7 Ways to Help the Homeless You Haven’t Thought About

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Black and white photo of a pair of shins leading into dirty white tennis shoes, laying down on a concrete street.
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” -Princess Diana

We all want to help. By nature, humankind are social creatures who experience empathy for others. It’s present when we watch the news, when someone in our office or school is sick or injured, and also when we walk by that disheveled person on the corner with the beat up cardboard sign that reads Anything helps.

There are a myriad of ways to help our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Some of them readily spring to mind: volunteerism and donations are probably the first two we think about. And they are important so we will touch on them briefly but they won’t really count toward our five. But, while they are important, there are other ways to get involved.

Volunteer. Let’s face it, time is precious in today’s insanely hectic world. Volunteering at the local shelter or kitchen isn’t always feasible. I do highly recommend trying to volunteer a few hours a year every year, however, to simply meet the people you want to help, have a minute to talk with them, learn their names. And I urge people to not just volunteer on holidays like Easter and Christmas. While those are great times to volunteer, many many many people dedicate their holidays to providing holidays for others. Most shelters and kitchens need help year round to keep things running smoothly, so volunteer during non-holiday times too.

Donation. We all dread Spring Cleaning, but love how we feel after. Donating the items you are no longer using is a great way to help those folks living without permanent roofs. Don’t just consider food and clothing, however, consider hygiene products, blankets, and housewares. Many shelters have re-homing projects (the act of transitioning a person into a permanent housing situation). Those new apartments need microwaves, knife sets, couches and chairs, even televisions to make them feel like a basic home. Consider donating some of those items instead of just food and clothing.

One other thing to consider donating is a pre-paid card to a grocery store. Many newly re-homed folks need to stock their pantries and refrigerators too. You’d be surprised how far $25 can go toward canned goods or fresh produce in some areas. For most of us, a measly twenty-five bucks won’t hurt us each month but can really help those trying to get settled back into the roof life.

Now onto the stuff you maybe hadn’t thought about before.

Educate. Let’s face it there are all sorts of negative stereotypes around being homeless. That makes it hard for people to sympathize with those who do need help. Education can be simple or big. Maybe all you do is correct a friend or coworker, or a random stranger on the bus, when they express a homeless stereotype. Maybe you make a phone call to a local city or county or state politician about the problems homeless people face. If you have children, start there with education. Take them with you if you do volunteer. Let them see first hand the hardships many people experiencing homelessness face.

Inform. The best effort is mass communication with small time efforts (because the better spent time would be volunteering at a shelter with actual homeless people).

Did you know that many people don’t really think about how many people are in homeless shelters or living on the streets in their communities? Unless they’ve had a specific run in with a person living without a roof, they just don’t think about it. Contact your local news source, maybe your faith-based or non-faith-based organization, editors of civic newsletters. See if any would be interested in running a weekly or even monthly listing of local services available to the homeless. Even if a person isn’t homeless, we’ve all know someone just down on their luck who needs the help of an extra food box now and again, or just can’t afford new school clothes for their kids this year. You never know who you’ll be helping out by just making information available.

Advocate. Write letters to the editor of your local news source to promote awareness and understanding. Heck, why you’re at it, just write to national publications too. Share information about the number of homeless people in your area (or country, if you’re writing to the national publication). Explain the different reasons why people become homeless. Wrap it up with suggesting ways that people in your area or even nationally can help people experiencing homelessness.

Support. Shelters, low-cost or free clinics, mental health services, low-cost housing initiatives, and even public libraries are all resources and services the homeless rely on for basic needs and care. You can show your support for these programs an initiatives in your city by voting for officials who back the programs and also writing and speaking to other politicians who have not backed the programs in the past.

Oppose. While many cities and towns don’t make being homeless a crime, they do enact laws that prohibit things associated with being homeless, such as: sleeping in public, urinating in public, loitering on public platforms, even possessing a blanket outdoors can be illegal. Many cities and towns have also outlawed private citizens from making homemade foods and giving it away to others in public spaces like parks and parking lots. Stand up against crimes that propose to protect people but unfairly hurt those in the most need.

Create. If you’re in a position where you can give a homeless person a job or a day’s worth of work, do it! Maybe you can just offer to train somebody with a job skill like filing or let them mow your lawn or paint the fence. The thing is that small acts like this can make a huge difference to a person experiencing homelessness. Just don’t take advantage of them. Pay a homeless person who works for you a reasonable and fair amount of money, just like you would anyone else.

Lastly, Smile. Many people avert their eyes and hustle by when they see a homeless person on the street, whether panhandling or not. If you don’t have money or food or just don’t want to give it, that’s fine. At least smile and say hello to the person. If you have the time, maybe talk with them for a minute or two. Seriously, you’d be surprised how much a little human contact and kindness is appreciated by people experiencing homelessness.

The fact is, there are literally dozens of ways to get involved with helping those in need outside of the traditional donation and volunteering. What it takes is for people to stop solely talking about the issue and to start helping. Since the person we can radically change/affect the most is ourselves, we’re a pretty good place to start with one of these seven ways.

Do you know of or have seen homeless people in your community? Do you volunteer or donate on a regular basis? What about other tips for people who want to get involved that I haven’t mentioned here? Chime in! Remember that there is never such a thing as too much information or too much kindness.

 

Image of a redheaded woman in a black leather jacket. She has her hands held up in the American Sign Language sign for 'I love you.'BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate others through humor and simple instruction.

Books: A Touch of Darkness ◘ A Touch of Madness ◘ Sister Light (out of print)
Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction ◘ Quixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories ◘ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

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Gracen Miller – Rockin the Heart Release Giveaway!!

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Author Gracen Miller is offering a GIVEAWAY in honor of her newly released novel, Rockin the Heart!
Here’s a little more about the smokin’ new tale…
If music nourishes the soul…
Loved by millions, but shunned by blood, Heath “Fang” Fangor has led his band, Hot Wired, to the top while others have fallen by the wayside. He devoted his life to music, and from that devotion harvested a new family—his band mates and fans.
A man can desire nothing else…or can he?
Living in the shadow of her brother’s fame sucks! Sam Collins is desperate to have what she wants—a simple and uncomplicated life. She’s no stranger to scandals and how they work. Now that she’s inadvertently dragged Fang into the center of her latest gossip, could the scandal she created in her quest for freedom have gone too far?
Amid stardom the heart stages a new melody…
Fang has more fame and fortune than he will ever need, but none of that matters if he can’t have the woman of his dreams. Years have been wasted waiting for the right moment to approach the woman his heart desires above all others. There’s just one major problem…she’s his best friend’s sister. To have her, he will have to risk it all.
One that might be responsible for Rockin the Heart!
Giveaway!!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/424b4964/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chapter One
Heath was a rock star god. The tight lines fanning outward from his silver eyes classified him as a pissed off rock star god.
“Wanna tell me what you did this time to get the platinum treatment?” He indicated the jail cell, while ramming his fingers through his shaggy, jet-black hair.
Preferring to shrink into the shadows and avoid a confrontation with him, Sam took a deep breath and rose from the bench. She stepped away from the metal seat to draw closer to the bars dividing them.
She’d expected her brother, Jason—Jase—to ride to her rescue. Like always. Her foundation. Predictable. Dependable. Rattled by her sibling’s abandonment, she ogled the skull on Heath’s shirt, mortification overwhelming her.
If Heath was Jase’s replacement, then he’d been serious when he said ‘don’t call me the next time you’re arrested.’ She’d assumed he yelled that in anger. She was surprised he’d bothered to offer aid at all.
Gut hollow at her brother’s desertion, she cleared the ache out of her throat and asked, “Can’t you just bail me out and we’ll forget this ever happened?”
Knowing he wouldn’t go for that suggestion, Sam swallowed hard and shuffled her feet. Disappointing Jase was one thing, but letting Heath down was an entirely different matter. She’d crushed on the man since her tenth birthday when he’d given her a heart-shaped jewelry box. Didn’t matter he’d been too old for her at a mature fourteen. That infatuation hadn’t waned with age either, but only grown stronger. Not that he showed her a stitch of interest. To him, she was nothing more complicated than a kid sister.
His digits curled around one of the bars. The tattoo lettering on his left knuckles fit his current disposition—ired. On the other hand the letters H-O-T-W graced his knuckles. If read together, they spelled out the name of his band: Hot Wired.
“Not this time, Samantha.”
She cringed. The only time he broke out her full name was when he was upset or disappointed with her.
“You been drinking?”
“You know I haven’t.” Just shy of twenty-one, in her world getting liquor wasn’t an issue. Neither was alcohol her preferred drug of choice.
“Drugs?”
She rolled her eyes, the question too stupid to warrant a response.
“This type of publicity is bad news for the band.” She’d heard that one before. None of her recklessness damaged Hot Wired’s career. Not that she sought to hinder their mega stardom. She wasn’t that selfish, she just struggled with controlling her impulses on occasion.
Therapy failed to help. Yelling spawned further rebellion.
Living under the umbrella of the band’s fame grew tiresome. Her life should be her own, to live however she pleased. Weary of the media hounding her, she craved going back to a time when nobody knew her name. A normal life like when she’d been a kid.
She’d grown up on daydreams of the band making it to the big times. They won the lottery of recording deals, while Sam discovered stardom came at a high price. Along with that knowledge came the freebie of all lessons…fantasies were often better than reality. The last time she’d visited the mall without a trail of vipers eager to report her purchases she’d been fifteen.
Sheesh!
Was it too much to ask to have a date the world didn’t scrutinize? Even the loss of her virginity made headline news. That act should’ve come with the expectation of privacy. Thanks to the tabloids, Jase almost burst a blood vessel over that exploitation.
Once she’d picked her nose in public on purpose because a rag-reporter stalked her. Scratched her butt on another occasion. Gave them something to write. Those were the photographs and articles that gave her incentive to laugh.
“The only reason they’re not pressing charges is because of Jase.”
“Thanks for the reminder.” Along with it came the reminder that her brother sent Heath instead of coming himself.
Despite the news-hounds, she got out of a lot of shit thanks to her brother’s identity. This incident would be all over the rags and Internet before morning.
‘Hot Wired’s drummer’s sister is at it again!’ They’d go on to paint her wild and immoral comportment.
Have at it you fucks. Can’t hurt me any more than you already have, but what about the band?
Distance from Hot Wired would aid all of them. She’d get her peace of mind back, and they’d be devoid of the rebel-rouser in their group.
She’d mentioned changing her last name and moving back to their Southern roots in the small Alabama town where she’d been born. Jase had gone bat-shit crazy at the suggestion and went on and on about how their parents would be rolling over in their grave at her abandoning the family name.
The name-change idea had been discarded. Swept under the rug like a dust bunny never to be spoken of again.
Torn between two worlds, Sam was suffocating. Living with someone she couldn’t have in a world where she didn’t belong.
She sank back down onto the bench and lay down on the uncomfortable metal, staring at the ceiling. “Go away, Heath. I’m not in the mood for a lecture.”
A sigh came from him, followed by a long pause. She anticipated he’d argue, but she focused on the water spot marring the tiled ceiling and prepared herself to fight back.
The sound of his retreating boots hitting concrete echoed in the room. His exit surprised her, but relieved her too. Faced with his disappointment, she vowed again she’d terminate her criminal behavior.
She settled the backside of her wrist against her forehead. She made that promise to herself often and botched the good intentions each time.
After a moment, a new set of footsteps approached the cell. Even with her eyes closed she determined the intruder wasn’t Heath. In a room full of guests, she could identify his gait. Heath’s solid steps and long stride made for a unique swagger that bespoke his self-confidence. Celebrated his rocker status. Watching him walk compared to admiring art. Ogling his ass as he strode away…eye-gasms.
This individual’s fast-paced walk reminded her of the peppered rounds of gunfire. She waited for the person to speak. The clink of metal striking metal and locks disengaging snagged her attention. She turned her head. The thirty-something deputy swung the cell-door open. “You’re free to go, Ms. Collins.”
Sam rolled off the bench and grinned at the officer as she sidled past him. She’d bragged as they booked her that they wouldn’t hold her long and the charges wouldn’t stick.
In the lobby, Heath waited for her with his hands shoved in his jeans pocket. His shaggy-butchered hair shadowed his eyes, doing a good job of hiding his expression, but the hard line of his jaw indicated he’d married his irritation. Lectures were sure to come.
Looking at him, no one would guess he rocked the panties off chicks worldwide. With his long-sleeved, pull-over black shirt, sporting a white skull, his snug well-worn jeans and scuffed boots, he appeared as average as any hard American worker.
That’s what I need to warm my cold bed. Average. Not my brother’s best friend and rock star god.
There was nothing average about Heath Fangor—Fang to his band mates and the world. Neither would he seduce her. Not even as a one-time gig. The man and his fucked up principals…or maybe they were herfucked up principals because she couldn’t say for sure if she’d enter into a one-night-stand with him if he begged for one. She wanted more, and a one-nighter would be difficult to live with.
“Thanks for the bail out, Fang.” She breezed past him with all intention of snubbing him, but he caught her arm. He held on tight, giving her a warning glare when she tried to jerk free.
“Don’t be ungrateful, brat.” He towed her toward the elevator.
“Thanks for the autograph, Fang!” She glanced back at the deputy who’d released her from the cell. He waved a piece of paper at them, grinning ear-to-ear.
Heath shoved her into the lift. The moment the doors shut, he slammed his palms down on either side of her head. Sam sucked in a breath, her eyes frozen on his sexy-ass mouth. The bottom lip was slightly puffier than the top, nice and pink, and wet. He’d probably licked them, which explained the sheen. She had naughty fantasies with them as the star of the show navigating her body. The damage she suspected they could accomplish created a slippery situation in her panties.
A slight tilt of his lips before he said, “Eyes on mine.”
She refocused and locked onto his silver gaze. The accusations she saw there struck her like a blow to the gut. Looking away would be easier, but Heath had a way of holding her to a higher level with just a penetrating stare. His expectations were tall, and she despised him for having such grand aspirations for her.
“What’s gotten into you? Base diving—”
“That was fun. You should try it.”
“—bar brawls, knifing chicks in Miami—”
“Hey! I was found innocent of that allegation!”
Elevating his eyebrows, he called her statement a lie without uttering a word.
“—and now you’re adding grand theft auto to your long list of offenses.”
 Available Now!!!

 

BIO:
Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a “normal” person in southern society.  When not writing, she’s a full-time basketball/football/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She’s addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels, movies, Alabama football and coffee…addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She’s convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and blending coffee and writing together generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs. To learn more about Gracen and her writing or to leave her a comment, visit her at the following sites:

Twitter: @GracenMiller

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Resolutions Be Damned

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New Year’s. And those damned resolutions.

A new year. The first day in what is supposed to be a promising opportunity to change your ways, do something positive with yourself or your life, really buckle down and focus on what is important to you.

We all make them – resolutions. Even when we promise ourselves we won’t. Even when we think we’re too non-conformist to cave to such antiquated notions. I’m no exception. I looked at things I wanted to improve. One such things was my writing.

What did I do? I made a list. Basically, a resolution to work on my writing by following that list daily (or at least 4 days a week). I started this in December, not wating to put off for tomorrow what one can do for today… yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

What do you think has happened by January 1st?

I’ve failed already.
I couldn’t follow my own list, for a week.
Why couldn’t I follow it?
Why indeed? Probably because I’m lazy. But mostly because the mindset behind resolutions is wrong. We focus on things we want to be, instead of on the things we are.
I am a writer. I have been for ages. But lately I haven’t been acting like one. I’ve done nothing but lip service to the fact. Rather than say I’m going to work on writing more, I should be saying, “If I don’t write, I can no longer call myself a writer.” I, basically, need to nut up or shut up at this point.
It’s one thing to go through a dry spell, or take some time off to recuperate or a much needed vacation, or because you have something that absolutely keeps you from writing. It’s another thing to just be lazy and still claim the title.
So this is my New Year’s resolution: Resolutions be damned! It’s time to nut up or shut up. It’s time to be a writer, to be healthy, to just be. I won’t try. I will do or not, and I will forever hang up my crown as “writer” if I don’t.
I mean, it’s nothing big, right? Only like ripping my still beating heart from my chest.

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Cover Reveal – ROCKIN the HEART by Gracen Miller

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Blurb:
If music nourishes the soul…
Loved by millions, but shunned by blood, Heath “Fang” Fangor has led his band, Hot Wired, to the top while others have fallen by the wayside. He devoted his life to music, and from that devotion harvested a new family—his band mates and fans.
A man can desire nothing else…or can he?
Living in the shadow of her brother’s fame sucks! Sam Collins is desperate to have what she wants—a simple and uncomplicated life. She’s no stranger to scandals and how they work. Now that she’s inadvertently dragged Fang into the center of her latest gossip, could the scandal she created in her quest for freedom have gone too far?

 
Amid stardom the heart stages a new melody…
 
Fang has more fame and fortune than he will ever need, but none of that matters if he can’t have the woman of his dreams. Years have been wasted waiting for the right moment to approach the woman his heart desires above all others. There’s just one major problem…she’s his best friend’s sister. To have her, he will have to risk it all.

 
That might be responsible for Rockin the Heart!

 


 

BIO:

Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a “normal”person in southern society. When not writing, she’s a full-time basketball/football/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She’s addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels, movies, Alabama football and coffee…addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She is convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and blending coffee and writing together generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs. To learn more about Gracen and her writing or to leave her a comment, visit her at the following sites:



Gracen on Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1378521.Gracen_Miller

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Novel Spotlight + Trailer – Love Redeemed by Tich Brewster

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Introducing Tich Brewster, author of Love Redeemed!

Synopsis:
Life is simple.
Cassie is content with what she has, a great job and wonderful friends. Everything is perfect…until Ryder appears.  She still has not forgiven him for choosing music over her eight years ago.
Ryder is a rock star, living the life he had always dreamed of.  He is not searching for love because who has time for that when you’re constantly on the road.  But then his tour ends and he decides to go back home and visit an old friend.

When those old feelings resurface, will they be able to forgive and start anew?
What others are saying:
Clearly this book is the best of Tich’s work! She knows how to make a story suck you in right from the beginning! She has a way of making her characters come to life on the pages and to make you fall in love with them. Brenda
Tich has written an awesome story of love renewed and everything that goes along with it…I got about halfway through this book and I was sobbing with the characters…It was like I was there feeling their pain and loss…What a fabulous job with this book Tich! Risha
Excerpt:
Chapter One
Cassie Strong stood in front of her bedroom mirror trying to decide which outfit looked best on her, the black and aqua lace dress or the red flare dress.  Tonight was her best friend’s birthday.  She had been friends with Allie Walsh since middle school.
Tonight she wanted to look great for her friend’s special day.  In celebration of Allie’s birthday Cassie and Jared Sullivan, Allie’s boyfriend, were taking Allie to the local club.
She held the red dress up to her body.  It was a little more casual with a v-neckline and fitted bodice.  She tossed it back onto the bed and held up the lace dress.  This one was quite a bit shorter, mid-thigh.  It also had a sweetheart neckline that showed a small amount of cleavage.
Tonight Cassie was going to relax and enjoy life, live a little on the wild side.  She had every intention on dancing, having a drink, and possibly flirting with a guy or two.  Something she hadn’t done too much of since high school.
The lace dress would be perfect for such an occasion.  She slipped it on and twirled a few times, admiring the way it clung to her small frame.  Hopefully she could find those sparkly black pumps to complete her look.
Knock…knock.  Allie was here early.  They weren’t supposed to leave for another hour.  “Just a minute,” she yelled as she raced down the hallway to the front door.
As she opened the door she was taken aback by the man greeting her with a smile.  She was expecting Allie not Jared.  Jared had his raven black hair combed over one eye.  She would never understand why he did that.  If she wore her hair over her eyes she’d end up with a killer headache before her day fully began.
“Jared, come in.”  She stepped aside to let him in.  “I was expecting Allie.”
“She had a hair appointment.”  He sat down on her couch, resting his right foot on his left knee.  “So Ryder is…”
She cut him off before he could say another word.  “You are not allowed to say that name and you know it.”
“Yes, but I thought…”
Again, she cut him off.  “You thought wrong.  I know he’s your best friend and you love him but his name is off limits, especially in my home.”
Buy Links:

Author Bio:

Tich is an Oklahoma resident and the mother of five.  Her passion for reading started at an early age when her Aunt Vicky gave her the novel Heidi for Christmas.  She didn’t start writing until middle school, after being inspired by her best friend’s short stories. “Genny’s stories weren’t just great but they inspired me to put my pen and paper to good use.”  Tich never thought of publishing her works until working with Teresa on the Royal Blood series.
Stalk me at:

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Blog Hijack + Giveaway! Rico Austin – One Righteous, Fun Dude

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 FRESH MEAT FOR THE GRINDER! I’ve recently been introduced to Arizona author Rico Austin. Ever ready for a walk-about, Rico enjoys writing about the places he’s been and the things he’s done – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Why Arizona?  I know about the Grand Canyon!


Since it is that time of year in Arizona when the aging snowbirds of retirement begin their yearly flight south to the “Land of the Sun,” to flee from the snowfall and bitter winds of the north, I do find it fitting to let others in on the reason that the state I reside in continues to grow in popularity and in population.


Rico Austin is my name, living and writing in Arizona is my game.  I was born and raised in Southwest Idaho, along the banks of the Snake River and couldn’t wait to find my own way and independence.   I have lived in California, Hawaii, South Carolina, the United Kingdom and in Lithuania for a short time; but, Arizona is where I felt comfortable, from the very first saguaro cactus of which my eyes savored, to the last scorpion I witnessed crossing my path this afternoon.  My very, first visit was through the entire state of Arizona in 1986, during a Spring Break trip gone heavily awry.  This trip on an old, school bus was the basis for the award winning, bestselling novel, “My Bad Tequila.”   My favorite line from the book is, “You’ll see the true reflection of me when the tequila bottle is empty,” I shouted out to the wind as I tossed the sad, angry, bottle-shaped mirror to the sea.
“Arizona Is Where I Live,” is not only a statement of which I announce with pride, it is now a Children’s book that is a masterful, learning display of the Sonoran Desert, the mountains, the lakes, the Grand Canyon and of the animals that make Arizona one of the most unique and interesting states in the union.
Arizona has been touted as the state that has everything, except an ocean.  Whoa, there pardner!  We do have an ocean, the world’s smallest, which is located in Biosphere 2, which is a world-renowned environmental and ecological research site operated by the University of Arizona about 30 miles northwest of Tucson.  The Biosphere Ocean houses 676,000 gallons of seawater and has a coral reef.  Also, if a couple of early surveyors wouldn’t have been so lazy about 125 years ago, Arizona would border the northeast part of the Sea of Cortez; but, these surveyors figured Arizona was large enough, wanted to get home to their families and decided to cut through the territory leaving a bit extra for our amigos and amigas in Mexico, near the Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) area.
There is more adventure and mystery in Arizona’s many towns and cities than in some countries combined.  When tourists and visitors arrive in our great Copper State, most congregate to either the Phoenix / Scottsdale area, Tucson or up north to Flagstaff, which all areas are great, fun, artistic destinations, with plenty of interesting things to keep them entertained.   
My advice is, if in Flagstaff, take time to head south about 30 miles to Sedona through Oak Creek Canyon on Highway 89, then continue south a bit farther to visit Jerome, the mining town of past, now an artist mecca, that is built on the side of a mountain.  Sedona, with it’s red rock mountains and majestic canyons is where Mr. Walt Disney would bring his illustrators to capture with their brushes, the many hues of reds, browns and oranges blended with the many shades of greens, blues and purples.
If, your vacation plans have your arrival into Tucson, then by all means visit Tombstone, “The town too tough to die,” and see firsthand, the OK Corral, made famous by the gunfight of lawmen Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers, (the good guys) versus the (bad guys), outlaw cowboys, the Clanton Brothers, the McLaury Brothers, and Billy Claiborne.  Also, former mining towns, Bisbee and Douglas should receive your visited attention just north of the border.

Now, in regards to relaxation and sun soaking in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area, the cowboy town of Cave Creek, just north of Scottsdale by 15 miles is a must visit.  It is here in this western town that I had the chance meeting of the legitimate, illegitimate son of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and have written his true story that intertwines with mine, “In the Shadow of ELVIS, Perils of a Ghostwriter.”  Some of the restaurants still have hitching posts to tie up the ponies as cowgirls and cowboys go in for a quick bite or to whet their whistle.  
Arizona is the wild west; the wild west, where I dreamed of living when growing up, playing cowboys and Indians with my four younger brothers and numerous cousins.  I longed to live in a time and place where if you had a fast gun and a fast horse your chances of survival were greatly increased.  I am living the dream; where cowboys, horses, saloons and tequila abound.  
When my time on earth is no more, I want to be buried in my boots, six feet under, covered with Arizona soil.
rico austin: author, blogger, writer & one righteous, fun dude
Rico Austin is giving away (1) copy of each of his three books mentioned, based on comments made about Arizona at this blog. Be sure to include your email with your post to be entered to win. (BC Brown Books is not liable for the outcome or delivery of this contest. All responsibility falls to the guest author of the blog, Rico Austin. Any matters of non-delivery of promised materials are to be directed to Rico Austin. BC Brown Books will not be held responsible in any context following this giveaway promotion.)



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Weird Ass Writers Be Creepers

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Writers tiptoe in and out of people’s lives. We’re constant spectators and often our need to see into people’s lives, to develop our perceptions of people and their actions and reactions, dialogue, and mannerisms, can cross boundaries, even invade privacy.
Believe me, it isn’t intentional. As writers we are applauded for our insights into people. In fact we’re commended Hell, we’re paid for it, for pete’s sake! on our ability to make our characters seem like real people. How do we do it? You got it. We often use real people. How do we do that? We pay close, careful attention, sometimes even overstep boundaries and invade privacies, in order to make our characters as real as possible. And, frankly, we’re loved for it.
But Ain’t there always? the same training we undergo as writers, to overstep and chuck convention and formality in order to get to the people at the bottom of it all, can lead us to disregard social niceties. Even forget manners.
When dealing with a writer, it is important to remember that once permission into your life is granted, the writer won’t automatically back down, decide to stop at politeness, suddenly forgo the invitation. You are our Muse. Or, at the very least, an inspiration for the Muse.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid‘s character Sebastian the crab states, “Teenagers. You give ’em an inch, they swim all over you.” That phrase describes a writer to a tee. Simply replace ‘teenagers’ with ‘writers’ and you’ve nailed it.
It isn’t that we’re intentionally overstepping ourselves or being rude. Writers have a difficult time not proceeding. For instance, you tell a writer a great but probably really embarrassing with a lot of social, political, religious, or familial complications for you story – they are going to use it. If you’re lucky, they are good enough writers to totally disguise the situation and people to the point that hardly you recognize it. If they’re not so good, well… it might end up verbatim. Whoops! Telling a writer anything is an invitation to let them use it. And if you give them permission… well, they are going to run with it.
However what has to be remembered is that once permission for anything has been given to a writer it’s a little like trying to stick a finger in the dam to stop the flood. Writers often take a single permission as an overall permission. Not always, mind you, but often. They’ll often forget their manners and the fact that one go-ahead does not constitute a lifelong green flag.
The worst thing is a writer doesn’t stop at using permissions for their writing. Any permission to a writer seems to give them the green flag. They forget themselves, space on social niceties and manners. In short, we’re rude, privacy-violaters. Occasionally, it costs us relationships. If we’re lucky, it doesn’t. But can wreck the potential for closeness in relationships. I mean, once you’ve had your privacy violated, you’re often creeped out by the invasion. Hopefully the writer realizes, and is remorseful, for whatever weirdness they perpetuated, and the relationship can continue, relatively untarnished.
So how does a person deal with privacy-invading guffaws by a writer?
When an offending writer dents your relationship with them, it is important to remember they didn’t do it intentionally. If pointed out, most of the time, they will feel really awful about how they made you feel. Unless of course they are complete dicks. They will file away the offense note: this probably will not stop them from using the situation in a story, that’s just a warning; life lessons rarely go unused to a writer and try not to commit it again. I said try, mind you. More than likely, at some point, the writer will commit some kind of permissions-violation again. And again. And again. What they won’t do is commit the exact same one each time. They will learn but the ‘permission was given so go!‘ part of their brain will override other things. Believe me, unless the violation is truly heinous, the writer will feel worse than you are mad at them for the relationship ding.
So, just remember, writers don’t mean to be weird creepers. We just are. It’s a byproduct of being a writer. And, if you’re our friend/family member, you probably love us for or despite that fact. At least we all hope that’s the case.

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Novel Spotlight: Demon King’s Desire by J.L. Sheppard

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J.L. Sheppard offers a steamy peek at Demon King’s Desire, her latest paranormal romance. Enough to make your lips quiver with a king’s desire…




Excerpt:     First Kiss

    Ecstatic, Lucas materialized a block away from Jenna’s apartment, instantly sensing her. He reached out, picking up on her presence, and read her, allowing himself to feel what she did. As her emotions surrounded him, he was surprised to find her angry. As he walked down the block, she came into view. Her small back faced him. She wasn’t alone; she was talking to a male, a mere mortal. He realized it wasn’t the same man who had been with her at the bar and jealousy flooded his veins.
    He shouldn’t be surprised. She was a young, gorgeous, kind woman; she would attract loads of men. He could feel her anger, so maybe he shouldn’t be so worried about this one, but still his jealousy was fueled by the desire he’d felt for centuries in his dreams.
    He held his breath while listening to Jenna’s words and the man’s.
    “You need to believe me. We belong together,” the male said, seemingly unaffected by her anger.
    “It’s over,” she nearly shouted. “You cheated. You are just like the rest of them. I could never forgive you.”
    She turned to walk up the steps to her apartment, when the man roughly grabbed her by her arm forcing her to turn back towards him.
    Lucas sprang into action. He moved so quickly the male had no idea where he’d come from. He grabbed the man by his neck, lifting him a foot off of the ground. Lucas had every intention of killing the bastard for laying a hand on his woman. The man let go of Jenna and reached for Lucas’ hand, attempting to loosen Lucas’ grip, but he couldn’t.
    “Don’t you ever touch her,” Lucas growled.
    Jenna’s eyes widened. “Lucas? Let him go,” she said. “This isn’t necessary.”
    Lucas forced himself to release his hold on the mortal. The man slumped to the ground and looked up at Lucas.
    “Who the hell are you?” he said between coughs, as he rubbed his neck. “Let me guess,” he focused on Jenna. “Your new boyfriend?”
    Lucas’ anger rose, his face plagued with a look of sheer menacing hatred. Jenna lightly put her hand on his chest, and he felt the warmth of her touch radiating through him, soothing him.
    “Who he is, is none of your business. Just as I am none of your business,” she retorted. “Leave.”
    Lucas stared at the mortal until he was a block away then turned to face Jenna. She was already glaring in his direction and didn’t appear as happy to see him as he was to see her.
    “What are you doing here? I can take care of myself,” she said, frustrated. “I don’t need you or Clyde or anyone else to take care of me.”
    Lucas was taken aback. How could she think that she could protect herself from danger? The mortal was just a mortal, but he was stronger than she was. “You expected me to stand there and let him manhandle you?” he said, raising his voice.
    “Why not? I wouldn’t be the first or the last woman to be.”
    Lucas stepped toward her, a mere inch from her face. “I couldn’t stand there and let him. I couldn’t have stopped myself even if I had tried. My hands were wrapped around his neck before I realized what I was doing.”
    Her expression softened. “I’m sorry. I truly am. I was frustrated with Fabian, not you—”
    He couldn’t resist; he leaned closer and took her mouth in a sensual kiss before she’d finished her last word. Her full lips were soft, and she opened her mouth to receive him. She tasted sweet and smelled of vanilla. He felt his heart shudder. It was better than in his dreams. It was real; she was here, and he’d never felt as empowered as he did now. As he wrapped his arms around her to deepen the kiss, she placed her hands on his chest. Her warmth permeated through his shirt and he felt it on his skin.
    It was hard to stop kissing her, especially now that he knew what he’d been missing, but he didn’t want her to think he’d come here to seduce her.
    “I guess it’s my turn to apologize,” he said. “I didn’t mean to do that…actually I did mean to. I just couldn’t help myself.”

Buy Demon King’s Desire at:

Visit J.L Sheppard and learn more about her writing at:

BIO:

J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she still lives with her husband. 

As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years.

It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was published in January of 2013.

Besides reading and writing, she enjoys traveling and spending quality time with family and friends.


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Barbara Bradley – Hesitant Desire – Author Interview

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1.      Barbara Bradley, author of Hesitant Desire, is the subject of my scrutiny today. Check out what makes this writer tick and find out a little bit about her writing. Without further ado…

Barbara Donlon Bradley
author of
Hesitant Desire


      What does an average day for you consist of?  What is your writing schedule like?
Well I work part time as a merchandiser so I have several days a week where I’m out of the house. I also the care giver for my mother-in-law (hubby works full time so I’m the one who takes her to the doctor, makes sure she’s taking her pills etc) and there’s a lot to deal with everyday so if I can write, promote, edit (I edit for Melange Books) during the day I do but my writing time is from 8 pm until I go to bed every night. I have my laptop open and on my lap and work on my stories while the family is watching TV. Some people can’t write with the noise but I tune it right out.
2.      Do you have a current work in progress?  Can you tell us about it?
I’m continuing my work on my Vespian Way series. It started as one book and I’m now working on book seven and eight. In book seven I’m introducing a new villain named Reasta. She wants to build a race of warriors from my heroine of the series, Heather. She has tried to manipulate the timeline to achieve this. Even tried to kill off Storm, my hero, to get what she wanted.
In Book eight the battle against Reasta continues and Heather and Storm disguise themselves to be part of Vespian security. The goal of this book is to try to free the ruling council from Reasta’s grasp. If they can free them then the next book will be them trying to free the ancients trapped on the ship.
 Who is your favorite author, and why?  What is your favorite book of all time?

I have two – Joanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodiwiss. I think Shanna is my all time favorite. It’s what got me into romance.
1.      Do you incorporate animals in your stories?  Which ones?
I have in this series I’m working on. One of my characters has a tabby named Pumpkin that has helped with several plots in the books she’s in. And my hero Storm is a shapeshifter. He turns into a wolf. That started in book three’s Animal Desire and has showed up in the books after Animal Desire.
       What can we expect next from you?

I’m working hard on the Vespian Way series. Forgotten Desire, book six of the series is due out on Sept 24th  and I’m working hard on the next two books in the series.



Author Bio:

Writing for Barbara Donlon Bradley  started innocently enough, like most she kept diaries, journals, and wrote an occasional letter but she also had a vivid imagination and wrote scenes and short stories adding characters to her favorite shows and comic books. As time went on she found the passion for writing to be a strong drive for her. Humor is also very strong in her life. No matter how hard she tries to write something deep and dark, it will never happen. That humor bleeds into her writing. Since she can’t beat it she has learned to use it to her advantage. Now she lives in Tidewater Virginia with two cats, one mother in law – she’s 86 now, her husband and teenage son.


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Shannyn Schroeder – A Good Time – Novel Spotlight

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Independent authors do a ton of work promoting their works. Today, I’m happy to promote a fellow writer and introduce my readers (And we all know there are a small army of you, aren’t there?) to someone they may not have heard of before now.
So, without further ado…
Shannyn Schroeder’s
A GOOD TIME
He’s got game, but can she play for keeps?
A passionate free spirit and a sweet-talking playboy sound like a match made in heaven—until life gets in the way of all the fun and games…


Indy Adams values her freedom above all else. She works hard to support herself, moonlighting as a waitress while she fights for her first big sale in the Chicago real estate market. The last thing she needs is to be tied down, so she doesn’t think twice about declining her philandering boyfriend’s marriage proposal. Besides, she just landed a new client, a wealthy lothario—exactly the kind of guy who would understand her no-strings approach…



Handsome, rich, and charitable, most women jump at the chance to even talk to video game developer Griffin Walker, let alone date him. So he can’t understand why Indy wants nothing more than a few steamy nights together. Despite his romantic track record, Griffin longs for real love—complete with a home and family—and he wants it with Indy. But a blessing in disguise may lead them both to a life they never expected, and give Griffin a chance to show Indy that it’s okay to want more than a good time…

  

Forty minutes later, racing to get to her appointment, Indy felt a little panicked.

“I hope the man who invented pantyhose died a slow and painful death,” she cursed. It must’ve been a man, she thought as sweat snaked down her back and nylon suffocated her thighs. The damn air-conditioning on the car stopped working, and she hadn’t planned to fix it yet since fall had supposedly arrived. Unfortunately, the Chicago weather didn’t agree.

The remnants of her hangover made her regret the decision.

She whipped into the circle drive of the first mansion and saw Griffin’s silver Jaguar already parked. Double damn. She parked behind him and got out. Her ten-year-old Taurus sagged sadly behind the Jaguar.

I am so out of my league.

She tugged at the collar of her blouse. Her skirt skimmed the backs of her knees, reminding her of church clothes. At least she was ready if the heat really did kill her.

Griffin still sat in his car. The Winnetka house stood in front of her with a gorgeous wide, pillared front porch. Selling a house in the wealthy Chicago suburb would be her first.

Looking back at the Jag, she couldn’t quite reconcile the image of Griffin hanging out, drinking beer at his friend’s bar with the millionaire video-game developer. Indy threw back her shoulders and faked confidence as best she knew how.

She paused en route to his car. The door swung open and Griffin unfolded himself from behind the steering wheel. He wasn’t just good-looking; he was drool-worthy.

His perfectly styled dark hair slicked back from his face. His jaw was surprisingly smooth. He usually sported a dark five-o’clock shadow, and she’d figured it had been intentional.

He spoke into his Bluetooth headset for another moment, acknowledging her with a slight wave of his hand. His finely tailored suit revealed a fit body: broad shoulders and trim waist. He shed his suit coat and rolled his sleeves in concession to the heat, which should’ve made him look relaxed, but his face was solemn. She preferred him in jeans and a worn T-shirt, drinking a beer at O’Leary’s.

Ending the call, he tossed the Bluetooth in the car before closing the door. Indy approached with her hand extended. “Mr. Walker, nice to see you again. I’m sorry I’m late.”

He grasped her hand and tugged playfully. “Call me Griffin. I’m not looking for a dog and pony show, Indy.”

She liked the way her name rolled off his tongue. “I’m simply greeting you the same way I’d greet any client.”

He removed his sunglasses and made no attempt to hide his appraisal of her. She’d been scrutinized by worse. His expression held a hint of laughter. After raking his gaze over her, top to bottom, he smiled. Small lines fanned from eyes nearly as dark as his hair. The act removed the stiff businessman, and he became a drinking buddy. “I’m not any client. We’ve known each other for months. We’re friends.”

Her tense muscles relaxed a fraction. Their previous encounters had paved the way for a friendly acquaintance. He followed her to the house. Even in her two-and-a half-inch heels, she had to look up to meet his eyes.

As she opened the door, chilly air brushed over her heated skin and caused a shiver. “Would you like a tour, or just want to wander?”

After she asked, she looked at the décor and cringed. The owners hadn’t wanted photos of the interior posted online. Now she knew why. Everything was white.

Griffin’s phone rang. He checked the screen and ignored it.

“You can take that if you need to,” she offered. “I can wait.” She wanted to have a few minutes to cool her body.

He stood in the middle of the foyer and turned in a slow circle. “No, I’ve seen enough. Where to next?”

Indy’s stomach flipped. “You don’t want to see other rooms?” she asked carefully.

His eyes locked on hers. “No.”

“I realize the color scheme . . . or lack of one might be a turn-off, but that’s paint and carpet.”

“What else do you have?”

She fumbled with the clasp on her portfolio and pulled two listings from the pocket. “Here are the other two I told you about. We can go to whichever you like next.”

“Let’s try this one.” He tapped the top page.

“Okay. Follow me.” She exited the house. Excitement and optimism seeped from her pores like sweat. She’d hoped for a quick sale.

The next two showings went the same. Griffin walked in, looked briefly, and left. In the driveway of the third house, she said, “Maybe if you tell me a little more about what you do want, I won’t waste your time looking at houses that don’t work.”

His broad, charming smile creased at the sides of his mouth and showed the hint of dimples. “You showed me exactly what I asked for. I’ll know it when I see it.”

“Okay. I’ll keep you posted if I find other listings that might suit you.” Disappointment gripped her.

“How about dinner?”

“Excuse me?”

“Can I take you out to dinner?”

She pulled her lips into a firm businesslike smile. So much for friendly acquaintance. “I’m involved with someone, and I don’t date clients.”

So what if Richard had started out as a client. He’d bought before their first date.

He stepped closer, picked up her left hand, and looked pointedly at her ring finger. “We already covered that I’m more than a client; we’re friends.”

“We might be friends if you’d stop flirting with me.”

“Flirting is something we both excel at. Besides, how serious could your involvement with your married boyfriend be?”

Quinn and her big mouth. She’d definitely have a talk with her little sister. She bit her tongue for a second and thought of Richard. “There’s enough seriousness in life without me adding to it.”

As soon as the words left her mouth, she feared she’d given him ample ammunition.

She tugged her hand from his grasp and twitched at his thumb’s caress across her knuckles. Little jolts of pleasure shimmied up her arm. Damn, she hated the effect of charming men. No matter how hard she tried, she wasn’t immune. He released her hand and moved to his car without another word. His phone rang as he drove off with his engine purring.

Kind of like her nerves.

Griffin had all the markings of a rich playboy. He was charming and arrogant, and women swooned at the sight of him. But she wanted only one thing from Griffin Walker: a big, fat commission.

A block from the last house, she pulled over. The itchy pantyhose drove her crazy. She opened the door and looked up and down the street. Not a soul in sight. Reaching under her skirt, she tugged the nylon from her body. Once she dragged it to her thighs, she sat on the edge of the driver’s seat and rolled the pantyhose down. A slight breeze kissed her skin and she sighed.

Just as she pulled them off and stood barefoot on the street, a revved engine caught her attention. The silver Jaguar pulled up beside her. Could the day get any worse?

“Everything okay?” Griffin asked through the open window.

“Yeah.” She balled the nylons into her fist and stifled a laugh. She didn’t care enough to be embarrassed, but she scrambled for an excuse.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing. I pulled over to take a call.”

“With no phone?” His gaze raked down her body again and stopped at her bare feet. “And no shoes?”

She sighed and held out her pantyhose. “You caught me. I couldn’t wait to get out of my pantyhose. The heat was strangling me.”

His laugh echoed on the empty street and relief washed over her. Her own smile followed. If Richard had caught her stripping off her pantyhose on the street, he’d be mortified.

“Next time, leave them at home. Your legs are sexier without them.”

“Flirting will get you nowhere,” she said and leaned against the door. Even to her own ears, her remark sounded hollow. The air-conditioning tickled her arms and she repressed a shiver.

One eyebrow rose above his sunglasses. “When something interests me, I go after it.”

“Even if it’s unattainable?”

“Nothing is unattainable.”

She straightened. “We’ll see.”

He slid his glasses to the top of his head. Dark brown eyes bore into her and no longer held amusement. “Be warned. I always get my way.”

He pulled away. She wanted to be pissed, tried to feel indignant and angry, but failed. She would do whatever was necessary to make Griffin Walker happy.

Author Bio:

Shannyn Schroeder is a former English teacher, who now works as a part-time editor while raising her three kids.

Even though she wrote from high school through college (mostly poetry), she’d never considered a career as an author. Writing fell by the wayside as she focused her energy on creating lesson plans and new and fabulous ways to torment her teen students. One group in particular dubbed her “The Torture Master,” a title she carried into motherhood.

After the birth of baby number two, Shannyn resigned from teaching and fell in love with reading romance novels. She read so many books so quickly that her husband teased, “If you’re going to read so many damn books, why don’t you just write one?”

         So she did.

That first book is safely buried on her hard drive, but the process set Shannyn on the path to professional author. She came to reading romance later than many, but lives for the happy ending because real life can be depressing. She writes contemporary romance because she enjoys the adventure of new love.

In her spare time, she loves to bake cookies and watches far too much TV, especially cop shows. She is recovering from her Diet Coke addiction, fears putting her foot in her mouth on social media, and has a renewed appreciation for the bad girls of the world.

Shannyn Schroeder has also released one other book entitled More than This (O’Leary’s #1) and can be found by clicking on the title’s name. 

Contact Shannyn about her work via her Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or Pinterest.

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