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Archive for January, 2024

January into February (Contest)
Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Roxie Jones!



  1. I continued to work on Malcolm (Book #10 of Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT).
  2. I revised and republished my novelette, Unbound by the Amazon. (It’s currently FREE in KU, and just $0.99 for a short time only!)
  3. I completed 4 editing projects for other authors in January.
  4. I wasn’t working at my peak for the first half of the month, but after that, I cooked!!


  1. I continued concentrating on drinking more water, plus, I continued drinking water mixed with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar twice a day to improve my liver health.
  2. I’ve managed to keep my blood pressure down to 135-155, despite the fact I haven’t been watching my dang weight.


  1. I haven’t painted or “arted” much this month! And I miss it. Writing like my hair is on fire is taking everything right now.
  2. Here are some examples of things I completed in January.





Malcolm (Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT Book 10) What Happens in Bozeman

For work-related, I plan:

  1. To complete writing Malcolm, my next Montana Bounty Hunters book and publish it on February 13th!
  2. To begin work on What Happens in Bozeman, my next We are Dead Horse, MT, book!
  3. To complete 4 editing projects in February!

For health related, I plan:

  1. To see my heart doctor so he can assess how the meds he prescribed are working.
  2. To start back on my Weight Watchers diet, because it’s time to get serious! I HAVE to get back in the saddle!
  3. To continue to reduce salt, processed food, and incorporate foods good for blood pressure (spinach, broccoli, bananas) and my liver (apple cider vinegar, flax seeds, sunflower seeds).
  4. To pay attention to my daily steps, trips up and down the stairs, and to incorporate some chair exercises and more walking.
  5. To do more housework because my art room isn’t finished! Cleaning is exercise, too.

For happiness-related, I plan: 

  1. To begin the #the100daychallenge where I’ll be painting something every single day, starting on February 18th. If you’re an artist, join me!
  2. To lead a program for the local art guild meeting in the use of Gelli plates.


Comment on anything you’ve read in this post. Tell me what you’re doing to make yourself happier and healthier, or tell me what you plan to read in February…
Like I said, comment on anything for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

New (Old) Release! Unbound by the Amazon, PLUS Open Contests!
Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

I had this little story sitting in a file for the longest time. It was part of a series of novelettes written for Harlequin’s Nocturne Bites. I got the rights back, so I sat it in a folder for when I had time to revise it to make it a standalone story. I finally found the time! It’s just 16,000 words, so equal to three of my short stories. Currently, it’s FREE in Kindle Unlimited, and sometime today, the price will be reduced to only $0.99 for a few days because I’d love for you to read it. It’s a sexy time-travel. For those of you who loved Xena and Wonder Woman, here’s a tale for you!

Unbound by the Amazon

A pair of Army soldiers travels back in time to retrieve a powerful ancient artifact of alien origin from the queen of the Amazons…

Army Lieutenant Farideh Kalani expected her time-traveling assignment to ancient Scythia to retrieve an ancient artifact would be difficult, but gaining the trust of Amazon warriors and their legendary ruler, Queen Hippolyta, is easy compared to being partnered with Sergeant First Class Caleb MacAvoy. The soldier is too smug and sexy for her peace of mind. Posing as a warrior seeking a place among the royal guard and her devoted personal servant, the pair succumb to their attraction just as they discover another seeks the treasure they’ve sworn to find.

Get your copy here!

Open Contests

  1. Gabbi Grey: When One Story is Not Enough (Contest) — This is the last day to enter! Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Word Search: Favorite Pets (Contest) — This is the last day to enter! Win an Amazon gift card!
  3. Cover Reveal — Anyone like ancient Scythia? Plus, books you can pre-order now! (Contest) — This is the last day to enter! Win a FREE book!
  4. Saturday Puzzle Contest — Random Bohemian Pirate Couple — This one ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  5. Gabbi Grey: Sometimes Letting Go is Really Hard (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  6. Let’s have some fun! Tell me a story… (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  7. Memory Game — Match the Covers! (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  8. Anna Taylor Sweringen/Michal Scott: Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin – Pioneering Publisher, Suffragist and Women’s Club Founder (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  9. Saturday Puzzle-Contest: What world is inside your fantasy book? — Win an Amazon gift card!
Ava Cuvay: To Be or Not To Be… a Strong Female Character (Excerpt)
Monday, January 29th, 2024

I’m out of my element here.

My new release, What a Dragon Desires, has a Strong Female Character. Actually, strong isn’t an accurate descriptor because I’ve written strong characters before. Strong as in resilient, fearless, supportive, capable… but Eydís Helvig, the heroine in my third dragon shifter story is more than merely strong. She’s assertive, aggressive, and combative.

And I’m sooooo not.

Which begs the question: how much of me goes into my characters? I used to think there was at least a glimmer of Ava in each of my characters. I could relate in some way to their goals, their strengths, their hurts, etc. Or, at least, my author’s mind could step outside of itself and relate. Yet, for some reason, I really struggled with Eydís’s personality. Almost as if I couldn’t find anything relatable about her (and if the creator can’t relate, what does that say about both the creator and the character?). Yet Eydís isn’t some throw-away, one-dimensional, heartless harridan sort of character.

She was a challenge to write, partially because I was concerned about overstepping the fine line between strong and bitchy. Yes, the term “bitch” is so often (too often) used as a demeaning description for any confident, knowledgeable, vocal woman. I’m using the term to describe a female character who stiff-arms readers into not caring about her or her arc. When the reader isn’t engaged with a character—when they see no relatable or redeeming characteristics—they just don’t care. And their enjoyment of a story plummets, as does the possibility they’ll finish reading the book.

I’ve read my fair share of “strong female characters” who are merely insensitive harpies lashing out blindly at the world (for no understandable or redeemable reason). I hope Eydís doesn’t also fall into that category. After all, she’s a dragon shifter without a dragon. Which means she has an emptiness deep inside that can’t be filled or eliminated and therefore can’t regulate her apex predator tendencies. As a result, she’s aggressive, in-your-face, and combative. Her job involves navigating mostly-male meetings in a mostly-male industry. She has to be confident, knowledgeable, and vocal.

Part of her arc is to smooth those prickly edges. Shocker: the love of a good man helps 😉 A man who accepts her as she is. So much so that he calls her lítill fura… Old Norse for little pine.

While Eydís is allowed to be combative, she can’t be a bitch. Because I need the readers to like her. Which means I’ve kinda written myself into a corner, trying to make her prickly, but not too prickly. And because I am a peacekeeping, non-combative type of person myself (which means, I personally relate more with my hero in this book), I’m possibly more conservative with where that fine line between strong and bitchy actually is.

Uh-oh. Maybe I haven’t made her aggressive enough. 😳

All that angst aside, I’m celebrating a new release! And I’m giving away three kindle versions to random winners. Let me know about your favorite (or least favorite?) strong female character.

What a Dragon Desires

“What a Dragon Desires” is available at your favorite online retailer:
Kindle –
Nook –
Apple Books –
Google Play –

Ulrik Drekison serves comfortably at the right hand of his oldest brother. As a Wood Dragon shifter, he is the peacekeeper, serene as the forests surrounding his Minnesota home. When a deadly pest invasion threatens the future of his family’s logging company and the entire state’s economy, he’s primed to battle the infestation but ill-equipped to combat his attraction to the voluptuous woman sent by an opposing company. Unaffected by his Viking good looks and his innate dragon sensuality, she trashes his calm at every turn. Yet, as antagonistic as she is, he can’t seem to walk away from her.

Eydís Helvig was born a dragon shifter… without a dragon. As an apex predator with no beast to back up her brazen attitude, her own clan rejects her and humans barely tolerate her. When she’s tasked to diffuse a small family logging company’s outcry about a bug crisis, she is inexorably drawn by the Drekison’s innate power and integrity, especially the hostile yet passionate brother, Ulrik. She yearns to set down roots she’s never had. But like everyone else, Ulrik and his family won’t want her, especially after her employer’s secret is exposed.


He nodded once, then palmed her elbow to usher her to his truck. Eydís recoiled from his possessive move. She didn’t tolerate chivalry from men; she was perfectly capable of opening her own doors and shit, and allowing a man to do it for her undermined their ability to see her as an equal. She’d struggled too long and too hard to prove herself in a man’s world. There was no way she’s allow one little action to undo it and plant her into the weak-and-helpless category.

She yanked on the door handle, realizing too late it was still locked, and looked back at him expectantly. He was going to make her wait, wasn’t he? He was going to make her wait until he sauntered over and unlocked his truck, his expression patronizing and looking at her like she was a dumbass for trying to do anything herself.

But he didn’t make her wait.

He clicked his fob and she heard the unmistakable sound of unlocking. “Give the running boards a sec to deploy,” he cautioned when she flung the door open.

She paused and watched the power-deployed boards swing from under the truck, thankful for the boost they offered. Ulrik’s trucks wasn’t one of those cringy overcompensating-for-something behemoths—he didn’t need one; she’d seen his dick—but she was too short to gracefully climb into his cab without the running board.

He was at her side by that point, and held the door while she hoisted herself in. Was she hearing things, or had he caught his breath when she’d leaned forward as she maneuvered into the truck cab? And why did the thought of Ulrik appreciating her womanly assets please her in a far more personal way than it should?

About Ava

Ava Cuvay is an award-winning bestselling author of out of this world Sci-fi and Paranormal Romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, adventure… and the word “moist”.

She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and teen kiddos who think her “Rizz” is “cringe” but she “passes the vibe check” and her books “hit different.” No cap.

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.

Deb Robinson: What’s going on in my world for 2024!
Sunday, January 28th, 2024

It’s been a few months since my last blog, so I’ll re-introduce myself. I’m from Melbourne, Australia, and I’ve been writing contemporary romance since I was fifteen, but I didn’t start my journey as a self-published author until 2021. I love writing, reading, and listening to steamy romance novels, watching romantic movies… basically, I’m a romantic at heart. But romance or not, I love a great story in any format. I love other things too. Walking, yoga, visiting the library (even though I own a ton of books), coffee dates with friends and family, pretty notebooks, being organized, and gardening when I’m in the mood. Yep, it’s an eclectic mix.

I work part-time as an Accounts Assistant for a hospitality venue, and when I’m locked away in a little “safe” room to do the banking, I listen to audiobooks. It’s the best part about my job.

I thought I’d share what’s going on in my world and what’s on the list for 2024.

Australian weather:

While most of you are experiencing the cold, we’re in the middle of summer but right now, it’s not much of one. The eastern states, including where I am, have had thunderstorms and floods. It’s bizarre considering, we were told it would be a dry, hot season.

Australian Dorothea Mackellar’s poem My Country captures Australia perfectly when she wrote the line, “Of drought and flooding rains.” Like other things, it’s a poem I took for granted as a kid but can truly appreciate as an adult.

What I’m currently reading:

Dirty Thirty by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum has been one of my favorite characters for the longest time, and I never tire of her antics. It’s a laugh-out-loud adventure. And I love the banter between her and Joe Morelli. Oh, and the banter between her and Ranger.

What I’m listening to:

Nightwork by Nora Roberts. I’ve read/listened to her books for as long as I can remember. One of the reasons is because my Aunty was a huge fan, and I was bequeathed all of her books after she passed. I’m absolutely loving this story about a teenage boy who is doing what he can to support his mother while she battles cancer. His journey continues into adulthood.

Clear your shelf challenge:

I’m determined to read more this year and came across this reading challenge on Instagram. Basically, you need to read twelve books from January to March that are currently on your shelves or in your kindle and fit the selected categories. I like the manageable timeframe and that it encourages you to read what you already own. I find myself wavering with those yearlong challenges.

What I’m working on:

Click on covers to check these stories out! All are FREE FOR NOW in KU!

The CEO – book 4 in the 5 Shades of Brothers Browne series. I started working on this in 2022 when I thought Shane’s story would be second in the series but two of his younger brothers pushed ahead of him, as younger brothers tend to do. Now it’s his turn to fall in love.

Shane Browne, the CEO of Browne Real Estate is far too busy to be tied down. Sure, he’s had companions but the idea of love has never been on his list of goals.

Tycoon Marco Zampatti is selling his Melbourne hotel and has asked both Browne Real Estate and Matthews Realty to submit proposals for the job.

Shane’s biggest rival has a daughter. A woman he shared one night with a month ago and now it’s Addie who he’s competing against. Addie who is getting under his skin and softening his competitiveness.

Will Shane’s growing feelings for Harry’s daughter have him mixing business with pleasure?

What’s new in 2024:

I’ve decided to give this year a theme – ADVENTURE.

The hubby and I are getting a new car and have a few getaways planned for the year which is always exciting.

Also, in the spirit of romance and adventure, we’re going to have A year of dates. Let me explain. I discovered this online. It’s a cute little box full of envelopes, you pull out one a week and whatever is inside, you do. Simple. There are also five blank envelopes so you can write anything you want. So far, we’ve got up to watch the sunrise, we’ve gone on a coffee date and this week’s card will have us going to a local market.

And I’m beginning to learn golf. Yes, golf! My hubby loves to play when he can, and I’ve always wanted to give it a go. Currently, I’m just practicing in the backyard with a net we bought but I have hopes to one day step foot on a golf course. Apparently, my technique is pretty good.

Yes, there’s a lot of adventures planned for 2024 and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Do you have any holidays planned or new things happening this year? Any challenges you’re setting for yourself? Is there anything else you’d like to know about me or Australia? Be sure to put them in the comments or feel free to contact me on my socials.


Mister Tradie is 99cents Amazon & KU
Books 1-3 in the 5 Shades of Brothers Browne series bundle $2.96 Amazon & KU

Follow Deb Robinson on her official Facebook page
Follow on Instagram and Threads @debrobinsonbooks
And on TikTok @debrobinsonbooks

Saturday Puzzle-Contest: What world is inside your fantasy book?
Saturday, January 27th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Mary Preston!

It’s Saturday! I’m so ready for the week to be done! On Monday, we had one last “snow day” for the kids before the weather changed and the rains came. It rained long and hard for two days—long enough for us to discover our roof leaks. Long enough, we had roofers come out to give us estimates to fix the leak. Yay. Grrr…

Well, we do seem to move from one crisis to the next, but we are resilient! This too shall pass…until the next crisis.

In the meantime, I chose a fantasy image to make me happy. Solve the puzzle, then tell me what world you’d find inside your fantasy book for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! Have fun!

N.J. Walters: New Year, New Books
Friday, January 26th, 2024

Welcome to 2024! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season. We’re only three weeks into the new year, and I already have exciting news!

If you’re familiar with my Lone Wolf Legacy series, you’ll be happy to know that PROTECTING THE GRAY WOLF, the second book in the trilogy, is releasing on February 12th. The cover is gorgeous.

Protecting the Gray Wolf
Lone Wolf Legacy, Book 2

If they want his immortality—they’ll have to take it…in the second deeply sexy and bold Lone Wolf Legacy series from New York Times bestselling author N.J. Walters

I’m used to other wolves coming for me. They want their chance to try and take out the infamous Gray Wolf. And every single one of them fails—because lone wolves aren’t like the others…we’re stronger. Harder. Meaner. Immortal.

But it also means I’m alone. No pack. No alpha. Just the three of us—white, gray, and black. Two too many, if you ask me.

But with power-hungry mages gunning for us, I don’t have the luxury of reflection. They’re in New York City, and I Will. Hunt. Them. Down.

Which is when I see her, and every cell in my body is on alert, filled with the kind of primal longing I never knew I was capable of. Luna West may be human, but there’s some kind of thread connecting us. Call it destiny, fate…or voracious animal hunger.

I know she’s bait. She’s meant to tempt me, to make me weak. But even if I could resist her, I’m not sure I want to.

Because I’ve never denied my wolf anything…especially the chance to raise some serious hell.

And I’m not about to start now.

(Author Note: This book is told in third person, even though the blurb is in first person.)


It was rude, but Luna couldn’t stop staring at the man. Rough around the edges with his scruffy jaw and leather jacket, he should have looked completely out of place. Instead, everyone around him faded into the background, paling in comparison.

Towering over her, she estimated he stood at least six and a half feet, maybe slightly more. His hair was a pale foggy gray that fell in thick strands to his broad shoulders. It was an unusual shade, better suited to an older man, but there was nothing elderly about him. This was a man in his prime. There were no signs of dark roots, either. Maybe it was natural, like the two thick locks she had on either side of her face. She pegged him to be in his thirties, mostly because of the air of confidence surrounding him.


Want to read more about Luna and Kade? Check out the links below.

Entangled Publishing:

If you’re not familiar with the series, there’s still time to read TAMING THE WHITE WOLF, book one of the series. Find out more at: Entangled Publishing:

About the Author

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, assassins, 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.

Visit her at:
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Anna Taylor Sweringen/Michal Scott: Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin – Pioneering Publisher, Suffragist and Women’s Club Founder (Contest)
Thursday, January 25th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Diane Sallans!

The phrase “fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” describes Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin perfectly.

Born Josephine St. Pierre in 1842 in Boston, her middle-class parents sent her to integrated schools in Charlestown, Salem, and New York rather than accept the segregation imposed by Boston’s school system. No wonder she lived a life predisposed to fighting injustice on her own as well as on the behalf of others.

She married George Lewis Ruffin in 1858. A pioneer in his own right, the first African American to graduate from Harvard Law School and the one of the first African American judges in a Northern state. They lived in England for six months then returned and helped recruit volunteers for African American Civil War regiments like the Massachusetts 54th.  He died in 1886.

A member of the New England Women’s Press Association, Ruffin wrote for the Courant, a weekly paper for African Americans. She founded the Women’s Era, the first newspaper published by and for African American women. She and her daughter, Florida, published this illustrated monthly for seven years.

Her fight for women’s suffrage showed she understood the concept of intersectionality. She is quoted as saying, “We are justified in believing that the success of this movement for equality of the sexes means progress toward equality of the races.” Ruffin served as president of the West End League of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association.

She was the first African American member of the New England Women’s Club. In 1893, she founded The Woman’s Era club for African American women. Living up to its motto, “Make the World Better,” their activities promoted and fundraised for self-help activities to “uplift the race.” Ruffin believed a national organization for African American women’s clubs was needed and organized a conference in Boston to that end. Women from ten to fourteen states attended. They formed the National Federation of Afro-Am Women. This in turn merged with the Colored Women’s League, forming the National Association of Colored Women.

In 1900 at the meeting of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Southern women on the credentials committee opposed her representing both white and African American clubs.  They would only accept her credentials for the white clubs. She refused and was excluded from the meeting. The incident was nationally covered by the press.

Ruffin continued her fight for racial equality, and in 1910, became a founding member of the Boston NAACP. She died in 1924. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. A bronze bust of Ruffin is one of six famous Massachusetts women which stand in the Massachusetts State House.

Once again, the accomplishments of women like Josephine awe and inspire me to do all I can with the opportunities I have. For a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card, leave a comment on Josephine and other women who have inspired you.

Better To Marry Than To Burn

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.


She sidled up to him, cupped his erection and fondled his balls.

“Ready for bed or ready to bed me?”

He moaned, placed his hand atop hers and increased the pressure. Already hard, he hadn’t imagined he could get any harder.

“Is that beautiful brass bed new?”

He gulped. “Ye—yes. Bought it—bought it for the honeymoon.”

“I’m ready to be bedded now,” she whispered. “Or is that something we must negotiate?”

All thoughts of dinner vanished.

“No,” he rasped, leaning forward, as hungry for her lips as he was to be inside her.

“Good.” She stepped back, out of reach. “But, let’s be clear…” She bent over, so her butt protruded toward him.

She massaged each buttock so her crack parted invitingly.

“Tonight, it’s the Greek way or no way.”

He blinked, stunned by this demand to be taken anally. His master had had books filled with drawings, depicting naked Greeks wrestling. Those pen and ink depictions flashed before him now. Arms constrained by arms, legs entwined with legs, butts and groins enmeshed in snug contortions.

He’d love to take Queen that way, experience first- hand the erotic intimacy etched in the men’s struggle-laden features.

He took one step toward her then stopped. No. One day, he would…but not tonight. Not their first time. Their first time would be the nose-to-nose, chest-to-breast, cock-to-vagina coupling he’d hungered five years for.

buy link: