I completed only 3 editing projects for other authors in April.
My hand is mostly healed from the recent break. I still have some nerve problems and have to do physical therapy to improve my hand’s function.
I had an ultrasound and EKG done of my heart. Not great news there. I have Moderate Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (a thickening/stiffening of the heart muscle), which is likely caused by my high blood pressure.
I restarted Weight Watchers in the latter part of this month to help with my heart and blood pressure issues and have severely limited my salt intake. I managed to gain weight back, but after my diagnosis, there’s not any room for procrastination. I’m down 3.9 pounds as of today.
As for physical activity, I’m still not doing enough. I’m feeling tired all the time. Which I know has to do with my weight, my heart, and inactivity. All my issues are interrelated. I just need to get my fat ass off this chair and move more often, along with the dietary changes…
The family is trying to do fitness-related outings, which include me. We hiked a local trail to the bluff overlooking the river. It wasn’t a long trail, but we all enjoyed it very much. We also did a couple of shopping/flea market outings, which helped with steps.
I am still participating in the #the100dayproject online art challenge. As of today, I’m on Day 66. Here are a few of my April pieces…
For work-related, I plan:
To complete my short story for the Silver Soldiers anthology.
Publish Silver Soldiers on May 9th!
To complete and publish Cold Hard Cash, the first of the We Are Dead Horse series.
To complete 4 editing projects in May!
For health related, I plan:
To continue counting those points for my Weight Watchers diet and hopefully shed at least another 5 pounds, remembering, as always: Slow is good!
To continue to reduce salt, processed food, and incorporate foods good for blood pressure (spinach, broccoli, bananas, red wine).
To continue working on getting the pool ready for swimming!
To begin walking and counting my steps.
I’ll re-dedicate myself to doing more housework, too, because my art room is a disaster. And cleaning is exercise, ahem.
For happiness-related, I plan:
To attend the 18-year-old’s high school graduation!
To continue producing some small piece of art every day as part of #the100dayproject. I’m volunteering several times a month to sit in the Art Center to keep it open.
To blog about art (on my Emerald Casket site) just to keep myself honest!
To work toward re-opening my Etsy store! I just about have enough art to do so!
Comment on anything you’ve read in this post. Tell me what you’re doing to make yourself happier and healthier. Tell me what you plan to read in May… Like I said, comment on anything for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
I have a ridiculous number of contests still open between this website and the Collections website. Some are ending soon, so be sure to enter those while you still can. The links are below the puzzle. Pace yourself. LOL
But it is Saturday, so you know what that means…
The Saturday Puzzle-Contest
Solve the puzzle then tell me what spell she’s weaving for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Psst! This blog is doing double-duty—also appearing over on the Delilah’s Collections website! Comment in both places for a chance to win! There are two prizes! And while you’re there, be sure to check out the posts and prizes from previous days!
May is nearly here, and it’s the final stretch of the school year. Even as merely a substitute teacher, I’m feeling very much the “What’s my Name? Who am I?” brain fatigue. And it’s also lacrosse season, which takes up the rest of the waking hours for my family. All of which is really too boring to blog about (and I’m honestly not sure I could cobble a cohesive blog together on any of those topics)… but the upcoming release of the Silver Soldiers: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology *is* something to talk about!
I’m thrilled to be part of this anthology! I’ve had a short story included in the past two anthologies, and it’s a treat to be in the company of such creative, masterful writers, and to see the variety of ideas that stem from a simple phrase such as “Silver Soldier” or “First Responder.”
I recently celebrated publishing my seventh book in seven years (not including an array of short stories in various anthologies, or the three children’s books I’ve written and illustrated). It’s easy enough to look at the company I keep with the other authors in this anthology and get depressed at my own slow progress… comparison can do that to a person. But this is one of the reasons I love the Romance community: we cheer each other on and remind each other that every step forward is cause for celebration.
So, I continue my writing progress, however slow-and-steady it may be. Because I love to write. And I love to tell the stories bouncing around in my brain, which lean toward futuristic, fantastical, or in a galaxy far, far away. I’m born and bred in a small city in Indiana. We have corn and basketball and the Indy 500. None of which light my fire. But when Star Wars came to the big screen, I was seven… and it rocked my world. My impressionable years were filled with strange creatures, droids with personalities, spaceships, lightsabers, and (of course) the wonderful sexual tension between Han Solo and Princess Leia. My love of aliens and the extraordinary—and falling in love—was solidified.
The upcoming Silver Soldiers anthology hits a little different for me than the previous anthologies. The timing is perfect because I am wrapping up a seasoned-romance, slightly-futuristic cyborg series set in my neck of the woods: Central Indiana. The second in this series, Tin Toy just released in December. The third and final book in this series is Tin Soldier, scheduled to release this August, tells the story of an older-soldier-turned-cyborg, and his love interest who is dealing with breast cancer. This anthology marks the first one where my story actually ties into a full book and series. The challenge was different this time. Everything mattered this time (names, backstory, goal, etc.) because it leads into the rest of the story. Yet I wanted it to have its own decisive HEA for the reader.
Fingers crossed I’ve succeeded!
If you haven’t already pre-ordered the Silver Soldiers anthology, do so today!
Contest: For a chance at a $5 Amazon gift card, what childhood movie was most influential in your life?
Ava Cuvay is an award-winning bestselling author of out of this world Sci-fi and Paranormal Romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, and adventure… often set in a galaxy far, far away. She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and kiddos who remind her daily she’s not nearly as cool as she thinks. She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.
I’m often asked, when did you fall in love with writing? Such a great question. At thirteen, I read a Harlequin romance novel and fell hard. I decided then that I wanted to create love stories. I wrote short stories and shared them with my friends for years. I’ve come along way because now I share my stories with thousands of readers. I’d love to say that I’ve been lucky to have a writing career, but luck has nothing to do with where I am today. When I first started writing seriously, I had a baby on one hip and a laptop on the other. The first couple of books I wrote were written long hand (and probably why I have deformed pointer fingers) in notebooks during the night when my husband and kids were asleep. I also had a day job, so I had gotten good at balancing.
Here are some things you should know about me…
I wear my heart on my sleeve. My books are a true reflection of who I am. My characters are flawed, big-hearted, and full of emotion.
I’m afraid of what’s under the bed. Yes, it’s funny, but it’s true. I’ve had this fear since I was little.
I enjoy baking, painting, yoga, and volleyball. They’re stress relievers for me. My family tells me that I’m competitive and I guess that it’s true. I love to play sports, and will demand a rematch if I didn’t do as well as I hoped.
I tend to overthink. 😊
Did you know that I have a new release?
The Ryders and Thorns have been enemies for as long as she can remember. When she finds herself in the middle of a tug-of-war, she’ll have to pick sides. Her choice might tear her family apart…
Circumstances bring her back into the path of a cowboy she fell for once upon a time. To keep her heart safe, she must abide by some rules…
1. No lusting after LB Ryder. He’s hotter than ever, but that ship has sailed.
2. Ignore how the cocky cowboy makes her want to bite nails…and do unbelievably bad things.
3. No kissing, touching, or believing in an enemies-to-lovers fairytale. She won’t take a stroll down memory lane, especially with a man who is T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
4. Break rules 1-3 and repeat. Rules were meant to be broken anyway.
Haisley has always gravitated toward LB. Handsome, smart, cocky, and determined, he’s just the type of guy she finds challenging. And he’s about the only one who isn’t afraid to put her in her place.
LB has avoided the Thorns for years, but when the oldest brother steals a prized horse, LB’s ready to seek revenge. Then Haisley pops back into his life, stirring up the past and making demands. The chemistry is still scorching and the only thing sweeter than revenge is a stroll down memory lane.
As things heat up, LB and Haisley stop fighting each other and are forced to make tough choices…and find a way to navigate a secret that can either start a civil war between the Ryders and Thorns or end a four-decade old feud.
Readers who love enemies to lovers, second chances, and happily ever after won’t be able to put this book down. Craving a Second Chance is packed with emotion, grit, conflict, and a splash of suspense.
Book 1- Whiskey Ryder’s Second Chance
Book 2-Protecting His Second Chance
Book 3-Craving a Second Chance
“Still breaking hearts and bulls, huh, cowboy?”
LB Ryder flicked his eyes open and stared at the tent wall. He’d fallen asleep on the bed in the sickbay at the arena after a game of Cowboy Poker. The aches and pains, and the tweaking of an old back injury, were worth being the last cowboy sitting at the table. He took home the gold, and honor, of winning the final event at the annual Wildflower Rodeo Olympics.
Hell, the ass whoopin’ he got from the bull was worth watching Cruise Thorn lose. The son-of-a-gun had taken home the win three years in a row and thought the bull would be a Duck Spinner. Bad mistake. The meanest bull in the lot was drawn.
“Lookin’ good,” came the soft female voice again as the sheet over his backside lifted.
“Hey? Do I know you?” He was slowly coming more awake and aware that something wasn’t right. “I’m waiting for sports med.” The lady working the desk at the front of the tent told him a fellow would be examining him when the other cowboys, who got it worse, were finished.
Holding onto the ice bag against his temple, he lifted his head to get a look at who was in the room and caught a glimpse of dark hair.
“I am sports med. I’m helping Drew because it looks like the bull was the only thing that walked away from that event with his pride intact.” He caught the sarcasm in her tone.
Something about her voice sounded vaguely familiar. He started to sit up, but her fingers dug into the sore muscles of his back, causing him to grunt in pain. Damn, he didn’t realize how badly he’d hurt himself. He clenched his teeth as the pain radiated down into his legs.
He was getting too old for the rodeo.
“Does this hurt?” She moved her kneading to another part of his back.
“Not as much as the other side.” He relaxed.
“Congratulations on winning, by the way.” She buried her knuckles into the muscles on either side of his spine and he felt an instant release. He’d expected to get a bandage and a shot of cortisone, not a massage, but he wasn’t complaining.
“This is definitely an event aimed at cowboys who have more brawn than brains.”
LB squinted at the remark. “You don’t like charity events, or just cowboys in general?”
“I wouldn’t call four men sitting around a table, playing poker, in the middle of an arena with an angry bull stalking around them being very smart. I could think of a hundred other ways to contribute.”
He laughed. “And miss the friendly competition? What fun would that be?” The competition was anything but friendly. Cowboys took the annual event seriously.
He’d participated in every event from roping cattle, riding broncos, barrel racing, hot pepper eating contest, even a chili cook off, and a line dance competition. The Wildflower Rodeo was a veritable cowboy triathlon, some events tested a cowboy’s endurance, and some were included to make spectators laugh. All proceeds were donated to the charity of choice. Through most of the events, LB and the eldest Thorn brother had been neck and neck in points, but the Cowboy Poker pushed LB ahead because Thorn was sent packing by the bull.
Her fingers were now on his shoulders. “You’re a bit tense.”
“Yeah, it’s been a bit of a tiring two days.”
“You unfortunate thing. I’m sure it has been. I can give you a shot for inflammation and another for pain. You don’t mind needles, do you?”
He sensed animosity in the woman’s words. Angry women and syringes never mixed well in his experience. “A couple of pain pills, some rest, and I’ll be good as new come tomorrow.”
“Then let me see if I can work the tension out of these muscles. We wouldn’t want our star cowboy hurting, now, would we?”
LB opened his mouth to respond, maybe even suggest he didn’t need her services, but she dug her fingers into his shoulders. Even though her bedside manner left a lot to be desired, he enjoyed the brutal massage. Most therapists were too gentle.
He eased his body into the bed. “You have a magical touch.”
A gasp fell off her lips and her hands paused. “Are you flirting with me?”
What the hell? “No, I was only complimenting your skills.” Curiosity rose in him. His instincts were going off like fire-alarms. “Did my brothers put you up to this?”
“Did your brothers also convince that bull to toss you over the rail?” Her voice reeked of cynicism.
LB had patience. Growing up with a house full of brothers, he’d built a wall of strength. Over the years, Bend, Rip, Dean, Raven, and Whiskey had all loved a good joke and any and every opportunity required a prank. LB could see any one of them sending in some random woman to give him a tough time. Hell, he might even have found this funny if he wasn’t banged up by a pissed off bull.
The sheet was pulled away and cooler air swept over his bottom. Now he wished he’d kept his jeans on and dealt with the cut on his butt cheek himself. “Did you say Drew was around?” LB would rather stick with someone he knew.
“He’s somewhere around here, I’m sure.”
He started to push up from the bed, but she pressed her fingers into his glutes, pushing him back down onto the hard bed. She did seem deceptively strong.
Now this was something new.
“About flirting, it’s okay if you can’t control yourself. I know how to manage men who get carried away. You wouldn’t be the first I’ve had to teach a lesson,” she said close to his ear.
LB swallowed hard. He’d never, in all his thirty-one years, taken advantage of a woman. His Pa would tar and feather any of his sons that would dare step a toe out of line with a female. They were taught respect and manners. “I’m feeling much better now. Thank you, but I’ll be heading on my way now.”
“Was it something I said?” she said in a sweet, innocent voice.
“Yeah, I believe it was.”
“Well, please accept my apology. I’m a bit new to this. Will you give me one more itty-bitty try?”
Reluctantly, he nodded. “Sure. It would be best if we don’t talk.”
“My lips are sealed,” she said perkily.
He heard the rustling of paper then she practically smacked a bandage on the cut. At least he didn’t need stitches.
Then her fingers were on the backs of his thighs, kneading the tight muscles. God help him, he couldn’t quite remember the last time he’d received a massage that was both blissful and torture all at the same time. He didn’t know whether to relax or anticipate the next time she’d find a pressure point and cause him bittersweet agony. LB decided to lay his head down and close his eyes. She knew better than he did what he needed for his injury.
“So, Cowboy,” she purred. “What made you decide to participate in the Wildflower Rodeo Olympics? I haven’t seen you around in a few years.”
He thought they weren’t supposed to talk.
“Two things. Helping my charity and taking home the title of best cowboy,” he mumbled against the sheet he had his face buried against. He’d leave out the small detail that he enjoyed beating Thorn at something the man had always been good at.
“I’d say it’s pretty lucky that you took first place. If my mind doesn’t fail me, I remember that other fellow, Cruise Thorn, almost winning.” He could hear a lid being opened, a squirting sound then the wet slapping of her hands.
LB stiffened some, couldn’t help himself. “Winning has nothing to do with luck. You’re either skilled, or you’re not.” He wouldn’t say he knew from the beginning that he had the win in the bucket, but he’d kept his nose to the grindstone and stayed focused. From the get-go, all bets were on Thorn. He and his family were well-known in Wildflower Ridge as billionaire superstars.
Confession time – this isn’t my first lesbian romance. I wrote a sweet short story for a charity anthology to benefit victims of the Australian Wildfires back in February 2020. My little story gave me two characters I gave cameos to in a subsequent book.
Okay, now I have that off my chest.
I love my publisher. They come up with great ideas and I’m happy to run with them. For Passport to Romance, I wrote a gay novella Valentino in Vancouver set in – big surprise – Vancouver. Under another penname, I wrote Bonding in Buenos Aires. One guess where I set that novella. For their One Scoop or Two series, I wrote Catch a Tiger by the Tail which doesn’t sound much like an ice cream story until you realize tiger tail ice cream is a thing (orange cream mixed with ribbons of black licorice and, OMG, so so so good).
Last year, they asked for jelly bean stories. Jelly Beans and Spring Things was the proposed theme.
At first, I didn’t think I had anything to contribute. I’d just written Valentino and was preparing to write Buenos Aires. And I had a third book, under another penname, that was on deadline. Oh, and my contribution to the HEA Collective needed to be written. I didn’t have time for a jelly bean book!
Except…yeah. I remembered a character I’d created in Valentino – actress Elouise Hynes. Elouise, like the character Seamus, is from Newfoundland. But while Seamus still has a trace of an accent, Elouise went to Hollywood and tried to ditch the accent entirely. She hasn’t turned her back on her roots – but she’s embraced the SoCal lifestyle.
Until a broken relationship sends her scrambling back to Canada, Vancouver in particular, to nab the lead role in a thriller. By now, she’s out of the closet and has sworn off love after the disastrous dissolution of her engagement. Then she meets bold and brash makeup artist Kelci, and her world turns upside down. Toss in characters previously introduced in Tiger and Valentino to bring readers along for the journey. Then, finally, throw in some April showers, jelly beans, and I had my story.
I tried to write a sweet story. My editor gently told me I’d missed the mark by a mile. She suggested I add a few swear words (which are normally in my stories) and add a sex scene (which fit beautifully in the story and the reader would never know it hadn’t always been there). I call the story my spicy lesbian novella. The book isn’t as spicy as some other things I’ve written, but there’s plenty of sexual tension and also plenty of love. So the typical Gabbi Grey novella with the perfect HEA.
Thank you, Delilah, for hosting me today so I can talk about my beloved venture into Sapphic romance. I’d love to offer a $5 Amazon GC to one of your faithful readers. Let me know – how much does the cover influence your decision to try a book? I love my cover of You See Me. I think my designer nailed Elouise perfect with the right amount of sexiness while showing that hint of vulnerability. One random commenter will win the GC. Thanks!
You See Me
Being dumped might lead to a forever love.
After a public break-up with my fiancée, I’ve retrenched in Vancouver, British Columbia to lick my wounds and star in a movie. I’m acting as if everything is okay, but then I meet a woman who sees the real me. Dare I take a chance to find real love?
I’ve admired Elouise Hynes from afar for years. She’s recently come out of the closet and was dumped just a short time later. I want to offer comfort, but I’m a make-up artist on her movie crew. Can we really form a lasting bond when she lives in LA and I’m staying in Canada?
USA Today Bestselling author Gabbi Grey lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black and Gabbi Powell.
Yesterday was fun. I had an ultrasound scheduled at the VA in Little Rock.
Those two sentences don’t seem to go together but hear me out. We dropped the girls at school and then headed to Little Rock early, hoping that if we arrived early at the VA they’d take me. And they did! Which meant we had all this time we thought we’d be waiting there to do something else before we had to be back to pick them up from school.
How to spend all that time?
Our first thought? THE INDIAN STORE! We’ve been dying to restock the pantry and freezer with chutneys, samosas, and naan bread. But alas, when we got there, we realized we had an hour to wait before they opened. What else could we do?
Barnes & Noble was just down the street. Once inside, Kelly headed to the chicken coop books, and I headed to the art section. One watercolor book about birds and a collection of skin-tone ink markers later, and we were ready for what was next—which was Trader Joe’s right next to B&N! I’d never been inside one so, of course, we had to go! Everything Bagels, tea tree oil shampoo, and shampoo bars later, and we were done!
Next was Target! (Don’t laugh, but Target is a treat in a Walmart-only small town!) Only, our goal was to be in and out fast because we knew we could spend some major time there, so we limited ourselves to the 5-dollar section of the store. What fun we had! I have a small watering can I don’t need and some small chalkboard signs I also don’t need.
So, it was lunchtime by the time we left Target. Indian grocer or Indian restaurant? Our stomachs won. Little Rock actually has one of the best Indian restaurants I’ve ever eaten at. We were first in the door before the lunch crowd, ordered our Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Korma with veggie samosas, and anyone sitting next to us would’ve been uncomfortable listening to us moan over the food. We took a doggie bag back to the car with enough leftovers we could stretch it with naan and samosas to feed the kids and us again later!
So, at last, we headed to the Indian grocery store. We know it well enough we were in and out inside 15 minutes with our incense, hot pickle, naan bread, samosas, and curry sauce.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon GC, what would your perfect day be like?
Happy New Year! Wait. What? Why am I talking about New Year’s in April? It’s a bit strange, yes, but actually, it is relevant once one thinks about it. Let me explain.
As the old year ends and it’s time to ring in the new one, many people make resolutions. “New year, new you,” as the slogan goes. Most people have the best intentions when they make the resolutions, and some follow through. However, most people begin their resolutions strong but around month three begin to slack off. There are many reasons people this may occur. Perhaps the resolution was set too high (e.g., lose 90 pounds in two weeks). Or maybe the resolution was something beyond the person’s control (e.g., being promoted at work). It could have even been unrealistic (e.g., taking a trip around the world without any means to finance it). Yet, it could have been that the person who made the resolution simply became discouraged if they seemed to make little or no progress. No matter the reason, usually around March, many people abandon their New Year’s resolutions.
In recent years, there seems to be an anti-New Year’s Resolutions trend. People appear to be tired of making resolutions and failing. So, does that mean people no longer set goals? That people have lost their ambitions? That people are too disheartened and dismayed to hold aspirations? Considering everything that has happened in the last three years, that very well could be an explanation. However, another explanation could be that people have discovered a new way to approach an old issue. Well, technically, theirs is nothing new about the approach that I’m about to discuss. Many people, especially business owners, have used this approach for years. They set a yearly/annual goal, but the ways in which they achieve that goal is by measuring it in increments. Instead of tackling the entire goal individually and looking at progress compared to the end goal, they divide the task into quarterly goals.
Quarterly goals are much more manageable. For example, if a person has a goal to go on a vacation but has no means to finance it. Having quarterly goals may make accomplishing this less daunting. The first quarter may be dedicated to determining how much money is needed to travel, obtaining passports or documents for passports, finding travel/hotel discounts, and developing a plan to pay for it. This could include having a garage/yard sale, getting a second job, cutting back on current expenses, clipping coupons, etc. After the first quarter, progress can be measured and used as a baseline for the second quarter goals.
Basically, quarterly goals are a way to assess if a person is on track to reach his/her annual goals. Businesses use this all the time to adjust and readjust their business strategies…to determine what worked and what didn’t work.
April is a month that many people begin their second-quarter goals. For people who did not make any goals for the first quarter, April is a good month to develop goals. April is a month associated with rain. Consider April the chance to wash away any failed goals and begin fresh. Easter occurred this month, and Easter is associated with rebirth and rejuvenation; rising and conquering the impossible.
That’s all I got. Now, it’s your turn to sound off. What did you think? What is your take on the subject? Do you agree or disagree? Did you find this information helpful or informative? Did you learn anything new, or did it change your opinion? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.Also, let me know if you would like me to cover more of these types of topics or dive deeper into this one. If you like this post, please click the like button and share it. Your feedback allows me to know the content that you want to read. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.
Get ready. It’s time to hit the ice again. Future Goals has arrived and is available.
When a college hockey player needs the help of an attractive older attorney, he gets more than he bargained for when trying to sort out the troubles in his career. Falling in love was never part of either man’s plan, especially as Corrigan’s and Sacha’s lives should never have collided. Now they’re left questioning if they’re standing in the way of the other’s future goals, or if there’s room for redirection.
For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.
Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.
About the Author
Genevive Chamblee resides in the bayou country where sweet tea and SEC football reign supreme. She is known for being witty (or so she thinks), getting lost anywhere beyond her front yard (the back is pushing it as she’s very geographically challenged), falling in love with shelter animals (and she adopts them), asking off-the-beaten-path questions that makes one go “hmm”, and preparing home-cooked Creole meals that are as spicy as her writing. Genevive specializes in spinning steamy, romantic tales with humorous flair, diverse characters, and quirky views of love and human behavior. She also is not afraid to delve into darker romances as well.