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Baby Bird Courage & Open Contests! (New Contest, too!)
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

“There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”
~ John Hightower

~or~

“Might, could, would — they are contemptible auxiliaries.” ~ George Eliot

Both of these quotes are talking about the same thing. The opposite of taking the middle of the road or dreaming about what you might-could-would do is having the courage to take the plunge, to go all in.

The photo was one I found on a stock photo site when I typed in “Courage”. It made me laugh. I can’t imagine what would go through a bird’s mind before taking that leap. And before you think, “It’s just instinct” — have you seen videos of crows problem-solving? One on FB the other day showed a crow dropping pebbles into a water bottle to raise the level enough his beak could reach. I’m not sure any of my kids would’ve figured that one out. 🙂

I’d love to hear a little story about courage you’ve witnessed or experienced—big or small. Comment for a chance to win a free download from my backlist of books!

Open Contests

  1. A Pretty Little Puzzle & a Ton of Open Contests!This one ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Tests of Courage (Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  3. My Book-Meme Goddess (Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  4. Michal Scott: African-American Opera: My Latest Rabbit Hole (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  5. Ready for Spring? (Puzzle-Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
Ready for Spring? (Puzzle-Contest)
Monday, March 1st, 2021

I had my COVID shot yesterday, and some folks asked me to give them an update on any reactions I might be having. The numbness in my lips and the slight woozy-headed feeling went away by late afternoon. This morning, I woke up with my arm feeling like it’s bruised, but that’s it. My SIL told me to be ready for fatigue, but I had insomnia last night—which is not unusual, so that wasn’t a problem for me. A little discomfort is well worth not dying. Folks, go get your shots!

So, it’s Monday. After last week’s Snowmageddon, we’re having a week of rain. We were under a tornado watch last night and had some limbs come down. A funnel cloud was seen but never touched down. So, we’re knee-deep in mud and won’t be drying up anytime soon. The first day we have sunshine, I’m going to start working on the pool because I can’t wait for the warm weather! I hope you’re all doing well and looking forward to Spring like I am! Maybe the puzzle will help you get into the mood. 🙂

Puzzle-Contest

Comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! Tell me what you think this picture is all about. Is there a story here?

Michal Scott: African-American Opera: My Latest Rabbit Hole (Contest)
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Going down the rabbit hole is what we authors call picking up a thread of research that takes us away from our intended purpose. My latest is African-American opera. What got me started was my quest to track down a modern adaptation of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. I learned of an African-American version where James Brown’s first gold record is the gold stolen in the opera. Looking for information on that performance has taken me down many paths in my latest rabbit hole. Before my quest, I’d have had to admit my knowledge of opera depicting aspects of African-American life was limited to the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and Scott Joplin’s Tremonisha. I soon became lost in the wonderful facts I discovered about old and new works. And truth be told, I loved being lost.

My rabbit hole was really a gold mine. I struck a rich vein every time I began a new internet search. I’ve learned about modern works like Tulani and Anthony Davis’ X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X that premiered at the American Music Theater Festival in 1985. Last year, the Seattle Opera performed Daniel Schnyder and Bridgette A. Wimberly’s Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, a daring piece that incorporated jazz and opera.

This month I learned about 1949’s Troubled Island by composer William Grant Still. You can learn more about the piece here…

In 1936, Still began the opera set in Haiti’s slave rebellion. He asked poet Langston Hughes to write the libretto. Hughes had collaborated with African American composer James P. Johnson to write a blues opera called De Organizer. The International Ladies Garment Workers Union sponsored performances of the work in 1940. In 1937, Hughes moved to Spain to correspond on the Spanish Civil War. Still’s wife, Verna Arvey, a librettist in her own right, finished Troubled Island‘s libretto. Completed in 1939, it took ten more years before the work was performed by the New York City Opera. This made Troubled Island the first African-American grand opera to be produced by a major opera company.

I was drawn to learn more about William Grant Still, the music of Langston Hughes, Verna Arvey, James P. Johnson, famous sponsors of work by African-American artists. Can you see why research is an underground rabbit warren from which I might have never returned to the story that initiated the search in the first place? I plugged up my ears against the siren call of all these facts and made my way back to the surface. I’ve tucked the information away for another time and other stories.

I’ve yet to find the James-Brown-gold-record version of Das Rheingold but I haven’t given up. If you come across it or any information about it, please let me know. But beware lest you fall into a rabbit hole research trap of your own.

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, share in the comments if you have a favorite opera or if opera is something you avoid at all costs.

One Breath Away

Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. She’s never been courted, cuddled or spooned, and now no man could want her, not when sexual satisfaction comes only with the thought of asphyxiation. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.

Wealthy, freeborn-Black, Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing the mysteriously exotic woman is his mate foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.

Hope ignites along with lust until the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…

Excerpt from One Breath Away

“Caesar King?”

He removed his hat and extended his hand in greeting. “At your service, Queen.”

She donned her hat and examined him with that regal air.

“Miss Payne, if you please. You may call me Queen after the nuptials.” She finished tying her hat’s long ribbons beneath her chin. “Although, even then, I’d prefer Mrs. King.”

“You don’t say?” He chuckled, taking her measure from head to foot. “Well, Miss Payne it is…for now.”

She filled her face with a frown. “I don’t appreciate being examined like some newly purchased cow, Mr. King.”

He pulled back. Amusement wrestled with annoyance. “I’m making sure you measure up, Miss Payne.”

“Pray to what criteria? I doubt there’s a standard for marriages of convenience.” She shoved her valise against his chest then crossed her arms, causing her lovely bosom to swell.

He inhaled against the pull of desire throbbing in his privates. “The same criteria as you I suspect: my own self-worth and what I deserve.” He dropped the bag at her feet. “So, by that token, I don’t appreciate being treated like some fetch-and-carry boy.”

She lowered her gaze. But for the set of her jaw he’d have taken the gesture for apology.

He leaned forward and whispered, “If you ask me nicely, I’d gladly carry your bag.”

“A gentleman wouldn’t need to be asked.” Her tone dripped with disdain. “A gentleman would simply take it.”

“I do many things, Miss Payne.” He pushed up the brim of his hat and grinned, fired up by the hazel flame sparking in her eyes. “Pretending to be a gentleman doesn’t number among them.”

Buy links: Amazon – https://amzn.to/2VT5u0F

A Pretty Little Puzzle & a Ton of Open Contests!
Monday, February 22nd, 2021

Puzzle-Contest

Tell me a story. Just a short one will do. Doesn’t have to be good or long. Funny is always appreciated, too. Comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

 

A little help from my girls…but no help for the desk… (Contest)
Sunday, February 21st, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…AnnaMarie!
*~*~*

I’m writing this as my dd and the 16-year-old are cleaning my rooms. I guess yesterday’s whine was read. 🙂

Which is very freeing for me. You know, being surrounded by “accidental” clutter is very exhausting. I’m not sure why. I love my “deliberate” clutter—my Russian lacquer boxes, my super-hero Funko-Pop figures, my fortune-telling teacups, my antique vanity table powder jars, etc. That clutter gives me pleasure. The clutter of water cups, unread magazines, the 7-year-old’s toys (because she spends an excessive amount of time down here with me (love her!)), clothes that need to be put into drawers—all that makes me uneasy and restless—and in normal times would inspire me to straighten…on occasion…but these aren’t normal times. My ass hurts. Bending gives me terrible twinges. And you know I’m going to be using this excuse (an excuse even it’s real pain) for as long as I can.

By the end of today, the only thing I’ll need to handle myself is my very cluttery desk. I should take a picture of my desktop, but you’d forever have that image in your mind, so just…no. Suffice it to say that I have unopened mail, toys that need fixing (again, for the precious 7-year-old who thinks I can save anything), art supplies that need to find a home, notebooks, and printed short stories (that I STILL need to read)…amid my “acceptable” clutter of perfume bottles (because a whiff of something wonderful wakes me up and clarifies my thinking), hand creams (because stiff fingers need massaging), colored pens in numerous coffee cups (because listing doesn’t work unless there’s a color code!), and those cheap dollar-store toys that wiggle and swing when the LED light is on (just because).

Okay…all right…I’ll share.

Don’t judge me! The picture doesn’t include my teetering stack of magazines and mail, but you get the picture. Actually, most of this mess “belongs” on my desk. The pens, the messy paint palettes, the dirty paint rag…

So, does my messy desk inspire hives or glee? Answer for a chance to win a download of your choice!

Diana Cosby: Inspiration From Nature – Valentine’s Day (Contest)
Friday, February 12th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!
*~*~*

©Diana Cosby 2021

Valentine’s Day is muse-inspiring for romance, but it seems nature is inspired by the theme of ‘Love’ as well.

During this time-frame, I’ve noticed that foxes like other animals are more attentive to their mates.

Deer along with other wildlife are pairing up as romance is in the air.

It’s neat to see birds tending to their mates and bringing them special treats.

I also notice during this romantic season that birds tend to keep in close proximity to their mates, plus help them build nests for spring.

Take care, and wishing each of you a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Contest

 ***ONE winner will be drawn from everyone who posts on my guest blog post about, ‘Inspiration From Nature – Valentine’s Day,’ on Delilah’s blog between 12 February 2021– 21 February 2021.  The winner will receive a signed copy of His Destiny, book #4 in the bestselling The MacGruder Brothers Series.

About the Author

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 into 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 and The Oath Trilogy, she released the bestselling The Forbidden Series.

Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
www.dianacosby.com
The Oath Trilogy
MacGruder Brother Series
The Forbidden Series

Beverly Ovalle: Help Celebrate My Writing Birthday! (Contest)
Thursday, February 11th, 2021

UPDATE: The winners are…Margaret, bn100, Debra Guyette and flchen1!
*~*~*

Hi! I’m Beverly Ovalle. I wanted this date since it is my birthday! This marks eight years I’ve been writing.

I am a writer, but I’m so much more, too. A wife, mom, and grandma along with being a crafter. I guess you could say I’m a serial hobbyist. Let me name a few.

My most recent hobby is welding. I took a class through the local community trade school. I’m planning on going back for more. I had a ball doing it.

I love to sew. Back in the day, I made all of my first child’s clothing until he was about two. Before that, I made my dress clothes for work. I still sew. My most recent was a tree skirt for my daughter. I’m in the middle of completing another one for my nephew and his new bride. I didn’t finish it in time for the wedding so I’m mailing it off before Christmas to them.

Another hobby is stained glass. I’ve made windows in a previous house I lived in. I let this one lapse because small children and glass bits don’t mix.

I make jewelry on occasion and bookmarks for swag when the mood hits me.

I have a cricut. I love that but haven’t had much time to go further in-depth. It looks like so much fun so I had to try it.

I also love to build puzzles. All winter long my daughter and I work on them. This past year it was all year round. Being quarantined it gave us something for the whole family to work on.

The IRS might say my writing is a hobby, too, lol. They would be wrong. Like sewing, it is a lifelong love.

In high school, I had to choose between track and the creative writing club. I chose writing. I don’t remember when I started, but I’ve done it throughout my life. I managed it between a full-time job and a growing family. Now, I’m retired and seem to have less time for it.

However, I’ve set a schedule I hope to meet. Currently, I’m working on a book that was supposed to be released last year. I wasn’t happy with it, though. My goal this year for it is April. My next is July.

One book is a military shipboard romance, part fiction and part truth, called China Fleet Club. The other, Taming Tamara, will be the fourth in A Dragon’s Fated Heart Series. I’m also working on a cookbook I’m calling Not Hamburger Again! A total departure from fiction for me.

I’d love to hear about what hobbies you do. I’m always looking for my next great obsession!

In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Instagram where I post a bit about my books, more about my hobbies and life in general. Be ready to see lots of food, lol. Also, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, my website, and my blog.

Honestly, I’m most active on Instagram and Facebook, so those are your best bets to chat with me. The most fun, too! If you just want to see books, follow me on Amazon. But hobby discussions are my bread and butter and keep me active and interested. I’m too restless for just one thing, but obsessed enough to be that serial hobbyist you know and love!

#Mommastrong

My most recent story is in an anthology #Mommastrong. All proceeds go to a well-loved friend everyone calls Momma to help in her fight against cancer. My contribution is a sci-fi romance. A second story in The Road to Eden short story series called “Mama Said.”

Mama Said ~ An Area 51 short story:
https://www.amazon.com/MommaStrong-Tricia-Andersen-ebook/dp/B08HY6Q8QW/
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mommastrong
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mommastrong-tricia-andersen/1137615059

Contest

Let me know your favorite hobby for a chance to win an ecopy of #Mommastrong!