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Monday, July 18, 2016


Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. We continue with Maggie's Story today, with a little surprise at the end. Scroll down for the link back to Tuesday Tales and some fine writers. 


Maggie yawned and stretched. The antique grandfather clock in the hall chimed five, time to get up. No. Vacation. Forgot.  As she relaxed, her hand hit a warm, naked body. She turned her head and spied John lying next to her, sound asleep.
Her expression softened as she touched his shoulder, then his short, dark, wavy hair. He stirred and she whipped her hand back to her side. He cracked an eye open.
“Mornin’ darlin’,” he whispered.
John had made love to her twice the night before. She pushed her toes down and smiled.
“A right passionate one you are, Maggie.”
“Look who’s talkin’”
“That was nothin’. You get me blood goin’.” He rolled onto his side, his hand cupping her cheek.
“Don’t blame it on me, Mister.”
He chuckled. “Blame? Nothing to blame, sweetheart. It’s a good thing.”
Warmth and satisfaction flowed through her. Last night was just what she needed. It bucked up her spirits to be wanted, desired.
“I coulda gone all night.”
“Why didn’t ya, then?” She rolled on her side.
“Didn’t want to wear ya out. Not on the first night.”
She giggled. “It’s a faker you are, John Eldridge.”
He slid out of bed and her gaze follow his fine form to the dresser. He picked up a pen and wrote a few words, then opened a drawer and took out a rectangular box.

“This is for you my lady,” he said, returning to the bed.
She read what he’d written, “To thank you for the first of what I hope to be many nights together. Love, John.”

Her hand trembled a bit as she opened the box. Inside lay the stunning emerald necklace she’d seen the week before.

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Monday, July 11, 2016



Wecome! We return to Maggie's Story with today's prompt "smudge". Thank you for coming. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. 


 With only three nights left of their vacation in the Roberts’ splendid apartment, Maggie didn’t know what to expect. John had been as attentive as a suitor, yet he hadn’t even kissed her. Maggie had no intention of taking any vows with such an a-sexual man.            She secured the feather duster under her arm as she padded into the master bedroom, muttering, “The Mister and Missus take a holiday, but dust doesn’t.” 
     John followed her. “True enough.”        
     She kept her back to him, but he was right behind her, so close, she felt the heat from his chest. She knew she should tell him to move back, but she didn’t. A pair of warm hands cupped her shoulders. She put the feather duster down and turned to face him.     “Look, a smudge.”                                                                               “Where?”                                                                                            “On your nose. I’ll get it.”          
                                   He stepped up and wiped it with his handkerchief. Maggie smelled the scent of his aftershave. It was clean, fresh and a touch piney. She liked it. Before her gaze met his, he lowered his mouth to hers. Maggie had wondered what it would be like to kiss him. He was gentle, but passionate, his lips soft. She melted in his arms. He drew her closer, crushing her against him.                   
“I want you, my girl. Come to bed with me.” He broke and took her hand. She followed him into his room. The bed called to her. It had been so long since a man had touched her, kissed her or made love to her. John was handsome, gallant, and good to her. 
“What do you say, Maggie?” John asked, his eyes aglow with desire.                                              
“I say, ‘yes’.” She peered shyly up at him through her lashes.                                                          
"You make me one happy man, my darlin’,” he said, unbuttoning her blouse.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Welcome! This week's word prompt is "necklace." We continue with Maggie and John's story. Thanks for coming! Scroll down for the link back to Tuesday Tales. 


Maggie didn’t mean to pry, but the delicate chain with a small emerald in the middle caught her eye. The necklace was beautiful. She’d taken to cleaning John’s room, since they had become friends. She never expected to find something so lovely on his dresser.
“Probably for Gladys,” she murmured to herself. John had been dating Gladys, Mrs. Upton Myers maid for some months. Still, she couldn’t resist holding it up to her neck and glancing in the mirror. The sound of a door closing in another part of the apartment jarred her back to reality.
The last thing she wanted was to be caught admiring something that was intended for someone else. A touch of sadness sprang up in her. She and John were only friends and that was the way it had to stay. He had someone else and she was afraid of getting into trouble. Maggie had to be careful as she was alone in the States, and there was no one here to take her in if she got knocked up again.
Returning to the kitchen, she almost bumped into John. He shot her a warm smile, which she did not return. Why get any closer to a man who was already taken? He caught her arm.
“Whoa. Wait up a second, Maggie. Where you off to in such a hurry?”
“Got rooms to clean.”
“On vacation?”
“The Mister and Missus may have left, but it’s never a vacation for me. If they get back to a dirty and dusty house, it’ll be my last day off.”
“Can’t you take a break for a cup of tea?” He bent down to make eye contact.
“I guess.”
“I put the kettle on.” He guided her into the big, warm room. “You sit. I’ll get it.”
When the whistle sounded, he turned off the flame and filled a pot he had ready. Maggie took four biscuits from a canister and put them on a plate. He joined her with the hot beverage and took the seat across.
“So, when you steppin’ out with Glady again?” She asked, stirring her drink.
John choked on his saliva. “What do you know about Gladys?”
“I know you’re sweet on her and she on you. You’ve been seeing her for quite a while, haven’t you?”
He cast his glance down to his cup. “That’s over.”
“Over? Why?”
He cleared his throat. “I’ve changed my mind. She’s not the girl for me.”
Maggie raised her eyebrows. “Oh?”
“Yep. Found someone better.”
“You.” He raised his eyes to hers.


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Monday, June 27, 2016


We continue with Maggie's Story this week. Using this picture as a prompt, I'm limited to only 300 words. I'll try to make each one count.


“I want to go there someday,” Maggie said, running the duster over the stunning oil painting.
She nodded. “The green reminds me of home. I didn’t grow up in London like you. I miss it in this city of concrete and brick.”
“I’ll take you there,” John said, pulling the implement from her hand and laying it down.
“You? On what? A chauffeur’s salary?”
“Put on your coat. The fur one the Missus gave you.”
“What for?”
“I’m taking you out. We’ve seven more days before they get home. I don’t plan to spend it rattlin’ around this ole place. Come on, girl. Let’s have an adventure.”
A soft snort escaped her throat.  “Adventure? On what? Two dimes and a nickel?”
“Not everything’s about money, young lady. Let’s go.”
He held the old beaver coat Maggie had received as a hand-me-down from Anne Roberts.
John laced his fingers with hers as they walked briskly through the park. The biting wind stung her face, but her body was warm.
“Here it is,” he said, turning left. They climbed the stairs. Inside, John paid for admission.
“Now, pretty lady, where do you want to go? France to see Van Gogh and Monet? Egypt to see the tombs? Japan, China or Mexico?”
Maggie turned around slowly, taking in the foyer of the Metropolitan Museum of art.
“All of ‘em, I think.”
“Good lord! Then we’d better get started.”
“What about lunch?”  She pushed in her belly a bit to hide a low rumble.
“They’ve a lovely restaurant here, milady. Will you be my guest?”
Maggie’s cheeks heated.
“Good. We’ll start there then,” John said, offering his arm.
“You’ll be spoiling me, John Eldridge. Best stop now.” But she took his arm and followed along.
“That’s the idea, Maggie. That’s the very idea.”


I spent 30 years in the corporate direct marketing world, working for large ad agencies. People think I'm a marketing guru. I don't see it that way. I'm more of a try-it-and-see-how-it-does type. While I don't have any quick fixes for selling more books, I absolutely have the real skinny on how not to. 

(With a nod to two of my dearest friends, Kathleen Ball and Vicki Locey, for contributing to this list.)


1) Gather a street team together and have them post phony one-star troll reviews on the books of all your competitors. Don't worry about being discovered. When someone figures it out --and they will -- you can simply blame it on your street team run amok.

2) Have a series comprised of 8 books? Make the first seven free. After all, you'll keep them reading and you'll make it up on book 8. If you believe this, I have a bridge you might want to buy. It connects Manhattan with Brooklyn.

3) Post all about your book in a comment on the Facebook thread of another author. Steal their thunder right from under them on their own turf. Authors love that. Raising the level of competition makes everyone try harder. Then again, when you get unfriended, blocked and blacklisted, don't blame me.

4) When you leave a review on a competitors book, be sure to put in a few words about how your book on the same topic is so much better. Don't forget to include a buy link to your book, too. Makes it easier for the reader to find. Be careful not to use your real name or there might be repercussions.

5) Post the same promo copy about your book in 250 Facebook groups --every day! Out of sight, out of mind. Right? You need exposure. Don't forget to post controversial opinions about religion and politics. You'll get some "lively" discussions going and attention on your Fb page. 

6) Offer ten bucks to anyone who will agree to give your book a good review. Everyone says how important good reviews are. And why shouldn't you offer the reviewer some compensation? Wait, make that twenty bucks. If  you're too cheap you might end up with only four stars.

7) Never support another author. If the author is famous or even moderately successful, post nasty, snarky comments on her Facebook page, send out critical tweets about her. Let the world know you are soooo much better than she is. Much classier, too. Don't forget to add links to your books in those comments. Why should the reader have to hunt for your precious tomes?

8) Never buy a book from another author who is competing with you in the same genre. Unless you intend to plagiarize it, of course. Otherwise, why should you spend money on her books? Do you think she'd ever become your friend and buy your book, too? Nah. Doubt it. Everyone knows it's a cut-throat business. 

9) Whatever you do, don't waste your time and money on a professional editor. Write that book and slap the sucker up for sale before the ink is even dry. Yep, editors and proofers are a total waste of time and money. The sooner you get your books out there, the sooner you can be fleecing readers who think you might have written something worth reading. Too bad for them. You know what they say -- the best marketing is writing another book! 

10)  Last, don't bother with a professional cover artist. Tell your nephew, Herman, you'll bake him a batch of brownies if he'll create a cover for you. And don't buy pictures. Steal them from the Internet. What are your chances of getting caught? One in a thousand, right? And if you do -- take down the cover, "borrow" another picture and do a new cover. Plenty of people will think it's a new book and your sales will soar. 


While these ideas may sound crazy to you, most of them are based on real actions my friends and I have observed.  

Don't be a low-class jerk. Take the high road. Support other authors, even those with competitive books. A little class can go a long way toward building a fan base and growing book sales.

Please feel free to leave a comment. Any comments with buy links to your books will be taken down. Lol!

Jean Joachim
Stories from the Heart
Contemporary Romance