One thing I discovered since I began taking wildlife photos is that birds have a variety of expressions. My favorite expression to catch a photo of is their ‘Angry’ look, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ‘Mad Bird’ photos.
I always thought Bluebirds were so sweet, but after watching them, I’ve learned they’re very territorial.
Red-Tailed Hawks are intelligent hunters, so I wasn’t surprised to see their intimidating stare.
It’s always wonderful to see eagles, they’re such majestic birds, and they have a fierce look.
I was impressed by the ferocious expressions of the starlings, made more so when they’re trying to keep other birds away from their food.
After taking many bird photos, I think the best ‘Mad Bird’ expressions are from grackles as their fierce look is so intense. Take care, and I wish you the best.
***ONE winner will be drawn from everyone who posts on my guest blog post about, ‘Who Knew Birds Had Expressions – Mad Birds!’ on Delilah’s blog between 11 September 2022 – 18 September 2022, and will win a signed copy of His Woman.”
About Diana Cosby
A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothersseries 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 Brothersseries 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.
I love writing for my publisher, The Wild Rose Press. When they put out a call for erotic stories set in exotic locales for their hottest line, I was all-in. I’d written a story for them earlier that I set in my favorite city in the world — Vancouver, Canada. When my editor confirmed that Canada was considered an ‘exotic location’, I knew where I was going to set my story.
Now, I’m Canadian. Aside from politics, guns, and a few other diverging issues, we are a lot like Americans — we consume much of the same media, face the same climate change threats, and speak the same language (although the accents vary — and I threw in a character from my ancestral province of Newfoundland for that extra Canadian diversity).
Anyway, I had my location. I brought in a couple of characters from a previous book (don’t worry, this new book is a complete stand-alone), then I needed a scenario. In a moment of solemn reflection, I realized the story I wanted to tell — the story I needed to tell. I had a studio executive from Hollywood heading to Vancouver to wait until a crisis blows over. My previous story set in Vancouver involved the movie business (a huge industry up here in Canada), so I had everything I needed. Oh, I needed another hero. Enter a genuinely nice naïve young man, making his way in a world he doesn’t always understand.
Okay, I named him Seamus (a good Newfie name). I named my studio executive Frank and called the book Vanishing in Vancouver. I wrote the book, felt good about it, and sent it off to my editor.
The editorial team came back with a few changes. Like the title. It didn’t really say sexy. This was supposed to be a story about an American coming to a foreign land and having a sexy affair — the series is, after all, named Passport to Pleasure. (Other titles included Sorrento Seduction, Steamy Cairo Nights, Hot Highland Fling, Getting Lucky in London, and Pacific Persuasion. Oh, and also, Frank didn’t scream hero to them.
I wracked my brains. Then pulled in a couple of friends. One suggested Valentino — named after Rudolph Valentino, the sexy Hollywood actor. And the character could be nicknamed Val. Hence Valentino in Vancouver.
The editorial team loved it, and the project got the green light.
I worried about the sensitive nature of the topic, and a friend who was reading the book for me expressed concerns after the first chapter. In fact, she wrote to me and asked if she was safe to proceed. I assured her I’d never do anything against my own moral code — and this is a gay romance, not a political statement.
But can a book be both?
I’m inviting readers to take a gander through the book. Go in with an open mind. This is one take on a very real issue facing workplaces today. (And other scenarios as well, but I went with work to set my story.)
And I’d love to hear from you. For a chance to win a $5US Amazon Gift Card, can you think of a book that tackled a tough topic? A book that resonated with you? One you think the world should read? Feel free to comment, and a random commenter will receive the GC.
Valentino in Vancouver
Hiding out may be the hottest thing he’s ever done.
When I need to get away from the heat in Los Angeles, I head to a friend’s house in Vancouver, Canada. I just need to hide out. Oh, and that cute redhead? A mighty fine way to pass the time. Will this fling become something more by the time things cool down?
When I’m invited to my boss’s house for a party, I’m thrilled. And nervous. Then I meet a guy who helps me relax. Even when I find out who he is, I keep coming back for more. Only it turns out I might be way over my head. Can I get out before I fall for him?
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.
Word nerds, are you ready for another word search? This week’s theme is favorite kinds of kisses. There are so many!!! I did my research! LOL! There are too many to make you find them all, so I chose my faves!
Solve the puzzle then tell me your favorite types of kisses for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
There’s just a slight chance of rain today, so we’re planning on hitting the pool this afternoon. The water’s still warm enough I don’t gasp when I step down into it. I have to make good use of the final days of our swimming season! The SIL worked 4-days-on/4-days-off as a police officer, so no impact there. He’s off though, so he can enjoy (hahaha) having the kids around today.
For those of you celebrating the Labor Day holiday—enjoy the day off! I hope you’re lighting up the grill and enjoying the sunshine.
So, in the spirit of Labor Day, tell me about your worst and best jobs for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift certificate!
Best job ever? Brand new butter-bar lieutenant assigned as a platoon leader to a unit that set up communications sites on mountain tops in the middle of winter in support of other units playing wargames. (Phew! That was a long sentence!) Living in a tent in 10-degree weather for a month (think about it—bathing in a bucket you warm on a Coleman heater, sliding on frozen paths to the latrine) was soooo hard and still so much fun. Climbing those microwave towers when they were coated in ice? Thrilling!
Worst job ever? Teaching 10th-graders history.
Psst! And don’t forget. I have contests to close out, but most of the ones listed on this post are still open!
I’m sure you can guess the subject of the puzzle this week, but the picture is spectacular. I had to share it anyway!
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me whether you’re decorating for fall, and what you consider “decorating”. My daughter goes all out with seasonal statuary, door art, etc. She has a storage shelf for all her displays and loves adding little things we find (usually from garage sales or flea markets, plus things she paints and decorates with her Cricut. I love how into it she is.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, let me know who this weekend’s book boyfriend will be!
If you haven’t already chosen your boyfriend, here’s a suggestion. 🙂
If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, I have a suggestion. Pick up an Uncharted SEAL story! There are 12 books in the series! Each story is unique. Each hero and heroine is unique. I worked hard to give each character their own story with their own issues and adventures.
If you’d like a taste of one of the stories, here’s Baby, It’s You, which features Carter and Melanie, who stand at a crossroads between their past and future in small-town Texas.
Read an Excerpt from Baby, It’s You…
The morning that would change Melanie Schaeffer’s life forever began quietly enough. The whoosh of a curtain opening sounded a moment before sunlight spilled across her bed. Melanie rolled to her back to see the maid picking up clothing Melanie had left draped over a chair the night before.
A blush crept into her cheeks. She didn’t think she’d ever grow accustomed to having someone else handle her intimate items. “You don’t have to do that,” Melanie said as she pushed another pillow behind her head. “I can clean up after myself.”
The maid gave her a cheerful smile. “It’s my job. And I wouldn’t have woken you at all, but you did say you wanted to get used to the time change…”
Yes, there was that. After two days, she still felt a little muzzy-headed. The nine hours’ difference in time zones from Austin to this little city bordering Asia and the Middle East took some getting used to. Melanie rubbed her eyes and blinked, focusing on the sun peeking through the arched window and the view of the lovely, lush garden beyond it. Bushes exploding with large cabbage roses and tall, fruit-laden palms nearly obscured the ten-foot wall surrounding the estate nestled in the diplomats’ sector.
Never had she stayed in such a luxurious place, never slept in a softer bed, especially one covered in a plush white-and-blue damask duvet that felt as light as a cloud. So many luxuries to be enjoyed, but she felt uncomfortable surrounded by the opulence. And the last thing she wanted was to grow used to the amenities. At the end of summer, she would be heading back to her small, cramped apartment. Handsome U.S. ambassadors weren’t in her cards. More likely, she’d marry another teacher, and they’d settle into suburbia, worrying about the mortgage and their next car payment, and she was okay with that.
She glanced at the designer suitcase, the logo prominent on the side—something that cost more than the clothing inside it—a gift from her sister. One to which Cassie likely hadn’t given much thought, or she would have gifted Melanie with something simpler and sturdier.
Cassie wasn’t intentionally thoughtless. She’d likely told an aide to buy a case and ship it to her sister, never thinking the case itself would be an issue. Cassie had always been destined to have more in life. Always simply expected it. Stunning and smart, she looked like a movie star but spoke seven languages. That Cassie wanted her to be part of her life pleased Melanie, but she knew over time, they would drift farther and farther apart. Their worlds would never intersect.
The maid continued to tidy her bedroom, so Melanie rose and moved to the suitcase she still hadn’t unpacked. She laid it open on an upholstered bench and rummaged for an outfit, nothing anywhere near elegant enough for her present surroundings—plain dark slacks and a blue, long-sleeved cotton blouse. Something appropriately demure should she be seen by any of the locals employed by her brother-in-law. “Are my sister and the ambassador still here?” She threw the question over her shoulder as she strode to the bathroom.
“They’re taking breakfast in the kitchen. You’ll catch them if you hurry.”
Glad she’d managed to drag herself from bed earlier than the day before, she hurried through her ablutions and skipped down the stairs.
Melanie took a step through the kitchen door, then quickly backed out, not wanting to interrupt the tender embrace between Cassie and Daniel. Since her arrival, she’d witnessed several such kisses, and she doubted they’d be embarrassed. She was the one with the problem. Their passion made her edgy…and a little bleak.
Daniel couldn’t help that he looked so much like his brother that every time she saw him she felt a little twinge in her chest. After three years, she would have thought the nostalgic pain had diminished, but maybe she was a one-man woman. And maybe she needed to date more. She’d never forgotten her first real crush. No other man had ever made her feel the same intense desire.
She’d met Carter Vance at her sister’s wedding. The intense attraction still mystified her. He’d barely smiled in her direction, although they’d been best man and maid of honor, and were forced into each other’s company constantly throughout the week of activities leading up to the wedding. She’d blushed and struggled to be nice to the taciturn Navy SEAL, and he’d eyed her with a look that bespoke his impatience with all the hoo-hah surrounding the marriage of her sister to the ambassador, a local celebrity in their tiny town in Texas. Because Cassie and Melanie had no family to speak of, Daniel’s father had stepped in to give the couple a wedding befitting a Vance, a proud Texas family that had owned the Rocking V Ranch since Texas became a state in the Union. His father been kind and gracious, as had his brother Lee. They’d welcomed her into the family right along with Cassie, going to the extreme of talking her into transferring from Old Miss to the University of Texas at Austin so that she could visit during her breaks. They’d even paid the remaining years of her tuition. She’d graduated just a couple of weeks ago, and now, had time to think about what she wanted to do next. Grad school? Her teacher’s certification? She hadn’t quite made up her mind, and she didn’t want to impose any longer on Mr. Vance’s generosity. She wanted to start paying her own way.
Not that he ever voiced a bit of concern over the expense of her upkeep. All the Vance family had been wonderful to her, except for Carter, Jr. The week of the wedding, she’d noted she wasn’t the only one who’d earned his steely glances. A decided chill had been in the air every time father and son came too close together. Even after all these years, she didn’t know what had caused the rift or why it mattered so much to her. Why he mattered…
She cleared her throat and entered the breakfast room again to find her sister grinning and patting her hair.
“You’re up!” Cassie turned and smiled. “You really don’t have to see us off. You should have slept in. This is your vacation.”
Melanie shook her head and made a beeline for the toddler in the high chair. “You paid for my flight to get me here. The least I can do is play nanny to this munchkin while your au pair is back in the States and you both have to work.”
Cassie laughed. “I don’t work. Today, I’m just keeping the wife of the French attaché entertained while Daniel and his staff work on…whatever it is they’re discussing,” she said with a wave of her hand.
Daniel smiled, never moving his hands from her sister’s hips or his gaze from her shining eyes. “Madame Boucher is a very exacting guest. You, my dear, will earn your husband’s undying gratitude by keeping her happy.”
Her sister scrunched her nose then glanced downward at her outfit, a very stylish olive sheath.
A color that would have made Melanie look like death warmed over, but against Cassie’s dark hair and tanned skin, made her look very sophisticated.
“The last time we met she asked me if all consulate women shopped at Tar-zhay.”
Melanie giggled then bent closer to her niece to tug at a strawberry-blonde curl. “It’s just you and me, babe. What do you say we make you a bottle and watch some Dora the Explorer?”
“Doe-wah!” Emmy squealed and reached her chubby little hands upward.
Melanie’s heart did a little flutter. Never would she have imagined loving anyone on sight, but she was surely smitten by the cherub with cereal stuck to the side of her cheek. “Let me get a cloth, and I’ll clean you up.” She headed toward the sink.
Cassie gently pushed away Daniel’s hands. “I’ll get my purse. I wouldn’t want to add the sin of being late to the long list of things that woman will complain about.”
Daniel checked his watch. “We’ve got plenty of time. Atkins scoped out an alternate route. We’ll completely miss the protesters gathering by the north gate of the embassy.”
Cassie returned, pulling on a matching olive jacket, and paused beside the high chair to pat her little girl’s hair. “Be good for Melly today, sweetie.”
“I good,” the baby said, again raising her hands, “Kissh?”
“Last time I did, you mashed your food all over my clothes.” Instead, Cassie caught one hand and drew it toward her mouth to give the tip of each chubby little finger a kiss. “Love you, sweetums.” With a flutter of her fingers toward Melanie, her sister preceded her handsome husband out the door.
With their departure, quiet fell over the kitchen. Melanie took a deep breath, feeling a little guilty about the fact she was glad they were both gone. She’d have time alone with the little one, for them to bond and for Melanie to feel more relaxed. Because hey, her brother-in-law was her country’s ambassador to this little nation and lived in a freaking mansion. Her relationship with her sister wasn’t especially close; too many years divided them.
Cassie had gotten a job in the diplomatic corps right out of college and had only been home for brief visits, the last time to attend their parents’ funerals. And although Cassie did do her best to keep in touch—calling once a week, sending lavish gifts, even buying her a small, used car—Melanie didn’t feel comfortable around her more polished and sophisticated sister. Not like she did with the baby from the first moment they’d met.
She finished wiping the little girl’s fingers clean, removed the food tray, and lifted eighteen-month-old Emmy into her arms, just as she heard car doors slam outside on the cobbled driveway. Turning with the intention of walking to the window so the baby could wave good bye to her parents, Melanie caught a bright flash of light in the corner of her eye, felt a brief moment of complete, airless silence, then felt herself hurled through the air as an explosion of sound and debris hammered against her body.
The moment lengthened, searing pain stung her cheek, and a scream rent the air. And as her arms tightened around the precious bundle still held tightly against her chest, Melanie fell into darkness.