Author Archives: Jessie Smith

Halloween Candy for Adults: the Best Author Swag from the Historical Romance Retreat

Attendees at the recent Historical Romance Retreat felt like they stepped back in time, thanks to efforts by amazing Historical Romance Authors. They brought their A Game with their attention to detail and creativity. Here are some of my favorite items to inspire other authors to do more than just bookmarks to attract readers.

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Historical Romance Retreat hostesses, Delilah Marvelle and Renee Bernard at the Grand Ball.

Delilah and Renee were the hosts and they set the tone with amazing swag throughout the entire event but their best items were distributed at the Low Tea. Delilah gifted everyone with antique green brooches while Renee created Victorian stretches and turned them into a coloring book. They were unique gifts that perfectly reflected their author branding.

Elizabeth Essex and Erica Monroe gave a presentation called “Revisiting the Lost Art of the Billet-Doux” where attendees got the opportunity to write with a quill and ink. Now every time I see Elizabeth’s matchbox, it will bring back happy memories from my first experience with a quill.

Fans dream of being able to share a moment with one of their favorite authors. I couldn’t believe that it happened to me at HRR with the amazing Jade Lee. She is a triple winner: her books are great, her personality sparkles and I will never toss away her swag item, the Jade necklace.

 

Eloisa James and Julia Quinn were the rock stars at this event and they treated their fans to awesome swag.

Victoria Vane is just as talented as a dressmaker as she is an author. Many attendees had an original Victoria Vane outfit and many others are saving their pennies to get one of her outfits. She was able to market both of her careers with her hair pins.

Even the male attendees received their own special bag of goodies. I especially loved the boxing note card and aspirin to promote Tim Ruzicki’s Pugilism course.

I loved it all. Everything was different and highlighted each author’s brand. Virginia Heath came from England and brought us some jam. Gina Danna has a history degree and provided everyone with the unique item of a sewing wax. I’m keeping it all.

What was the result of all this great swag and positive interactions with Historical Romance authors? I bought as many books as my luggage could carry back home!

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Riley Reveals Our Origins Story

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Today is my mother’s 40th birthday so I have decided to share our origins story. In March 2009, I was forced to adopt Jessie Smith as my mother. We have different accounts of how it all went down…

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Riley’s Reviews: Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

RileysReviews

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My mother is one day away from turning 40 years old. She was supposed to be a successful author by now.  However, I’m the one getting a taste of fame just from these blog posts. Not to brag but I got 30 views on a single day. My mother says that is actually not a lot of traffic but if you think of views in dog years, that new number is quite impressive.  But my ambition exceeds the borders of this blog. I want to be the Seabiscuit of this generation.

Seabiscuit was a horse with heart but on his last chance. It was a miracle that he was adopted by the right owner and got to work with the right trainer. One might say it was the perfect trifecta and they made racing history. On the other hand, I was adopted by my mother. I should be as famous as Seabiscuit. My mother needs to keep writing.

Seabiscuit earned fame twice. When he was alive, he rose to success and riches. Everyone knew his name. Then in 2003, Laura Hillenbrand meticulously described his life, in all his glory, in a New York Times Bestselling novel, which led to a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Most humans can only achieve notoriety once but this horse got it twice. Imagine what a dog like me could achieve if I had a Hollywood agent. Imagine it. I do.

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Even when forced to wear a Halloween costume, I’m still the cutest dog in the world.

For recognizing that non-humans deserve to have their story told, I’m awarding this book the full 5 Greenies:

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I’m Riley. In pleasant company, my mother refers to me as feisty and independent. In closer circles, there is talk about a Napoleon complex. A select few have called me by my spirit animal, Cujo. But at the end of all her stories, she concludes that she loves her grumpy old man, which is me. I’m a mix of many magnificent species includes Tibetan Spaniel, Corgi and Pomeranian. My mom says that I’m about 11 years old, which is an ironic lie. She has created this space to celebrate her actual 40th birthday but she refuses to admit that I’m probably about 13 years old. I recently had a horrible eye injury which reminded her that I’m the greatest thing that has ever happened to her and she rewarded me with 24/7 greenies. Thus, we have decided to celebrate me (and her 40th birthday) but creating a month long blog series, called Riley’s Reviews as a fundraiser to help my fellow creatures while they are waiting for their personal staff (aka forever homes). But we all know in our hearts that we are doing this so I can get a stage to become a very big deal within a small group of people.

How this will work: My mom is a sucker for stories with animals on the covers so I will post reviews about some of her favorite books by sharing some doggie perspectives to enlighten readers. You are welcome to just visit this blog to adore me and enjoy my canine commentary. Or if you are so inclined, you can celebrate Jessie’s 40th Birthday, by making a donation to one of these wonderful organizations:

Please come back during the month of September to find out what other books I have strong opinions about because I am strong and I am opinionated.

Riley’s Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

RileysReviews

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“This book makes you want to hug your dog.”  That is the exact review my mother gave The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. And she did it. She broke my NO TOUCHING policy. I had to karate chop my way out of her arms. I barely made it out alive.

This book tells the story of Enzo and his human Denny. Their life was pretty good until Denny screwed it all up by falling in love and starting a family. Enzo entered Denny’s life as his #1 priority and then slowly slipped down to 3rd place. Going from Gold to Bronze must suck. I wouldn’t know because I entered my mother’s house as the King of the Castle and I have never been dethroned. My mother always says that when (Halt! My mother made an editorial change from if to when. I wish I could fire her as my scribe), when she finds love, she will have enough love for the both of us. I wish I could tell her that this fictional man could have my portion of her love in exchange for more personal space.

The only thing I liked about this book was the sections about racing. I don’t care about cars but I love the rides. Other than greenies, nothing makes me happier than the freedom of being in the car and going somewhere new. It’s a shame that my mother always has to come with me.

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Behold. That is an actual twinkle in my eye. One might even say it’s golden.

I’m torn. This book made my mother laugh and cry so I should award it 5 greenies but not once, but twice did I have to escape her clutches when she tried to hug me so this book loses a greenie for each breach of the NO TOUCHING policy:

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birthdaybanner

I’m Riley. In pleasant company, my mother refers to me as feisty and independent. In closer circles, there is talk about a Napoleon complex. A select few have called me by my spirit animal, Cujo. But at the end of all her stories, she concludes that she loves her grumpy old man, which is me. I’m a mix of many magnificent species includes Tibetan Spaniel, Corgi and Pomeranian. My mom says that I’m about 11 years old, which is an ironic lie. She has created this space to celebrate her actual 40th birthday but she refuses to admit that I’m probably about 13 years old. I recently had a horrible eye injury which reminded her that I’m the greatest thing that has ever happened to her and she rewarded me with 24/7 greenies. Thus, we have decided to celebrate me (and her 40th birthday) but creating a month long blog series, called Riley’s Reviews as a fundraiser to help my fellow creatures while they are waiting for their personal staff (aka forever homes). But we all know in our hearts that we are doing this so I can get a stage to become a very big deal within a small group of people.

How this will work: My mom is a sucker for stories with animals on the covers so I will post reviews about some of her favorite books by sharing some doggie perspectives to enlighten readers. You are welcome to just visit this blog to adore me and enjoy my canine commentary. Or if you are so inclined, you can celebrate Jessie’s 40th Birthday, by making a donation to one of these wonderful organizations:

Please come back during the month of September to find out what other books I have strong opinions about because I am strong and I am opinionated.

Riley’s Review: the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

RileysReviews

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The #1 Ladies Detective Agency is one of my mother’s favorite series. Sometimes she is a hour late to my afternoon walk because she needs to read just one more chapter. (That is always a lie. Never fall for it). The series is about Precious and her adventures solving mysteries in Botswana and then enjoying a nice cup of red bush tea.

This series bring a little international flavor to my mother’s life. It’s a view of a life that is so foreign to her from her soft coach in the United States. One might wonder if life is greener on the other side. Nope. It is not.

Precious has it a little bit better than other people in her village because she inherited cows. Freaking Cows. There is an alligator on the cover of this book because death by alligator is an actual worry there. I thought I had it bad just dealing with outdoor cats, not Freaking Alligators. Then it took 17 books until there was a dog storyline and it wasn’t good. The dog was injured and that country doesn’t have the best healthcare for human beings and it was even worse for animals.

It’s not like the United States. I recently had an eye injury where I got a tour of our local vet emergency rooms and ultimately my mother tracked down a dog opthamologist to save my eye. I went through 5 cones of shame and my mother went through $1,500. I don’t think mothers in Botswana could afford me. So I am grateful. Not grateful enough that I would break my NO TOUCHING policy. If fact, now that my cone is off and I can see her coming in for a pet, I want to remind her that I won’t tolerate any more affection with my theme song…

 

I’m fine with my mother reading these stories as long she doesn’t buy us any plane tickets. To keep my mother happy, I’m going to reward her favorite series with 5 greenies but if she tries to thank me with cuddles, I will remove all the points.

greeniegreeniegreeniegreenie greenie

birthdaybanner

I’m Riley. In pleasant company, my mother refers to me as feisty and independent. In closer circles, there is talk about a Napoleon complex. A select few have called me by my spirit animal, Cujo. But at the end of all her stories, she concludes that she loves her grumpy old man, which is me. I’m a mix of many magnificent species includes Tibetan Spaniel, Corgi and Pomeranian. My mom says that I’m about 11 years old, which is an ironic lie. She has created this space to celebrate her actual 40th birthday but she refuses to admit that I’m probably about 13 years old. I recently had a horrible eye injury which reminded her that I’m the greatest thing that has ever happened to her and she rewarded me with 24/7 greenies. Thus, we have decided to celebrate me (and her 40th birthday) but creating a month long blog series, called Riley’s Reviews as a fundraiser to help my fellow creatures while they are waiting for their personal staff (aka forever homes). But we all know in our hearts that we are doing this so I can get a stage to become a very big deal within a small group of people.

How this will work: My mom is a sucker for stories with animals on the covers so I will post reviews about some of her favorite books by sharing some doggie perspectives to enlighten readers. You are welcome to just visit this blog to adore me and enjoy my canine commentary. Or if you are so inclined, you can celebrate Jessie’s 40th Birthday, by making a donation to one of these wonderful organizations:

Please come back during the month of September to find out what other books I have strong opinions about because I am strong and I am opinionated.

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