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Saturday Puzzle-Contest: Tell me a story…
Saturday, April 20th, 2024

It’s Saturday, which means it’s puzzle time! I hope you enjoy the challenge.

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, solve the puzzle, then tell me a little story about what you see. The story doesn’t have to be long or even good. Just have some fun!

Puzzle-Contest: Happy Eat Cake Day!
Thursday, April 18th, 2024

Happy Eat Cake Day!

It’s another one of those crazy holidays! Only, this one is beginning here—today! I ran a contest in February, where I asked readers to suggest a brand-new holiday. Our friend, flchen (that’s you, Fedora!), suggested this one! We all love cake, so why not have a day of the year that is completely devoted to cake?

To celebrate, there’s a puzzle for you to solve, and of course, there’s a contest! For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me your favorite kind of cake. 

Word Search: Another cloudy day… (Contest)
Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

I’ve lived in a lot of places where the locals say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait…” Because in those places, the weather is very changeable. Now, I live in Arkansas, which changes on the daily because of the warmth coming off the Gulf and the cooler air coming from Canada. Our poor newscasters can only guess which front will be stronger. This week is shaping up to be a rainy week, although, today, we may get a bit of a break before thunderstorms move back in tomorrow.

I love storms. I love the rain. My daughter…not so much because she or my SIL will be mowing following a good soaking. I like the sound of the rain, the rumble of the thunder—the drama, I guess.

I’ve been a lover of clouds forever. We were all kids who looked for shapes in clouds. In the summer, I love nothing better than floating in the pool with my sunglasses on as I look for shapes. I’ve written about aeromancy—divination using cloud shapes. I’m a water baby, and clouds are made of H2O. How could I not love them and not be affected by them?

So, because it’s cloudy again outside (fat, gray cumulus clouds), but the forecast (for now) says it’s going to be clear, clouds and rain and lightning are on my mind. Hence this word puzzle. Sorry, not sorry. 🙂

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me what your skies look like right now. Gray? Cloudy? Clear? Fluffy? Sketchy? Can you see a shape? Have fun!

Flashback: Animal (Contest — Three Winners!)
Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

So, I’m being lazy this morning. I’ve featured this story in a flashback before, and because I’m running low on time to finish a job, I decided to “cheat.” Hope you don’t mind the repeat. It has been a while…

I love my Montana Bounty Hunters. I really try hard to make each of them individual rather than cookie-cutter characters with different names. I also love to dream up unique takedowns for your reading pleasure and to showcase who these men are. One of my favorite scenes was “Animal chasing the bear”, which is part of the Montana Bounty Hunters’ cable TV series lore now. You know what I mean if you’ve read the books! Anyway, I’m sharing that scene today. It’s not long. Enjoy!

Animal

Animal

MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Authentic Men… Real Adventures…

A rough-around-the-edges bounty hunter takes a nature photographer on a wild ride.

Former SEAL, Russell “Animal” Hathcoat, retreated to a remote mountain cabin after leaving the Navy. Haunted by horrific images that replay in his nightmares of his last mission with his SEAL brothers, he intends to renovate the dilapidated cabin as penance and therapy, and to avoid rejoining the world around him. But then, someone who understands what he needs better than he does arrives to offer him a job.

Allie Travers loves the freedom and solitude of being a nature photographer and journalist—until the day she stares through her lens at a charging black bear. With her heart in her throat, she can only stand watching in horror, knowing she’ll never escape in time. But rescue comes in the form of a wild man who risks his life to frighten away the animal.

Once the danger is past, she’s told by his team of bounty hunters that she has more to fear than any animal in the woods. A felon is on the loose, and she has to accompany them to safety. Seeing an opportunity, Allie shadows the team as they hunt their prey deep in a national forest. Much to Animal’s dismay, more than just his protective instincts are aroused by the pretty photojournalist.

Contest

Are you all caught up reading the Montana Bounty Hunters in Bear Lodge & the spin-off series set in Dead Horse?

For a chance to win a download of one of the stories you may have missed in either series
(I’ll pick three winners!), tell me this:
What profession other than bounty hunters would you like to see in future Montana Bounty Hunters—Dead Horse branch, and beyond—
stories?

Here are all the Bear Lodge, Montana, Bounty Hunters!

MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Bear Lodge, MT
Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
Reaper: https://amzn.to/2NztLpv
Dagger: https://amzn.to/2zo6Dav
Reaper’s Ride: https://amzn.to/2KKkisI
Cochise: https://amzn.to/2zq4avV
Hook: https://amzn.to/2UrpyYh
Wolf: https://amzn.to/2yUTjr5
Animal: https://amzn.to/2H4Roob
Big Sky Wedding: https://amzn.to/33GprwK
Quincy: https://amzn.to/2QlleM8
Brian: https://amzn.to/2ZV8m2G

Excerpt from Animal:

The moment Taco lowered his nose to the ground, following Tibbets’s trail from the camper’s metal steps, they’d realized the man had headed straight into the woods, afoot, rather than driving out.

They’d left Dagger, Lacey, and Cochise behind to watch for any movement in town, and to keep an eye out for any of his relatives who looked ready to head north with supplies to help him out. The rest of the team members grabbed their gear from their vehicles and began tracking Tibbets into Flathead National Forest.

Animal didn’t mind the rough conditions. He was accustomed to long marches and sleeping on the ground. None of the hunters, even Carly Stenberg, complained about the conditions, even after they’d endured a chilly rain the previous day. They’d dried their clothes beside a fire last night, reasonably assured they were still a day’s hike from catching up to Tibbets. Conversation had flowed around him, but he hadn’t felt the need to try to contribute.

This was a tight, well-trained crew, and they knew each other well. But they seemed to understand he wasn’t the chatty type. He rather liked the fact they let him be.

They came to the edge of the woods. A large meadow stretched before them, mountains in the background. The meadow was broken on one side by ridges of exposed rock.

“We got company,” Reaper said quietly. They all held back, remaining hidden in the brush. Reaper lifted an arm and pointed.

Animal pulled out his tactical telescope and followed Reaper’s direction, at last spotting a slender figure standing beside an outcropping. Not their mark. A woman. She stood in front of a tripod and peered into a camera. She had wheat-colored hair drawn back into a messy braid. She wore a red plaid shirt and a khaki vest over blue jeans and boots.

Suddenly, she jerked back her head, giving him a glimpse of her profile. Her eyebrows were lowered, her mouth dropping as she stared down the hill.

He turned his telescope toward whatever had caught her attention and immediately understood her concern.

A baby black bear ambled into the clearing, heading upward toward her location.

“Where’s mama?” he whispered.

As though answering his question, a loud bellow sounded from the forest farther down the tree line. A large bear ran out, huffing and bellowing, heading toward the woman.

He didn’t have even a millisecond to think through a better plan. Animal dumped his pack and ran into the clearing, tearing at his shirt. When he’d ripped off the buttons down the front, he flapped the edges, trying to make himself look bigger. “Ha! Ha!” he yelled as loud as he could to draw the bear’s attention away from the woman.

Mama bear bounced on her front paws and spun toward him.

“Don’t shoot unless you have to!” Animal tossed over his shoulder to Reaper.

“Don’t get in my line of fire!” Reaper shouted back.

“Don’t shoot her!” the woman screamed.

“You shut up!” Animal yelled, still running, still flapping. Didn’t she realize he was trying to draw the bear’s attention away from her?

The bear’s head moved from Animal, to Reaper behind him, and again to the woman, likely trying to decide who was the biggest danger to her cub.

Animal roared and flapped and moved a little closer.

The baby bear squalled and changed direction, running for his mama.

Just when Animal feared the bear would charge, she spun and ran into the woods, her cub running right behind her.

Animal halted, breathing hard. He gave another flap of his shirt. “Ha! Ha!” he shouted, hoping she’d been startled bad enough not to turn around.

Then he heard a whirring sound, coming from up the rise. He turned his head toward the woman. The sound came from her camera. Animal gave her a fierce glare then began to stalk up the rise.

When he reached her, she straightened and flashed him a wide smile. “Thanks for that. Thought for a second there I was going to be lunch.”

“What the hell!” he bellowed, anger shot through him. Didn’t she have a clue how close to being “lunch” he’d been, trying to rescue her? And all she’d thought about was taking her damn pictures?

Her eyebrows shot upward, and she stood still.

Behind him, he heard more of his team stomping up the hill. He should have turned and walked away. Should have let Reaper handle getting her packed up and off the mountain. Away from him.

Instead, anger vibrated through him. He glanced at the gear strewn around her feet. “Who the hell comes out to the wilderness without a goddamn gun?”

“The only shots I plan to take are with my camera,” she said icily, lifting her chin.

He ground his teeth as his face heated.

“Wish I’d been shooting video though,” she said. “The footage would’ve gone viral. Do you chase bears often?”

Tell me a story… (Contest)
Monday, April 15th, 2024

We have a neurotic, OCD, very bossy Yorkie named Mia. This picture could be her.

When my father was alive, we were convinced she’d decided to be his service dog, whether he wanted her to be or not. My father was diabetic and, sometimes, forgetful. He’d forget to take his shots after he ate—he had to take them three times a day. If he didn’t get up in a time she approved, she’d bark at his feet until he moved to get his medication. Afterward, he’d give her a treat for reminding him. So, now you see, she had a reward for telling him when to take his shot. At night, she was also the alarm clock, telling him and Mom when to go to bed. She’d bark and whine, and then lead them down the hall to bed.

My parents are no longer with us, but we inherited Mia, the most annoying dog on the planet because she’s still trying to be the boss. However irritating she is, we will be forever grateful to her for taking care of my dad.

So, for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me a story about a dog or any other animal that made a lasting impression on you.

Report Card & Open Contests
Sunday, April 14th, 2024

Last week…

  • I finished Tyson’s Mission which releases on April 23rd!
  • I fell behind schedule on my editing gigs due to family and TM.
  • I found the art work, had the cover made (thanks, sis), and set up the pre-order for my next MBH, Cyrus.
  • I’ve fell behind on creating art for #The100DayProject.
  • I enjoyed watching the eclipse with all of my siblings!
  • I’m trying to recover from injuring my knee. At first, I got around with a limp, then I used a knee brace, now I’m on a cane. It’s getting better now, but slowly!

This next week…

  • I will work on three editing projects for other authors, hopefully finishing two!
  • I HAVE TO finish reading the rest of the stories for my next anthology, Secret Identities.
  • I will begin editing one of five stories I previously published, so I can republish them soon.
  • I will continue creating small art daily for #The100DayProject.

I still need a vacation.

Open Contests

  1. Happy Tell a Lie Day! (Contest) — Last day to enter! Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. First Contact Day (Contest) — Last day to enter! Win an Amazon gift card!
  3. Saturday Puzzle-Contest: Eclipse Fantasy — This one ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  4. The Eclipse! Just Wow! (Contest) — This one ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  5. The End! (Of TYSON’S MISSION, that is) (Contest + Excerpt) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  6. Sliding Puzzle: Mayan City (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  7. The Montana Bounty Hunters are opening a new office in West Yellowstone! (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  8. Saturday Puzzle-Contest: Will you enter? (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
Saturday Puzzle-Contest: Will you enter? (Contest)
Saturday, April 13th, 2024

It’s finally feeling like Spring. The japonica and forsythia bloomed and faded. The trees are budding—first, the red buds which quickly turn green, too. We’ve had to mow the lawn several times now. The temperatures haven’t dipped to freezing in a while…which makes me really antsy for it to warm up enough, so the pool won’t make me into a popsicle. We won’t talk about the green tinge of the water. We’re working on that.

So, thinking about trees growing their leaves, I found this picture which inspired a “what if” thought. For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, would you enter? What would you hope is on the other side?