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March Into April (Contest)
Friday, March 31st, 2023

This is the last day of March! Where does the time go? Without any further ado, I’ll dive right into my recap…




  1. I completed work on my latest Montana Bounty Hunter story, Mica! And I published it!!!
  2. I’ve been doing minimal work on the Silver Soldiers anthology, which comes out May 9th! Mostly, working on a promotional calendar with the authors in the anthology.
  3. I completed only 3 editing projects for other authors in March. The injury to my hand severely impacted my ability to work at my usual pace, at least for the first half of the month.


  1. I continued wearing the brace on my hand until March 17th. The break is healed, but now I have to work on physical therapy to improve my hand’s function. My hand aches after I use it for a while, and my fingers get numb when I hold a paintbrush or pen for very long.
  2. I had a visit with a cardiologist this month. He has me wearing a monitor stuck to my chest for a week to see how it functions day to day. It’s beating a little slowly and has a slight arrhythmia. My blood pressure is still way too high, but the cardiologist adjusted my meds, and we’ll see how that goes.
  3. I haven’t been dieting like I should, what with my heart and blood pressure issues, and I haven’t been great about cutting my salt intake. My weight loss is stagnant! I think I was a little depressed by my hand injury. I could tell because I wanted to sleep way too much and didn’t want to go out at all. I don’t like to wallow in negativity, but it has been hard to motivate myself to move forward.
  4. As for physical activity, I’m not doing enough. Again, I’m feeling tired all the time. Which I know has to do with my weight, meds, and inactivity. All my issues are interrelated. I just need to get my fat ass off this chair and move more often.


  1. I’m back participating with my local art guild or humanities council. We had some planning meetings for upcoming exhibits and programs. It felt good to get out and mingle again.
  2. I am still participating in the #the100dayproject art online art challenge. As of today, I’m on Day 38. Here are a few of my March pieces…



Silver Soldiers Cold, Hard Cash

For work-related, I plan:

  1. To complete my short story for the Silver Soldiers anthology.
  2. To compile all the Silver Soldiers stories into the anthology and get it formatted for release on May 9th.
  3. To begin work on Cold Hard Cash, the first of the We Are Dead Horse series.
  4. To complete 4 editing projects in April!

For health related, I plan:

  1. To restart counting those points for my Weight Watchers diet (I hate that word) and hopefully shed at least another 5 pounds, remembering, as always: Slow is good!
  2. To continue to reduce salt, processed food, and incorporate foods good for blood pressure (spinach, broccoli, bananas, red wine).
  3. To get the pool cleaned up—as soon as the weather cooperates—so that the minute the water is warm enough, I’m swimming (hopefully by end of April).
  4. To begin walking and counting my steps.
  5. I’ll re-dedicate myself to doing more housework, too, because my art room is a disaster. And cleaning is exercise, right?

For happiness-related, I plan: 

  1. 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. I use those quiet days away from my computer just to paint!
  2. Try to complete one of the many already paid-for online art classes I’ve lined up to do.
  3. To blog about art (on my Emerald Casket site) just to keep myself honest!
  4. To work toward re-opening my Etsy store!


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 April…

Like I said, comment on anything for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Gabbi Powell: When Characters Make Demands of Their Own (Contest)
Monday, March 27th, 2023

The Redemption of Remy St. Claire was the third book I ever typed ‘the end’ on. Really, though, it should’ve been the first.  I had a story in my mind – two single people, responsible for toddlers, finding their way to each other.  I was so new to writing that I didn’t even know what a trope was.  Truthfully, single-parent was big a decade ago and remains so today.  With more than half of all marriages ending, it’s inevitable people wind up parenting solo.

I realized early on that this story would have a bit of angst – another thing I inherently understood but had never put a name to.  Most of my books have some degree of angst.  I’ve also learned a lot about warning people what might be in my books.  I won’t get into the debate about trigger warnings.  As an author, I’ve been called out for not warning people against things I didn’t even realize could be hurtful.  Sometimes those mentions in the synopsis give away the critical plot points – but I don’t want someone to read the book who might be hurt by it.

Now, because of this book – and several others – I’ve learned to be careful what I name secondary characters.  To me, Rusty’s wife was a throw-away character.  A drug addict who’d endangered her baby. Someone who needed to be kept as far away from their daughter as possible.  I even gave her what I considered to be a throw-away name.

I was so so so wrong.  I was barely a chapter into Remy and Rusty’s book when Rusty’s soon-to-be ex-wife stood up and said hey, over here!  Notice me!  You need to tell my story! I’m not a throw-away. I have reasons why I am the way I am and I want you to tell my story. Right now, goddamnit!

I’ll admit I was at a low point in my life and, frankly, had never had a character talk to me like that.  I pivoted.  I tucked away Rusty and Remy and endeavored to write Sissy’s story.  You want angst?  I went there – prostitution, on the page drug use – I sank her as deep as I was.  And then sank her lower.   Even as I wrote her story, though, I knew she’d survive.  That she’d find love. That she’d be redeemed.  I don’t know if that book will ever be published.

Moving on, a story in the headlines caught my attention and I wrote the book that wound up as book 2 in the series.  Finally, I was ready to move on to Remy and Rusty’s story.  Sissy plays an integral part in the story, and I feel like her character is better fleshed out for having written her book.  I rarely do that anymore – write out of sequence.  But I’m glad I did, and I hope readers enjoy Remy and Rusty’s book.

I would love to give away a $5 Amazon Gift Card.  How much angst do you enjoy in your stories?  Is there such a thing as too much?  A random commenter will win the prize.  And thank you, Delilah, for hosting me!

The Redemption of Remy St. Claire

What’s better than love in the beautiful Cedar Valley in British Columbia, Canada? Find small town romances with a touch of angst, a bit of heat, and a lot of heart…

Each novel is a standalone, but they are best read in order:

The Luminosity of Loriana Harper (A small town interracial romance)

The Making of Marnie Jones (A small town enemies-to-lovers romance)

The Redemption of Remy St. Claire (A small town single-father fake-marriage romance)

Love without limits…

Remy St. Claire is engulfed in grief, overwhelmed with caring for her three-year-old sister Calleigh after the death of their parents.  As an assistant crown prosecutor, she works to put monsters in jail. She can go toe-to-toe with the most hardened of criminals, but a distraught toddler might be her downfall.

Rusty Stevens has his hands full raising his three-year-old daughter Miracle on his own.  Applying for the job to be Calleigh’s nanny solves two problems at once—more time with his child while still earning money, and a playmate for Miracle. He worries his new boss works too hard, but he’s proud to be able to provide a stable home for all of them.

Then Rusty’s wife appears, and secrets from both Rusty’s and Remy’s pasts threaten the fragile relationship that has developed between them. When all the secrets are laid bare, will their trust survive, or will the truth drive them apart forever?

The Redemption of Remy St. Claire is a second-chance, single-parent, marriage-of-convenience romance with a touch of angst and two adorable three-year-old girls. There is mention of a previous sexual assault. The book is the third in the Love in Cedar Valley series set in a small town in British Columbia, Canada.

Amazon US:
Add it to GoodReads:

About the Author

Gabbi Powell has been a lover of romance since she first put pen to paper in the eighth grade to write her first romance.  She writes her novels while living in Beautiful British Columbia with her trusty ChinPoo dog a as companion.  She also writes gay romances as Gabbi Grey and contemporary dark erotic BDSM novels as Gabbi Black.

Personal links:
Newsletter sign-up:
Facebook (personal):

Another collection… Quotes? (Contest)
Sunday, March 26th, 2023

Why don’t you turn your old ermine coat into a bathrobe?
~ Diana Vreeland

I collect quotes. Especially motivational ones. I read them like a mantra in the morning to put a fire under my butt to get some work done. This quote confuses me. I read it, and I think it says one thing. Then another day it says something else to me. For example…

An old ermine coat denotes a luxury you wear once in a great while… A bathrobe is something I can lounge in every day. So, to me, it says, Don’t save your luxuries for a special occasion. Treat every day like it’s special.

Or, thrifty me, hoarding me, hates to throw away anything dated if I can figure out another use for it. For instance, if I have a blouse that has some gorgeous lace along a cuff but I’ve ripped or stained the blouse, I cut off the lace to reuse it somewhere else. An old ermine coat as a bathrobe seems like a good (okay, maybe ridiculous) reuse.

For a chance to win a FREE book, a download of your choice from my backlist, tell me what this quote means to you! Yes, you have to think!

Puzzle-Contest! New babies down on the farm!
Saturday, March 25th, 2023

It’s finally Spring here in Central Arkansas. And with Spring, we have new animals here on “the farm.” With the egg prices soaring, we decided to take the plunge. Keep in mind, we already have quite a menagerie of animals: 9 dogs, 4 cats, 1 betta fish (my Loki!), 3 goats, and 1 35-year-old horse. *Eeks. I forgot about our rabbit, Oreo!* Now, we have a ton of chickens.

Our first batch of 14 chickens are teenagers now. This week, we got 7 new baby chicks, and my dd had some fun with photos. They represent a bunch of different breeds because we love the variety of colored eggs they’ll produce. These eggs aren’t real, of course.

They are adorable, right? But my dd and SIL had to do quite a bit of work to get chicken house ready for them. We had an old unused tin shed they cleaned out and built a box for the babies with a light above it to keep them at the proper temperature until they grow their feathers. We have nesting boxes ready. In the meantime, my dd, the 14-year-old, and the 9-year-old are the “bird masters,” and they constantly clean up after them and check them several times a day—and play with them. (Here are Jesus & Alana! Jesus is my granddaughter’s boyfriend’s name.)

They assure me they have distinct personalities. And they have names. (I don’t know all the names.) Below is one of the teenagers from the first batch. This one’s named Barbara.

And another. They’re not pretty at this age, but they will be!

In a week or so, they’ll be adding guinea hens–not for eggs, but because they’re great “guard dogs”—they SCREAM when they’re upset, so hopefully, they’ll alert us if critters get into the pen.

I have one more picture to share—the cutest she took—but you have to solve the puzzle to see it!

So, solve the puzzle and tell me whether you’ve ever raised chickens or any other kind of farm animal. And let me know what you think of her photos for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Open Contests & Nearing The End
Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

I have one little scene to finish writing, and Mica will be done! So, all my focus is on getting to THE END! Then, I can make my bed, clean my space, and settle in to watch something mindless on TV. Any suggestions? 🙂

Open Contests

  1. Oscars Hangover (Contest) — This one ends soon! Win a FREE book!
  2. Gabbi Black: How I Wound Up Writing a Ménage… (Contest) — This one ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  3. Anna Taylor Sweringen/Michal Scott: Mary Ellen Pleasant — The Little Woman Who Really Started the Civil War (Contest + Excerpt) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  4. Sunday Catch-up & a Puzzle-Contest–When, Where, and Who is he? — Win an Amazon gift card!
  5. Word Search — Favorite Paranormal Creatures (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  6. Gabbi Powell: Turning rejection into triumph! (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
Gabbi Powell: Turning rejection into triumph! (Contest)
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

The first book I ever typed ‘the end’ for is still sitting in the back of my closet.  I’ve gone so far as to buy a cover for it and take a peek at the file.  Then I close it, wallow in the knowledge of how much editing it requires, and I move on to another book.

The second book I typed ‘the end’ for wasn’t nearly such a disaster.  Instead of an unwieldy 126k words, it sat at 85k – the perfect length for Harlequin Superromance.  I devoured those books, with favorite authors such as Tara Taylor Quinn, Janice Kay Johnson, and Jean Brashear.  After reading so many books, I understood the structure without having studied stuff like that. (I’ve since taken some great classes which have built from that inherent understanding…)

I named this book The Making of Marnie Jones.  I printed it out and sent it to Harlequin – vaguely dreaming of contracts and seeing my book on shelves.

Quickly, I received an email from the editor I sent it to.  She wanted a digital copy.  I shot it off and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Eventually, I gently poked, and she invited me to her office where we discussed the book in depth.  She had tons of notes and invited me to do a R&R (revise and resubmit).  I took a week off work and spent 12 hours a day for 9 days fixing that sucker.  I sent it back, even more confident.


I’ve since learned that editors want you to take weeks, if not months.  Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like you’ve done the work.  Only I had – I completely rewrote the book.  And was convinced the book was better for it.

I gently poked.  She said she’d see me in New York for the Romance Writers of America conference.  Now, I’m not a fan of big cities, strong smells, or noise.  NYC was so NOT my jam.  But I enjoyed the conference, met the editor, met my favorite narrator, and came home, believing I was *this* close.

Still nothing.

Eventually, Harlequin held a Canadian Hero contest.  Great!  My hero’s Canadian.  My whole book is set in Canada.  After the contest ended, the editor reached out with a tentative yes.  After two-and-a-half years, I wasn’t ready to party.  Four months later I saw, in a tweet, that Superromance was being discontinued.

I never heard back from that editor – never got the rejection (or acceptance) I deserved.

When I tell this story to other writers, they question why I didn’t submit elsewhere.  But if your number one pick expresses that much interest, why would you go elsewhere?  Lesson learned.  I submitted Marnie for contests.  I pitched her to editors and agents.  I got a few nibbles, but no bites.  Three years ago, I decided I would go it alone.  I hired a freelance editor.  The next year, I secured a cover. Finally, I wrote a book to come before it – I just didn’t feel Marnie should be the first in the series.

One more thing I should share – best advice I ever got as a writer: write the next book.  While Harlequin sat on my book, I wrote another 16 in that series.  The first year I waited?  I wrote a million words.  I was convinced they’d take my book and then take the next stack.  As you now know, that never happened.  But I have (now up to) 20 books that need editing and are ready to publish.

I’ll always be protective of Marnie – I love the angsty story.  I submitted her for a contest and the lovely Grace Burrowes was a judge.  She tore the opening apart and made it a thousand times better.  I kept her edits and dedicated the book to her – seemed the least I could do.

I believe in this book.  I also warn readers that the subject matter is dark – but that’s often how I write.  Now, I’m putting the book out into the world and am forever grateful I didn’t sell it to a publisher.  I likely would’ve never found someone who’d take all 20 or so (with more to come).  And because I knew this world so well, I’ve written several gay romances in the same world – just under a different penname.  I’ve created a place I hope readers will return to again and again.

Okay, thanks for reading that.  Thank you, Delilah, for letting me share my story.  I hope other newbie writers can see that sometimes the long game is the best way to go.

I’d love to give away a $5 Amazon Gift Card.  Tell me: what do you love about series?  What makes you want to go beyond the first book?  A random commenter will win the prize!

The Making of Marnie Jones

What’s better than love in the beautiful Cedar Valley in British Columbia, Canada? Find small town romances with a touch of angst, a bit of heat, and a lot of heart…

Each novel is a standalone, but they are best read in order:
The Luminosity of Loriana Harper (A small town interracial romance)
The Making of Marnie Jones (A small town enemies-to-lovers romance)
The Redemption of Remy St. Claire (A small town single-father fake-marriage romance)

Love without limits.

Librarian Marnie Jones has reinvented herself. After horrors that changed her forever, she’s built a new life and has found what she believes to be safety and quiet happiness. She hopes she’s outrun her past, but all that changes when a stranger comes to the small town of Mission City, British Columbia.

Amazon US:
Add it to GoodReads:

About the Author

Gabbi Powell has been a lover of romance since she first put pen to paper in the eighth grade to write her first romance.  She writes her novels while living in Beautiful British Columbia with her trusty ChinPoo dog a as companion.  She also writes gay romances as Gabbi Grey and contemporary dark erotic BDSM novels as Gabbi Black.

Author Links:
Newsletter sign-up:
Facebook (personal):

Word Search — Favorite Paranormal Creatures (Contest)
Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

UPDATE: The winner is…Courtney Kinder!

MicaI’m typing my little fingers to the bone this week. I have a deadline. I’m almost there. Have you pre-ordered your copy of Mica? Well, I hope so. It’s coming NEXT TUESDAY! In the meantime, I have a puzzle for you. I’ve named some of my favorite paranormal creatures. Solve the puzzle and name yours in the comments for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!