Snipers & Wind

I'm finishing up Cinderella Blue. (Yes, you readers who have emailed me urging me to write faster will soon be rewarded!) The next book I'm writing is Book 3 of the Texas One Night Stands series. The tile is Forever Starts Tonight and the hero of this story is a former Special Ops sniper.

This calls for research! To refresh my memory about snipers, I returned to a few of the books I've read:

SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper by Howard Wasdin and Stephen Templin

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by the late Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice. (A new memorial edition of this book will be published in October.)

I was trying to remember the way the snipers in training learned to judge wind speed. For instance, if the wind rustles the leaves in the trees and you can feel the wind on your face, then it's considered a light breeze, and that's about 4-7 miles per hour. That kind of thing. It's something hunters probably know, but unless you're close to nature for one reason or another, you probably don't know this.

Beaufort Wind Force Scale

The Beaufort scale relates wind speed to observed conditions as shown in the example above. Francis Beaufort is credited with the scale, in 1805, but the scale actually was the culmination of the work of many others along the way, including Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Crusoe.

Interested? The scale is still used today with some modern additions. Check it out at the Wiki that lists the Beaufort scale from 0 to 12 and you too can judge wind speed by its effect on things around you.

For some real fun, go look at the Wind Map of the United States. Totally fascinating. Click on it to Zoom.

Takeaway Truth

I love learning new things, don't you?

Tom Townsend & Evil Tanks

My friend Tom Townsend emailed me with a promo still of his new book.

Evil Toy Tanks was finally released by Royal Fireworks Press.

Movie News

Tom has finished the script he was working on. Tom has his fingers in a lot of pies. He has a TV show "Military Motor Pool" on Hulu, he supplies military vehicles to the movies and sometimes does stunt driving, and he has a production company among other things. You may have seen Tom's name, or Toyland Combat Vehicles, in the credits for the recent movie about the White House being taken by terrorists. He has quite a collection of military vehicles at his compound.

Take a look at the Evil Toy Tanks video. ETT is Tom's 29th book. Totally humorous and irreverent throughout, it's "middle reader" level and available from the publisher, Amazon, or, get an autographed copy from the author by writing tom at tomtownsend-toyland dot com. (Price is $10 plus postage.)

While you're over on Tom's YouTube channel, watch Charles Varner's Audition Tape for the role of General George Patton in a new History Channel mini-series. Tom's company produced the tape.

Takeaway Truth

Tom Townsend is a renaissance man. (I can't help but feel like a slacker when he tells me everything he's doing.) Look for him in movie credits or on the bookshelf.

Book Spotlight: Faver, Langston, Starling, Ayers

I'm back to point out some books you may not be acquainted with. This time I'm featuring books by J.D. Faver, D.J. Starling (leave a comment on the post and win a copy of Deja Vu by D.J.Starling), Jenn Langston, and E. Ayers.

Although I'm giving the Amazon Buy Link, the books are available at all ebook sellers.

J.D. Faver: Contemporary Western Romantic Suspense

I have to brag here just a bit. These two book covers were created by my daughter, graphic artist and photographer Adina Mayo. If you need a book cover, contact Adina Mayo Photography, she's experienced, inexpensive, and timely. She does all my book covers.

The Doctor's Choice

Book 1: Badlands Series. Will she choose love or money? The Cowboy or the City? The murder of her only relative forces Camryn Carmichael, a lonely young doctor, to choose between her dream career in a Houston research hospital and a rural practice close to rancher, Breckenridge T. Ryan the maddening man she loses her heart to. Cowboys, murder and romance. Oh, my!

The Reluctant Rancher

Book 2: Badlands Series. E.J. Kincaid wants to get the hell out of Dodge, or in this case, Langston, Texas. He sees nothing but miles and miles of Texas panhandle, even though his daddy does seem to own most of it. Local veterinarian, Jenna Lewis, thinks he’s a complete jackass. In spite of their thorny relationship, a prank of E.J.’s turns the tables on the lovely red-head who proves to be both a worthy adversary as well as a fiercely loyal ally. Murder, cattle rustling and kidnapping! Will E.J. be able to rescue the woman he loves, or will his efforts result in forfeiting both their lives?

Jenn Langston: Historical Romance

His Perfect Bride

The Marquis of Stonemede is on the hunt for an obedient bride, while strong-willed Brianna Denton intends to marry an untitled gentleman. When fate pushes them together, will they sacrifice their beliefs of a perfect future for a chance at true love?

D.J. Starling is a successful team writing collaboration. Starling is giving away 1 copy of Deja Vu, a novel with paranormal elements, in the format of the winner's choice to a lucky commenter. Leave a comment on the post along with your email addy to be eligible.


Deanna has a new business venture that takes priority over romance, yet she longs to meet her Mr. Right. Haunted by a recurring nightmare, she enters a dark and dangerous world. Josh is at the pinnacle of a demanding career, but he begins to yearn for a serious relationship. Neither could have ever suspected that a vintage keepsake would clear the path to true love.

E. Ayers: Women's Fiction

A Child's Heart (Trent & Cassie's Story) (A River City Novel)

When Trent Callahan brings his dinosaur-loving son to the River City Museum, Cassie Jones, curator of the museum, falls head-over-heels in love with the boy and his father. But Cassie's love drags Trent deep into her tangled web of city politics, drives a wedge between him and his mom, and shows him that history is far from boring and dreams are worth chasing.

Takeaway Truth

Great entertainment at low cost. What more could you want to while away the summer heat?

Review: The Witch on Twisted Oak

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of The Witch On Twisted Oak by Susan C. Muller. The suspense novel is now available on all ebook platforms, and here's what I thought.


The whimsical beginning of this gritty police procedural suspense novel sets you up for a shock when the story explodes.

Detective Ruben Marquez is thrust into a grisly murder investigation that is much too close to his mother's home. The first twenty-four hours, crucial to every homicide investigation, proves frustrating to Ruben and partner Adam Campbell.

What's even more frustrating than an investigation going nowhere is his mother's behavior. Although she says she knows nothing, Ruben finds himself questioning Mamacita's official statement. To make matters worse, Ruben is alarmed by the sudden change in Mamacita's physical appearance and attitude.

Muller deftly weaves a suspenseful investigation around Ruben and his family, showing their closeness as well as the cracks in what had once been an impermeable familial bond. The author never makes a misstep as these two homicide detectives try to find the murderer and protect Mamacita who has been proclaimed a witness by the local newspapers.

To Ruben's surprise, Tessa Reyna, the woman who steps up as the victim's only Houston relative, is someone who pushes all his buttons–and not necessarily in a way he likes. Tessa clings to her secrets until the very end just as Ruben clings to his deeply-held beliefs and stubbornly resists a the truth that is revealed.

Even when the murderer is unmasked, questions remain to the very end, keeping the reader turning the pages. Can Ruben and Tessa overcome their pasts and accept the other, including their respective beliefs, in order to be together?

Don't miss The Witch on Twisted Oak, a taut police procedural with a paranormal edge and a well-rounded cast of characters who are, refreshingly, Hispanic rather than the usual Anglo, adding a different dimension to this mystery set in Houston.

Book Details

Title: The Witch on Twisted Oak
Author: Susan C. Muller
Published Format Unknown: 402 pages
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Copyright: 2013
ISBN: 13-978-1-61935-267-4

Takeaway Truth

If you like police procedural with a paranormal edge, you'll like Muller's new novel.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy -- no, not the John Le Carre novel, but a description of what a writer must be to succeed in today's Wild West of Publishing.


Looking at the blog today is a perfect example of the writer as Tinker. I'm tinkering with the blog design. I fixed the social media buttons, but at the cost of the pretty template I had. So I'll keep tinkering until I get the best of all elements.

Most writers, unless they contract out all the services of web design, promotion, writing/editing/formatting, etc., must learn how to do a variety of tasks, not the least of which is maintaining a website and blog.

I like tinkering around with graphics and HTML so this isn't a hardship for me, but many writers are technophobic and avoid these tasks completely. I always backup what I plan to tinker with so if I make a mistake, I can just backtrack.

Then there's tinkering with the book description, cover art, and all the other aspects of being an indie writer. In truth, as my friend Lois Winston  noted this week: "A writer must wear a lot of hats."


We writers end up tailoring our books to meet our ideal audience's expectations. That's not to say we write according to what readers request, but we do know our readers -- or we should -- so we can push their buttons and give them the reading experience they want.

I find myself tailoring a lot of the wonderful templates and files other authors share in order to make use if it. Most writers are so generous. When they create a spreadsheet or something that helps them, they usually share it.

Writers find what works for them -- on either the business end or the creative -- and they tailor their efforts to take advantage of that knowledge.


Readers, guess what? Writers are soldiers. We go bravely into the minefields of writing and publishing and fight our insecurities, lack of confidence, dwindling sales, and vagaries of fate every day. We soldier on, day after day, whether it's in writing or in marketing. Contrary to what many readers believe, writing never gets easier. If anything, it gets harder because the more we write, the more we learn and realize how lacking we are.


No, we don't spy on our fellow writers, but we do spy on readers. We hang out in bookstores and watch what readers buy. Those who are bold actually ask readers why they chose the book they take to the cashier. We hang out at book webpages, reading reviews to see what readers mention in positive reviews. We pay attention to what readers Tweet and FB because we want to learn what readers like. We're constantly gathering intel to see if we can spot trends.

Takeaway Truth

Don't be afraid to tackle something that's new to you. There's plenty of information on the web that explains how to do just about anything plus there are authors who are happy to help other authors or readers.

Snake On The Doorstep

Yesterday afternoon around 5:00, I went out to the garage, jumped in the golf cart, and drove over to the post office to check the mail. Returned in about 5 minutes, backed the cart back into its slot, stepped out and nearly had a heart attack.

There was a baby snake firmly caught in a glue trap by the back door. I probably jumped backward, about 4 feet in the air. Scared the you-know-what out of me.

Hubby, Where Art Thou?

My darling hubby, who is in Tulsa, normally contends with unwelcome varmints. He keeps a glue trap in the garage by the back door to catch the field mice who sneak into the garage. We haven't really seen one of those tiny rodents in months, but the traps stay there just in case.

I stared at the angry snake and could tell by the shape of the head and the eye that it was some variety of poisonous snake. (In case you're thinking this is a rat snake, it's not. The picture above isn't very good, and the snake's skin is stretched so you don't get a clear picture of the pattern that way.) Even though it was stuck, it still was making every effort to strike at me.

I felt bad for the snake, but I wasn't going to get too close. What I should do with it? I definitely did not want to pick the trap up just in case it could free its head. So I decided to let nature take its course -- whatever that might be.

I grabbed the garage broom and, keeping well away in case it managed to free itself, pushed the trap away from the back door and to the outside of the garage.

Snake Reality

Now, in case you think I was being silly over a baby snake, let me tell you that a baby poisonous snake can bite you and inflict just as much damage as a full-grown snake -- and I'm 40 miles from a hospital that might stock anti-venom.

If you think I was being cruel, well, you obviously have never had to contend with snakes in the wild. I know enough to recognize the benign reptiles and leave them alone. They serve a purpose in the ecosystem and don't pose a threat to people. The poisonous ones have their place in the ecosystem too, but only experienced experts should handle them.

I pushed the trap out to the end of the driveway. I figured if the snake freed itself, it could crawl away. If a hawk, buzzard, or other bird came by and saw the snake, well, it's like Josey Wales said in the movie, "Buzzards got to eat too."

This Week's Special

I'll take my mind off the snake and tell you about this week's special deal. Subscribe to the Kindle Edition of SlingWords by Joan Reeves -- only $.99 a month. Keep your subscription beyond the free 14 day trial period, and I'll give you a free copy of my new book Copyright Smarts For Writers. If you're a non-writer reader, I'll send you a coupon for a free copy of my nonfiction inspirational book Written Wisdom.

Simply subscribe, then email me at Joan at JoanReeves dot com (Subject Box: REAL LIVE PERSON -- SW Subscription. In the email, give me your receipt # and the Date you started the subscription. I'll email you a PDF of the new book or the Coupon Code for Written Wisdom 30 days later.

Takeaway Truth

Truth 1: Enjoy reading the blog on your Kindle device or Kindle app on your phone.

Truth 2: I won't be going into the garage at night.

I Am Strong; I Am Invincible

Remember the Helen Reddy song, I Am Woman?

She sang about being strong, being invincible, and she shouted triumphantly, "I am woman."

I must tell you that song reverberated in my brain as I strode out to the garage and took a seat on the riding lawn mower.

I'll admit that my heartbeat sped up and I felt a little anxious, but the lawn needed mowing. I told myself I could do it even though my hubby usually started the monster mower and let me climb on to take a few turns around our acres. You see, I'm here but darling hubby is in Tulsa on a biz trip. Grass won't wait. A week without mowing, and the grass gets so tall the coyotes can hide in it.

You Can Do This

So I talked myself through the instructions. Make sure the brake is on, the blade is up, and the gear is in neutral. Slide the choke up to the top. Turn the key and don't cringe when it starts with one heck of a noise.

Slide the speed up to 2 and engage the gear. Move the choke to the middle. Let off the brake. Slowly move out of the garage and onto the grass. Brake. Lower the blade. Release the brake.

Tim Allen said, "My mom said the only reason men are alive is for lawn care and vehicle maintenance."

I don't know much about vehicle maintenance, but, guess what Tool Man? I can mow the lawn -- maybe not as neatly as hubby, but I got the job done. I must confess that I felt pretty invincible bouncing around on that riding lawn mower.

Takeaway Truth

Yep, I am strong. I am invincible. I am a mow-w-w-w-w-w-er!

Names of the Full Moon

The full moon has been spectacular lately. Next month, it will really put on a show. Did you know that the full moon in each month has a name? Actually, there's usually more than one name for each month's full moon.

I grabbed an old Farmer's Almanac from my bookshelf to refresh my memory about these names.

January: Moon After Yule or Old Moon

February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, or Wolf Moon

March: Sap Moon, Crow Moon, or Lenten Moon

April: Grass Moon or Egg Moon

May: Planting Moon or Milk Moon

June: Rose Moon, Flower Moon, or Strawberry Moon

July:Thunder Moon or Hay Moon

August: Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon

September: Fruit Moon or Harvest Moon

October: Hunter's Moon

November: Frost Moon or Beaver Moon

December: Moon Before Yule or Long Night Moon

Takeaway Truth

I'm sure you recognize some of these full moon names as book titles.

Time Management: Killing Time?

Everyone has odd minutes in the day when they're waiting for something:
  • waiting on hold on a phone call
  • waiting for the dryer to finish a load of clothes
  • waiting for your kids at the bus stop
  • waiting for the dinner casserole to finish baking
  •  waiting in line at the grocery store, the post office, etc.
What do you do with those minutes -- 2-10 minutes here and there scattered throughout your day and evening?

Plan Ahead

Don't kill time. Arrange stations in your environment where you can take advantage of those small blocks of time.
  • Set up a basket of magazines, newspapers, or articles you printed from the internet. Keep the basket on the kitchen counter so you can pull out a chair, sit, and read while you wait for whatever kitchen or household task needs a few minutes more.
  • Keep a notebook and pen next to the chair in the den where you usually sit when keeping the family company and watching TV. Pick it up and make notes about your current project. Brainstorm ideas. Sketch out promotional materials you want to have printed.
  • Keep a journal within easy reach. When you have a few minutes, jot down your thoughts for the day.
  • Keep your ebook reader near your purse so you can drop it into your handbag and carry it with you wherever you go. You'll always have something to read while standing in the lines that characterize modern shopping.
  • Close your eyes and repeat a positive affirmation that supports you and your goal achievement.
Takeaway Truth

Never kill time. Use every moment if only to consciously relax and feel better. I believe it was Thomas Edison who said: "How can you kill time without wounding infinity?"

Girly Obsession With Nail Polish

Nail Polish by © 2009
Guess what you can't find out in the country? A nail salon. I think the nearest one is about 40 miles away, but I may be forced to locate one because my nails look terrible.

Obsessing about the deplorable lack of a recent "mani-pedi" made me think about my girly obsession with nail polish.

How long have we women been polishing our nails?

Nail Polish: Nothing New

Nail polish is nothing new. Back in 3000 BC, the Chinese polished their nails. In the Zhou Dynasty, around 600 BC, the royal house used gold and silver paint for their nails. That gave way to red and black in another dynasty. Red was also popular with the upper class in Egypt where the lower classes wore pale colors on their nails.

Auto Paint = Nail Polish

Yes, it's true. The invention of auto paint brought nail polish to American women. Prior to that event,  tinted powders and creams were rubbed onto the nails and buffed until the nails were shiny. Then, in 1917 Cutex invented the first modern nail polish -- from auto paint. In 1932, the Charles Revson Company, which later morphed into Revlon, produced their first bottle of nail polish.

This sounds gross, but instead of wearing gloves, people used nail polish to cover up dirt beneath the nails. Yuk.

Originally, nail polish was available in clear, red, pink, purple, and black only. Today, you can get it in every imaginable color and shade as well as various finishes and embellishments.

Takeaway Truth

I have too much writing to do to take off for a drive to the city. I guess I'll give myself a manicure. {sniff, sniff} I miss the city.

5 Popular Phrases: From Then To Now

Popular Culture, the attitudes, ideas, and other aspects of a culture heavily influenced by mass media, seeps into our everyday lives.

One might think that the label "popular culture," pop culture as we often say, was created in today's fast paced world, but it wasn't. You have to look to yesterday -- to the 1800's in fact to find its origin.

Whether you're a historical novel fan or just someone who finds trivia bites appetizing nuggets of information, you'll like today's short post: origins of some of our common phrases.

Pop Culture

These phrases became part of pop culture long ago, and they're still around today

Don't swap horses in the middle of the stream.
This phrase which means to stay with the one in office was first used in 1864 by Republicans in Abraham Lincoln's re-election campaign.

Robber Barons
A phrase used to describe the ultra rich originated in the late 1860's, but it became a symbol of corporate power and greed in 1934 with the publication of Matthew Josephson's best seller The Robber Barons.

Don't give up the ship.
In 1813, Captain James Lawrence, mortally wounded in the battle between the USS Chesapeake and the HMS Shannon, cried out, "Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks." Shortened, his plea became: "Don't give up the ship."

The New South
You hear this a lot, but it's actually been around since the Civil War ended. It was used by Southern proponents of industrial development in the South to mean economic expansion.

A woman's body belongs to herself alone. It does not belong to the United States of America or any other government on the face of the earth.
No, that wasn't something written by Steinem, Friedan, Greer, or any of the other feminists of my youth. Margaret Sanger wrote that in Woman Rebel in 1914.

Takeaway Truth

Some phrases just stick -- like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth.

Review: Ain't She Sweet by SEP (Audio Edition)

Without a doubt, Ain't She Sweet? (Kindle Edition) is my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel. I bought it in print when it first came out then bought it for my Kindle, Now I've bought it for my iPod.

I just sent an Audible gift of this book to my daughter who now has quite a commute each morning since she bought a house some distance from the school where she teaches. What better way to introduce her to the pleasures of audio books?

The Book's Appeal

I'm not only southern, I also write southern humor so I have a special fondness for books about small southern towns -- the characters, the mores, and the delightful southern colloquialisms.

This book is like sitting on a porch with a bunch of women on a hot Sunday afternoon, sipping ice tea, and letting the conversation swirl around me.

Kate Flemming portrays the women of the small Mississippi town perfectly. She's got the right amount of drawl and brings Sugar Beth and the other women to life.

It's a good thing digital recordings don't wear out because I've listened to this one so many times that were it CD, it would be worn thin.

Takeaway Truth

Great book. Great performance. Perfect entertainment.

Bill Crider: New Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery

I received a notice this morning from Murder by the Book, that one of my favorite mystery authors Bill Crider will be signing copies of his new book Compound Murder, the latest in his Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, at their bookstore on Saturday, August 17, at 4:30in the afternoon.

If you are in the Houston area, don't miss this chance to meet one of the best authors in the mystery genre. He's also pretty darn funny with a dry sense of humor. If you can't make it and want an autographed copy, keep reading. I'll tell you how to get one. Also, below is the Kindle Shop link if you want it for your ereader.

More About The Book

Publisher: Minotaur
Price: $24.99, Hardcover

Blurb: Before classes start one morning, the body of English instructor Earl Wellington is found outside the building of the community college. Wellington was clearly involved in a struggle with someone and has died as a result. Sheriff Dan Rhodes pursues and arrests Ike Terrell, a student who was fleeing the campus. Ike's father is Able Terrell, a survivalist who has withdrawn from society and lives in a gated compound. He's not happy that his son has chosen to attend the college, and he's even less happy with the arrest.

Rhodes discovers that Wellington and Ike had had a confrontation over a paper that Wellington insisted Ike plagiarized. Wellington also had had a confrontation with the dean and was generally disliked by the students. As the number of suspects increases, it's up to Rhodes to solve the murder while also dealing with an amusing but frustrating staff, a professor who wants to be a cop, and all the other normal occurrences that can wreak havoc in a small town.

About Murder By The Book

2342 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 524-8597 / (888) 4-AGATHA

For info about the signing or to buy a book and have it signed and sent to you, call, email, or visit the website.

For Kindle Readers

Yes, Compound Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery is available in a Kindle edition. Just click to go to the Kindle book page. I'm sure the book is available as an ebook at all the other sellers too.

Takeaway Truth

Good mysteries are easy to find if you look for the name Bill Crider on the cover.

Driven By Pain or Pleasure

I think most people are driven by a combination of the need to avoid pain and the desire for pleasure.

Last night, I officially reached a pain threshold that made me decide to avoid any more pain with my attempted blog changeover. It's just more problems than I can contend with right now. I want to be writing, not dealing with problems.

In fact, as I sipped a glass of merlot, I realized that I had way too much on my plate these last few months to tackle a major change like moving my 8 year old, popular blog to a new URL and name. Any sane person wouldn't even have tried.

For better or worse, my blog title and URL has reverted to SLING WORDS. I apologize for the inconvenience and confusion. I know I'm confused!

Notice To Kindle Edition Subscribers

If you recently signed up as a subscriber to the Kindle edition of my blog under the new name, you're probably still in the 14 day free period so it won't cost you anything. I pulled the new name from Kindle Blog Publishing this morning.

If you are so inclined, please subscribe to SlingWords. The URL to subscribe to the Kindle Edition of SlingWords is now live at even though it shows the old blog design on the webpage.

If you were a former subscriber to the Kindle Edition of SlingWords, then your subscription was automatically cancelled, I learned, when the URL changed. Even though the URL has now reverted to the original, you may have to go in and subscribe again using the link:

What I Learned

1. If you want to make a major blog change, give it at least 2-3 months of planning and laying the groundwork.

For the past 6 months, I've been involved in de-cluttering, selling a house, buying a house, and moving everything I own into storage. Well, everything but my big, honking computer desk, files, etc. -- all of which are now taking up much of the space in the living room of my weekend home.

I simply did NOT have the time, and at the end, the energy, to tackle all the work in changing the blog, editing the XML of a new template, notifying all the websites that carry my feed, notify the subscribers, etc. The list of the reach my blog has was surprising, but I pretty much managed to tick everyone off by not reaching out well in advance.

2. Make sure you have the template designer's full cooperation if you have to edit a template.

I know something about HTML and XML but not nearly enough. The subject is exhaustive and exhausting. I've spent about 14 days dealing with the problems of this changeover when what I want to be doing -- and should be doing -- is writing!

The Lesson For You Who Are Just Starting

Set up your blog with your name as the URL from the very beginning. In fact, go in to every social media that currently exists and claim your name as an account whether you have the time to do anything else about it or not.

Takeaway Truth

Hopefully, the pain is over. Now I can return to the pleasure of blogging once I get a couple of XML problems solved. If I can't solve them, then I'll zap this template and use another. Wish me luck!

Dazed and Confused

Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!

Yep, there I am beneath a pile of packing boxes. My weekend home which was designed to be an escape from city life is cluttered up with boxes of stuff.

My writing files and personal files that I might need between now and the move back to Houston are here -- somewhere. So are the contents of my big pantry that ended up here stacked in boxes because my big pantry here is overflowing with food.

So is most of the sentimental stuff I had stored in the attic that I probably should have given to a charity if the kids hadn't wanted it. The house looks like one of those you see on Hoarders.

But Wait There's More

The worst thing is that I can't find anything when I need something. I've moved boxes from one spot to another in futile searches. Actually, that's not the worst of it.

The worst is that coinciding with the move was the migration to this new blog design and URL. I just didn't have the time to do that, but I felt that I had to proceed since I'd announced the changeover date. Oh, how I wish I hadn't done that. There are problems with the template that I can't get resolved, and, of course, since the URL changed, I've lost most of my traffic.

Don't you hate it when the instructions to do something just don't work?

Don't you hate it when you do something for the right reasons, and it turns out to be a terrible mistake?

Switching To My Southern Voice

"I swan, I'm this far (that's the width of a strand of hair) to puttin' everything back to the way it was -- including the URL."

AAAGGGHHHH! (That's me screaming in frustration.)

Takeaway Truth

Thanks. Now that I got that out of my system, I think I'll have a big glass of merlot and go watch TV in bed while I consider my options.

eBooks With Soundtracks

Today's Sponsor: Linn Henderson aka Theda Hudson
Booktrack creates synchronized soundtracks for e-books that "automatically matches music, sound effects and ambient sound to your reading speed to create an immersive reading experience."

These are NOT audio books but an ebook that plays a soundtrack as you read.

I first read about Booktrack's business plan in 2011. Today, I checked back to see if they were up and running. They are, in beta mode. You can click to request a beta user account.

(Read to the end for today's free offer, courtesy of author Theda Hudson aka Linn Henderson.)

The Skinny On Booktrack

Booktrack is funded by investors including, Peter Thiel, co-founder and former CEO of PayPal, and in partnership with the largest publishing houses, best-selling authors, and award-winning composers and musicians -- they're planning on being a new genre of entertainment. You can download Booktracks for your iPhone, iPad, PC and Android tablet here.

If this concept interests you, and it does me, read their FAQ. You can download these ebooks with soundtracks at the iTunes App Store -- search Booktrack. You can also find these special ebooks on the Booktrack website, available for the Windows and Android platforms.

Their Books

They offered The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Speckled Band free in 2011. It was downloaded more than 100,000 times in the first three months, making it one of the most downloaded global eBooks of 2011. Booktrack titles have been downloaded in more than 100 countries. Most of the books are priced low.

Most of their offerings consist of children's stories, classics, and nonfiction with a sprinkle of general fiction titles. The books really are priced low.

Today's Sponsor: Theda Hudson aka Linn Henderson

Although her eBooks are not accompanied by a musical background, today's author sponsor is sure you'll enjoy them anyway.

Today's author writes erotica as Theda Hudson and time travel romance as Linn Henderson, and she is giving away a free copy of either the erotic novel The Pearl Witch by Theda Hudson or the time travel romance The Bee Lady's Amulet by Linn Henderson.

To be eligible to win the book: comment on this post and leave your email addy so you can be contacted if you win. Write out your email addy rather than leaving it as a hot link.

The Pearl Witch

When sex does much more than feel good... Tarin can knock small planes out of the sky with a single orgasm. But can her sex magic stop an alien invasion or win her the sex magician of her heart's desire? Another story pressing erotic boundaries by Theda Hudson, who brought you the lush and and steamy tale, The Taming of Enkidu by Theda Hudson.

The Bee Lady's Amulet

Beware of goddesses bearing gifts -- or job offers. When Melinda Kaibell takes a farewell tour through the archaeological dig where she worked all summer, she meets Askar, a Bronze Age goddess, who tells her she wants Melinda to do a side job for her. The goddess never mentions traveling four thousand years into the past to save the people that worship the goddess, the eruption of Mount Thera that will destroy the Minoan civilization, or that she'll fall in love with a handsome animal magician she can't have.

Takeaway Truth

Books are evolving as new technology is paired with story. Whether that's good or bad is up to you, the reader. What do you think about Booktrack's plan?


Yesterday, late in the afternoon, it rained. When it's August, and you're in Texas, a rain shower is worth writing about.

One of my favorite southern poets, Langston Hughes, wrote: "Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby."

Takeaway Truth

I thought about dancing outside and letting the rain kiss me, but the lightning dissuaded me.

Week 1 Prize Winners

Week 1 at my newly-designed Blog where I still Sling Words has been kind of weird. Of course, I'm sometimes considered a weirdo so I guess it figures, huh?

I had to join my daughter in Houston to help with unpacking from her move. Since she just got into her new house, there was no Internet available. Oh my! No email. No blogging. No Twitter. No anything to get my online fix. The good thing about driving to and from Houston is it gives me plenty of time to brainstorm a new book.

I keep hoping life will settle down, but so far, it's still coming at me like a runaway train. Still, enough of you visited the blog, made comments, signed up as blog followers, and subscribed to my newsletters that I can give away some prizes.

A tip of the hat to kimmyl who was prolific in her comments. She had more entries than anyone. I enjoyed getting to know her a bit. Stay with the blog, kimmyl. There's more to come.

The Winner of the boxed set of The Garden Series by Historical Author Cynthia Wicklund is kimmyl. You should have received an email from me already. Ms. Wicklund will be emailing you also.

The Winner of the Audio Book Edition of In The Garden of Temptation by Cynthia Wicklund. is Sharon Ervin. You should have received an email from me already. Ms. Wicklund will be emailing you also.

The Winner of the $5.00 Starbucks Gift Card, courtesy of Adina Mayo Photography & Graphic Design. is Jacqueline Seewald. You should have received an email from me already. (For the best book cover designs, visit She does all my book covers.)

The Winner of the $10.00 Cafe Press Gift Certificate, courtesy of The Write Way, my own little boutique in cyberspace, is kimmyl. You should have received an email from me already.

The Winner of the eBook Gift Card of your choice for a copy of my latest book Scents and Sensuality is Emily Dahn. You should have received a message from me already.

The Winners of the 3 ebook gift cards, courtesy of Elaine Raco Chase, are: kimmyl, Paty Jager, and Terry Odell. You three should have already received an email from me. Ms. Chase will email you also.

Follower Prizes

If you signed up to be a Follower this week, or at any time, please email me. You each receive your choice of one of my books. Email me: Joan at JoanReeves dot com. In Subject Box, put "I Follow You" and in the email tell me which book you'd like for free.

Newsletter Subscriber Prizes

If you signed up as a Subscriber to either Wordplay (for Readers) or Writing Hacks (for Writers) last week (signup link in right sidebar), or any time, you win a free copy of one of my short stories. Choose from the noir-ish "Dear Author,"  humorous "Cornbread and Mint Juleps," or motivational "Book of Sunshine for Writers." Email me: Joan at JoanReeves dot com. In Subject Box, put "I Subscribe to NAME OF NEWSLETTER" and in the email tell me which piece of writing you'd like for free. I'll send it by return email.

Takeaway Truth

Contests are fun, aren't they? Visit the blog on Monday, August 12, to see what's in store for Week 2.

Winners To Be Announced Today

I'm baccckkkk! Arrived yesterday about 4:30 from nearly a week of helping younger daughter unpack her gazillion boxes that arrived with her furniture.

I immediately put my jammies on and collapsed into the bed. Woke up about 7:00, had some yogurt, went back to bed and slept until the sun blasted me out of bed.

She and s-i-l are thrilled with their first house  purchase. Now they just need to make it their home.

Winners Announced

At the moment,darling hubby and I are getting ready to tackle the marauding grass and weeds on our little bit of the Hill Country. The grass here grows, like the song says, as high as an elephant's eye if you don't mow every week.

It's already 90 degrees and just past 8:00. Sipping my first cup of coffee as I write this. Going to go after the grass first. Then, later today, I'll have the pleasure of reading all the comments posted while I was gone to the land of a new house with no WiFi. (No gas either until yesterday afternoon which made showers an eye-opening experience!)

Later today, I'll post the names of the winners and notify the sponsors of who won their gifts.

Takeaway Truth

Things that won't wait: children who need parental help, growing native grasses in the Texas Hill Country, and hubby who's cranking up the riding mower. See you later today.

3 Webpage Resources

Today I have 3 really good webpages to give you that will help you with research and with customizing your blog template.

Arma Virumque Cano is an excellent reference for vintage weapons, with photographs.

Women Writers, Women Books is an online literary magazine by and about contemporary women writers from around the world. You can also consider it a search engine for women writers.

Short Primer On Adding Share Buttons is just what I needed since the ones that came with the template aren't working. Use this tutorial in adding social network share buttons to your Blogspot blog.

Takeaway Truth

The Internet makes it possible to find just about anything. What browser do you use most frequently? Leave a comment with your email addy to be entered into the Week 1 Prize Giveaway. Prizes to be awarded August 7.

The Winner Is... Uh, Hmm

Okay, I'm not really cranky, but this picture makes me smile.

Today, the first week's prizes were to be awarded. But, guess what? I'm not in my temporary cramped office today. By the time you read this, which is scheduled to post at 4 AM, I'll be on the road to Houston.

I'm Such A Good Mom *g*

My youngest daughter called for help. You see, she too bought a house, but her closing was long delayed. She had to place her furniture in storage since she needed to vacate the leased townhome the first week in July. Finally, after a lot of delays and turmoil -- long story, ask me sometime in person, and I'll tell you -- she and s-i-l closed on their first home Monday.

They have a cleaning crew coming in Tuesday and the moving company delivers everything from storage on Wednesday, and the unpacking begins! Like a good Mom, I told her I'd come right away and help.

What Gives?

It must have been something in the water because darling hubby and I sold and bought a house. Oldest son and wife sold and bought a house. Daughter and son-in-law bought their first house. We all ended up closing from last week to this past Monday. Crazy, huh?

I'll be back Friday, I hope. Winners will be announced the next day. The good news is the delay gives you more chances to comment and win a prize. Don't forget to give your email address with your comment.

Takeaway Truth

Gosh, I spent 4 days catching up on email and blogs. Now I'll be out of the office with no Wifi until Friday. {sigh} Just can't stay caught up, darn it.

Pulse Points

Do you know how to apply perfume? You probably dab it behind your ears, but do you know why it's applied there and why you should apply scent to specific other parts of the body?

In SCENTS and SENSUALITY, the heroine, Amanda Whitfield, is a perfumer who knows all about perfume and the science of smell which has much to do with the science of sex appeal.

As Amanda explains to the hero Harrison, in a sexy, but funny, scene in my latest romantic comedy, perfume is applied to a woman's pulse points.

Pulse Points

Coco Chanel explained perfume application this way: "A woman should wear perfume wherever she wants to be kissed."

To put it less romantically, apply perfume to the pulse points, that is, places where you can take your pulse -- feel your heartbeat. These pulse points are perfect for having kisses bestowed there: the base of the throat, the inside of the wrists and elbows, below the earlobes, and between the breasts -- the cleavage to mention a few pulse points.

Dabbing it on multiple pulse points layers the scent, and the body heat generated where the blood pulses helps intensify fragrance so be careful not to use too much.

A lot of factors affect the intensity and the lasting ability of a scent. Oily skin enhances a scent as does good health and blood circulation. Perfume evaporates faster on dry skin.

Takeaway Truth

What's your favorite perfume? Leave a comment with your email addy and be entered to win a prize in Week 1 Prize Giveaway.

Reminder About Contest Entries


The giveaway is open to anyone. All you need is to leave a comment, but you must also leave your email address so I can get in touch with you.

(You can also get an entry by subscribing to one of my newsletters and/or signing up as a Blog Follower.

Some of you have made comments, but haven't left an email address. Please go back and add your email.

Takeaway Truth

I'm going to throw all the names in a hat. You get an entry each time you make a comment and another for subscribing to a newsletter and another for signing up to Follow my blog. Just make sure you leave an address so I can get in touch with you.

Understanding Cloud Computing

Just about all tech companies are pushing cloud computing, like Apple's new iWork, or cloud storage, but many people still don't understand what "the cloud" means. Let's take away the mystique.

But First...

(Today's post is sponsored by Elaine Raco Chase, author of Best Laid Plans. Elaine who is featured today at Southern Writers Magazine is giving away 3 copies of Best Laid Plans to someone who comments on this post. Be sure and leave your email addy. Making a comment on today's post or any post since August 1 also makes you eligible to win one of the Grand Opening Prizes.)

Back To The Cloud

A few days ago I received an email from Apple with an offer to try their new iWork, a "new and exciting feature" for iCloud. iWork is a suite of apps — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. The suite makes it easy for anyone with an iCloud account (that's probably anyone with an iPhone, iPod, iPublish, etc.) to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations right on the web.

On The Web

That phrase, right on the web, is what Cloud Computing is all about. The cloud, or cloud computing or cloud-based technology just means that everything happens online. You can buy computers that don't have any storage media to speak of installed. Those computers are low-priced and lightweight because you use "the cloud" for all your software and the data you create and save.

Your computer does not permanently store any of the files involved in processing or in creating and saving data. It's all stored online in whatever databanks the particular "cloud" uses. There are many online storage systems that are cloud-based although they may not be called "cloud" anything. You may already be using cloud technology without realized it. Example? I use Dropbox, synced to all my devices, so I can easily access all my data anywhere there's an internet connection. Amazon stores my purchased music on their cloud as does iTunes for my iPod and iPhone.

Cloud computing just means sharing resources. Of course, like anything online, the cloud can be hacked, but that's the downside in anything to do with the internet. (Learn more here.)

By the way, with the new iWork for iCloud beta, the instructions say to sign in to iCloud on a Mac or a PC using the current version of Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer. I signed in using Firefox, and it seems to work fine. If you have an iCloud account, just try it. Click on the icons for Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, and you’re off and running.

Win A Prize

Today's post is sponsored by Elaine Raco Chase, author of Best Laid Plans. Elaine is featured today at Southern Writers Magazine so drop by there to learn more about her. Make a comment on today's post and be entered to win the Grand Opening Prize Package as well as eligible to win 1 of 3 copies of Best Laid Plans that Elaine is giving away today.

To be entered in this Week's Prize Package, make a comment on this post -- or any of the posts since August 1 -- or tell me what you think about cloud computing. Leave your email addy with your comment.

Takeaway Truth

The cloud is everywhere, and it's invisible. Take advantage of sharing resources, but make sure you use a really strong password.