Texas Winter Storm: Getting EVERY LITTLE LIE Published

Most posts about an author's new book don't start with this plea.

Please don't buy my book until the evening of March 1.

Behind the Scenes

Against all odds, I somehow managed to turn in a final file for my latest book, but therein lies a tale

Every Little Lie was set to publish February 28. I chose that date because I knew I'd have the copyedited and proofread file back from my editor. Wrong!

The Best Laid Plans Went Astray 

If you bought this book prior to March 2, you may find some typos in it. There’s a very good reason for that. My home was one of four million households in Texas that had no power, no water, and no cell service from February 15 to February 20. That was the time slot I'd planned to use to make any changes my editor suggested and to correct typos too.

When the power came back on, I had only four days to copyedit, proofread, and generate the final manuscript file. 

The only problem with that was that my editor had never returned the corrected file before Texas went into the deep freeze.

I was forced to be copy editor and proofreader for my manuscript and began work the on February 21—after running a wet vacuum all afternoon the day before to remove water from my house. (A broken pipe outside had allowed water to enter my house through the weep holes. Fortunately, we caught it early.)

I was too exhausted physically and mentally to tackle the monumental task of editing and proofing my file. I started the next day.

Against All Odds

That song by Phill Collins was the soundtrack of the next 3 1/2 days as I put in eighteen hours a day to copy edit and proofread my manuscript. I still wasn’t finished when there were only 39 minutes left to upload the final file. I either had to upload what I had or be locked out of Amazon’s pre-release program for a year. I made the executive decision to upload it and hope for the best.

Well, that’s never a good thing, is it? 

I’ve now corrected the remaining 17 typos—many were using a period instead of a question mark—that I found after hitting the submit button.

Then I was locked out of making any change until the book published at 12:01am, Feb. 28, PST.

Deeply Apologize

I deeply apologize if you received the file with those typos. Sometimes, if you remove the download from your Kindle, power it down, then turn the power on and re-download the book, you may get the updated file.

If not, if you'd like to send me a screenshot of your time-stamped purchase, I'll send you a MOBI file of the book for your Kindle. You can reach me at JoanReeves @ outlook.com. 

Takeaway Truth 

I guess you just can't fight Mother Nature or the Texas power grid which royally screwed up.

Saturday Share: Recipe, Stovetop Chicken Casserole

During the recent winter storm in Texas, we had no power for a week.

We have a gas stove and gas logs in the fireplace so we were able to keep the temperature downstairs  at 63 degrees F.

We were also able to cook. With a gas stove, one can have heat plus the ability to cook even if the power is off.

I keep emergency food supplies in the pantry for hurricane season.  Little did I know that I'd have to break out the canned goods for a winter storm.

One thing I keep on hand are cans of Kirkland's Cooked Chicken Breast.  

Here's a recipe that can be cooked on the stove top as well as in the oven. It's delicious easy way, and it will make 6-8 servings.

I usually have some cooked frozen pasta in the freezer. (I always freeze pasta when I cook too much. It defrosts well for casseroles or soups.)

If you don't have any leftover pasta on hand, you can cook pasta on the stove in less water than is usual as long as you break the pasta into smaller pieces. You can also use less water too.

The ingredients for this dish are what most of us have on hand.


8 ounces egg noodles, cooked
1/2 cup chopped celery, optional
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sour cream or heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
2 (5-ounce) cans of chicken, drained and flaked. (can also cook 10 ounces of chicken if you don't have any canned chicken)
1 (4-ounce) can sliced or chopped mushrooms, drained
1 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • In a saucepan, saute the celery and onion in the butter. Cook until translucent.
  • Add the drained mushrooms and green peas. Saute a few minutes.
  • Add the milk and the sour cream or heavy cream. Whisk to blend well.
  • Add the flaked chicken and cooked noodles and heat through.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese, blend well.
  • Cook over medium heat until mixture is bubbly.
  • That's it for the stovetop version.
  • For baking in the oven, preheat to 350°F.
  • Combine all ingredients except Parmesan. Pour into a 2-quart buttered casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Serves 6 to 8.
Takeaway Truth

It's always good to have a food plan in case of emergencies. It's more than a matter of having good food to eat. Nothing is more heartening than a hot meal when living in extreme conditions.

Survived the Texas Winter Storm

Hello! I survived!

I started to entitle this post THE TEXAS WINTER STORM FROM HELL.

However, winter from hell is an oxymoron I guess.

Here's my winter storm survival story in a part of Texas that has never had a storm like this.

From 1am Monday,  Feb. 15 to about noon Saturday, Feb. 20, was been sheer hell! Well, make that Feb. 21 because we didn't have any water until then.


February 14 was the last normal day we had, and that was the last day I blogged. An hour past midnight Sunday, our power went off. We'd been told there would be rolling blackouts, but there was nothing rolling about this. It was off and did not come back on until Friday night, Feb. 19, but only for an hour. Full power was restored sometime Saturday afternoon, but by then we had no water!

No power means no heat because modern furnaces, even if they'r gas, have electronic ignition. No power means no water if the water utility is in the blackout area.

No power means the inside temperature of your house can be in the 30s if the outside temperature is well below freezing for several days.

We survived because we had a gas log fireplace and a gas stove. We ran the fireplace and stove burners 24/7 for a week. (I'm scared to see the gas bill!) We wouldn't have made it otherwise.


No heat means that even in well-insulated attics, water pipes can break. Yes, folks, here on the Gulf Coast where we don't have ice and snow and several days of below freezing weather, water pipes and water heaters are located in the attics of most homes.

This exceptional year saw 4 million of us in the Houston area with no power for a week and no water.

People who left town for warmer climates and who did not turn off their water at the meter box had frozen pipes that sent a flood through their homes when the water started flowing again.


We had water until Thursday. Friday when the water came back on, I went into my closet to find a half inch of water. My closet is on an exterior brick wall. We had a plumber replace the outdoor faucet on that wall. In sealing the new one, he left a tiny gap at the bottom edge of where it came out of the wall. Even though the faucet had winter insulation on it, that tiny gap caused it to freeze. It burst on the outside, not the inside.

Water running down the wall from that break went into the weep holes which is how the water got in my closet. It happened right after water was restored so we were lucky to find it right away. Darling Hubby rushed out and turned the water off at the meter.


So the power came back on Saturday, but we had no water. People stood in long lines at any place that sold bottled water or gallon jugs of water. You were limited to buyin 2. I scored 2 on the way to my daughter's house. She had water restored but it had to be boiled before using it. I filled every container I could find and brought it home.

Sunday, Darling Hubby analyzed the break in the copper pipe and figured he could close that pipe off until the plumber could get here for a permanent repair. He and a friend bought a little copper gadget called a Shark Bite. They cut a hole in the sheetrock on the inside, pushed the copper water pipe in the wall so it would extend out further on the outside then put the Shark Bite clamp on it. Turned the water back on to check to see if it was leaking, and it was NOT.

Hurray! We had water but still had to boil it until Feb. 22, Monday. We are #1,000 something on our plumber's list for him to come out and do a permanent repair. I'm just glad it was on the outside of the house.

We  had gone to work on the carpet and carpet pad immediately with a wet vacuum. Got as much water out as possible, put it in the garage on risers to dry. The first day we had sunshine, we put it outside. So carpet and pad were dried and cleaned and had some antimicrobial treatment done to it. It's been re-installed. All is well.


Darling Hubby and a couple of friends went door to door, helping put a temporary fix where they could so people would have water. When he found water running out the door, they turned off the water at the meter box.


I was going crazy because I had to turn my final manuscript file in to Amazon Kindle Digital Publishing on Feb. 24. I'd planned to have it copy edited and proofed by someone other than me. 

Guess what? That person was in the same no power/no water but as I. So when power was fully restored on Feb. 20 in the afternoon, I knew I had to do it myself which is never a good idea. When you write something, you know what it's supposed to say so your eyes don't pick up on wrong words or even typos.

Anyway, I dived in and started at the beginning of 100,000 word novel. I slept maybe 6 hours a day for the next 4 days. I knew I was running out of time so I cut one of the plot elements completely to speed up the process. Ended up with 85,000 word novel.

My deadline to turn it in was 6pm Wed. Feb. 24. I had emailed and asked for an extension due to NO POWER for a week, but they refused to give me an extension. 

So I got the job done. Started uploading the final file 39 minutes before deadline!

Since then I've found some typos—remember what I said that you shouldn't proof your own writing?—and I'll correct those when the book publishes on Feb. 28. I'm locked out until then.

I'll be uploading the file with those pesky typos fixed to Barnes & Noble, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords on Saturday if you prefer those retailers.


My new book, Every Little Lie, publishes Feb. 28. I'm still exhausted from the writing marathon. Just writing all this made me even more tired! *LOL* 

Love Has No Age Limits

Politicians, riches, and fame may come and go, but love—sustained by commitment, dedication, and, yes, work—lasts forever.

If you've ever sat vigil while someone is dying, you know intimately that at the end, love is the only thing on your mind.

That need for connection, for love, is what fuels the growing readership of romance novels. Either consciously or unconsciously, readers identify with that truth.

Gift of Indie Self-Publishing

The focus for traditional publishing of romance was a love story with a heroine in her twenties and a hero who was a few years older.

Writers who wanted to write about more mature lovers were hamstrung by editors who told them readers didn't want to imagine "old" people (meaning middle-aged people) in love and having sex.

I'm pleased to say that one of the benefits of self-publishing ebooks is that an author has the ability to write any kind of heroine and hero she wants. Is it any wonder so many authors have embraced indie self-publishing?

Forever Young

People age, but real love doesn't. It's forever young just as a person's mental image is locked at a certain age. You may look in the mirror and see wrinkles and gray hair, but the image of you inside your brain is a younger you, and that will always be true.

Ever walk down the street and catch your reflection in a store window? Did it startle you? Did you have the thought, “My God, I look just like my mother!” What you see in that reflection doesn't match the self-image embedded in your brain.

Shaking It Up

I like to write all types of characters. 

In many of my books, like The Trouble with Love, I have 3 love stories going on with 3 different generations.

I always write about two people who find each other in life. 

Regardless of their age, there will be romance, passion, and sex.

In the end, there will be love and commitment.

Grandparent Lovers?

Yes, in Still The One, the main love story was Burke and Ally. 

The secondary love story is between Burke’s grandfather and Ally’s grandmother.

They're the scheming matchmakers determined to get Burke and Ally back together. 

Guess what these seventy-something lovers have a sex life! Oh, horrors. What’s the world coming to?

There's no age limits on falling in love. Nor is there a consequence of age difference. In today's world, no one bats an eye at an older woman-younger man relationship. Older men and younger women were always accepted, and it's about time the reverse is true too.

In Old Enough to Know Better, Stormy is an older woman, and her soul mate just happens to be a younger man, Sean Butler. 

Sean has all he can do to woo Stormy who obstinately refuses to become involved with him—even though she’s half in love with him anyway.

So if you’re older than 30—or 40, 50, 60, or beyond—don’t despair.

The road of life is long and offers love and romance—and, yes, sex too—every step of the way.

Love is amazing, intense, breathtaking, and wonderful. That's true when you're young, and also true when you're old. 

Sometimes, when you’re older, those feelings are magnified. Mary Roberts Rinehart wrote in The Man in Lower Ten: “Love is like the measles. The older you get, the worse the attack.”

Takeaway Truth

No matter your age, I wish you the kind of love I write about: deep, passionate, committed love. The  Forever kind.

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Saturday Share Recipe: Chapati

Do you like flatbread? My family does. I make chapati fresh and serve it hot and delicious. 

Chapati is an unleavened flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent, and it's a great accompaniment to many different flavor profiles, not just Indian food.

Today, I'm using it for tacos rather than flour tortillas.

Yesterday, Darling Hubby made a pot of chili. He threw in a little of this, a little of that, some red wine that was left in a bottle we hadn't finished.

He put in everything that goes in chili: peppers, tomato sauce, ground beef, onions, and the wine. In case you're wondering, no beans.

Real chili doesn't have beans. If you like beans, go ahead and add them, but call it chili stew, not chili.

Of course, there's a lot of the thick kicked-up chili left so I'm using it for tacos for lunch.

Chapati Recipe

This recipe makes 10 chapati.


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup hot water or as much as is needed

If you don't have any whole wheat flour, use 2 cups of AP flour. I use organic unbleached white baking flour. It comes in a 10 pound size. You can find it at Amazon, Whole Foods, and Costco. You can use another brand like King Arthur's which is at most Walmarts, Krogers, etc. 


1. In a large bowl, stir together the flours and the salt.
2. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the olive oil and enough water to make a soft dough that is elastic but not sticky.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and "satiny" looking in appearance.
4. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts, or fewer than 10 if you want bigger chapati.
5. Roll each piece into a ball and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.
6. Heat an iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Grease very lightly.
7. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough until very thin like a tortilla.
8. When the pan starts smoking, put a chapati on it.
9. Cook until the underside has brown spots which takes about 30 seconds. Flip over and cook the other side.
10. Stack the cooked chipati on an oven-proof plate and keep in the oven on low, about 200 degrees F. to keep them warm.
11. Follow the same procedure until all the dough balls have been flattened and baked on the hot skillet.

Serve hot.

Takeaway Truth

You'll be surprised how delicious these are and how easy they are to make.

Add Authenticity to Your Writing

Why are beginning writers told to write what they know?

Because it gives authenticity to your words. Yes, even to writing fiction.

If a writer wrote only what he/she knew, there would be no genius serial killer books written, no trips to another galaxy, no vampires, and Regency novels would be confined to those books written in the nineteenth century.

What gives authenticity besides personal experience? Knowledge and Emotional Truth.

How do you gain knowledge if you don't have a degree in criminology or history or whatever is the background of your book?


A good writer does research. Look it up online in more than one reference book. Read well-written nonfiction and fiction books about the subject matter. Absorb the information so you can write about it and have it be realistic and authentic to the reader.

Emotional Truth

This is something we all have inside us. It's what an author mines in order to make the characters "real" to the reader.

Believable fiction comes from getting the facts right and from finding the underlying universal truth—the emotional truth—that makes the books as real to a reader in France as it does to a reader in America. 

Emotional truth is the recognition of the emotions at work in the characters. It's recognized on a subconscious level, but it's that which makes fiction come to life. When done well, it's what makes a reader say your book "spoke" to her. It's what makes books popular.

Writing what you know—the emotions you feel when hurt, scared, lonely, angry, lustful, or happy—is even more important in fiction because without that truth, your fiction will never succeed. You can never fake emotional truth and get away with it.

Takeaway Truth

Mining your emotional truth is painful, but necessary.

Quotation Post #1

Gosh, I'm in deadline hell, but I don't want to not blog every day.

Yep, I'm resorting to short, succinct posts.

Today's is from the remarkable writing teacher, Jack Bickham.

I have several of his books on novel writing, and I was fortunate enough to meet him many years ago.

Mr. Bickham said, "The writing of fiction is deceptive. It looks easy until you try it!"

Takeaway Truth

Truer words were never spoken. If you don't believe me, try writing a book.

On deadline.

Review: Spycraft, a Netflix Original

Do you think there are national security secrets so protected that no one can penetrate the wall of secrecy?

Watch Spycraft, the new documentary series from Netflix, and you'll come to the same conclusion I did.

If another country wants to know our secrets, they'll find a way.

How to Describe Spycraft

Spycraft is, well, let me just list a bunch of adjectives to describe this documentary series: captivating, compelling, eye-opening, frightening, depressing, and downright scary.

Captivating and Compelling because you simply can't look away. You watch with amazement at the things that have gone on in, especially in the last 50 years.

There are tools of the spy trade that you need to know about especially if you're thinking about writing spy thrillers. The things under development are mind-boggling.

It's eye-opening because you may not have any idea that all this stuff is happening behind the scenes. Sure we've heard about spies in the FBI and CIA.

But when you get the details of what they did and how many people were tortured and killed as a result of treason by those trusted agents, it's not just frightening, it's horrifying. 

Our citizens who risked their lives and were sold out for the contemporary equivalent of 30 pieces of silver makes you wonder when treason becames a crime with a prison sentence and the possibility of parole instead of punishable by death.

Depressing and Scary

To find so many people who are happy to sell out for money in positions of trust in the organizations that are supposed to protect our country and its citizens is simply depressing. Doesn't anyone have a moral compass in today's world?

It's scary because if they're the foxes guarding the hen house, then our country has bigger problems than we think.

Authors' Credentials 

Spycraft is based on the 2009 book written by Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton, and Henry R. Schlesinger with the Foreword written by George J. Tenet.

Audio Cover
Wallace is the former director of the CIA's Office of Technical Service and is a recipient of the CIA's Intelligence Medal of Merit. 

He founded the Artemus Consulting Group in 2004, providing management and intelligence counsel to corporate and government clients. 

He's also a contributor to the oral history program of CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence.

Melton is an internationally recognized author, historian, and expert on clandestine devices and technology.

He's the technical tradecraft historian at the Interagency Training Center in Washington, D.C. As such, he's assembled the world's largest collection of espionage devices. He frequently lectures in the U.S. and abroad.

Schlesinger is an author and journalist who has covered intelligence technologies, counterterrorism, and law enforcement with his work appearing in scientific and tech periodicals including Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Technology Review, and Smithsonian magazine.

The content of Spycraft is the real deal with interviews from scientists, shrinks, retired CIA officers, and other experts. Mixed with archival footage, it's amazing.

If you don't have Netflix, take their free trial or find a friend who has it so you can watch it. Read the book which is available in Kindle, paperback, hardback, and audio. 

Takeaway Truth

To describe this series in one word: brilliant. Watch it. Read or listen to the book.

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Short and Sweet: February Quote by Katherine Paterson

Short and Sweet post today because I'm on deadline.

This quotation is perfect for the February much of the country is having.

"I used to try to decide which was the worst month of the year. In the winter I would choose February. The reason God made February short a few days was because he knew that by the time people came to the end of it they would die if they had to stand one more blasted day." ―Katherine Paterson

About Katherine Paterson

Katherine Womeldorf Paterson is a Chinese-born American writer who has more than 30 books to her credit with 16 of them written for children.

Her book The Great Gilly Hopkins was one of my daughter's favorites. The movie of the same name, with the screenplay written by her son Steven Paterson, was truly delightful.

You may remember Ms. Paterson as the author of Bridge to Terabithia. From 1975 to 1980, she won 2 Newberry Medals and 2 National Book Awards for 4 different books.

Takeaway Truth

As I look out on this gray February day, I think Katherine Paterson was spot on with her description of this short month that already seems longer than one with 31 days.

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Time, the Precious Commodity

Too often, I find myself saying, "When I find the time, I'll do____________"

I hate saying that because I realize no one finds time. You make the time. 

When I start saying "When I find the time," what I'm really saying is "I've over-committed and don't have the time to do it all."


Starting today, I'm forced to prioritize. This year, writing new books is my number 1 priority. Writing. Writing. Writing.

So I'm going to start each day with that instead of fitting it in after I've finished all of the other stuff that are responsibilities small and large. If I don't get to the other stuff, then that means it's not nearly as important as my writing.

I say this because I have forgotten how to say no to others, and I must relearn that skill if I'm to achieve my most important goal this year.

Takeaway Truth

Everyone is allotted the same number of hours in a day. Those who achieve their stated important goals do so by using their time working toward their goals.

Wisdom from Super Bowl Greats

Since you're probably watching all the Super Bowl hoopla, you can read this later. *g*

Quotes from Super Bowl Personalities

When you're good at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something, they'll tell you. —Walter Payton, Chicago Bears

If football taught me anything about business, it's that you win the game one play at a time. —Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up. —Vince Lombardi

Winning isn't getting ahead of others. It's getting ahead of yourself. —Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible. —Vince Lombardi

Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it. —Lou Holtz

A champion is simply someone who did not give up when they wanted to. —Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys

Takeaway Truth 

Every quote above applies to living with purpose and working toward achieving something that's important to you.

Saturday Share: Thoughts About The Struggle

Today I want to share some thoughts about the Value of The Struggle.

If one wishes to achieve something special, something out of the ordinary, then there’s usually a fair amount of work and struggle involved. 

Even though we don't like adversity, when we meet it head-on, there's value in that and a lot to be learned from what happens.

One of the things to learn is that your self-identity is not the same as what you’re trying to achieve. 

As a writer, I had to learn to separate my self-identity from my writing. Reviews can destroy a writer if she doesn't learn to do that. 

Like all writers, I learned that lesson by getting published and getting reviewed. Journalistic reviews were rarely as vicious as online reviewers from anonymous people. You quickly learn to take everything with a grain of salt and move on down the road to success. 

A writer must learn that he or she is not his/her writing. If your writing gets rejected, that does not mean that you have been rejected, but a lot of people think it’s one and the same.

If you're an artist and want to get an exhibition of your work, you'll probably get turned down more often than invited. Once your work is out there, you'll get reviewed.

The same is true of virtually anything you want to achieve that's out of the ordinary. 

You'll have to learn that bad reviews or critical assessments of anything you're trying to do—whether it's organizing a community garden, starting a litter patrol to clean up a park, painting a picture, designing a logo, setting up your own business, or writing a book—will come your way.

The value of the struggle is that it makes you stronger. 

Struggle or adversity asks the question, "Do you really want this?" And it asks that question repeatedly every single time something keeps you from achieving what you want. How you answer that question determines your fate.

Separate Your Ego from Your Work

You can't learn if you're constantly nursing a wounded ego. Learning that you are not your writing, your art, your civic project, or whatever, is necessary in order to survive and thrive.

If you cave at the first sign of criticism, then you need to do some soul-searching to see if what you're trying to attain is really what you want—and you must want it with every ounce of your being.

Rejection and criticism are huge parts of living and working. If you decide you really, really want your goal, then go for it. Go all out with a passion that will drive you to the finish line.

Takeaway Truth

Just as you’ll never learn to swim unless you jump into the water, you’ll never achieve something awesome until you give it your all.

P. S. There's stil time to grab a free copy of Scents and Sensuality , the the free book I'm offering this month to subscribers of my newsletter. Be sure and subscribe so you'll get the free offers next month. There's a signup link below the candy hearts. Have a great weekend.

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

FREE: Valentine Romance, Scents and Sensuality


SCENTS and SENSUALITY, FREE for 3 Days Only!

For Subscribers to my free newsletter, Joan's Reader Friends, I gave away Kindle copies of my Valentine Romance you see above.

Review: "Loved the book! Two Geeks who had multiple ups and downs before they truly found each other. Lots of action and humor."

About Scents and Sensuality

A science nerd desperate for a date to her snooty cousin's wedding. A man desperate to put an end to his matchmaking mom's schemes. Let the games begin!

Free Books, New Releases, and Other Giveaways

Subscribers get a chance to get at free books, bargain books, and new releases with the books contributed by me and my friends.

For the last 3 months, I've offered these free books to readers of SlingWords too.  I've done this in order to entice you to sign up for my free newsletter. Some of you have so you'll be the first to know about the bargains and new releases.

I won't offer the free books again here on SlingWords until later in the year.

So sign up for my free newsletter today so you won't miss the next free and bargain book offers! (I have a new release publishing in a few weeks, and subscribers will get first crack at it.)

Takeaway Truth

Grab your free copy of Scents and Sensuality now. Then subscribe to my newsletter. By the way, when you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link for a free ebook romance.

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

3 Truths Writers Should Embrace

A lot of people want to write a book.

Many who want to write are scared off because they think they couldn't possibly write a book like the authors they admire.

Many who do write aren't as successful as they could be because they try to write like Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Dean Koontz, Sandra Brown, or whoever is the author they like to read.

The wannbes and those starting to publish totally miss some important truths about writing.

3 Truths Writers Should Embrace

1. Write the book that is in YOU—the kind of book that only YOU can write.

2. Don't try to be like anyone else—be yourself with your gifts, your talents, your insights, and your thoughts.

3. You are unique and there's only one of you in the whole world—accept, rejoice, and celebrate that fact.

Takeaway Truth

No matter how hard you try, you can only be you—and that's a good thing. 

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Sprouting Seeds: Shortcut to Vegetable Gardening

In a recent post Second Chance Reads for January

I mentioned a post on growing sprouts and gave the link for it.

As I was compiling that post, I thought I should talk more about how easy it is to grow sprouts and how nutritious it is.

I've been doing that for a long time, but I always used a piece of cheesecloth over the wide-mouth jar opening.

In looking at all of the sprouting jars and accessories on Amazon, I decided to upgrade. *g* 

I treated myself to a 2-jar with stainless steel strainer lids and rings. They're supposed to be delivered today.

Since I also ordered 1 pound of organic mung beans, I'll set up those 2 jars along with my usual wide-mouth jar and cheesecloth. Now I can grow 3 different kinds of sprouts. Since I hate kale, I'm going to sprout kale seeds and see if they are more palatable in a stir-fry than the leafy green itself.

Why Eat Sprouts

Nutritionists recommend 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day which amounts to 6 servings.

Most people can't even squeeze 1 or 2 veggies into their diets.

Sprouts make it easy. A handful in a salad, a handful on a sandwich, a handful or two in a stir-fry. With different kinds of sprouts, you don't get bored eating the same thing every day.

Before you know it, you've had  the recommended servings.

Are Sprouts Nutritious

Absolutely. They're rich in important nutrients. Depending on the type of sprout you eat, you get different ratios of nutrients. Most are high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K. 

Interestingly, most sprouts have higher amounts of those nutrients than the fully-grown versions of the same plants.

How to Start

You need this for equipment:
1. a wide mouth canning jar
2. a stainless steel strainer lid or a piece of cheesecloth
3. a stainless steel ring to secure the lid or a rubber band to secure the cheesecloth
4. sprouting seeds

Most people start sprouting with Mung Beans because they germinate fast. That kind of sprout is what you usually see in Asian cooking.

Mung bean sprouts were my introduction to sprouts of any kind when I first went to Japan many years ago.

You can get a pound of them at Amazon for $9.99. Since you only use about 1-2 tablespoons of seeds, all sprouting seeds last a long time. Store the unused seeds in a closed container in a cool dry place.

I ordered these because they're organic: Chimes Garden Organic Mung Beans for Sprouting, 16-Ounce Pouches. I haven't tried this brand before, but they're USDA organic so I assume they'll be perfect.

How to Sprout

I don't believe in reinventing the wheel, so I'll give you the link I referenced in my Second Chance Reads post: How to Grow Sprouts in a Jar. The post on TheSpruce website has illustrations and clear directions.

Basically, you soak the seeds overnight. The next day you drain and rinse the sprouts and set them aside. Every day thereafter you do the rinse and drain process twice, setting the jar aside after draining. Stop when the sprouts are the size you want.

It takes about a week to have sprouts ready to eat. They're best when they're small and just starting to turn green.

If you have some wide-mouth canning jars, all you need is cheesecloth or strainer lids. They come in plastic, but the stainless steel strainer lids (just the lids by themselves) are my choice for something that lasts a very long time which also helps me avoid plastic.

Yucky Vegetables Better as Sprouts

I'm not fond of kale, broccoli, and a few other veggies that are being included in everything at the supermarket. (You couldn't pay me enough to eat cauliflower-crust pizza!)

Surprisingly, these Superfoods aren't objectionable as sprouts.

This pound of Microgreen Mixed veggy sprouting seeds will be what I sprout next.

Takeaway Truth

I may learn to love kale and broccoli—as sprouts.

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Mystery of the Serenity Prayer Authorship

I was cleaning out files again—seems as if the job is never-ending—when I found a small poster that I'd forgotten about.

It's 7.25" wide and 10.5" high, and it's the Serenity Prayer with decorated iconography on the words Lord, Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom as you can see from the scan at left.

This little poster holds words that once helped me get through some tough times. I guess I no longer needed those words of wisdom since I haven't missed it in years.

Many years ago when we moved, the glass of the frame this had been mounted in broke. I removed the poster, with the intention of replacing the broken glass.

I guess getting settled in a new house and the business of life itself banished the poster from my thoughts.

A Mystery

When I found it, I set it by my computer, thinking I'd blog about it. The first thing I wanted to do though was find out who had composed these words that have guided so many troubled people through life. For instance, these words are held dear by those in Alcoholics Anonymous.

I turned to Google and discovered there's quite a mystery surrounding the authorship of the Serenity Prayer. A 2008 New York Times article by Laurie Goldstein related the myth and mystery of the prayer that generations of recovering alcoholics, indeed, of anyone trying to overcome big challenges, have used to help them hold on for one more day.

The Serenity Prayer

Lord, grand me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Simple words attributed for more than 80 years to Reinhold Niebuhr, a Protestant theologian who died in 1971.

Before his death, he was asked if he'd composed it, and he said he was quite sure he had. Ursula, his wife who also a  prominent theologian, concurred, saying it had been composed in the early 1940s.

Elisabeth Sifton, a book editor and publisher and Niebuhr's daughter, wrote a book about the prayer in 2003. She said her father had used it in 1943 in a Sunday service in Heath, Massachusetts, where the family spent their summers.

Beg To Differ

A Yale law librarian using new databases of archival documents disagrees. Newspaper clippings and a book from as far back as 1936 quote close versions of the prayer. with those quotations coming from civic leaders all over the U.S., a Y.W.C.A. leader in Syracuse, New York, a public school counselor in Oklahoma City, among others. 

All of those quoted were women. I wonder if that's because it speaks to the woman who is trying to do it all and hold everything together?

Fred R. Shapiro, then associate library director and lecturer at Yale Law School, entered the debate and published an article in the Yale Alumni Magazine debunking Ms. Sifton's claim. He believes Niebuhr was honest but may have unconsciously adapted the prayer from something he'd read or heard during his lifetime. Naturally, Ms. Sifton disagrees with that assessment.

Others have claimed to be the author, but no one can conclusively prove authorship or disprove Mr. Niebuhr's casual claim to it.

Does It Really Matter?

I cringe as I ask, "Does it really matter?" because authorship should be recognized and honored.

Sometimes, that's simply not possible to do though so the important thing becomes the power those words hold. They offer hope to someone struggling to get through 1 day without giving in to their personal demons or just plain exhaustion. Those words give hope and the underlying blunt message to the person reciting them is simply, "Hold on."

Takeaway Truth

Hold on. Hold fast. Hold tight to hope. As long as there is breath in your body, you can endure and get through this day.

Lord, grand me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

the Courage to change the things I can;

and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

February: A Month of Firsts

Welcome to February, the month of Groundhog Day, Presidents Day, but more importantly, the month we celebrate romance, love, and chocolate!  

Many firsts were accomplished by Americans. I plan to mention a few of those on the first of each month in 2021.

Even though there are some aspects of our history that we wish had never occurred, there were also many historical events of which we can be proud.

The philospher, essayist, poet, and novelist, known in English as George Santayana, was born in Spain and christened as Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás.

He was raised and educated in the U.S. from the age of eight and identified himself as an American. You may best know him as the man who said in a speech in 1905: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it!"

In 1948, Winston Churchill changed the quote slightly in a speech to the House of Commons: "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."

I believe those learned men were correct. Rather than rewrite history or tear down mementos of it, we should remember so the horrors of the past are never committed again.

This is the land of the free, and we should all embrace it as such and live so those words actually have meaning.  (I'll climb off my soapbox now.)

Historical Firsts by Americans in February

I've listed some birthdays simply because those listed below who were born in February helped shape our country in many ways.

From the frivolous to the serious, here are some firsts to acknowledge with a grin or with thought.

1635 — Boston Latin School, the first tax-payer supported (public) school in America was established in Boston, Massachusetts.

1821 — Elizabeth Blackwell who became the first female physician in the U.S. was born near Bristol, England. She and her family moved to New York State, and in 1849, she was awarded her Medical Degree by the Medical Institute of Geneva, New York. She established a hospital in New York City that was run by an all-female staff. Also, she was active in training women to be nurses for service in the American Civil War.

1847 — Inventor Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio. Throughout his lifetime he acquired over 1,200 patents including those for the incandescent lightbulb (patented in 1879), the phonograph, and a movie camera. You see him quoted often for saying: "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."

1849 — Photographer Mathew Brade took the first photo of a U.S. President in office, James Polk.

1878 — Hattie Caraway, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, was born in Bakersville, Tennessee. Her husband was one of the senators from Arkansas. 

Upon his death in 1931, she filled the remainder of his term. Then she ran for the seat herself and was elected, serving a total of 14 years.

1894 — American artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell was born in New York City. Ironically, he was best known for depicting ordinary scenes from small town American life for the covers of Saturday Evening Post magazine.

1895 — Hollywood director John Ford was born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Known for the classic films, The Grapes of Wrath and The Searchers, he served in World War II as chief of the Photographic Unit of Office of Strategic Services. He earned 2 Academy Awards for documentaries made during the war.

1910 — The Boy Scouts of America was founded by William Boyce in Washington, D.C., modeled after the British Boy Scouts.

1919 — Congress established Grand Canyon National Park.

1924 — Calvin Coolidge gives the first Presidential radio address.

1922 — Readers Digest was first published.

1926 —The first doughnut making machine was invented.

1938 — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released.

1942 — The first Medal of Honor during World War II was awarded to 2nd Lt. Alexander Nininger (posthumously) for heroism during the Battle of Bataan.

1943 — Four U.S. Army chaplains on board the U.S. Army transport ship Dorchester  gave up their life jackets to save 4 young soldiers. The ship was in the icy waters off Greenland when hit by a German torpedo. There were not enough life jackets on board so the chaplains removed theirs, handed them to 4 sailors, and the chaplains prayed while the ship went down.

1962 — Astronaut John Glenn became the first American launched into orbit. Traveling aboard the "Friendship 7" spacecraft, Glenn reached an altitude of 162 miles and completed three orbits in a flight lasting just under five hours. In later years, Glenn became the first astronaut elected to Congress.

1964 — GI Joe was launched. (But Barbie beat him to the stores. Ruth Handler invented the Barbie doll in 1959.)

2004 — Facebook, a mainstream online social network is founded by Mark Zuckerberg. (Don't know if that is good or bad, but it was a first! *LOL*)

Takeaway Truth

When you think that the first lightbulb was around 1879, and 83 years later in 1962, the first American went into orbit around the planet, it's mind boggling. Hope you enjoyed this itty bitty history of February Firsts. If nothing else, reading these tidbits will make you a master of trivia!

Subscribers are the first to know about New Books and Giveaways. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link to a free romance ebook.


Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Facebook  |  Twitter