Branding & Name Recognition

If you're in business on the internet—whether you're marketing books, tee shirts on shopify, or widgets of some sort—branding is of extreme importance.


Branding is telling the world who you are and what you have to offer.

A more formal definition is that branding is the process of creating a distinct identity for your business and/or product in the mind of consumers, specifically, those consumers who are your target audience.

At its basic level, branding is created by a company's logo or a product's image, the use of a consistent visual design, your goal or mission statement as to what you're doing or selling and why, and the style of the way you communicate to your consumers.


If your an author or other artist, the above translates into your name, your photograph rather than a logo although some authors are now creating a logo to represent what they offer in books, your books—cover art, voice, genre, etc.—your website, blog, and social media pages, your author tagline and/or credit line

For example, my tagline is "Writing Romance—One Sexy Book at a Time" and my credit line is NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. My tagline tells readers that they're getting a Romance with sexy scenes. If I could add extra words, I'd use One Man/One Woman to indicate that this is sexy traditional romance, but that would make the tagline way too long.

For artists, Name Recognition is a huge factor in branding. 

You want the public to see your name and recognize it immediately as that author or that YouTube painter or whatever.


1. Use your "real" name meaning the name under which you wish to do business for everything the public sees, not something cute like I did back in 2005 when I started this blog and named it SlingWords.

2. Write compelling biographies for every website you join if you're joining because of your business. If you're an author, Amazon Central, BookBub, Draft2Digital, all the social media sites to which you belong, etc. Make your biograph interesting. Shake it up and change it at least once a year. (I'm doing that now.)

3. Write reviews for books, products, and other things you use. You're a writer, so write reviews. It's time well invested because it hones skills. Make it a policy not to leave bad reviews because you're doing this for professional reasons. You want positive name recognition so if you can't say something nice, then say nothing at all.

4. Add your URLs, but not all of them, to your signature file for emails and forums, and always follow the group rules.

5. Choose one major social media you'll work. No one can do them all and do them well. Make a plan on what you'll post and when. Don't post the same message to every webpage.

6. Practice talking about your book so when you're in public and tell someone you're an author you can succinctly answer the question. "What's your book about?"

Practice in front of a mirror so you get comfortable talking about it.

7. Blog often on your own blog, group blogs, and guest blog when you have the time. Make it more than a "buy my book" blog post.

8. Do newsletter swaps with other authors so you reach a different audience.


In marketing, it's known that a name must be read/seen/heard at least 9 times before someone remembers it. Even if your promotion budget is zero, you can still create name recognition by using the targeted approach above.

Joan participates in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.

Make blogging easier and more effective with BLOG OPS, a book containing lessons I learned in15+ years of blogging.

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Just Graduated? Here's Some Advice

Darling Hubby and I took a week off for high school graduation celebrations. Wow! What a party.

We had a lot of fun and loved seeing the enthusiasm and optimism of the graduates.

We live-streamed the commencement program because there were more than 1,700 graduating seniors.

The after parties were a joy. I thought of all the bits of wisdom I'd like to share with those happy kids embarking on college or technical schools. Since I can't speak to each of them, I decided to share some wisdom here. 


"You cannot dream of becoming something you do not know about. You have to learn to dream big. Education exposes you to what the world has to offer, to the possibilities open to you." —Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice

"There is nothing more beautiful than finding your course as you believe you bob aimlessly in the current. Wouldn’t you know that your path was there all along, waiting for you to knock, waiting for you to become." —Jodie Foster, Actress

"We may live in an age of instant messaging, instant gratification and Instagram, but there is no way to short circuit the path to success." —Tory Burch, Fashion Designer and Philanthropist

"Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." —Arnold Schwarzenegger, Actor & Former Governor of California

"Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor." —H. Jackson Browne Jr., Author of Life's Little Instruction Book. (By the way, if you're looking for a great gift for a high school grad, this little book is wonderful.)

"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I'm possible." —Audrey Hepburn, Actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador


Dream big, graduates. It's like Albert Einstein said: "Imagination is everything. It is the preview to life's coming attraction."

Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.

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Friday Fun Facts: 7 Bits of Trivia

Good morning! Friday at last. I hope you've got a book picked out for some weekend reading fun.

Let's kick off the weekend with a some fun facts.

1. The expression, "Get fired," came about centuries ago. Clans that wanted to get rid of unwanted people without killing them, would burn down their houses. Thus they "got fired."

2. The elephant is the only animal with 4 knees.

3. In Peanuts by Charles Schultz, Charlie Brown's  father was a barber.

4. The names of 10 human body parts are 3-letter words: eye, ear, lip, gum, jaw, arm. rib, hip, leg, toe.

5. The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named after Ruth, Grover Cleveland's baby daughter, not the baseball player.

6. Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

7. The average number of sesame seeds on a McDonalds BigMac bun is 178.


If you haven't selected a book to read, may I recommend my May sale book?

SCENTS AND SENSUALITY is a zany RomCom about 2 nerds who each have an agenda.

It's on Kindle Unlimited if you're a subscriber.

Whatever you read, I hope it's a fun experience.


Have a great weekend.


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Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to help websites earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. 

How to Write Online Reviews

 At least once a year, I blog about how to write an online review whether it's for a book, a movie, or a product.

If you like something, you should write a review so other people can find that specific product.

As an author, I beg for reviews. Of course, I, like all the other authors, do it in a nice way by saying, "If you like this book, please leave a short review."

That's code for, "Please, please, please leave a review on my book."

We ask for reviews because we know how important they are for an author's success. Good reviews help other readers find our books.

We can't be blunt like Dave Ramsey, the financial guru on YouTube, and say: "Leave a 5 star review because that'll help us. Don't leave a 1 star. Just go on your way because we're not for you." Or words to that effect.


I understand what Ramsey means. Consumer taste is subjective. One person may love a book, movie, or some financial advice, but another may hate it. Bad reviews keep those who might love the book, movie, or whatever from giving it a chance.

That's where writing an objective review comes in.


An online review is like having a conversation with friends about a book you just read or a movie you watched or a video game you played.

Imagine you're getting together with friends for coffee, and you start telling them about this amazing book you're reading. That's the way you write a review—the way you talk.

A review should be about the product, not about the creator of the product. People create products. A review shouldn't denigrate the person who created it.

You can say something negative without a personal attack on the person with the intention of inflicting emotional harm.

The online world is full of bullies and trolls. Don't be one. There's enough animosity and hate in the world without perpetuating it.


1. Make notes.

After reading a book, watching a movie, using a product, etc. make a few notes while the experience is fresh in your mind.

If a book or movie, answer these questions. What was it  about? Did the story pull you in or was it a slow build? Did you like the main characters? Were they people you'd like to know? Did it end in a satisfying way? What were your emotions as you read or watched? Did you like the way everything worked out? Would you read something else written by that author?

2. Write a paragraph or two incorporating your answers to the above.

Keep it simple. Does it convey what you really felt about the book, movie, game, or website? Is it in an easy conversational style as if you were telling a friend about the book?

3. Read over what you wrote to check for grammar and misspelled words.

If you wrote it in one of the most common document apps, it's easy to spell check and grammar check.

4. Post the review on the webpage for the book, movie, game, YouTube video, etc.

Open a tab in your browser and navigate to the webpage. For example, if you bought the book on Amazon, go to the Amazon page for the book.

5. Copy and paste your review.

On the webpage, scroll down until you see Write a Customer Review. It's on most webpages that sell products. Click that. When the form opens, paste your review into the space allotted. Give it the number of stars that reflect how you felt. I've read reviews that raved about a book, but the reviewer gave it only 3 stars. 3 = average. That doesn't make sense.

6. Preview your review.

When you're finished, you always have the chance to preview what you wrote in case you'd like to add or remove something.

7. Click to Submit the Review.

That's it. Easy Peasy.


That's the review process in a nutshell. Easy, right? Go forth and review. Please.


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5 Ways to Write Strong Hook Sentences

I'm here to inspire you to write Strong Hook Sentences whether that's in writing books, short stories, blogs, or even letters/emails.

I started the discussion about Writing Strong Hook Sentences yesterday. You can read the post here.

It's a skill anyone can master.

Most written content requires a strong hook sentence to pull the reader in, and to make a reader keep reading.

You don't want a reader to shut the book and try another one. You want a blog reader to dive in and stay on your blog.

5 Ways to Write Strong Hook Sentences

1. Make a startling or compelling statement. Follow it with something that hits an emotional hot button.

2. Begin by evoking an emotional reaction in the reader.

Make them laugh, cry, afraid, angry, disgusted, or curious. Whatever reaction you elicit, make sure it has a universality which gets the same response from someone in Texas or someone in London or  Prague. 

We are all basically the same human animal once you remove the trappings of our respective cultures. What makes me cry, more than likely makes someone in Tokyo cry. Emotion is what sticks with a reader from the first word to the last.

5. By name dropping. We're a celebrity culture. 

There are millions who will stop to read a blog with a clickbait title like, "Kim Kardashian gives fashion advice to female prison inmates."

But they'll ignore, "High school home economics teacher gives fashion advice to female inmates."

"Chris Evans was my first movie crush which explains why all the losers I dated looked like him—one even had the shield which he brought on our first date—but in the end, none of them  turned out to be a Captain America."

That's more interesting than "An actor was my first movie crush which explains why all the losers I dated looked like him. Etc."

These are just 5 ways that work. Study books on writing, and you'll learn other ways.


Sometimes you have to write and experiment to get the words write. Don’t look at your words as if they're carved in stone. Be willing to write until the hook sentence really does hook the reader. 


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How Writing & Fishing Are Alike

You may think this is a strange title for a blog post about writing, but I'll explain.


Fishing requires a hook, That sharp metal barb on which the poor worm is impaled.

Writing also requires a hook.

In writing, the hook is the first sentence. Not just any sentence but a  strong introductory sentence.

The importance of this first sentence cannot be overestimated. It’s the key to getting readers to read what you write whether that's a blog, essay, magazine article, short story, or book. In the writing biz, we call that the hook sentence of course.

A writer has only a few seconds to hook the reader. 


When you fish, you bait the hook by putting a worm on it. In writing, the bait is the title of your book and/or the cover.

Just as a wiggling worm captures the attention of a fish, a writer captures a reader's attention with the title and cover so that the book browser stops and takes a closer look at your book—just as a fish swimming by stops to look at the worm.

Once the hook is baited, the fisher waits for the fish to bite. In the book world, once the reader’s attention is caught by the title, the cover, or maybe the author's name, you have a few seconds to see if the reader bites.


When a fish goes after the worm, the hook is set and the fish can be reeled in.

When a book browser reads the first sentence which is so compelling that the next couple of sentences are also read, the hook is set. The browser is tranformed into a book buyer, and you get to reel in your catch.


Another way fishing and writing are alike is that both take patience.

Come back tomorrow for 5 Ways to Create Great Hook Sentences.


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Replacements for Items No Longer Sold

Monday Magic today is a website that offers replacements for china or crystal that's no longer sold except at auction or estate sales.

In fact the website is called Replacements, and their search engine works fast.

Their stock comes from estate sales and auctions. 

Not only do they offer china, crystal, and silverware, but they also sell estate jewelry and watches for women and men.

I confess I had to look through the jewelry. Wowzer. Anything in that category would make a stunning gift. Sadly, I don't think I'll find the peridot drop earrings set in yellow gold under my Christmas tree this year.

On a more affordable note, I did find my china which I've had forever. It's Noritake in a minimalist design and is used for holidays and special occasions. 

Takeaway Truth

I always put the chipped dinner plate at my place setting so I'm excited to order a replacement.


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Mother's Day Wisdom 2023

I thought I'd share 2 of my favorite quotations about being a mother.

From Dorothy of The Golden Girls: "It is not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it."

For all of you moms with young children, relax. You're normal. What Reese Witherspoon said is totaly true: "If you are not yelling at your kids, you are not spending enough time with them."


Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday Share Recipe for Best Chocolate Frosting

I'll be honest. This chocolate frosting is so darn delicious—creamy, very chocolatey, and easy to make—that I refrigerate any leftover frosting.

When a chocolate craving hits, I'll eat a teaspoon of this frosting. That's all it takes to satisfy my need for chocoholic.

Since this is homemade, it's about as healthy as something like this can be. I've made it so often I can whip it up in minutes which really impresses people. 

This is the chocolate frosting our grandmothers and great grandmothers made because it's been on the back of a tin of Hershey's Cocoa powder since, well, I guess forever. I've made a couple of variations to the recipe. You can find the original on the back of every tin of Hershey's Cocoa.


1 stick (if you want it extra creamy and rich, use 1-2 additional tablespoons of butter)

2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa powder

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk (if you want it soft and gooey, add 1-3 extra tablespoons of milk)

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


In a microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the cocoa powder and blend well. Using your mixer, add the powdered sugar and milk a little at a time. Add the additional milk if you want it to spread as easy as whipped cream. Beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla last, mixing well.

This will frost a layer cake. If frosting a sheet cake, you'll have some leftover. 

Use leftover frosting to make a low-rent version of the delicious French dessert, pain au chocolat

Simply split a croissant or even a hard French roll and spread the frosting inside. Get fancy, and pipe the frosting into the croissant or roll.

Store any leftover frosting in a covered container in the fridge. You can freeze it if you wish. When you want to use it, defrost to room temperature. Don't heat it, or it will become grainy.


There's just something about a homemade cake. Several years ago, I put together a book of family recipes. Friday Is Cake Day is only 99¢.

If you love Reading, sign up for Joan's FREE Newsletter and receive exclusive content and  information about new releases, book bargains, and giveaways—plus you'll receive a download link for a free ebook. 

Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. This means she may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.

OMG! Dead Mouse in Wall!

Unfortunately, this cute photo of a decesed mouse is not what we're confronted with.

We've had daily flooding rain every day since Monday. Yesterday, I was in the living room, working on my laptop when I suddenly smelled something horrible!

I walked around the house and kept smelling it. I went to the hall leading to the bedrooms and gagged. I could tell the smell was emanating from the guest bathroom which is nearely opposite the door to my office.

Darling Hubby had been out doing errands. When he came home and stepped into the house, I was waiting at the back door. "Do you smell that?"

"Yeah. A mouse or something has got into the attic (which is supposed to be critter-proof according to the pest control company that did the insprection) and died.

Ladies, this is why you need a man. He donned disposable gloves, a mask, and changed from shorts and tee shirt to old fatigue pants and a long-sleeved shirt and pulled the attic stairway down. I ran for cover.

Every 10 minutes I shouted, "Are you okay up there."


About 40 minutes later, he came down. "I can smell it, but I can't find it because of the 12 inches of blown-in insulation between the floor joists."

He zipped up the insulating pad that covers the hatch opening and returned the attic stairway to its position. (I think that 4-inch thick pad that covers the hatch is why we hadn't smelled it earlier because it's pretty advanced in decomp.)

While he manned the phones, calling every critter control company in the area, I turned on the bathroom vent fan, closed all the doors opening onto the hall, gathered towels, and stuffed them in the small crack beneath the door and the floor—not only at the hall bathroom which smelled like a toxic dump but also at the other doors too.

We turned on air cleaners in all rooms and went to the media room at the front of the house. That's where we're hanging out until the critter control guy shows up. We're both wearing masks. It's manageable, but I have a feeling we probably smell like a dead mouse too.


All of the companies we called were flooded with similar calls so we had to get on a waiting list. I shudder to think what this might cost, but at this point, I'll pay just about anything.

Of course I looked this up online. The bad news is you usually have to endure it until decomp is concluded. 

With a mouse this takes at least 3 weeks. There's no easy way to make the smell go away. We have a commercial ionizer/air cleaner. We'll use that if the corpse can be located.

We're praying he can locate the little fellow although I have my doubts. A small house in a wall full of insulation? That's like the needle in a haystack full of needles. 

If I learn anything significant about dealing with this problem, I'll pass it on.


Worse case scenario if it can't be located? We're packing up and going to our house in the country for the next month. Iffy internet and cell service there, but at least we can breathe without gagging. Wish us luck!

P. S. If you have dealt with a problem like this, please leave a comment and give me some advice.


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Review: Tag on Prime Video

I haven't watched a movie as fun and zany as Tag in a very long time.

From the first few minutes, it was a reminder of how wonderful it was to be a child and play tag.


Believe it or not, this movie is based on the true story of a group of 10 friends who have played tag every February for more than 20 years.

The movie is based on a Wall Street Journal article, It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It by Russell Adams. The rules are simple.

Whoever gets tagged last on the last day of the month is IT for the rest of the year until February comes around again.

In the movie, the month is May rather than February, and the friend group is cut down to 5, but the movie is fun and funny with some poignant moments too.


In the movie, one of the group is getting married on the last day of May so nothing is too risky, too bad, or too funny to undertake to tag the one guy that has never been tagged before—the bridegroom. What follows is epic.

The cast was awesome. They make you want to jump in and play Tag too. Released in 2018, the movie stars Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones, and Hannibal Buress.

It's currently streaming on Prime Video.

Directed by Jeff Tomsic from a screenplay by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen, it was filmed in Atlanta.

Darling Hubby and I loved it! Go watch it. If you don't subscribe to Prime Video, I think you can probably purchase or buy on Amazon


With the exception of drug use and some F-bombs, this would have been a great family movie. As it is, don't let the kids watch which is a shame because it's the kind of story that young and old can identify with.


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Joan participates in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon.

Joys of Beach Romance

Ah, the beach. Sun on your pale winter skin, sand between your toes, surf rolling in foamy waves, and sky so blue it almost hurts your eyes! What's not to love?

Get into the beach mood with romance novels that touch your heart, make you believe in happily ever after, and leave you with a smile.


This beach romance series kicks off with LEGEND OF LAST CHANCE BEACH, a free story of how the island got its name. This should be free, but some retailers do charge 99¢ for it. Unfortunately, I can't make them honor the "free" price. 

After the Legend comes 14 novels, all set in the same island paradise. Many of the island's residents pop  up in the several of 14 novels.

The great thing about this series is that there are varying heat levels. Some are sweet, some are sizzling hot! The other great thing about this series is that the books don't have to be read in order. You can jump around or read only those that are sweet or the steamy ones. All of the books are captivating. I should know because I've read all of them.

Since I created the concept, I had the privilege of writing the first book in the series, DECEPTIVELY YOURS

I loved that book! Loved the characters—they seem like real people to me. In that book I also had the chance to use some of the art history research I'd done.

In that first book, I introduced the woman who would be the heroine in  the second book which is FOOLISHLY YOURS. That book was inspired by my dear friends, Pat and Charles, so I gave their names to the heroine's grandparents—one was white and one was African American.

In this second book, Samantha is quad-racial and proud of the heritage she has from her grandparents—especially her grandmother who also has Cherokee heritage—and her Hispanic dad. Like the heroine, I had a Cherokee ancestor on my dad's side. The Hispanic heritage the heroine has represents my much-loved daughter-in-law and our grandchildren.


If you're looking for a heartwarming, heart throbbing reading experience, try any of the LAST CHANCE BEACH Romance Novels.


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May 8 Is V-E Day

On this day, 78 years ago, Europe celebrated the end of World War II in Europe.

On April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide during the Battle for Berlin, and Karl Dönitz, his replacement as President of Germany, authorized the surrender of Germany.

The act of military surrender was signed on May 7, 1945 in Reims, France, and on May 8, 1945 in Berlin, Germany.

Thus May 8 is commemorated as V-E Day—Victory in Europe, the day the Allies formally accepted Germany's unconditional surrender, ending Hitler's Third Reich, an era responsible for years of the bloodiest conflict in human history, and the death of millions of innocent people.

This day is still a national holiday in France known as Victoire 1945 or La fête de la victoire. May 8 is also celebrated as a holiday in several other European countries.


When I was a child, V-E Day was a day commemorated in the United States in most homes.

My dad was a soldier who landed at Normandy on D-Day. My mom worked in a factory that made cannon shells for tanks. We were a very patriotic family.

When I was growing up, we had neighbors, an elderly couple who were the only surviving members of their families. They lost everyone in the camps.

Another neighbor, Jeanne, was a child during World War II. Originally from Belgium, she had vivid memories of the war.

Several years ago, I was in Paris. It was a hot August afternoon, but that didn't stop elderly men and women who had been in the French Resistance from marching in a parade honoring those who fought in the war.

Takeaway Truth

So, for Jeanne, Mr. and Mrs. Heller, those French Resistance fighters, my Dad, and all the other soldiers who fought in Europe (and in other parts of the world) to save the world, I honor V-E Day.

Photo "Arc de Triomphe Paris" by Wiki Images from Pixabay 


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Sunday Thoughts About Niceness

Yes, today's post is about niceness—the quality of being nice or pleasant.

Nice has become a word that's not quite an insult but a word that isn't much of a compliment either.

Nice means pleasant, agreeable, or satisfactory. What's wrong with being considered one or all of those 3 adjectives?

In today's world, it seems as if being disagreeable and rude is the order of the day. Why is that? Didn't parents teach manners to the people who inhabit the world now young teens and/or adults?

Treat Others As You Wish To Be Treated

The Golden Rule was taught to one and all. The Golden Rule when I was growing up did not mean those who have the gold make the rules. It meant, treat others as you want to be treated. 

That truth was taught to me and all the other kids by our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and ministers, etc. Kids' books in school and public libraries were based on principles like that.

Embrace Niceness

Sales employees, delivery people, trash collectors, airline employees, customer service reps, teachers—everyone you can think of who deals with the public—probably wish there was a revolution of niceness in the world. 

These hard-working people are confronted daily by rude, offensive behavior in the young and old. Why? It's as if everyone has a short fuse in today's world, and they take out their anger, impatience, and bitterness on whoever crosses their path.

Think about your interaction with people. Are you nasty or nice? If nasty, why? Did someone deserve it? Even if they did, you don't have to respond in the same manner. Fighting rudeness with rudeness only increases anger, resentment, and stress—in you and the other person.

Want to be treated to a smile and kindness? Give a smile and be kind. It works miracles, and it will make you feel good.

Takeaway Truth

Take to heart what Maya Angelou said: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."


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Saturday Share Recipe: Tex-Mex Chili Gravy

In March, I shared the recipe for Mi Casa Rice, a Tex-Mex recipe for what many call Spanish Rice. It has my own adaptation which is why I call it "my house rice."

 I live in Texas so I cook a lot of Tex-Mex food which many call Mexican food. There's a  difference in tacos, enchicadas, etc. as made in Mexico and in Texas. 

Our Tex-Mex food in Texas is a delightful blend of both cultures.

Today I'm sharing another Tex-Mex recipe which I make in bulk and freeze the leftovers for other meals.

In case you can't find Mexican Oregano in your local market, I've included a link to Amazon where you can find several different brands.

Tex-Mex Chili Gravy


1 large diced onion (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 smashed and diced garlic cloves or equivalent amount of garlic powder

3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat or vegetable oil

3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil of your choice

3/4 cup AP flour

3 cups beef broth

3 tablespoons chili powder

3 tablespoons cumin

2-3 teaspoons salt, to taste

2 teaspoons Mexican oregano

2 teaspoons smoked paprika


There are a few steps, but this recipe is worth it.

1. Saute the onion in the rendered bacon fat or oil. (The bacon fat adds a fabulous smoky taste and depth of flavor.) Cook until very soft and translucent, but not brown. When onion turns brown, it gets bitter.

2. Add the garlic to the onion and saute another minute, making sure not to burn the mixture.

3. Remove the onion and garlic to a bowl. If you don't want the trace of bacon fat left in the pan, you can wipe it out with a paper towel, but you will be adding the 3/4 cup of oil to this pan so it's okay to leave the fat that remained from cooking the onion and garlic.

4. Whisk the flour into the vegetable oil. You'll stir and cook this until the roux is dark brown color. This will take many minutes depending on how high your heat is. Be careful not to burn the roux.

5. When the roux is a deep brown color, reduce the heat, turn on your vent fan if it's not already on, and begin pouring the beef broth into the roux. Pour slowly, stir or whisk rapidly. When all of the broth has been added, stir and cook until the sizzling steam has subsided.

6. Increase the heat to medium and add the cooked onion and garlice. Stir well to mix.

7. Now stir in the rest of the ingredients—the salt and spices. Stir after adding each spice.

8. Cook until the mixture is smooth and thickened.

Serve hot with enchiladas, tamale, rice, tacos, charro beans, chalupas, etc. 

Refrigerate leftovers. If you don't plan to use this within a few days, freeze in a proper container for future use.

Takeaway Truth

This isn't difficult to make, but it takes time so be patient. The taste is better the second day because the flavors meld so  beautifully. 

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Joan participates in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon.

99¢ Sale for May: Scents and Sensuality

My sale book this month is a very sexy romantic comedy, Scents and Sensuality.

Note: Explicit sex. Please don't take this free book if you don't like this kind of book. 

I've realized readers who don't like sexy romance tend to leave bad reviews which affects the overall rating of a book.


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!

"Loved the book! Two Geeks who had multiple ups and downs before they truly found each other. Lots of action and humor. I highly recommend this book to anyone who reads for pure pleasure!" —Karren Lucas Review

Perfumer Amanda Whitfield no longer sees the science geek when she looks in her mirror—thanks to the makeover her best friend gave her—but inside she still feels like that geeky awkward girl. 

She knows all about the Science of Sex Appeal, in a purely intellectual way, but when it comes to a practical application of the knowledge, as in Romance and Sex, Amanda draws a blank.

Desperate for a date to her cousin's wedding, Amanda, follows her best friend's advice to portray an empty-headed hottie whose bra size is a bigger number than her IQ. She'll do whatever it takes to get a date for her cousin's wedding because there's no way she'll go without a man on her arm.

Enter a matchmaking mom with a son to marry off. Computer genius Harrison Kincaid is fed up with his mother's crazy schemes. He's determined to teach her a lesson, but, first, he must deal with her latest prospect, Amanda Whitfield. He hatches a plan to ensure that Amanda will kick him to the curb.

Surprise! When Amanda and Harrison meet, desire crackles like electricity between them. They each have an agenda. They both lie. What will happen when the masquerade is revealed? Will the truth set them free to love or rip them apart?


The regular price of $3.99 is reduced to only 99¢. Grab this book before the sale goes away.

Joan participates in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon.


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