Social Media for Social Good 2015: Football Edition

Hi friends! So as you know (maybe), I’ve been largely absent the past few months. This means I also missed my annual Social Media for Social Good Charity Fundraiser. I have to say, I’m tapped out. I know people care, but not being able to see it hurts. In the past we’ve supported relief efforts – twice in fact – from famine to child refugees from Syria, clean water for people, against human trafficking, for Native Americans, and more. We’ve done great.

SMSG15 Football

This time … I’m leaving it up to you.

Here’s what I mean. I’d like you to comment with your favorite non-profit charity. If you can, leave a link to the organization etc, so others can check it out, and make it easier on me.

Why do you want to make it easy on me? Well, I think you all know I love football. Like really love. Especially college football. What I’m doing this year is, for every touchdown the Buckeyes score tonight, I’ll donate $10 to a charity. $5 for a fieldgoal. (Hey any points should be rewarded, right?) Uhhh… if there does happen to be a safety I’ll figure it out later.

I figured I’d mix it up, so we hit a variety. What do I mean? Let’s say there are six touchdowns tonight. That means $10 to comment 1’s charity, $10 to comment 2’s charity, and so on and so forth. We’ll just go in order. If there aren’t enough comments to cover all the touchdowns, I’ll probably donate to UNICEF or something. If there are more comments than scores … well that’s cool too. I might donate up to $500. We’re playing this by ear. [Please one charity per comment though, and give others a chance to add?]

Sound good? Feel free to ask questions too. Let’s make this interactive and fun!

ETA: I’m leaving SMSG open through the rest of the season … and post season, so let’s home they win the championship again, shall we? 😉

SNAHM Guest: Cynthia Eden

Hi friends! Today we have the lovely Cynthia Eden guesting with us. As she says – November is winding down, and I know the rush is starting for holiday madness, but I hope we all take a minute and reflect. I love that Cynthia has such a rich background, but I think all of us can take a look back. I hope you’ll all chime in – especially since Cynthia is so beautiful and adorable. Seriously – you want to hate her cuz she’s basically so perfect but you can’t because she’s so nice. XD

Anyway, here is what Cynthia had to say.

Memories In A Box

Hi, everyone! It is such a pleasure to be here with you—a huge thanks to Limecello for inviting me over! When I was growing up, one of my very favorite things to do was to pull out the old box of pictures that my mom kept in the bottom of her closet (yes, these were the non-digital days!). In that magical box, my mother kept pictures of her relatives and my father’s relatives. They were grainy, faded photographs. The edges had turned nearly white because they had been touched so many times over the years.

In these photos, I was able to see the relatives that had passed away—relatives I’d never had the chance to meet. One of the photos that I loved to stare at the very most was a photo of my great-grandmother, a beautiful Cherokee woman. She wasn’t smiling in the picture. She was just staring straight ahead. Her features were so strong and her long black hair seemed to still shine in that dull photo. I wondered about her so much—this special woman. I wondered about the stories that she could have told me. About the life that she had led. Was she happy? Was she sad? I could never tell from the photo, and that seemed to make it even more poignant for me.

I’m very lucky—I have Native American ancestors on both my mother’s side and my father’s side. I love to celebrate their heritage. There are so many wonderful traditions that I try to pass down to my son. I always want him to be proud of his roots. At his school, they recently celebrated Native American Day, and he was so thrilled to be grouped with other “Cherokee” descendants—the kids spent the day making their own fires and learning about the history of the different tribes in the area. When he came home, he told me it was the “best day ever.” I love best days.

I’m sure you have old traditions from your ancestors that you like to celebrate, as well. I would love to hear about them! Share with me. 😉 I’ll pick one random commenter to win a $15 gift card.

And since it’s nearly December…Happy Holidays to you!


Cynthia Eden
All He Wants for Christmas – Available 12/1/15

All He Wants for ChristmasTHE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS by Cynthia Eden

Everyone in town thinks that Jemma White is as sweet as the delicious treats she makes at her chocolate shop—but they’re wrong. Jemma is ready to let her wild side out, and she’s just found the perfect man to make all of her fantasies come true. Grayson Cole is a too-sexy-to-be-true stranger who has escaped to Holly for the holidays. He is her perfect temptation, and Jemma can’t wait to steam up the cold winter nights with him. But when danger from Grayson’s past follows him to town, she realizes that the man she is falling for has been keeping some very dark secrets…secrets that may just get them both killed.

Share with us – any lovely family memories of your own? A cultural heritage or tradition? Interesting ancestors?

Happy Day of Thanks!

So I’ve realized that “Thanksgiving” is … not exactly the greatest most authentic holiday, not just because of the obvious consumerism, but also because it trivializes and appropriates Native American … well everything. There’s a blog post from the National Museum of the American Indian that says it much better, from someone who has much more right than I do to speak on the subject. It’s written by “Dennis W. Zotigh (Kiowa/San Juan Pueblo/Santee Dakota Indian) is a member of the Kiowa Gourd Clan and San Juan Pueblo Winter Clan and a descendeant of Sitting Bear and No Retreat, both principal war chiefs of the Kiowas. Dennis works as a writer and cultural specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C..” I hope you’ll read what he wrote. I had to include his credentials because … you did you read them?!

Anyway – here’s my otherwise awful contribution. I wanted it to look like kidart – so … heh I think the words are much worse than the image. Regardless I hope you all had a lovely holiday, ate lots of delicious food, and get all the deals your heart hopes for. And if you have a bit extra to buy me a gift … well that’s just gravy. 😉

SNAHM Guest: Pamela Clare

Hi friends! Time flies, yes? Today we have Pamela Clare is visiting with us today, and I’m so excited to have her share. I don’t know if you’ve ever read her I-Team stories, but if not, you really have to, and especially don’t skip book 1 – Extreme Exposure – which is one of my favorites. Anyway, what a timely post, and lovely yet painful – like so much of Native American history.

Naked EdgeAs a writer of Native descent, I’ve tried to cover Native issues in ways that make them accessible to the outside world. As a reporter, I spent years traveling back and forth to the Navajo and Lakota reservations covering a range of issues from forced relocations to the struggles of traditional native people to hold onto their culture and languages. As a fiction writer, I put my years of reporting on these topics into Naked Edge (I-Team #4).

In that story, I tried to show how Native people who live in urban areas struggle to hold onto their traditions and their sacred sites. Katherine James was the heroine of that story. Half Navajo, she fights to find her place in the world and among her people.

Many of the events in that story were inspired by real life—the raid on the inipi (sweat lodge), for example. I was able to touch on a host of topic that were important for me—how hard it can be to walk the Red Road in an urban area, the exploitation of sacred sites and Native artifacts, and so on.

Kat was a special character to write, the only character I’ve written in a contemporary novel whose spiritual beliefs were essential to the story. I had to be careful in doing that because pop culture over-spiritualizes Native people and Native culture. I wanted to make her real. Not only did I want her to be a modern Indian woman; I wanted her specifically to be Diné.

I adored her, and fans of the I-Team series adored her, too.

With Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas, I was able to get back inside all of my characters’ heads again, including Kat’s. It’s an ensemble story, which made it the perfect farewell to the I-Team series.

Here’s an overview of the story:

Dead by Midnight Marc and Sophie Hunter, Gabe and Kat Rossiter, Holly Andris and the rest of the I-Team gang find themselves in the same historic Denver hotel celebrating the approach of Christmas at different holiday parties. What starts out as a fun winter evening with friends soon becomes a brutal fight to survive when the hotel is taken over by a group of ruthless narcoterrorists who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

On the outside, Julian Darcangelo, Zach McBride, Nick Andris and others join together with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team in a desperate bid to free their friends, knowing that if they fail, the people they love will be…

Dead by Midnight.

Featuring cameo appearances by the men of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, a series by New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross.

In Dead by Midnight, Kat is heavily pregnant and goes into labor while being held hostage. Her captors are so cruel that her suffering means nothing to them. They refuse to release her, leaving her to struggle through labor in the worst of conditions.

I didn’t plan to go into Diné history when I wrote her scenes, but I was so into her thoughts and into her suffering that my mind flashed to The Long Walk, an event that holds the same place the hearts of Navajos that the Trail of Tears does in the hearts of the Cherokee.

Here’s an excerpt from that part of the story:

“I don’t want them to hurt my baby.”

Joaquin gave her hand a squeeze. “We’re not going to let that happen.”

Tears filled her eyes. “I wish I were on the dinétah.”

Both Alissa and Nakai had been born on the Navajo reservation in a clinic about an hour’s drive from her grandmother’s homesite. She’d felt safe there, surrounded by Gabe’s love and strengthened by her grandmother’s reassurances and prayers.

Sophie stroked her hair. “Maybe if you pretended you were home it would help.”

Kat’s temper flashed. “How can I do that lying on this floor surrounded by men with guns?”

And then it hit her.


The Long Walk.

All Diné people knew the story. The US Army had forced the Navajo to leave their homes and walk 300 miles to captivity at Bosque Redondo, a place they called Fort Sumner. Many Diné had died along the way of exhaustion, thirst, starvation, disease. Grandma Alice’s great-grandmother had survived the Long Walk, but her great-grandmother’s pregnant sister had not. She’d been shot and killed by a soldier when she’d gone into labor and stopped to give birth.

This wasn’t the Long Walk, but Kat was a captive. Just like that soldier, her captors didn’t care what became of her or her baby.

Another contraction began to build—and Kat began to sing quietly to herself. At first she wasn’t even aware she was doing it, the words coming from somewhere inside her. Then she realized she was singing a traditional healing song, one she’d heard her uncle and grandfather sing when she was a little girl.

As pain tightened its grip around her, the walls of the Grand Ballroom faded, becoming the red mesas that surrounded Grandma Alice’s hogaan at K’ai’bii’tó. She latched onto the image of her home, felt Gabe standing there beside her, and Alissa and Nakai, too, the new baby out of her body and in her arms. Their spirits were together even if their bodies were not.

She thought of the young women who’d made the Long Walk, carrying babies on their hips or pregnant. She thought of another mother, one who’d lived long ago, who’d had no choice but to give birth in a pen for animals and place her newborn in a manger. Their strength became her strength.

Even after the contraction faded, she kept singing. Words had power, and the words of her people had come to her to help her through this.

Readers, who are eating up this story and giving it rave reviews, have asked me about the Long Walk and whether what Kat is remembering is true, and sadly it is. There were stories from survivors about women going into labor and being shot by soldiers, who didn’t care at all about them or their babies and who were, in fact, engaged in an attempt at extermination. It’s a horrible chapter in US history, one you don’t read about in the history books. And though I never write books to give history lessons, this lesson fit the story.

Of course, Kat’s story has a much happier ending than the poor women who died on the Long Walk. She has Gabe quite literally watching over her…

It’s strange to be leaving these characters I love so much behind, but there are other stories to write, other adventures to take. Readers are giving Dead by Midnight rave reviews, and that’s a great place to end any series.

With many thanks to the thousands of readers whose loyalty to the I-Team made writing these stories such a joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pamela Clare

There’s so much I’ve been learning – even recently about Native American history, and I’m glad these stories – albeit painful – are being told. They’re important.

SNAHM Guest: Dabney Grinnan

Hi friends! So – it’s Smithsonian Native American Heritage Month and I’ve been extremely remiss in my posting I know, but we’re working on it. What I love about the Heritage Months is different voices and perspectives. Both what we might expect to be usual as well as the ~Unusual ones. I roped Dabney into writing a post for me based on a conversation we had about names – which led to this little tidbit about her. I hope you all give her a warm welcome.

When I was in kindergarten my grandmother, Pocahontas, came to my school and gave a presentation about our famous ancestor. I still have the newspaper article about my grandmother’s visit—it is, I suspect, the first time I was ever quoted by a reporter. When asked how I felt about “being descended” from the Indian princess, I shared I didn’t like it when my friends teased me about it and I was very glad I wasn’t named for her.

Since the first famous Pocahontas, there was a Pocahontas in every generation until my mother’s peer group. None of the four girls in that batch received the moniker. My mother—Elizabeth—says when she was a little girl, her mother asked her if she’d name a daughter Pocahontas. My mother said no, but she’d be willing to so name one of her dolls.

When Lime asked me if I’d write a piece about being related to Pocahontas, my reaction was “No way.” My biological connection to Pocahontas is so slim as to be non-existent and there’s never been a day in my life I’ve identified as anything other than WASP. Lime persisted and, because she’s Lime and lovely, I agreed to write about the experience of having Pocahontas as my “ten greats back grandmother.”

I was raised to be proud of my Virginia roots. My grandmother Pocahontas was an author and a Southern historian who tracked genealogy and signed her grand-children and great-grand children up for birthright based societies. I grew up hearing the stories of not just Pocahontas but her husband John Rolfe and his lands and tobacco farms, of King Carter, the largest landholder in Colonial Virginia, of Robert E. Lee, and of Benjamin Henry Harrison.

My family moved all over the country when I was growing up and, no matter where I moved, I could impress people with my famous ancestors. By the time I was in high school, though, those sort of family stories made me itchy and bored—it was uncool to care about dead people or to take pride in my family’s past.

My first semester at Duke, I was in a program called “Twentieth Century America.” All the classes were anchored by the study of the US in the 20th and late 19th centuries. On the first day of the sociology class, Dr. Preiss said to us, “I’m here to teach you that you and your families are the problem.” In the history class, we read printouts from a book called Red, White, and Black: A History of Oppression in America.

By my sophomore year, I’d written the only paper I’d ever get an A+ on in college entitled Racism: A Family Heirloom. I looked at the family lore I’d learned with new eyes. I viewed my extended family, especially my grandparent’s generation, with something bordering on shame. If I ever told anyone I was the tenth great grand-daughter of Pocahontas, it was to make it clear I knew the history I came from held slave-holders, racists, and Republicans and I wanted to distance myself from that shit. I became my family’s radical—at least until my sister joined the Peace Corps—and argued with my elders about their immoral beliefs.

Despite this, I settled in North Carolina, just an hour and a half away from my maternal grandparents. I visited them every month, and filled my house with their hand-me-down furniture, kitchen goods, and books. When I got married, I wore my grandmother’s flapper wedding dress and said my vows in a little church in their town.

As I aged, they became old. My grandmother ran her car into the post office wall when she was in her 70’s and she never walked with ease again. My grandfather slid sadly into dementia. By the time I was 30 and expecting my first child, I’d lost any anger I’d had toward them for their pasts. When my husband and I talked about names for our kids, I insisted we pick names from our families. Each time we named a child, I’d tell my grandmother our choice and she’d smile and tell me all the stories she held in her head about the ancestors and relatives who’d had those same names.

When I got pregnant with my last two children, one of whom is our only girl, I visited my grandmother in the retirement home she’d moved to when my grand-father died. She asked me if I would name my daughter Pocahontas. I said, no, we were naming her for my husband’s mother. My grandmother didn’t look surprised. Ultimately, she had four grand-daughters and nine great grand-daughters and not one of them has her name.

My children and their cousins—my maternal grandparents had 25 great-grandchildren—all know they are related to Pocahontas. My siblings and I tell stories about Pocahontas, our brilliant, opinionated, genealogy obsessed grand-mother. When she was 21 she moved to the Left Bank in Paris so that she could study violin. She lived for a time with her friend Angela Gregory who was there to study stone-cutting. She spent four hours every morning writing. Her books are in university libraries and listed on Google. When Disney released Pocahontas, she was interviewed over and over. She gave an interview to a Japanese television station that so incensed her sisters—they’d never forgiven the Japanese for Pearl Harbor—the three were estranged for almost a year. She died when she was 95 and, at her funeral, the minister asked for us to share our “Pokey” stories. The service lasted for hours.

Recently, I and my niece were talking about privilege and our family. I said I often wanted to shed or at the very least apologize for my privilege. Lucy said no, you couldn’t do that. You could only accept it.

For me, a better verb might be own. I own my Pocahontas stories. And if I ever have a grand-daughter or great-grand-daughter named Pocahontas, I’ll tell her about her namesake, Pocahontas, my grandmother.

I tried to find Red, White, and Black: A History of Oppression in America, but my google-fu is well, google hates me. However if you google that phrase there is a lot out there, so might I suggest you read a few articles? Especially with Thanksgiving around the corner, I think it’s important. For myself I didn’t really think about a number of the issues that holiday presents until a few years ago. Not to say we shouldn’t celebrate a day of thankfulness – but maybe with less reverence towards the history? I’m only dipping my toes into the water, but hopefully we’re providing some food for thought.

Review: A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles

Karen’s review of A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles
Historical M/M released by Loveswept on August 11, 2015
A Fashioanble Indulgence

When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.

I got a copy of this book from the author, because she is great. As at the time I wasn’t sure if I was reviewing or not, I found that very generous.

A Fashionable Indulgence is a classic case of right book, right time, because I actually read it twice. The first time I was so fixated on the detail in the clothing, and some of the customs that I couldn’t actually see anything else, it was just before I went on holiday. I was quite tense. The second time was just after I came back from holiday, a little more relaxed and what a different experience.

KJ Charles is a clever writer, initially I felt that this was a homage to the Heyer school of historical novel, the language and the setting, and the very ordered and formal descriptions of clothing and situations. Plus there is quite a large cast of characters to contend with, almost from the off. Then I started noticing political parallels, with the treatment of the poor, the resistance to the government, and the sedition. And that really sucked me in. I think that the best and most memorable romance books have more than just a relationship in them. They can, and should make you think.

The main characters Harry and Julius are such good counterpoints to each other, physically dark and light and emotionally light and dark. Harry is a very open, heart on his sleeve character, and it appears that the job of Julius is to tamp that enthusiasm down, so that Harry becomes a Gentleman. Yet as Harry becomes more a part of Society, he looses that spark that makes him unique and there is this glorious internal conflict, mirrored in the defrosting of Julius, the balance between these two is excellent.

Harry should be, if this were even vaguely traditional, the innocent virgin, and Julius the man of the world, but this is KJC and nothing is that straightforward. There are many writers who would simply swap the characteristics over, but not here. Harry IS more sexually experienced than Julius, but the balance is the Julius understands society, in many ways Julius is the more innocent.

There is also a rather wonderful Sleeping Beauty feel about A Fashionable Indulgence, and for me quite a literal feel.

I found A Fashionable Indulgence so multi layered, a great read.

Grade: A

You can buy a copy here.