Second Chance Reads: January 2021

Today is the last day of the first month of 2021. 

The year is still new, maybe not as bright and shiny given the chaotic events already experienced, but new enough you shouldn't get discouraged.

Today's a chance to read  some blogs you may have missed because January is usually such a busy month.

Great information is on the internet, but it comes in a flood, not a trickle. It's easy to miss content that may  inform, instruct, and entertain you.


Here's a list of great blog posts from across the blog world that you may have missed in January. I've tried to categorize them for your convenience. Hope you find something you need.


Quotes You Can't Live Without

Things Men Want Women to Know

10 Historic Homes You Can Tour Virtually

Looking for Humor? Try This List of Humor Blogs


Pandemic Orchard

How to Grow Sprouts in a Jar — All you need are sprouting seeds, a wide-mouth mason jar, water, and some cheesecloth. In about a week, you'll have a jar full of nutritious, organically grown sprouts which are delicious in salads and stir frys. Or, you can get a sprouting jar with a stainless steel strainer lid (no plastic) from Amazon.

Amazon also has many varieties of sprouting seeds. Most people begin with Mung Bean sprouting seeds.

8 Vegetables You Can Grow at Home

Video: How to Plant Container Blueberries for Small Space Gardening (I've done this! Can't wait for the blueberry crop.)


How to Stay in Shape Without Leaving the House

4 Activities to Improve Brain Health

Which CoVid Vaccine Should You Get

7 Ways to Eat More Vegetables


Common Remedies for Common Problems

Departments of France

This Week's Word: Do You Know Geography

10 Surprising Facts About Corona Virus

Farmer's Almanac Winter Forecast for 2021


How to Make New Friends

4 Secrets to Positive Change

Wayne Dyer's Magic Beliefs

Why You Should Have Money Affirmations


How Authors Sell More Books

Why Authors Should Not Lose Hope

The Blank Page

5 Rules for Writing Online


This first link doesn't go to a blog post, but to the Learning Press website. I'm giving it because in the last year when kids are staying home for distance learning, I've heard far too many of them in the neighborhood say they don't like to read. 

Some even say they hate it. Moms who are suddenly teaching monitors in the home classroom say their kids struggle with reading. I found All About Reading section on the Learning Press website and thought I'd pass the link along.

I know in this age of XBox and Playstation that kids would rather take the exciting, full color action adventures in a video game, but a kid who has poor reading skills just won't be successful in the real world.

NY Public Library List of Best Blogs for Readers 

8 Myths About Romance Novels

Happily Ever After vs. Happy For Now

Takeaway Truth

That's a wrap for my 2nd Chance Reading. See you at the end of February for another 2nd Chance Reading.

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Saturday Share: Recipe for Perfect Cornbread

When I was growing up, my Mom made biscuits from scratch every morning for breakfast.

For supper, our evening meal, Mom made cornbread from scratch.

I make biscuits occasionally by popular demand of Darling Hubby.

I make cornbread whenever our dinner menu calls for it. For example, any time I make vegetable soup, beef stew, beans and rice, it gets paired with cornbread because that's what we both grew up eating.

The cornbread Mom made was not sweet. This was before foods seemed to have added sugars. Just about everything you eat in today's world is sweet. We personally don't care for that much sweet food.

Cornbread is not difficult to make from scratch, but there's a shortcut you can use that makes it even easier. Use Aunt Jemima Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix, but do not use the recipe on the package. Use mine instead.

Perfect Cornbread

Makes 6 wedges. ( I bake cornbread in a skillet that's 8 inches in diameter across the top.)

2 tablespoons cooking oil or bacon drippings if you're into that.

1 cup Aunt Jemima Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

Turn the oven on and set at 400 degrees F.

Put the oil in the skillet and turn the heat on to medium.

Immediately mix together the corn meal mix, egg, and milk.

Pour all but a trace of the hot oil into the mixture and set the skillet back over low heat.

Mix the batter well.

Turn the heat off the skillet. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and place it in the oven.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes. When I remove it, I flip the cornbread over so the top becomes the bottom, and let it set about 5 minutes so the hot skillet browns it nicely. (My skillet is well-seasoned for years so the cornbread comes out easily.) 

That's all there is to it. If you want to make a softer cornbread, substitute buttermilk for the milk and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingrediennts. Do everything else the same.

Takeaway Truth

This recipe using Aunt Jemima Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix takes about 5 minutes to put together and 18 to 20 to bake. Comes out perfect every time. Serve hot and delicious with butter if desired. Store any leftover cornbread in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave.

5 Rules for Writing Online

The way one writes for print is different from the way one writes for online reading.

Here are some tips to help your online writing be more accessible to readers, based on the way people read online.

1. Write succinctly.

Forget flowery prose. Web readers want to find what they came to the webpage for. Give them the facts.

Sure, make it creative and interesting but don't get bogged down in minutia or too much description or the reader will just move on.

2. Write in easily understood language.

Don't write like an erudite college professor. Save your twenty dollar words for your thesis. Use the words everyone uses. In other words, keep the tone casual as if you were having a conversation with someone.

3. Write short paragraphs.

Don't create huge long blocks of text. When you come across a post online that is margin to margin text of long sentences and paragraphs, do you stop and read? If you're like me, the answer is no. 

My eyes glaze over and I go to another site with easier to grasp text. The eye travels down a block of text to grab the sense of the post or article. (If you ever took speed-reading training, that is the way one is taught to read fast.)

4. Break up the flow of text with sub-headings and images.

Use whatever works in the context of your post to break up the text passages, i.e., sub-headings, bold words or phrases, the aforementioned short paragraphs, and images. 

5. When possible, give bullet points or numbered lists.

Don't get carried away in making lists, etc. They should be short too.

Takeaway Truth

If what you're writing can only be done with a long post, break the post into parts. Better to post on the same topic again than to post something so long that no one will take the time to read it.

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Review: Netflix Original, Night Stalker

Night Stalker is a new documentary from Netflix.

Riveting isn't a word strong enough to descibe this compelling film. Don't watch it at night and alone.

The documentary intermixes dramatic recreations, archival footage, and interview segments featuring the two cops who ultimately became the ones in charge of the investigation.

Other interview segments with some who survived the Night Stalker's attack, the media personnel who covered the story, and others involved in some way with the investigation  contribute to the innate drama of the content.

The result is a film that's so compelling that you cannot stop  watching even when you'd like to look away from the excessive gore and blood.

The two police officers—Frank Salerno, the veteran detective who worked the Hillside Strangler serial killings, and Gil Carrillo, younger but no less experienced cop who brings his gut instinct to the investigation—relate their step by step investigation as they hunted the murderer, Richard Ramirez.

Ramirez was different from other serial killers. He didn't have a preferred type for a victim. He sexually assaulted children and adults; he killed children and adults of both sexes and of every ethnicity. I guess one could say his type was other human beings.


Other critics deplore the blood splashed across many of the scenes, and the close-up visuals of victims while some critics say the documentary isn't very compelling or horrible in light of the murders in the last couple of decades.

I'm not much for gory murder scenes, and I hate horror movies. The film's menace doesn't come from the artistic cinematography and splashed blood, but from the fact that the story being told is true. The victims were real people. The survivors are still haunted by their encounter with Ramirez.

The film reveals the Ramirez's horrible childhood that made him the monster he was. No one should be abused as he was, but that does not mean he should be exempt from punishment for his evil. 

There's a great article on LAist, about how this Netflix documentary came into being.

Watch this documentary that details the commitment to protecting and serving that many cops have. Watch it to see the problems faced in serial murder cases. Watch it to see how cops really worked in the mid-1980s before DNA and computers were tools at their disposal—when dogged determination solved crimes.

Takeaway Truth

If nothing else, watching this documentary is a lesson that we all need to develop better situational awareness even in our homes. 

Guest Blogger: Freddie Talks About Toxic Plants

Hi, I'm Freddie. I had a terrible night a while back.

My dad was walking me, and I found these little hard pellets on the sidewalk. I wanted to eat them.

When I got home, I was feeling sick. I threw up.

My mom wanted to know if I'd eaten anything on the walk.

(I'm just a puppy, and I have a bad habit of eating things I find on my walk.)

My mom and dad went back to where I walked. They found a lot of seeds beneath a sago palm that was growing near the sidewalk.

Wow! They came home and put me in the car and started driving really fast. I whined, and I was feeling really sick then. They took me to the doggie ER. I did not like what that doctor did to me. They told Mom they were going to do the dog version of pumping my stomach.

I was so sick. We were there for hours, but they got those sago palm seeds out of me. I won't go into details because it was gross.

Pay Attention to What Dogs Become Fixated On

Freddie owns my daughter and her husband, but Darling Hubby and I babysit him frequently. I was shocked to discover the seeds from sago palms are so dangerous for dogs and cats. Those plants are in thousands of yards in the Houston area.

It's shocking how many of our common house and landscape plants are dangerous for our furry friends. Landscape plants like the sago which can kill a dog, elephant ear, amaryllis, asparagus fern, boxwood, calla lily, carnation, chrysanthemum, hydrangea, gardenia, portulaca, vinca, and parts of almost all of the stone fruit trees and the nut trees as well as oak trees.

That's not the list. That's just the growing things I have in both of my yards that are on the list. I won't even list the house plants that I now move out of reach of Freddie's inquisitive nose and mouth.

The SPCA list gives the more common names for the plants with the scientific name listed last.

4 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe

1. When you and your animal companion are outside, keep an eye on what your furry pal decides to taste.

2. Always walk with a flashlight at night so you can focus light on your dog's mouth and see if he decides to taste something.

3. When you want to plant anything, check to see if it's toxic to pets.

4. Right now, take an inventory of what's growing inside and outside of your house. If you don't know for sure that it's non-toxic, check the list you may be surprised.

Takeaway Truth

Freddie said, "Having your stomach pumped is not fun. Plus, my mom and dad said it cost a lot of money. I'd like to say I'd never do that again, but I'm just a doggie. Ruff. Ruff."

At the Ranch

We arrived at the ranch last night. Houston had been gray, humid, and overly warm for more than a week.

Two weeks ago, we left the ranch because it was snowing. 

Today is sunny, beautiful, and we're winter pruning the fruit trees.

The boxwoods as seen behind the red chair on the end need a trim too. You'd swear spring was just around the corner.

Takeaway Truth

Excuse me. I'm going to sit on the porch now, look out over the field, and enjoy this wonderful day because it will probably change by tomorrow.

Review: Bridgerton, Netflix Original

I think I was one of the first to watch Bridgerton on Netflix. Since I'd read Julia Quinn's Bridgerton books when they were first published beginning in 2015, I was eager to watch the series.

First a disclaimer. I loved the books, and I loved the new Netflix take on them EXCEPT for 1 thing.

The anachronisms I feel were thrown in to appeal to today's audiences.

1. Smoking and sharing cigarettes from a pack. I almost fell off my chair. 

Now, I'm guessing that was thrown in to illustrate to the audience who are not acquainted with the mores of the Regency era. 

The writers needed to show that Eloise was a rebel. Those versed in history or in reading Regency novels know that Eloise was battling the establishment merely by thinking and speaking about topics that hinted at a woman's right to be heard and to chart her own path in life.

Women like her weren't to meddle in areas outside running the home, bearing children, learning domestic arts, being decorative, and bearing a son to inherit the title. Not a daughter, but a son.

2. The language where a modern pattern of speech sneaked in at some points. The powers that be should have read Quinn's books repeatedly along with Regency novels by Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.

3. Sloppy edting that allowed a street with a painted yellow lane to appear in a scene.

Another However

The acting was so compelling—indeed the actors were charismatic in their respective roles— that I forced myself to ignore the anachronisms.

Do yourself a favor and read Quinn's Bridgerton books. They have new covers showing the characters from the series, but start with Bridgerton: The Duke and I. You'll probably like it even more than the series.

Season 2 has been greenlighted by Netflix so we have another Bridgerton story to look forward to next year.

Takeaway Truth

Congratulations, Julia Quinn! You've introduced the world to Regency Romance. Well done.

Review: Stranded in Provence Mysteries by Susan Kiernan-

Last week, I read Stranded in Provence, Books 1-3, by Susan Kiernan-Lewis.

The 3 books in the box set are:

Parlez-Vous Murder?

Crime and Croissants

Accent on Murder.

Personal Note

I'm embarrassed to admit I've had that box set more than a year. I'm so far behind in reading that I decided to make time to read every evening instead of simply collapsing, too tired to do anything.

I 'm delighted that I chose Stranded in Provence, Books 1-3 to take immediate action on my 2021 goal of reading more every single week!

About Stranded in Provence: The Blurb

Ever wonder what you’d do if someone pushed the re-set button on the world?The Stranded in Provence Mysteries tell the story of an American woman on vacation in the south of France when the unthinkable happens. After a dirty bomb explodes over the Riviera she finds herself stranded in a French village where daily life is essentially sent reeling back to the 1950s.

So now forget solving crimes with DNA or accessing massive criminal databases. Likewise forget worrying about international terrorism, because that’s now gone too. But you can also forget spending hours on your smartphone, tablet, computer or even TV set.

On the other hand, the bistros are all still open, the produce and cheese markets still run every morning, bicycles dominate the wide avenues instead of cars, and for a budding amateur sleuth and now permanent ex-pat, any murders she stumbles across will have to be solved the old-fashioned way—with brain power and shoe leather.

Oh, and it turns out that romance still works the same as before too.

My Two Cents

I confess to being a bit of a Francophile, but these books should appeal to any reader who enjoys a quirky, but likable, heroine in stories that are delightfully different.

Jules, our plucky heroine, ends up stuck in France when the worst thing possible happens. there's not much worse than a dirty bomb that kills all of our technology! But Jules is plucky and funny in a self-deprecating sort of way.

The author's voice makes Jules likeable even though she at first may seem self-absorbed, even a bit selfish. She's a young woman who wasn't really close to anyone, not even her mother. It seems the designer-label name dropper has perhaps one friend back home.

When the world changes, it becomes obvious to the reader that Jules is putting together a family with the oddball—totally wonderful—secondary characters in the book. Great premise. Great stories! 

Takeaway Truth

Wild Card Undercover by Kari Lemor

Kari Lemor, one of my Romance Gems friends, has a new release available now!

Wild Card Undercover, a light romantic suspense novel, is the first of Love on the Line series.  

Get to Know Kari Lemor

Kari grew up as one of those kids who read all night under the covers. Once she had her first glimpse of a romance novel at age 12, it was all over. 

Romance was in her blood, but it would be many years before the stories that ran rampant in her head finally drove her to put words to paper.

She wrote self-indulgently for the first few years and only recently began penning stories to share with others.

Now that her children are all grown and have moved out, she uses her spare time to create stories of love and happily ever after romances where heroes ride to the rescue of damsels who have already saved themselves.

Kari lives with her husband in a small town in New England dreaming of warmer weather. But only if it's near the ocean.

Follow Kari on social media:







Wild Card Undercover

Love on the Line, Book 1

Some gambles are worth the risk . . .

Trapped in the nightmare of Miami’s illicit underworld, Meg O’Hara has no choice but to work for a high-stakes criminal to repay a debt.

Freedom is a pipe dream, until FBI agent Christopher Shaunessy offers her a way out. It won’t be easy, especially playing the role of lover to the charismatic agent. Getting the goods on her boss could mean her life, a risk she’ll take to be rid of the rat’s vulgar advances.

Chris Shaunessy doesn’t break rules, but working with Meg is pushing even his well-honed control to the limit. Personal involvement should never mix in the sordid world of organized crime.

They’re playing a perilous game. Giving into temptation could be his biggest mistake because the kisses they share might be more dangerous than the case…

If you like FBI agent heroes and the tropes of secret lovers, crime, and suspense, you'll like Wild Card Undercover!

In case you're a reader who wants advisories about sex and language, this novel contains some cursing, sensual scenes (PG 13), sexual chemistry, and some violence.


RT Book Reviews: "Wild Card Undercover will capture your heart with its humor and witty characters. A knight in shining armor rescuing a damsel in distress while infiltrating the mob is no small task. Kudos to Lemor who has gracefully mixed a femme fatale with a dash of The Godfather and tossed it together with romance and laughter."

“Intriguing and dangerous- when it comes to the take down- Kari Lemor kept the pace fast and heart wrenching. Sweet and laced with sexy banter- the entire story was emotional and Chris and Meg were a dynamic couple.”

“The story was suspenseful and fast paced, and the chemistry between the characters was sizzling.”

Sneak Peek at Wild Card Undercover by Kari Lemor

She finished chewing the piece of cantaloupe she’d been devouring and said, “Juice would be great. Thanks. I didn’t mean to sleep so late, but the bed was amazingly comfortable. I don’t think you’re ever going to be able to get me out of here now.”

He poured juice into a glass and sat opposite her. “Glad you enjoyed it. Not everyone sleeps well in a new bed. Obviously, it didn’t affect you.”

She looked up, sheepish, taking a big bite of the cinnamon muffin in her hand. “I’m so tired after work, I could probably sleep on the side of the road.”

“I wouldn’t suggest trying that around here. You’re more than welcome to keep using the bed.”

As she grabbed a juicy, red strawberry, she rolled her eyes. When was the last time she’d eaten? He’d have to make sure to get some good food in here for her. She needed to be full strength. Hopefully, she liked home cooking, since room service hadn’t been part of the deal with the hotel. 

He was sure she was a strong one, considering what she’d been through the last year or so. She’d have to be to continue day after day on her feet, then go home to that shithole of a room. Her determination in keeping her family safe was admirable. 

“So, what are the plans for today?” she asked as she shoved the rest of the muffin into her mouth.

He faked a pensive look. “Well, I was thinking I’d hang out by the pool and work on my tan.”

He laughed at her exasperated glare. “It’s all part of the undercover assignment, sweetie. You can’t go running around sticking your nose in people’s business. You have to ease yourself in, slowly, so they don’t suspect anything.”

“Sweetie?” Her eyebrow raised, her tone derisive.

He threw her a crooked smile. “All part of the undercover assignment, sweetie.”

She groaned. “Do I have to call you some stupid, sappy nickname, too?”

“Only if you want to. You could make it something to show what you think of me. You know, like Stud, Hotcakes, or how about Big Daddy?”

She looked like she didn’t know whether to laugh or throw up at his suggestions. 

“I know.” Her eyes gleamed. “How about Cuddlebunny?”

Was she serious? “Nah, Chris is fine.”

“Chris Martin, though, right? Shaunessy is your real name?”

“It’s actually Christopher Martin Shaunessy. It’s easier to keep things simple when undercover if you can.”

“I picked Katie for a similar reason. One of my brothers calls me Maggie Kate, and I figured I would respond to it. Harrington, O’Hara, close enough. It’s worked for me so far.”

“It’ll continue to work, until we can put Moreno behind bars.”

Read Chapter 1

You can find chapter 1 posted on these websites:

Amazon US

Amazon CA

Amazon Au

Amazon UK

Amazon DE

Amazon IN






Takeaway Truth

Get Wild Card Undercover today for some exciting weekend reading.

Giveaway to Welcome Amie Denman

New Author at Romance Gems and a Giveaway

As most of you know, I have another blog where several friends and I take turns blogging.

Romance Gems, the other group blog, just welcomed a new member to the RG family, Amie Denman.

To welcome her in a big way, I'm giving away a copy of her latest book, Midsummer Love Affair. Details on how to win are at the end of this post.

About Amie Denman

Amie lives in a small town in Ohio with her husband and sons.

She was first published in 2011 and has written more than 40 romances since then. Amie writes for the Harlequin Heartwarming line and also self-publishes.

Amie loves writing the Grand Hotel series with her sister and best friend May Williams.

When she's not reading or writing, she's outside walking or paddle-boarding on Lake Erie.

As the victim of a lifetime of curiosity, Amie has chased fire trucks on her bicycle just to see what's going on. She believes that everything is fun: especially roller coasters, wedding cake, and falling in love. You can find Amie online here:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Amie's Latest Book

Midsummer Love Affair, Kenyon Cove, Book 6 is Amie's latest release.Hannah Drake and her beloved dog move to Kenyon Cove for a fresh start.

Still stinging from her cancelled wedding six months ago, she’s ready for the fresh ocean breezes to blow away her past and help her stand on her own two feet again.

After her experience with her family and friends who let her take the blame for the wedding fiasco, she’s not ready to trust anyone.

However, when she arrives in town, an accidental fire at her new not-quite-as-advertised home brings a handsome firefighter right into her new life.

Captain Cooper loves helping people, fighting fires, and being a dependable friend to everyone in Kenyon Cove. His kind of dedication comes with sacrificing his personal life, and he’s never minded…until now.

One look at Hannah Drake makes him want to find a place for her in his heart and his life. He knows betrayal has made her cautious, but he’ll do anything to convince Hannah to give Kenyon Cove—and him—a chance.

Giveaway to Welcome, Amie!

Leave a comment with your email addy written out, not as a hot link, to welcome Amie as a Romance Gems Author.

You can leave the comment on this post or on the Romance Gems post

On Jan. 25, I'll choose one eligible commentator from comments left on SlingWords and on Romance Gems, by random draw, to receive a free copy of Midsummer Love Affair, Kenyon Cove, Book 6.

Giveaway open to comments until Jan. 24.

Takeaway Truth

So, welcome, Amie Denman, to Romance Gems. (Btw, in case you're not the winner, Amie's "clean wholesome romance" is only 99¢ if you'd like to buy it.)

The Reading Mother by Strickland W. Gillilan

Today, I'm sharing a poem that guided the way I raised our daughter.

I'm a reader, and I wanted her to grow up to be a reader too.

Long before I was pregnant, I read a poem by Strickland W. Gillilan entitled THE READING MOTHER.

The words in the poem resonated with me because I am the person I am today because of books. I would have lived in the library in our small town if I'd had the chance.

Books inspired me to rise above my background and to see the possibilities life had to offer. In books I visited Europe decades before I did it in real life. In books, I learned how the West was settled, how cowboys worked and cared for their horses before I'd ever even touched a horse.

In books, I learned about different breeds of dogs because I adored dogs of every variety. I solved mysteries, went on adventures, learned how other peoples lived, traveled the world, learned history of my own country and many other countries in the world, and solved relationship problems before I knew what they were! I've had a copy of that poem in my files ever since the day I first read it and wrote it out by hand.

This poem is now in Public Domain so I'm reprinting it here today in the hope of inspiring young parents to raise their kids to be readers.


by Strickland W. Gillilan
Photograph, U.S. Public Domain

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Celert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such.

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.

About Strickland W. Gillilan

Strickland W. Gillilan was an American journalist, author, poet, humorist and speaker who is most famous for the poem above, The Reading Mother.

As you can imagine, this poem is very popular on Mother's Day.

Gillilan is also recognized as the author of Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes, supposedly the shortest poem ever written.

Born September 21, 1869, in Jackson, Ohio. He was educated at the Ohio University. He passed away in 1954 at Warrenton, Virginia.

Takeaway Truth

Reading opens doors and opportunities. If you don't read, start. There are amazing stories and books full of useful knowledge. Read and create that love of reading in your children.

Wayne Dyer's Magic Beliefs

Here's another tidbit I found in my massive "Inspiring Thoughts" file.

This came from Wayne Dyer. I think I heard him on a PBS program when he was promoting one of his self-improvement books.

Although I can't remember which book he was promoting—I've read all of them I think—I do remember grabbing pen and paper and writing this down as he spoke.

Magic Beliefs

Actually, we all possess magic beliefs. The problem is that most of our magic beliefs are self-limiting thoughts or those hyper-critical voices in our heads that spout negatives in a continuous stream like those fountains in front of a Vegas hotel.

Your magic beliefs can either help you build a depressing life or a happy fulfilled life. Here are the ones Mr. Dyer stated.

1. There is an invisible knowable life force within me.

2. I control my thoughts; they originate with me.

3. There are no limits in my mind's world.

4. I overcome weakness by leaving it behind.

5. I believe impossible does not exist.

6. I must go beyond logic to create miracles.

Read any of Mr. Dyer's books. A good one to start with is Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. It's set up as essays based on wisdom and should be read, one essay a day. That's a nice way to start each day.

Takeaway Truth

Imagine how your life would be if you made these magic beliefs yours. 

New Release: Her Timeless Gamble by Nancy Fraser

Her Timeless Gamble book cover
Bestselling Author Nancy Fraser has a new book publishing today.

For a change of pace, this novel, Her Timeless Gamble, is a historical romance.

Get to Know Nancy Fraser

Jumping Across Romance Genres with Gleeful Abandon is how Nancy, an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author, describes what she writes.

She says she "can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all." 

Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

To date, Nancy has published over 35 books in full-length, novella, and short format.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her 5 wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Sign up for Nancy's Newsletter.

When Matthew McAlister pulls a nearly-drowned woman from the mucky waters of the Mississippi, he has no idea what's in store for him.

Nor does he know how easily he'll willingly give up his carefree, love-em-and-leave-em lifestyle for a chance at real happiness.

Kathryn (Kate) Lowell can't believe her bad luck. Or the fact she's somehow been transported from the twenty-first century back to the post Civil War south. Worse yet, into the arms of the one man she grew up hating. The man she blames for her father's recent demise.

Can these two off-kilter and infinitely stubborn individuals fight their mutual attraction? Or, will they give in to the inevitable? And, when the time comes, will Kate choose to stay with Matt in the past, or return to her former life?

Excerpt from Her Timeless Gamble

Kate shifted the neon green tote bag higher on her shoulder. The added weight of the strongbox containing her father’s few possessions made the short walk to the end of the pier more difficult than it should have been. Behind her, the sun beat down mercilessly, its searing rays reflecting off the water and heating the dock’s wooden planks, until Kate could feel their warmth through the soles of her canvas shoes.

Less than a dozen feet separated her from the ghostly remains of the devil her father had chased for the majority of his life. The only visible signs of the Lucky Lady’s existence were the tarnished hull and splintered railings that shone as she listed on her side in an unforgiving river.

She stopped at the end of the dock and surveyed her surroundings. The waters of the Mississippi River were a sickening muddy brown, their banks strewn with broken bottles and empty fast-food containers. Graffiti covered the retaining walls, scribbled in vibrant shades of red, black and orange, a painter’s palate of obscenities intensified by the bright sunlight.

Kate lowered her head, intent on one last moment of reflection, one last farewell. She rummaged inside her pocket for the envelope of flower petals she planned to scatter across her father’s watery grave, encountering instead the cool surface of her father’s silver dollar. A treasure from the early 1860s and Joseph Lowell’s second most prized possession, the coin had been found at the water’s edge by the coast guard recovery team and given to Kate when she arrived to settle her father’s affairs.

Clutching the large coin tightly in her hand, she whispered, “Why daddy? Why didn’t you get off the boat while you still could? I wish I knew where you were.” Kate tucked the coin in her pocket, and drew a deep breath for strength. “I wish I had one more chance to tell you how much I love you.” 

“Come back, my love.” 

The voice…the one from her dreams…echoed around her, through her. Kate spun quickly, bracing herself for a face-to-face encounter. The weight of the tote bag threw her off balance. She did her best to compensate, stretching her arms out at her sides for balance and dropping her purse in the process. 

Too late she realized how close she’d wandered to the edge of the dock. With barely enough time to draw a breath, Kate fell backward into the water, the rock-like weight of the strongbox dragging her deeper, the murky water of the Mississippi River swallowing her whole.

To learn more about Her Timeless Gamble by Nancy Fraser, visit: BookBub  OR  Goodreads.

To get your hands on Her Timeless Gamble and read it now, go to:


Books2Read to select your favorite retailer from several ebooks sellers.

Takeaway Truth

Nancy Fraser writes romance that always promises the reader time well-spent.

6 Beauty Tips

The winter is harsh on one's skin. If you feel as dried out as I do, here are some tips to help you. Don't worry. None involve black mud on the face.

1.  Looking younger starts the night before.

Yes, you hear it all the time. Get a good night's sleep. Here's one way that might help you achieve that. Spray your pillow with a light lavender scent. Lavender has been proven to relax and soothe anxiety.

2. Once a week, give your complexion a good steaming. 

Pour boiling water over a couple of herbal tea bags and steep a couple of minutes. Then with a towel over your head to create a "tent" lower your face to within a few inches of the steaming tea for five minutes.

3. Hands reveal a woman's age more than anything.

Mix up an exfoliant paste of sea salt and olive oil. Once a day, plop a spoonful of the mixture into your palms and massage onto hands and forearms. Massage a few minutes then remove with a warm cloth.

4. Skin dries out as we age. Be sure to hydrate yours with enough water.

Drink at least 8 glasses of good, filtered water every day.

5. Don't resign yourself to dry, brittle nails. Once a day, soak your fingernails in a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil. Save the oil in a covered container to reuse.

6. When you buy hand lotion, be sure to get a product with ceramides and hyaluronic acid. According to dermatologists, those two ingredients actually can change skin moisture if used consistently.

The one I use is CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides. It's a 19 ounce bottle, and it's fragrance free.

Takeaway Truth 

Although genetics and environment play a huge role in how one looks after a few decades, there really is a lot a woman can do to improve upon what God gave her—or didn't give her. Try these and let me know if one or more makes a difference.

Happily Ever After Vs. Happy For Now

Happily Ever After or Happy For Now.

Those are the choices offered in modern romance novels.

As a reader, you may be surprised that there are endings in some romance novels that are "happy for now."

The matter of these 2 endings are still discussed by romance authors, but not as often as when the possibility of an alternate ending was mentioned by publishers several years ago.

To me, a "happy for now" ending means the couple really aren't made for each other. Since the primary focus of a romance novel is the relationship–the love–between two people.

Once, publishers of romance novels demanded writers end the story with a happily ever after. Then, in response to societal changes, publishers decreed that the ending could be, in their words, "an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."

Hmm. Logically speaking, there's a huge difference between happily ever after and emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

I suppose the alternate ending for a romance novel was supposed to reflect the cynicism of contemporary times. 

After all, one often hears that more than half of marriages ends in divorce, but that's not actually true.

For the last 50 years, the modern romance has held sway as the most popular genre. It has matured and spun off sub-genres like romantic comedy, action adventure, mystery, paranormal which spun off vampires, angels, demons, ghosts, time travel, etc., and just about every kind of story you can imagine.

With all the changes and growth in the romance genre, I guess it's not surprising that happily ever after morphed into the optimistic and satisfying. But, I'm not willing to give up my happily ever after–in real life or fiction.

Takeaway Truth

With the romance novels I write, I aim high. I want that happily ever after for my characters, not just an optimistic, satisfying ending. 

I always say the premise of my books is: "It's never too late to live happily ever after."

Saturday Share: Common Remedies for Common Problems

Today I'm sharing some home remedies. My mom was big on home remedies. Here are some of hers, and a few I've heard about.

No, I'm not a doctor, and this blog post is not medical advice.

 At the least, it's entertaining. At most, it may be something that works for you, but that's up to you if you want to try something—at your own risk.

If you do try one of these, please leave a comment and let me know if something worked. 

Burn? Use a dab of Colgate toothpaste as a salve for burns.

Stuffy Nose? Try chewing on a couple of curiously-strong Altoids peppermints. They're  reputed to clear up a stuffy nose.

Aching Muscles? Mix 1 tablespoon of  horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil for relief for aching muscles. (I think it's the actually the massage itself that helps.)

Sore Throat? Take 1/4 cup of apple cider vingegar with 1/4 cup of honey and mix well. Take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria. (I drink a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every morning. It's a previotic cocktail that's good for you in several ways.)

Skin Blemishes? Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, and the Band-Aid keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Allegedly works overnight.

Toenail Fungus? Soak your toes in Listerine mouthwash. Of course, you must do this every night. So this is not an instant cure, but I've read online many times that it works.

Got a splinter? Put a drop of Elmer's Glue over the splinter, let it dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue and comes out easily.

Bruised? Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Arthritis Pain in Hands? Oatmeal can help. Mix 2 cups of oatmeal and 1 cup of water in a bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute, cool until warm, not hot. Apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief.

Takeaway Truth

Once people depended on home remedies. Some people still opt to try a home remedy first.

Dozen Random Witticisms

At last, it's Friday. Even I, who work at home, have the Friday attitude.

So here's a random selection of funny lines to get your weekend started.

You can thank my friend Frank who is always sending me funny stuff.

Let the Smiles Begin

(1) A day without sunshine is like...night.

(2). I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

(3) 53.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

(4) I often feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

(5) You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted then used against you.

(6) I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.

(7) Honk if you love peace and quiet.

(8) Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?

(9) Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

(10) Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

(11) The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

(12) If Barbie is so popular why do you have to buy her friends?

Takeaway Truth

Have a great weekend!


A post for today. Hmm? I've been so busy updating documents for my Romance Gems blog group that my attention hasn't been on my own blog.

Late today, I realized I hadn't blogged yet. Ack! 

I racked my brain and the only thing I came up with was the meaning of Thursday. 

Actually, I often joke about Thursday, saying, "I'll see you on Thor's Day. That's actually the meaning of the English word Thursday. You probably know this already, right?

Thursday is named after the Norse god of thunder, Thor. That's in Old English of course. Thor is represented riding a chariot drawn by goats and wielding the well-known Thor's hammer. In most languages with Latin origins, the day is named after Jupiter, the god and planet.

Takeaway Truth

That's it. That's all I got!

Things Men Want Women To Know

I'm still cleaning out all those little tidbits I save. Some are saved in a digital file and others are print clippings.

The one below was sent to me in an email by a friend. He didn't know who created it, and neither do I.

If you are the wit who made this up, let me know so I can put your name down as the source.

It's Wednesday, and we all need a chuckle I imagine so here it is.

Things Men Want Women To Know

  • You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done, but not both.
  • Sometimes, we're not thinking about you. Seriously.
  • Sunday is for sports. Accept it.
  • Anything you wear is fine. Really. We don't care.
  • You have too many shoes.
  • You have enough clothes.
  • Ask for what you want. Subtle hints never work.
  • Don't ask us if you look fat in anything. It's a no-win situation for us.
  • If something we said can be interpreted in two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or mad, we meant the other way.
Takeaway Truth

Have a laugh and have a good day!

Terrific Tuesday

Why is Tuesday so terrific? Because it's not Monday.

Even though I no longer work outside of my home office, Monday is still a down day for me. The day one gives up the carefree weekend and gets the nose to the grindstone again.

The romance languages—Spanish, French and Italian—have similar names for Tuesday: martes, mardi, and martedi, all derivations of the Roman god of war name, Mars.

When the Anglo-Saxons adopted the 7-day week, they followed suit, naming the 3rd day of the week after their god of war, Tiu or Tyr as the Vikings called him.

In the business world of today, week's begin with Monday, but Sunday is actually the first day of the week. At least for now since all things seem to be changing.

Takeaway Truth

In any event, act like the god of war and attack your work load today. I intend to do so.

Snowing at Rancho Reeves

Saturday, Darling Hubby and I drove up to the rancho just to make sure the heating system was working properly.

Saturday was sunny and in the sixties.

The last time we'd been there, the heating system had to be worked on. The mother board had died. Poor thing!

Two days later, a new one was installed.

Since a winter storm was forecast for Texas, we decided to check to make sure the heat worked befor the storm arrived.

Fortunately, the heat worked fine.

Yesterday—Sunday—we slept late because the storm wasn't due to arrive until evening.

At 9:00am, it started snowing. We packed up quickly and headed to Houston amidst snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Arrived home with only the rain persisting. A few hours later, some friends who live near our country house sent us this photo of our house.

Wow! Glad we left when we did. I got snowbound there a few years ago. Couldn't get up and down those hills.

Takeaway Truth

You really can have every kind of weather in Texas!

8 Myths About Romance Novels

Today, I'm tackling a touchy subject: the myths people have about romance novels.

Of course, those people are the ones who don't read romance. They're the readers who judge other readers based on what genre is reade.

They're the readers who eagerly take free romance novels, read the whole thing, then post reviews that are like left-handed compliments.

"Pretty good for a romance."

"Better than I expected."

"Good for reading while sunning at the pool."

Then there are those who get free or KU reads of overtly sexy romance novels. The book cover, blurb, and/or sample that can be read is an accurate presentation of what kind of romance the book will be.

The book will be read cover to cover, and the reader will leave a review that begins, "I don't usually read this kind of story, but I got it free. I don't know why there has to be so much sex in a story." Or something pretty much the same.

If you're an author who writes romance, you know what I mean. You've probably rceived some of those reviews too.

These are some of the most common myths about romance novels.

1. Romance novels are all the same. If you've read one, you've read them all.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Within the romance genre, there are many sub-genres such as the broad categories of contemporary and historical.

Beneath those two umbrellas, you'll find general romance, romantic comedy, romanctic suspense, and under those you'll find clean, wholesome romance, steamy romance, paranormal with vampires, ghosts, angels, demons, zombies, witches, and just about anything you can think of.

2. Romance novels are all fluff with no deeper meaning.

No matter what kind of romance novel you choose, it will have a theme or an underlying message or lesson to impart to the reader. In all of my fiction, there's one underlying theme: "It's never too late to live happily ever after."

Beyond that, each book has a more personal theme too. In The Key To Kristina, my latest romance, I actually had more than one message. The main message for the heroine was "You have to trust another's love." That didn't necessarily mean love from a lover. In my free ebook LuvU4Ever, the theme is "It's not what it seems." Or, you could say, "Eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves."

3. Anyone can write a romance because no research is needed.

Again, a myth. Most romance novels have an information plot as well as a romance plot.

I've read accurate descriptions of putting up a barbed wire fence, trekking through a tropical rain forest, and setting an explosive charge.

One can read about saddling a horse, following a suspect, mkaing biscuits, milking a cow, developing a perfume, loading a semi-automatic handgun, the procedure of sending an SOS signal, and so much more.

Then there's the research needed to make sure a character seems "real" in his/her occupation and in all aspects of his/her background. 

4. The characters in romance novels are fantasies because men and women as described in  romance novels don't exist in real life.

I've known men and women who, in real life, have the occupations I read about in romance novels. Not only that but I've known men and women who have faithful, committed relationships just like in romance novels. Not only that, but the men are romantic and know how to make their women feel special.

5. Romance novels are ridiculous because there's no such thing as love at first sight or second chances at love or friends who become lovers or any of the other popular stories you see in those books.

I personally know a dozen or more married couples who claim love at first sight—like my grandparents.

They grew up as neighbors in the country. They and their siblings played together. Time and distance parted them when they were young people, but they never married. 

Fortune gave them another chance when they were in their forties. They married and had one child, my mother. So that was love at first sight, friends to lovers, and second chance at love.

One of my best friends has a second chance at love story. Divorced, then remarried each other a couple of years later, and now they're happily ever after. Then there are several who were in love in high school, married other people, but years later, they ended up together. 

6. Romance novels are fantasies that mislead women because there's no happily ever after in real life.

Wow, is that one wrong! See #5 above, Most romance novelists have long-term relationships, and by longterm I mean 20, 30, 40, or more years. Darling Hubby and I have been married 43 years. The only regret we have is that there's only 1 lifetime to share.

Perhaps my author friends and I write romance because we live it. 

Romance novels don't mislead readers who are mostly, but not exclusively, women. 

They offer hope to women who want the kind of relationships they've seen in person.

Maybe it's the reader's parents who had that kind of relationship, or a sibling, a best friend, or a client who is living happily ever after. 

People read romance because they want that kind of relationship, and a good romance makes one believe it's possible.

7. Romance novels attract women who aren't very smart or educated.

Nope. Who's reading romance? Men and women. People from every educational background from high school to college professors, PhD's, lawyers, judges, military enlisted and officerss, and every career one can imagine. Writers of romance also come from those same backgrounds. 

8. Men don't read romance.

Wrong again. See #7 above. Ebooks have been a boon for men who like to read romance. No one to judge what they're reading as they commute to work or lying in a hammock in the backyard.

I get email from men who read my books. Nope, not pervy stuff but real fan mail. A lot of retired couples read my books together. (I've always said if a man wants to know what a woman wants, he should read a good romance.)

A good book is a good book—whether it's mystery, romance, science fiiction, western, or whatever.

Takeaway Truth

The old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover," should be rephrased to say, "Don't judge a book by its genre."

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