Guest blog by DiAnn Mills

Sometimes characters grab our hearts and sometimes the settings in our stories, but in writing Deadlock, I fell in love with Jasper, the African Grey parrot. He belonged to my heroine Bethany, or maybe she belonged to him. In any event, they are a tight couple.

Jasper 2When I first had an idea for an African Grey, I conducted the typical online research. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became with this brilliant breed of parrot. My interest moved from YouTube videos to a TV documentary. The owners of these intelligent birds shared favorite moments, the mimicking of human speech, and behavioral patterns.

The bird is grey except for a bright red tail and eats basically fruit, nuts, and seeds. My kind of diet.

Their temperament can require patience, while they are charming. One of the resource sites compared their sensitive nature to a two year old.

View a few videos to detect their unique personality and social skills. Note some African Grey parrots are a one person bird even when the household has many parrot lovers. They’ve been known to pick up on stress and depression from the humans around them.Jasper 1

As Jasper showed the reader in Deadlock, these parrots are able to repeat words and phrases quickly—so owners need to watch their language. A friend has an African Grey that spouts, “Get the gun,” whenever anyone new enters the home. Jasper has the same phrase. Not only do they mimic humans, but frequent sounds around them. Imagine running to answer your phone only to realize your parrot is imitating the sound . . . or the doorbell . . . or the fire station outside its window.

Researchers believe these parrots come to understand what they are saying. They need stimulatDeadlock - largeion to challenge their intelligence, just like a child, which means they need toys.

Life expectancy is around fifty years old. This is a bird an owner can receive, train, and love as a child, then take the bird to college, marriage, parenthood, and possibly into the owner’s grandparent stage. If you think about it, an African Grey’s companionship is like getting married.

In Deadlock, Jasper provides insight into a serial murder crime that Bethany is investigating with her FBI partner. Readers come to experience one smart bird.

Are you ready for an African Grey parrot? The decision will take a commitment to learn all you can, but the rewards of these unusual pets can last—a lifetime.

Leave a comment below, and be entered into a random drawing for a copy of Deadlock. Contest ends Saturday, October 10th.

Picture 085DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

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DiAnn’s newest release, Deadlock, is now available from your favourite vendor. Pick up your copy now!

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