NaNo-ing

Ok, I’ve been really scarce lately, but it’s not because I stopped loving you… I’ve been working on prepping for NaNo and now it’s full steam ahead!!

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This is the first year I’ve signed up to do NaNo and I have to confess that I’m a little nervous! I wonder at times what I was thinking but I’m also really excited about the challenge.

Did I go into this with a story all mapped out? Nope. I have to confess that up until yesterday I had no idea what I was going to write. Yes, it’s day 3 and I haven’t started yet.

Am I panicking? Not yet *grin*. It’s not impossible to catch up by simply adding extra words to my daily target. The trick is not to freak out and not to worry too much about whether you’re going to write the next masterpiece. The trick is to write. It’s part of training yourself to write every day and hopefully that will carry over into the months ahead…

I’ll update you as I go *grin*

Love,

Jo

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Cover Reveal – Jewel of Ramstone by J.M. Powers

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Blurb

Awaking in the forest, a young maiden recalls naught—including her name. Equally conflicting is her desire to both slap and kiss Sir Galeron, the knight who claims to have protected her while she was unconscious. Much to her chagrin, he dubs her “Ruby of the Forest”, due to her red hair, and insists she find refuge at his home of Ramstone. Prickling at his demanding ways, but with no other option, she accepts his offer. And although his kiss flames her attraction even more, Galeron dashes it with a confession. The brute is trothed to another.

Ruby’s journey is filled with laughter and weeping, daydreams and discovered abilities. But never does she feel complete. Her heart longs for a future that her past may destroy. Evil lurks, treading on each tidbit of memory she recovers. Will Ruby ever recall her past? And after an attack in the village that sparks a horrific nightmare, does she even want to?

JM Powers, Jewel of Ramstone, excerpt

“Ask me anything. Mayhap I can help.” His deep voice broke the silence.

How was he to help? “Pray tell, how did we come to share the forest?”

“I shall explain.” He bent and picked up a twig, then proceeded to peel the bark off. With each curl he tossed aside, she grew more frustrated.

‘Twas better to allow mistrust. Stand strong. She gasped. Unexpected, the thought rang with such clarity, it seemed someone else had spoken. “Perchance you should be honest. Did you drug me? Spell me?”

He tossed the twig aside. Though his eyes remained on her face, her whole body felt his scrutiny. “‘Twould do you well to hold your tongue.”

“I am beginning to dislike you,” she said, knowing full well the opposite was true. She truly wished her insides would cease…prickling? And her head. Damn, it ached so. Tingles and pain aside, she tried to focus. “Do you intend to explain or not?”

“I seek a means to tell you gently.”

With a slight shrug, she said, “No need for gentleness. You already tossed me about.” She grinned despite the truth in her statement.

He sighed. “It appears you are lost.”

“God’s eyes, knight!” She shook her head. “You must be a great sorcerer to possess such insight.”

“Your tongue shall be your undoing. Best you still it.”

Twice he attempted to stifle her. She clenched her teeth. “Still it?”

Galeron’s jaw twitched and she wondered if he were quelling a smile. “I found you here in the woodlands. I did not hold you captive, drug you, or harm you.” He blinked slowly. “Hold to that.”

She nodded. “Forgive—”

“Nay need. I understand. You now stand a day’s ride from Ramstone. Have you heard of it?”

He pushed off the tree and came to sit beside her, his thigh nearly touching her own. Nearly. It took a moment for her answer. “Nay, I do not recall Ramstone.” The fact she did not recall much of anything choked off the rest of her response.

“Odd,” he said, more to himself than her.

Sighing, she realized how badly her masquerade of bravery was faltering. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his hand come toward her. Surprised at the urge to lean into his touch, she remained still and allowed him to brush back the wisps of hair from her brow. His hand lowered in a fist, yet his voice was laced with tenderness.

“It pains me that I cannot give you answers.” His gaze strayed from her face, lowering to her neck.

Covering the neckline of her tunic with both hands, she glared at him. “Focus elsewhere.” He sees me as a woman after all. She dashed the thought away. Almost.

“I intend nay disrespect. The bruising on your neck concerns me.” Gently brushing her hand aside, he took a closer look. “Fingerprints.”

It took all she had not to cry out. Who harmed her?

“When we discovered you, there was nay sign of anyone else.”

She glanced around. “We?”

“I sent my men home.”

She blinked. Then blinked again.”Your men.”

“My brother, a healer, assured me your wounds were not serious, so I decided to wait—”

She put up her hand. “Why not leave me under the care of your healer? Or leave me in the nearest village?”

He swallowed hard. “It matters not! Are you always so…so…inquisitive?”

Ah, this man was not used to being questioned. She tried to ease his surly mood. “A shame your men were sent on their way. No one laid witness when I kicked you and bashed your comely face before you so unceremoniously dropped a maiden to the ground.”

He blew a long breath. “You insist on repeating that. Had you dressed appropriately, I would not have thought you a lad.” His chuckle made her grin. “Although you certainly fight like a maiden.”

She swiped her hand through the air. “Carry on.”

“Carry on,” he muttered. “I fear you shall interrupt again.” He looked up through the trees, ignoring her huff. “We still had several days before reaching our destination when we found you. With that in mind, I postponed the journey and sent my men back to Ramstone.”

“I see.” She studied the frayed edge of her tunic. “How long have I been here?”

“I watched over you a single night. How long you were here remains a mystery. I was only gone a short time for I needed to boil meat into a broth to sustain you. Had I known you were a maiden, I never would have left you alone.”

Her head snapped up. “Yet you would a lad? I am not defenseless simply because I am a female.”

Galeron’s eyes hardened. “Aye, ’tis so. I returned to find you brandishing a dagger. I left it in case you awoke and felt unsafe, not to use against me.”

She ran her hands through the leaves and shrugged a silent apology, too stubborn to utter it out loud.

“Fair one?”

Damnation, she hated when he addressed her with those words, and yet it awoke something in her, for he said it with tenderness. She glared at his smiling face. “Why are you calling me that?” To her chagrin, what she’d meant as snide came out as quite curious.

He splayed his hands in question, “Would you prefer I call you lad?” Two furrows appeared on his brow at her silent glare. “Because, you have yet to give your name.”

Disarmed, she swallowed her spiteful attitude. “If I only could.” She locked away her tears, her dismay, and did her best to keep her voice steady. “I hoped you would know…would say it by now. Sir Galeron, I…I recall naught before I saw you standing before me.”

Seeming to battle with her revelation, Galeron’s expression flitted from stunned to confused. Then his gaze bore into her with such tenderness it nearly undid her. “Nay memory?” he finally whispered.

She shook her head. He guided her head to his shoulder. Barely a moment passed before he released her, rose to his feet, and strode away. Unsure of why he left so abruptly, she frowned when he looked back.

“I regret I cannot ease your uncertainty.” He stooped to gather twigs. “However, I am able to ease your hunger. After breaking our fast, we shall take leave.”

She dabbed her impending tears as soon as his back was turned.

“We should arrive at Ramstone by nightfall.”

“I am to stay at your home? What shall your wife think?”

“There is nay wife.” He grabbed a branch and added it to his arms. “But there is plentiful family about.”

Holding the tree for support, she stood, waiting for the dizziness to subside before she followed. When he turned, she picked up a branch, embarrassed at how silly she looked traipsing on his heels. Gathering an armload of kindling, she stole glances at him, each time wondering how it would feel to remain in his arms. She piled the branches then watched him arrange them.

“Building a fire?” Hark, she was a fool.

“Nay, I am building an abode.” And he solidified the fact.

“I want my own chamber then.” Several paces away, she sat. Sunlight peeked through the forest canopy. She closed her eyes and raised her face to the warmth. Like a constant itch, she felt his gaze. She slowly peered through her lashes. Aye, he was staring—no—studying her face. Her gash. Her ugly face. She sighed and looked to the sky instead.

“God’s eyes,” he muttered.

She turned to him. Very well, if he finds a need to gawk, I shall give him a full view of my battered face. “Sir Galeron, what worries you so? Has my plight delayed your duties?”

“Nay.” He jammed the skinned carcasses on a sharpened branch.

“I heard your curse. Was it in frustration of not reaching your destination?” Oh, how she wished to smirk at his rudeness, but she kept her poise.

“I was not delayed from anything that could not wait.” Keeping his eyes shielded, he placed the meat across the spit before offering a weak smile. “I pray forgiveness for my curse reaching your ears.”

Wrapping her arms around her legs, she rested her unscathed cheek on her knees. “Curses are naught. I am simply thankful you helped me, Sir Galeron.” Apparently he was too kind to mention her affliction. She hated the pity.

Seemingly distracted, he arranged kindling then retrieved a piece of hammered steel and flint from a pouch on his belt.

“I pray you can forgive my initial rudeness.” When he didn’t respond, she added, “Ah, I gather forgiveness shall come with time.”

Galeron struck the steel with a bit of flint. “I never held ill will. I understood the reason you lashed out.” He blew on the kindling until it caught. “You are forgiven for bashing your head into mine as well.”

“Ha!” She rose and strode to the fire. Her gaze flitted over his body. He looked up, catching her stare, and alas, stared back. Heat crept up her neck, spreading to her face. Surely, ’twas the fire’s heat causing her flush—she hoped he believed the same lie.

Galeron grinned. His demeanor was infuriating. And endearing.And more confusing than her loss of memory.

“Sit.” He continued to tend the fire.

She paid no heed to his demand, and thrust her hands toward the fire. To her dismay, the sharp smell of the rabbit caused her stomach to roar with hunger.

Galeron’s blue eyes sparked with mischievousness. “I gather ’tis been some time since you ate?”

“Apparently.” She plunked down on a fallen log, certain her face turned countless shades of crimson.

Taking a seat beside her, Galeron chuckled and poked at the fire. He was so close she could smell the woodsy scent on his skin. She inhaled deeper, tucking the fragrance into her mind to savor when she was left to her own.

He cleared his throat. “Allow me to tend to that cut.”

Inwardly cringing, she changed the subject. “How long before we eat?”

With a quick wink, he leaned back and rummaged in his saddle pack. Taking her hand, he placed an apple in it, keeping one for himself. His smile highlighted the dimple in his chin and she found herself offering a genuine smile in return.

“Ah, glorious,” she said, grateful he didn’t see how his touch affected her. Waving his offer to use his dagger, she bit heartily into the fruit, and moaned, relishing the explosion of juice across her tongue. “Naught could taste sweeter in this moment.”

Oh, but she did know one thing that might. Tasting the nectar on his lips would certainly qualify. She sensed his tension when she took a bite. Mayhap he had the same thought? He grunted and crunched into the apple, mumbling something about a damn green-eyed mystery.

Were her eyes green? Damnation. Her mind was truly addled.

Follow Your Heart!

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Hosting my friend Sheri yesterday made me think about all the great writing friends that I’ve made over the past 4 years or so. What an amazing and diverse group of men and women they are!

One of the biggest truths is that they have all taken the opportunity to pursue their dreams of being published authors. Will any of us end up rich and famous with a private jet? I have no idea… I – for one – am not in this for the money. I suspect that’s true of most of us. I will say though that almost without exception, we all want to be able to do this full time. So I guess we at least want to make enough money to do that 🙂

The crazy thing is, whether I’m writing at 2am or squeezing a few minutes of planning while I’m in a queue, I’m really happy. I’m pursuing a dream and in the end, following my passion is fueling my passion.

Hard to argue with that!

Love,

Jo

Introducing the amazing Sheri Velarde

Before I hand the blog over to my dear friend Sheri, I feel it’s only fair to warn you all that this talented young lady is a phenomenal writer and great friend and I’m really pleased to be able to host her here today xx

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Well first off a huge thank you to the always amazing Jo March for letting me stop by and chat today. If there is a nicer, harder working lady out there, well I don’t know of her. Jo you rock my socks off doll!

So today I thought I would talk a little about writing and how sometimes pieces of work take on a life of their own. Take my latest release Looted for example. It was originally only supposed to be a short, stand-alone story. Quick, simple, done. But surprise, surprise, this story decided it wanted to be something more. While Looted is still a shorter story, it is only the beginning for Sophia and Detective Bruce Stoker. You see they let me know that they had a lot more stories to tell and that they might even have some friends who wanted to be written about as well.

But wait, I’m the writer here, how can my characters tell me what to do? Well see that’s the thing about being a writer, you think you are in control but then all of a sudden, bam! You’re characters do what they want no matter what you say! How bratty of them. But also how marvelous! Characters changing and growing into something more that you envisioned is the great thing about being an author, you never know what to expect and that keeps writing fresh and exciting.

And thanks to my characters, Looted is no longer a stand-alone little story, it is the first of a series! Gods Behaving Badly is a series that will not only continue the story of Sophia and Bruce, but might have some of Sophia’s relatives and acquaintances popping in from time to time to keep things interesting. Lost Souls will be the second instalment of the series and it is set to come out in December! And I am hoping there will be many more to come, but I guess I will just have to wait and see what my characters have in store for me before I know for sure! All I can say is that while it is challenging at times, it sure is great to be an author!

Blurb:

looted - Sheri VelardeSophia longs for the days when she was worshipped as a goddess and celebrated for her glory. Now she hides in plain sight and does what she must to keep the lifestyle she is accustomed. She has never been close to discovery until one New York City Detective, Bruce Stoker, enters the picture. Now all that she is and has done could come out into the open and destroy everything. She should disappear, but there is something different about this man that draws her to him.

Detective Bruce Stoker has never had an unsolved case, but there is something different about these art heists. Money is taken, but art is given to museums. Strange. If he can find the beautiful woman who seems to be the common link, then everything should be simple. That is what he thought at least until he met the gorgeous suspect in question.

Excerpt

Bruce sat in the lounge. Another night, another expensive bar. He didn’t think his NYPD salary would take much more of this side investigation, but he knew that he was on the right track. Now he just needed to find his mystery beauty, then the real investigation could begin. He had sent out feelers to every host of the finer bars, restaurants and hotels in town, hoping to find a woman to match the description he had. Needless to say there were a lot of gorgeous women in Manhattan and he had spent more time and money than he cared to think about chasing models and actresses.

This was his last tip and his wallet thanked him. If this didn’t pan out, well then back to the drawing board. The fellows back at the station were already making fun of him for searching for a “Model Ring of Thieves,” but they all also knew his hunches always paid off. Could this be the first time he was actually wrong?

Suddenly he felt a hot tingle running down his spine, something more than his “spidey sense” the guys joked about. This was a first. His entire being seemed to be heating up from the inside. It was not unpleasant, but it certainly left him feeling confused. He turned around and saw her walking into the lounge. He had seen the best-looking women Manhattan had to offer over the past few weeks, but none of them could compare to this creature. As he stared, she turned toward him and gave a start, a look of surprise quickly passing over her face before she resumed her beautiful perfection. This was the woman he had been searching for.

Bio:

Sheri Velarde, who sometimes uses the pen name Kelly Ryan, lives in New Mexico and Kelly Ryan Author Picgrew up with a fascination for all things that “go bump in the night”, so it is no wonder that she turned to writing paranormal romance. In her spare time, she fancies herself a cryptozoologist and loves to paranormal related outings, searching for things that might not really exist. She is an avid exerciser and gets some of her best ideas while on runs. She also has a bit of a wild side, which only leads to inspiration for her writing.

Being an avid reader since an early age, she has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She has been writing all her life, but only recently started to actually try to pursue her dream of writing for a living.

She is constantly putting out new material, so it is best to keep up with her on her website.

Kelly/Sheri is a multi-published author; you can keep up to date with all things Kelly Ryan/Sheri Velarde at: www.sherivelarde.weebly.com or on Facebook at Sheri Velarde/Kelly Ryan.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Looted-Weekend-Getaways-Book-126-ebook/dp/B00O4ILMX8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1412535163&sr=8-6&keywords=looted

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/looted

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-looted-1638247-149.html

Secret Cravings: http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&products_id=953&zenid=u8qd49n44ibepogvtvpscipqh4

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/looted-sheri-velarde/1120452485?ean=2940046210903

Of Friends And Books

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I’m the first to admit that books are some of my best friends, never changing, always ready when I feel like spending time with them *grin*.

This week though I’ve been completely missing in action and the reason is simple. One of my bestest friends was visiting from overseas just for a week. When that kind of special visit comes your way, you aren’t too worried about blogging (sorry!!).

We had such an amazing week, day trips, girly lunches, loads of chatting and hanging out. It was bliss!! The only downside is that all good things must come to an end and so it was that I came to loathe the approach of Saturday as it meant she was leaving. Sigh.

Then there was an unexpected and surprising pick me up that arrived in the post. Print copies of book 1 and book 2 of the New Camelot series by my friend, the award winning Torie James.

So, it sucks big time that my friend is on her way back to Europe, but I do have 2 new “friends” to make it more bearable.

Love,

Jo

The Joy of Cleaning

Let me tell you, the life of a writer is all glamour, right out of a fairy tale 🙂 Yeah right!! We’re real people, living real lives and while some will have the extraordinary fortune of making a fortune doing this, most of us will be lucky if we make enough to pay a few bills.

Today was one of those days when I wished I was making just enough to pay for a little help around the house!! It was right about the time I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor that I started to indulge in my favourite day dream of living a life slightly less ordinary.

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Ok, in fairness, I love my life. Yes, even the cleaning part. It gives me the perfect opportunity to let my mind wander while I carry on. It’s often when I do some of my best plotting and planning. The only problem I have is that I then have to remember all the great ideas until I can get to a notebook or my laptop.

Usually though, if the characters are happy with the direction I’m taking, they’ll be willing to remind me later *grin*

This evening though, it’s time to chill after a busy day and leave the writing for a new day!

Happy Saturday!!

Love,

Jo

It’s funny about nudity…

Even funnier is how many people will be drawn by the word 🙂

Take this picture by J Michael Sullivan

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It’s beautiful, expressive, emotive and not in the least bit dirty or suggestive. It’s “situational nudity”…

What do I mean by that? Well… Recently a few of us girls got together for lunch and at some point one of my friends started telling us about her sister-in-laws new baby and how they had had a birth photographer… She had a few pics on her phone and one beautiful black and white photo included an image of the mother in labour, totally nude, captured in the moment of her child’s birth. It was an incredibly beautiful and moving photo.

Did any of us even notice that we were essentially looking at a photo of a naked woman over our cappuccinos? No. It was the “situational nudity” which made it ok. The context if you like.

It got me thinking about how we use sex and nudity in books, TV shows and movies. Sometimes it’s handled subtly and to great effect and really moves the story forward. Other times it seems like there is no other reason to have a sex scene or naked woman than “just for the hell of it”. I’m not saying boobs aren’t good for their own sake by any stretch, but they should be used wisely.

I’m the kind of writer who prefers to write stories which focus on the love, the romance, the characters. However, if I were to consider adding more “naughty bits” to future stories, they’d have to be appropriate to the tale or I just wouldn’t be comfortable with them. In much the same way as a nude shot of my friends sister-in-law in a glamour setting would have made a few of us uncomfortable… Situational nudity makes all the difference in the world…

What do you think??

Love,

Jo