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Constance Walker: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
Friday, November 10th, 2017

Tomorrow, November 11, is Veterans Day, and tomorrow I will fly the American flag in front of my house. Not because it’s a political statement but because it’s my way to say thank you to all the veterans who left their homes, their jobs, their families, and their comfortable lives to protect our country. Think about it – young men and women who believed so strongly in America that they were willing to give up a portion of their lives so that we can enjoy freedom.

Many years ago, when I was a small child, we used to have elderly veterans from World War 1 come to talk to us in our classrooms on that day. They would tell us stories about their experiences in the war – none really too frightening – and we children would sit listening, fascinated to be told what it was like to go to other countries, see other sights, and learn new languages. We were really too young to know the real implications of battle and these men and women were not about to frighten us — they were there to give us a sense of pride in our country and a reason to honor the day. They would tell us stories and then, in closing, would remind us that America was the greatest country in the world and we should never forget it

November 11 was originally celebrated as “Armistice Day” in memory of the end of “The Great War.”  That’s what they called it – “The Great War” – because their hope, these men who fought in the trenches in France and Germany and all over Europe in 1914-1918, could never conceive that there would ever be another such war. They were wrong, as we know, and so, in 1939, when another multinational conflict erupted, the “Great War” became World War I in order to remember and designate the next horror…World War II. Then, in 1954, the name “Armistice Day” was changed to “Veterans Day” to honor everyone – men and women–who served in all wars and almost every home in my neighborhood displayed the flag.

I was young, but I was old enough to remember, during the late 1940’s, another type of flag — the small cloth flags with a blue star that hung in the windows of the houses on my street indicating that a family member was serving in the Armed Forces:  Later, sadly, as the war progressed, some of those blue stars became gold when the family was notified that the service man had made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Our country.

On the last day of that war, we kids were exuberant and wanted to celebrate and set off caps and fireworks but my mother hushed us and nodded her head to the house with the drawn curtains and the gold star flag in the window. “Remember them, Connie,” she said…”pay honor to the family.”  And that’s what Veterans Day is all about – honoring those who served America.

So, tomorrow I’ll hang the flag from the pole next to my door and I’ll remember the veterans — my husband, my brothers, my cousins, all my family members, their friends, and all those brave young men and women who went off to the wars – some to never return – and I’ll silently thank them for protecting our way of life … our country.

I hope you will, too.

About STORYTIME AT THE VILLA MARIA

The characters in my latest novel, STORYTIME AT THE VILLA MARIA, consist of senior citizens – some, World War II veterans, and they tell stories to their friends every Monday night at their senior citizen residential apartment house. They speak of patriotism and heroism and weddings and births and good times and bad and all the things relevant in their lives.  These characters remind me of my parents and my parents’ generation.  And that’s why I wrote the novel – it’s my love letter, my thanks — to the seniors of the world who went to war, to the wives and families who kept the home fires burning, and to the lives that they lived afterwards.

Meet…

Dominick, who married “the most beautiful woman in the world”…

Sophie, who is haunted by terrifying memories of the Holocaust…

Ella, who made “sweet apple pies” for her war veteran husband…

Tom, whose music lured women into his arms…

Artie, who is plagued by the ghosts of long-dead soldiers…

Frank, who can’t let go of his yesterdays, though a better tomorrow beckons…

Join them and others as they gather every Monday night in the library at the Villa Maria to share their memories, their fears, and their dreams.

STORYTIME AT THE VILLA MARIA—the unforgettable book about life lived and still to be lived, and about the mysterious threads of joy and heartache and love that are woven into every life—including your own!

“A charming novel of senior citizens, storytelling, nostalgia, and a world gone by but not forgotten.”

Get your copy here!

 About the Author

Constance Walker is the author of THE SHIMMERING STONES OF WINTER’S LIGHT, LOST ROSES OF GANYMEDE HOUSE, IN TIME, and WARM WINTER LOVE among other works of Gothic and contemporary fiction.

MY LINKS:

WWW.CONSTANCEWALKER.COM

https://www.amazon.com/Storytime-Villa-Maria-Constance-Walker-ebook/dp/B072Q3VBP1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497301294&sr=8-1&keywords=STORYTIME+AT+VILLA+MARIA
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storytime-at-the-villa-maria-constance-walker/1126484514?ean=9780988430730
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storytime-at-the-villa-maria-constance-walker/1126484514?ean=2940154392010
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2090408.Constance_Walker
https://www.facebook.com/search/str/constance+walker+author/keywords_top

Megan Westfield: To make your 2017 resolutions a reality, try multitasking your workouts (Giveaway)
Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Hello Delilah readers,

I’m so excited to be joining you here today.  I’m Megan Westfield and I know Delilah through a group of female military veterans who write romantic fiction. (Thanks for the opportunity, Delilah!).  My very first book, Lessons in Gravity, came out in October and is a new-adult rock-climbing romance set in Yosemite National Park.

Since we’re just a week past the new year, resolutions are still strong on my brain. For me, it seems like the meeting of resolutions always comes down to time: the fact that there is never enough of it.  As an author who has a day job and two young children to care for, there’s no way I’d be able to get everything done if not for multitasking, and one of most effective ways I multitask is by doubling up my workouts with other things.

So whether you’re a person has resolved to be more active in 2017, or a person who is amply active wants to eek out more time in the day to focus on other resolutions, here are a few ideas for multitasking your workouts.

  1. Listen to an audio book.

All of us Delilah blog subscribers all have this in common: we love to read.  My suggestion is to play an audio book on your phone, grab a pair of earphones, and head out the door for a walk.  Or go ride a stationary bike.  Or hit the bouldering wall at the climbing gym.  This concept can be combined with many of the suggestions below for triple-tasking credit.  J

  1. Workout on your lunch break.

This has been a habit of mine since my military days when I’d combine my allotted workout time with my lunch break so I could do a long road bike ride or go swimming at the base pool. Some private companies offer a fitness perk similar to this, but if your company isn’t one of these, an hour lunch break is plenty of time for a 30-40 minute cardio workout with a shower afterward.  Alternately, if you have a shorter lunch break or don’t have access to a shower, you could do a low-impact workout: one where you don’t get drenched in sweat and therefore don’t need to change clothes beforehand or shower afterward (ex., going for a walk, or doing high-repetition, low-weight strength training).

  1. Walk your errands

I do not live in what is considered a “walkable” neighborhood, but there is a strip mall about a mile from our house with good sidewalks the whole way.  I save time by making the day’s workout be a walk down to the grocery store to grab a few things for the evening’s dinner, or to run a different errand at one of the other stores.

  1. Take your kids on your workouts

For me, this means using a double jogging stroller, or carrying one kid on my back and pushing the other in a single jogging stroller.  Kids love to be outside and joining in on parents’ activities, so not only are you doubling up on the tasks of taking care of children and getting some exercise, the kids are getting a “win” as well.  My daughter is just old enough to start riding her strider bike alongside me, so this has been a fun variation for us.  And don’t forget that many gyms offer free child care!

  1. Make your workouts a group activity

This is the same principle as #4, but instead of taking your kids, you arrange to meet up with a friend for a workout rather than of doing something sedentary. The multitasking element is that you’re having fun and maintaining connections while also being active.  My best conversations with friends happen during long jogs and walks!  Triple up by meeting with a friend for a weekday lunch-walk.

  1. Walk or jog your errands with kids in tow

This combination of #3 and #4 is a triple-tasking method that I do almost daily. Since my kids are small enough to ride in a stroller, the basket in the bottom comes in handy for holding groceries or other goods, but a backpack works just as well.  If you live somewhere that’s truly un-walkable, you can always drive to an area that is, like a nice park that adjoins  shopping area.

***GIVEAWAY***

Let’s get a conversation going so we can share even more ways to gain more time by doubling up daily tasks with workouts.  See below!

Book Trailer

https://youtu.be/RirUUEW8rjg

Back Cover

All eyes are on Josh Knox…

Fearless. Guarded. Cut-to-perfection. Daredevil rock climber. The best in the world.

This time he’s poised to scale Yosemite’s notoriously treacherous Sorcerer Spire, with Walkabout Media & Productions filming every move.

April Stephens’s dream to be a documentary filmmaker rests on her acing her internship with Walkabout, and that means getting the abrasive Josh to give her more than one-word answers in his interviews.

The problem is, with every step forward professionally, she and Josh are also taking a step forward personally, and after watching her stunt pilot father die in a fiery crash, a guy who risks his life for a living is the last person she should be falling for. Especially because in one month her internship will have them dangling three thousand feet in the air from the side of the Sorcerer. She’ll be filming. He’ll be climbing without a rope.

Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads

About the Author

Megan Westfield has dabbled in many hobbies and pastimes over the years, ranging from playing the cello to cake decorating (i.e., icing-eating) to a dozen different outdoor adventure sports. Eventually, she discovered the only way to do it all was though writing—her first and strongest passion. She grew up in Washington state, attended college in Oregon, and lived in Virginia, California, and Rhode Island during her five years as a navy officer. Megan is now a permanent resident of San Diego where she and her husband count family beach time with their two young kids as an adventure sport.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  YouTube  |  Newsletter

***THE GIVEAWAY***

Post a comment below about how you double up daily tasks with workouts (or write about a fitness barrier you find especially challenging) and I’ll enter you in a drawing for an e-copy of Lessons in Gravity at the end of the week. Triple-tasking suggestions welcomed, too!

Kelly Washington: Does Anyone Have a Penis?
Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Does anyone have a penis?

kwIMG_0037I don’t. And, as I wrote one particular book, not owning a penis was, well, sort of a problem. Owning is, of course, the operative word here. I have a husband, ergo, I “own” a penis, so it’s safe to say that I had a place to start, but it wasn’t the same thing.

But first, an explanation.

The book, untitled at the time, was a body swapping romance, aka, “Freaky Friday,” but instead of a mom and daughter swapping, it was two roommates, Keira and Dillan.

With a few caveats, I felt somewhat qualified to describe Dillan’s actions as he woke up in Keira’s body, because, after all, I wake up 100% of every morning in a woman’s body. The opposite, however, was less certain. What might go through Keira’s mind when she discovered her new anatomy?

And this was when the penis-owning men of my acquaintance got to know me a lot better.

And I got to know them a hell of a lot more than I ever anticipated.

Let’s do a roll call

My confession is this: I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be a man. Even for just one day — maybe one week, tops. Sure, for the most part, I’m curious about the sexual aspect of it all, and in this fantasy-filled wish of mine, I’d naturally swap into the body of a super hot guy who dripped sexual charisma. You know the type — that guy who doesn’t have to work too hard to get a girl.

I mean, let’s face it, I have zero illusions I could actually seduce a woman in the 24 hours allotted for my wish. Granted, I’ve never tried, so I don’t want to sell myself short. But still.

So, for the sake of research (for the novel, of course), the next best thing I could do was ask a lot of uncomfortable questions. And by uncomfortable, I mean where the respondent has to pause and replay the question in their head to ensure they heard you correctly. If you’re married, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

To get started, I didn’t even have to leave the house.

My first resource was Mark, my husband. It was a Saturday morning, I’m brewing coffee and getting ready to write The Scene, when I ambush him.

“Do you always wake up with a hard-on?” I asked as I poured cream into my cup. I’ll swear to you right now that I did not have an evil grin. I played this one with a straight face.

He dropped his empty cup, a guilty look on his face. “This is for the book, isn’t it?”

On any given weekend, I’m writing something, so with most of my questions, his response is generally that one, or something close.

“That, and I’ve been looking up plastic surgeons in the area. Also, just how thin is the skin of your testicles?”

He nearly choked on his tongue, muttering a, “You’re killing me, Kelly. Most mornings, yes.”

But he struggled to describe the skin of his testicles as he searched for a new coffee cup, which, ironically ended up being a Mother’s Day mug, with the word Momnicient on the side. I thought about pointing this out, but I didn’t want to push my luck.

“I’m gonna write, ‘Paper thin’ for the time being. Now, let’s discuss the roll call.”

His face was a blank stare. “The roll call?”

“Yeah, where you scratch the hell out of your genitals. It must hurt like hell, the way you get all up in there. That’s the roll call. You’re double-checking to make sure you still own all your parts.”

“Like maybe I accidentally left them at work?” he asked, a weird smirk tugging at his lips. “You just made that up, didn’t you?”

“You’re married to an author. I make up stuff all day long.” At this point, Mark left the kitchen and went into the bathroom. “You can’t duck out of this conversation,” I told him through the closed door, laughing.

“I can’t hear you. I’m too busy conducting roll call.”

Cashing in favors

I have a lot of guy friends. Growing up with brothers, and dealing with their friends, and then joining the military right out of high school, I was always a tom girl and, incidentally, felt more comfortable around men.

Sarcasm is a source of pride, and I’m rarely thinking clean thoughts, so it was a natural progression to ask a few of my closest male friends similar questions.

At work, I approached my friend Chris, who happens to be a Navy Lieutenant Commander with a wicked sense of humor.

“Wanna get coffee today?” I asked. This in itself wasn’t odd, but I wanted to use the time to ask questions. I already wrote Dillan’s scene waking up as a woman, but I wanted more authenticity with Keira waking up as a man.

It was nagging me like something fierce.

“I’ve had, like, four cups,” he said, lifting the coffee from behind his monitor to prove his point.

“Darn. I wanted to ask you about sex.”

Chris looked up sharply, one eyebrow arched suspiciously. “I’m free at two.”

At the appointed time, and with coffee between us, I spilled the beans about The Scene, and he was rather amused by this “problem” of mine.

“Okay, this is not how I imagined our conversation,” Chris said, laughing, but looking around to see if we were being overheard. “Yeah, I usually wake up with an erection, but for the most part, I have to piss like a horse, and sometimes it takes a long time.”

“Why?”

“Can’t pee with a hard-on.” For some reason, he said this like he was a sensei imparting wisdom. “What else you got?”

“What about running? Can you feel your bits jangling?”

Not everything was about the wake-up part, but I’ve always wondered about it, and in the book, Keira is an active runner. She’d instantly feel the difference if she ran while in Dillan’s body.

“Bits? You make it sound like computer parts. Maybe if I was naked,” he said with a gleam in his eye. “There’s this thing called a jock strap, Kelly. Look it up.”

Not at work, I wasn’t, but I laughed.

“Let me ask you this,” I said before we had to go back to the office, “if you woke up one morning as a woman, what’s the first thing you might notice?”

Chris seemed to think seriously about this, which worried me, but sometimes he can surprise me.

He looked between us, like maybe he was comparing our figures to help visualize his answer, and said, “I’d probably notice I was shorter and weighed less. Like, getting out of bed would look and feel different.”

That night, after work, I modified Dillan’s scene. Chris’ observation was spot on.

But it also helped me with the reverse. If Dillan felt lighter, then Keira might feel heavier and clumsy.

Confident that I had what I needed, I wrote The Scene a week later, which you will get to read in the excerpt below.

In the heat of the moment

My husband was happy to know I was reserving all sexy-time questions for him. As a woman, there are a few things, well, maybe many things, that I take for granted during sex.

One of which is thrusting.

“Doesn’t it hurt your hips?” I asked Mark as I neared the end of the book, when Keira and Dillan finally do The Deed. “I feel like my entire body might cramp up.” Of course, I’m thinking like a woman who’s given birth to a ten-pound baby. My hips have never stopped hurting.

By this point, Mark had grown used to these sort of questions. He didn’t even bat an eye.

“It’s not the hips, but my lower back, but I know better than to stop.”

He winked.

It was my turn to choke. I think I might have been brushing my teeth during this particular conversation. I won’t go as far as saying that these questions made me smarter, but it certainly opened my eyes to things I didn’t regularly think about before writing a gender swap romance.

“Good to know,” I replied.

I’ve always found it difficult to imagine what men felt during sex. The physical act of it, aka, penetration, but when I asked my husband, he didn’t have a simple answer. But I found his response to be pithy, and romantic.

“If I could give it one word, I’d call it heat. I feel the heat all over. The pelvic region radiates with it.” He looked up and noticed I was taking notes.

“Heat, got it. Pelvic region radiation. I like it. Go on, babe.”

“But it’s more than that for me. It’s because I’m with you.” He kissed me on the nose. “That’s what makes it wonderful.”

As I finished the novel and sent it to my editor, I felt that Keira’s scenes navigating as a man ended up as authentic as I could make them with the knowledge I’d gained. That, and an active imagination.

Collide Into You is, arguably, one of my favorite books and I think back fondly during the time of its writing. But, more than anything, I had a grand time asking questions. Mark and I had additional conversations, but I can’t reveal those (sorry!).

My confession still stands: I want to know what it really feels like to be a man, but I think I’ll have to save the imagination for the characters in future novels.

So now that you know my confession, what’s yours?

Kelly Washington
kellywashwrites@gmail.com
Kellywashington.com

Collide Into You

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