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Archive for 'sports romance'



Genevive Chamblee: Unnoticed Traditions (Recipe)
Monday, October 25th, 2021

Bonjour, salute, and greetings once again, mes amis. Happy fall! Now, down in these parts of the deep south, we know it’s fall not so much by the temperature—although, it has cooled off some—but rather, by the lack of mosquitos, how the fish are biting, and the street lights popping on at 5:00 p.m. Some trees have even decided that they would grace us with a change in coloration; although, many are still blooming. And speaking of fish, I’ll tell a funny quick aside here.

I never realized that certain fish can’t be purchased or sold. That’s because some fish, while safe to eat, are considered gamefish and are prohibited from being legally sold in seafood markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and/or by individuals. One would think I would have known this, but the truth is… I never attempted to buy any of these fish. I live on the bayou; so, there’s no purpose. If we want perch or brim and whatnot, we simply grab a pole and catch it.

Now, that may seem like such a random thought for a blog post when talking about fall, but it actually ties in. See, it got me to thinking about all the small things that I’ve grown up doing but have never quite given much thought as to why I do it. One such tradition is having red beans and rice on Mondays. (Yes, that’s a thing.) And there’s a couple of caveats to this.

First, red beans and rice has been a part of Creole culture for over two hundred years and is a staple, comfort food in many Creole homes. According to historical accounts, the tradition of red beans and rice on Mondays began due to Mondays being the day most people did their laundry. Since the preparation is simple and the meal is both scrumptious and fulfilling, it is easy to understand why it quickly became a favorite. In an age when women typically prepared the family meals and did the laundry, preparing red beans and rice, just mixing the ingredients and allowing it to cook all day while the laundry was being done was easy. It also can feed large families for a relatively small cost.

I grew up on Red Beans and Rice Mondays, and to this day, it’s a tradition I tend to stick to a lot. However, I’m not as faithful about it as my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. One reason for that is the heat. Typically, on hot days, I enjoy a meal that is light and cool. Red beans and rice is definitely not that. But with the arrival of fall, it’s the perfect meal, especially to curl up and eat while reading a good book.

Experts and historians cannot agree on when the recipe first entered Creole culture. They also cannot agree on the original recipe or preparation of the dish. Another area that remains uncertain is the original recipe. There are hundreds of ways to prepare it, as no two recipes are the same. Some would argue there is no right or wrong recipe, either, but after seeing some of the ingredients some people put in their red beans and rice, I’m going to have to strongly disagree (and gag).

The following recipe is the one my family has used for generations. As with many Creole recipes, this one involves many ingredients. There are others that are much simpler to prepare and cheaper.

I use dried Creole red beans for this dish. There is a difference between a Creole red bean and another red bean, however, I won’t be getting into that here. Kidney beans are a good substitution if Creole red beans are not available. I begin by placing the beans in a slow cooker and allowing them to soak overnight. A quick tip, though, is if the beans will be on slow cook for more than ten hours, soaking them overnight is not necessary.

After the beans have soaked, drain and add butter, canola oil, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Allow to cook until the butter has melted. Stir. Add the spices (salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, basil, celery salt, thyme, onion powder, paprika, sage, and oregano). Mix well. Add tomatoes and stir. Allow to cook for approximately five minutes. Add chicken stock and stir. Add ham hock, andouille, and bay leaves. Allow to cook 8 – 10 hours.

In a pot, cook rice as directed. Serve the red beans in a bowl with a scoop of rice atop. For an alternative method, sometimes, about an hour before I’m ready to serve, I add my uncooked rice to my crockpot. This allows the rice enough time to cook without becoming overly mushy. It also allows for the flavors to really get into the rice. (Bonus, red beans and rice always taste better the next day. The same applies to gumbo.)

So, that’s all I have for a fall welcome. What’s your favorite fall recipe? Let me know your thoughts and opinions below. Oh, and if you like this post, please click the like button and share it. As they say, sharing is caring, and it does help my blog grow. If you’re not following me, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou. We have fun, and there’s no need to worry about what’s in the water. Not everything bites. Creole Bayou is a blog dedicated to all things Creole, Cajun, recipes, romance, trivia, psychology/mental health, self-help, writing, and books.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Penalty Kill, my sensual and saucy sports romance, that is guaranteed to make the already melted ice turn to steam and fog the plexiglass. Available at https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p and www.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 contract Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.

Order your copy at:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/ B08YMYZF2S
Other booksellers: https://books2read.com/penaltykill
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/30zhdWC
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3vjFmP6
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3cjyFnE
iTunes: http://apple.co/30xulf0
Nook: http://bit.ly/3bEi0w4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/30CNe00

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.

Genevive Chamblee: Fall is Coming, Plus Inexpensive Halloween Decorating Ideas!
Friday, September 17th, 2021

It’s beginning to feel a lot like fall… Well, not really, but it hasn’t felt a whole heck of a lot like summer. I mean, it’s been hot, but hey, this is Louisiana. When isn’t it hot? And maybe I’ve just become immune to the heat, but it hasn’t felt as hot this year as it has previously. Or maybe it is due to that elephant in the room that everyone is sick of talking about but understands there’s not much getting around it: Miss Uninvited Guest COVID herself that has taken away many of the outdoor activities I generally participate in.  And we also had another unwanted party crasher in Ida, who just ransacked what Ms. COVID had left available. In any case, I find myself welcoming the arrival of fall for the first time. Along with fall comes the season of holidays. And in my mind, it’s never too early to begin planning for the holiday festivities. Well, almost never too early. I can’t quite get on board with the whole Christmas in July thing.

Halloween is my jam. It didn’t always use to be though. When I was younger, I didn’t enjoy going door to door asking for candy. I preferred being the person who distributed it to others. Then, when I moved to the place that shall not be named, the majority of residents in that area do not celebrate Halloween. In fact, there is an unspoken anti-Halloween movement where groups purposely engage in behaviors that will prevent people from being able to participate in trick-or-treating. For example, some organizations hold “meetings” that will keep parents at work longer. Others speak negatively about the holiday in an attempt to stigmatize parents who allow their children to celebrate or any adult who celebrates. Some even go as far as to destroy decorations. Others who aren’t anti-Halloween seemed to hold the belief that it was a holiday only for children, and thus, do not do anything special. While there, I learned to fly under the radar with some ways to celebrate without being too obvious to a casual viewer.

  1. Orange trash liners. Most people I know hate glitter and confetti because it gets everywhere and they hate cleaning it up. But let me tell you, my trash sparkles. Several years ago, I accidentally discovered this decorating gem. I needed trash bags and randomly grabbed a box without paying attention to color or size. It turned out that they were orange and didn’t fit any of the trash bins in my home. Additionally, they were super thin (practically transparent) and not strong enough to hold anything heavier than paper. Since I’d opened them before noticing my error, I decided to take them to my work office. At the time, I had a coworker who was convinced that anything having to do with Halloween invoked evil spirits and demons. So, when she saw the orange trash liners, she assumed I was involved in some voodoo witchcraft. She also was the kind of person who inspects other people’s trash and spread gossip about the contents. Honestly, using orange trash lines as decorations hadn’t crossed my mind. My hand happened to land on orange and could have just as easily grabbed blue, purple, or pink. When my coworker began with her neurotic blathering and accusations, of course, it tapped a passive-aggressive nerve in me. I had recently received a package that had black tissue paper, and my child had a project that she’d used black glitter. It all found its way into the orange trash bags daily. Now, normally, the trash was collected from each office, but I set mine outside my door for pickup by janitorial staff. So, each morning there was a translucent orange orb filled with black glitter and confetti. It wasn’t long before other workers adopted the idea. Simple and petty.
  2. Plastic caldrons are easy to find, inexpensive, and make excellent candy dishes. Most dollar stores and craft stores sell packages of plastic caldrons for just a few bucks. Fill with your favorite candy or popcorn and place wherever you like. At first glance it may seem like an ordinary bowl, but a caldron can add a fun pop of holiday spirit to a room without being over the top. For writers, use these caldrons to hold writing materials such as pens, erasers, paperclips, sticky pads, bookmarkers, etc.
  3. Of course, one can never go wrong with a holiday wreath. Depending on how obvious the design, holiday wreaths can range from being subtle to obnoxious. They can be delicate with silk flowers and frilly ribbons, a bit silly with googly-eyed ghosts and laughing Frankensteins, generic with pumpkins and black-and-white trimmings, or frightful with monsters and gory vampire teeth dripping blood. Perhaps the best features about wreaths are that nearly every place sells them, they are easy to make, and it doesn’t take much to refurbish them. Premade wreaths can be pricy at some stores; however, in general, really nice wreaths can be constructed with materials from the dollar store for only a few bucks. This means that wreaths are within most people’s budgets. For book lovers, add something that is themed for your favorite book or author.
  4. A friend had the daunting task of cleaning out his attic, garage, and basement. As would most people, he divided all the items into three groups: keep, sell/donate, and toss. When it came to the two aquariums, he could not find anyone to rehome them to. (I guess fish are not popular.) He didn’t want to throw them out because they were in perfect condition and he felt throwing them in the trash would be wasteful. What he knew was that he didn’t want fish anymore. When he’d moved, he placed the aquariums in his basement converted mancave. However, something about the ventilation in the room (he explained it to me but I forgot what he said) wasn’t conducive to having fish (even with pumps). In short, his tanks had become fish death chambers. After some thought, he decided to turn them into display cases. For Halloween, he decorated one in what I think closely resembled a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean. He had skulls and fish skeletons guarding a half-sunken treasure chest while human skeletons were half-buried in rocks and plank. What was interesting about this décor was how pretty it was. While it gave the vibe of Halloween, it was more purples and blues than oranges and blacks for a refreshing take on holiday decorations.
  5. This idea may resonate with people who enjoy decorating but do not want to spend money on seasonal items. That is what sparked the next idea for a friend. She really enjoys the holidays but feels that she will never get her money’s worth out of decorations. She developed the idea to arrange of her “horror” and “spooky” books and books with orange, black, white, and gray covers on the same shelves on her built-in bookcase. She then added old muslin that she’d found stuck away in a box, used candles in worn candlestands, old jewelry (I don’t know why this worked with the theme but it did), and bottles she filled with water and dye to look like potions. What she ended up with was a show-stopping Halloween display nook that cost her zero bucks. She does the same for other holidays, and it only takes her a couple of hours to gather what she needs and design it. It changes the entire feeling of the room.

So, those are five quick, inexpensive, and maybe less thought of Halloween decorating ideas. Now it’s that time to let me know what your thoughts and opinions are. What did you think? Did you find any of this information helpful? 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 the Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.

Locker Room Love book #4, Penalty Kill, is now available. Grab your copy at Amazon or at https://books2read.com/penaltykill for more options. Continue reading for the blurb and more information about it.

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 contract Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.

Order your copy at:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/ B08YMYZF2S
Other booksellers: https://books2read.com/penaltykill
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3ex0N9p
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/30zhdWC
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3vjFmP6
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3cjyFnE
iTunes: http://apple.co/30xulf0
Nook: http://bit.ly/3bEi0w4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/30CNe00

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.

Desiree Holt: Numbers Game (Contest & Excerpt!)
Monday, September 6th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…..Debra Guyette!
*~*~*

Leave a comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon GC!

It’s football season! Yay!

Kick it off with a book that’s received almost all 5-star reviews.

What they said about the book:

“Numbers Game is a touchdown from start to finish.” N.N. Light

“Can we get some more collaboration books from Desiree and Liz? They actually touchdown together with this fantastic college football book.” Terra Oenning

“This book was amazing! Definitely check it out! I can’t wait to read more by these authors!” Kelz Marie

 “A great read. Did I mention it is SMOKIN HOT?” RCA

“This book will have you on the edge of your seat, waiting and WANTING it all!! If I could give it more than 5 stars, I absolutely would!!” Rosalie Belle

BUY IT HERE!
https://desireeholt.com/books/numbers-game/

Making a pass could just mean scoring a second chance…

Former NFL player and coach Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher fumbled his career and marriage. Now divorced and ready to tackle his future, he has an opportunity to redeem himself as coach of his college alma mater’s football team. But how can he can turn the team’s losing streak around and keep the secret of his downfall buried when the school agrees to a documentary that will allow a lovely journalist to dig her way into his past…and into his heart?

Olivia Grant’s ex-husband almost wrecked her journalism career while he definitely did a number on her self-esteem. The documentary on Duncan Hatcher is the perfect way to rebuild both. As a freshman in college, she’d had a crush on the senior football hero, but he hadn’t known she existed. She never expects the sparks that fly between them as they work on the project nor the struggles they must face if they both want to win.

Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/NumbersGame

Excerpt from Numbers Game

Every move after that, to her, seemed to have some kind of sexual connotation.

The air between them vibrated with the electricity sparking back and forth. By the time he paid the check and they left the restaurant, every pulse in her body pounded, her breasts ached, and her teeny tiny thong was soaked. She wanted to hurry home and take a cold shower before she did something really stupid.

In the truck, he turned on the radio and found a station playing oldies rock music that he tuned low. They rode in a silence that was more electric than uncomfortable, especially when he reached over and took her hand in his, giving it a gentle squeeze. When they reached her townhouse, he again lifted her from the cab and walked her to the door, holding her hand. When she had the door open, he turned her to face him and studied her face for a long time. She waited, wondering if she had the willpower not to cross that line from professional to personal and how much damage she’d do if she did.

“You have to be the sexiest sports reporter I’ve ever met. I would really like to kiss you. Would that be okay with you?”

She should have turned away, but she couldn’t find the willpower. The kiss was soft and gentle, a mere brush of lips, a touch of flesh. Then it was over, but she wanted more. A lot more. She could feel this spinning out of control, and she was powerless to stop it.

“If you invite me in, I’m not going to turn you down.”

Genevive Chamblee: The Non-technicality of Sports Romances (Contest)
Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

There is a contest! See below!

It’s August, and you know what that means… Football season is right around the corner. But wait. Let me cool my heels for just a second. So, everyone knows I’m a huge sports fanatic. Football, hockey, diving, baseball, cheerleading, volleyball, you name it. (Okay, strike that. Don’t name it. I made that challenge to my bestie who said boules. I didn’t even know what the heck that was until I searched it on Google, and now, I’m depressed that I do.)

Saturdays in fall, everyone knows where to find me—at an SEC tailgate, of course. (Specifically, supporting my Bayou Bengals. Love purple, live gold.) And after a year of social distancing, lockdown, and all other kind of medieval atrocities that drug themselves up from the decrepit crypts of the past to revisit and wreak havoc, I can’t wait to get back into the stands (safely, of course). However, my love of sports doesn’t stop at stadium gates or a remote control. It has spilled over into my writing. I’m an author of sports romance. What beauty to be able to blend two loves into one. Perfection!

Here’s the real secret about sports romances. The romance is at the core. So, even if a reader dislikes sports and/or athletics, he/she can still enjoy the romantic story. What makes sports romances stand out from all other romantic subgenres is that sports, naturally, play a large role in the story. Well, duh! Hence the name “sports romance.” But hang on a minute. Not so fast. This is where it may become confusing for some. In a sports romance, sports may play a substantial role, an essential role, or both. What it can’t be is a backdrop. To demonstrate my point, I like to refer to the 1950s sitcom, Leave It to Beaver.

In the classic sitcom, typical of its time, Ward Clever was the dutiful patriarch of the family. Husband to June and father to Wally and Theodore, Ward faithfully traipsed off each morning in his crisp white shirt, sensible shirt, and polished shoes with a hat on head and briefcase in hand to work to be the breadwinner of his family. But what did Ward do? For the six years that it was on the air, Ward’s actual job was vague. He worked for a “big company” doing who knows what exactly? He could have been a stockbroker, an architect, a real estate agent, an attorney, an insurance salesman, or a slew of other professions. The point is, Ward’s specific job title or duties weren’t important to the narrative of the show. All that was needed was to show viewers that he was a hardworking provider for his family. Thus, the nature of his job was a backdrop.

In a sports romance, it is not enough to have a character be a current or former athlete for the story to be considered a sports romance. If the sports aspect of the story is unimportant and can easily be substituted by something else, then that’s not a sports romance. Rather, it’s a romance with an athletic character. Now, I know the arguments against this position but think about it.

Many of John Grisham’s stories and novels feature characters who are attorneys. It makes sense. His plots deal with the legal system. Being an attorney is a central aspect of many of his characters and plots. In Harper Lee’s American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, it is fitting that one of the major characters, Atticus Finch, is an attorney. Exchanging the professions in these books would create an overall different feel and direction for the stories. Now, what if Frank Kennedy in Gone with the Wind was an attorney? Would it matter to the story? Would it change any outcomes or character arcs? In Bridget Jones’ Diary, Mark Darcy is an attorney. How much does this impact the story? Suppose he was a wealthy run-of-the-mill philanthropist or business investor? Would that make any difference?

Another way to consider it is this. Suppose a story has a character who is a vampire, but that character is never shown doing anything “vampirish.” Instead, the story focuses on retrieving a lost treasure and the only reason the vampire is relevant is because he/she was alive when the treasure was originally lost. The vampire poses no threat to the recovery of this treasure or any other characters in the story. He/she is simply there to provide expository information to the other characters. This wouldn’t be considered a vampire story.

Yet, that is only half of it. Just because a story is a sports romance does not mean it is chock full of sports jargon and Game Day scenes. I mean, it could be but not necessarily. On Netflix, there is a series titled Last Chance U. Its focus is on JUCO athletes. The majority of the show does concentrate on athletes participating in games and training. However, it also highlights their struggles with school and their personal lives. With some shifting, this show could spend more time emphasizing the educational aspect and still be equally interesting. The role of sports would be decreased but still prominent.

Some readers are put off from reading sports romances because they believe the text will be too technical for them to understand. Good and creative storytellers prevent that problem by presenting the sport in such a way that it can be understood by sports novices while not alienating sports enthusiasts. This reminds me of a conversation I had with two former neighbors some years ago. As I was entering my residence one Friday afternoon, one of the neighbors was standing outside speaking with another neighbor. I had been grocery shopping for a Saturday game day party. My neighbor, seeing the bags and being from a rival university, naturally tossed a few playful taunts my way. Smack talking is nothing for me; so, I gave it right back to him. In it, I mentioned that his team had no depth. The other neighbor’s eyes grew as wide as saucers (I hadn’t yet met him). “Listen to you,” he said. To which the first neighbor applied, “Oh, man, she knows her stuff.” (Well, of course, I do. *big eye roll* It’s so sexist and antiquated to think a woman can’t talk sports, but I digress.) So, once the second neighbor realized I could hold my own, he decided to have a go at me. Everyone was laughing and having a good ole ha-ha and kee-kee when the second man’s wife (who I also had not met) came outside and ventured across the lawn to join the bunch. Only, this beautiful woman wasn’t a happy camper. She had an issue…with me…because I had her husband’s full attention. And she clearly had no inkling of what is going on in the conversation and felt left out. Well, that wasn’t my fault, but okay.

What did I do? I changed my language. I began speaking in a way that she could follow the conversation without feeling patronized—something that it seemed her husband had never done. I was able to include her. The basics of many sports aren’t that complex and can be learned in a couple of minutes if one is interested. I convey this to readers who may be hesitant to give sports romances a try.

Okay, okay, I know what some people might be thinking at this point—that I’m biased towards sports romance. I won’t disagree with that. For that reason, it is only fair that I list reasons that a person may want to avoid picking up a sports novel for their next vacation read or rainy afternoon pastime.

First, sports romances aren’t for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

Genevive Chamblee: The Beauty in Writing — It’s Not What You Think
Saturday, July 24th, 2021

I have a love of romance. Most romance writers do. Not only do I love writing it, I love reading it. I also love watching it—big screen, little screen, streaming… it doesn’t matter. If it’s romance, I’m all there for it. However, I will see that reading romance is slightly different than watching it on television. Reading, I tend to relate to characters more realistically than on screen. What I mean is when I read about a character rolling out of bed, I don’t envision her as being all put together with a perfect face of makeup and not a hair out of place. Hollywood shoves it in your face. I remember watching movies like The Princess Diaries, Losing Isaiah, Sabrina, The Devil Wears Prada, Moonstruck, and Miss Congeniality. (Yes, I realize most of these movies only had romantic subplots and were not true romances.) These movies come to mind for their “makeover” scenes of beautiful actresses who when dressed down still looked stunning. Granted, the “unattractive” pre-makeover character mostly consisted of baggy clothes and oversized glasses with some hair frizz. But then again, big glasses concealed Clark Kent’s identity as Superman. That’s not the point, though. When I think romance, I think beauty—not just outer beauty but inner, as well.

Now, what on earth does writing romance have to do with beauty you may be asking? Nothing, for a lot of people. For me, there is definitely a connection. When I sit to write, like many writers, I need to feel inspired and in the moment. Many years ago, I noticed that a major distraction for me was my nails. When I would sit to write, if my polish was chipped or nails uneven, I found myself reaching more for nail polish remover or an emery board more than typing. I wouldn’t be content to write until my nails looked presentable.

But it wasn’t just for my nails that I did this. If my lips were dry, I’d fumble through my purse until I found a lip balm or gloss. If my foundation was beginning to break down, I would either have to repair it or remove it. Since I tend to write a lot late at night, I often do so while treating myself a facial. Feeling pretty makes me feel good and happy and puts me in a state of mind ready to embrace writing romance. Maybe that association came from seeing such physically gorgeous people in movie romances. Or maybe not.

Makeup has always struck me as another level of creativity, expression, and art. I adore playing with colors, formulas, and application methods. And over the last several years, the beauty industry has blown up. There are so many options and brands now. Next to writing and sports, makeup is one of my favorite pastimes. Now, as anyone who knows me, they already know how much I enjoy playing mix ‘n’ match with my hobbies and passions. After all, it was a blending of my love for hockey and writing that led me to write my first sports romance. So, it’s not that unusual for me to blog about makeup, beauty, and pampering oneself.

As mentioned previously, when I’m writing, not only am I looking at the screen, but I’m glancing at my hands. If I want to stay focused on writing, I do a bit of hand-prepping before I begin a writing session. I thought today’s post would be fun to share some of the hand products that are in or on my writing desk.

  1. Pamper Luxe Ultra-Rich Hand & Nail Cream (Sea Mist + White Flower). I have not run across a product that has been more appropriately named than this. First, it is lux—like placing your hands in a cocoon of silk. Ingredients include aloe, keratin, peptides, shea butter, and vitamins. It’s nongreasy and smells amazing—light, fresh, and clean. It is like being seaside…just wonderful. What isn’t so great is that I’m not sure that this product is being made anymore. I purchased it at Ulta Beauty for about $3.00 for a 3-ounce squeeze tube. I’ve not been able to find it there again. Last year, I was able to order one from Amazon, and the cost was around $17.00 plus S&H. Since then, I’ve not been able to find it anywhere on the internet. I have found the Body Cleansing Oil Sea Mist + White Flower for sale on Amazon for $45.00 and images of the Pamper Luxe Ultra-Rich Hand & Nail Cream Coconut + Almond Milk version (neither of which I’ve tried). If you do come across the Sea Mist + White Flower hand cream at a reasonable price, it is a very good investment. It did wonders for my dry skin.
  2. Flowery Scented Cuticle Oil. This is a new discovery for me, and I’ve only been using it for about two to three months, but I’ve noticed an improvement in my cuticles. Aside from writing, I’m in a profession that requires frequent handwashing and using hand sanitizer. In addition to not being able to go to the nail salon, this past year has been rough on my hands and nails. I invested in two versions of this oil: the rose and the lavender. As the names suggest, these oils are both lightly scented and they smell delightful. The scents aren’t overpowering, and it lasts. In addition to smelling astonishing, the visual appeal is magnificent. There is actual rose and lavender bits in the bottles. They display beautifully. I don’t have any complaints. However, I’ve read some reviews about this product that it is overpriced for the amount. I paid around $8.00 a for 0.5-ounce bottle. But here’s the rub. Not much of this product is needed to do the job. I use it multiple times a day, and the bottles still look nearly full. Plus, I purchased mine during a buy one, get one half price sale. I also will say that I’ve seen other cuticle oils with the same amount of product priced around the same.
  3. The Body Shop Hemp Hard-working Hand Protector. I don’t have much to say about this product as I found it just okay. As the name suggests, it is enriched with hemp seed oil (cannabis sativa oil). I didn’t feel any extra (more than other hand creams) hydration, as this is billed to be for “very dry” hands, which I felt I probably should have with the $20.00 price tag. I bought this as a “treat-myself” moment and because of the hype surrounding it at the time. I don’t hate it. It’s just not my favorite.
  4. Good Vibes Only Hand Cream (from Bath & Body Works). I’m not going to be fair to this one, I know, but I’m going to try. I didn’t care for this one at all, and that is mainly because of the smell. I have the Vanilla Coconut, and I don’t’ care much for either of those. So, why would I purchase it? I didn’t. I believe it may have a gift or even a freebie gift with purchase. I don’t recall how it ended up on my desk, but I can honestly say it has been there for the longest because I only reach for it as a last resort. It’s a tannish color, and it takes a little to work into the skin. It does leave my hands soft, but the smell… The packaging is rather basic (a tube with gold metallic and chunky lettering). It’s affordable, around $4.00.
  5. Soap & Glory Hand Food. Yes, yes, yes. This is one of my favorites. Unlike the previous that had two of my least favorite scents, the Soap & Glory has some of my favorites: rose, peach, jasmine, bergamot, and strawberry for a heavenly blend. However, I will admit that some users may find the smell quite strong. But I don’t think it can be that bad since it frequently is sold out when I go to order. Ingredients include macadamia oil, shea butter, and marshmallow. It applies smoothly without leaving a grease residue. I think the regular price is around $8.00 at Ulta but it goes on sale often.
  6. Caudalíe Hand and Nail Cream. I call this my bougie hand cream because I find it a bit on the pricy side and question if I shell out that type of money for it. As it happens, I came about this as a GWP, and I must say I don’t mind this at all. However, if you’re a person who does not like fragrance, stay away from this one. The best part that I noticed about this product is that it does not completely wash away when I wash my hands which is great. I wash my hands more than two dozen times a day, and in between those washings apply hand sanitizer at least a half dozen times. This causes me to go through hand products like water. With the Caudalíe, I continue to feel its effects after washing my hands and do not need to reapply as frequently as I do with other hand creams and lotions. For that reason alone, it may be well worth the price.
  7. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. I purchased this lotion simply because of the Aveeno name and that it has oats as an ingredient. Am I blown away by this lotion? No. But on days that I write outside, this lotion seems to keep me cooler. Now, I’ve never seen it advertised as such, and I’m fairly certain that it does not contain SPF. All I can say is that my skin enjoys this product, it’s readily available at most local stores, and the price is not outrageous. For users who do not favor fragrances in their lotions, they will be happy to note that the Aveeno is available in a fragrance-free formula.
  8. Jergens Cherry Almond Moisturizer Original Scent. This is my go-to oldie. I love the scent of this because it brings back childhood memories, like that of my great grandmother who died when I had just turned five. I find this to be not only a good hand cream but an excellent all-over body lotion. Many times when I write in the park, this is the lotion I throw in my writing backpack. The park tables are wooden and tend to scratch and scuff my forearms. The Jergens smooths all of that away. The best part is that it melts into my skin and doesn’t pick up the dirt and macro debris off the table. The scent is faint enough that it does not seem to attract insects (e.g., bees, ants, wasps, etc.).
  9. Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover Lavender Scented. What initially drew me to this product is that it contains essential oils that help not dry out my nails. Not only am I afflicted with dry skin, but I also have brittle nails. Any tap will cause them to break; therefore, I don’t need else to worsen the problem. Many polish removers strip my nails, even the ones that claim they won’t. This remover (when used as directed) takes off my polish and actually leaves them feeling nurtured. It’s lavender scented; thus, it’s missing that harsh chemical smell most removers have. (It comes in unscented, too.) Furthermore, it contains vitamins A, C, and E, and is vegan. The biggest drawback with this product is that the bottle is small, and the price not so cheap.
  10. A. Colors Color Craze Gel. When it comes to nail polish, I’m still on the search for the perfect one. This is why I tend not to invest more than a few bucks into a bottle. I find that no matter the cost, whether a $1.00 or $15.00, the store-bought polishes that I’ve used have all lasted about the same length of time—one to five days, regardless of using base and top coats. I’ve had a few off-brands only to hold up a few hours before peeling off. I began going to nail salons during my time in graduate school because I failed to find a polish that would last any decent amount of time. However, my nails are completely wrecked after wearing acrylics, gels, or overlays after a few weeks. Therefore, I have to limit how often I go to the salon. Of course, COVID took care of that problem last year. Now, I’m back to doing my nails myself. The current L.A. Colors polishes that I’m rocking are the shades Undressed and Ravish.

That’s all I got for today. What are some of your favorite hand products? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. 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. Stop by for a bit of southern hospitality.

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.

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.

Anna Hague: It’s all in the Name (Word Puzzle-Contest)
Monday, May 24th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…LL!
*~*~*

Hello, my name is Anna Hague, and thank you to Delilah for letting me be a guest blogger.

As I’m sure many authors do, I get asked many questions about my creative process. Where do you get your ideas? How can you come up with so many stories? Are your characters hard to write? Where do you get your names?

Bingo! I think that may be one of the hardest parts of writing. Your characters’ histories and personalities are important, but their names have to be perfect for their character. I was once halfway through writing a book for a publisher, and it wasn’t working. I didn’t have a tight deadline, but nonetheless, I had a tentative deadline for a book I wasn’t happy with. What was wrong with it?

I read through the entire manuscript searching for the problem. Every time I read the hero’s name, I cringed. This guy wasn’t a Jason Mathews—not at all. His name removed every bit of sex appeal I knew this guy had. Who was he?

One evening, I was watching Dateline. I love analyzing where exactly the criminal went wrong in case I need to commit the perfect crime. The lead detective’s last name on this murder investigation was Caldera. The name danced into my brain, reclined on red velvet sheets all while eating 70 percent dark chocolate. Conjuring up images of my dark-haired hero with olive skin, the name Caldera personified who I wanted him to be.

Now, for the first name. This is where I have a treasure trove of possibilities. In my other job, I’m a sports journalist, and for the last several years I’ve taken a less stressful version of the job and do freelance reporting for our local high school sports. Every event I go to, I grab a program or lineup list. These team lineups are priceless, and almost every name I have in a book has come from these lists.

The women in my novels, written and to be written, include an Allee, Haley, Emma, Sabrina, Evangeline, Rose, Avery, Lily, and more. My men are Jamey, Cameron, Tyler, Keller, Devon, Adrian, Maverick and Jordan.

Maverick was perfect for Thunderstruck because it’s set at a ranch in South Dakota. When I was writing the paranormal story, I found two kids on the boys’ soccer team named Maverick and knew I had the right name. Who became Mr. Caldera? Jordan. Jordan Caldera replaced Jason Mathews, and then the story sizzled.

Still on my list of athletes are Cannon, Thunder (who incidentally batted back to back in the baseball lineup), Gator, and Tremor. These are real names, not nicknames, and somewhere there has to be a story for all of them, but right now, they’ve yet to wander onto the page. Right now, I’ve got a Rose and Aaron and a Devon and Lily to deal with.

Thank God for high school sports.

Contest

Check out the word search below and find ten names I mentioned in my character list. Email me with your answers, and I will choose a random winner for a $10 Amazon card. Contest ends June 1. Email me at annahague80@gmail.com.

About the Author

Anna Hague spends part of her days in the writing cave creating her own spin on love stories. The other part of her days, she is a freelance sports reporter crafting stories about a variety of athletic events including high school, college, and professional level sports.

Anna reads all sorts of love stories, and she writes the same way. She has an erotic romance series with Wild Rose Press and has published the contemporary romance Heart Series and opened up the paranormal Storm Canyon Series with the first book Thunderstruck.

She lives in Central Indiana with her husband, three parrots, and two dogs.

Her motto: Creating different paths to love because different is the only way I know.

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

The Word Puzzle