Is the pic festive enough? I love busy images, so this one’s fun for me! Halloween is our family’s favorite holiday. We go all out with costumes. And then we make a mad dash around the surrounding area, looking for fun, kid-friendly trick-or-treat parties. And then, there are the photos. We take them every year. These are a few of my favorites…
I think the 5-year-old was 2 when this was taken. She was already great with the camera. She still loves getting into character.
Here’s the pic of all the kids, taken in the front yard. We’d had hay delivered for the horses…
This was a couple of years ago. Note the werewolf in the wheelchair. We took the photo in front of the town’s cemetery gates…
There’s an “extra” kid in the mix in a ninja outfit. My dd tends to gather kids for these events. This year, we’re taking the van and an extra car to ferry everyone around. I’m not 100% sure I’m going. I had a late night. But I’ll try to get a nap, because I’d hate to miss the fun!
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tell me what your Halloween plans are!
Oops! Adding one more fave! The 14-year-old way back when. She went as an Aztec princess…
If asked to place African-American slavery and freedom geographically, most people automatically cite the South with the former and the North with the latter. But did you know slavery existed in the North as late as 1860? I’ve spent many enjoyable hours unearthing the hidden and not so hidden history of African slavery in the North. One of my best resources is The African Burial Ground National Monument (ABGNM) at 290 Broadway in lower Manhattan, which not only instructs but inspires.
ABGNM’s exhibits show the lives of northern slaves had much more in common with their southern counterparts than that of Boston slave poet Phillis Wheatley. The 24-foot high Ancestral Chamber—designed to resemble a ship’s hold—provides a place for remembrance and prayer. The walls of the Ancestral Libation Chamber’s Circle of the Diaspora surround you with symbols from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean as you spiral down a processional ramp that brings you “physically, psychologically and spiritually close to the ancestors and the original interment level.”
Rarely do we realize how we are witnesses to history in the making. I received a blast from my native New Yorker past as I read ABGNM’s timeline and the five scrapbooks that chronicle the community activism I witnessed on the news and read in the local papers that ultimately led to the creation of this national monument.
In 1989 before excavating to build a new federal building, records showed the proposed site was once an African burial ground. It is estimated that 15,000 free Africans and African slaves were buried in the “Negros Buriel Ground” from the 1690’s until 1794. Government researchers concluded that “after 200 years there are no remains, but recommended archeological testing.” Test excavations proved the assumption wrong. Untouched human remains protected by 25 feet of soil were discovered.
A whistle blower call to the office of then State Senator David Patterson revealed that the government was going to do a “backhoe” excavation, i.e., use a backhoe on the grounds decimating whatever was there. The caller asked could their office do anything to stop it. Community indignation and activism combined with political will resulted in the halting of excavation on the site. Meetings were held, enabling the community to give input on how to go forward. The result was the creation of the African Burial Ground National Monument in 1993. A multidisciplinary research team, African Burial Ground Project, recorded and measured the remains of 419 men, women and children. The project concluded in 1999 and the remains were re-interred on the site in handmade coffins from Ghana.
The African Burial Ground National Monument is an amazing amalgamation of videos, interactive exhibits and displays that show the effectiveness of community activism, strengthen my sense of African American pride and stimulate my historical romance writing imagination.
How about you? Where and when has a museum visit, a book or a conversation sent you on a journey of discovery?
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Caesar King’s ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society’s traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave’s offer and heads West for marriage on her terms. Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit make it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?
She locked her legs and glared with her hands on her hips. Defiance flashed in her eyes like a bronc not yet broken. “I haven’t agreed to your terms.”
“I’ll be honest with you then. You’ll have to force me.”
He crossed his arms. “That’s not the way I want it.”
She crossed hers. “That’s the only way you’ll get it.” The impudence of a Black who had never known the overseer’s whip ripped through her tone.
He blinked into her glare. Would she really make him force her? He wanted her willing submission, but what if he couldn’t obtain it? The anticipation of the struggle, of her eventual surrender flipped his stomach.
And not in a bad way.
“I will, if you make me.” He grabbed her upper arms and pulled her tight against his chest. “Remember, I’m no gentleman.”
The soft but firm press of her breasts more than pleased. He flicked his tongue behind her ear, tasted lemon soap, perspiration and enticement.
She broke away, chest heaving. “You have to be one hell of a negotiator, Mr. King to get me to yield on that point.” She’d spoken rapidly, breathily. He heard capitulation in her panting, despite the insolence in her glare.
“I’m known in these parts as a mighty fair horse trader, Mrs—”
He froze, stunned by the sight of Queen squatting. She reached between her spread thighs and withdrew a dark rubber phallus. He gawped, amazed how the strange contraption mirrored his aching member in size and shape.
“Wha—what in the name of heaven are you doing with that?”
“Preparing me for our first time.”
He groaned, captured by thoughts of the dildo priming her for his use.
“You are full of surprises, Mrs. King.”
She walked to the washstand, doused the phallus with water and laved it with his own sage-scented soap. A vision of her doing the same to his cock knocked him back a step. Yes, dinner could definitely wait.
Suddenly, he stiffened. The meaning of her earlier words penetrated.
There are many ways to prevent your seed from taking root, Mr. King.
“Wait a minute.” He pointed a shaky finger at the dildo. “That wasn’t in your sex when I fingered you in the wagon. I’d have felt it.”
It’s only a couple of days until all the kids are out trick-or-treating. On Halloween night, I like to light the candle in the pumpkin, turn off the lights, and put on my favorite Halloween movies.
There are tons of great ones out there to choose from, but here are 5 of my favorites:
1. The Crow (1994)—One of my favorite movies of all time and probably the one I’ve watched the most. It’s so dark, yet so hopeful. Brandon Lee’s performance is incredible. Great cast and story, plenty of action, and one fantastic soundtrack.
2. Underworld (2003)—Vampires and lycans are at war. Selene, a vampire warrior, makes the mistake of falling in love with Michael, a human who is sought by werewolves for unknown reasons.
3. Dracula Untold (2014)—A fresh look at the traditional Dracula story. I love this movie. I mean, what’s not to love about Luke Evans as Vlad Tepes, the prince who must become a monster feared by his own people in order to obtain the power needed to protect them.
4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)—As promised, this movie closely follows Stoker’s version of Dracula. Great film. Gary Oldman plays a scary and seductive Dracula.
5. Lost Boys (1987)—It’s hard to believe this movie is 30 years old, but it holds up. It’s one of my favorite vampire movies of all time. And the soundtrack is amazing.
I know this is a top 5 list, but I have to mention Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp (1999) and the Disney animated version (1949). I love them both. The animated story is beautifully crafted. And while the Depp version of the story goes off the rails near the end, I still enjoy it. And Ghostbusters, because who are you gonna call when you need to get rid of some ghosts.
And if you’re looking for a book or two to read, might I suggest the Hades’ Carnival series.
Welcome to Hades’ Carnival, where a group of immortal shapeshifting warriors are imprisoned in their animal forms on a carousel.
Cursed by the very goddess they served—The Lady of the Beasts—in order to keep them out of Hell, now the warriors are being offered a chance at freedom and redemption. And it will take a very special woman to free each warrior.
Once free, they must stay alive for 24 hours if they want to save themselves from Hades once and for all.
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
It’s the holidays again, an emotion-filled time where it seems there are not enough hours in each day to fit everything in. In this busy time, I ask each of you to please consider one more stop on your crazy to do list, that of making a donation to a local food bank. Your donation can be a dollar, a can of food, whatever you can give. With the hurricanes, fires, and flooding that have affected so many this year, anything you can offer is a gift to those working to rebuild their lives.
I volunteer for Habitat For Humanity, and something amazing happens when you allow a person a flicker of hope, that somehow, incredibly, even a stranger understands that at times life shoves us on a road we never asked for.
Several years ago, in addition to my personal donation to my local food bank, I decided to start a Food Bank Challenge. Except, it kind of wonderfully got out of hand. Amazingly, once I posted The Food Bank Challenge on my Facebook page and my Facebook reader page, people from across the U.S. began donating to their local food banks and sharing on my Food Bank Challenge post. Then, I read posts of donations from Canada. Holy cow, the Food Bank Challenge had gone international! And you know what, this is truly a blessing. In this venture, we all win. Gifts from the heart do that, they fill you, remind you there is good in the world, and that you can make a positive as profound difference in others lives.
On December 5th, 2018, ONE name will be drawn from all who posted that they donated to a food bank from both my Facebook page and Facebook Author pages that I received. The winner will receive a mug, and a tote bag.
*Note: Names of those who posted beneath my Facebook pages drive post that they gave to food pantries or groups accepting donations to donate to a food bank will be entered in the drawing.
I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season filled with friendship and laughter and blessings!
A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.
After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. After the release of the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series, The Oath Trilogy, and the first three books of The Forbidden Series, she’s now working on book #4, Forbidden Alliance, of the five-book series, which will be released August 6th, 2019.
Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey. www.dianacosby.com
Call for Short Story Submissions! (Click on picture to learn more!) Deadline November 15th!
A Sexy Excerpt!
The walk to her bedroom was as slow as she could manage. She didn’t want him knowing how badly she wanted this. He’d think her completely desperate.
But when she crossed the threshold, he was already stripping. Just as eager, just as breathless as she was.
The sight of his bared chest left her gasping. Wide-set shoulders with thick mounds of muscle on top and at the corners of his shoulders.
Breasts bulging, rippling as he flexed involuntarily with the clenching of his fists. “You sure about this?”
Maybe he asked because she’d halted, and her mouth was hanging open. She toed off her shoes, stripped her tight tee over her head and unclasped her sports bra before she looked at him again. A good thing, because he was naked, and the lower half of him was equally ripped, equally breath-stealing. His huge, ridged cock made her mouth water.
It turned upward, as thick and imposing as the rest of him. She couldn’t wait to feel the pinch of his girth stretching her from the inside as he crammed inside her. But first, he rolled a condom down his length.
She shoved down her shorts and briefs and headed straight for the bed, pulling back the coverlet and exposing the clean sheets she’d swapped for the drenched set she’d woken in earlier.
Here was a more appropriate, licentious fuck. She didn’t have to feel guilty about wanting it. Didn’t have to worry about losing everything she valued, including herself respect. She climbed onto the bed, knowing he was staring at her ass and rolled to her back, before slowly spreading her legs in invitation.
A low groan, sounding more like an animalistic growl, rumbled from him, and she smiled and reached down to trace the edges of her folds.
He stomped forward, staring down at her sex, then gripped her ankles hard and pulled her toward the edge of the bed. When her legs draped over it, dangling toward the floor, he knelt between her thighs, spread her with his fingers, and bent to run his tongue along her damp slit.
Gillian closed her eyes on a sigh and lifted her legs over his broad shoulders, snuggling her bottom closer the end of the bed as he continued to lick and suck, his teeth capturing an inner fold and nibbling on it for a moment before his tongue stroked into her entrance and swirled.
She moaned, and her chest rose faster with her labored breaths. Like she’d run miles. When fingers joined the teasing strokes, she heard the wet sounds as her inner lips clasped moistly around his thick fingers, and then she smiled because he burrowed deeper at her body’s lewd invitation, pumping inside her, stretching her with a third, and then a fourth finger.
When his lips latched onto her clit, she couldn’t suppress the cry he surprised from her. Thick digits continued to sink inside her, stretching her, making her pussy pulse as she began to undulate her hips, climbing toward the apex.
But then he pulled out of her and backed away, abandoning her when she’d been ready to let go. He gripped her hips hard and shoved her up the bed. His knees landed on the mattress between her spread legs, and she lifted them high, but he nudged her bottom roughly to scoot her higher. When he was satisfied, he grabbed her legs and urged them around his hips, then prodded her sex with the blunt, round head of his cock. His gaze locked with hers, his hands flattened on the mattress beside her shoulders. When he had her undivided attention, he took a deep breath and stroked deep.
She was wet, ready, but not prepared for his size. She cried out, and then bit her lip, not wanting him to stop or even slow the forceful motions that thrust his cock deeper and deeper into her body, until his balls slapped her tender perineum.
There was nothing smooth, nothing easy about the way he made love. He powered into her, grunting at the end of each thrust, forcing an equally unfeminine grunt from her lips that pleased her primitive, primal core.
She’d feel bruised, sore, used when he was done, but satisfied like she’d never been before.
Her arms wound around his shoulders, and she pressed her cheek against his hot throat, feeling tears leak from between her tightly squeezed eyelids. She didn’t know why she cried, but he forced powerful emotions from her just as he forcefully, brutally took her body.
Her bed thudded heavy against the wall, the sound pulling her away, giving her something else to think about rather than how shattered she felt, and she laid back her head, opening her eyes to meet his fierce gaze.
“Did I hurt you?” he growled.
“Yes. Please don’t stop.”
A gust of laughter shook his chest, and he hiked her legs higher around his waist and slammed harder, his strokes shortening, quickening.
She couldn’t catch her breath. And she was quickly flying apart. She raked her fingers down either side of his spine, digging deep.
He grunted again, gathered his knees closer to her, laying his chest on top of hers and resting his forehead on the mattress beside her face.
Gillian skimmed her lips along the edge of his ear, licked a trickle of sweat sliding alongside his cheek and nuzzled closer, waiting, waiting….until the tension he built with his hard, sharp strokes finally coaxed her orgasm into full bloom. She gasped into his ear, clung hard to him, and gave a keening howl as it ripped through her.
His release came quickly on the heels of her own. His choked breaths and gasps added texture to the slowing staccato of his last strokes. Then he was falling over her, wrung out, his cock jerking inside her as his breaths rattled through his chest.
Be looking for this one, coming soon! It’s the sequel to Sin’s Gift, and a very sexy paranormal!
Contest: Do you watch paranormal television shows? What’s your current fave? Answer for a chance to win a free copy of one of my recent releases!
NOTE: I know the first book is up at $0.99 already, but Reina is working with KDP to get the deal going for the other too! So check back!
One of the other writers in my local Nano-writing group* wrinkled his nose at the news that I had published Shifter Romance. “What does that even mean?” He wondered out loud. Really loud. “How is that even real fiction?”
Okay, so I want you to know he is still alive and breathing, but only because jail is real.
I’m used to the rolled eyes when I talk about romance, but hey… to each their own… and I love myself some romance. And there are people who are uninformed and then there are people who are willfully ignorant. I chose to believe he was part of the first group and asked him.
“Have you read stories about Greek Mythology?”
“Of course!” He seemed affronted that I’d even ask him such a silly thing. “Greek Mythology is classic storytelling!”
He knew I had him when I smiled. Not my normal smile, but that teeth-baring alligator grin that usually makes my son cringe and walk away, because he knows I’m about to take a bite out of someone.
“Oh good… well let’s talk about Greek Mythology. The obvious start is King Lycaon. Some forms of his myth tells the story of how Zeus turned him into a wolf as punishment for trying to trick him into eating human flesh.”
“Sure,” he shrugged, “but that’s just one—”
“Well, what about Arachne. Athena changed her into a spider.”
“Apollo mourned the death of the youth Hyacinth, changing him into the flower we know today.”
He gave me a sullen look. “And?”
“There are a ton of examples, but let’s just remember how many times Zeus had to change his form or the form of others just to get some love… physical love. So…”
Yes, I verbally beat him into submission with examples of what he considered “real fiction” — but what am I getting at here…
Mythology… origin stories… are a human way of trying to understand ourselves and where we come from. We see ourselves in nature, sometimes ascribing attributes of nature’s other creatures to understand what we feel inside. We’re skittish as a colt. We’re hungry as a bear.
We even roar like lions.
We find animalistic characteristics as both desirable and undesirable in ourselves… of course we’re going to seek them in our heroes… our lovers…
I guess that’s why I love writing shapeshifters so much. Heroes and Heroines who can not just dabble in those behaviors, but come by them naturally.
A shapeshifter trio of brothers, bears from the Orsino family who search for their perfect mate and find them in equally amazing women…
A tiger shifter who finds himself with the Catch 22 of all time—keep the secret of his kind… or save the woman who is his perfect match?
Where wild nature and the cultivation of love collide and co-exist…
The head of Orsino Security was hired to protect her for a week. Instead, his bear wants to claim her forever.
It takes one look for bear shifter Salvatore Orsino to know that Natale Durante isn’t just his client… she’s his mate. His first instinct is to lay Natale’s curvaceous body over his shoulder, find a den, and claim her with his bite. But, this beautiful head-strong woman only grudgingly endures his protection even as she welcomes him in her bed. He’ll have to set aside his bear’s need to mark her until he’s eliminated the threat to her life. Once she’s safe, he’ll turn all his energies convincing her that he isn’t after a short-term dalliance, he wants her, with him… forever.
Natale Durante knows that Durante Fashion House is on its last legs. Her new line, designed for women of every size and shape, is her last attempt at saving her family’s legacy. But there are those in high fashion who prefer that things stay the same—curves belong on the road, not the runway. When complaints and hate mail escalate to threats of bodily harm, her father hires a bodyguard—Salvatore Orsino. He’s over six feet of deliciously seductive muscular male and a distraction she can’t afford. One look from him and she wants her infuriatingly persistent protector to rip off her clothes with his teeth, or she might do the same to him.
Can Salvatore eliminate the threats to Natale or will he lose her before he has a chance to claim her?
When he saw his mate for the first time, her life was in danger. Keeping his Tiger a secret was no longer an option.
Every day was a struggle for Tiger Shifter, Devlin Kerr. Booted from one Police Department due to his ‘questionable attitude,’ he’d landed in Sylvan City determined to give the career another go. What was an Alpha to do?
Three weeks of even more bull and inside politics was already souring him on law enforcement all together when his Captain suckers him into working extra security at a society event.
A society event that ends in gunfire and blood.
And smack dab in the middle of the crosshairs? His mate.
Secrets be damned, Devlin did what it took to save her and suddenly danger is coming at them from everywhere.
Death, he could handle. Mayhem? Sure, just another walk in the park.
People going after his mate? That wasn’t going to fly. He was going to do whatever it took to keep her safe from danger…
…but who was going to keep Paige Lundin safe from him? Less than a day after they’d met, she was The Tiger’s Innocent Bride.
*This is Book 1 of the Sylvan City Alphas Series. As the series goes on you’ll meet Alphas of a number of different species who will find their mates amongst the citizens of this city, complete with lush woods and fields as well as a concrete jungle. These hard-edged heroes and their lusciously-curvy mates are turning this island into a shifter paradise filled with Happy Ever Afters*
Masquerade: an action or appearance that is mere disguise or show
Book #3 Corporate Heat
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There are too many masks in place. Too many false fronts. Everyone seems to be playing a role, including the modeling agency, the marketing representatives, the gracious Caribbean host and the owners of the high-end spa. But what were they all hiding?
Everything is turning upside down. The owner of the marketing agency dies in a mysterious one-car crash. Girls are disappearing and so are large chunks of money.
When hot, hot forensic accountant John Martino is reunited with very sexy Lindsey Califaro, with whom he had a short but intense fling, the heat between them rises high enough to burn down the town. So does the emotion. Lindsey is afraid tot rust him again, and John is trying to correct the biggest mistake of his life. But first they have to find the answers to a puzzle that reaches international proportions.
The elevator car arrived and they stepped into it, the only occupants from the high dollar floor. He followed her in and as soon as the door closed he pressed the button to hold the elevator car in place.
“John, we can’t do this now. People will be looking for the elevator. And I think a warning sounds if it doesn’t move for a certain amount of time.”
“Then I’d better talk fast.” He leaned forward, caging her with his arms. “Any excuse I can give for not calling you all this time is going to sound lame. Business crowded my schedule, time got away from me, all of that is true. But that’s not the whole story.”
“Oh? Then what is?”
“We need more time than five minutes for me to tell you. I was a first class jackass and I suffered for it. I’m not going to let that happen again. I’ve spent four years kicking myself for being such an asshole. When Taylor called, I pushed another job off on my partner so I could take this one. So I could see you.”
Lindsey stood there, scarcely able to breathe. Her heart was beating hard and her throat was so dry she could barely swallow.
“John.” She wet her lips. “I don’t think—“
“Don’t think. Listen. Like I said, I’m an asshole. I’ll be the first one to admit it. And any other names you want to add. When I left you four years ago I had every intention of calling you within the month. Hopping a plane to Miami or wherever you were by that time. Following up on what had started between us. Having a fun weekend.”
“A fun weekend,” she repeated.
“Because whatever it was, everything else aside, it was fucking good. Agreed?”
She just stared at him, unable to say a word.
“Okay. Don’t say anything. I don’t blame you. I got caught up in some international finance shit, used it as an excuse and time just kept passing. I’ve been single a long time, Lindsey. I told myself I wasn’t interested in anything more than a good time. I kept myself busy and after a while too much time had gone by. It suddenly hit me I’d tossed away what could be the best thing that ever happened to me. When Noah called and asked me to come here, told me who I’d be working with, I jumped at it. Saw a chance to make up for being such a jerk, even if I had to get down on my knees and beg you. Because that’s what I’m ready to do.” He blew out a breath. “Listen. You have no reason to believe anything I say after what I did. Or didn’t do. But I’m asking you for another chance, Lindsey. Begging you. Please. At least listen to what I have to say.”
While she was still trying to figure out how to answer him, his mouth descended on hers, his lips warm and smooth. He ran the tip of his tongue gently over her mouth, tracing the seam and urging her to open for him. Without thinking she did just that and he thrust his tongue inside.