Romance novels have heroines and heroes, so I suppose it makes sense they have the power to save us. Right?
We’ve all been there. Life is sailing along, then one day we hit a rock and we’re fighting against getting swallowed up by ten foot waves. We do what we have to, and at the end of the day, we turn to that great escape read to help us forget the pain and difficulties. Even if for a little while. Since you’ve found your way here, I’m guessing you might understand what I’m talking about. You know, bookworm to bookworm. We all could use a little book therapy now and again, and romance is the most optimistic, hope-filled genre I know.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that your summer #JolyseBarnettGiveaway is here! If you’re game for a chance to WIN TWO ROMANCE NOVELS this week, you’ve come to the right place. To enter, simply write a comment after reading this short post. (Psst. Writing can be a lonely pursuit at times, and I really do love to hear from readers, so please don’t be shy.)
To show my appreciation for your precious summer minutes, there will be TWO weekly winners selected from the comment entries left between now and Wednesday, July 12th. Winners will be announced on my July 13th blog.
For a THIRD chance to be one of my weekly winners through the month of July, visit my Jolyse Barnett Facebook Pageafter you leave a comment here.
But first, a little catch-up…
“We have a situation here.”
That statement pretty much sums up the first half of 2017 for my family. Since the majority of issues involved my children, I’ll keep the details low key. I can, however, share the wonderful news that both have bounced back. Once again, my children are healthy and happy.
Escape into Reading
During our family’s struggles this winter, I kept writing–even if it was only a little each day. I love my character and stories. (If I’m a new author to you, feel free to read a sample or two on my Jolyse Barnett Books page.) When I was just too exhausted to create, I escaped into other people’s stories. In all, I’ve read almost fifty novels since January! Not only did I read many terrific contemporary romances, but I also discovered a handful of new-to-me authors of commercial, women’s, and literary fiction. When you check back next Thursday for the list of winners from this week’s entries, stick around for a minute to read the list of my favorites. Feel free to share your recommended recent reads then, too.
Take the Good with the Bad
With the arrival of Spring came a long-awaited family vacation. So much fun! We loved all ten incredible, relaxing days together on our Western Caribbean cruise.
Recharged, I returned home all fired up, and I worked diligently to finish my work-in-progress. Since then, things have been looking up, highlights including our son’s Senior prom and high school graduation.
Now that summer is here, I’m home full-time and loving everything about my new writing office. Four projects in progress…
I hope you’ve enjoyed your journey through the first half of 2017. If not, I hope that you’ve found solace and hope in great romance reads. Go, bookworms!
Now it’s your turn. Share something about your first half of 2017, or a goal you have for the remaining months…
What makes you unique? I was asked a variation of that very broad, daunting question as my prompt for a recent guest post. After much soul searching, I listed as many creative influences about my life as I could. Soon, I noticed a pattern, not only in my life, but in my personality. I’m quite the study in contracts. A delicate balance of Yin Yang, if you will. For my post, I chose to write about 5 unique life lessons among those that shaped me most.
Here’s the beginning…
Professional worrywart. Dedicated dreamer. Introvert. Adventurer. Stickler for details. Dancer to her own tune. Basically, if Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood had a love child, she’d be me.
5 Unique Life Lessons
Baby of the Family/First-Born: I’m the baby girl in a family with five children, five-and-a-half years younger than my parents’ third child and the older of two youngest children by two-and-a-half years. In effect, I was bossed around and cared for by older siblings, while I alternately envied and ignored my little brother. The dynamics changed when I was twelve. With the older ones off at college, I grew into his responsible, caring older sister.
Loving Family/Mean Girls: As the fourth kid in a large family surrounded by oodles of aunts, uncles, and cousins in a ten minute radius, I grew up with love and built-in friendships. Then there was my school life, a haven when my family encountered a rough patch. At other times, thirteen years in class with the same thirty kids could spell trouble…
There’s more to the story over on Eri Nelson’s blog. Hop on over to “What Makes Me Unique as an Author,” where you can read the article in its entirety. Then be sure to stop back here and tell me what you think.
What’s one life event you feel plays a significant role in what and how you (or others) may choose to create?
NCC BOOK SIGNING What a fun evening at Nassau Community College Foundation’s annual Ladies’ Night Out, “Cocktails and Couture.” I enjoyed meeting so many great people and chatting books, chocolate, writing, and relationships (ha!) as one of the event’s vendors providing exclusive shopping opportunities.
For those of you visiting here now for the first time–either because you met me at the event or elsewhere, feel free to take a look around the site. On my books page, you can read sample chapters, listen to readings of selected excerpts, and locate buy links.
I love to connect with readers online as well as in person, so don’t hesitate to find me over on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. In addition to my passion for writing, I’m a voracious reader. Please connect with me on Goodreads if you’re there!
VLOGGING FUN Here’s a scene from ONE MORE TOUCH where Willow makes good on her vow to shed her inhibitions. Figuring it’s now or never, she wears the itty bitty thong bikini bottom she finds inside her magic suitcase…and nothing else. Before she can change her mind, she steps outside her resort suite and onto the Wild Side Beach. Watch this short video to discover what happens when she realizes the hottie billionaire she’s fantasized about the past few months back home and just kissed earlier that morning is one of the people welcoming her into the Wild Side hot tub…
Release week fun for Text Me, Maybe, my first romantic comedy with Entangled’s Lovestruck imprint, is chock-ful of teasers, excerpts, behind-the-book trivia, and cool giveaways. In case you’ve missed any of the exciting news, here’s a recap of the highlights.
Harlequin Junkies Spotlight & Giveaway — An acrostic poem using the title of my new release, TMM trivia, and an excerpt from the “Hot Yoga” scene that dared give me all that trouble during the drafting stage.
Jaunty Quills Guest Author Post — I share my Ultimate Fan Experience and invite you to share yours. (So far, there appears to be a tie between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fans. Just sayin.) There’s a giveaway, too, separate from the one listed just below.
Release Week Fun Giveaway…
Indiesage PR Blog Tour, August 8 – 26th — Enter my giveaway for a chance to win my NYC-themed gift package…souvenir pens, stationery, journal, bracelet, art, Broadway merchandise, an autographed paperback copy of Text Me, Maybe, Jolyse Barnett homemade lavender sugar scrub, and more!!!!!
Remember to check back Monday, when I’ll be blogging about:
The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens of Key West (OMG, wait till you see all the flower photos!)
The winner of my Summer of Love Giveaway #3 (Will it be you??)
Details for entering my Summer of Love Giveaway #4 — featuring the fab Jennifer Gracen this go-round, a woman referred to as “a hot new voice…definitely one to watch!” by RT Book Reviews. So don’t miss out. Check back here Monday to learn more!
Good, luck and hope you have a wonderful weekend doing whatever you love! oxo Jolyse
Pamplona Room sounds so exotic, doesn’t it? Maybe the name added to my fascination when I first read about it on Trip Advisor. We were traveling to Key West for Hemingway Days, one of Hemingway’s books featured prominently in my storyline for One More Sunset, and I was looking for a new B&B home-away-from-home to call our own. This one seemed worth a try, almost kismet!
When I wanted to book it back in November 2015, however, all Andrew Inn’s rooms were booked. Disappointed to be shut out, I reserved a room at another B&B. It was a little more expensive, but within our price point, and close to Southern Beach. I couldn’t complain.
But still…I secretly pined away for that Pamplona Room experience.
A month out from our trip, I checked the vacancy status at Andrew’s–just in case–and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Pamplona Room I’d yearned to acquire for our four-night/five-day trip was available. We called immediately to verify what I’d seen online, had a lovely talk with the manager Lisa, and promptly switched over our reservations.
The day of our couple getaway arrived. Our flight from Long Island to Fort Lauderdale wasn’t picture-perfect (not by a long shot), but when we finally managed to land in Florida about twelve hours after our originally scheduled time, and drove our rental car through the Keys to arrive at our B&B in the middle of the night. The Pamplona Room at Andrew’s Inn was everything I’d envisioned, though, and eased my frustration with our bad luck prior to that. And as always, the rest of our getaway was fantastic!
Pamplona Room at Andrew’s Inn HIGHLIGHTS:
Cozy yet clean queen size room w/AC
Plenty of storage in room and bath
balcony overlooking Ernest Hemingway’s backyard–Wow!
Intimate setting — only six rooms on-site
happy hour with the other guests 4:30 – 5:30 DAILY, with wine/beer/light snacks
excellent, personalized customer service provided by Lisa and Christine
dipping pool and quiet lounge area
Quiet and private, yet steps away from Upper Duval Street
Andrew’s Inn Tips from Jolyse:
Take advantage of the recommended laundry service around the corner
Rent a bike on-site in hot weather–much more comfortable/quicker traveling with a breeze on your face
Take advantage of the breakfast and happy hour
Great Places to Check Out Nearby:
Hemingway House and Museum
Six-Toed Cat Café — great key lime pie
Lighthouse & Museum
End of US 1 Photo Opp
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach/Cafe
Truman’s Little White House
Green Parrot – open-air bar/restaurant
Upper Duval Street
Southernmost Beach & Café
Fourth Book Release
My fourth book hit the Amazon charts today. The first in my Single in the City series, TEXT ME, MAYBE is a romantic comedy set in NYC. Writing this one was a roller-coaster ride–but I’m very pleased with the final version. I wanted to give the world–so often filled with sadness and hate–a ray of optimistic sunshine. Lexie and Matthew aren’t perfect, but I hope you find them to be perfect for each other. Reviews like this one give me the courage to continue pouring my heart and soul into my stories day after day. oxo Jolyse
“It was a true pleasure to meet Lexie & Matt, the undeniable chemistry between these two was like a magnet that pulled me right into their world and had me hanging intently onto their every word. Their unique, and oh so, charming story was brimming with romantic comedy, laced heartfelt emotion, and packed with some heated moments that had me in dire need of a fan! This one turned out to be a very enjoyable first read for me, and left me looking forward to reading more from this author in the very near future, and I highly recommend you give it a try, these two are sure to win you over!!” ~ Reds Romance Reviews
Winner of Summer of Love Giveaway #2
Congratulations to Katherine Martell, you’re the winner of Maggie Van Well’s signed copy of RUBY’S LETTERS along with some Jolyse Barnett swag! (Please contact me within seven days of this notice and provide a valid US mailing addy.) Thanks to everyone for playing along and to Maggie for donating her lovely read.
Enter Summer of Love Giveaway #3
This week’s Summer of Love Giveaway features the fabulous Jeannie Moon! I’ve adored every one of her contemporary romances that I’ve read, and I’m so excited to offer this giveaway, which includes as signed copy of Until You, a Jeannie Moon canvas tote bag, and related author swag.
Here’s a blurb from this wonderful blend of women’s fiction/romance:
When newly divorced Kate Adams is approached on the sunny deck of a California hotel by hockey star David Burke, and he invites her to dinner, she almost says no. He’s obviously younger than her. And charming. And drop dead gorgeous. But there’s also something sweet about David, so Kate—who hasn’t done anything spontaneous in a very long time—accepts his invitation.
It is, after all, her fortieth birthday.
However, a real romance with thirty-year-old David, whose picture is in the gossip pages as often as it’s in the sports pages, is out of the question. No matter how much she wants him, it’s just too risky.
But meeting Kate has been David’s lightning strike. She’s the one for him, and he has no intention of giving up on her.
So while Kate guards her fragile heart, David sets out to win her over with the same determination that drives him on the ice.
And he’ll break every rule in the book if he has to.
Now it’s your turn..
Share a special getaway moment, or tell us about a time everything seemed to go wrong at the beginning of a long-awaited vacation, but ended up fine in the end. Or, respond to any other part of today’s Monday Mash-Up Post! 🙂
So…before you go, leave a comment, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the third of my Summer of Love giveaways! Good luck, and check back next Monday to see if you’ve won this cool prize courtesy from Jeannie Moon! I’m excited to do my small part in spreading a little summer love…
One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in next Monday’s blog post. Winner will have one week to contact me via my website contact page and supply a valid US mailing address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Thanks for playing!
Welcome to my first Jolyse’s Friday Find post. Since this also happens to be Black Friday, the coolest shopping day of the year for all my bargain and gift hunting friends, I’ve decided to include more than one of my favorite discoveries this week. Enjoy!
Jolyse’s Choice for Coolest Gadget Gift of 2015
Do you have a bunch of peeps on your gift list and you want to impress but don’t want to break the bank? Check out the Tile, a tech gift anyone can use–from your uber-cool twenty- and thirty-something nieces and nephews to your eighty-something parent. From my research, the device is reasonably priced at $25 for one. A pack of 12 is $17.50 per Tile, or $15 a Tile on Black Friday. Since the battery is sealed within the little unit, owners receive an email eleven months after activation with the opportunity to order a new one at a reduced price. (Currently, Tile owners are offered a replacement at $12 and are sent a prepaid envelope to return the old Tile for recycling). The company appears to provide great customer service with a replacement warranty if a Tile doesn’t perform as stated for the year. I like the premise of this little gadget and think it has potential down the road for more uses, the concept of a community of Tile users helping each other locate lost or stolen items for each other just one of the possibilities. That’s just plain cool in my book.
Gift for Multi-Taskers
There are many organizers and planners out there, but I’d highly recommend Erin Condren planners. My friend, Jeannie Moon, gave me one for Christmas last year and I’m hooked. How can I not use it? It’s pretty, sturdy, functional and personalized to fit my needs. I can organize my home life, my day job, my writing life, and my health/fitness goals all in one book. It’s too large to misplace but small enough to fit in a larger purse or briefcase/backpack. Oh, and the Black Friday sale has 30% off selected items.
Gift for Car or Truck Owners
I first spied this practical gift idea on TV last weekend–the HALO Bolt Portable Charger and Car Jump Starter and immediately thought of buying it for my sixteen-year-old son. (Shhh. Don’t tell him!) He has been quite nervous during bad weather ever since Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy hit our region, the latter storm having knocked out our home’s power for eight days. He’d like the light on the charger in addition to the charger for his phone and other electronic devices. I think women may like the jump starter aspect. I know I do.
Gift for Readers
If you’re the type of person who reads anything and everything available, from the back of the cereal box at the kitchen table to the toothpaste tube while hanging out in the bathroom doing your thing, I suspect you’d agree with me that books are books, whether print or ebook. I’m the happy owner of a Kindle Paperwhite I received for Mother’s Day this past May, but the newest version released this summer’s on Black Friday sale for $99 dollars. If you want to splurge, Kindle has once again improved their technology with the Kindle Voyage at $199. It’s super-thin at 7.6 mm and weighs only 6.4 oz, about an oz. less than the Paperwhite.
Gift for Writers
Like many writers, I go weak at the knees when I enter a stationery or arts & school supplies store. Always have. I’ll write on napkins, in cheap spiral notebooks, whatever’s handy when the muse strikes, but Moleskine makes my favorite journal. I always carry a small, ruled one everywhere with me and keep another on my nightstand. The plain, small notebooks are perfect for anyone in your life who like to doodle, sketch, and write observations, ideas, lists, or whatever their creative little hearts desire. (Think unusual stocking stuffer! You could pair it with a cool pen or three.) For Black Friday sales, go to moleskine.com. They’re also offering free shipping for orders of $30 and more.
Now it’s your turn. What Black Friday or holiday gift giving ideas have you found?
Forgive my blushing after you view my very first attempt at vlogging (Obviously not a forte for this introverted writer! I promise you it’s okay if you laughed. I know I did every time I listened to it–and the one you see above was about Take 23 or so.)
I’m so excited about this book news that I just had to tell you in addition to writing about it. His Kiss is one of the three reasons I’ve been in my writer’s cave so much the past six months. (More about the other two projects in a bit.) It’s my second novel in the NEW YORK series, set in the fictional small-town of Starling in the beautiful Adirondacks region. Jeremy was introduced in A Light in the Window (now renamed Christmas Light), and is Jade Engel’s brother and Ben Stephens best friend. His Kiss begins about eighteen months after the Christmas story.
As with the Christmas in NY series, all the books in the Summer in New York series are stand-alone, but the many of the characters appear in each other’s stories. We worked hard to not “give away” any details from the current romances, which is why, if you’ve already read that first series you’ll notice much more of Jade and Ben along with the other core three girls than Reid and Kara (from Patty Blount’s His Touch) or Gavin and Toni (from Jennifer Gracen’s His Love).
The reviews for His Kissare already starting to come in, and I’m thrilled that Jeremy and Elizabeth’s journey to love is resonating with readers. One of those that struck home with me was a reviewer’s comment that my stories each have “strong women with men who stand beside them.” I do love strong heroines and believe that woman choose their destiny, so even though this book’s seed idea may have begun with my hero, Jeremy, Elizabeth plays a vital role in the romance rather than merely being swept along by him.
In celebration of this happy occasion, I’ll be giving away one digital copy of Christmas Light or His Kissto two random commenters.** All you have to do is tell what makes you blush (if you still do!). If you don’t, please tell us why. (I want to know your secret!)
If you read His Kiss(or Christmas Light) and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. And let me know, too, so I can personally thank you! I truly appreciate each and every one of my readers. Like you, I enjoy the escape of a great story and want a happily-ever-after.
Oh, and before I forget, the other two projects that have been keeping me busy are my romantic suspense/magic novel, One More Sunset, which will be coming out this fall, and a fun contemporary called Text Me, Baby, with an expected release of Spring 2016. I know that seems far off, but will be here before we know it. So…I’d better get back to my writing so you can have more to read.
Until next time,
PS – Don’t forget to comment to be entered into the giveaway! 🙂
**Must be 18 or older. US and Canada only, my apologies to all other readers. Winners will be announced after July 17th and must contact me within seven days of announcement to choose their desired title. Good luck!
Welcome to the first of four installments about Ernest Hemingway and his legendary life at the Key West property where he resided from 1931-1940. Today’s post introduces the American author’s tropical home and work space.
For nine years, Ernest Hemingway lived in the large Spanish-style house located on Whitehead Street (shown above), with his second wife, Pauline, and their two sons. This relatively short period of the famous author’s life was also his most prolific and successful in literary terms, the home where he wrote To Have and Have Not, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and many acclaimed short stories such as Snows of Kilimanjaro.
The main house (which I’ll post about next week) was transformed into a museum after Bernice Dickson purchased the estate from Hemingway’s descendants. Inside are a plethora of photos, pieces of art, furniture, and books. Lots and lots of books. My favorites, of course, were first editions written by the home’s famous former occupant. A tingle zipped down my spine when I spied a hardcover copy of Hemingway’s book, To Have and Have Not, which plays a major role in one of my yet-to-be-published Key West-based romantic suspense novels, in a story of my heart I call One More Sunset.
But I digress…
At thirty two years old, Hemingway was in his prime when he moved into the house built eighty years earlier by merchant seaman, Asa Tift. While Pauline took care of the boys, Ernest spent many hours each day drafting and revising before frequenting his favorite haunts, fishing, or otherwise carousing about town. By all accounts, he was a man’s man who lived by the motto, “Work hard, play harder.”
The property’s hayloft section of the property’s carriage house was converted into a bright and airy writing studio for Ernest, complete with lavatory. Today, a cluster of tropical bamboo stands where an elevated walkway once connected the second-story of the main house to his work space.
As we stepped outside from the main house to climb the stairs of the studio, I imagined the famous writer entering his studio and wondered what he would think of all these tourists invading his space. The answer, “I like it and I don’t” entered my thoughts. A contradictory sentiment, but perhaps one that would be felt by a man reported to have suffered from untreated bipolar disorder and seemed, in my estimation according to his life choices, to both crave and abhor his celebrity in equal measures.
As shared in biographies and interviews with the author that I’ve read, Hemingway often wrote while standing to alleviate back problems related to his war injuries sustained during his service in WWI, however the studio’s present layout belies that research.
As I turned to leave, mulling over all I’d seen and heard during the tour’s first half, I sensed a man standing close behind me. Assuming it was another tourist, I encouraged my husband to take a quick picture so I could move out of the way. Turns out, no one was directly behind me. Was it my writer’s imagination, or something else?
Next week, join me as we explore the main house, including details about the estate’s famed six-toed residents.
Love of Literacy Giveaway…
I don’t know about you, but this winter in the Northeast US has been long, cold, and dreary. Whenever I wasn’t at the day job, working on writing projects, or busy with the family, I was reading.
I read a grand total of ten books in the two months…all terrific experiences. To celebrate the wonderful world of literacy with you, one lucky reader will win a $20 Amazon gift card!The winner will be announced next Monday, March 16th. All you have to do to be eligible is be at least 18 years old and leave a comment below. You can share anything you love about books, the romance genre in particular, or how you feel about the arrival of a new season. Good luck and have a super week!
Life has been good yet busy, between pursuing the writing career and day job demands. I always enjoy chatting with so many of you on Facebook and Twitter, but am excited to be back here on the blogosphere. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer so far–happy and healthy.
Christmas in July?
Yes, it is in my little world. Three of my closest writer girl friends and I proposed a holiday series to TULE Publishing. I’m so excited to share that we’ve signed our contracts for the four-book series called Christmas in New York.
Here’s the line-up:
Four life-long best friends find love through unexpected reunions at Christmas time in New York…
Single mom Sabrina, who never left her coastal Long Island hometown, reunites with her son’s father–the hockey player who broke her heart. THIS CHRISTMAS by Jeannie Moon, author of The Temporary Wife and the upcoming Second-Chance Hero (Intermix).
Adirondack girl-in-transition Jade returns home to her lakeside village to discover the boy next door is all grown up. A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW by Jolyse Barnett, author of the upcoming One More Sunset (Entangled).
New York City academic Cassandra finds magic once again with an Irish musician–the first love she never forgot. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS by Jennifer Gracen, author of Autumn Getaway and the just-released Winter Hopes (Booktrope).
Restless Elena reconnects with the kind-hearted stranger who gave her a glimmer of light during her darkest days. GOODNESS AND LIGHT by Patty Blount, author of young adult novels Send and the upcoming Some Boys (Sourcebooks Fire).
Christmas is July is pretty cool. I’m having so much fun writing this book, and having three plotting pals to share the journey is all the better.
I can’t wait for our readers to unwrap our stories 11.11.14!
Fools Rush In, the 1997 romantic comedy starring Selma Hayek and Matthew Perry, is a story about opposites attracting and finding true love in spite of all their differences. The heroine’s belief in signs plays a pivotal role in bringing the two lovers together for their happily-ever-after.
I like that because I believe in signs too.
On our recent Key West getaway to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary, my honey and I arrived at our favorite B&B to learn I had an offer of contract for my romantic suspense novel. That story is set in Key West.
Sign Number One.
We went into full celebration mode, biking, swimming, fishing, and dining at five-star restaurants. On the last night, we embarked on the Jolly Rover II, an eighty-foot tall ship known as a schooner–built in the same style as turn-of-the-century pirate ships. The friendly crew taught us the history of the ship as we soaked in the view.
As if all these wonderful experiences weren’t enough, a small yacht motored past our pirate ship just before sunset. On board appeared to be none other than Howard Livingston crooning his song,”Living on Key West Time.” (Judge for yourself by comparing to his official photos on Mile Marker 24’s website.)
Sign Number Two.
We were thrilled. You see, not only did we know and love the song, but I’d created a YouTube video for this blog using it a few years ago. We listened as we sipped our favorite wine and enjoyed one more sunset before returning to our Long Island home. By the way, if you like your signs in sets of three, this story won’t disappoint. The current title of my novel happens to be One More Sunset.
Some say there is no such thing as coincidence, while others say signs are only a person’s wishful thinking, attaching meaning to a random event. What do you think?
I hate cold weather, but these photos of frozen bubbles are utterly breathtaking.