room for the   cookies to spread out as they back. 8 cookies per sheet is about all   you can bake at one time because they grow so large as they bake.

 9. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15-17 minutes. Halfway through the   baking cycle, rotate the cookie sheet.

 10. When the cookie is baked, it should be light brown with edges   that look dry and a middle that may look a bit underdone. Go ahead   and remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Let the cookies set on   the hot pan for at least 5 minutes to continue baking. This is what gives the cookies a crisp edge and a chewy inside.

11. Bake only 1 cookie sheet at a time. So you'll be removing 1 pan from the oven, putting another in, and letting the finished pan set for 5 minutes.

Takeaway Truth

Try these cookies. They'll become the family's favorite cookie for any time of the year.

FREE & On Sale Christmas Romance Novels

Wow, it's been a fast week here at the Casa. I've been writing so much I'm surprised my fingers still work.

Yesterday, Amazon finally re-priced the selected books I'd requested.

So I popped them into my Newsletter, Joan's Reader Friends and sent it off.

This time on my Newsletter, I offered 3 free holiday romance ebooks, a new release from my friend Bonnie Edwards, and some Christmas romances that were on sale for this week only.


Free for the only time this year, Last Christmas  is about love at first sight, heartbreak, revenge, redemption, and second chances.

Yes, this story has it all, and I think you'll love it! If you do, please leave a review!

This is the first book I have read by this author, and I absolutely love her writing and just purchased 2 more of her books. Last Christmas is such a sweet story that takes place in a small town. And, how could you resist a book with a dog named Friday that saves the day? Really enjoyable read from beginning to end. —Denise Reviews

Last Christmas International Kindle Link  — if you pick up your copy from a Kindle store outside the U.S., make sure it shows as free or you may be charged for your purchase because some international Kindle Shops won't honor the free listing.

Sign Up to Become a Reader Friend

That's just one book in the newsletter. If you're not a subscriber, sign up now. I send my Newsletter twice a month and it always has free and on-sale offers from me and some of my friends.

When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link for a free romance ebook.

Takeaway Truth

I love bargains, and the best bargains can be found in an author's newsletter. Again, here's the link to sign up for My Free Newsletter

Cyber Monday Awaits You

Are you ready?

Hope your internet connection is better and more dependable than my AT&T has been lately.

Yep, it's time to do you Christmas shopping so get your shopping carts ready because there are all  kinds of bargains.

Here are a few I'm interested in to get you started. Better shop fast because they're going to go fast. 

Check out Amazon Cyber Monday Deals like:

Official Carpool Karaoke comes with mic and, of course, bluetooth enabled.

Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker keeps the party going even if it rains.

Eureka Groove Robot Vacuum Cleaner that's Wi-Fi Connected, Alexa App & Remote Controls, Self-Charging. Just what every busy person needs to keep the floors clean.

To find all bargains, look at the main Amazon Cyber Monday Deals page and scroll through the categories at the bottom.

Takeaway Truth

Happy shopping.

The Thanksgiving Compromise is over. No visitors, Same for Black Friday. Cyber Monday is tomorrow. After that comes 

Dealing with Holidays of Compromise

The Thanksgiving of Compromise is over.

Many felt lonely this week. I can only say, "Fight it."

Get out and do something kind for others, and you'll feel better.

That bit of advice is especially important since Christmas is coming up. I think this will be the first Christmas where you'll have your pick of parking spaces at the mall if you venture out.

Yes, we may be having the Christmas of Compromise too. No family and friends dropping by for holiday visits. No parties, large and small. 

Write Letters

I'm always urging people to rediscover the art of writing letters. Susan Lendroth said, "To write is human, to receive a letter: Devine!”

That's how I always feel if I receive an actual letter. 

Invest some time in writing letters—the old-fashioned kind with pen and paper—to those you love and won't see for whatever reason. Put your emotions, your love, your personality into a letter. You will be surprised by how grateful the recipient will be.

In this era of emails which are seldom printed and kept, letters have a special cachet. They'll be kept in a special box, perhaps bound up in ribbon too. In fact, send a beautiful box to those you love and suggest you'll write letters that can be kept in the box.

In years to come, those letters will be cherished. I believe what Emily Dickinson said is true: "A letter always seemed to me like immortality..."

Takeaway Truth

Express your love and friendship in words on real paper. The results may surprise you.

Definition of Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Definition: Noun. A beautiful concoction of a flaky pie crust with a lemon filling that's more tart than sweet, and topped by swirls and peaks of caramelized meringue.

Alternate: Noun. A lemon pie devoured when served. A pie never left over.

Takeaway Truth

I made a lemon meringue pie today. With guests, the pie disappeared in a serving of 8 wedges. My post-Thanksgiving cooking is completed.

No Turkey on Black Friday

Two things I'm NOT doing today: eating turkey in any form and shopping for bargains on Black Friday.

Instead, I'm getting my writing plans organized for the rest of the year. I'm staying busy because I believe in meeting adversity with action, and COVID19 has made 2020 the Year of Adversity.

It's like Lee Iacocca once said: "In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive." 

Coming Attractions

(1) a free book promotion on Dec. 4 and 5 so if you're not a subscriber, sign up for my NL now. I'lll have another free book promotion later in December.

(2) between now and New Year's, several of my books will be available in print.

(3) a new ebook will be released by New Year's Eve.

That's right—free, free, free, and new, new, new.

Takeaway Truth

"Have great hopes and dare to go all out for them. Have great dreams and dare to live them. Have tremendous expectations and believe in them." – Norman Vincent Peale

I'm online! Follow me or just say hello!

Thanksgiving Thoughts to Chew On

There's a lot of controversy about Thanksgiving, a holiday about which most of us have fond memories of the now-maligned holiday.

When I think about Thanksgiving, I don't think about the controversy. I think about moms and grandmoms—and a few dads and granddads— who start cooking days before the family descends en masse.

I think about dads, sons, daughters, moms, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who play a game of touch football or Scrabble or card games. I think about the whole family watching a college or pro-football game, screaming for their team.

I think about the best of humanity and the ideals for which people should strive. Thanksgiving may have been founded on myth, but the ideal on which it was based and that we all gerw up believing in is something good.

Takeaway Truth

This is not colonial America. This is today. Isn't it time we all learned how to accept each other? How to get along? How to grow together in respect and friendship?

Holiday Movies on Netflix

Netflix, Amazon Prime, and all the other streaming services are giving Hallmark a run for the Christmas movie audience.

I've got movies from Netflix and Prime added to my Watchlist already. I love to watch these movies—even the ones I've seen countless times before.

Usually my daughter and I watch these movies together. Of course, Darling Hubby rolls his but tolerates them if I really want to see one.

Here are some of the new ones on my Netlix list. Maybe they will appeal to you too.

Netflix Offerings

The Princess Switch Switched Again starring Vanessa Hudgins, Nick Sagar, and Sam Palladio.

When Margaret's Christmas coronation complicates her love life, her double Stacy steps in to save the day. Will a 3rd lookalike ruin their plans?

Holidate starring Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, and Kristen Chenoweth. 

Fed-up with being singles on holidays, two strangers pledge to be each other's platonic plus-one for an entire year. Of course, real feelings develop.

Midnight at Magnolia starring Natalie Hall, Evan Williams, and Michael Gordin Shore. Friends and radio hosts Maggie and Jake fake it as a couple for their families and listeners in hopes of getting their show syndicated.

The App That Stole Christmas starring Jackie Long, Diane Marie Howard, and Jaylin Hall.

A tech entrepreneur's Christmas shopping app is hugely successful, but he begins to think it may ruin Christmas spirit.

A Cinderella Story Christmas Wish starring Laura Marano, Gregg Sulkin, and Isabella Gomez.

Despite her mean stepmother and stepsisters, an aspiring singer works as an elf at a Christmas tree lot and finds a holiday miracle.

Christmas on the Square starring Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, and Treat Williams.

There's no holiday cheer when a cold-hearted woman tries to sell her hometown's land. Can music, magic, and memories change her mind?

Holiday Home Makeover with Benjamin Bradley. Okay, this is not a movie, but it's a Christmas decorating program so that's like catnip to a kitty for me. I love decorating shows and one for the holidays is even better!

Takeaway Truth

I know what I'll be doing the day after Thanksgiving, and it won't be shopping for Black Friday bargains. Watching holiday movies. Join me?

IMHO: Worst Thanksgiving Foods

Come on, be honest. What Thanksgiving food makes you shudder when you see the overloaded table?

Is it Granny Ruth's Candied Yams?

Maybe it's your dad's jellied cranberry gunk in a can.

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, deliciousness is in the taste buds of the eater. Your favorite dish may be another's culinary nightmare.

Worst Thanksgiving Foods Ever

This is my list, but most of these are listed on various websites so don't hate me. *LOL*

1. Candied Sweet Potatoes or Yams. You know those golden delicious goodies that can be baked, mashed, or made into fries? Why would you dump extra sugar on them when they're already sweet? Why cover with marshmallows? Save those for S'Mores.

2. Canned Jellied Cranberry Sauce. Open the can and slide it onto a relish dish, and it retains the impression of the can.

I make fresh cranberry-orange relish, but I always have to buy a can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, the jelly type, for my Darling Hubby. For him, it's not Thanksgiving dinner without it. 

3. Green Bean Casserole. OMG. I remember the first time I ever saw this dish. Limp green beans swimming in cream of mushroom soup and topped with canned fried onion rings? To me, it looked like something to be thrown down the disposal. 

4. Stuffing from a box. With so many wonderful recipes online, why prepare a box of this stuff? Drop by the Food Network online or any place that offers great recipes. Make your own stuffing or dressing if you call it that.

5. Mashed Cauliflower disguised as Potatoes. Okay, let's be honest. No matter how you disguise it, there's no way cauliflower will ever be mistaken for potatoes. If you have guests, make your mashed cauliflower but also make some mashed potatoes for those who expect that. Btw, some people may have difficulty digesting cruciferous vegetables.

Takeaway Truth

Now I know millions of you love the foods on my list so be tolerant of my dislike, and I'll be tolerant of your love for these foods.

Review: Cobra Kai

Our daughter kept telling us we should watch Cobra Kai. She and her hubby loved it!

Of course, she was a young kid in the 1980s and is fond of anything from the 80s such as Stranger Things. She remembers the first Karate Kid movie fondly.

I've been busy with other things so I didn't even check it out on Netflix.

This past weekend, Darling Hubby and I were taking a break so we decided to watch the first episode.

Binge Watching Ensured

Yep. We were hooked. It was like visiting relatives we hadn't seen in decades.

In case you haven't watched it yet—and you really should—Cobra Kai is a comedy-drama streaming television series that shows how Daniel LeRusso (played by Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence, his mortal enemy (played by William Zabka) are living their lives in present day.

The Karate Kid series was created by Robert Mark Kamen, and Cobra Kai drops in moments from the original movie as backstory for the characters. The series, created by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg stars both Macchio and Zabka who not only reprise their roles from the movie but also serve as co-executive producers of the series.

Past World

Daniel LaRusso won the big karate tournament despite being injured. 

Johnny Lawrence lost the tournament but gained respect for Daniel and presented the trophy to Daniel.

Unfortunately, his altruism was punished by his sensei who  took out his anger on Johnny thus affecting Johnny's entire life (because of what Johnny told himself about the incident).

Present Day

It's 34 years later, and Daniel is a wealthy luxury auto dealer who thinks he has it all with a beautiful wife, a pretty daughter, and a growing son.

Unfortunately, Daniel has problems brewing, but he's blind to them. His daughter is hanging out with the wrong crowd. His son is addicted to video games and food. His business is under attack from a rival, and his old nemesis Johnny Lawrence brings back all the unresolved issues of his high school years.

Poor Johnny Lawrence is a loser. No friends. No job. No money. No self-esteem. He's divorced and estranged from his son. His life is crap, and he gets through it with one beer after another.

Circumstances prompt him into opening a dojo, bringing back the Cobra Kai name. Unfortunately, he hasn't learned the lessons he needs to know in order to live happily and successfully. He teaches his students the way he was taught which just doesn't work. The trouble is, he doesn't know that. Yet.

Cobra Kai is all about character growth, and that's true for both Daniel and Johnny.

How Series Came to Life

The series first launched on YouTube Red, the YouTube subscription service now called YouTube Premium. The first two seasons were released in 2018 to 2019. In June of this year, Netflix acquired the series, and it was immediately a huge hit.

The 3rd season is scheduled to be released on January 8, 2021, and it's already been renewed for a 4th season. That shows how the viewing public received it.

Takeaway Truth

I won't give up any more plot elements, but, trust me, you'll like the series.

Alexa Skill: Thankful Daily

Although not designated a Thanksgiving Skill, the one I'm reviewing today qualifies because it's to make you mindful of your blessings, many of which you take for granted.

Thankful Daily by Twin Rabbits

Guidance is suggested for children, but this "Free to Enable" skill is easy to use I think.

With 169 Reviews averaging 4.4 out of 5 stars, this skill is opened by saying, "Alexa, ask Thankful Daily, what can I be thankful for today?" Or, simply say, "Open Thankful Daily."


We all have much to be thankful for, but sometimes we're in such a rush that we forget to acknowledge that fact.

Thankful Daily is a reminder for us to be conscious of the blessings in our lives. 

Contains Dynamic Content.

Supported Languages: English (AU), English (CA), English (GB), English (IN), English (US), German (DE).

To close the skill, say "Alexa, stop."

Takeaway Truth

Try this. You may be surprised by the sense of peace it gives you. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Saturday Share Recipe: Wannabe Heavenly Hash Candy

I've been off for 10 days! Wow, it's almost time to put that turkey in the oven.

It's also time I return to writing after spending  several weeks cleaning out the clutter from every nook and cranny at my home in Houston. 

We finished up all of our projects inside and out, and I have my winter annuals planted.

Today I'm back at the computer to share with you one of the easiest homemade candies to make—just in time for the holidays.

Don't be afraid that this is complicated and timee-consuming. It's not. The results are incredibly delicious. Some call this Heavenly Hash Candy. If your taste buds haven't met Heavenly Hash before, read on. If you know this wonderful candy, skip to the recipe.

Heavenly Hash Candy History

I grew up in Louisiana, and one of the favorite candies for most of us was Heavenly Hash, made by the Elmer Candy Company.

The Elmer Candy Company was originally named the Miller Candy Company and was founded in 1855 in New Orleans. In the 1900s Augustus Elmer married Miller's daughter, and the company name was changed to Miller-Elmer. Later, when their 5 sons joined the company, the name changed again to Elmer Candy Company.

One of their most popular products was Heavenly Hash, a recipe they acquired in 1923 from a New Orleans department store.

Like most treats and foods, home cooks tried to duplicate Heavenly Hash. My mom had a recipe for a homemade version of this. You can also find many recipes online for this. 

Today, the Elmer Candy Company still thrives, but I haven't seen a Heavenly Hash candy in years. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but I can make a good Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan candy at home that's just as satisfying to me. In fact, this is the easiest candy recipe you can make.

No Bake Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Candy


12 oz. Ghirardelli chocolate chips of your choice (I prefer the dark chocolate)
1 can condensed milk (my Mom always used Eagle brand, but there are many choices)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 pound mini-marshmallows 


1. Pour the condensed milk into a mixing bowl.
2. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Usually takes 30 to 60 seconds depending on your microwave. Start out with 30 seconds then stir. Keep going in 15 second increments until it melts smoothly.
3. Pour the melted chocolate into the condensed milk and blend well.
4. Add the pecans and mix well.
5. Fold in the small marshmallows.
6. Drop the mixture by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
7. Place into a cold oven for 4-6 hours (not to bake them, just to have a draft free cool place where they can stay undisturbed while they set up. Turn each over to the other side and leave overnight in the cold oven. 
8. Place in air-tight container or gift boxes.

This recipe makes 2 large cookie sheets of delicious holiday treats.

Takeaway Truth

These are so easy to make you should treat yourself to a batch even if you don't have company for Thanksgiving. Show them off on a video get-together.

Cover Reveal: Baked With Love by Peggy Jaeger

I'm thrilled to participate in the cover reveal for Peggy Jaeger's new release.

See the gorgeous cover here? Wow. I'm willing to bet the story is as good as the cover.

BAKED WITH LOVE (Book 3 of A Match Made in Heaven) releases December 9. 

Published by the Wild Rose Press, you can pre-order it now on Amazon.


Innkeeper Maureen O'Dowd lives to cook and bake, spoils her family and friends, and is an expert at keeping secrets, especially about the man who's held her heart for years.

Police Chief Lucas Alexander is dealing with an aging father and a moody teenage son, and he's in love with a woman who only wants to be friends.

How can these two fiercely private people reveal their feelings for one another without destroying the friendship they already have? And if they're successful, will another secret, if revealed, drive a wedge between Maureen and Lucas that can never be repaired?

BAKED WITH LOVE promises to be a delight because Peggy's books are always that—delightful romances.

Takeaway Truth

Pre-order it today for a heartwarming romance to read after a day of Christmas shopping.

Big Sale: Storms of New England by Kari Lemor

I'm pleased to announce that my friend Kari Lemor is having a Fall Sale on the books in her Storms of New England series.

From now until Nov. 20, you can get all 5 books in the series for under $11.00! 

Praise for The Storms of New England

“The author writes beautifully, drawing the reader into the hearts and minds of the characters.”
“This played like a Lifetime movie in my head.”

“I am now in love with the Storm family and can’t wait for the next book to be released!” 

The Books in The Storms of New England  

An injured Marine, an introverted loner, two orphaned children needing a home. Can they create a perfectly imperfect family? (marriage of convenience, girl next door)

đź’–99c TRUE DREAMS 
A recovering addict in search of a quiet life. An innocent optimist seeking fame and fortune. Can she see beyond his past to heal his damaged soul? (boss/employee, bad boy/virgin)

An uptight perfectionist. A bohemian free spirit. Can she convince him a walk on the wild side is good for the soul? (opposites attract, friends with benefits)

A new single dad. An unconventional nanny. A little boy in his own world. Can she show them that family is more than an image? (single dad/nanny, special needs family found)

Ten years ago he left her to join the navy. Now he’s back ready to pick up where they left off. Can the magic of Christmas open her heart up enough to trust him again? (sweet Christmas reunion novella) 

Find out all about these books at Kari's Website.

Sneak Peek: Elusive Dreams

“I have to know you’d be okay with marrying me. It wouldn’t be a traditional marriage, obviously. I wouldn’t expect anything from you…you know…in that way. It would be a marriage of convenience, in name only.

Her tongue poked out as she glanced at the floor. “You really want to marry a freak?”

“You really want to marry a scarred, impotent soldier who can’t walk?” There, he’d said it, and the world hadn’t ended. And she hadn’t walked out or looked at him with pity in her eyes. That’s what he dreaded most. The pity. 

Sneak Peek: True Dreams

Jim’s words of putting it in the past and moving on rang through his head. Maybe he should try. Ask her out on a date. Easy, right? Baby steps.

“I’m hot. How’d you like to get ice cream before we head home?”

Sara chewed on her lip. “I didn’t bring my purse. Are you paying? I’ll pay you back later.”

“My treat.”

Jumping to his feet, he took her hand and hauled her up. They were going out for ice cream, and it was his treat. Could that count as a date? He thought it could. Even if she didn’t know.

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Takeaway Truth

For a romance with women's fiction elements, choose Kari Lemor! You'll be glad you did.