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My “Nothing” Day
Saturday, June 19th, 2021

The family + the 17-year-old’s girlfriend floated the river today on innertubes. We’re all sunburned, but had a great time! The 7-year-old was so kind today. She said, “Nina, you look like the boy scout in UP!” So kind! Grrr… But she’s right! LMAO

I hope all of you find time to do nothing this weekend. ~DD

Anna Hague: Summertime!
Thursday, June 17th, 2021

Summer. I love everything about summer—the long days, the sunshine, the heat. Yes, the heat. This big girl loves the hot weather. I don’t even care what kind of heat. I lived in Bakersfield, CA, where the heat was regularly over 100 in the summer. Even dry heat is hot above a certain level. I’ve lived in Florida, where taking a shower is pointless once you step outside. I don’t care. I’ll take either one.

I’m back in my home state of Indiana where summers are hot and humid. That’s okay. I’ve rarely been too hot in my life.

What I really love about summer is the freedom I feel to just be me. I can sit in my backyard for hours with a glass of tea watching the bees, butterflies, and birds.  I usually outlast the dogs who go back in the house because their black fur makes being outside a little uncomfortable.

Summer brings up my memories of childhood where I left the house as soon as I woke up in the morning and played outside with my friends until lunchtime. After lunch, we ‘d return to playing baseball, climbing trees, running through the hose, and other things most kids don’t do anymore. After dinner, play resumed until dark. Had to be home by dark or else mom would yell out the window for me to come home. And believe me, my mom’s voice could carry across the couple acres that separated me from my friend’s houses.

We roamed the fields, built forts, rode bicycles, ate tomatoes from each other’s gardens, and created objects from the clouds billowing overhead. In fact, our parents wouldn’t even allow us in the house during the day except for meals or if it were raining, we got a pass to play inside, which always turned out to be boring.

Outside was our life.

For me, it still is. I spend as much time as I can outside all summer long. When I’m writing, I take my laptop onto the deck and spend the day in another world while I’m in my happy place.

Heat is so important to me, the weather sort of became a character in my book Captured Hearts. My heroine despises the cold, and she ends up in Wisconsin. The snow and freezing cold has a real effect on how she deals with life.

Summer is when I feel my real self. I’m happier. I’m nicer. I’m more productive. I want to be around other people. In the winter not so much. That first warm day, I’ll see Facebook memes and posts about falling leaves, hot chocolate, and pumpkins. No. Please just let me have my time. Let me have my outdoor concerts and dining. Let me have my carnivals and corndogs. Let me have the hot sun’s rays on my face.

Let’s embrace our summer.

Anna Hague’s social media links:
E-mail: annahague80@gmail.com
Website: www.annahague.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AnnaHagueAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010050496430
Amazon Books. http://bit.ly/3hEPjlYAnnaHague
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/AnnaHagueAuthor/
Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/anna-hague

Genevive Chamblee: 7 Reasons Why Book Reviews Are Important
Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

If you love reading, this may be a post for you.

Let me begin with a question, or rather, a series of questions…

Have you ever been let down by a book?
Have you ever wished that a book included a hair bit more than it did?
Have you ever flipped the last page and thought something about the story was missing?

Now, if you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, allow me to ask two more…
Have you ever left a book review on an author’s website or a review site?
Have you ever contacted an author by email, on social media, or in a private message?

Okay, we’re almost done.
If you answered yes to either of the last two questions (or gave serious consideration for doing so), what did you say/write?

I lay these questions out there for consumption after a roundtable gathering with a group of author friends. See, writers want to know what readers think, and many listen to the critics of their works. In fact, the main reason for having beta readers is to have that reader feedback to improve the story. But here is where things fall apart. When A. says a story was awful because the characters were unbelievable, that vagueness doesn’t provide the author much to go on to make corrections. It’s more helpful if there is an explanation. For example, saying a character is unbelievable because his language seems too sophisticated for his age would be helpful. Or saying that the dialogue seems stiff because it is filled with cliches provides specific direction as to the problem.

Writers have tough skins… well, most of them. They pride themselves on growing and improving their craft. Sometimes, a writer has a specific vision for a project. For example, if an author is a horror writer and writes a book with a lot of scary elements, that’s to be expected. An unfair criticism would be calling out the story for having too many creepy elements. However, what would be fair is asking the author to up the ante, for example, making what is meant to be “jump scare” less predictable.

As with anything, there is a polite way and not so polite way to do anything. Readers most definitely can communicate their likes and dislikes for a story in a tasteful way. If an author you are kind of interested in isn’t quite doing it for them, there is no reason a reader shouldn’t inform that author what is expected or wanted from him/her.

  1. Book reviews are for readers. While authors may learn from the reviews, the main purpose of reviews is to inform writers about the book. Usually, reviews come from either readers who have purchased or been gifted the book or professional critics. In any case, the review is written to relay the reader’s opinion to other readers. It is to give a type of synopsis of the book and an indication of what other readers may experience. However, all reviews are subjective, and that should be kept in mind.
  1. All reviews matter. There is a reason that the bride and groom have the first dance at the wedding, and it isn’t because it’s their wedding and they are footing the bill. It is to get things started and people moving to the dance floor. Think about going to a party or club with great music blaring, tons of people standing around, but no one dancing. Sometimes, there’s a hesitation to be first. However, once that first person begins, more are likely to follow. The same happens with book reviews. Once the first one written, other people are encouraged to do the same—either to agree or disagree.
  1. Leaving reviews is a way of becoming part of the reading community. It is a way for readers to connect with other readers. Some readers connect with other readers through review sites as well as the reviews they write.
  1. Sparking further conversations. Sometimes, reviews may lead to opening discussions about topics that matter but aren’t being discussed. Many fan theories of popular books have begun in the comment sections reviewing books or passages.
  1. Reviews speak for readers who can’t leave reviews. Not everyone is allowed to leave reviews of sites like Amazon. This point could be an entire post of its own. Basically, Amazon has set community guidelines that restrict who can post reviews. The claim is that this is to ensure that the reviews are valid, but let’s be honest. It isn’t true. There are people who purchase books from other places than Amazon who may want to leave a review but who aren’t allowed because they haven’t spent enough money on the Amazon site. Or their review may show up without the “verified purchase” marker beside their name. Or if an author has a link for his/her book that leads to his/her Amazon webpage, Amazon cyber tracking may consider that person to be a “friend” and either disallow or remove reviews. So, one reader who leaves a review may be speaking for many readers.
  1. It has been estimated that more than 85% of book purchases from the Amazon Kindle store is based at least partially on book reviews. These reviews are being used as a determining factor as to if someone wants to download an e-book.
  1. Book reviews help new authors get discovered and more exposure, not just to readers but to other book review websites, book clubs, and book blogs. They can even help sway the minds of library administrators whether or not to carry a book in the library.

That’s all I got. Do you agree or disagree with these points? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. Also, let me know if you would like me to cover more of these types of topics or dive deeper into this one. If you like this post, please click the like button and share it. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.

Penalty Kill

If you haven’t heard, my best-selling hockey romance series, Locker Room Love. Book 4, Penalty Kill, releases this August. >>> https://books2read.com/penaltykill

When the scandal of a double homicide threatens to destroy his career, this billionaire hockey player hires an ambitious sports agent to improve his public image. It’s time to let the puckery begin.

Timothée Croneau is that jock—the bad boy superstar with the naughty reputation. He’s handsome, arrogant, and a billionaire. He’s also the number one person-of-interest in a double homicide and recently traded to a losing team who is showing him no love. And wouldn’t it be just his luck that his career splashed in the toilet six months after his long-time agent kicked the bucket? Now, he’s stuck with Ryker Kitsch. An agent is supposed to fix his life, though, not break his heart.

Speaking of breaks, ex-athlete Ryker Kitsch wants his in the sports agency realm. He sees his chance to make a name for himself by helping rebrand his agency’s newly acquired hockey star, Timothée Croneau. The guy needs every lick of positive PR he can get. So, why is the devilishly gorgeous forward fighting him at every step and leaving Ryker to wonder if he’s been hired for a babysitting gig?

The mess Timothée is stirring was never in any contact Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.

Preorder your copy at:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p
Other book sellers: https://books2read.com/penaltykill

Missed the three in my hockey romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box (book #1), where it is one minute in the box or a lifetime out, is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit http://bit.ly/2i9SqpH.

Defending the Net (book #2) can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Ice Gladiators (book #3) is the third book in my Locker Room Love series. When the gloves come off, the games begin. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors or BookBub.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click https://genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com/newsletter/ and signup today.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.

Our Silly Collections… (Contest)
Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

I am a collector—of things valuable or silly. I could have taken pictures of my antique fortune-telling teacups, my ancient Egyptian figurines, my How to Train Your Dragon action figures, or my Avenger’s bobbleheads. Instead, I chose something that’s on my desk, right in front of me every day—my classic typewriter figurines. I’m the easiest person to gift in my family, because all they have to do is walk around my bedroom or office and see what I might not have. I can always use another Strangeling fairy ornament!

So, I’d like to open up my blog to display the collectibles you all love. The rules for entering are below. I’ll do a blog in the near future which will include your name (you can use initials for privacy, if you like), what you collect, and why you love to collect your treasures. Have fun! And there is a prize!

Contest

Win a signed book—a copy of CAGE or an older trilogy book, DOWN IN TEXAS! This is all you have to do to enter:

  1. Take a picture of a collection of items you love and email it to me at delilah@delilahdevlin.com. You can include a little note about why it means so much to you! Be sure to say how you want to be named!
  2. Comment below to tell me it’s coming!
Diana Cosby: Nature – The Perfect Inspiration To Refill My Muse! (Contest)
Sunday, June 13th, 2021

©Diana Cosby 2021

I enjoy my time walking in the woods, around the pond, or through the marsh, and seeing nature’s beauty.  Taking photos of the wildlife I see is the perfect inspiration to refill my muse.  On rare occasions, I’ll see a Cooper’s Hawk.

At the marsh, I was thrilled to see a young buck with a thin velvet skin on its antlers.

The kits have grown so big.  I was fortunate to see one before it leaves the den to begin his own life.

I see the Yellow-crowned Night Herons at the marsh and sitting on their nests.  In the next few weeks, I’m looking forward to seeing their young.

A couple of weeks during late spring, the Ruddy Turnstones migrate through.  It’s a fun challenge to see if I can catch photos of them before they’ve flown through.

Locally, an unofficial start to summer is when Laughing Gulls arrive.  The gorgeous birds remain until the beginning of fall when they’ll head south, and their familiar ‘laughing’ cries fade.  Though I’ll miss seeing the Laughing Gulls as other migratory birds, I look forward to the cooler weather and return of the winter birds.

Contest

ONE winner will be drawn from everyone who posts on my guest blog post about, ‘Nature – The Perfect Inspiration To Refill My Muse!,’ on Delilah’s blog between 13 June 2021– 20 June 2021.  I will sign a copy of Born To Bite for the winner.

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

N.J. Walters: Summer Fun (Recipe)
Thursday, June 10th, 2021

I’m looking forward to this summer, to being outdoors enjoying the sunshine. Winter is long here, and summer is short. I plan to enjoy every minute of it.

I’ve shared this recipe before, but it’s worth sharing again. It’s a cool and refreshing adult beverage you can enjoy in your backyard on a hot summer afternoon. You can make it ahead and enjoy whenever you like.

Summer Slush

Ingredients:
1 – 12 oz can of frozen orange juice
1 – 12 oz can of frozen lemonade
¾ cup of sugar
5 cups of water
2 cups of vodka

In large freezer proof container, mix in order given and freeze.

Serve ½ glass of slush with 7 up or ginger ale.

Fun Things to Do

Now that you have your drink, here are some fun things you can do that don’t cost much.

  1. Have a picnic. Eating outside is always preferable to eating indoors (as long as the mosquitos aren’t around). Treat yourself. Enjoy fresh fruit, cheese, crackers, fried chicken, pasta salad or whatever you desire. If it’s you and your honey, throw in a bottle of wine and make it a romantic evening. If it’s raining, spread a blanket and some pillows on the living room floor and make your fun indoors.
  2. Try a new recipe one night a week. Get your family involved and all of you take turns choosing. They don’t have to be complex recipes—unless you’re so inclined. Keep it simple and fun. Fire up the grill if you have one.
  3. Dessert night! I’m sure you’re seeing a theme here. Spend a day baking some tasty treats and enjoy. Or recreate a traditional English tea, complete with scones and cream.
  4. Have a movie marathon day. Pick a movie series, load up on snacks, and watch them back to back. Lord of the Rings, Die Hard, Bourne Identity, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mummy. There are plenty to choose from. Or have a theme movie day—Disney, horror, comedy. Or binge a series on Netflix.
  5. Take a walk or a drive somewhere different. Doesn’t have to be far. We all tend to be creatures of habit and take the same routes or go to the same places.
  6. Read a book. Take yourself out to the backyard, the balcony, the beach, or walk to a park and enjoy a few hours.
  7. And if you’re looking for something to read, you might want to check out the Salvation Pack series. These smoking hot werewolves will certainly spice up your days…and your nights.

Salvation Pack

Each book in the Salvation Pack series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order. Series Order:

Book #1 Wolf at the Door
Book #2 Wolf in her Bed
Book #3 Wolf on the Run
Book #4 Wolf from the Past
Book #5 Wolf on the Hunt
Book #6 Wolf on a Mission
Book #7 Wolf in his Heart
Book #8 Wolf in her Soul
Book #9 Wolf of her Own

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0753H2PLQ/

Have a safe and wonderful holiday.

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 N.J. at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Anna M. Taylor: Where and When I Enter (Contest)
Monday, June 7th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Jennifer Beyer!
*~*~*

Some years ago I read a book by Paula Giddings entitled When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America. The stories I read about women who made history from Ida B. Wells to Shirley Chisholm inspired me then and inspire me still. But the book had an unexpected outcome on me. At least unexpected by me, but I suspect not by the author.

Giddings’s title made me stop and think about where and when I enter history as well. School has trained us to think of history as something made by others, but you and I make history in small and large ways every day. As a minister, I have worked with at least a hundred churches and their ministers and lay people seeking how to share their faith and resources with their communities. As part of a community organizing group, I helped address issues of inequality in the communities in which I lived and worked.

As I look back on the last year and a half, I am filled with awe and pride by the creative ways neighbors have helped one another get through the tragedy of this pandemic. These acts of kindness—both random and intentional—will be included in books written about this time. Those who acted will be cited by name just as Giddings’s book names women like Anna Julia Cooper and Mary McLeod Bethune, who chose to challenge the racism and sexism of their day.

However, there are many more who will remain unnamed but whose acts will have touched hearts and minds and spirits, enabling everyone to be encouraged during this difficult time. The smile you share with a stranger from a distance or a phone call you make to someone who is homebound create ripples of goodness that touch the universe in many pay-it-forward ways we may never know. I wonder if this isn’t why history has always had my heart.

My initial idea for this post was to share unsung Black history events that took place in June, events that aren’t getting the attention June 19th—Juneteenth—is getting. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when in Galveston Bay, Texas, the Union army announced the official end of slavery to more than two hundred and fifty thousand enslaved people. There’s a move to make Juneteenth a national holiday but is anyone commemorating June 17, 1775 when Peter Salem and Salem Poor were commended for their service at the Battle of Bunker Hill? As I made my list of such lesser-known events for this post, I realized even Peter Salem and Salem Poor had their names recorded in a place where I could find them and their deeds. Inspired by the title of Giddings’ book, I switched gears and decided to make this post a place where you and I could share when and where we enter history. That way someday someone can come across this post and read about where and when you entered history.

So for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, but more importantly to be remembered for posterity, share a moment in your life when you made an impact on the history we call everyday life. 

Haunted Serenade

All the women in Anora Madison’s family have lived as “Poor Butterflies”: women still longing for but deserted by the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, Anora fled Harlem for Brooklyn, severing her ties with her mother, Angela, and with the man who broke her heart, Winston Emerson, the father of her child.

Six years later, she comes back to Harlem to make peace, but a malignant spirit manifests itself during the homecoming, targeting her mother, her aunt, Winston, and their little girl. Determined to stop the evil now trying to destroy all she loves, Anora must finally turn to Winston for help. But will their efforts be too little too late?

Buylink: https://amzn.to/3aXifyu

Excerpt from Haunted Serenade

On September 15, 1963, the one-year anniversary of my aunt Diana’s death, four young girls in Birmingham, Alabama died when their church was bombed for its involvement in the Civil Rights movement.

My mother called that evening and inquired after my health and the health of my daughter Cammie—the granddaughter she vowed never to acknowledge. Fear, anger and sorrow sounded in her voice. Mine too. We mourned those girls, their families and the sister/aunt we both loved. In that spoken grief, I silently mourned what had died between my mother and me.

The following month she called again, this time inviting me to bring Cammie to dinner. Like some sulky child, I felt tempted to ask what took her so long. Instead, I swallowed my hurt and came home.

Cammie squeezed my fingers and stared at 13 141st Street with a wide-eyed wonder only six-year-olds possess.

“Wow. Grammie has a real house.”

I don’t know what excited her more: the prospect of meeting her maternal grandmother or visiting a real house. Single-family homes with front stoops, porches and backyards were things she saw only on television. We lived in a Brooklyn housing project with eight apartments to every floor and eight floors in every building.

All last night she ooo’d and ah’d over the photo of Number Thirteen my mother had sent her. Too wound up to sleep, her pudgy little body tossed and turned like a happy puppy on the double bed we shared. She shook me awake each time a new possibility occurred to her. Did her Grammie really own the whole house? Could she have a room of her own when she spent the night? Could she have a puppy there? No cats or dogs were allowed in the projects. How many staircases were inside the house? Did it have a doorbell she could ring?

The sound of her excitement cleaved my heart. She showed no signs of discontent with our life, yet the smile she wore as she slept told me my daughter had desires of which I was unaware.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annamtaylorAuthor
Twitter: @Revannable
Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/355nKv0