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Archive for February, 2021

Pretty Puzzling Day!
Sunday, February 7th, 2021

It’s Sunday! For me, it’s time to retool my plan for the week. I’ll edit some but probably won’t write. After I update my planner, I’ll likely do some housecleaning. I need to move a bit because I’ve been way too sedentary this week. I finally started work on my New Year resolution to concentrate on my health. I joined online WeightWatchers and am at least listing everything I eat even when I’m not “good”. This week, I’ll add listing water to make sure I’m doing what I should there. Little things, not everything at once. Tweaks! Trying to make big changes, all at once, is always my downfall. My dd gifted me with an Alice in Wonderland Tervis cup, so no excuses. My water looks pretty and fun!

Anyways, didn’t intend to share so much, but that’s what happens when I’m at my keyboard! Enjoy the puzzle. It’s perfect for a Sunday! And be sure to check out all of this past week’s open contests!!

It’s Saturday! What are you reading? (Contest–2 Winners!)
Saturday, February 6th, 2021

UPDATE: The winners are…Beckie and Eileen Airey!

It’s too bad the only Saturday song I can think of is Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park”—because I detest it. I know, there are Chicago fans out there, but I’m not one of them. But Saturday needs a theme song, don’t you think?

And it can’t be this one either… *shudder*

Now, you can thank me for the ear worm. 🙂

But it is Saturday! For me, it doesn’t mean much work-wise (every day is a workday), but it does mean the kids don’t have online schoolwork, so I’ll be seeing them in my office a heck of lot more. Argh.

Now, if I had time on my schedule to read a book today—I don’t! I’m editing and reading shorties for the anthology—I would likely pick up a book I’ve already read. One of my “comfort reads”, like Johanna Lindsey’s Warrior’s Woman or Mackenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard, or maybe Julie Garwood’s Saving Grace. I have a single shelf of books I’ve read over the years that I consider my comfort reads. Okay, I think I’d read this one:

It was the first Sci-Fi romance I ever read, and I shared it with the ladies I bunked with during Desert Storm. That copy was so dog-earred by the time I returned home—LOL!

Anyway, for a chance to win your choice of stories from my backlist, tell me what you’re reading this weekend, and whether you have any comfort reads you’d like to share with other readers!

Bzzz…Busy Lists, Honey Do’s, etc.
Friday, February 5th, 2021

The happiest of all lives is a busy schedule. ~Voltaire

I’m not sure that’s true. The thought of a slothful day sounds like heaven. Lately, because I have so much work on my plate, I rise around 6 AM to begin my days. I write down every little thing I want to complete in the order I want to complete them. None of that Steven Covey stuff about working on the highest priorities first because if I didn’t put “Shower” on the list, I’d forget!

Today’s list includes a shower, yes, and editing a certain number of pages, writing a certain number of pages, reading a certain number of stories, cleaning my desktop (my art supplies have overtaken its surface!), blogging, the daily art project, and many little administrivia things (phonecalls to be made, for example), and if I can get to it, vacuuming and mopping!

I like a list—even a long one. Today’s has 15 times! Checking off accomplishments is my nirvana.

Are you a listmaker? 

Boys Behaving Badly (Contest–Three Winners!)
Thursday, February 4th, 2021

UPDATE: The winners are…Brenda Rumsey, Kelly Samuels, and C. Marie Bowen!

This month, I’m reading the rest of the cowboy stories that will be a part of my next Boys Behaving Badly short story collection. I’m having a blast reading the offerings from some very talented authors! Once I select the stories, edit them, then compile them into a book, I’ll hand them over to my sister, Elle James, to create a cover for the antho before we get it up on Amazon for you all to purchase! (These big books are always offered for only $0.99—a steal because we want everyone reading the authors’ stories!) It’s a huge undertaking, but one I love. Every anthology, I’ve added new author friends, many of whom who come back, again and again, to submit new stories for readers to enjoy.

As soon as Cowboys is in the can, I’ll be searching for a new theme for the next anthology. That’s where you come in. Below, I have the covers of the previous anthologies so you can see what themes we’ve covered. For a chance to win a download of your choice from among these titles, tell me what you’d like to see next!

Click on the covers to learn more about these books!

Conquests Rogues Blue Collar
Pirates Stranded First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

The Problem with Collections, a New Contest & Open Contests!
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Denise Fidler!

The problem with collections is that they take up space and are often non-functional. The other day on Delilah’s Corner, I shared a photo of my collection of vintage vanity table powder jars, to start a conversation about weird collections anyone might have. Yes, powder jars were a thing. Mine don’t contain powder! My jars date back from the 1930s to the 1950s. See all those swans below? You can rest a lipstick tube between the wings. So cool! Okay, so maybe you just see them as dust collectors, but I adore them—especially, the animal-themed jars.

Anyway, I gathered all my jars for the photo then started to put them back in my bathroom, but my counter is really jam-packed with these things, so I thought I’d spread them around the house.

Here’s where this one wound up—on my desk. It’s actually my favorite and from the 1930s. And no, those white spots on my desk aren’t dust or dandruff—they’re divets in the wood like someone took an icepick to the surface! Anyway, for a chance to win a download of your choice from my backlist, give me a suggestion for what I should use the jar for. Have fun! Be creative or silly!

Open Contests & a Giveaway!

Enter while you still can!

  1. Ad Astra–To the Stars, I think… (Contest)Last day to enter! Win a FREE book!
  2. Reina Torres: Love in Lockdown — SUBLET, Part 5Everyone wins! Download your FREE story!
  3. Music Motivation Playlist (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  4. Jaap Boekestein: To Dance (Contest–Two Winners!) — Win a fat, FREE anthology!
  5. A bad night to be here… (Puzzle-Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
A bad night to be here… (Puzzle-Contest)
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Shiduna Townsend!

Puzzlers! I chose this photo because I was looking at pictures from my favorite place to buzz into for a long weekend. I was feeling a little nostalgic. Have fun with the challenge!


For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, solve the puzzle then tell me a little story about what you think is about to happen in this dark place…

Jaap Boekestein: To Dance (Contest–Two Winners!)
Monday, February 1st, 2021

UPDATE: The winners are…Katherine Horvath and Peggy Fowler!

I like dancers. Those beautiful movements, the expressions, the costumes, the emotion, and yes, the bodies, too. Like any art form, dance is a way of communicating. A story is told, and I love stories. I wrote three fantasy novels about three dancing half-sisters and how they lived in a city full of scoundrels, wizards, and monsters.

There was a time, about fifteen years back, when I went to dance performances, mainly belly dancing. That habit bled to death for various reasons (time, a relationship, et cetera). Usually, I went to a festival in which various acts performed. I learned that there are also male belly dancers. And apparently, I have the belly for it!

Once there was a single female performance in the Regentes Theatre in the Dutch city of Den Haag (I’m a Dutchie for those who didn’t know). The theatre is located in an old swimming pool, and it still has a lot of the original 1920s Art Deco elements.

Most people think that belly dancing is a bit of shaking with the belly, pelvis, breasts, and butt, and yes, those elements are there for sure, but of course, it is much more. Belly dancing consists of all kinds of movements and traditions, from various cultures. There is also room for modern dance types from jazz ballet to house. I once saw a Russian dancer do her belly dance to house music, and it was totally worth it.

But back to the performance I witnessed… I sat in the front row, partly for room for my legs, partly to get a good look. There was no partition; the dance floor started immediately. For those of us in the front row, our feet rested on the dance floor.

Dark room, a single spot. A beautiful, tall dark-haired lady entered. Lebanese? Something like that. Melancholic music began, the dance began. Her performance stood for her life story, or the story of her family. After all these years, the details are getting a bit vague. Anyways, that night she combined belly dancing with modern experimental dance.

She was good. Love, marriage, children, quarrels, loneliness, hope, the threat of war and flight, passion…  She brought everything to life, caught in the spotlight that followed her. The audience was carried away, without words, without explanation, just by the enchantment of the music and her dance.

The light was now red in color, the music more challenging, her movements voluptuous. A scene in a nightclub from a strip show? Yes, something like that. Lust. Sex. She wiggled her butt, looked over her shoulders at her audience.

Swallow. Yes. Good art plays with your emotions. Art or pleasure, and she used both to play with us.

Big me, short hair, broad shoulders, a head like a rock. Knife scars running from my right ear to my chin. There I was, sitting in the front row, massive between the frail ladies and wiry gentlemen. Who go to dance performances? Mainly dancers, professional, hobby, former and whatever dancers. A dancing public. I was the very clear exception. I’m not a dancer. I’m a writer.

She looked at me. I looked back, appreciative.

She came over to me with swaying her hips.

Something snorted inside me. It came out like a grin. Nostrils open, muscles tense. Control is nice, but feeling the inner beast is fun, too.

At the last moment, less than half a step away, she turned and sat down.

Her butt on my lap, her legs over mine.

There, trapped together in the spot. Beauty and the Beast. Agility exposed on that massive hump of meat and bones.

She turned, squirmed, she danced while sitting.

I kept my hands at my sides. If it had been just the two of us, I would have grabbed and played with her. But there was an audience, so I didn’t, and she knew I would not. Damn, women aren’t crazy. She knew and enjoyed the power she had.

Me, too. Standing on the edge, just not letting go of the beast… That’s nice, too.

She jumped up again; the lap dance was over. She threw me a kiss, and I returned it with a grin. Like a twisting flame, she turned farther up the floor, on her way to the next part of her life story.

Jump after it! Stamp exaggerated, big gestures, big strides. A troll and a fairy. Do it! She would whirl around me, and I would chase her like a golem.

No, I didn’t. It was her performance. Not mine, I told myself. Besides, I wasn’t that brave. No. I didn’t dare, although deep in my heart I wished I had.

In the end, the performance was over.

I went home happy, melancholy, full of creative energy.

Once I went to dance performances.

One day, we’ll go again.

We? Yes. She and I. No, not her, not the dancing lady. Another special lady, but that’s another story.


Comment for a chance to win a copy of First Response! I’ll choose two winners!

About the Author

First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

Inside First Response, read “Save Me Twice” by Jaap Boekestein – Playing with handcuffs leads to unexpected and sexy consequences for a timid office worker when she loses the key.

Jaap Boekestein is an award-winning Dutch writer of science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and whatever takes his fancy. He usually writes his stories in the coffeehouses of his native The Hague, the Netherlands. Over the years he has made his living as a bouncer, working for a detective agency, and the Justice Department.